Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Talk about ups and downs

When it comes to rides at amusement parks, I'm not much into things that go round and round. Rides like the Himalaya and others than spin riders like a top have me wondering how embarrassing it would be to throw up in public. Shoot, Merry Go Rounds iwth a young nephew can have me about ready to dive off.

But I like a good roller coaster -- some better than others. I love the twists and turns, and that clickety-clack climb in anticipation of the first big drop. I like everything but that sudden lurch to a stop at the end and then staggering out. To paraphrase Will Rogers, I've seldom met a roller coaster I didn't like.

But I'm no Vic Kleman. But then, who is?

The Pennsylvania man is 78 years old. He took his 4,000th roller coaster trip on an old-time ride on Sunday. And it took all day to get there.

In celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Jack Rabbit (let's hope it's been refurbished since 1920)at a Pennsylvania amusement park, Kleman took 90 rides on the thing on Sunday. He said he usually rides that roller coaster about 20 times a visit.

I guess that's a nice number -- 90 rides for 90 years.

Kleman, according to the Associated Press, started riding the Jack Rabbit in 1959 when he was 27. Doesn't sound like he's slowed down much since.

Kleman says he never got bored on his record setting journey, which took about five hours to complete the 90 rides to get him from 3,910 to 4,000. By the way, who keeps track of such things?

Kennywood, the amusement park where the Jack Rabbit resides, presented Kleman with a certificate to verify his 4,000 trips on board the roller coaster, which has an 85-foot double dip drop.

Not surprisingly, Kleman had some advice on how to best enjoy the ride.

"Just let a little air out like, 'Ahhhh...'" he says, "you know, that helps you, and then keep your feet flat on the ground. You get more air time on the double dip."

Kleman has one very simple reason for doing what he did.

"It's fun. I'm not trying to break any records or anything," he said. "It's just fun."

Atta boy, Vic. Numbers sometimes don't matter -- if you're 78 years old or if you're riding a roller coaster 90 times in one day to reach 4,000.

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