I've been dropping hints on twitter and facebook, but it's time for the big reveal: RollerCoasterTour.com is aaaallllliiiiiivvvvvveeeee!
Beginning May 21 I'm going on a massive tour of the United States where I'll ride every roller coaster in the land ... and then end in Abu Dhabi at the fastest coaster in the world! It goes almost 150 miles per hour so it's fitting that it's located at Ferrari World.
If you've read How To Live Anywhere you already know I had this planned for a long time, but the logistics never worked out. A roller coaster tour must happen between late spring and early fall. Before or after that and too many parks are closed. May 21 seems to be like "opening day" in the roller coaster world.
Usually I'd have other plans that would make it difficult to fit a 3 month commitment. And normally I wouldn't want to spend my Summer driving 13,000 miles. But I cleared my Summer and this road trip will be special.
I'm buying a 1986 Cadillac Hearse (which I will then sell or otherwise get rid of, maybe auction for charity?) so I can relive my childhood fantasies of being on The Munsters. I've always felt a connection with Herman Munster. He was tall, awkward, weird, misunderstood, and drove a hearse. He was awesome. :)
Logistics and PlanningIf you know me you probably know I'm not a fan of planning. Well, figuring out the logistics of this tour took weeks (spread out over the past few months). I've probably spent close to 80 hours dissecting park websites and roller coaster databases. This is something I could have outsourced, but part of the fun in doing an adventure like this is getting down to the nitty gritty. Copying/pasting hundreds of coasters into a spreadsheet is not really a good use of time ... but you learn a lot about what's happening and where you're going when you're involved in the details.
More than that, I feel like I appreciate what I'm doing more because I know what a massive undertaking this is.
I'd like to especially thank UltimateRollerCoaster.com for being around. I don't have any contact with them, but I used their database exclusively to figure out which coasters I'd be riding.
There were a lot of snafus along the way. For example, Google Maps (and every other major map site) has a limit of only 25 map points. I needed about 70. (Although I pared it down to 59 because some of the parks I let slip through the cracks had really weak kiddie coasters that were not worth visiting.)
I paid $29.95 for 250 map point credits at MyRouteOnline.com to get the job done. The map looks pretty good (you can see it here) and all I had to do was upload my spreadsheet to calculate the route and the total mileage. According to the site my route is actually 12,951.27 miles, but I'm sure you won't kill me for rounding up to 13,000. In actuality, I'll get lost at least 17 times and my mileage will end up being 26,000. ;) (Don't worry, I will use a GPS.)
Another problem was figuring out the beginning of the tour. I wanted to start as soon as possible and get to Portland, OR in time for World Domination Summit (June 3-5). But certain parks aren't open every day in late May, so I had to contact a few parks to figure out open days and work around that. More snafus will probably present themselves along the way, but I'll deal with those as they arise.
I Can't Do This Without Your Help!As you can imagine, my estimated costs for this tour are not small. While I can pay this out of pocket, I'd much rather find an amazing sponsor who will subsidize the cost of the tour in exchange for a crazy amount of promotion via RollerCoasterTour.com, videos (of every coaster I go on), t-shirts (I'll be wearing a Tour shirt on every coaster), and a car (err, hearse!) wrap.
If you work for an awesome company that would like to sponsor the tour please get in touch. If you know somebody that might work at an awesome company that would like to sponsor the tour, also get in touch! More info about sponsorship can be found here: http://www.rollercoastertour.com/sponsors/
South By Southwest!I'll do my best to connect with companies without being an annoying asshole over the next week at SXSW (I'm leaving for Austin tomorrow!). For the first time in a long time I actually have business cards. RollerCoasterTour.com business cards, but business cards none-the-less!
If you'll be there we should meet up. I'll be at a ton of events. Just look for the tall dude who looks like me. That will be me!
More More MoreI could talk your ear off here (wait, wouldn't it be "write your eyes off"?), but all the information about the tour is at RollerCoasterTour.com so go check it out.
Thanks for reading this decidedly abnormal article. Back to regularly scheduled programming on Monday.