If the first 24 hours are any indication of how this #ManlyMoments road trip is going to be, I’m going to wind up one very chubby adrenaline junkie by the end of Movember.
Instead of heading straight to my hotel when I arrived in Las Vegas last night, I headed straight to the dining room of TENDER steak & seafood at the Luxor.
In keeping with the manly theme of things, it just so happens the Professional Bull Riders World Finals are in town, so TENDER has put together a special menu that includes a Game Meat Tasting Platter — Wyoming Range-Fed American Bison Ribeye, Colorado Rocky Mountain Elk Medallion and Texas Hill-Country Wild Boar Spareribs. If that weren’t enough meat for one evening, Chef KC Fazel threw in the Yankee Beef Pot Roast (pictured), just to ensure I’d come away with a colossal case of meat sweats. (Those are a symptom of manliness right?)
Well worth it though — I can see why they call the place TENDER.
After a few hours shut-eye, I headed to Sky Combat Ace for the Top Gun Experience.
Best. Thing. Ever.
Even if I did almost pass out.
My pilot “Flash” (aka Djavad) ran through some instruction first with a slideshow and video of the aerial maneuvers we’d complete, then it was time to suit up and head to the plane — a lightweight Extra 330LC. After familiarizing me with the throttle, gauges, eject button and the one thing I was sure I’d really need — the barf bag, Flash got the clearance we needed and we were off.
Since there’s a video in the works, I won’t ruin too much of the surprise, but of course there were loops and rolls and stalls and spins and something called a Lomcevak, which I learned is either Hungarian or Slovak for “hangover,” because that’s exactly how your head feels afterwards.
We reached 7 Gs — that’s 7 times the force of gravity! We also made it to negative 2 Gs which for me felt like a much greater brutal force since your eyeballs practically pop out of your head.
I can see this makes many men’s bucket lists. It really is one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. Thankfully, I didn’t need that barf bag after all.
I’ve never fired a gun before, so the next stop at The Range 702 for some target practice had me more than a little nervous, especially when my instructor Arik told me what the first weapon I’d be firing would be — an AK-47.
“This is the type I used when I was deployed in Iraq,” he told me.
Great. My first attempt at shooting would be in front of a former military man. But then I suppose that’s better than having some average Joe off the street show me how to fire one.
I also got my hands on a 1911 pistol, an MP5 submachine gun, an M4 Carbine assault rifle, and a SAW M249 machine gun. I’m actually surprised how much I enjoyed it. I can see why people get hooked — it’s a quick and easy adrenaline rush. And while it’s not at the top of the hobby list just quite yet (those bullets are pricey!), it’s something I’ll definitely be doing again in the future.
Not bad for the first day out, huh?
(Now that I look back, I see I’ve only listed 5 guns. I could have sworn there were 6. Chalk it up to the meat sweats.)