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Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Time Event
I know I've started to think about leaving tonight

And then we were to our last hours at Kings Island, the long evening and the night. I did have to insist on riding Invertigo. bunny_hugger was sure we had ridden it last time, but I couldn't swear that we had. Why would we miss a roller coaster? And why would she be reluctant to ride one? It's because Invertigo is a ``shuttle'' coaster. It goes out in one direction and then reverses, taking the second half at least as fast but the other way. It's not a kind of motion she likes, or takes well. MWS wasn't fond of the ride either, for the same motion-sickness issues, but he put up with it. In track configuration the ride's identical, or near enough, to The Sea Serpent at Morey's Piers in Wildwood. Later I found I did not have this ride checked on the Coaster Count web site, so at least I didn't think I had ridden it when we went to Kings Island a few years ago. The most distinctive thing about the station was the subway door-style sliding gates. bunny_hugger said the shuttle coaster at Dorney Park had the same kind of gates. I didn't remember that either.

After this it was a bunch of getting to rides because we wanted to ride them. For example there's Vortex, one of the last remaining 80s-style Arrow crazypants-number-of-loops rides. It's thirty years old and they had signs celebrating its anniversary. The ride station was originally built for a short-lived ride, The Bat, whose name was used for another coaster later on. But this is why the launch station for a ride that's basically lots of excuses to to do loops is a pile of belfries. (Not answered: why not call this The Bat when Paramount sold the park and they had to change all the licensed names? Not that Vortex is a bad name for such a loop-dominated ride, but you could argue it reflected a bat in flight effortlessly and reconnect with a local-legend name.) The ride crew was having some kind of internal contest to get the rides unloaded and loaded and dispatched as fast as possible. My memory tells me they wanted to get the train cleared for dispatch in 30 seconds, but that seems impossibly fast for a ride with restraints. Maybe it was 60 seconds. They made it for our ride, though, and great on them.

And as it got dark we got to Backlot Stunt Coaster. It's a Hollywood Backstage-themed ride originally themed to The Italian Job remake that you forgot about too. When Paramount sold the park and they lost the license, the new owners apparently threw a panicky meeting where they took the first name anyone suggested for a new name and they haven't gone back and fixed that yet. It's a linear induction motor-launched coaster, getting up to speed without a lift hill, and twisting and turning around Hollywood-themed stuff. It's still a props-heavy ride, and many of them just don't work anymore. The most prominent example is at one of the braking points. The train stops to watch what is clearly meant to be an attack helicopter shooting a bunch of oil barrels which burst into flame. The helicopter noise and the LEDs of the ``guns'' work; the barrels sit there, inert and stupefied, as does the rider. It's a fair enough roller coaster, but it depends so much on the props that their bad shape hurts things.

Back to The Beast, though, for a night ride and the person working the front of the queue to warn us there'd be a half-hour stoppage around 10 pm. This is because they set off fireworks from near enough some point of The Beast that the train mustn't run. We figured to risk it since we might get through before the stoppage and, if not, we didn't want to risk not getting a night ride on The Beast. So this is why we were standing (once more, for me and bunny_hugger) in the long ride queue when they stopped dispatching riders and just waiting for ... nothing, it seemed like.

Well, I suppose they were doing stuff we just didn't understand. But when you're mostly just standing around waiting for the ride to come back into operation there's a lot of time to get bored with the queue monitors showing off park trivia (the park was featured in an episode of The Brady Bunch, a show I don't think I've ever deliberately watched). The high point here was noticing actual wildlife at the park! Dozens of feet below on the ground we could watch a skunk sniffing about, taking care of his business and then disappearing behind some of the ride supports. Three minutes later I lead the cry: ``Bring back the skunk!''

So we got to see the fireworks, from the obstructed views the ride queue and the launch station and the trees offer. But it means we could also see the explosions of light silhouetting the final drop of the Diamondback roller coaster, a great spot.

And when the ride started again we waited the extra cycles to get a back-seat ride, taking in the long, wonderful, thrilling and seemingly out-of-control ride deep into the silent woods and great darkness. It closed out our night, and we walked the long, beautiful way back to the car. The Kings Island entrance signs advertised Mystic Timbers and, that Friday, the water park's dive-in movie, Zootopia.

And that was why we had started for Pittsburgh by way of Cincinnati.

Trivia: The French government organized La Compagnie des Indies Orientales in 1664, des Indes Occidentales in 1665, du Nord in 1669, and du Levant in 1670. Source: A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow.

Currently Reading: The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders, Peter Heather.

PS: Christmas at bunny_hugger's parents, last year.


A neurotic basset hound notices my existence.


A neurotic basset hound wonders what she, as a mere dog, can do about my existence.


A neurotic basset hound comes quite close, notices my camera, and is just about to turn and flee.

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