Posted by: ahypio | December 16, 2008

Siesta Key

The pause before the drop on Sheikra
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A week in Florida was good for the soul. We had a nice condo on the white sand beach of Siesta Key just outside of Sarasota. Not much happened and that was the plan. We chilled on the beach, rode the roller coasters in Bush Gardens a couple days and ate a ton of killer seafood including the most marvelous fish and sweet potato chips at the brewpub in Sarasota. The coasters at Bush Gardens are the bomb. The Montu which they say is one of the country’s top ten coasters is fun in that traditional roller coaster way but I think the real draw is the Sheikra. The Sheikra is by far the scariest (and therefore most fun) roller coaster I have ever been on. It’s a completely open coaster, no top, sides or bottom so you basically sit on a small seat bolted to the chassis. You start by being pulled up a 200 foot hill, make a 180 degree turn and then stop, enjoying the view. The coaster eases forward to just before the “drop” and stops again, building anticipation. Then there is the false start where you are moved over the edge and stopped for what feels like forever hanging straight down 200+ feet in the air and kept from falling only by your harness. The drop, especially from the front car is terrifying. A 200 ft 70+ MPH free fall straight down with nothing in front of you. Awesome! You then do a couple loops, another 140 ft 90 degree drop into a tunnel and to the finish which in the offseason of early December means you immediately can turn around and hop back on a few minutes later. Rhonda says the Top Thrill Dragster in Cedar Point in scarier but since she was so scared on the Shiekra she couldnt open her eyes on the drop I’m not so sure.

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