I am strapped into a seat like a test monkey and am hurdling heavenward at over 70 MPH. There is nothing under my feet except thin air, and my stomach is still about three floors below me.
Suddenly, I wildly corkscrew into space, reaching a dizzying height before falling back to earth in the same nauseating fashion and speed along a track backwards while I strain against my seatbelt, hoping against hope that I’ll be able to hold down my breakfast, and knowing that even if I do, the next ride, the Maverick, will free me from it, since it has a pretzel loop that will test the limits of human consciousness and sanity while subjecting me with the same G forces as Jupiter, all in the name of fun. If high speed, high altitude thrills are your idea of entertainment, then you should head to Cedar Point, because that is ALL they do, and they’re VERY good at it.
Take the Top Thrill Dragster. Please. This mean machine fires you forward like a linear accelerator down a straight section of track until you hit a vertical loop that arcs into a graceful oval 420 feet in the air which you surmount at 120 MPH, and if the negative gravity at the summit doesn’t cause you to lose it, congratulations, because you’re ready to join the circus as a human cannonball, or listen to a speech by Barack Obama, because you’ve got a stomach of steel. I don’t, so I let Jonathan do that one by himself, which he is happy to do while laughing at the infirmity of his old man, who is nursing his leg, which has mysteriously filled with a few extra quarts of blood courtesy of the Mantis, an infernal machine you stand up in while doing decreasing radius, high inertia spins way over the shore of Lake Erie.
If you’re the kind of person that likes screaming like an Airbus at full throttle and can handle this sort of wild ride, then congratulations, because you’re probably single, under 30, and/or have a decent looking girlfriend, or you’re a nice family guy on a budget looking for a cheap way to entertain the brood, because that’s the demographic here. You won’t find any Japanese, Indians, or Muslims, and I’m pretty sure that at 55 I am in danger of being carded for being too old for this kind of thing, which I am, since I have to leave Jonathan at the park, while I head into town to secure a drink, which is of course the perfect way to cure my vertigo issues.
I promise him I’ll pick him up later, which I do, and he tells me his favorite ride is the Maverick, followed by the Wicked Twister, Top Thrill Dragster, and the Mean Streak, which is a sentimental favorite because it is a huge wooden coaster over a mile in length, and its “kidney buster” ride is guaranteed to remind you of the bad old days when you went down old rutted dirt roads at high speed in a roadster with a live rear axle.
Yet I like Cedar Point because it is authentic and honest, and because it has a beautiful location right on one of the Great Lakes. No fru-fru topiary, archetypical country specific-architecture, or preening Disneyesque themes here: just lots of thrill rides served up in a clean and manicured environment, and, it being in America’s heartland, that’s the folks you get. At $38 per ticket, it doesn’t break the bank, everyone seemed to be having fun (and so did I really), and I’d recommend it except for the food, which is bad even by prison standards, because I doubt they ever served cheese curds or bosco sticks at Alcatraz, and if you have to ask what a bosco stick is, don’t, because they don’t know either, as evidenced by their advertising tag (and I quote) “What’s inside?” Hell, if they have to ask me what’s inside, why would I buy it? I’m guessing what’s inside is hard to identify outside of a laboratory.
So that’s our day at Cedar Point, and we both had fun. Tomorrow we tour Amish country, and I hope Jonathan doesn’t find it too painful for him, but then again, maybe he owes me one.