Summer Sounds: Thunk And Clang Of A Wooden Coaster

As part of our Summer Sounds series, we visit an old roller coaster in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, host: And it's time now for another summer sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPLASHING WATER)

(SOUNDBITE OF RINGING BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF CHIRPING BIRDS)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: It's summertime.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SARA SARASOHN: My name is Sara Sarasohn, and I'm an editor on NPR's Arts Desk. My summer sound is the Giant Dipper, not the Big Dipper, the Giant Dipper.

It's a roller coaster. It's been on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk since 1924, and it's been in my family since the 1950s. That's when my grandparents first brought my mother and my aunts and uncle to Santa Cruz in the summer. You don't take a family to Santa Cruz in the summer without going to the boardwalk, and I say you don't go to the boardwalk without riding the Giant Dipper...

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING)

SARASOHN: ...unless you're shorter than 50 inches tall. I'm hoping my daughter will make 50 inches next summer. It could be the year that the Giant Dipper is her first roller coaster. It was my first roller coaster back in the 1970s, and it was my mother's too. It's a great ride. But, to me, part of the magic of the Giant Dipper is the way it sounds.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROLLER COASTER)

SARASOHN: It was made in the golden era of wooden roller coasters, so it sounds like the 19th century - a machine of steel and wood, chains and gears and scaffoldings.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROLLER COASTER)

SARASOHN: When you go up that first incline, you could see the big beach houses and the cheap motels, the sand and the Pacific Ocean, the elements of a family summer vacation spread out below you. But sometimes when I ride the Giant Dipper, I close my eyes so I can hear it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROLLER COASTER)

BLOCK: That summer sound from NPR's Sara Sarasohn.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MICHELE NORRIS, host: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: