An Impromptu Game Day


I am a sufferer of random migraines. It’s not much fun and it also wouldn’t matter if I’d found the time earlier to do my post for today.

 

However, I did not. And now, it’s 9PM and I’d actually already climbed into bed before my bleary eyes flew open, remembering today was my day to post!

My lack is your gain.

 

Here is how this will work.

 

I will say a cowboy word and you post the first word that comes to mind when you hear it (PG 13 please) I’ll throw all names of those who respond into a hat (cowboy, of course) and the winner will get a print copy of Belle Fourche Legacy when it releases in a week. I’ll even sign it.

  1.  purdy
  2.  cowpoke
  3.  herd
  4.  trot
  5.  ranch
  6.  acreage
  7.  palomino
  8.  bandana
  9.  lariat
  10.  pistol                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Good luck to all who enter and thank you for understanding. Ah, the glamorous life of an author.

Saying Goodbye to Summer

At least here on this side of the planet, we just said goodbye to summer (perhaps not officially for a few more weeks, but most consider the end of summer to be Labor Day).

I’ve sent one daughter off to college. I’m ordering the books for my other daughter whom I homeschool. My boys will be on the bus headed to their first day this morning. That’s it, the end.

And part of me is super jealous that a bunch of my friends are going to St. Louis to meet for the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference. I haven’t been to one since 2017 and would love to go. Perhaps next year is my year. But, alas, I can’t this year.

However, I was able to do a lot of wonderful things with the time I had.

I saw my first child graduate high school and along with that, had the first big party in our new house (and finally planted grass).

We put a garden in for the first time in four years. My gracious that was a lot of work all summer and now as we head into the fall. I have more zucchini in my freezer than I know what to do with and it’s a very good thing we go through about a jar of pickles a day.

Summer was full of shopping trips to outfit my daughter with everything she would need for her first year away from home, and making sure we did memorable things as a family. We even visited the World’s Largest Ball of Twine (I live within an hour of it).

It was also my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. So, after dropping my daughter off, the Hero and I bopped on over to Duluth where we spent a few precious hours on Canal Street and wading in the Great Gitche Gumee. I also got to eat at Grandma’s for the very first time (the namesake of the marathon). I also spoke last month about the writing retreat in July that was so refreshing. I plan to do that next year as well, and may be an ongoing thing.

As I list what I’ve done, I know that I’m forgetting things, because I’m trying to look forward. What have I got coming up? Deadlines? Jobs? Conferences? Interestingly, I’m one of those people who forever think, ‘in this next season of my life, I’ll have more time,’ and I’m always wrong. Something always crops up and I have just as much time (or less) to do what I’ve always done.

 

But each and every day is a blessing.

For a chance to win an ebook copy of Battle For Her Heart, my most recent release, tell me one fun thing you did this summer.

Stories from My Winery Visit

Photo: Kiepersol

My husband and I recently visited Kiepersol Winery and Bed and Breakfast in Tyler. Our room at the Bed and Breakfast was in the building with the restaurant. Not only were the surroundings quiet, calm, and serene, the wine was wonderful, our room beautiful, and the restaurant defied description. They feature great steaks and seafood, with incredible sides. My favorites were the sauteed mushrooms and garlic potatoes. And the desserts…I had cherries jubilee, and I swear I gain a pound thinking about it, but it was worth every calorie.

But the stories of the winery’s history our wine tour guide, Ron shared captured my writer’s sentimental heart. Founder Pierre de Wet’s story would do any hero proud. Born in South Africa, in 1984 after the death of his wife from skin cancer, he and his young daughters, age two and four, moved to America. Pierre worked as a farm laborer until he could buy acres in Tyler, Texas. Though in 1996 there were no wineries from Austin to Florida, Pierre was sure he could make a winery work.

The winery’s name comes from the Kiepersol farm where Pierre grew up. Legend has it soldiers running from a lion toward a lone tree, shouted, “Kiepersol! Kiepersol” as they sought safety in the tree. (Later it was learned the soldiers yelled, “We hope this tree will keep us all!” Pierre named his winery after that Kiepersol tree, hoping everyone who visited the winery would find that same comfort.

