Posted by: blogone | February 11, 2006

Got Wood?

Today Andrea and I took the short trip to Mission Beach. Mission Beach is the center of a continuous stretch of beach known as The Strand, which extends over two miles, beginning at the Mission Bay channel entrance and ending at the north end of Pacific Beach.

Mission Beach is home of the 'Giant Dipper' roller coaster. The interesting thing about this coaster is not its size or that it has turns and bends that defy all logical thinking about how a body should move through time and space. The interesting thing about this coaster is that it is made from wood. By today's standards the giant dipper is a straightforward ride. No upside down flips, no massive vertical drops and no corkscrew turns to make you wish you didn't have a boiled egg just thirty minutes ago. However when I saw the ride my first thought was “there is no way I'm going on that thing.”

Andrea had spoken to her Aunt Laura who lives near Mission Beach and arranged to meet her at the coaster entrance. Laura was going to ride this wooden antique with us. I turned to Andrea and with as much of a macho voice as I could muster when I want to still sound like I have full control and said “you know what I don't think I'm really in the mood for this today. You and Laura should do it though, ya know it will be fun for you to catch up with her.” Anyway to cut a long (and possibly boring) story short Andra was having none of it. I was marched over to the ticket booth with the sentence “everyone should do something that brings them out of their comfort zone every day” ringing in my ears. Personal development be damed!

White washed wood, carnival lights, clanking steel and creaking timbers remind you, this is no modern marvel. The screams from a ride in progress tested my nerves: are those people really scared or just having a great time?

I got into the ride car. No fancy buckle mechanism, no fancy straps, just a bar that sits on your lap. Did it lock properly? It did but the wondering adds to the scare of the ride. You hear the wood creak you feel the gear engage as the chain grabs the cart and pull it along. The first part of the ride takes you into a dark tunnel, “ don't let the first light I see be top of a large drop, please…” I was worried that I might hurl. The ride comes out of the tunnel and begins the climb to the fist drop. Then you are flung about through a series of twists and turns that by today's standards would be considered mild. The real scare is in your head. The noise of the other people screaming, the feeling of the metal, the wood structure all contribute to give you a real sense of excitement and a really great ride.

The other interesting thing I saw today was a car covered in wood panels. What events have to happen in someone's life to decided to buy / or DIY your car in wood panels? It wasn't even the best wood paneling job I've seen. Someone was cutting corners. The mind boggles.



  1. footwatch update – after some extensive research, I have found something that may help Andrea – they’re called hand-grips and you can buy them for $11 on this website –
    Or you could also buy Andrea a good pair of builder’s gloves – they might help.

    Other than that, you could, as a romantic Valentine day’s gesture, get a wheel chair for Andrea and push her around. It would be a beautiful chivalric act…ha, ha, I’m sorry, but I can’t get this picture of you and andrea going around as Lou and Andy from Little Britain…ho ho talk to you soon if I have any further information.

  2. The footwatch comment came from me, Liam, just in case you were wondering – talk to you soon

  3. The Dublin square… wasn’t that the place you met Andrea in? the place you ran out of that night abandoning your wallet, phone, jacket and all hope??

    I Hope Andreas toe is recovering, if not, you can always do away with those hefty crutches, hacksaw her leg off and take her to this place, it’s only up the road from you by the looks of it….

    No more crutches!!

    Hey, i’ve been thinking about your open mic night…. I think if you pick 10 or so of these it should kick of your set nicely…

    Stay well,,

  4. Here are some links that I believe will be interested

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