Hi. My name is John, and I am an adrenaline junkie.
Before we begin the story of why I did this site, why I'm here and how I got here, I just need to get a few things off my chest before I get into any of that. First, and probably most importantly, I am a total non-conformist in just about every aspect of my life, and that extends to my coaster and theme park enthusiast status. There are coasters in my top ten that people don't even consider top ten material, but they're there because I love them. I prefer B&M coasters to anything Intamin any day, although I give both full credit for vastly improving the overall progress, innovation, creativity, landscape and assortment of thrills out there in the past ten years. I don't judge a good coaster on how "forceful" it is, I'm more about fun and re-rideable coasters than intense, although I love it when a coaster can give both. And although I love great theming, I am just not a huge fan of Disney Theme Parks, as I feel that up to the present, they have not been successful in creating really "thrilling" coasters. I have barely ridden over 100 different coasters at this time. Those factors alone in my experience separate me from many coaster and park enthusiasts I know!
For those of you who are still reading, welcome. This is a new site for me, one I most assuredly view as a work in progress. If you knew of my old site, SoCalCoasters and how horribly negligent I became with it, that won't happen here. I might not update ALL the time, but I plan to invest and expend a great deal more effort into this one. No longer working three full time jobs, I now have the time. (I am down to two now.)
Those who first met me when I lived in Southern California from 1988-2011 may not have known this, but I am originally from the Southeast, more specifically, a very small town in Chilton County, Alabama called Clanton. I spent a great deal of my childhood in Fayetteville, Georgia (not too far from metro Atlanta, in fact, Six Flags Over Georgia was the very first theme park I ever went to) before my Dad's job moved us in rapid succession to Florida (Jacksonville), Michigan (Troy, a suburb of Detroit), and Massachusetts (Acton, on the outskirts of Boston) before we finally settled down in St. Louis for about 7 years (15 minutes from Six Flags St. Louis, which was my first job). When he switched jobs, I moved out with them to finally reach my dream of living in Southern California, where it looked as if I would spend the rest of my life.
And I loved it there. Year round access to two awesome theme parks, Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain and some of the best coasters I have ever ridden, including my top two, X2 and Tatsu, and all of the other great stuff out there. My parents ended up moving back to Clanton in 2004 and hoped I would move back East as well, but understood when I stayed. I made a visit out here in 2006 and went to SFOG for the opening of Goliath; while I was here, my folks and family encouraged me to look for work closer to here in Atlanta and move closer to home, but I was not ready to do that. So I stayed in Orange County up until mid 2011.
When I made a visit out here in July 2011, I knew my parents were having a rough go of things out here but not how severely until I saw what was going on. My Mom's Multiple Sclerosis had advanced to severe, and my Dad who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's and who had just recently been told he could no longer be driving was not doing well and was no longer able to take care of her. I made a difficult decision, and my cat and I made the move out here, taking up residence in the guest house on my parents' property, about 20 feet from their house so that it would enable me to care for them. Oddly, I now actually live about TWO BLOCKS from the hospital where I was born. Even though it is closed down now, it is so surreal driving past it going to the gym every day.
I sincerely miss a lot of things about So Cal, but one great perk about moving back here has been having the opportunity to make new friends and also to explore the theme parks, coasters and other adventures out here. Which is one of the reasons I started this site, as a way to document those adventures, as well as create a site focusing on the three major parks in this region: SFOG, Dollywood (now my new favorite park), and Carowinds (which I have only been to once, but enjoyed a great deal). But the content will not be limited to just those parks-I will also have information and reports from other trips out of this area in addition to that.