April 17th, 2009

pool flip

Move your body

When I was out in Southern California visiting my family last month, we took my four-year-old nephew to the Castle Park miniature golf, amusement park, and arcade complex, right off a main highway in Riverside. The Miracle Toddler™ really enjoyed the day (pics to come) but so did the rest of the family. It was lovely to visit an old-fashioned small amusement park without a $40+ entrance fee, hour-long lines, and kazillions of expensive franchised souvenirs and “collectibles.”

In the amusement park area I mostly held backpacks and took pictures (and tried to steal as much cotton candy from The Miracle Toddler™ as I could), but near the end of the afternoon I spotted a ride that looked like too much fun not to go on it, and I was able to talk my younger sister Diana into going on it with me.

Titled Fire Ball, it basically distills the loop-the-loop roller coaster to its funnest element: the loop. Once you’re all locked into the over-the-shoulder harness, the car goes forward, up the loop about ¼ of the way, then back ¼, then forward about half-way up, then back half-way, then forward about ¾ up, then back ¾, then it goes up until you’re

upside-down and hangs there before moving backwards until you’re upside-down again, then finally it roars forward and does three loop-the-loops, then reverses itself and does three backwards loops, then, finally, reverses the process until you’re settled back down at the bottom where you started.

Here I am screaming like a banshee a little girl the big queen that I am. I had no problem with the forward motion, but finally had to shut my eyes during the backward loops, it was so disorienting.

Here’s me and my sister Diana right after we got off the ride, swearing we’d never do it again, but of course wanting to.

An art teacher I had in college once observed that amusement park rides, once stripped of their flashy colors and lights and loud music and noise, basically all they did was move your body in ways it’s not used to being moved. Funny, huh?