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My head is buzzing. My body tired.

I am suffering … okay, not really.

Roller coaster hangovers. They exist, reminding of a glorious day at an amusement park.

Let’s travel back in time. A long time ago, in a city far, far away, I rode my first roller coaster at the Heart of Illinois Fair. You know the type, up, down, round and round and done. It was awesome. And my roller coaster journey began. My dad loves these monsters. A long time ago they were wooden beasts that clacked and clanked and whooshed. Now with the help of computers and brain-numbing mathematical genius they soar to great heights and unimaginable speeds on metal rails of fury. They roar with a life all their own, they gaze at you with menacing eyes, challenging you to ride on. The moment when you float above your seat when you reach the top of a hill before rushing back down … the moment when you peer over the top of a hill and can’t see the track … the wind against your cheeks … the bugs in your eyes …

Through out my childhood, we visited amusement parks … not often, these were special occasions, demanding that we arrive at the park before it opened and stay until it closed … in between those hours lived the magic of riding. Ride after ride, hurrying from line to line, never stopping.

Six Flags, St. Louis … Valley Fair in MN. … Disneyland … Disney World … Universal Studios … and Cedar Point hold fond memories for me.

Have I been to every park? No. But I have been on some super rides. Fast. High. Upside down. Twisty-turny awesome. I am a rider. And I thank my dad for passing on this love, passion, obsession.

Some of my fondest memories of my dad are from amusement parks, endlessly riding. Two years ago, my mom and dad went with us to Disney World and Universal. My dad witnessed my two kids’ experience their first ride and fall in love with roller coasters. My heart nearly exploded with joy. Seriously … *sniff*

Earlier this week, my parents drove the five and a half hours to visit us. Last Tuesday, my dad, my kids, and I (my mom does NOT ride those ‘awful machines’ and my hubs gets a headache after too much amusement park fun) drove the two and a half hours to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. We arrived when the park opened and rode coasters until the park closed.

AHHHHHH! WHAT A GREATABULOUSLYFANTASTICALLYMAGICAL DAY! *flails* I RODE THE MAVERICK FIVE TIMES … FIVE TIMES! (and happily picked a bug from out of my teeth!) AND IF YOU HAVEN’T RODE THE GATEKEEPER IN THE VERY FIRST SEAT … YOU HAVEN’T LIVED. Twenty-four rides that day, kids. *collapses*

*waves from the floor*

I love the magic of speed, the twists, the loops. YES! But the metal monsters don’t just offer the thrill of being shot forward at 120 miles/hour, being flipped upside down, or a two hundred foot drop. They bond us together with fun. My kids will have memories of riding coasters with my dad and me, and, hopefully, they will look back on these days with as much fondness as I remember riding with my dad and sister.

What brings tears of joy to your eyes?  What memories do you treasure and how do you pass those on? Any riders out there? Can I get a WOO HOO?

 

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