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"Coaster Dad" Builds Backyard Roller Coaster for Kids

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Even though Mother's Day is just around the corner, Will Pemble is gaining a following online for being one of the coolest dads around.

    The 50-year-old father began building his kids a backyard roller coaster in September 2013 in his Orinda backyard and decided to document his labor and love on YouTube. The end product was a 180-foot long, 10-foot high coaster that cost $3,500 to create and a venture he calls "The CoasterDad Project."

    Pemble, who is the chief product strategist at Extensible Management Inc. and proud father of Lyle, 10, and Ellie, 12, chronicles his construction experience on a blog and through pictures.

    In addition to the tutorials about how he built his own amusement park, complete with PVC pipe and steel wheels, Pemble posts reviews of other parks, such as Knott's Berry Farm.

    In an interview Tuesday, Pemble said he was motivated to take on the endeavor after his family returned from Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, where he rode the best roller coaster ever - the Kingda Ka.

    His son, a bit mopey that he had to return to school after that great ride, told his dad: "You know what would be cool? If we built a roller coaster in the backyard," he recalled.

    "Any responsible parent would have said, 'No,' " Pemble said. "I said yes."

    A handmade roller coaster in Will Pemble's Orinda, Calif. backyard.

    In addition to learning to construct a roller coaster, which his kids named "The Caution Zone," because of the family rules about safety, Pemble taught himself some fancy video editing tricks. He says in one of his clips on inserting posts, "I learned this trick on Gilligan's Island," before playing a fast motion video of him assembling a coaster with silly music in the background. 

    But Pemble is a realist too, and doesn't spend all of his time creating magical memories for his kids.

    In one video, he signs off temporarily saying, "Sadly, I have to go do grownup things with business people. Someone has to pay for all this."