Pierre’s determination and frugality when he started his winery served him well. To lower startup costs, he purchased used equipment. In tough times he sold residential lots, eventually creating one of two wine estates in the U.S. In 2000, he harvested his first grapes. To sell his wine, he hired teenagers with signs and obtained retired Clydesdales for carriages rides that ended at the winery.

Photo: Kiepersol

I can’t share all the winery’s stories today, but I want to share one behind Flight sparkling wine. Guinea fowl have roamed the area for over 20 years as vineyard stewards. Their chatter safekeeps the grapes from deer and birds. They eat bugs serving as nature’s pesticide. Guinea fowl spotted feathers are believed to be good luck charms. Now to the name. The winery says, “We believe each spotted feather found represents a releasing of the past. Flight is grown in a place where one can feel soulfully grounded while also letting dreams soar. So. Take Flight my friends.” That sentiment makes me shiver.

I love visiting Texas wineries and hearing their stories. The minute I heard Pierre de Wet’s, I thought how I would’ve loved to create such a hero. The courage, strength, and determination he possessed to come to America with two young daughters when the only person he knew was a Texas A&M professor, astounds me. He created a winery, a bed and breakfast with fifteen rooms, an incredible restaurant, a distillery, and an RV park! But most importantly, he raised two strong women who carry on his legacy.

Pierre de Wet and his daughters
Photo: Kiepersol

I may have found a retirement-keep-busy-and-involved career. What could be better than telling a winery’s stories, meeting fabulous people, especially if I could be paid with an occasional bottle of wine and dinner?

Today I’m giving away this horseshoe decoration and a signed copy of To Tame a Texas Cowboy. To be entered in my random drawing, leave a comment to this question. What is the best story you’ve heard or best/most interesting fact you’ve learned on a trip? Or, if you don’t have a story to share, just stop by to say hello or tell me about a real life hero in your life.

 

I Wasn’t Born In Texas, But I Got Here As Soon As I Could!

 

When my cousin Jacque moved to San Antonio when I was in middle school, I became fascinated with the state. After I graduated from high school, my Aunt Verna, Jacque’s mom and I drove to visit my cousin. That was when I knew I wanted to live in Texas, and sure enough, my husband and I moved to the Dallas area after he graduated from college. Today I’m sharing a few interesting facts about my adopted home state.

 

Examples of how things are bigger in Texas:

  • One Texas ranch, the King Ranch, is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
  • The Texas State Fair is the largest, longest running US state fair and boasts North America’s largest Ferris wheel.
  • Austin is home to the world’s largest urban bat colony.
  • The Texas State Capital is fifteen feet taller than the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.
  • When you are in Newton County in southeast Texas, you’re closer to the Atlantic Ocean than to El Paso. When you’re in El Paso, you’re closer to the Pacific Ocean than Newton County.
  • If you’re in Brownsville, Texas, you’re closer to Guatemala than you are to Dalhart, Texas.

 

Tidbits on some Texas towns:

  • A town formerly known as Clark, Texas, changed its name to Dish so its 201 residents would get free TV service for ten years.
  • Decatur voted to reschedule Halloween in 2014 because the holiday conflicted with high school football. Yup, that’s how important high school football is in Texas!
  • Austin has more live music venues per capita than anywhere in the United States.

 

On Texas highways:

  • The Texas Department of Transportation employs a group of gardeners to spread more than 30,000 pounds of wildflower seeds annually to beautify the state’s highways. For generations when the state flower is in bloom, families flock to fields of the flowers to snap photos.
  • County road Highway 130 between Austin and San Antonio is the fastest road in the US with a speed limit of 85 mph.
  • The Katy Freeway at Beltway 8 with 26 lanes across is the world’s widest freeway. (I won’t be driving on that road any time soon!)

 

Katy Highway at Beltway 8 in Texas.

