Coasting from coast to coast

When Monica Jackson was a little girl, she never imagined herself traveling the world because she loved roller coasters, in fact she imagined herself married with kids by the age of 26. However, what many people dream of when they are kids often turns out much differently when they become adults.

Jackson is a student at Skyline College working on an Associate’s Degree in University Studies. She works a part-time position at Kaiser Hospital as a filing manager, and in the mix of it all, she makes sure she has the time to ride rollercoasters.

The first rollercoaster she ever rode was the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland in Anaheim. Jackson said it gave her a thrill she had never experienced before and wanted that feeling over and over again.

“It’s a thrill I can’t explain,” Jackson said. “I love the adrenaline rush I get from riding a coaster; it’s like chocolate to me-I can’t help but go back for more.”

Jackson has been on over 350 different rollercoasters, including wooden rollercoasters and “kiddie” coasters. For every coaster she rides, she earns what is called a “coaster point”, which allows the enthusiast to keep track of how many roller coasters they have ridden.

“I traveled across the country this past summer,” Jackson said. “I went all across the United States to different theme parks and amusement parks to ride different rollercoasters.”

Due to her love for rollercoasters, Jackson found herself and her boyfriend traveling to the different coaster parks across the country, giving her an opportunity to visit places she never would have visited if they didn’t have an amusement park.

“I found myself in Texas,” Jackson said. “What is in Texas for me to really want to see? Nothing, I am just glad I did it to say, ‘Yeah, I’ve been there.'”

Many people have a hard time appreciating Jackson’s love for rollercoasters and theme parks, but she views this as a “great hobby” and better than “doing something illegal.” “People don’t understand my fascination and excitement for coasters, but it’s not just the coasters I enjoy, it’s getting away for that moment in a different place all together and not dealing with the worries of the world,” Jackson said.

Her next step is to join the American Coaster Enthusiasts to share her experiences with other fanatics. Through this club, she is planning a trip to Europe and Japan for a month next summer to add more points to her passion. “Next summer is going to be awesome,” Jackson said. “By the time I get back I will have over six hundred coasters under my belt and will be considered a god by other enthusiasts.”

According to Jackson, this is quite an accomplishment among other coaster buffs. Most of them only dream of getting that many points in their lifetime.

“This is all about having fun for me,” Jackson said. “I am young and get to do two things I love most-travel and ride roller coasters, so why not.”