Last year for Christmas vacation my dad's side of the family, which included my family, traveled to Tampa Bay, Florida. I was ecstatic for months leading up to it, and every day I just sat daydreaming. As we boarded the plane in Anchorage, excitement rushed through my veins, almost as if it had replaced all the blood in my body. I had not flown in nearly six years, and it is something I find pleasure in (well travel in general). I tried for hours to sleep; afterall, it was past midnight, but I just couldn’t sleep, unlike my brother who was using me as a pillow to drool on and the large man by the window as a foot stool. This was how I spent the first leg of the trip to Phoenix, Arizona. Once we landed, it didn't take long for us to realize the extreme temperature difference. It was nearly 110 degree in temperature change from home. Our second leg of the journey was much shorter, but much hotter!
We made it to Florida and became reacquainted with our relatives. Boy was that nice! In the days to follow, my uncle decided to take my sister, brother, myself, and our two younger cousins to Busch Gardens. This is a very large amusement / adventure park.
Once we arrived and had made it through the gates, we split up. My 10-year-old brother wanted to see the lions and alligators. My sister and I, along with my cousins, wanted to go on the roller coasters. We had never been on one. My cousins Mia and Jackson seemed amused at this, and decided to take us to the roller coasters. We stood in line for almost an hour for the first coaster, getting to tell our cousins a little bit about living in Alaska -- it was tricky to explain.
Once we reached the front of the line, my stomach dropped. I kept replaying my uncle's words as the roller coaster made its way up and up. “Just go with the flow of the ride; most people get sick because they try to go against it.” After the first drop of the coaster, where I was almost hyperventilating, I discovered what he meant. The rest of the ride was a blast. We exited the coaster area and took off for the next ride.
The next roller coaster we came upon was not any ordinary coaster. This coaster is known as the ShieKra for a reason. As you sit with your feet dangling, strapped to a chair, this coaster struggles to carry 40 or more people to a height of 200 feet and then proceeds to hold you over a 90 degree angle. Ooopppsss, it drops you, sending you towards the ground at 70 miles per hour!
My sister protests as we get in line, “yes, no, yes, no” were the words that kept coming out of her mouth. Finally she bailed. I was left in terror with my cousins who loved extreme roller coasters. Let’s just say I was like an elephant staring into the beady eyes of a mouse. Fear racked my body.
As we got onto the ride and strapped ourselves in, I thought I was going to pass out. Nothing but pure adrenaline was coursing through my body. Up and up we went. You could see for miles. Then it happened; we were hanging over a 90 degree drop. Staring straight at the ground. Blood rushed from my limbs into my head. Ooopppsss, we were falling, falling, falling... and then up we went again, through a couple loops to another drop, into a tunnel, and across some water! I SURVIVED! The picture was epic as Mia was laughing her head off, Jackson looked afraid, and I couldn't even open my eyes; in fact I probably looked like I was going to cry.
I will never forget that memory filled that day. I believe it was probably the most exhilarating time I had had in a long time. I conquered my fears, and now know that I love roller coasters! So bring it on senior trip!