A Whole New Frontier City: Dream Realized
One of the things I wrote about in the early days of this journey was how I wanted to take my kids to an amusement park and really enjoy the experience. It was a goal, a dream really, to become one of those people, you know the ones, the people having the time of their lives completely free of the restrictions of morbid obesity. I was over 500 pounds for so long, the only thing I could do at this kind of a place was carry our stuff and watch other people have fun. I was miserable. I was that fat guy standing off to the side, knowing that I couldn't fit, and not even trying, because it would be too embarrassing to be told the obvious by the ride operator...in front of everybody. I took my family to the amusement park several times over the years, we're no stranger to Frontier City, but I never looked forward to the experience like I did today. I'm now 213 pounds thinner and Frontier City has never known me like this, and I've never looked at Frontier City the way I did today.
I've never been an amusement park kind of person, or at least I didn't think I was. Maybe I was always an amusement park person deep down, but the weight was holding me back. You can't really enjoy a place like this at over 500 pounds. You get through it, you watch others have fun, you're happy for them. You carry stuff for everybody and you look for food. Our trip to Frontier City today was monumental. It was the first time I've ever really enjoyed a theme park with my family. It was a goal attained, a dream realized, a reward for finally grabbing a hold of a life that I let slip away for far too long. At over 500 pounds, just the walk up the parking lot hill would have had me stopping to rest. Not today. Today was going to be unlike any experience at Frontier City we've ever had. It was going to be amazing. And it was.
We started with the log flume. The log flume doesn't have a bar that must click, no seat belt to fasten. We were simply 'testing the waters' so to speak. What we did next was amazing on a couple of different levels. We went straight from the log flume to the Wildcat Roller Coaster. The Wildcat is a wooden roller coaster with seats that are really small. Even at 350 or 400 I couldn't have fit on this thing, forget about over 500. It was a snug fit today, but I fit, and the good times? They were rollin'! I say it was amazing on a couple of different levels because riding a roller coaster at any size was always something Irene and I swore we would never do. I never had a desire to get on a roller coaster. They look scary and really dangerous. So the fact that I was always too big for one really worked for me, because I was terrified of them. The weight became a perfect excuse...I'm scared of them, but I couldn't fit on one even if I wanted. Irene and I have experienced many “first” together in the last 22 years, this added to that list. We were side by side on the Wildcat and we both clicked the restraints in place without any trouble at all. We were ready. Amber and Courtney were in the two seats directly in front of us, we were ready to scream together! The ride was fast and furious, simply incredible really. Thank goodness we all chewed motion sickness pills before embarking on this experience!! We were flying.
We loved the roller coaster, no kidding. It was complete freedom to let loose and have a blast. And it made me think about something. Losing weight has allowed me to fit on a ride like this, certainly, but more importantly—it has given me the confidence to face down deep seeded fears I've always had. Riding that roller coaster today and two others before the day ended, wasn't just about fitting in the restraints, it was about overcoming my fears with complete confidence. That's pretty big stuff. It's like I've said many times in these writings, the physical transformation is amazing, but the mental transformation is the biggest change. The physical gets all the glory, but remember—when you see me smile, I'm not smiling because I look better than I ever have, I'm smiling because of the miraculous changes on the inside. So powerful are these changes, that I climbed on to three roller coasters today without a hint of hesitation. Losing weight is so much more than just looking better and being healthier. Losing weight is a key that unlocks the jail cell door, setting free a me that I didn't even know existed.
We truly enjoyed the entire experience. All of our worries and stress, we left that stuff in the car. This day was a long time coming. This day was one to remember. Frontier City never looked and felt so good. A special thanks goes out to Andrea in the Six Flags/Frontier City Marketing department for providing us with “special guest” passes. I can't thank you enough Andrea! We put them to good use as you can read and see! Below you'll find a collection of photos and On The Go videos from this monumental day.
So how did we handle the food? Easy. Our focus clearly wasn't on the food today. But we did get hungry about four hours into the experience. We enjoyed cheese nachos. One order for all of us to share. We each sampled the nachos and took a little break. We had our water with us and the nachos did exactly what we needed it to do, it held us over until dinner. So how did we resist the funnel cakes, dippin' dots, footlong hot dogs, giant slices of pizza, giant soft pretzels with cheese, deep fried Snickers, and every other kind of amusement park food? We simply were not interested. Food wasn't our motivation today. It wasn't our focus. Our mindset was on having fun, and we don't eat for fun anymore. Sure, we enjoy good food on a regular basis. But on the drive down, it was never I can't wait to get one of those footlong corndogs, it was I can't wait to ride a roller coaster! If this journey had never started, and we were still at our heaviest, the expectations and excitement would have been focused elsewhere, perhaps on the food.
We did enjoy Cracker Barrel for dinner. Now how in the world did we do that? Let me tell you: We shared. Irene and I shared the chicken fried chicken meal and Amber and Courtney shared a cheeseburger and steak fries. And you know what? We were satisfied and completely full! The portions are so big at that place, it really made it easy. We just asked for a couple of empty plates and a knife. Easy. I even allowed for a corn muffin and a couple of bites of a biscuit, it was very good. We left Cracker Barrel feeling good, not feeling stuffed and miserable. Big difference over past visits, huge difference.
On the way home we stopped in Stillwater and waded our way through the football game night traffic. Oklahoma State beat Grambling State soundly and many were leaving the game early. We stopped for a visit with mom, grandma, aunt Kelli, and uncle Keith. Irene drove from Oklahoma City to Stillwater while I slept. After we visited a little, I drove us home to Ponca City. We were exhausted. Completely exhausted. There's no question about if we had a workout today, not at all. Walking all around Frontier City was serious exercise. I had planned on writing this blog posting as soon as we got home, but I couldn't, I was just too tired. So we dropped in bed before midnight, on a Saturday night! We slept what had to be the best sleep ever. I can't remember the last time I slept better. A solid, uninterrupted ten hours of sleep, it was amazing.
So here we are on Sunday, publishing Saturday's post—it was absolutely necessary. I can't imagine what kind of nonsense I would have written had I tried to do it when we got home.
Thank you for reading! And I hope you enjoy the pictures and videos posted below. Goodnight and...
At over 500 pounds, I never needed a sign to tell me I couldn't ride. But they have them everywhere, just in case you forget.
My favorite picture of us. Ever.
Amber and Me, having fun!
Courtney and Me, having fun!
The four of us.
Lookin' good baby!
On top of the world!! Did I mention that I'm normally afraid of heights? Not today...hmm.
Amber, Courtney, and Courtney's best friend Dylan—strapped into the “Mind Bender.”
The Wildcat roller coaster history. As it turns out, this was also the first roller coaster Amber and Courtney ever climbed on years ago. Irene and I did today for our first time. Pretty cool stuff.
Just a quick video before this ride and my phone get out of hand!
Ahoy Mates...on the giant ship ride.
Bumper cars! Don't look Dr. Amy!!
On top of the world, or uh, really close!