I write this in Minneapolis on my way to Vancouver for my first true vacation I've ever taken. Yes, I did go to Vancouver last year but I ended up giving 6 presentations over four days which when I first planned this trip I was trying to have this happen again but as I said, in the 4.5 years I've been at this I haven't had a time that I went somewhere with no presentations or a race. It was odd going through the security checkpoint because I kept looking for my flags. However, being the dedicated person I am, I can't fully let go and be 100% on vacation so here I am, blogging and I want to go back to an experience I had over the weekend.
On Saturday my girlfriend suggested we go to the City Museum. I was reluctant at first because, well, how exciting could a museum of Saint Louis be? Don't get me wrong, learning the history of Saint Louis could be interesting but this wasn't something that I'd clamor for on a Saturday. My girlfriend said it wasn't about the history about Saint Louis which had me confused because, after all, it is the city museum, right?
This city museum opened in 1997 and as so often the case it takes someone that isn't from a person's hometown to get a person out to see the sights as was the case here.
We arrived and I was still expecting to see images of the Saint Louis riverfront circa 1800's and exhibits of steamboats but as we walked inside it was, well, different. Instead of steamboats there were, um, there was slides. Oh yes, lots of slides and lots of crawl spaces, stairs, and even a skateless park. Skateless park? Yeah, there's a skatepark inside but no skating is allowed but there are plenty of ropes to swing Tarzan style.
At first the 31 year old in me observed everything with with reservations. We walked past the circus room where the daily act was about to begin so we watched this junior troupe put on a stellar show and when we left my inner kid started to come out. A few steps out of the circus there was a spiral staircase that went down so my girlfriend and I decided to see where it went so we went down and where it out us was this very enclosed space with only one way to go and that was to crawl in this small space underneath a model train set. This certainly wasn't your typical museum and not one for a person whom has claustrophobia.
When we finally managed to crawl and climb our way out we walked to a place that had what was labeled a "monster slide." This slide was a three floor slide that went straight down. Surely a 31 year old would want no interest in this, right? We stood in line and when a parent in front of us sent her two kids down she asked us, "adults can do this too, right?" I figure she had the same reservations of letting her inner kid out but my girlfriend and I nodded and she went down. My girlfriend went then I went and as I was spat out of the bottom and went sliding on the floor I had the biggest of grins. The sensory feeling of this was liberating and like my six year old self akin to when my parents would take me to the Indianapolis Children's Museum I ran, rather giddy I might add, back up the stairs to do it again. Then again, and even again. I couldn't get enough. Whilst going down that slide, and I learned how to change of center of gravity to increase me speed thus increasing the forces which in turn made me feel even more liberated. As fun as this was there was an even bigger slide awaiting us on the 11th floor.
We went to the rooftop where there was a Ferris wheel which we rode but my sights we set on the 10 story slide. Seriously, how often does one get to take a ride on a 10 story slide?
My girlfriend went first and I awaited until I got the clear to go and as I waited, and I looked down at this spiral (this was a spiral slide unlike the previous slide which was straight) I had a flashback to a slide that was in Speedway, Indiana. There was is spiral slide there that I swear had the slickest material that they make slides out of and was also greased. This was a true monster of a slide and I think I only went down it once because I was downright frightened of it. I hated the forces back then as it was simply too much and I hated anything which gave a sensation of quick drops or anything I didn't really have control over. I still won't do roller coasters because it don't have control.
All of these thoughts were going through my brain as I still awaited the cue to go. The nerves were rising as I wondered just how much speed and how many forces would be felt. It's one thing to go down a straight slide being able to see where it's going to go but the entrance to this slide was circular in a downward fashion so sitting down on the entrance and letting go, in a way, was a leap, ahem, a slide of faith.
It was time and just like when I raced karts all of the nerves and all of the fear evaporated when I let go and started sliding. After one rotation I wanted more speed and more forces so again I scrunched up to change my CG and the speed increased to the point that I had a hard time keeping my feet from getting close to the steel bars that are the upper barrier.
Around and around I went and this was one of the odder experiences I've had because you just keep going and I was trying to find the optimal speed. Finally I reached the bottom and when I tried to stand I had no ability as my equilibrium had no idea what had happened and I almost fell over trying to stand and I must say it felt awesome!
Sadly, we had to leave so I didn't get a chance to take the trip down the 10 story slide again but I know I'll be back and when I go it's going to be a sliding marathon. I did tell my dad about this and I started with, "dad, be very thankful they didn't have this place when I was young in Indianapolis because I don't know if you could have ever gotten me to leave."