Adios....For The Time Being...Well, Sorta, Kinda, All That Wishy Washy Stuff.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 10:36 AM

Mike - I was hoping that your recent absence from the boards was for a different reason, and I'm so sorry to hear this news.

After reading your post my first thoughts are about how much fortitude and strength it takes to write a post like yours. I already have a lot of respect for you, and putting together your thoughts and sharing them with us has only allowed others to be inspired and engender that same respect. I can't tell you how much this means to me. I and many others here will remember your courageous words forever, so you'll always be with us no matter what happens.

I've met Mike in person on four different occasions - three times at Great Adventure and once at my home park, Kings Island. I remember meeting Mike for the first time at Great Adventure in 2010 or 2011. Mike and I were posters on the ultimaterollercoaster.com message boards. I told him that I was going to be up at Great Adventure for a quick visit. He suggested meeting up, and after exchanging information we made arrangements to do so. Mike and I didn't have pictures of ourselves online so we had no idea as to what the other person looked like before meeting. We both had old-school cell phones at the time that weren't always reliable, so the day we were meeting up turned out to be very interesting! We did eventually find each other just inside the front gate, and the first thing Mike did was give me a hug. I thought it was a little unusual at the time for him to be hugging a near-complete stranger, but it perfectly illustrates the kind of guy Mike is.

For those of you who haven't met Mike yet, Mike is a hardcore back seat rider on just about every coaster. I prefer most of the coasters at Great Adventure in the back of the train except for Nitro, which IMO is best experienced in the front two rows. Mike, his friend Jen and I were walking up to the Nitro station one morning. Jen also likes Nitro better up front, so we suggested that we ride up in row 2. The look on Mike's face was absolutely priceless! He looked at both of us as if I just told him I was pregnant. He did eventually acquiesce and we did have a nice ride in row 2. We asked him "how did you like riding up front?" and were promptly met with a "now I remember why I always ride in the back row". The man is loyal to the back row!

I remember arranging to meet Mike at Kings Island near Diamondback. I did eventually find him - resting on a bench just in front of the Diamondback station. He was super tired from the road trip he was on. Despite that, instead of immediately heading back to his hotel he took a couple of Diamondback laps with me - in the back row of course. When we were leaving the park, he told me that he had a couple of items for me - a stack of Six Flags BOGO games coupons that were like gold to me. Six Flags was still doing the paper coupon books at the time, and each coupon book from his home park - Great Adventure - had one of those coupons in it. Mike knew that I was a big games player at that time, so he spent the first couple months of the season collecting coupons from others because he knew that I valued them so much. It's thoughtful little stuff like that that makes you appreciate who Mike is.

Mike - I want to thank you for the time we spent together. We always had such an enjoyable time and spent so much of it laughing. It's been too long since we've seen each other, but know that some of my fondest memories are those epic Columbus Day El Toro power-ride sessions we enjoyed together. It seems ironic that our friendship started off with you giving me a hug, and here I am wanting to do return the favor right now. You are the personification of wit, humility, and class. Our meetings may have been relatively brief but your legacy will endure in my heart forever.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016 10:45 AM
Carrie J.'s avatar

It was a pleasure meeting you, Mike, at Coasting for Kids at Dorney several years ago. I'm praying for peace and comfort for you. May the back seat of every coaster be yours in Heaven.
Peace and Love,
Carrie


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016 10:49 AM
Walk-Off HBP's avatar

Wow, sorry to hear this. Can't imagine the courage needed for a time like this.


Never has gravity been so uplifting.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016 3:33 PM
Bobbie1951's avatar

I've known Mike for about 2 1/2 yrs although I actually saw him on only 3 occasions. We met on Easter Sunday. I knew that it was his habit to go to Great Adventure on Easter and hit El Toro first so when I saw a guy wearing a Coasting For Kids T-shirt I figured that that was Mike but didn't want to make assumptions. A guy wearing bunny ears - I forget his name and he's now deceased, died in his 30's - said something to him and I asked do you know that guy? He said that's Mike and the rest is history. Had a great time hanging out at the park all day with Mike, who's smart, funny and a true gentleman. We both like the end seats on 4-seaters so there was some compromise involved and I remember Mike lamenting one ride due to the wheels on Nitro's C train, which were badly in need of replacement and made an awful screeching sound.

