Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

This family built a mini-rollercoaster in their backyard during quarantine, what's your excuse?

Illustration for article titled This family built a mini-rollercoaster in their backyard during quarantine, what's your excuse?
Screenshot: YouTube (Fair Use)

Near the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine, a bunch of insufferable motivational types began braying on their social media pages about how “now” was the perfect time to finish that project you always meant to complete, to learn a new language, or to simply just become more “productive” than ever. Of course, these people never acknowledged the psychological, physical, and economic toll that came from attempting to comprehend the situation’s enormity, and that a tragedy resulting in millions of deaths was not necessarily the time or place to hawk your “live every day to the fullest” self-help drivel.


We’re better than that, though, and would never begrudge anyone for taking these past uncertain months to simply work on their own self-care adjust to this strange new reality. At least with multiple COVID-19 vaccines currently in their final stages of approval, there appears to finally be a light emerging at the end of this pandemic’s long, dark, depressing tunnel. Now, those of us who’ve felt stifled can perhaps begin to find their footing again. No shame in that at all...

Oh, Jesus Christ. Are you kidding us here? You mean to tell us someone seriously built a working miniature rollercoaster in their backyard modeled after Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds ride while the rest of us deadbeats were binging The Queen’s Gambit and eating frozen pizzas? Way to make us all look like a bunch of lazy, fearful chumps.

“Sean and Michael LaRochelle are the masterminds behind the ride, which was built in the Carneros backyard of their parents, Jacques LaRochelle, a retired Napa city public works director, and Diane LaRochelle,” explains a recent profile from the Napa Valley Register. “...From March until August, the LaRochelles, including sons Sean, Michael and Mark and daughter Nicole, worked pretty much full time on the coaster build.”

Well good on you all, LaRochelles. That’s just great. Here we were, thinking our day was productive having made it out of bed to change into a new pair of pajama pants, and you exemplars of craftsmanship and ingenuity managed to go weld together a 20-foot-tall, 400-foot-long replica of childhood wonder. Oh, and did we mention there’s an electronic, miniature Yeti within one of those expertly-constructed tunnels?

“The group even came up with a story that goes with the ride,” reads the profile, because of course they did. “Set in a mountain in the Himalayas home to a ferocious Yeti, ‘you’re an explorer trying to find your way through it,’ Sean described. ‘You happen upon the Yeti and he’s not very happy that you invaded his home and when you see him, he makes his presence known.’” Real cute, Sean. You may have built a rollercoaster in your parents’ backyard, but is it set to “Bohemian Rhapsody”? We didn’t think so.

Check and mate, LaRochelles. Speaking of which, we need to finish up The Queen’s Gambit before our frozen pizza is done microwaving.


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Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).