 

Texas inventions:

  • Pepper was invented in 1885 by Charles Alderton, a pharmacist in Waco.
  • The frozen margarita machine was invented in Texas. (That’s definitely something to celebrate!) The original machine is on display at The Smithsonian.

 

A few miscellaneous facts:

Texas Ranchers Museum in Waco
  • The Texas Ranchers founded in 1823 by Stephen F. Austin are the oldest state-wide law enforcement agency.
  • True Texas Chili is made without beans.
  • Y’all is singular, while all y’all is plural.

 

If you visit Texas, be aware it’s illegal to do these things:

  • Milk someone else’s cow
  • Sell your eye
  • Dust a public building with a feather duster (I wonder if it’s okay to do so with a cloth.)
  • Shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel (But I guess the first story is okay.),
  • To let a camel run loose on a Galveston beach.
  • However, you can kill Bigfoot if you find him!

Since everything in Texas is bigger I’m having two giveaways today. One is for a coozie, to-go coasters with one of my favorite Texas sayings, and a cactus coaster. The other is for the Blessed and Lucky T-shirt in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. To be entered, tell me which of the facts I listed you found the most interesting and why.

Now I’m off to figure out how to use one of those odd laws to get a hero or heroine into trouble…

I’m Like, Totally Your Huckleberry

Lots of us have had tough years personally before, but not in my lifetime have we as a human race had such a difficult year. If you’re like me, New Year’s held a new significance and you’re thankful to see 2020 in the rearview mirror. Hopeful for 2021, I tried writing about the activities I desperately miss and appreciate more since COVID-19. I hope this year to return to treating myself to a mani-pedi (I’m so relieved it’s closed toe shoe season!), getting a haircut every six to eight weeks instead of twice a year, going to lunch with friends and sitting close enough we don’t need walkie-talkies to converse, and window shopping. Somehow instead of being the hopeful post I intended, I found myself needing a break from thinking about COVID and the harsh realities it’s brought crashing down on our lives.

Also needing to laugh, I turned to a book I discovered in Glassboro, New Jersey visiting my son. When the title caught my eye, This Is Like, Totally a Quote Book, I had to open it. The dedication had me LOLing. “This book is dedicated to the eminent individuals whose words are parodied herein. We’d like to imagine each of them, living or dead, getting a chuckle out of it. We only wish we could invite them all to dinner. * That would be, like, totally an amazing party. *Except maybe Hannibal Lecter.”

 

 

The book takes famous quotes and inserts the phrase like, totally. Having been part of the generation that thought those words were so cool, I couldn’t stop reading. The next thing I knew I was reading quotes to my husband. So today, in hopes of making you smile and showing how adding two words can change a sentence, I’ve tweaked some famous quotes.

  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in like, totally rising every time we fall.” -Nelson Mandela
  • The way to get started is to like, totally quit talking and begin doing. -Walt Disney
  • Life is what happens like, when you’re busy totally making other plans. -John Lennon
  • To be or like, totally not to be. -William Shakespeare
  • When you reach the end of your rope, like tie a knot in it and totally hang on. -Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but like, totally by the seeds that you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson
  • It is during our darkest moments that we must like, totally focus to see the light. -Aristotle

Here’s some modified western/cowboy sayings from grammar.yourdictionary.com.

  • Some cowboys have like, totally too much tumbleweed in their blood to settle down.
  • When you’re throwin’ your weight around, be like, totally ready to have it thrown around by someone else.
  • Always like, totally drink upstream from the herd.
  • Never ask how stupid someone is ‘cause they’ll like, turn around and totally show you.
  • The only good reason to ride a bull is to like, totally meet a nurse.

And my favorite…

  • Never like, jump a barbed wire fence totally naked.

I hope these changes to famous quotes made you chuckle. To be entered in the random drawing for today’s giveaway of the sparkly Peace sign and a signed copy of Home on the Ranch:  Family Ties share a quote and like, totally parody it in This Is Like, Totally a Quote Book style. Here’s to 2021. May your year be blessed, and wishing you like, totally the best year ever!

 

Writer Takeaways from Disney Songs

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. 