The last time I saw Mike was in July of 2015. I'd been invited to a media event at Great Adventure and was permitted to bring up to 4 guests but invited only Mike b/c 1) he was the most companionable of my coaster enthusiast friends and acquaintances and 2) he could be absolutely counted on to show up on time. In fact it was Mike's very good idea that we meet at the Wawa down the road between 9 and 9:30. Mike seemed to be enjoying himself at the event but even then it was obvious that the diabetic neuropathy was taking its toll, as he had issues with mobility and stamina. Navigating steps to loading stations proved difficult. He was afraid that he'd have to exit Batman and go back up the steps, but fortunately the ride ops permitted him to remain in the station. We did manage 2 rides on El Toro - both Mike's and my favorite - but after that Mike was too tired to continue. Anyway, the video that Mike and I did of Batman backwards remains one of my favorites, not only b/c I think it's a riot but b/c it brings back fond memories. Mike, I hope you don't mind my posting the link to the video here! I know you expressed reservations about the way you came out but I think you look fine and so do some people - who, by the way, are praying for you - to whom I've shown the video. And you certainly look as if you were having a good time!

Cannot imagine what Mike must be going through. I need to find some way to get from Philly to Bayonne by public trans. Greyhound doesn't go there and it looks as if NJ Transit involves a number of bus changes resulting in an almost all-day trip. Mike, will call you within the next several days. Should have done so before now but having recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, have been pretty much caught up in my own medical situation. I love you, buddy!


Bobbie

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016 3:47 PM

Wishing you peace and as much comfort as possible while you ride this out. You're incredibly courageous and thank you for all of your input over the years.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016 7:39 PM
OhioStater's avatar

Wow. This is so sad, yet at the same time incredible in more than one way. We never met in person, and I haven't been around here as long as some, but I always enjoy what you have to say here. By incredible I mean two things; your dignity and strength with how you are handling this experience, and on the same token the way you touch people's lives. You're clearly loved by many, and really what more could anyone ask for as we head down the end of our own road.

I hope you and the ones around you find peace, and thank you for sharing your story.

This place never ceases to amaze me.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016 11:12 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

Wow, Bobbie. I haven't seen that much headbanging since I saw Cannibal Corpse live a few years back. Or my last ride on KI Vortex, not sure which is a better/funnier analogy.

Mike, While I don't know you, I wish you the best. I can't imagine facing what you are facing, or having to make those kinds of decisions. Besides that, I have no idea what to say. Stay strong.

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Friday, October 7, 2016 11:47 PM

Mike, I have been struggling and grappling with the right words to say to you and about you, and I'm pretty sure I've blatantly effed it up every time. For a nurse, I don't handle death and dying well when it is a loved one, and you are certainly loved by me.

From the time I first started posting on CBuzz, you were on the short list of people that I actually wanted to meet and get to know better. Before we met, I was a crazy enthusiast. After we introduced ourselves at Coasting for Kids, I was part of a community, a family. I was so nervous to meet a fellow Buzzer, but you gave me a hug right away, introduced me to Judy P. (Oh my god, are you Judy P from Coaster Critic?!), and then we adopted a lonesome ACEr and started chattering away immediately like we'd known one another all our lives.

We also got to hang out for Riding of the Bull one year, and although we joke that we will volley and box for the back right side of Toro, you were so lovely as to insist I took our favorite seat. It still remains a funny memory that we "didn't win anything! Not even a f***ing pencil!" At the ACE raffle, and I couldn't believe you dropped the f bomb! You had been restraining yourself from cursing too much apparently, and I found that highly amusing as well, considering I curse like a sailor. However, it still reminds me of how much of a gentleman you truly are.

Yes, I ended that sentence with "are". Heh...

Also, how about that epic FRONT SEAT Nitro ride for season opener when you, me, Kate, and Jaya all held hands and leaned over the front a little? Everyone was so much taller than me that holding my hands with yours and Jaya's made me feel like I was gonna fly right out of the seat and die. You said front row rides like that could almost change your mind on where to ride Nitro. I was rendered speechless with shock!

We didn't get to hang out nearly as much as I would have liked between your failing health, my health issues and financial issues, and our group's general crapton of bad luck, but it doesn't matter. You're the reason our "Riding Wounded" group bonded and became a second family to me.

