When a roller coaster has a 428 ft drop, goes over 128 miles per hour, and gives a face-lift the second it takes off, how could it not be one of my 101 Dreams Come True? Riding coasters makes me feel like a kid. I love how my heart slightly races as I hear the click of the cars moving up the hill, inching over the top, and then rushing downward, my stomach in my chest as I scream at the top of my lungs.
When I realized the tallest coaster in the world was close to my childhood home I thought it would be an easy dream to complete. Every October I travel to Boston to see fall foliage. In order to achieve my dream I simply needed to rent a car and drive the five hours from Boston to the amusement park. The year I made my list, I planned to achieve this dream, but weather fouled my plans. The second year, again rain was in the forecast.
By the third trip home, determination had taken over. I was going to ride this coaster even if I had to do it with water pelting my face. Things seemed to be on track as I made plans with a friend to drive to the park. I flew home, rented a car, and was ready to have a blast at the amusement park. Two days before our big adventure, my friend had to back out. I’m comfortable doing my dreams alone, even enjoy it, but I didn’t want to play in an amusement park by myself. I asked numerous friends to accompany me, and though many were excited to join in, one by one they came up with excuses: the drive was too long; they’d have to get up early; they’d be tired the next day; if only they’d known sooner. “Do it next year,” my friends said. I thought about taking their advice, but I’d made the promise that if the opportunity to make a dream come true came to me, I had to do it.
I decided I would go alone. There could be no excuses when it came to making a dream come true. Roadblocks wouldn’t stop me.
It turned out that universe had a better plan for my dream than I could’ve imagined. My girlfriend from California, who’d been traveling in China and Romania the past year, was in New York City and she was willing to join me. I drove four hours alone, picked her up outside the city, and went to the park.
With blue skies and sixty-five degree weather, the park was crowded for late October. We made our way to the roller coaster only to find out that it had been shut down for over an hour. As we walked away, the line started to move and the ride re-opened. It took us only half an hour to reach the front of the line and we decided to wait the extra time to sit in the front seats.
We sat down, the ride moved forward, and stopped. I looked at its tall hill, so unlike any other coaster I’d ridden. Would it even be good? I wondered. Where was the hill you slowly clicked up? Where were the rolling ups and downs where you put your hands up so you were lifted out of your seat? I’d come all this way for this?
Then the ride moved. Or should I say shot like a rocket with such force I felt my skin pulling as if I were skydiving. We twisted and turned up to the crest and then slowed as we came over the top of the hill. For one moment I took in the view - miles of trees bright with the colors of fall. Then I was falling, shooting back to the earth with incredible force and up over the final hill. I screamed with joy as my arms went over my head.
I felt the rush of living to the maximum. Hyper with adrenaline my friend and I laughed our way back to the line planning to ride again, but now there was a four hour wait. We rode only two other coasters that day due to the crowds. We spent hours in line, yet, it was a day I will never forget as I caught up with my dear friend sharing stories of our year and how we’re choosing to pursue our dreams. Maybe it’s crazy to drive eleven hours in one day for three minutes of ride time, but I think a little crazy in life makes living that much more fun.