I’ll admit to being a big fan of Disney’s animated movies and of course the music in them is always great – be it toe-tapping, whimsical, introspective or poignant.

So I hope you won’t mind today if I indulge myself a little bit by listing some of my favorites (along with links so you can listen to them if you like) and so that it’s not entirely frivolous, tie each of them to a writerly takeaway. .

Here they are, in no particular order

  1. You’ve Got A Friend In Me (from Toy Story)

    Writer Takeaway: Writing can be a lonely, solitary business. Savvy writers will take the time to make personal connections, to be supportive of other writers and to maintain connections with friends outside of the writing community.

  2. Bare Necessities (from Jungle Book)

    Writer Takeaway: Most of us are working with limited resources when it comes to finances and time. But we all bring special resources to the table, namely our creativity and storytelling abilities. That is what the true ‘bare necessity’ is that it takes to succeed in this business. As for the rest, work with what you have and know that, if you stay alert to opportunities, you can go a long way on your God-given talent.

  3. A Whole New World (from Aladdin)

    Writer Takeaway: 
    Take the time in your worldbuilding to transport your reader to someplace they’ve never been before or to see the familiar in a whole new light, and make sure there are things to make them feel wonder and surprise over.

  4. Let It Go (from Frozen)

    Writer Takeaway: There are things that will come your way – story ideas, promo opportunities, project participation offers, etc. – that you won’t be able to pursue/take advantage of. Hard as it is to let them go, you have to accept that they were not to be and don’t let regrets weigh you down.

  5. Go The Distance (from Hercules)

    Writer Takeaway: No one promised it would be easy or quick – persistence is key to making it in this business. And of course you want to add in the proper training, because the best writers know that they never reach the point where they know it all.

  6. Heigh Ho (from Snow White)

    Writer Takeaway: Similar to the takeaway from the prior song, this one reminds me that there is no substitute for putting in the work. As a previous mentor once told me BIK HOK is the only way to get the book written (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard).

  7. Reflection (from Mulan)

    Writer Takeaway: This is a hauntingly introspective song. One of my takeaways is that, whatever the cost, we have to be true to who we are, as a writer as well as an individual.

  8. Something There (from Beauty and the Beast)

    Writer Takeaway: I love this song and it is a great lesson on how to develop a love story between two mismatched people. It also provides a good example of how to show versus tell a character’s growth and transformation.

  9. Almost There (from The Princess and the Frog)

    Writer Takeaway: This song is all about having concrete goals and maintaining your focus on them. It’s much too easy to let distractions get in the way of your dreams or start looking for shortcuts.

  10. Into The Unknown (from Frozen 2)

    Writer Takeaway: As writers we sometimes get stuck in a rut of sorts, writing the types of stories that have worked for us in the past and that we are comfortable with. Or perhaps we have become pigeon holed by our editors or readers who are leery of supporting us in a new direction we want to explore. But, scary as it might be, stretching ourselves, even if we eventually decide it’s not working, is how we grow as writers and as people.
     

  11. Dig a Little Deeper (from the Princess and the Frog)

    Writer Takeaway: This is such a fun upbeat song – gets my toes to tapping whenever I hear it. But the writer takeaway is that I should always ‘dig a little deeper’ when I’m developing my characters and stories, that just being satisfied with what’s on the surface is not enough to really touch the reader I’m trying to reach.

 

I could go on and on, but as I said, I’m under a tight deadline, so I’ll stop there.

Did your favorite Disney song make the list? If so, which one is it?  If not, let me know what that missing song is and why you like it.  I’ll pick someone from the list of respondents to give a copy of one of my books to.

 

 

 

Depressing News? Let’s LAUGH! ~ Pam Crooks

 

I tell you what. The news these days is a real downer. Between Covid, violent protests, riots, political bickering…it all makes me want to throw the television across the room and hide my electronic devices under the couch cushions.

Enough already!

Sure makes me wish for simpler times when we didn’t have such easy access to social media, endless replays, and too much journalism that is more about the ratings than it is the truth.

