As a little kid growing up in the Midwest, I fell in love with amusement parks like Peony Park in Omaha, Adventureland in Des Moines, and Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. I loved everything about them (except the lines, of course), from the crappy deep-fried cuisine to the totally rigged games to the rollercoasters. Especially the rollercoasters.
I don't remember the coasters at Peony Park or Adventureland well, but I can't forget one of them at Worlds of Fun: the Orient Express. The park was divvied up into sections representing different parts of the world ("Europa," "Africa," "Americana," etc) and the Orient Express was a monster-sized (at least to an 8-year-old) coaster with several upside-down loops, a darkened tunnel and a stretch over a pond. It was awesome, far better than the Extremeroller that Worlds of Fun opened a couple years later, the first standing rollercoaster. But I digress.
In the years since spending several '80s summer days at Worlds of Fun, I've never had access to as good of an amusement park. I've tried state and county fairs, lived near a park called Lagoon in Utah, but nothing came close.
That's why my bucket list this summer has just one item: Visiting Silverwood in North Idaho. I've lived in Spokane for nearly five years and still never been to check out the place. I've satisfied my unhealthy taste for amusement park food at Pig Out in the Park and for playing virtually unwinnable games at the county fair. But there's no substitute for a good rollercoaster, and I've had eyes on Silverwood's Aftershock, Corkscrew, Timber Terror and Tremors for too long. It's time to ride.