Monday, March 10, 2008

My Town Monday: The Giant Dipper, San Diego



Hang onto your hats and your loose change! Today's My Town Monday post is about San Diego's 2600-foot-long WOODEN roller coaster called the Giant Dipper.

The Giant Dipper is a registered national historic landmark which opened for rides July 4, 1925. It's been updated since then, so that it's, like, safe.

Riding the Giant Dipper is one of those things you just have to do if you visit San Diego. It took me a couple of decades, but I finally climbed on last summer because the protagonist in I So Don't Do Mysteries rides it.

I will never ride the Big Dipper again. Why? Well, I'm not particularly brave. I suffer bigtime from motion sickness. It's the jerkiest roller coaster I've ever been on. I definitely got bruised up from the ride due to the brutal turns.

You know what I don't get? People who buy wristbands and ride the Big Dipper over and over all day long. And eat hot dogs.

You know what I really don't get? People who entered the "Whirl Till You Hurl" contests put on by a local radio station. In 1997, three contestants stayed on the Big Dipper for 11 days. They each won a car. In 1998, five contestants stayed on for SEVENTY days and split a $50,000 jackpot. Each day consisted of 22.5 hours on the coaster! Yikes!

Hello! $10,000 wouldn't pay for the lifelong chiropractic visits required after such a stunt. And think of the host of unsightly bruises. Also, a marriage could break up during a seventy-day absence from each other. Not to mention, I felt there were important unanswered questions concerning bathroom breaks and sleeping arrangements. Nope. You would never catch me doing a marathon roller coaster ride.

I say ride the Big Dipper once. Then meander around the rest of Belmont Park, an amusement center by the beach. Drink some cold lemonade, munch on a halfway decent churro and win some tacky trinkets playing carney games.

That finishes up another My Town Monday post. Thank you to Travis Erwin for setting this up. He has an interesting post today about an eccentric in his town of Amarillo, TX. He also has links to others who have written some great off-the-beaten posts!

29 comments:

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

I am SO not a roller coaster rider. I'll be right there with you for the lemonade, churros and tacky trinkets.

Beth said...

I love roller coasters, esp. wooden ones. We had an old amusement park near by and the had the Big Dipper, which was wooden. It was great!!

But I much prefer the new ones...much smoother!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

We missed the Big Dipper on our swing through San Diego! I don't even remember reading about it in our online searches. That said, I wouldn't have gotten on myself. I would have been sharing the cold lemonade with two little boys while my husband rode it.

Michele said...

What a fun blog! I've "seen" you around on a few other ones I visit, so I thought I'd pop by. :-)

About eighteen years ago, I lived in San Diego for a couple of years and loved it! Now, my husband and I live in Huntington Beach, but we visit SD as much as possible.

I've driven through BP and past The Big Dipper, but I've never actually stopped and walked around...Nor ever, ever wanted to ride the roller coaster. Just looking at the old thing freaked me out. I remember hearing about those radio contests, though!

Thanks for posting this! Makes me miss SD.

Patti said...

i think i would hurt myself riding that beast...but back in the day....

Debbielou said...

I feel dizzy already !!

Bill Clark said...

I remember riding the roller coaster at Revere Beach near Boston when my charter flight to Europe was delayed and a bunch of us took a cab over to pass the time. The flight to Europe was a non-event compared to the coaster!

Michele said...

Oops, I meant I've driven BY Belmont Park, not through it. LOL. The little beach community next to it is called something else, isn't it? It's been such a long time for me. When I was living there, everyone referred to the community by its initials and it was something like PB. Pacific Beach, maybe?

Anyway, had to clear that up. :-)

Barrie said...

Michele, does Mission Bay ring a bell? Thanks for visiting. I'm off to pop over to your blog now. And, hey, I bet our paths will cross one of these days. You're just up the road from me. :)

Lana Gramlich said...

I LOVE me a good roller coaster--particularly those wooden ones! I've also been puked on on a ride, but not a rollercoaster, anyway! Poor kid was so apologetic...I felt worse for him than I did for me. He was green.

Sandy Levin said...

I'm headed for Disneyland next week. I'm not sure what rides I'll go on, but I do love roller coasters - especially the log plumbs where you get wet

Alyson said...

I grew up in CA and have been to San Diego many times. I've never been on this coaster though. Sounds like I'll have to do it if I go back.

Larramie said...

Give me a Ferris Wheel any day, besides it provides you with a better view. ;)

Travis Erwin said...

I like roller coaters but not wooden ones. You are right they are rough.

But of course I'd have to ride one with this at least once.

Becky Levine said...

We've got the Big Dipper up here, at the Santa Cruz boardwalk. I can manage that one, although not more than once or twice! But don't even think about putting me on those things that spin in a circle AND tilt on their side, all at the same time!

I forget where we were, but I asked my husband if I'd be okay on it. I was, natch, talking about the nausea; he thought I was talking about being afraid, and he told me to go for it.

I had my eyes squeezed tight and was doing more breathing exercises than when I was pregnant. If I'd peeped, I would have lost breakfast, lunch, & yesterday's dinner!

My son, next to me, could have been hanging from the rail, dancing a tango, for all I could have seen or done anything about!

Oh, yeah, go for it. Right.

lyzzydee said...

I LOVE roller coasters, I have been on a fair few, its was very brave of you going on if you really don't like them!! I have found that as I get older I get more of a scaredy pants!! I love Disneys tower of terror, I love that feeling of my stomach turning over !!!

Kellan said...

NOPE - no Big Dipper for me! Scared of roller-coasters!! Thanks for the tour though - it sounds fun!!

Thanks for coming by today. I hope you had a good weekend. Have a good day - Kellan

Rebecca Hickman: said...

Thank you for giving me something to blog about today:
http://roxxyandjake.blogspot.com/2008/03/big-dipper.html

The Anti-Wife said...

I consider myself brave for going on Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain at Disney. No way you'll ever get me on anything like the Giant Dipper. Yikes!

Angela said...

I don't like bumpy coasters very much either. I couldn't even think f going on a coaster once a day for 70 days let alone a full day each day.
Oh my

Mrs. Annie said...

Uggh! I got queasy just lookin' at it! Very good blog though.

Cameron Williams said...

I LOVE the Giant Dipper! A lot of memories there.... Did child #1 join us when we went the summer after he was in my class? It was an unofficial summer field trip that was connected with our laws of motion unit.

Now I want to go ride it again...

Barrie said...

Mr. Williams--What a good memory you have! Yes, Child #1 and DH did go to Belmont Park for the unofficial field trip!

And, spring break is fast approaching. No reason why you can't ride the Dipper....again and again and again!

Barrie said...

Rebecca: THANK YOU for the link!! You are so sweet.

Christina Phillips said...

Oh my gosh. Noooo! I don't do thrill rides! I turned green just watching the kids on the rides at the Gold Coast earlier this year!

Laura said...

I love coasters...but not sure I could do 11 days!!!

Thanks for sharing!

Amy Addison said...

I might drive by and look at the Big Dipper. But I am Not A Roller Coaster Person.

Great blog, so glad I found it!

Don Mills Diva said...

I love this post. I have ridden the Big Dipper - about 15 years ago on my one and only trip to San Diego - great city!

WordVixen said...

I'm with anti-wife, Big Thunder Mountain is the most I can stand (in fact, I cried the first time I road it). I still haven't even tried Space Mountain, so Big Dipper? Count me out!