Seeing The King of the High Wire in Sarasota Before He Takes on Chicago

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The King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Practices for Nov. 2, 2014's Skyscraper Live in Chicago While His Crew Tightens the Wire, Sarasota, Fla., Oct. 18, 2014

The King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Practices for Nov. 2, 2014’s Skyscraper Live in Chicago While His Crew Tightens the Wire, Sarasota, Fla., Oct. 18, 2014

Have you heard? Nik Wallenda, The King of the High Wire, will walk atop a wire across the Chicago River in what’s being called Skyscraper Live (#SkyscraperLive) on Nov. 2, 2014. And guess what? He’s been training in his hometown of Sarasota so of course I had to see him train.

Father and Son. King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Trains in Sarasota, Fla., in Preparation for His Nov. 2, 2014 Walk Across Chicago River. Taken: Oct. 18, 2014

Father and Son. King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Trains in Sarasota, Fla., in Preparation for His Nov. 2, 2014 Walk Across Chicago River. Taken: Oct. 18, 2014

Last Saturday I hauled up to Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park to watch the daredevil. I arrived just in time to see one of his sons walk a lower wire. Hmm, I didn’t think his kids had any interest in walking the wire but maybe as they grow older, at least one has a curiosity about it.

Meet & Greet. King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Trains in Sarasota, Fla., in Preparation for His Nov. 2, 2014 Walk Across Chicago River. Taken: Oct. 18, 2014

Meet & Greet. King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Trains in Sarasota, Fla., in Preparation for His Nov. 2, 2014 Walk Across Chicago River. Taken: Oct. 18, 2014

First, I want to clear the air and declare, I am NOT a Nik Wallenda stalker and I do not have an obsession with him. Yes, I watched him several times last year practice in Sarasota for his Grand Canyon walk. And, I saw him walk across the Erie County Fair Midway this summer. I just think it’s important to support local folks when possible. Plus, I admire his passion to “never give up” when it comes to achieving your dreams.

Tying the Blindfold. King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Trains in Sarasota, Fla., in Preparation for His Nov. 2, 2014 Walk Across Chicago River. Taken: Oct. 18, 2014

Tying the Blindfold. King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Trains in Sarasota, Fla., in Preparation for His Nov. 2, 2014 Walk Across Chicago River. Taken: Oct. 18, 2014

During that morning training, I watched Wallenda walk the wire with ease, then walk a shorter version double blindfolded. Why? Because he’ll be blindfolded for part of his Chicago walk. His father was below calling out numbers indicating how many steps he had to each marker.

Attending the morning practice was Michael Yo, on assignment for The Insider. Super nice guy and even more handsome in person. I swear, I need to write a post by the end of the year and title it, “Stupid Things I Said to Celebrities in 2014,” because one of the questions I asked was whether he visited the new mall (Mall at UTC). I mean, this guy travels the world and I’m sure he’s seen more impressive malls, because I have.

Anyway…

King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Trains in Sarasota, Fla., in Preparation for His Nov. 2, 2014 Walk Across Chicago River. Taken: Oct. 18, 2014

King of the High Wire, Nik Wallenda, Trains in Sarasota, Fla., in Preparation for His Nov. 2, 2014 Walk Across Chicago River. Taken: Oct. 18, 2014

Wallenda’s training basically shared the parking lot of the mall employees so I ended up exploring the newest area attraction before meeting up with friends for an early dinner.

And what happened after dinner?

I dragged my friends to see Wallenda walk the wire.  Seriously. I’m not a stalker nor am I obsessed with him. Really.

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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