rollercoaster with spine for tracks

My Spine is Like a Roller Coaster

Last updated: October 2020

I like roller coasters. I have not been on one for several years as my arthritis issues generally do not allow me to stand and walk freely around a large park. But my love for them has not changed. Some people like riding them to be scared, not me! I like them because of the adrenaline rush I get as the dips and curves impact my body. It is a controlled way to lose control. In fact, the more I try to stay in control the less control I have and that is the part of the experience I like the best.

While I have not been riding them, I do occasionally build them. No, I am not some sort of roller coaster savant, and no I do not have a back yard the size of four farms and a budget of millions. But what I do have is access to a room that is not mine, but that I can borrow from Sheryl (this room is her sanctuary place). I also have the ability to purchase a roller coaster kit from Knex toys and with those requirements met I can build roller coasters.

The screaming serpent

My latest one is huge; it occupied the entire room and took three weeks off and on to build. The Screaming Serpent (promotional video) was released by K’nex in 2002 and I purchased it used last winter, with the idea that I would build it sometime. Well, some time came in early August 2020 and I went for it.

This is the picture of my completed project here. You can compare my completed track with the way it is supposed to be in the promotion video. It came out fairly close, even if I had to make a few small modifications to get the coaster to operate reliably.

Rick's completed K'nex roller coaster kit

Making it required that I spend hours on the floor piecing together this puzzle. I loved building the thing, because it was large, and it took so much time to build.

Motion is lotion

We have a saying in the arthritis community that “motion is lotion.” Building this thing was motion, as I used joints I do not normally use. But it did not feel like lotion. I have to say it was a struggle at times to keep going as my back and butt twisted and flexed with each new problem or difficult roller coaster joint to assemble.

Like a spine

I got to thinking about this large toy roller coaster I was building, and I compared it to my spine. As I built this serpent superstructure, I could almost see the complexity of the human spine. This toy spine was a series of interconnected parts each with a function, but that had to be to made to operate as one thing. Along the way I had to build in some unplanned gaps in order to allow flexibility and other times I had to shore up the structure to make it more resistant to falling over as the cars raced across the structure (yes the structure collapsed twice as I built it). When I was done I wanted to shout, I did it. I wonder if surgeons who work on backs think that as they complete intricate operations. Imagine a spine surgeon yelling, I DID IT, each time he/she closes a patients surgical wound? Hey, I had the instructions and I still wanted to yell it.

So this week as I write this blog, know that playing with this toy for three weeks gave me an appreciation of the wonders of the human body. My project was soon back in the box and I went looking for my next item to build. I hear there is a six foot tall ferries wheel for sale on Amazon. Of course it is way too expensive, but I wonder if eBay has a listing? Or maybe I need to get my bridge model out,  I am thinking this time of a model of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I mean, what could go wrong?

And oh by the way, Sheryl (I know she reads all my items), I am going to need to use your room once again.

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