My long term goal of riding every roller coaster in California has tripped into high gear with the coming of Spring and all the amusement parks opening up for the year. In fact, next week three new coasters are supposed to be opening here in California: Pony Express at Knott’s Berry Farm (Thursday, May 22nd); Tony Hawk’s Big Spin at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Friday, May 23rd); and X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain (Saturday, May 24th). If all works out according to plan both Z and I will be riding all three on their respective opening days.
But even before that I’m going to be furthering my goal by heading up to Lodi this weekend and riding “Roller Coaster” at Fun Town. Finding information about this kiddie coaster wasn’t easy (the park changed its name from Funderwoods in 2006), but I did manage to find this lovely poem about it by Gillian Wegener-
The woods are oaks and spread their woody fingers over us.
Paint peels on the aging signs, this one a toothy squirrel
holding up a paw: You must be this tall to ride alone.
The girl running the carousel is a madonna, that serene.
Tickets are 10 for 10 dollars and curl in the hand like a pet.
Music falls out of the smaller trees, splashes and evaporates.
You must be this tall to ride alone on the child-sized roller coaster,
the tilt-a-whirl, on mini airplanes, on dervishing tea cups hot to the touch.
The bumper cars are broken, heaped together in a junkyard pile, and
the painted eyes on the squirrel are the almost-blue of skim milk.
The boy running the roller coaster can’t stop looking
at the carousel madonna
while her horses lift up and down, leather reins worn to brittle strips.
The airplanes have names like Thunderbird and Thundercloud and
there’s no waiting in line here. Two kids on that ride, one on this.
Under the roller coaster, weeds with feathery leaves bend and flower.
Music falls out of trees and into our laps, a little sticky, a little cool.
The rides click and whir, creak to stops, jolt to starts.
The oaks spread their woody fingers and pattern the pavement.
The roller coaster boy has left his post and whispers his plans
into the carousel girl’s benevolent ear. She smiles, still serene, and
takes the curled ticket of a child who runs to find the perfect horse,
who cannot imagine a more shining moment than this.
With the heat wave Northern California’s been having I don’t know that things will be quite that serene (and they may not let me on the coaster since it’s a kiddie ride), but I’m sure we’ll have a grand time anyway. besides, the tilt-a-whirl (which they also have at the park) is mine and Z’s favorite flat ride 🙂