L – R: Tim, Kim, Matt
Oh how I remember those care free days of youth. In the summer, if we were lucky, we got to spend some time at either Cedar Point or Geauga (Gee-aw-ga) Lake ParK. Both of these amusement parks offered hour upon hour of fun. I remember that all that I wanted to ride all day was the roller coasters. That’s when I was, shall we say, on the uphill side of roller coaster riding.
It’s been a number of years since I’ve been to an amusement park. As a matter of fact, I think that the last time that I went to one was when Tony was around 5 years old, back in 1997, give or take a year or two.
The other day, Kim and Matt decided that they wanted to go to Carowinds and then Scarowinds. Carowinds is the amusement park located right on the North/South Carolina borders. I’d never been to this park, so I said: Why not. So, the four of us set off on our adventure. BTW, all of us are Peaceful Dragon students. Hmmm, seems to be a trend here.
It was a beautiful, October day. The temperature, surprisingly, was near 90 degrees! I was all pumped up to do some coaster riding like I used to do back in the day! At least that is what I thought at that time.
Carowinds has lots of thrill rides. Each ride is rated from 1 to 5. A rating of 1 is the easiest, zero thrill ride. A 4 is considered a thrilling ride (one black diamond); A 5, an aggressive thrill ride (two black diamonds).
The following may not be the exact order, as I don’t remember. It’s all a fog now. LOL. When we went, there were no lines. Just walk up and get on.
1. The Intimidator – Billed as the longest, fastest, and tallest coaster in the Southeastern US. This was a fantastic and thrilling ride to step on first thing in the park. The first hill was amazing in the experience of zero-G. What a rush. At the end: Stomach to Paul: That was amazing and fun, just like on the old days. Let’s do another one!!!
2. After Burn – Another very cool coaster. 6 inversions!!! This is one of my favorite types of coasters. Inverted. Feet dangling. At the end: Stomach to Paul: Ummmm. That was … fun … want to do another one?
3. Nighthawk – I’ve never ridden this type of coaster before. The coaster starts with you entering the car, putting on shoulder harnesses and safety bar. The coaster reclines and places you on your back. Yes. You are facing skyward. The first hill seemed pretty easy. You didn’t have the feeling of rising. All you could see was sky. However, after that first drop. Damn! That crazy thing starts spiraling and turns you on your stomach for a trip down a loop, then around. You’re heading right for the water, then suddenly you’re headed back up the loop for another loop and a few more spirals. At the end: Stomach to Paul: Dude! 8 inversions!!! I’m about to jump outta here! You might want to reconsider your riding these number 5 rated rides! Seriously!!!
About this time, I took a pause, didn’t even want to go on the swings, shown in the photo. I think this was rated a 3. A side conversation took place:
Stomach: I’m upset, buy me an Icee.
Brain: I ain’t paying $4 for a 39 cent drink. No way!
Stomach: Damn it! Just buy the damn thing or I’m going to revolt!!!
Brain: Fine! You don’t have to shout.
Stomach: Cheap bastard!
Brain: What was that?
Stomach: Nothing! How about that Icee!
4. Thunder Road – Time to step back a notch. Let’s try a 4. This brought back memories. Good old wooden roller coasters. I enjoyed the ride. This, by the way, was the first one that Kim road on with us. It was a bumpy ride, but not too bad. Rather tame after the first 3 coasters! Stomach to Paul: OK. I could deal with that, but we might need more of a rest, ok?
OK. Another pause. Matt and Tim went to ride the pirate ship while Kim and I stood around and talked. I didn’t think that I could handle the upside down pirate ship. No thanks. My stomach, still upset, was calming down.
5. Carolina Cyclone – Here’s the description: A steel coaster that spins guests through four consecutive 360 degree loops and a 450 degree uphill helix. – Stomach to Paul: Do you really think that I’m gonna cooperate if you do that? Fuggedaboutit! – I listened and didn’t ride. Matt road it. By that time, Tim’s tummy was talking to him, too!
6. Drop Tower – Another 4. Easy one. Sit the chair, go up, fall down! Piece of cake. Stomach to Paul: Now, that’s more like it, idiot!
7. Scream Weaver – OK. My last hurrah – Imagine riding inside of a centrifuge … with an upset stomach! By the time that the damn thing started spinning, I was wishing that it was over and we hadn’t even started tilting yet. All that I could do was close my eyes and breathe: Stomach to Paul – I told you! I told you! I told you!
Well, that was my last ride of the day save for one more trip on Drop Tower. When I exited Scream Weaver I saw the sign for another coaster, Vortex. Just the name shot waves of discomfort through me. My stomach said: OK. I draw the line here. I dare you to do it again!!!
I didn’t take the dare!!!
Matt, Kim, Tim: Thanks for a great time!!!