Now I’m not the biggest roller coaster fan in the world. I have pretty much convinced myself that I’m too old to go whipping through the air and careening towards the earth at high speeds simply for the fun of it. Nonetheless, there are a few things that I am willing to try at least once in my lifetime.
While at Bush Gardens in Tampa, our cousins insisted that Hubby and I explore the big rides while they kept the kids company on the smaller ones. Wow! You don’t get that kind of offer every day. Needless to say, we were out of there faster than they could say ” ha ha, just kidding”.
First we rode Montu. It was lots of fun. You know, the usual twists, loop de loops, and high speed turns. But while returning to our group, I spotted an attraction where the riders were perched high above the park. They remained there for what seemed like an eternity! Complete silence. Then the platform pivoted ever so slowly to position the hapless victims face down for a 90 ° drop. I stopped dead in my tracks. I had to do that too.
Fear, curiosity, and desire filled me all at once. I know, and it’s just a roller coaster! So off we went to meet Sheikra.
As the line progressed through the crowd control barriers, we watched videos that displayed every bump and turn of the track as if you were on the ride. “This isn’t helping”, I thought to myself as nerves started to unravel. “If I keep looking at that screen, I’m outta here”. So I stopped looking.
Finally we arrive at the front of the line. It’s our turn. We settle into our seats and strap ourselves in. The car slowly pulls away from the platform. In a few seconds we are headed up a steep incline with faces to the sky, completely on our backs. As we advance inch by inch we can hear the mechanism’s click, click, click, click. Hubby starts saying “oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…”
It’s now early evening and the sun is beginning its own descent towards the horizon. As we arrive at the top of the track- the highest point in the park- we witness the beautiful rosy streaks across the darkening sky. The entire horizon in all of its curved glory is laid out before us. We tower over the tree tops and the entire park is at our feet. This is breath taking!
The view is so grand that I almost forget our imminent descent. Ever so slightly, the platform on which we are seated tilts forward so that each and every row has an unobstructed view of the 90° plunge that awaits. We remain face down atop this 180 foot precipice for several seconds. People start to scream. My eyes swell to golf ball size, then without warning, Sheikra hurls us towards the ground at 70 miles per hour. It whips us around the track and takes us for a few loops. Wow. I sit in stunned silence. I survived. That was… AMAZING!!!
Um, how come we’re going up that steep, face to the sky incline again? The view is still pretty even though the sun has slipped below the horizon and it’s actually dusk. But why are we up here a….a-g-a-i-nNNNNN!!!!!!!
Down we went, round and round and whatever else it did to us for the second time. My brain was still doing loop de loops. Slowly the car pulled back into the platform. I had an Albert Einstein hairdo, and several hours later, I still couldn’t wipe that silly grin off my face. S-H-E-I-K-R-A.