Tired of the hum drum of commuting to and from work? Ever been so frustrated, you just want to crush something? Maybe it’s time to drive a 17-ton tank.
Ever since I did, I find myself coping better with Monday morning traffic.
The folks at Tank America in Melbourne welcome you to step up to true military luxury. And for a few dollars more, you can spring for the video package and show off the joy of driving heavy metal.
Out of creative birthday ideas? Instead of a present, offer an experience of a lifetime. Anyone over 16 can drive a tank, and even those in their 80s have driven. All it takes is enthusiasm.
Other celebrations are ripe for this type of fun. When I attended, part of my “squad” were celebrating a bachelor party. Was that why the groom looked shell-shocked?
The Melbourne facility has over 40 acres of rugged terrain through forest, sand, cliffs and mud to play — pardon me — drive in. Dress accordingly. Loose-fitting clothes that you don't mind getting dirty and comfortable shoes are best. A military helmet will be provided. If someone ever asks if you mean business, just whip out a photo of you in front of the tank.
Driving a tank is simple. Put it in gear, release the brakes, push forward on two levers, and voila, you are on your way. Want to turn? Pull back ever so gently on the left lever and you can spin on a dime.
I would love to try to parallel park a tank. Of course, if the car ahead of me was encroaching on my space, his trunk might end up a bit crumpled — all the way to the back seat. I'd leave a note.
Tank engines are designed to run on anything. Gas, diesel, oil, kerosene, baking grease, last night's chop suey. If it can be poured in, the tanks digestive system will figure out a way to set fire to it. You could pull up to Burger King and say, “Fill her up! Extra salt, please.”
Did I mention you can crush a car? Yup, they have junk cars out in the field you can maneuver up and over. Begin at the front or at the side, your choice. With luck, your tank commander will be able to retrieve the vehicle's emblem and award it to you for your first “crush.” One lucky lady struck gold. Her vehicle was a Kia, so she received what I would like to call a “Krushed in Action” badge. How fitting.
The folks at Tank America are safety conscious. From the briefing to boarding, start-up, course maneuvers and departure, you will be in good hands.
This will not be my last mission. Ah, the sweet smell of diesel fumes in the morning. Honey, can I buy a tank?
9150 Ellis Road, Melbourne FL 32904
Packages range from $349 to $1,519 and can include shooting multiple weapons.
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