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Roller Coaster Heaven: Kingda Ka
by Ed Williams

One of my favorite things in the world to do is to go to an amusement park. I love them for lots of reasons, but most of all I enjoy riding the rides, the faster and scarier they are, the better.

Of course this means that I love roller coasters. Sometimes I really donít understand why, because they scare me clean down to my toenails. Just think, you get into this tiny train where youíre either on top of the track or dangling underneath it, and then you get pulled up this super high hill. As you go up higher and higher, your stomach knots up so badly that if feels like it's about to jump right out of you. Then, when you finally reach the top, gravity takes over and itís like youĎve just jumped off this super tall building.

I wonít lie, Iíve ridden a bunch of roller coasters over the years, but each time I find myself in one I wonder just what possessed me to get on it in the first place. Sometimes I wonder if I even have a mind, but getting into that could take up the next ten columns or so.

Iíve ridden some great roller coasters over the years; the Scream Machine and the Mind Bender up at Six Flags come to mind, and I even rode one out on the strip in Las Vegas. Iím dying to go down to Wild Adventures in Valdosta to try out a couple of theirs; Iíve heard they have one there called the Boomerang that will get you close to your maker pretty quickly, and the Hangman is not too far behind it. Bottom line, I like to ride these big coasters, and as of yet Iíve not been afraid to get on any of them.

Well, yet may be here now, folks. Theyíre building a roller coaster at the Six Flags Park up in Jackson, New Jersey, and its name is Kingda Ka. Check out the following facts about this coaster, which they say will be the largest in the world when itís completed next spring:

Kingda Ka accelerates from 0 to 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds.

It then goes upwards at a ninety degree angle until it hits the apex of its huge first hill, that hill being 458 feet tall.

From there it plunges vertically into a 270 degree, three-quarter spiral.

It then swoops down into a valley, climbs a 129 foot second hill, which leaves guests feeling weightless before they make a left turn back into the station.

When you arrive back at the station, provided your heart is still beating, you collect yourself, determine whether you expelled any bodily fluids during your flight, and then get out and heave whatever else is left inside you. Bottom line, youíve just climbed and rocketed down a 45 story hill, which should be enough to put the fear of God into anyone.

Iím really struggling with myself trying to decide if I would actually get on this coaster. Iíd like to think that I would, but itís easy to say that from the comfort of my chair. The true question is, what would I do if I were actually to go to this park, see the ride, and then be confronted with the opportunity to ride it? This question is gnawing on my nerves a good bit these days, and I sincerely wonder what I would do -- ride or pansy out?

Fortunately, I can now rest easily on this subject. I just confessed my fears to Brother Pippin, aka the Happy Divorcee, and heís come up with a brilliant solution to my problem. He thinks Hugh and I and he should go up to New Jersey next spring, visit Six Flags Great Adventure, and personally eyeball this Kingda Ka right up close. After that the Pip suggested, as a way to alleviate my fears, that we hold a secret ballot election and select Brother Foskey to take a ride on Kingda Ka! The way he sees it, Hugh can test drive it first and then report his findings back to us. Based upon what he reports, we can then make the decision as to whether or not to tackle the largest roller coaster in the world.

Good friends really are the best part of life, and what better way for Hugh to show the Pip and me his true friendship than by testing out this roller coaster for us. Iíll bet heís already nodding his head ďyesĒ to our proposition just out of personal loyalty to the Brotherhood. So folks, maybe next spring Hugh will tackle Kingda Ka, and if he can still speak afterwards I promise to give yíall an eyewitness report on his findings . . . what a buddy!


BIO: Ed Williams
Born in Forsyth, Georgia, Ed was raised in Juliette and is a proud product of the Monroe County public school system. His life took a decided turn in 1995 when he bought a home computer and began writing down wild old stories about his upbringing in Juliette. These stories, through an unusual series of events, were published in 1998 in hardback under the title, Sex, Dead Dogs, and Me: The Juliette Journals.

Edís book started out in four bookstores in Macon, Georgia. Through word of mouth and the internet, eight months later he was being stocked nationally in the Books-A-Million chain. In December of 2000, Southern Charm Press (Atlanta) purchased the rights, and published the book in paperback. Since then, Ed's second book, entitled Rough As A Cob: More From the Juliette Journals, has been released (March 2003) in both hardback and trade paperback formats by River City Publishing. His third book, tentatively titled, Honin' The Tulip: Yet More Juliette Journals, is currently being considered for future publication.

Recently, Ed appeared on the Georgia Public Radio program, "Cover to Cover," and has begun writing a weekly nationally syndicated newspaper column called Free Wheelin'. He is in demand as a speaker, and is already being compared to some of Georgiaís most noted humorists.

Edís new book, Rough As A Cob, can be ordered by calling River City Publishing toll-free at: 877-408-7078. You can contact him via email at: ed3@ed-williams.com, or through his web site address at: Ed-Williams.com.


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