How do you define success when the goal is fun?

I struggle with the fact that this now has to be the first post of this trip.

There were all the makings of a perfect day: roller coasters and other rides, terrible fair food, good friends I don’t see often enough, and weather that was lovely but not too warm. And it was a great day.

But it wasn’t a perfect day. Certainly I made myself slightly ill (in the best possible way) by eating food that will never be good for me (there may have been a chili cheese dog and a churro in there somewhere) and I did spend time upside down on a roller coaster. But sadly, the key part there is “a roller coaster”. California’s Great America has four. Admittedly, this is down from the last time I was there in 2003 when they had six—one of which was my favorite Vekoma Invertigo (now living a new life in Pennsylvania under the name Stinger). Why only one coaster? Why my least favorite of their metal coaster, Demon?

Well, it’s no secret to anyone whose seen me in recent years that I’m not as svelte as I once was, and since I’m relatively healthy and reasonably active I’ve never put a lot of effort into reversing the trend. Always in the back of my mind it came down to, “I’ll worry about that when it interferes with something I want to do.”

We’ve apparently reached that point.

Frankly, most roller coaster restraints aren’t designed for women in the first place (am I right ladies?)—there were men of a similar weight to me who didn’t have the problems with the restraints on Flight Deck (once Top Gun when Paramount still owned the park) and Vortex that I did. That said, this will mean spending time between now and Chicago doing some research on which rides they’ve adjusted for their heftier patrons at Six Flags parks and Cedar Point.


I feel remarkably un-angsty about the entire thing. The rides weren’t designed for me in mind and unlike a lot of other larger people out there, because I spent a huge portion of my life painfully thin—my problems with body dysmorphia all come down to the fact that I struggle with the reality that I’m not actually normal. At larger parks there are rides that have been adjusted to accommodate a range of body shapes and sizes—so don’t waste any time worrying that this whole trip has… Come off the rails, as it were.

Soon, as I work out the quirks of posting via the WordPress app on my iPad and fussing with pictures in Snapseed, I promise better formatted and more interesting posts—or at least more pictures of my time en route—as I’m now on a train headed east cross-country.

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