Maybe the big 4-0 is rapidly approaching, but I certainly don't feel like I'm that old. (Not that 40 is old!) I know I'm in better shape physically, and probably mentally as well, than I was when I hit 30. Most of the time, I feel pretty young.
Most of the time.
One of those times was NOT on a recent trip Justin and I took to Cedar Point. I've been going to Cedar Point almost yearly since I was a kid, and my sister and I often planned extended trips and spent two whole days in the park riding coasters and eating just about everything unhealthy (and delicious) that you could imagine.
Those two-day trips dwindled to day-and-a-half excursions, and eventually whittled away to one-day visits. The older we got, the harder it became to stand in line all day waiting in the hot sun to get on our favorite rides. After my sister moved away, it became harder to coordinate trips to Cedar Point, so our favorite park had to miss out on the Dunder sisters for a while.
I was thrilled to learn that Justin liked riding roller coasters, so last year, we planned a trip to Cedar Point to meet my sister and her fiance. We had a great time, although it was a little different than the sister days of old, but we tried our best to overcompensate by eating junk food. Justin, I learned, is too much of a foodie lightweight. Nobody explained to him the amusement park rule of ride two rides, eat, repeat. I fondly recall this fabulous funnel cake Rhonda and I shoved in our faces before we left the park. The sidewalk around the bench where we sat looked like a powdered sugar crime scene. Ah, the delicious memories....
At any rate, Justin and I visited the park by ourselves this time. Before going, we spent some time debating whether or not purchasing "Fast Lane" passes would be worth the expense. Cedar Point offers guests the opportunity to bypass long lines for 20 of its most popular rides by purchasing a Fast Lane wristband. The wristband entitles wearers to enter a ride queue in a primo spot close to the front of the line. The park only offers a limited number per day to make this privilege worthwhile.
We just decided to bite the bullet and purchased the upgraded Fast Lane passes that got us access to everything on the list of popular rides (for less money, you had access to about 17 rides). Since we'd saved money on the park passes and a hotel, now seemed the opportune time to give these passes a try.
The Fast Lane pass paid dividends the moment we entered the park. Even though we entered when the park opened, the line was already a mile long for The Gatekeeper, Cedar Point's two-year-old "winged" coaster. However, we entered a special gate and waited maybe 10 minutes before we got on the ride. With six inversions and tons of speed, this was certainly starting the day off with a bang!
After that ride, we quickly hopped in line for a nearby ride. This one featured corkscrew towers on either end and riders get shot out of the station, spiral up one tower, shoot back through the station and spiral backwards up the other tower, and back and forth two more times. I found myself closing my eyes on this one - definitely not out of fear, but instead out of motion sickness. And when the ride stopped, I looked at Justin and said, "Blah."
He shook his head in agreement. "I know," he replied, looking just a blah as I felt.
We decided to walk around a little, figuring we didn't feel good because we just dove head first into inversions at 70 miles per hour.
After spending a few hours in the park, we concluded that the Fast Lane passes were definitely worth the price. The longest we ended up waiting for anything was 20 minutes, and on some rides, we literally walked right up to station and got on the ride within minutes. Having these passes gave us the opportunity to ride coasters we liked but didn't necessarily want to wait an hour and a half to ride. By lunchtime, we'd already been on everything we wanted to ride at least once.
However, we also noticed an unfortunate pattern. We were also feeling nauseous. There were just too many inversions, too many changes of direction and too many times of our heads bouncing around against our headrests for us to feel good at this point.
Many years ago, I'd long since given up the Scramblers and the Matterhorns and the Giant Swings of the world, simply because I couldn't stand just going around and around. Now, I realized that rides having a sudden change of direction made me feel the same as the spinning rides. Sometimes it helped to close my eyes, but that didn't make the motion shifts any better.
I felt disheartened, especially since those Fast Lane passes would let us ride as much as we wanted all day long. But I knew I wouldn't be able to do too many more of those rides. I moped. I missed those days when I could just ride and ride and ride with my sister.
We passed time by visiting many of the shops and taking in some of the other things the park offered, like the train, the petting zoo and multiple shows of all types. We rarely had the chance to do any of this in the past since we spent at least three-fourths of our day standing in line and the other one-fourth of it eating.
Justin suggested we space out our riding a bit more, but that didn't really help matters. I huffed and said, "Maybe I'm just getting old."
Of course Justin was quick to agree and tease me that I was indeed getting old. I looked at him, as I was seven years his senior, knowing he was in just as bad shape as I was. "Well if my reason is because I'm getting old, then what's YOUR excuse?"
He answered with a sheepish look. "I guess I'm just a wuss," he admitted with a laugh.
We interspersed our riding with Justin playing carnival games. My favorite ride at Cedar Point is and always will be the Millennium Force. I could ride that coaster all day - it's fast and it doesn't go upside down. My least favorite ride of the day? Probably a tie between the Wicker Twister (the second thing we rode when we entered the park) and the Raptor, a hanging coaster that is celebrating its 20th year and definitely showing its age.
The best thing from the day? The giant teddy bear that Justin won for me playing a game. Oh, and also the souvenir Duke basketball he won playing a basketball shooting game. And the worst thing about the day - no funnel cake. I did my best to eat but it's not much fun when I'm the only one gorging myself.
I had a headache for three days after that trip. My mom commented that I "wasn't as young as I used to be."
Thanks, mom. I never thought about that.