Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thrill seekers unite!

Tuesday, we spent the day at our local amusement park. We got passes this year and we plan to make the most of them, but we got off to a slow start. So now that we have broken them in, they will definitely get a lot of use.

There's a new rollercoaster this year called the Diamondback.  As in snake. The ride features a 230 ft lift hill with a 215 ft drop at a 74 degree angle. The ride features 10 drops and a top speed of about 80 mph.  You can read more about it here. Or you can just look at these pictures and ENJOY!
This is a picture from the top of the first hill.

Or even better, watch this live video of a local DJ riding in the front seat.  What you can't see in any of these pictures is that you don't ride in a traditional rollercoaster "car".  You sit on a chair and have a t-bar that goes between your legs.  There are no sides to where you sit.  It is literally like you pulled up a chair.

And actually, this post is not so much about this coaster, but more about how hard it is for me to go here.  I do love it.  I have lived in Ohio most of my life and I have been going to this amusement park since it opened in 1972.  I now live within minutes of this place.  We can even hear their fireworks at night if we have our windows open.  Over the years of living with a Chiari Malformation and eventually having two brain surgeries (do you people ever get sick of hearing about this?), I am not supposed to do anything that is high impact.  I definitely don't want my brain slipping out of my skull again and I certainly don't want to loosen that shunt that is so snuggly attached to my skull to stop CSF from building up on my brain.  So that elminates rollercoasters.  Which I love.  I am probably the only person in the park who has to wipe away a tear as my kids and husband go pulling out of the station on one of these awesome coasters.  I smile and wave and am excited for them.  I love to hear all of the details when they return to the station, even though they've ridden these coasters what seems like a 1,000 times.  But the reality is, I WANT TO BE ON THOSE COASTERS.  And it kills me to stand there and smile and wave.

Everytime I walk into this park, I experience moments and symptoms of grief and joy at the same time.  Grief for what I can't do and JOY FOR WHAT I CAN DO.  Because I know I feel SO MUCH BETTER now than I did twelve years ago.  But dammit, I want to ride those coasters and hear my kids giggling and screaming.  Not to mention I totally love rollercoasters and do a lot of giggling and screaming myself.  Oddly enough, it was my last rollercoaster ride at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL in 1997 that seemed to be the onset of my more serious symptoms that eventually worsened over four years resulting in surgery #1.  Kind of ironic, eh? 

But today I said "SCREW IT!"  And I rode this.  All 26 MPH of it!  This one is a hanging coaster and we had to take off our flip flops so we wouldn't lose them.
And this, all 35 MPH of it.  This coaster has been at this park since the beginning and I remember the very first time I rode it.  I would have been almost five years old.
I don't know what I will do when CJ outgrows the Nickleodeon area.  They won't allow adults on these rides without children.  I'll most certainly be done with coasters when that happens.  For today, though, I was happy to hear him giggle and scream during the rides. I was happy to hear me giggle and scream, too.  He was unsure about riding the green and yellow one above.  This is the first year he was tall enough.  He finally said, "I think I can do it."  He smiled through it but I could tell he was somewhat unsure.  When we came to a stop, he said, "That was AWESOME!"  And all I could think was "Yes, indeed, this is awesome."  I finally got to ride a coaster with one of my kids.  We road it again later and he did tons of giggling and screaming.  Life is good.


  1. Aw, I didn't know that about you. I have to say I'm not a huge roller coaster fan, the older I've gotten, for numerous reasons that all include my 3 herniated disks in my back. All that jolting and bumping around has me limping off the ride every time. My boss took us to Cedar Point last year and it was the first time in probably 20 years I'd ridden coasters. It was fine, but I can go another 20 without doing it again....

  2. I can see how hard that must be for you. Emotional, too, I would imagine. Good for you for taking a ride, though! I bet it was incredible to share that with your son!

    I used to love roller coasters, but now they just make me want to throw up ;)

  3. I was such a roller coaster fan but my recent trip to Disney proved I'm getting old- some made me sick!

  4. I'm completely echoing Life As I Know It: that woudl be so beyond frustrating to not be able to do something you once loved so much. I will say though, that I love roller coasters, but in teh last ten years my BODY does not love them (break out the Dramamine!) maybe this is a blessing in disguise? I'm so glad that you got to ride with CJ; it's moments like those that you can tuck away forever in your heart.

  5. I am so happy that for today you were able to act like there was nothing wrong, and that you were able to enjoy the coaster from your own point of view, as well as your kids point of view.

  6. Maybe you could borrow someone's child for the day so you can still ride the kiddie rides:) I get sick to my stomach just looking at these pics!

  7. I never tire of hearing of your brain surgeries. It makes me appreciate life when I think of my problems.

    I am so glad you were able to experience the coasters why you could. You will remember the adrenaline rushes forever. How cool you got to ride one with your son. That makes me all tingly inside knowing that you could enjoy the experience with him.

    Ohio is one of the theme park states I will visit when we win the lottery and go on a world tour of the best coaster theme parks. I will look you up then :)

  8. Yeah,I think I mentioned to you before that my sister had a chiari malformation, but they wanted to treat it with medication (including Cymbalta) before going to surgery. But she died last October in a car accident, so ... Anyway, I can't do roller coasters anymore. Not since my accident last year and the resulting neck injuries. So while coasters looking inviting to me, they're not so inviting as to make me lament not getting on one.

    I watched that video and I think my neck cracked just "pretending" to be on that thing.

  9. BTW, I did have a scan that showed I have a bit of a sagging in the back of the brain too. Apparently not bad enough to be considered Chiari, fortunately; but I wonder if I have further injuries to my neck in the future, will I end up with it?


  10. We are a roller coaster family although as I get older, I tend to do the rides only one or two times instead of the 10 or 15 that I used to go. Good for you for finding a way to experience some of the thrill and good for you for realizing your health is really more important than 90 seconds on a thrill ride. I can appreciate the bittersweetness of your son growing older and not wanting to do the kiddie section. I felt the same way when my son got too old for dragonland at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.

  11. I grew up in Ohio too. My parents had to drag me, kicking and screaming, to Cedar Point. I'd only go with the promise that I could hang out in Kiddie Land all day.

    Yikes, I didn't know about your surgeries. I'm glad all's well.

  12. Wow. Amazing wonderful powerful post! So glad you got to ride that coaster with your babe!

  13. A little late to the party, but you're not the only one in the park. :) I have to stand on the sidelines at Disney this year too. Stupid sagging brain.

  14. I grew up in the shadow of this fact, you can see my parents' house from the top of the tower, if the leaves are down.

    Now I live in NE Ohio. We were visiting them over the 4th, and left our girls there while we were in Vegas--this is why we flew from Dayton. Plus the Dayton airport is SO much cheaper and easier than CVG!