We all need to laugh more. Science says it’s good for our mental health. We all know it’s good for the soul, too.

Here are some cowboy funnies that will brighten your day. At least, they did mine!

     The cowboy lay sprawled across three entire seats in the posh Amarillo theatre. When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the cowboy, “Sorry, sir, but you’re only allowed one seat.”

     The cowboy groaned but didn’t budge.

     The usher became more impatient. “Sir, if you don’t get up from there, I’m going to have to call the manager.”

     The cowboy just groaned.

     The usher marched briskly back up the aisle. In a moment, he returned with the manager. Together, the two of them tried repeatedly to move the cowboy, but with no success. Finally, they summoned the police.

     The cop surveyed the situation briefly then asked, “All right buddy, What’s your name?”

     “Sam,” the cowboy moaned.

     “Where ya from, Sam?”

     With pain in his voice Sam replied…. “The balcony.”

 

 

     Cowboy Joe was telling his fellow cowboys back on the ranch about his first visit to a big-city church.

     “When I got there, they had me park my old truck in the corral,” Joe began.

     “You mean the parking lot,” interrupted Charlie, a more worldly fellow.

     “I walked up the trail to the door,” Joe continued.

     “The sidewalk to the door,” Charlie corrected him.

     “Inside the door, I was met by this dude,” Joe went on.

     “That would be the usher,” Charlie explained.

     “Well, the usher led me down the chute,” Joe said.

     “You mean the aisle,” Charlie said.

     “Then, he led me to a stall and told me to sit there,” Joe continued.

     “Pew,” Charlie retorted.

     “Yeah,” recalled Joe. “That’s what that pretty lady said when I sat down beside her.”

     A cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

     “Have you ever done anything of particular merit?” St. Peter asked.

    “Well, I can think of one thing,” the cowboy offered. “On a trip to the Big Horn Mountains out in Wyoming, I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. I told them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen. So, I approached the largest and most tattooed biker and smacked him in the face, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. Then I yelled, ‘Now, back off or I’ll beat you all unconscious.”

     Saint Peter was impressed. “When did this happen?”

     “Couple of minutes ago.”

 

The only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a nurse.

 

Nature gave us all something to fall back on, and sooner or later we all land flat on it.

 

Don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed finding them!  

Even more, I hope I’ve uplifted your day.  There’s nothing like a cowboy and his humor, that’s for sure!

Does all the bad news drag you down, too?

Do you have a favorite joke or funny story to share?

If not, that’s okay.  Just let me know that you’re smiling, and your day is now brighter, and my day will be brighter, too!

 

Nature’s Meteorologists

My grandparents’ farm in Decorah, Iowa

As I’ve said a time or six dozen, my maternal grandparents were Iowa dairy farmers. My grandfather was a short, stoic German man who possessed a loud voice and strong opinions. Getting to know him and earn his respect wasn’t always easy, as my husband, Kevin discovered.

My Grandpa Walter saw my husband as a city kid who knew nothing of farm life. (Which was true.) As a child someone shared an animal proverb with Kevin. When a cat washes behind its ear rain is on the way. On one visit, Kevin noted one of my grandmother’s barn cats washing behind its ear, and shared the weather prediction with my grandfather. My grandfather naturally thought this city kid couldn’t know what he was talking about. A while later, Kevin set off to pick up my mother a hour or so away and asked my grandfather to ride shotgun. On their way back to the farm, the skies opened up. Not only did it rain, it poured. One of those driving rains that makes it difficult to see when driving.

That day proved to be a turning point for my husband and grandfather. Kevin showed my grandfather he knew something about his world, and my grandfather developed a new respect for my husband. From that day on until the day my grandfather died, cats washing behind the ears predicting rain became a running joke between them.

Farmers and ranchers often looked to animals for indications of the weather, and reliance on these methods isn’t as silly as it sounds. While people might not have known when creating the proverbs, now science often explains the animals’ behaviors. For example, cats ears may be sensitive to changes in barometric pressure causing them to wash behind them when rain is coming.

