Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Talon or My Near Death Experience at Dorney Park

Slightly Stale but Still Relevant I have to apologize to my readers. My intention in starting this blog was to share fresh experiences - the thoughts, insights and inspirations that come through daily encounters. I neglected to comment on the event in today's "post" the day after it happened, because... well... my subconscious was trying to block it out. FLASHBACK: My wife's family came down a few weeks ago from NY, and we planned on dazzling them with the many spectacles that can be found in and around the Greater Philadelphia area (no, we did NOT have cheesesteaks). We visited the Franklin Institute, jumped in Logan Square's fountain, paid alot for parking, etc... but the key experience was when we broke the chains of the city and headed north to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom (I don't know why they don't just call it Dorney Kingdom or something). It was a perfect day to visit Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom - that conglomeration of metal, plastic and tubular structures - because that day it was 237 degrees in the shade. We parked in the lot (about 3 miles from the gate), and like nomads crossing the Sahara, we trudged over the steaming asphalt, got to the "Welcome" booth, and emptied our entire wallets into the hands of the teenager with the "official" Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom polo shirt (don't except imitations!). Then like kids at Christmas, lost in a mountain of ribbons and wrapping paper, we pounced into the nearest pool, laughing, giggling, splashing. Then the kids in our group jumped in. I think our parched bodies took in at least 6 tons of water throughout our day at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. And that was really NICE. Everywhere you'd turn, there was a place to submerge. We surfaced only to eat a homemade lunch, because it cost $713 to eat anything there. Our makeshift meal was eaten in the Sahara, I mean parking lot, on top of a boogie board resting on two traffic cones we found. Then we ran back in to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom as if a pack of wild saber-toothed dogs were after us! It was at this point where the details get a little foggy and why today is the first time I'm writing this down. My brave young nephew said to me, "It's time for the Talon." Now the Talon is a "rollercoaster", which in Latin translates as "a voluntary near death experience." Ride Stats on the Talon Height: 135 feet Drop: 120 feet Top speed: 58 mph Inversions (whatever that means): 4 Length: 3,110 feet Train Mfg: Bolliger and Mabillard (can these guys be trusted?) More Information Vertical Loop, Zero-G Roll, Corkscrew What are those... Ninja moves? Is this legal? Whatever, let's do it! (I hope you're sitting down. Of course you are, who stands at a computer?) They locked us in. Metal scraped on metal. I think a little whimper noise came out of my lips, but I quickly coughed. "This is gonna be.... cool." Spinning, tumbling.... I think we broke the sound barrier. I know what a Zero-G Roll is now. I shook his hand. Zipping, swirling. We just tore through the time-space continuum like scissors through paper. I saw my life flash before my eyes: those happy childhood days, watching the Donny and Marie Show, playing with Star Wars action figures in the backyard, the first time I saw Indiana Jones (so cool!), and the time President Carter went driving past in a limo when I was 8 or something. Then I realized these weren't images in my mind, they were in the car with me! We had broken the time-space continuum! AAAAHHHH!!!! The ride was over. I heard a swoooosh sound. I looked around me and the universe and all the people in it fell back into their proper places and times. My nephew (oh yeah, he's here too!) was the color of skim milk. But then a little smile of gratitude cracked on his face. He would see the 7th grade after all! I looked down and saw my one hand still gripping the cushioned handlebar, and in the other was a Luke Skywalker action figure. "Let's do it again!" Human beings are curious creatures. Squirrels don't construct rollercoasters. Chickens do not bungee jump off of bridges just for kicks. But we do stuff like that. We push ourselves, we flood our senses to the breaking point sometimes. Why? Well, we can ponder that one another day. I'm exhausted.
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