Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I Got The Whoosh Whoosh
A couple days ago one of my co-workers, Aaron, suggested a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. It had been a l-o-n-g time since I had been up that way (over 10 years) so it would be fun to see what was new. Plus, my sister had a free ticket and no plans to use it. Perfect!

We started making the trip up to the park yesterday around 8am and plodded through the rush hour traffic, unaware that this would be the slowest part of a very high velocity day.

Six Flags is currently being marketed as the "extreme park," following hyperbolic tradition so en vogue with advertisers of cars, sports drinks, shoes, yogurt, wireless networking equipment and more. However, in this case, the name is appropriate. Even "the extra-mega extreme super park" would have been accurate. After making our way through the meandering line of people at the entrance, we went straight to the parks perimeter. We went to Scream

One ride on this coaster got us thinking it was the best of its kind anywhere. A second ride confirmed it. It's twists and turns and loops and rolls were relentless.

The rest of our day confirmed our early perceptions. The rides that kept up a generous flow of adrenaline included:

Batman: The Ride (which made me extremely dizzy)
Riddler's Revenge (which is a coaster you ride standing up)
Ninja (which is a suspended coaster that flies among the trees)
Viper (which is tall and super fast)
Roaring Rapids (which helped me cool off and thankfully spared my cell phone)

Each ride was thrilling, but none compared to the first. To the champion. To Scream.

And then it all changed.

We saw it from the parking lot when we arrived in the morning but we didn't know it's name. We even had a hard time finding it, and when we did, we had a hard time deciding whether or not to stay in line. Word from the dozens of people leaving the area was that X was broken and it would be at least a 2 hour wait to get it running again. We waited.

And waited.

After about 20 minutes the ride was moving again but the line wasn't. We stood baking in the sun, confused. There wasn't much to see of the ride. We could see the train climb the first hill but it went up backwards. The people on it were looking out over the park, not up at the ride's peak. The cars rotated?

After waiting an hour and a half (the longest wait of the day by a factor of 5) we strapped in, prepared for something different but certainly not prepared for this.

It was 215 feet straight down.

Face down.

In the front car there was nothing to obstruct our view of the earth approaching us at 76 mph. And after that, it's all a blur. I rode it twice and I still cannot describe what happens. I know there was one point after that initial drop that scared me more than the drop itself but I can't pinpoint where that happened or what, exactly, was happening.

X messes with your head using an entire history of riding roller coasters against you. You can't guess what will happen next. You can't expect the train to do something. You cannot anticipate. It was the most extreme roller coaster that I have ever been on. Aaron said it may have quenched his desire to go skydiving!

We cleared out of the park at almost midnight.

My head has not cleared yet.


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