Day 84: Interstate Tour 2018
The weather was unexpectedly gorgeous this morning as I drove down I-95 towards Richmond, and this gave me new hopes to get some Mavic shots before I went into Kings Dominion. Arriving about an hour before the park opened, I cruised over to the truck stop across the street and launched from there, flying the Mavic around the perimeter of the park. With some great, sunny, golden light shots secured, I made breakfast, got into my theme park clothes (zippered pockets, casual fit), parked near Dominator and headed into the park.
After purchasing a Fast Lane Plus to ensure that I'd be on and off the rides in a jiffy, I headed directly for the newest coaster at the park: the much-ballyhooed Twisted Timbers.
Rocky Mountain Construction has been on a bit of a roll lately, churning out record-breakers and astonishing thrill rides that are anything but conventional. Their hybrid coasters, wooden track with steel rails, are winning accolades from all around the world and their track layouts are full of wonderfully designed elements like barrel roll drops, overbanked turns and corkscrews, going where no wooden-style coaster has ever gone before. Twisted Timbers is one of their smaller rides, a re-tracked version of The Hurler that existed before it, but they worked fabulous magic with the space and I found myself, once again, hollering in surprise with every new tricky dip, lunge or swirl. Not a moment of dead space on this sucker - it keeps throwing things at you non-stop, and such glorious airtime!
Though I had a whole park full of coasters to ride before the forecasted rain begin to drop around 1 pm, I quickly jumped on this one again. Absolutely incredible little beast!
Racer 75 was next. Formerly known as Rebel Yell, the coaster was renamed this year to remove the confederate connotations associated with the name. Built by Philadelphia Tobaggan Coasters, and designed by the legendary John Allen, at 85 feet high and 3,368.5 feet long, this racing beauty has been retracked and refurbished since I last rode and she's charging the tracks stupendously, smooth and powerful. There's a scene in "Rollercoaster" where Harry (George Segal) is forced to ride this coaster with a suitcase filled with $1 million while the Young Man (Timothy Bottoms) watches through binoculars from the Eiffel Tower. I always sit in Harry's seat and I always wish someone else who loves the movie would be on the next train over saying, "hey, I bet you a MILLION dollars we BEAT ya mistah!" Makes me smile just thinking about it.
Volcano, The Blast Coaster wasn't operational, so I scooted along and hit Intimidator 305. Built by Intamin AG of Switzerland, who are no strangers to stratospheric fear machines, this beast boasts a 300 foot drop, 5,100 feet of track and a top speed of 90 mph. It also has the distinction of being reprofiled because the first drop and turn were causing riders to black out! The first right-hand turn at the bottom of the drop was widened to 270° and you hit 5g slamming into it, causing a grey-out in some people (I begin to lose vision the first and second time as the blood is forced out of my head and into my feet - third time, I guess I get used to it) - it's about as extreme as it gets on a rollercoaster. The rest of the ride is low to the ground high speed turns and twists with no inversions.
It doesn't matter what time of day it is, the line for this is always short. "Rollercoaster 2 looks too intense for me!"
I wasn't terribly interested in Flight of Fear or Apple Zapple, so I hit Dominator next, a Bolliger & Mabillard floorless coaster that was transplanted from Geauga Lake in 2008 when that park closed for good. This is one of their finer installations, a high-flying, rip-roaring coaster that really rocks in the middle of the train, a rarity.
For me, these are the stars of the park. I also rode Anaconda, an Arrow Development multi-looper, Avalanche, the only Mack bobsled ride in the country and Woodstock Express, formerly the Scooby Doo coaster, which was also featured briefly in "Rollercoaster."
This, and getting video from the ground, took the morning and early afternoon while I kept a watch on the weather. Parking myself at the Outer Hanks seafood restaurant with a beer, I got in touch with friend and patron Bill Wake, who'd be meeting me at the park for some ride time. Bill arrived with the rain and we waited for it to die down before making our way around the park and jumping on some rides.
With an eye towards doing some media management in the evening before hitting the hay, and a six hour drive to Charlotte tomorrow, we left the park and met for dinner up the road. Bill began as a student of mine, but he's been a great guide for me over the years with assistance pertaining to my business management. It was really nice to sit down and talk with him at length and hear about his work and travels. We're already planning to visit Busch Gardens next time I come through the area.
We said our goodbyes and I drove a little while to Walmart Resort: Glen Allen where I transferred media files and did a little digital housekeeping. The weather was no longer a concern - so I planned to drive down to Charlotte, North Carolina tomorrow, find a Walmart, then get some rest for a visit to Carowinds on Friday. My last gig of the Interstate Tour is on Saturday in Georgia.
On Sunday, I'll be back home for the first time since May 31st.
It all seems like a blur now - but a happy one. Life is like a rollercoaster. Enjoy the ride while it lasts! And put your hands up!