Just for fun and to hopefully make your smile, here are some other animal proverbs from the Farmer’s Almanac.

  • If a cat sits with its back to a fire or sleeps with all four paws tucked under, bad weather is coming.
  • When a cat licks its fur against the grain, prepare for a hailstorm.
  • When a cat sneezes, rains is on the way.

 

But cats aren’t the only animal meteorologists…

  • If a cow stands with its tail to the west, the weather should be fair. If it stands with its tail to the east, the weather will turn bad.
  • When a dog eats grass or sheep turn into the wind, expect rain. (Based on how often my dogs eat grass, I should be building an ark, so I’m not a big believer in this one! ?)
  • If a bull leads the cows to pasture, bet on rain. But if the ladies lead the bull, the weather is uncertain.
  • The more brown a wooly bear caterpillar, the milder the winter.
  • (This one isn’t super practical since it requires a
  •  tape measure. I can’t see many farmers measuring mole holes! ?) If the mole hole is 2 ½ feet deep, expect severe weather. If it’s 2 feet deep, it won’t be as severe, and 1 foot deep indicates a mild winter.
  • When pigs gather leaves and straw in the fall, prepare for a cold winter.
  • Fat rabbits in October and November indicate a long, cold winter.
  • Bats flying late at night mean fair weather.
  • Wolves howl more before a storm.
  • Predict the temperature by counting a cricket’s chirps.
  • Hornets building their nests high in a tree means a snowy winter.
  • Cows laying under a tree in the morning means rain is on the way.

And from the plants:

  • When leaves “turn their back to you” and curl somewhat, watch out for rain.

To be entered in today’s giveaway for the Live Happy sink soap mate, a llama car air freshener and a copy of A Cure for the Vet, leave a comment on your weather proverb.

 

Reading Challenge for 2020

I’ve been a book lover my entire life. Yet over the last decade or so, I’ve found that I am reading less and less. With a day job, writing full time, and family/church responsibilities, time is at a premium. Yet I don’t want to lose the pleasure of discovering new characters and adventures inside the covers of unexplored tomes. So I’ve started looking for new motivations to help me keep reading a priority. Last year, I attempted to keep a list of all the books I had read. I think I lost track somewhere around fall, but I did find satisfaction in seeing over 20 books on my list before I stopped keeping count. I know that’s small potatoes for many of you, but it was encouraging to me.

This year I’m going to try something with a little more accountability and hopefully a lot of fun. Inspired by many fun reading challenges circulating around social media, I decided to create one for my Facebook group – The Posse. I asked for their input in coming up with the categories, and nearly all the ones you see on my list are iterations of their suggestions. Here’s what we came up with . . .

We tried to create a list with a lot of flexibility to allow for personal taste and interest while still giving us the motivation to try something new or perhaps stretch our literary comfort zone just a bit.

You don’t have to be a Posse member to use this reading challenge, but if you want to participate with other readers and join in the discussion, we’d love to have you! We talk about all kinds of other things, too, including brainstorming ideas for my books. But at the beginning of every month, I’ll be posting the upcoming reading challenge category, and at the end of the month, I’ll create a post where everyone can talk about the book they read, how it fit the category, and what they thought about the story. It’s strictly for fun, so if you need to skip a month or two, that perfectly fine. Just join back in when you can. Personally, I’m hoping to use this as a motivation to read more as well as an accountability piece to keep me going even when life gets busy.

If you’d like to join the Posse and our Reading Challenge – Click Here.

  • Have you ever participated in a Reaching Challenge? Did you enjoy it?
  • Do you have any reading-related book goals for 2020?

Amusement Park Fun Facts

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I spent most of last week with one of my daughters at Disney World in Orlando. She had plans to run in the Disney marathon and I went along to cheer her on and to do some playing.

Spending time at the park got me to thinking about theme parks in general and I decided to look up some info on the history and trivia related to them. And while this is technically not Western Romance related, I thought I’d share a little of what I found with you.