When I was told we should visit you soon because you were VERY ill, I was in denial. I was angry. I was cursing Jersey medical care. It wasn't right that you had declined so quickly in the short time I had known you, and so it had to be fixable.

I know better now, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. You are so loved, so respected, so appreciated. I still didn't say it right, but any eloquence I normally possess eludes me when it comes to losing a dear friend and fellow coaster tool. I hope every day that your pain is minimal and that you pass on peacefully, knowing you've made an indelible mark on us all. Love you, buddy.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Saturday, October 8, 2016 12:29 PM

Sorry to hear, Mike! I lost my Mom to diabetes back in 1990. So, I have a general idea. Many people don't realize how bad it can be. It is so easy to get infections and have them spread. She lost a couple fingertips due to hangnails that got infected. When she had kidney transplant, she got a bed sore on heel while in hospital and had to have her foot taken off. Then couple of months before she died, she lost her other leg. Over just a weekend, she lost all circulation to her foot and doc said it had to come off. But she kept her sense of humor right up until the end. She didn't give up. She took what life threw at her and kept going. Not sure if I could.

I've never met you, but have always enjoyed reading your posts over the years.


Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

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Sunday, October 9, 2016 2:22 AM
sws's avatar

Mike, I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through. You've been a valued member of this community for many years. Although we will not have the chance to meet, you've always seemed like a nice guy. I've enjoyed reading your posts over the years. Take care of yourself.

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Monday, October 10, 2016 12:18 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

I'm so sorry to learn this. For me, you've always a highly respected member of this community.


Why is it that when men go to the bathroom, they stand up and take aim instead of sitting down and taking five?-- Linda Ellerbee

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016 12:10 AM

I'm so sorry. I can't begin to imagine what you're going through. I can't help but admire your strength and courage. I can't remember the last time I've scrolled past one of your posts without reading it. You've always been part of the reason why I frequent this site and I will surely miss you when you're gone. If there is an afterlife, I hope it's better than the crazy world in which we live. Thank you for all that you are.

Resident Lurker:

Duane

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Sunday, October 16, 2016 8:59 PM

Dammit, Mac....now I gotta get the keyboard towel out again. I love you all the way and back, man.


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Sunday, October 16, 2016 9:11 PM

kpjb said:

Damn... don't know what to say. Hope your days are peaceful, painless, and fun. Hope we can still have you around for awhile.

I don't know....I'd hoped I wouldn't be around to make a decision on the apparent train wreck known as the Rocky Horror remake on Fox. You knooooow there's a part of me that needs to see how colossally bad this really is.


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Sunday, October 16, 2016 9:16 PM

HeyIsntThatRob? said:

We don't really know each other and its a shame we never crossed paths, but I've always enjoyed your contributions to this community.

Mike, take care. Peace be with you, your friends and your family.

We did cross paths. I don't recall the year, but it was my first PPP and I "knew" your brother from another forum and was hoping to meet him. I thought you were him, but you steered me toward him on Phoenix' queue.

Best to you, him and your families as well.


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Sunday, October 16, 2016 9:37 PM

Blackie said:

I'm so sorry. I can't begin to imagine what you're going through. I can't help but admire your strength and courage. I can't remember the last time I've scrolled past one of your posts without reading it. You've always been part of the reason why I frequent this site and I will surely miss you when you're gone. If there is an afterlife, I hope it's better than the crazy world in which we live. Thank you for all that you are.

Resident Lurker:

Duane

Are you Duane that created/runs rcdb.com? If so, thank you for all the help and pleasure and info you've given me. If not, thank you for the kind words. Well, that means THANK YOU either way, doesn't it?


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Sunday, October 16, 2016 9:38 PM

Thanks to all!


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Monday, October 17, 2016 5:20 AM

No, I'm not the Duane from rcdb.com. Yes, it does.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016 4:45 PM

I don't know who you are, but I found all of this very touching. I had a friend once with stage 3 cancer. He refused to go through treatment due to the cancer would never go into remission. So, I get what you are experiencing in your decision. I tried to make his last days pleasant and I hope you have a lot of support who are doing the same. God bless.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016 12:14 AM

Mike,

Thank you for your insight, your many contributions and your penchant for quality posts.

I hope you will find painless peace.


Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

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