Monday, May 26, 2008

The BIG 30: More flags, more fun!

So it finally crept up on me, yep you guessed it the big three zero - I am now officially no longer in my twenties! Clearly, theres only one way to cope with the drastic realization that your getting old and thats to embrace your inner youth with a day thrill seeking at an amusement park. Our destination was the Six Flags discovery kingdom in Vallejo, 30 miles north of Berkeley.

Obviously, we did it in true style starting with vodka shots and chocolate cake (thanks to Anne for the baking work there) at 10:30am in the car park. The park is a sort of strange arrangement with lots of animal attractions since it use to be marine world prior to the arrival of rollercoasters some 10-15 years ago. The newest two coasters being absolutely bloody awesome. (1) Vertical velocity (which being nerdy scientists we dubbed V squared), see top left and top right in the photo, is the only 45 degree impulse rollercoaster in the world. The coaster’s track is essentially a large U shape that is loaded at the base and uses a series of linear motors to accelerate the train up each side of the track (0 - 60 mph in 4 seconds). These are similar to those used in the magnetic levitation trains. One side of the track is twisted track and the other side is a perfectly vertical straight track so you get some upside twisting on one end and the sense of weightlessness on the other with acceleration like being in a sports car between the two. (2) Medusa is one of the longest (0.75 miles), highest (150 feet) and fastest (65 mph) coasters in the United States and pulls 4.5 G at the bottom of the first big drop. As a souvenir we purchased (thanks Julie and Dave) the photo from the ride, see above, from the last ride of the day! V for victory!

What a great way to usher in the 3rd decade on planet Earth.
Let the good times roll!

Bay 2 Breakers 2008

The bay to breakers event in San Fransisco is an annual foot race that starts on the BAY close to the Oakland Bay bridge on the East of the city and traverses directly west through the city and golden gate park culminating at the Pacific Ocean where the BREAKERS pound pacific beach. The race attracts close to 100,000 serious runners and almost as many less serious ones! We were, as the photos will confirm, in the less serious category.

It is the longest consecutively running footrace in the world and started in 1912, as a means to lift the City's spirit after the disastrous Earthquake of 1906, which was of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter Scale. Public nudity and open alcohol consumption are prohibited although in reality it was more like the norm. A friend lent me an old bridesmaid dress (thanks Julie) so it seemed wrong not to go as "The Prom Queen" - and it was quite a hit with the other race goers! In order to facilitate extreme amounts of drinking, my friend Drew and I built a rickety old booze truck from a cooler, some pink string and wood plus wheels from home depot. Surprisingly, it lasted pretty well - 6 miles before we lost a wheel, by which point the 60 cans, half a mini-keg and 2 litres of Caipirinha cocktail where significantly depleted to render the crippled cart unnecessary.

Happy Days!