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4:30 PM - This weekend a thrill-seeking Navy Pier Park operations Manager and Ferris wheel fanatic named Clinton Shepherd will break the world record for the longest Ferris wheel ride. Starting at 2:30 this afternoon, the amusement park super fan boarded gondola #1 on the wheel and will ride for 48 hours straight, ending his ride on Sunday with much fanfare. Join us this afternoon and early evening as we help him break the record and peek into his Guinness Book-approved quarters for the next 46 hours.
4:45 PM - We're told CBS News is hovering a helicopter in (over the wheel) in about 20 minutes for a phone interview.
4:59 PM - If you've ever wanted to ride the Ferris wheel at night this is your only chance. During Clinton's stunt all rides are free after the park closes. Also a great idea for a date OR if you hate dealing with tourists but still want an urban amusement adventure.
5:13 PM - As you can see here Clinton had the gondola wrapped in vinyl Americana imagery, faux wood paneling, painted the roof gold and had curtains installed.
5:30PM WGN is here.
Waving to the Ferris wheel operators while waiting to get into Clinton's gondola
5:40PM We're in the wheel with Clinton.
5:43PM Clinton tells us that he'll be live-tweeting
between 6 and 7PM. If you want to ask him questions you can tweet @NavyPier.
5:45 We notice his custom LeBron Nike's. They came from the Niketown store on Michigan Ave. through the Nikeid specialists. The right shoe says "FERRIS", the left shoe says "WHEEL" and they both have "48" on them.
5:50 He says each rotation is 7 minutes and 30 seconds so over the duration of the record-breaking ride, he'll go in one big circle 384 times.
6:00PM - Noticing how nice it is inside the gondola, we ask Clinton about the decor. There is a stained glass ceiling lamp, egyptian cotton pillows, a padded seat, a 32" flatscreen and an XBox. Oh, and the curtains.
"I called up Frank Fontana from HGTV and asked him for a favor." Clinton says, "I knew he'd love to deck out my gondola and I didn't ask for anything specific, just let him be creative and do what he does best. The theme we got going here is Frank Lloyd Wright. he kept it nice, classy and simple."
6:12PM - Asking about his pants, we find that throughout the weekend he'll sport camoflage in honor of the U.S.O. except for tomorrow when he celebrates his four year anniversary with his girlfriend. [he briefly steps away (not too far because the gondola is so small) to talk to her on the phone]. He's brought a suit and tie and arranged for a candle-lit dinner catered from one of the Pier's restaurants.
6:31 - Well, that's it for us, folks. Keep posted on Navy Pier's Twitter feed for great city views of sunsets, updates on who's visiting Clinton in gondola #1 and the official announcement when the standing record broken.
· Navy Pier [Official Site]