Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roller Coaster Highway

The Kentucky Rumbler
I have mentioned in a previous post that I prefer fair rides that are not airborne. I am not a fan of loosing my meal in hair raising attempts at death defying amusement, and thus I have never felt inclined to investigate the wider world of roller coasters.

A few years ago we went to an amusement park in the winter that they had set up with a huge light display. They had their most famous roller coaster open with the big promotional slogan "Ride the Kentucky Rumbler At Night." This remains the only roller coaster I have ridden. I loved it. It didn't go upside down, see. It operated on principles I could understand, and was just very, very fast, and very, very curvy. I love fast.

I live in Kentucky, the land of rolling hillsides. I live on a highway that winds its way through these hillsides, and if you drive fast enough you get an effect very similar to the Kentucky Rumbler. This effect has been noticed by many people, with the result of a nickname being stuck to it that sticks. The Roller Coaster highway. Yup, that's where I live.

Every year, on the first weekend in October, we have something we call the Roller Coaster Fleamarket. This ostentatious name refers to a grand yard sale that takes place along the length of the entire Roller Coaster Highway. The event was started in 1986 to bring attention to the Roller Coaster effect that had taken many lives in automobile accidents. Was it successful? I imagine so; if you're driving between Temple Hill and Glasgow you will cross a stretch of road that's surprisingly modern in it's standards, compared to the rest of the standard two-lane highway. This was once the most dangerous part of the road, so dangerous that public outcry succeeded in getting it straightened. Or so I've been told, it doesn't look very dangerous any more.

The fleamarket starts today, and will end in grand finality on Saturday. Woe betide those who wish to travel my roads during these days, for it is a big event, and the road is narrow and winding. I shall be out there, somewhere, basking in the spirit of festival days and, in the words of the locals: "Riding the Roller Coaster."

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