It's funny. As a kid and into my mid-teens, the mere sight of a roller coaster would make me sick to my stomach. I was terrified of them.
Every so often my mom likes to tell the story of when my family and relatives when to Conneaut Lake Park in Meadville, PA. I don't remember the trip at all, but apparently they got me on the kiddie coaster there and I did nothing but cry and scream the whole time. My mother and Aunt Pat thought it was hilarious. I, however, was subconsciously mentally scarred for many years to come.
For many years after that the mere sight of a roller coaster would make me sick to my stomach. I'd always be afraid that mom would drag me on a coaster against my will. Occasionally I'd ride a coaster, but I was always apprehensive about it.
Then summer of 1987 Cedar Point opened the Iron Dragon. It was one of the first suspended coasters in the country and I was fascinated by the suspended trains. I decided I had to ride it, despite my fears.
I don't know what it was, but something finally clicked that day. Suddenly, I liked roller coasters. I wanted to ride them all.
It wasn't until after Summer 2001 that I became the "coaster geek" that I am today. I had made a trip to Cedar Point that summer, and got in a visit to Dorney Park in mid-October. After my trip to Dorney, I started checking out roller coaster websites and message boards, and I began to "educate" myself on roller coaster terminology and general knowledge. I discovered there was a lot that I didn't know, and I enjoyed reading a lot of
the discussion and news. Now I check out Coasterbuzz.com on a daily basis.
I delight in riding new coasters and always look forward to a new coaster challenge. When possible, I try to make it to at least one new park every summer. Cedar Point is one of my most favorite parks to visit. I also have season passes to the Cedar Fair parks and Six Flags parks.
When I lived in Philadelphia, I called Dorney Park my "home park" as it was the closest park to me. The picture to the left is me standing beneath Talon, which opened at Dorney in 2001. It's a fantastic B&M inverted that in my opinion, even rivals Raptor at Cedar Point. I could ride it all day. Though I'm no longer in Philly, Dorney is still one of my most favorite parks.
As far as a "home park" now, I am very close to Six Flags America, so I guess that's my default. King's Dominion is a much bigger park south of DC, and I enjoy it a lot more, but it's a bit longer of a drive than when I used to drive to Dorney Park or Six Flags Great Adventure.
Since I'm now so much more "educated" about amusement parks and roller coasters, I have to be careful not to "geek out" too much when I'm visiting parks with friends, i.e. talk about all the details and specifications of a particular coaster. My best friends tease me incessantly when I even mention small statistics or talk about coaster news. I suppose it just comes with the territory when you're passionate about something.
And as if you need even more proof of how much of a coaster geek I am, you can see a list of parks I've visited and roller coasters I've ridden.