April takes the ride of her life | PostIndependent.com

April takes the ride of her life

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood

Lately I’ve been taken for a ride. It’s not the first time.

And it certainly won’t be the last.

Since the beginning of summer, I have been a passenger on the highest elevation roller coaster in the U.S., and I have flown in a World War II-era B-17 bomber. Just last week, I rode on my first Segway personal transporter.

I still can’t believe that last one.

Since I started as a reporter 20 years ago at the Purdue Exponent student newspaper, I have had the opportunity to experience some crazy stuff. Back then I was a sports reporter turned arts editor.

As the Exponent’s first female sports writer, I not only interviewed some of Purdue’s all-star football players, I also experienced a season of Big 10 lacrosse. I met ’90s country star Joe Diffie. I also interned at a weekly paper on the Boys of Summer beat, covering the Lafayette Leopards minor-league baseball team. There are plenty of stories, especially behind the scenes, that highlight that summer.

Just ask my college roommates.

As a full-time features reporter and arts and entertainment editor with the Post Independent in Glenwood Springs, I had my share of experiences. I flew in a hot air balloon over Snowmass Village. I held a python snake around my neck while he slithered down the back of my pants. I tried stand-up comedy for the first time in front of 500 people at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen.

The latter became a habit.

I like thrills, and a challenge, so this summer the Post Independent is throwing adventure my way with what seems to have become the “April Takes a Ride” series. This collection of stories is just as it sounds. I ride stuff. Then I write about it. I also keep a vomit bag close at hand.

Luckily I’ve been keeping everything down.

Someone just wrote me the other day to say I have the best job in the valley. I may also have the strongest stomach in the valley, as riding roller coasters and airplanes have been known to have undesirable effects on the weaker stomachs of the world.

I wonder if people get motion sickness on Segways.

There isn’t much I won’t ride, except maybe the Giant Canyon Swing that sends passengers flying 1,300 feet over the Colorado River. For anyone who ever wanted to hear my arsenal of curse words, take a ride with me on this baby.

Make sure to bring the soap to scrub my mouth.

I last rode the Giant Canyon Swing a few summers ago with my dad. My mom was about to be buckled in when she had a change of heart and decided to watch rather than ride. I believe my dad and I lovingly referred to her as a “big chicken.” Sorry, Mom. In her place, a young girl hopped right on and rode with us, frontward and backward.

I later apologized to her mother for expanding her vocabulary.

With a crazy ride over the Colorado on a giant swing, a few twists and turns on the country’s highest elevation roller coaster, a jaunt over the Bookcliffs in a vintage war bomber, and a balancing act on a Segway, I have had quite the ride so far.

Oddly enough, the two times I was clearly white-knuckled, holding on for dear life, I was riding in the basket of a hot air balloon and driving a Segway. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, considering Segways are nothing to be scared of, but sometimes my fear of crashing is at its highest when I’m the one in control.

This could be a lesson in trusting me.

Since Rand McNally has named Glenwood Springs the most fun town in America, “April Takes a Ride” isn’t exactly a stretch. There are so many things to ride; I hope I can fit them all in this year. I’ve already received some great suggestions, such as a train ride on an Amtrak and some off-roading on an ATV.

I’ve also heard I should try stand-up paddle boarding, which I unsuccessfully attempted to ride a few summers back. I still have Mr. Shane Michael Burr to thank for his heroic pursuit of his brother’s paddle board that floated down the Colorado while I was stranded on a rock. He successfully chased it down as I successfully made a huge fool of myself.

All in a day’s work.

– “April in Glenwood” appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark is happy the B-17 bomber she rode in at the Garfield County Air Show remained upright, and wonders which ride she will take next. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.

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