Thursday, September 23, 2010

ups and downs in so cal

I am back in Oregon after a week in southern California.

And a truly American week it was.  Disneyland.  The roller coasters of Magic Mountain.  Warner Brothers Studio.

Lots of activity.  And lots of life to digest.  But I will pass on only a few hors d'œuvre.

You have already heard the tales of Disney.  Even with the small disappointment involving the room reservations, it was a nice time.  All shiny and orderly.

Driving from Disneyland to Magic Mountain is like traveling from Sweden to Italy.  Where Disneyland has an aura of neurotic tidiness, Magic Mountain is as spontaneously disorganized as a Sicilian wedding.  And while Disneyland is fun, Magic Mountain is awash in adrenalin.

I remember the first time I saw Magic Mountain.  I was driving south to Los Angeles on I-5 in 1972.  Middle of the night through the San Gabriel Mountains.  And there it was.  Off to the west.  An amusement park.  All lit up.  In the middle of nowhere.  It looked as out of place as a harlot at a meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

It took me 38 years, but I finally got there.  And it is not the same park I originally saw that dark night.

Magic Mountain is one of the meccas of the roller coaster cult.  From kiddie coasters to teen fright machines, they are all there.  17 roller coasters.  14 operating when we visited.  And we rode most of them.

At the top of the scream heap is X2 -- "the world’s first 5th dimension roller coaster," in rolliespeak.

Whatever that phrase means, and I think it means X2 will unloosen joints you never knew you had, it is an engineering marvel.  The seats extend off the track to the sides and hang mid-air --allowing them to rotate 360 degrees around the 3,600  feet of steel track.

Imagine being in a rotating chair on top of a 20 story building and being pushed off backwards.  At 76 miles per hour.  And then being rotated upside down through a cork screw turn.

I haven't felt a rush like that since my pilot training days.  And, like all good things, it is over far too quickly.

But that wasn't the only adventure.  The Terminator is a modern coaster disguised as a wooden one.  It may look classic, but it has the soul of a Ferrari.

If I lived in southern California, I would probably visit the park regularly -- even though the drive to and from Valencia is almost as exciting.

Hmm.  I wonder if there are any roller coaster parks back home in Mexico?


Anonymous said...

The activity you describe does not strike me as entirely suitable for young Christian people, warming their blood entirely too intensely and bringing out emotions that are best left in a quiescent state.

My suggestion, Sir, is that take a break from blogging to "cool off," to prevent exposing your young audience to influences potentially harmful.


Anonymous said...

My , oh my. What thrills you had on the Roller Coasters. Glad you enjoyed yourself.


Steve Cotton said...

ANM -- I fear you have been drinking at the Scot theology well, again. See yiou at lunch.

Mom -- Exciting it was. I would gladly go again.

Jackie said...

No thank you!

MD in Texas said...

"I wonder if there are any roller coaster parks back home in Mexico?"

Oh how this made me laugh!

With the lack of safety checks in Mexico, that would definitely be a thrill ride!

Felipe said...

Six Flags in Mexico City.

Jane said...

I'd like to order whatever anm is having.

Irene said...

There is a Six Flags in Mexico City and I think it has several roller coasters.

Anonymous said...


It's an admixture of early dementia and rural Walla Walla upbringing, tinged with dark Congregational and Presbyterian undertones. I'm told it's an acquired taste.


Tancho said...

I thought you got it out of your system with the zip line excursion?
Glad to know that you still enjoy life and are not afraid to act your secret passions, no matter what age....
Grab the gusto!
Keep up the energy, you might make me purchase that Harley yet!

Steve Cotton said...

Jackie -- Plenty of room for everyone.

MD -- But the lack of safety checks is what makes it such an adventure -- and, perhaps, the last.

Felipe -- Found it. Another good reason to visit The Capital.

Jane -- He is a pistol. And one of my favorite lunch conversationalists.

Irene -- Roller coasters it has. But apparently fewer than Magic Mountain. But, when I need a coaster fix, I will know where it is.

Tancho -- I grab what I can. But the motorcycle is going on hold. My right ankle is still not flexible enough to handle one of the road bikes I would like.