Been on any wild rides? I’m sure we all have memories of wild rides and one of mine that comes to mind was back when Jantzen Beach in Portland was an amusement park.
It was a paradise for kids during the summer with rides, a huge swimming pool, a picnic area, a midway with carnival games of chance, and a magnificent giant wooden roller coaster. I didn’t live to far from Jantzen Beach and everyday I’d go to the park and walk around watching all the action wishing I could ride the roller coaster. I’d stand transfixed as the loaded cars would rattle by on the narrow tracks climbing to the top then the air would be pierced with shrieks of fear and joy as they barreled downwards. I wanted to join them but the problem I had getting to ride was that I was too short to go on without an adult. I was an inch too short according to the measuring marker on the wall of the ticket both.
Both of my parents worked and neither wanted to experience the thrill of the ride on the weekends when the lines were uncomfortably long. They preferred to be doing other things instead of standing in the sun in a boring line. So I’d put my adolescent mind to work and managed to talk my cousin who was over 18 and qualified as an adult for the ride, to take me on it.
Of course then I realized that fixing this minor problem was going to cost me all of my allowance and then some. I had to pay for both of us to ride, that was the deal! However with smooth sailing in sight I gladly forked over the big money and with my cousin by my side took the ride of my life.
The tension built as we slowly click clacked our way up to the top of the coaster and paused momentarily. I looked around at a view of Portland and Vancouver divided by the mighty Columbia River that I’d never seen before. Then suddenly with a lurch we pummeled down the narrow and winding track at what seemed to be a supersonic speed to me.
The onrushing air rushed by my face causing my eyes to water and my hands held the safety bar across my lap in a death grip. The faster we went the more severe the turns were; it felt as if we were going to leap the narrow rails and the noise of the car shooting through the wooden structure was deafening.
Finally we blasted over one last steep drop and gilded into the loading area. We climbed out of the car and staggered down the steps past the next group of excited riders waiting to board. The experience was better than I could have imagined and the best part was that my cousin thought so too; I could tell as he reached into his pocket and took out some money come on let’s do that again, I’m treating this time!’
I’ve been on some other wild rides since then, but I will never forget the sounds and feel of that one!!