Day 37: Interstate Tour 2018
It was only an hour away - I had to go.
The nice thing about going to theme parks now is that I used to go just to hang out and ride up - but now, I'm also there shooting for Coaster-2-Coaster segments on Patreon, so I can justify the time and expense in the name of content (which is king!)
Knoebels has become one of my favorite theme parks. Nestled in the hills of Elysburg, and celebrating 91 years of operation, it's the last of a dying breed of parks with no entrance fee, no metal detectors and a slate of classic old attractions bundled together in a package so charming that you'd have to be made of lead bricks not to fall in love with the place.
Because of my evening concert in Linglestown, I couldn't dally - my objective was to hit the four coasters and then scoot on down the highway. Flying Turns was first on the list, a wooden bobsled "trackless" coaster that opened in 2013 and is the only one of its kind in operation today.
My favorite was next: Phoenix. Built in 1947 and formerly called The Rocket at Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas, it was bought and relocated to Knoebels in 1985. The ultra-cautious restraint systems of today are nowhere to be found on this incredible scream machine. No seat belts - just a "buzz bar" that serves only one purpose: to give you something to hang onto.
I chant a little mantra right before I go on this ride - no-one's ever been thrown out of the Phoenix no-one's ever been thrown out of the Phoenix - because no matter how many times I ride it, I always feel like they'll be hearing about me on the news. CAREFREE RIDER LAUNCHED OUT OF COASTER TRAIN.
No other coaster that I've ridden does what this one does, which is somehow manage to levitate your ass above the seat without actually catapulting you to some unpleasant landing. The legendary test of bravery is to do the ride no-hands, which just amplifies the ejector-seat experience and is one of the most mind-blowing coaster encounters I've ever had. They don't make 'em like that anymore.
Twister was next, opened in 1999 and is a seriously brutal beast. Lots of lateral forces - it'll knock your knees together.
I wrapped up the quartet with the only steel coaster at the park, Impulse, which opened in 2015. With a lift that goes straight up and a first drop that shoots straight down, Impulse is a quick, smooth and potent little coaster that was the perfect kick in the pants to send me down the highway.
Donna Gilbert has been organizing my concerts at Saint Thomas UCC in Linglestown and tonight was another fun one, done a little differently with two 45-minute sets instead of just one hour set. I always enjoy this gig (and the ice cream!) and I'll be seeing many of these folks next week at the Dutchland Dulcimer Gathering. It's largely because of Gettysburg, Lancaster, Shiremanstown and Linglestown that I'm in Pennsylvania every summer. My mother's side of the family is from Pittsburgh, so there's a warm homecoming kind of feeling whenever I'm in the state.
While I was driving from the gig, a guy in a white Dodge Grand Caravan pulled up alongside me and offered $200 for my bike. I smiled and told him I was too attached to it. I mean, I could get a brand new, pretty decent bike for $200, but we've been through a lot together, this gold Mongoose and me, and, besides, I'm not done backing it into things yet.
Found excellent wifi at a Walmart in Hanover, PA and that's where I'm chilling tonight. Tomorrow, I'll head over to McDaniel College in Westminister, Maryland and get camped for Common Ground On The Hill.