Soar Stomach

How old is too old to ride roller coasters? The AARP says you’re never too old. I’m not sure that I agree. I have very much enjoyed zip-lining in recent years but roller coasters may have passed me by.

Sculpture outside Dollywood's Wild Eagle on March 21, 2012 Frank Murphy before riding Wild Eagle at Dollywood on March 21, 2012 Although I was fine the first time I rode Mystery Mine five years ago, I wasn’t so lucky a week later at a Dollywood media event. I rode Mystery Mine two times, back-to-back and then had an unfortunate bout of nausea in a colleague’s car on the way home. Yesterday I rode Wild Eagle during a special media preview. The park opens for the season this coming weekend. We were allowed to bring a guest. I invited my friend Dave Fennell, who happened to have already taken the day off because he had a morning appointment in Sevierville.

The public-relations department had placed lights and a camera on the front seat of the Wild Eagle train. During the day, various media members rode in the second row, Dave and myself included. Our reactions were videotaped and the tape was given to Star 102.1 for use on their website. I felt good during the ride itself. I was joking with Dave about how they should take passengers’ blood pressures during the ride. The idea came to me because I could feel the blood rushing to my head during the loops, rolls and twists.

Wild Eagle is an excellent coaster. I was reminded of my first experience with a smooth, steel coaster, which was the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens. I loved it, but that was a long time ago. After yesterday’s ride, I felt overheated and clammy. On the way home, I stopped at a Pilot in Seymour and used one of my precious coffee refill coupons to fill my mug with ice and water. I rested a few minutes before getting back on the road. I was even happier than usual to get home and take my nap.

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