As a fifty year old father of three boys, I think I have a pretty good understanding of this dad thing. My first son is now 18 years old. My middle son is 8 and my youngest is now 3. That’s a big range in ages and it makes me, for the most part, young. Oh, my body says otherwise, but, mentally, I feel pretty young. Maybe it is all of the cartoon watching or the playing with toys designed for five year old or a combination of all of that. Whatever it is, I like it. I get to play with toys and no one thinks it is odd. I can watch Spongebob Squarepants and laugh at it. Yeah, I can do all of that and it’s fine.
Perhaps the best thing is just spending time with them, collectively and individually. So, it was a special occasion when I got to take a road trip with my 18 year old, go to an amusement park three hundred miles from home to ride one of the tallest rollercoasters in the country and then go back home the next day. Long drive, yes, worth it? Oh yeah.
See, this was something that we had planned to do for years, not necessarily to this particular park, but the road trip and amusement park visit was. So, now, we are going to take a summer long rollercoaster trip. Not all at once, but, as time allows. We made the first leg, to wonderful Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, North Carolina.
We started talking about doing this shortly after his mother passed away. We did an abbreviated trip then, going to Carowinds, our two parks in Virginia, a nasty Six Flags park, just north of DC and to Ocean City, Maryland (a wonderful little beach town.) But, we had company then, his cousin went along. Now, though, it is just us.
The drive down to Charlotte from Richmond was long but, fortunately, uneventful…no breakdowns, tickets, sickness, etc. We talked. We talked a lot. Told stories, shared political views, talked about previous trips and vacation, school and more. I had a great time.
While we planned to stay the weekend, we cut it short by a day. He wasn’t feeling well and we decided to come home early. That was fine. We did all we had wanted to do in the park anyway…rode the Intimidator, a rollercoaster named and themed after the race car legend, Dale Earnhardt. We road Flightdeck, a jet fighter themed coasted originally themed for the movie ‘Top Gun’. It was fast…and gave me a headache. But, the ultimate thrill there…the 325 foot tall, 6600 ft long tracked behemoth called Fury 325. It was fast, tall and so smooth. Not jerky and did not do anything more than make me a tad queezy as I had eaten very greasy pizza beforehand.
As awesome as the coasters were, however, nothing was more awesome than just spending time with my son. He was upset over having to leave early. I told him it was fine. As I told him, it wasn’t the destination, it was the journey. And an awesome journey it was. I am looking forward to the next trip.