Roller Coasters – my daughter is a big fan and rode quite a few of them – I chose to watch <g>. But here are some fun facts associated with these thrill rides

  • The earliest record of something approaching a modern day roller coaster can be traced back to 18th century Russia. It is said that Catherine the Great while in residence at the Imperial Summer Palace, devised a pastime where people boarded a vehicle which was then rolled down hillsides. She apparently got the idea from the ice slides that were popular in the region during the 16th century.
  • Another early precursor of the modern roller coaster were mine tracks. A coal mine in Pennsylvania created a gravity railroad for moving its product. On days when the facility was not needed to move coal, locals would asks for rides in the carts. Before long, folks were willing to pay for the chance to ride.
  • The world’s longest roller coaster is the Steel Dragon 2000 found at Nagashima Spa Land just outside of Nagoya Japan. It is 8,133 feet long. The ride lasts 4 minutes and reaches speeds of 95 mph
  • The prize for the world’s fastest roller coaster goes to Formula Rossa in Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. It can reach top speeds of 149 mph Its acceleration rate is even more impressive – it can go from 0 to 149 in just 5 seconds. It’s so fast that riders have to wear the same type of protective glasses that skydivers use.
  • The tallest roller coaster is Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. It stands an impressive 456 feet in height it shoots you 90 degrees straight up and then plummets back down in a 270 degree spiral!
  • Some roller coasters get recycled. This is not done out of an effort to save the environment as to save money. It can cost as 80 percent less to dismantle and reuse an old roller coaster than to build a new one.  There is one roller coaster, The Tsunami has been used by four different amusement parks since 1986.
  • Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio bills itself as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. It is home to a number of roller coasters that are among some of the world’s longest, tallest and fastest coasters.
  • The Smiler, a roller coaster located in the United Kingdom, holds the record for having the most loops – an impressive 14! The next closest count is 10.
  • There are currently approximately 5000 roller coasters in existence worldwide.

Ferris Wheels

  • Early precursors to the modern Ferris Wheel were around as early as the 17th century. During that period in Bulgaria there was a contraption known as the pleasure wheel which had chairs hung from rings and it was powered by strongmen.
  • The modern day Ferris Wheel made it’s debut at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
  • The oldest Ferris Wheel still in use can be found in Austria. It was built in 1897 and was scheduled to be torn down in 1916, but a lack of funds to carry out the demolition saved it and it is still in operation today.
  • The High Roller Ferris Wheel in Las Vegas is the world’s tallest – it stands 550 feet high

Random Facts about the Disney theme parks

  • The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride originally used real skeletons. The original ride’s creators were dissatisfied with the quality of the fake skeletons that were available at the time. So they contacted the UCLA Medical Center who were willing to provide some actual human skeletons.  Eventually the real skeletons were replaced with fakes and the real ones were “returned to their countries of origin and given a proper burial,” according to former Disney producer Jason Surrell.
  • Since fireworks are classified as explosives, Disney is the second biggest purchaser of explosives in the US, second only to the US government. Estimates are that they spend upwards of $45,000 per show.
  • A restaurant at a Disneyland park is credited with the creation of Doritos. The story is that rather than wastefully throwing out unused tortillas, they created the crispy treat.
  • Disney makes two times as much money from their amusement parks than they make from their movies.
  • You may already know that there are a series of tunnels that run under the parks. These are used to help the cast members get from place to place without setting foot in the ‘wrong’ place – so a character from Toy Storyland will never show up in Star Wars land. But did you know that those tunnels in Disneyworld were actually built at ground level? Because it was built over a swamp, it was set on the surface and then excavated dirt from projects like the Lagoon was spread on top.  Most of the attractions are actually on the second or even third story of the park.
  • The world’s most expensive roller coaster can be found at Disney World in Florida. Everest Expedition, because of the attention to detail used in fashioning a replica of Mt. Everest, cost $100 million to construct.

And just for fun – here is a picture of me and my daughter at Hollywood Studios

So what about you? Do you have a favorite amusement park or park ride? Do you have any fun bits of trivia that I missed here? Did any of these tidbits surprise you

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