Dark Summer: Roller Coasters

Its that time of year again…my favorite time. Summer means a lot to me. The light side is camping, swimming, hiking, painting, playing, and vacationing with my family. But the dark side? I savor this; sometimes by myself. The dark is horror movies, ghost stories, roller coasters, and dark rides, nights at the drive-in, cicadas calling, and abandoned farm houses in sun bleached wheat fields.

I love the dark, haunted side of summer. Here is my haunted summer movie list from last year.

My first, and always favorite horror movie is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and it is the darkest side of summer. It’s also how I start my summers: watching it. I know, for me, the sound in this movie is what draws me back to it over and over. I love being scared. That and doing the same things those unlucky teenagers did- going to swim in old ponds, taking road trips, exploring abandoned houses; all hot weather phenomena.

Another way to get my thrills in the summer is on roller coasters. They have been a great love of mine since I was a girl. My Dad was a wonderful man and enjoyed roller coasters and theme parks as much as I did. I remember being 7-8 years old and determined to get over my fear of roller coasters. At the time we lived not far from Frontier City in OKC, and we went often. To help me get through it, he road The Orange Blossom Special with me 8 times in one day!

The Orange Blossom Special from a pic I found online. It looks a little janky doesn’t it?

I realized that you don’t get over the fear, you learn to embrace and even enjoy it. What a great life lesson.

Later, in my teenage years The Orange Blossom Special was moved to the back of the park and a giant barn was built over it. It became The Nightmare, a roller coaster you rode in the dark. I. LOVED. It.

Sadly The Nightmare is closed. But my memories live on. Wooden roller coasters are my favorite: they are scary and rough. The Wildcat made its debut in Frontier City when I was 11, I’ve been riding it as often as I can ever since! I have so many great memories of roller coaster rides with best friends, boyfriends, my hubby, my family, and even my grandparents! (Yep, my grandma and grandpa both rode The Nightmare once! They said that was enough!)

Entrance to the Wildcat, the only wooden roller coaster in my area left.

Gosh, aren’t wooden roller coasters the best? I actually prefer them to steel ones. I love the feeling of being on a runaway train and the rough shakiness is lots of fun. Smoother rides tend to make me nauseous! Plus, there is all that lovely Victorian history behind them. All my roller coaster love led to this wonderful page spread in a really big watercolor Moleskine:

My favorites!

Other coasters I have enjoyed are the aptly named “Roller Coaster” (later called Nightmare just like Frontier City) in Joyland, Wichita, Kansas. I spent all day and all my tickets riding this one.

And two wooden coasters at Six Flags over Texas, The Texas Giant (at one time the world’s biggest wooden roller coaster), and the Judge Roy Scream, a classic wooden delight.

Friends, I love roller coasters so much that my hubby and I even planned our honeymoon around them! We went to San Antonio and spent our days at Six Flags and Sea World, riding every coaster we could! Then, we took our kids to Universal Studios in Florida and rode all their Harry Potter coasters and dark rides!

This has gone on long enough. Ill be back soon for more about Dark Rides!

With Summer darkness to you from Kansas Street,

-Jaime

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