Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - April 29, 2011

Railing the rails: Ups and downs of a teenager

Remembering rides on eight roller coasters in three days

by Jessica Lipsky

Long ago and not very far away, I was a high school junior and journalist hopeful looking for any excuse to get out of class. As summertime neared, staff at California High School's "The Californian" began preparations for their final issue and I signed up for one of my favorite assignments to date.

Together with my senioritis-ridden friend Leah Yamshon, I took three glorious days off school to visit the Bay Area's theme parks, ride roller coasters till I was blue in the face, and rate them all. We returned to class with one near-death experience (watch out for buses on Fairgrounds Drive in Vallejo), wicked sunburns and a new hatred for seagulls -- much to the annoyance and envy of all our classmates.

So sit back, relax and enjoy this minorly edited, speedy trip through the tummy tumbling twists and turns of memory lane -- I'm happy to report that all of the coasters are still up and running.

Who needs a $5 bottle of water and an ice cream cone the size of a pinky finger? We do!

For those of you who can handle overpriced food and scantily clad soccer moms at Great America in Santa Clara, Vallejo's Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, your summer should be full of wonder and intense fun if this handy guide is followed.

Best of the Bay

Flight Deck aka Top Gun (Great America)

Medusa (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)

Demon (Great America)

Invertigo (Great America)

The Giant Dipper (Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk)

Worst coasters

Kong (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)

Boomerang Coast to Coaster (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)

Psycho Mouse (Great America)

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