So here we are at Cedar Point. It’s HOT (My absolute least favorite type of weather.) I’m slightly irritated from the “Turnpike Incident” and we both have to use the restroom. I’m in and out of there first of course (that’s a guy thing) and while I’m waiting patiently on a bench outside, pondering this terrifying predicament I’ve somehow gotten myself into I see this little kid making a MAD dash for the facilities. It’s obvious from the look on his green face what is about to happen, and people are getting out of his way as quick as they can, left and right.
The poor guy doesn’t…quite…make it. A veritable vomit volcano explodes out of this little kid just a few feet from the door to the restrooms, splattering everywhere and I’m pretty sure a couple of the unfortunate bystanders have taken some shrapnel. I’ve only been in the park for two minutes so far and this is what I’ve witnessed. “Amusement” Park my ass. If this is the sort of thing that’s going to go on all day, I’m gonna need a drink immediately, and as soon as Linnea rejoins me I let her know. “Drinks first, then rides.” (She’s OK with that.)
We went to the first place we found that served drinks, an “Old West Style Saloon” near the entrance to the park. The liquid courage begins to flow. Linnea has something to eat. (I’ve decided it’s a liquid diet for me all day) and eventually, after as many beers as I can slurp down in the time it takes her to finish her lunch, she’s ready to head out in search of our first roller coaster. (I, on the other hand, am not ready, and could have used 7 or 8 more beers, but I know I’m going to have to get this over with. It would have been nice if Cedar Point served hard liquor, but they didn’t.)
We make one full circuit through the park. I’m stalling. I’m looking up at all these monolithic rides, and each one seems more terrifying than the last. We begin to make a second circuit. (I’m really stalling.) Eventually the inevitable happens. Linnea asks: “Are we ever actually going to ride anything?” The time had come. The moment of truth. There could be no more putting off my fearsome fate. I was getting on a ride whether I wanted to or not.
Of all the roller coasters we’d passed, one called the Cedar Creek Mine Ride seems the least daunting. I point it out and say, “How about we start with this?” Linnea says she loves that ride, so we cheerfully enter the line to our certain doom. We weave our way through an endless zig zagging line of people for what seems like an eternity, and here again was that feeling that I was on my way to my execution. On the other side of the metal dividers and turnstiles I see tiny children and little old ladies, and not a single one of them look to be in the least bit worried about getting on this rickety looking death trap. Only me. The 25 year old, full grown coward.
Eventually, we climb into our death car. My heart is threatening to beat it’s way out of my chest. I’ve broken out in a cold sweat. My knees would probably be shaking, but we’re crammed into our little compartment so tightly there’s not enough room for that. We put on our pathetic little seat belts, as if they’re going to save us. We pull our lap bar down, and it doesn’t really seem like it’s locked in place, but the bored looking ride attendant who comes by to “test” it by giving it a short, bored little pull doesn’t seem to notice and the train starts to move. There is no fanfare. There are no last words. This is how my measly 25 years on Earth is going to come to an end, not with a whimper but screaming. Terrified blood curdling screaming.
Our train whizzes through a little building, then comes around a curve and starts the slow climb up the terrifying first hill. Click….Click….Click….Click…Click…. Up and up we go. People on the ground look like ants to me as we climb to the dizzying height of, something like 40 feet! It seems like we are climbing that hill forever.
And then suddenly, without warning: WHOOSH!!! We’re over the edge. Our train races through the rest of the ride in a matter of minutes. It swoops down over the water, (which I’m certain is made from the tears of the dead) back up into the air, and then down again. At the end of the ride it shoots down this death defying triple spiral at which point I was convinced I would be dumped out of the alarmingly unrestricting side our car.
And suddenly, just like that…we’re back where we started. The lap bars are released. We’re being told by the bored looking ride attendants to exit the trains to the right side, and thank you for riding the Cedar Creek Mine Ride. As we clamber out of the train I glance at Linnea who doesn’t seem to have even the faintest idea how close to death we have just come. In fact, she seems… bored. As I walk down the ramp leading away from the ride, my legs are wobbling, my heart is still racing, but all my parts are still intact. I’m alive! I’ve somehow survived this horrifying ordeal, and in spite of everything, I have to admit, I kind of want to do it again, but first I need more drinks.
The rest of that day we spent going on ride after ride, interspersed with stops at various “bars” so I could continue my consumption of alcoholic beverages. It did in fact help somewhat, and I was able to go on several coasters even more daunting than The Cedar Creek Mine Ride.
Like The Wildcat.
And directly across from there, The Iron Dragon. This one was actually pretty scary the first time I rode it. The cars swing from side to side as you glide over water and between the support beams of the ride. I got over the fear when I began to imagine I was piloting an X-Wing through the trenches of The Death Star.
The Blue Streak. The oldest coaster in the park, and now one of my favorites.
Disaster Transport. A really cool indoor roller coaster, the premise of which is you are being transported through the earth to come out on the other side. During some of the twists and turns on this coaster it was completely dark. Unfortunately they tore this down last year to make way for some crappy new ride that I will probably never get on.
And finally, the coup de grace. After a whole day of downing beers, I was ready to try a real ride. A ride that made the Cedar Creek Mine ride look like a kiddie ride at the local carnival. The gigantic, 180 foot tall, twin train…Gemini.
By the end of the day I was having a rip roaring good time, and didn’t want to leave. Linnea was the perfect Cedar Point buddy for me, because these were pretty much the only rides she would go on, and she had been very patient with me while I built up my alcohol level enough to step foot on these terrifying monstrosities. Another good thing about sticking to the older coasters is you don’t usually have to wait all day to get on them. The lines for them are exponentially shorter and move quickly.
Now, at long last I knew what I had been missing out on all my life.
We went one more time that summer, and during the long cold winter in between, I came up with a brilliant plan. Next year she and I would buy season passes for ourselves, and with them we could go back to Cedar Point once every week! She said that sounded like an excellent idea.
Stay tuned for part 3: The Summer of the Season Passes!