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Riders raise their arms as they travel the "Kingda Ka" roller coaster at Six Flags amusement park in Jackson, New Jersey. This is one of the many parks Karol Gadja would have visited this summer if his tripped hadn't been cut short.
Riders raise their arms as they travel the "Kingda Ka" roller coaster at Six Flags amusement park in Jackson, New Jersey. This is one of the many parks Karol Gadja would have visited this summer if his tripped hadn't been cut short. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Every summer, I try my best to visit at least one amusement park — whether it's one of the major Six Flags Parks or just a local theme park downtown. But this summer one man tried to ride every roller coast in America. Yes, you read that correctly ... every roller coaster in America. That sounds like quite a challenge but for Karol Gajda, it was just another adventure.
When I heard about his quest of coasters this June, I immediately reached out to him to learn more about his project and to figure out why he would do this. Well, the reason was simple: Just for fun. Karol told me he was a traveler and took many adventures so with summer approaching he figured riding America's roller coasters would be a good one. And to document his latest adventure, Karol created a website called "Karol's Roller Coaster Tour – 1 Man, 3 Months, 13,000 Miles, Every Coast in the U.S.!" where he blogged about his experience, featured a map of his roller coaster route and even included a section called "Meet Me" where fans could meet Karol at a coaster.
It was mid-June when I talked with Karol and his adventure was still in its early stages. He said he was enjoying the experience but it was very exhausting on the body because of all the adrenaline.
Karol also explained his schedule, how each coaster day he would start early to beat the heat and the crowds and with a list of roller coasters that he would ride. Karol said he would only ride the major "legit" rides, which boiled an entire theme park into three to four rides. He also explained how he usually rides the coasters alone but because of the blog, he would meet a few people for a ride or two and if he had time to spare, he would even enjoy the rest of the theme park.
But one of the downfalls to this trip was all the traveling. Karol said he drove thousands of miles within a few days and some days, he would go to a theme park in the morning and then drive to a new location in the same day. Throw in updating his website with new experiences from his trip and you have a pretty busy schedule that could take a toll.
Well, he finally reached his breaking point. Mid-July I reached out to Karol again in hopes of maybe having him on the show to talk about his roller coaster journey. Unfortunately, a few days before I talked with him, Karol decided to end his quest to ride every coaster in America.
He said it just became too much. It was a combination of scheduling issues, major fatigue and his health. On his personal blog, Ridiculously Extraordinary, Karol explains how the unexpected exhaustion made the trip more of a hassle then it was worth, especially when his health was starting to take a major hit.
What I didn't expect was that driving hundreds of miles every day, going on roller coasters, and then writing about the experience would be so exhausting. "You know what?" I thought to myself. "Don't post anything to RidiculouslyExtraordinary on Thursday. It's going to be crap because you're stressed beyond belief.
Karol also had another post about all the expenses he incurred during his trip. In his post, he outlined all his expenses into five major categories –- Parks, Hotels, Gas, Food and Miscellaneous. Within each category, Karol broke down the numbers behind his spending and explained why he paid for what he did. But like most people, the number I most wanted to know was how much he spent on this wild roller coaster ride across America. Karol said his total living expenses from May 21st to July 6th amounted to $5,271.03! And if you just can't believe it, he has proof. He linked a spreadsheet with all his expenses to his post.
Long story short, Karol's experience this summer showed us that sometimes too much of a good (and even fun) thing can be bad. But despite the outcome, I still applaud Karol Gadja for the efforts he made to fulfill a summer ambition that few of us would ever attempt.