November 1st, 2014

krazy koati

One gallon for that certain start

Sunday morning we woke up about as late as we could, got ready, packed, and said our goodbyes to our room and the Bel Air wing of the hotel. We started with the traditional early-admission ride on Maverick, and I realize I forgot to mention something about the ride from Friday so I'll tuck it in here: there were spiderwebs on it. There were even threads of spider silk reaching from one seat to its neighbor. This on a roller coaster that gets up to 70 miles per hour, and that has drops of up to 100 feet. Spiders are amazing.

We rarely ride Top Thrill Dragster. It's not really all that thrilling --- just a rapid acceleration, climb 400 feet and drop back down --- and the lines are normally too ridiculously long to bother. But I thought I saw them sending out half-empty cars, implying they couldn't have too long a line. Given the chill and the still-early hour this looked plausible. And we hadn't ridden it at all this year, so, why not? Well, it turned out there was a line, a roughly half-hour queue, and that's just my bad call. As we were talking about whether our pinball friend might be in the park already, though, bunny_hugger saw him coming on the returning train. So we'd figured on having a little pinball tournament on the functioning games after all.

We finally got up to the station and sat down in the second of the two separate train cars they load at once. That car went on its quick way and our car moved up to the waiting spot. And waited. And waited. Waiting for the launch to start is the real thrill of the ride but this was rather much. People started getting antsy and the people in front of us took out a cell phone, very unnerving considering that when the ride launches it goes from zero to 120 miles per hour in under four seconds and I'd rather not have consumer electronics embedded thusly in my skull. But we weren't at the launch station yet either, just, the waiting one.

Finally ride operators came and said there was some issue and we would soon be leaving this spot, either forward or backward. bunny_hugger and I wondered if this meant the car could actually literally roll backward or if they'd just have us get out and walk back on the horizontal walkway to the launch station. This would, I suppose, technically count as a walkdown from a roller coaster, something neither of us have ever done, but since the track is horizontal at this point it's not much of one. No, though; they rolled us backwards into the station and said the ride would be down for an indeterminate time and we were free to wait to be in the first car launched or were free to go somewhere else.

We decided not to wait, and met up with our pinball friend --- he and his group had spotted us trapped in the waiting --- and joked about us being the jinx when I've got to say he was a major factor in Demolition Derby Night at pinball league and has had several machines break down on him since then.

As to what was wrong with Top Thrill Dragster? We don't know, but we did see it up a handful of times during the day. Our best guess is that the winds exceeded some safety threshold; the taller rides are very vulnerable to this and the weekend, wind-swept as it was, would see a lot of things closed down. For example we're not sure that Windseeker, the elevated swing ride that last year kept having mechanical problems, ever opened for the day. They had a sign by its entrance saying Windseeker was closed due to high winds, as if it were posing for a ``You Had One Job'' meme. Of course one could say the ride was just quite good at its task.

Trivia: The Imperial Russian Olympic team arrived in London twelve days late for the 1908 games. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: Alley Oop: The First Time Travel Adventure, V T Hamlin.