Having enjoyed the thrills and spills of numerous u-turns in Big Sis's car, we decided to go one better yesterday. Sis took the afternoon off work and we headed over to Six Flags Over Texas, an amusement park in Arlington, just outside Dallas. It was officially 'Christian Youth Weekend' at Six Flags, but I'm quite youthful, and Lisa likes Cliff Richard, so we thought we'd be ok.
Having driven for 40 minutes, we were welcomed to the park by a big sign which told us it was crowded, and suggested we come back another day. But hey, if Jesus could feed the five thousand with nothing but a fish finger sandwich, I felt sure Six Flags could shove a few Christians onto a rollercoaster in double quick time, so we pressed on regardless.
Once inside, we headed for 'The Texas Giant', a 62mph, 14 storey rollercoaster, voted the best wooden rollercoaster in the world by a bunch of people who know about these things. It's the rickety sprawling thing in the background of this pic...
So we joined the queue, noticed the sign which said it had a waiting time of over an hour and a half, and promptly left. It might be the best in the world, but we're not queuing for ninety minutes.
Instead we went for the Ozarka Splash, a log flume ride sponsored by a bottled water company. It had a bargain waiting time of just 25 minutes, and a death-defying plunge of... oooh, about ten feet, though judging by the expression on Lisa's face in the automatic photo, it was scarier than it looked.
From there we headed over to 'Chute Out', which sounds exciting, but really wasn't. Think Mary Poppins and a sofa, and you're halfway there. Big Sis summed it up with the words "From now on I'm only queueing for the major rides", as she disappeared off to join the ice cream queue.
A burger and fries later, we joined the line for 'Batman the Ride'. It looked a bit lengthy but Sis assured us it would be worth it. So we queued for 35 minutes, passing the time by wondering why there was a slow but steady stream of people ahead of us apparently giving up and leaving the line. One thing was certain though - we wouldn't be giving up so easily. It was 7:45pm and we'd only been on a log and a sofa. We'd be seeing this one out to the bitter end.
So anyway, after queing for 35 minutes, we eventually reached the member of staff who told us it was another two hours from that point, realised we weren't so keen to see the bitter end after all, and left.
A ten minute jaunt to the other side of the park, and we rejoined the now significantly shorter queue for the Texas Giant. Fifty minutes later, and we actually made it onto a rollercoaster. There was a camera taking your photo on the first drop; unfortunately I was rather too busy screaming with my eyes closed to actually pose. I've never been so scared in all my life. Meanwhile, in the seat next to me, Lisa was having a panic attack and asking to get off, and Sis was complaining she had a headache.
So that was fun. From there we ran (staggered) down to 'Titan', an 85mph rollercoaster which is more than a mile in length. It's the orange one in the foreground of the photo above. Yes, the one with the mildly steep drop. The queue was short by then. As were my reserves of strength. But we made it on there. And very nice it was too. Not that I saw much of it. Or heard much. In fact, it's surprising how little you notice when you've got your eyes firmly shut and you're screaming in terror. Let's just say that when I thought the plunge on the Texas Giant was scary, I didn't know what I was talking about.
The ride (and my ability to walk) over, we crawled back to the main gate and exited in serious need of counselling. No wonder they call it a Christian Youth Weekend - I've never heard the phrase "oh my god" spoken with such fervour, by so many people, and at such high speeds in all my life.