Riding the X2 is fun

It was an excellent idea for 13-year-old Richie, a roller coaster fanatic, to ride everything Six Flags Magic Mountain had to offer, perhaps the most thrilling day of his life, as long as his parents stopped off at a California Health Insurance agent’s office a mere month before the big day.



Richie Montrose was an all American boy. The previous summer he’d been 12 and broken his foot while skateboarding down a steep hill. Mending the hairline fracture had been out of pocket, no insurance. This summer, his parents were better prepared, and went to see a California Health Insurance agent with Richie in tow.

“We’re covered,” his dad triumphantly said afterwards, “What would you like to do this summer?”

To Richie, that was a no brainer. “August 16 is National Roller Coaster Day,” the boy said, a bit wistfully, “Why don’t we all go to Six Flags Magic Mountain?”

His Dad considered it, his mom was right there, and it was the family’s vacation week. The theme park was nearby in Valencia, only about twenty miles north of West Hollywood where the family lived. “There are neat roller coasters at Magic Mountain,” his mom offered, “and we can go there, on one condition: All three of us have to go on whatever ride you choose.”

Richie considered the embarrassment factor, he was actually a teenager, and whirred through his mind’s eye the park’s 100+ thrilling rides, including roller coasters like Tatsu, Goliath, the Riddler’s Revenge, and  his all-time favorite, the revamped X2. Somehow he had to convince both of his parents to ride that. But he would do it. “It’s a deal,” Richie agreed.

That family fun day began within minutes of the park’s opening. By late afternoon, they’d ridden as a family five of Magic Mountain’s six looping coasters – but not the X2. Worse, with dusk approaching, both parents were balking. “Pretty please …” the boy finally said, with strategic tears starting in both eyes. His parents weren’t dummies when it came to coasters. They knew about the X2’s raven turns, its terrifying flips, how the individual coasters spin independently 360 degrees forwards and backwards on a separate axis. “No way,” Richie’s dad drew the line, or thought he did.

But a few moments later they were all strapped in and set for an unrelenting thrill, and after the ride, when Richie’s dad felt pain in his ribs, lots of it, Richie was philosophical on their way to the ER. “At least we’re covered dad,” he said, and his mom laughed, while his dad only tried to.

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