This race may come as a surprise, as I hadn’t mentioned it, but guess what? It was a surprise to me, too, because I forgot I had signed up for it! And I’m so glad I had this experience – a race through a historic landmark connected to an obscure chapter in World War II history!
My birthday was on Sunday, and I celebrated by undertaking a big fitness challenge: by going on five runs, in five different counties, all in one day! This idea has been rolling around in my head for a few years. It was a different type of running challenge – one that would push me, and, at the same time, introduce me to new areas of southern California. This year it was time to finally bite the bullet! I gave myself a couple rules: Read the rest of this entry »
My sister Sarah and niece Allison are visiting from Colorado this weekend, and we had a long, full day. We ate out twice, and I made smart choices each time. Since I photographed those meals, why not share them, and some other photos, too?!
We started it with a nice walk with Maude to the coffee shop and back – about 1.5 miles total. I split my breakfast up: before the walk, I made a Read the rest of this entry »
I’m still catching up from all the fun I had over Presidents’ Day weekend. You’d think lunch on Saturday at a fancy, famous restaurant would be enough, but nope! Sunday proved to be an incredible day, too, which I spent with my cousins at Knott’s Berry Farm. (Monday was also one hell of a day, but I’ll save that for my next post.)
I love roller coasters, but for most of my adult life I’ve stayed away from them, because I was too fat to ride them. My very first post on this blog, back in September, was about going on roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and that was the first time I’d been on a roller coaster in eight years. Here’s a little more of my history with roller coasters, from that blog post:
The last roller coaster I had ridden before today (excluding 2 kiddie ones at Legoland in June) was the one that goes around New York New York in Las Vegas in July of 2002, and it was a tight fit. I had to suck in my gut and hold my breath to get that harness to click into place, and once I did, there was no room for me to exhale completely. Good times.
That, however, was a better experience than the time before: maybe a year prior, I had an awful experience with friends at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio (the park I grew up going to, America’s Roller Coast, my all-time favorite park), where I was kicked off Raptor because I didn’t fit, in front of everyone in the station, by a thin (naturally) ride operator who really couldn’t have been ruder about the whole thing. Now that’s a walk of shame – holding up a train full of people who have waited an hour or more, while a punk-ass guy scolds me, then tells me I have to leave, then getting up out of the train while trying to laugh it off and fight back a tear then shouting to my friends over my shoulder, ‘I’ll wait for you by the exit!’ as if I had any choice in the matter.
The first couple times I boarded a coaster at Six Flags, about 6 months ago, I had lingering fears that maybe, just maybe, I still wasn’t gonna fit – but the other day at Knott’s, the thought never even occurred to me once, and we went on a LOT of rides: Eight different roller coasters, and we went on two of them twice (Xcelerator and Montezooma’s Revenge), and one of them (Ghost Rider) three times. We also went on four other non-coaster rides, including Supreme Scream twice, which is the scariest ride in the park – It’s a freefall ride, where you get strapped into a seat, taken up about 250 feet, and then they drop you back to earth. Here’s the tower:
There’s three towers, so they can accommodate more riders, and you can see on the tower in the center of the picture, about halfway up, a car-load of riders making their ascent. I took this picture while waiting in line the second time we rode, and riding at night is even scariest than during the day. It’s beautiful to see all the lights of the park, and surrounding Orange County, spread out before you, and get smaller and smaller as you rise above them – oh, and it’s also ridiculously terrifying, because you don’t know when you’re going to reach the top until you reach it, and you only hover at the top for about 2 or 3 seconds before Whoosh! You start falling, and your butt lifts off the seat, and your heart pounds even harder, and it feels like your stomach is somewhere near your neck. My heart is racing just recalling the experience!
Here are a few other photos:
That’s Macrae on the left, then me, then Erik, then Aaron. Erik and Aaron are my first cousins, and Macrae and Erik are married, so I suppose she’s my cousin-in-law? I just call her my cousin too. Behind us is Xcelerator, the park’s fastest coaster, which shoots you out of the station at 82 miles per hours and sends you straight up (and down) a 205-foot hill.
Here we are in front of the entrance of Montezooma’s Revenge:
This is a fun, quick coaster that shoots trains out of the station, through a loop, and up a hill, and then you go backwards down the hill and through the loop, and that’s about it. But I loved that there’s a ride at a family-friendly theme park named after diarrhea. Love it. And for the record, none of us got the shits after riding it.
The waits at Knott’s weren’t that bad – I’d say we averaged 20-30 minutes per ride. Our longest wait, which was probably close to an hour, was for one of the mildest coasters, Pony Express, which only lasts about 35 seconds, but it pretty unique in that instead of riding in a train, everyone rides their own horse. Here’s me and Macrae on our horses before the ride started:
In case you’re wondering how I ate at a theme park, where funnel cakes, corn dogs and caramel corn await around every corner, I’ll tell you. I ate breakfast before leaving the house (oatmeal, banana, apple), then, on the car drive down (which took about an hour), I munched, the entire time, on carrot and celery sticks – I wanted to bulk up on veggies, as I knew they’d be tough to find throughout the rest of the day. For lunch, we stepped just outside the park and went to Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Restaurant. This restaurant opened in the ’30s, and was so popular that the theme park was built around it to keep diners occupied while they waited for hours to get a table.
My meal began with a salad and some rhubarb, which was served in a cherry syrup:
I ordered the rhubarb over the soup (which was cream-of-something, I forget) because I’ve only had it maybe twice before in my entire life, but the syrup was really sweet and it all tasted like it came from a can, so I only ate about three pieces of it. The salad looked like it came from a bag, but I ate all of it, because it’s salad. I ordered Italian dressing on the side, because our server identified it as being their low-cal dressing, but only used a little bit. My main course was broiled chicken and potatoes:
I couldn’t tell what the sauce on the right was, but it looked like a flavored butter, so I didn’t touch it. The chicken was fine, and I ate one of the potatoes, and all of the braised cabbage, which is in the bowl on the top corner. Dessert came with our meals, and was the choice of three types of pie, but I passed. My cousins all got pieces, but no one ate more than three or four bites (they weren’t that good), so I felt perfectly happy passing on dessert.
We stopped at a gas station leaving the park, and I picked up a bottle of water for the drive, and a banana, and I also ate 5 or 6 almonds that Macrae had brought, and a Gummi Bear that were being passed around the car, and then my dinner, when I got home, was leftover balsamic chicken, couscous, and quinoa from the other night. I ate well. At one point in the day I started craving kettle corn really badly, because the girls behind us in line were eating a giant bag of it, but once the ride was over and we got away from the girls, the craving went away.
Keep it up, David!