Day 57: Interstate Tour 2018
I slept in again. Every time my eyes opened, I'd just close them again and say, "nuh-uh." Did this about four or five times and didn't rouse until about 10 am. Glorious.
Still, from about 11 am (allowing for breakfast and a cursory once-over of the e-mailbox) till about 5 pm, I focused fully on Dulcimerica 400. There was so much that I wanted to include and it ended up being a 30-minute episode. I'd work on a segment, color-correcting as I went, adding titles, then pacing back and forth in Imua to keep from getting a stiff back from that hunched-over-the-keyboard non-yoga pose that I adopt when working on a compelling project.
Once I had received the video from Ken Kaiser of our Friday night show, I knew what the build-up was going to be. I had also gotten a great clip of Sam Rizzetta and Maddie MacNeil performing "Summertime" during the Saturday evening concert, plus plenty of jams and drone shots. Still, there was a lot of overlapping sequences, stacked audio, composite shots, and this kind of thing takes a while, but I love the work. Just dive right in and enjoy the process, it's always a challenge to tell a linear story when you shoot out of sequence.
I'm alway grateful that Ken gets the footage each year, because I'm not always able to. This year, I had three cameras set up, but they would have been exposed to the rainstorm, so we have just the master shot, but it still captures the experience, the moment and the magic that took place. I honestly think that we raised the bar this year.
As soon as the video was rendered and uploaded to YouTube, I hit the road for Mason, Ohio. With my Cedar Fair Platinum Pass giving me the keys to the kingdom this weekend, I had planned on taking some time to really explore and hang out at Kings Island. It's one of my favorite parks and I go every year, even if they don't have anything new.
Tonight, I figured I'd get into town early enough to have two hours left in the park. Plenty of time to go ride The Beast in the dark.
The Beast is a legendary coaster; built in 1979, it's 7,359 feet long, goes 64 miles per hour and has a 141 foot drop. But that's not what makes it special. It's the double-helix at the end that tends to eat your soul and take you to the outer-most boundaries of your existence. Even with the terrible trim brakes sprinkled all throughout the course, it's still a masterpiece in out-of-control-hurtling-towards-your-death kind of coaster trauma.
It was starting to sprinkle as I entered the queue, with the slats overhead not providing much shelter from the droplets. The sky was mottled with grey clouds and the sun struggled to provide even a glimmer of golden light. But, as I boarded the train, suddenly, the clouds parted to reveal the fiery setting sun.
As we slipped out of the station, the guy next to me says, "wow, look at that!" in reference to the incredible orange sunset that was unfurled before us, and I was dazzled, too.
"Wow!, that's nice!" Beautiful vistas from roller coasters are a plus.
We switched directions to head up the lift hill and then The Beast had its way with us for about 4,000 feet, thrilling as it does, sending you, screaming, down into the rock and buried in the roar until you emerge, flattened against the seats, tilted at extreme angles, just haulin' ass until we hit the lift.
All along the second lift hill are speakers that are used to say things like, "please remain seated at all times" and "all cameras must be stored away or I'll stop the ride", or "block cleared, re-starting lift." For the first time, however, in all my years of visiting theme parks, as we ascended towards a second stunning view of an intensely painterly sunset, the panel operator went live over the array of speakers and said, "as you reach the top of the lift, I hope you'll take a moment to appreciate the amazing sunset that is taking place right now."
If I could've given the dude Reddit Gold, I would've. He saw beauty and wanted to share that beauty with the good folks that were riding his roller coaster. As a former ride operator, that kind of commitment to your job means a lot. I don't know if that's something that his supervisor would bust him for (theme park discipline can be weird) but I hope not. Dude clearly loves his job, loves his ride and loves the people who ride it enough to take it to the next level for them by way of a perfectly gorgeous sunset.
Then, as quickly as the moment happened, we were diving down into the double helix and feeling the total wrath of The Beast.
After disembarking (de-training), I walked around for a bit, planning on coming back for Early Entry for Platinum Pass Members. Mystic Timbers is the newest coaster, and I've ridden it - it's a dilly of a ride - and it would open at 9:30 for passholders to get exclusive ride time. I'd also pick up a Fastlane Plus pass to skip the lines tomorrow.
Friday should be less busy than Saturday, where I plan to come back with a focus on shooting video for an upcoming segment of Coast-2-Coaster. Sunday, who knows? When I'm not at Kings Island over the next couple of days, I'll be recording some new music and continuing to keep the tracks greased and the wheels trued.
Touring is certainly much like riding a rollercoaster. Some rides are longer than others and, even if you're having fun, there's something about rolling back into the station that clues you in, prepares you for re-entry into a world where it's NOT normal to feel these kinds of physical forces.
Extreme life calls for extreme release. And it's way safer than skydiving!