Tuesday, May 23, 2006

America's Rollercoast

Do you know what the world's greatest amusement park is, eight years running?

If you guessed Walt Disney World, you'd be wrong. It is none other than Cedar Point. If you've never been, you're missing out. A terrific selection of thrill rides, including what has to be the greatest roller coaster in the world, the Millenium Force.

And what does this have to do with anything? Well, I'll tell you. I took my two oldest boys to CP, alone, and we had a blast. I challenged them to try some new rides, including one that was a bit beyond them (the Gemini). They did it and were proud of themselves, but admitted afterwards that they didn't want to ride it again. My oldest boy had his eyes closed all the up the hill, and for about half of the remainder of the ride. But I noticed he had a smile on his face as we got out, so I think he secretly enjoyed it. I also got them to ride a roller coaster that "goes upside down", which they both insisted they would not do. They did, and it quickly become one of their favorites.

Let me back up a bit. Because I'm not sure everyone is aware that while I am generally a rather "beige" person, who likes peace and calm and rarely ruffles any feathers (or at least, rarely tries to) about anything. I'm not a risk-taker at all. I mean, I won't even sit in my car in the parking lot without making sure I'm buckled up. But when it comes to roller coasters and amusement parks in general, I'm a wild one. The bigger the better. When CP installed the Top-Thrill Dragster, at a whopping 420 ft and 120 mph, I was there! I get crazy, and have a great time doing it. I suppose it is my version of getting drunk (since I don't drink). It brings out a very different Ryan from the one people otherwise know and see.

Having said that, you and I know that I can't have myself some boys who won't follow in my footsteps and ride the big ones along with me. Of course, I'm not pushing them too hard. I don't want to scare them away. So, I'm gradually giving them a taste of the adrenaline rush so that within a few years, they'll be my willing riding partners.

But there were two downsides to CP. First, the fact that they are trying to kill everyone. No, seriously. And I'm not talking about rides. In fact, CP has one of the most pristine safety records in the country. I'm talking, instead, about food! What is it about that place where if it isn't deep-fried, or laden with saturated fat, it isn't sold? I think I managed to undo everything I've been trying to accomplish in lowering my LDL levels in one day. Deep-fried corn dogs, deep-fried chicken fingers, french fries, and cheese sticks. You know how they always say, "Anyone with heart conditions, may be pregnant, bad back, etc. , may not ride this ride?" Well, I think after eating there, no one is allowed to ride the coasters because everyone will have a heart condition!

The second downside was that this day trip to CP turned out to be expensive. I was wise and utilized my AAA discount on the tickets, although since both of my boys are now over 48 inches, they are considered "adults", so I had to pay adult-ticket prices. But then there is the $9 parking fee, and the price of food where both lunch and dinner pushed me over $20 for just three of us. And that is with me being skimpy and just asking for cups of water! On top of that, there is the cost of gas to get there and back, plus a couple of snacks. I even spent a whopping $2.49 for a new sport band to hold my glasses on during the rides...which I left out in the car.

In the end, however, I think it was worth it. If I have a heart attack due to the food, or we are evicted from our house because I can't make the next payment...it was worth spending quality time with my boys sharing something that I love with them.

Now then, I would prepare my will, due to my pending heart-disease related death...but I have no money left, so there's little point!


Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

I'd be right there with you, Ryan, riding the biggest coasters. I love 'em, and often can't convince my family to ride them with me. Although here's a fun fact - my high school junior's Physics class just went to Six Flags Great America in order to ride all the coasters and then write up papers about the physics involved. I wish I'd had a physics teacher like that in high school!

(And I hear you about the food. The worst are those giant Turkey legs.)

Kassie said...

We have season passes to King's Dominion. I can't stand rides, and usually stick to the carousel and one set of swings.

But when I've walked the park following my kids for 3 hours, I've totally earned a funnel cake. Yum.