INTRODUCTION: My 36th Year (aka My Midlife Crisis)

My 36th year riding this great planet Earth took a very different path from how I spent my time the decade and a half prior. During that time, I had settled into my life - comfortable and placid at my job, in my home, during my social activities, in my relationships. My life was far from bad, but over time I could not escape a sense of mundane. I found myself often thinking of how I wanted to do more physical things - bike riding, working out, just getting off of the couch, out of the house, out of the city.  A little over 2 years ago, in an effort to lose some pounds and gain energy, I changed my diet and started walking daily, which slowly turned into jogging. As a non-runner most of my life, this was excruciating at first. Over time I would learn how this eventually results in an exhilarating buzz that I found addicting.

Rewind: As a child, I spent more summers than not in Wildwood, New Jersey, a popular, bustling seashore town, where you can find Morey's Piers, which for as far back as I can remember has been home to a huge amount of restaurants, arcades, and of course amusement rides, including a number of roller coasters. I was fascinated particularly by these high paced, twisting, turning, looping machines. I rode them all, and as often as possible. There was no fear, no limits. My friends and/or my sisters and I would beg our folks for money to get ride "bracelets" - so we could re-ride coasters all day, which we did with purpose and fire. I even went through a phase of drawing and designing my own coasters in notebooks and then trading and showing off my ideas and designs with friends. Even without knowing much about physics we debated whether certain designs were even possible. We were way into it. 

Surfside Pier, Wildwood

As real life unfolded, my interest in coasters never waned, just took a back seat. I have been back in Wildwood many summers since, regularly getting my fix on their three signature "big" coasters. They are great fun, and I make it a point to get up to the boardwalk and ride at least one every time I am in town. My parents now live year round in Wildwood so its almost mandatory to get up on the "boards" and do some kind of riding at least once a summer, if not a few times. 

Mariners Landing, Wildwood

Fast forward: One quiet night in summer of 2013 I sat in my home office clicking my way through the ends of the internet, when I stumbled upon a complete episode of Mega Structures that someone had ripped off of The National Geographic channel and uploaded to YouTube

The episode detailed the planning, construction and opening of the worlds tallest and fastest roller coaster, named Kingda Ka, located at Six Flags Great Adventure, just 45 minutes northeast of my home. I was enthralled and watched it from beginning to end. What a machine this thing is. I remembered when this coaster opened, but with my convenient yearly trips to Wildwood, never made it a point to get to Great Adventure to ride this beast. Now knowing so much about it gave me an itch I needed to scratch.