Catching the Brass Ring, Knoebels, June 7

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Thursday, June 12, 2003 7:04 PM
Knoebel's Grove Amusement Park

June 7, 2003

OK, I am a little behind here, and actually should finish up the Stark Raven Mad report, but I had to get this one out, since I have been to Knoebels three times thus far this season and have yet to write a report.

Anyway, this trip had been planned for a little while now. My sister, Rachel, is in the PA Army National Guard, and was called to active duty earlier this year. She was home on leave for a week, and then was shipping out to Kosovo (which is so nice this time of year, right?), so I just had to bring her up to Knoebels before she left.

We had hoped for a larger group, but ended up with just four, Rachel and her boyfriend Greg, my friend Matt, and myself. I woke up that morning to find it pouring out. This sucks, so when we went for breakfast, I called the park, and they were open. OK, cool, we are good to go, and the rain would only make the coasters better.

We got to the park at around 1:00 PM. It was pretty empty, the lot was not even a quarter filled. We walked through the park to the ticket booth. This actually took a little while, since though I had been to the park many time, the only other person to have visited was Greg, and that was some time ago. So everyone was gawking at the rides, which I think is great. We stopped and watched the Grand Carousel, and I showed then the brass ring catch, and explained that is one of the few carousels you will find where people actually run for the outside horses.

We finally get to the main ticket booth, which if you have never been to Knoebels, is in the middle of the park, and find they are running a special, $15.50 to ride until seven. Cool by us, we get our hands stamped and head toward the Phoenix.

Not so fast. It is still raining, and Matt and Greg wanted ponchos, so we hopped into the store across from the Phoenix to grab some. Two bucks, not bad. Everyone browsed the store and then we finally headed over to the Phoenix.

The Phoenix was running just one train on this slow day, but the operators were efficient as usual, dispatching the the train in about 30 seconds (I really should time it sometime, it does not take them long). Rachel insisted on a front seat ride, which was fine by me, I just wanted to ride, so we waited a couple of trains and got in the front. The ride was OK, not one of my better ones on the Phoenix. The first half was pretty much airtime free, but it picked up in the second half, and it was pretty good there. After wards we went around and got closer to the back of the train, where the airtime was more plentiful, but still not as great as some of the rides I have had.

Next we headed over to the Flyers. Greg bowed out of this one, but the rest of us hopped on. The old man running the ride insists to me that it is running about 50% slower this year, but you couldn't tell by the way I was snapping it. I had it bouncing on just about every peak and valley, and a few times I had to slow myself down some because I came real close to twisting the lines and spinning the tub around, which even I fear. Even more entertain were to water laden trees, which were hanging so low I was clipping them. It was the best run I have ever had on the Flyers, and it still scares the hell out of me. To finish the ride off, the old man, who had been watching me the whole time, waited until I was at a peak, and then cut the power so I would suddenly come crashing down. It was awesome.

After we were done shaking from the Flyers, we headed back inwards again, toward the Grand Carousel, where we all grabbed some out side horses and had a great time, so much so that Rachel wanted to ride again.

This is when it happened. We are riding, and I am the last of the four of us, with Rachel on the horse ahead of me. She grabbed her ring, and there it was, the brass ring. I had yet to get one, and there it was, in front of me, gleaming in the lights. It was an amazing moment, like it was in slow motion, as I reached out and grabbed that ring. It sounds silly, but it was the best part of my day, grabbing that brass ring. Immediately a ride op was there to exchange the ring for ride tickets, and to get my name and here I was from. I was delighted. After the ride I handed to tickets to the little kid that was ridding next to me, so I made someone else's day too.

Heading to the Skooters, we make what was to be a quick stop in the arcade, but Matt got hooked on Blastoids. I think he has anew addiction, he was bound and determined to beat the day's top score (somewhere around 38,000), so we played for a little while before heading over to the Skooters.

Oh how I love the Skooters. It is fun just to stand in line and watch, these old Lusse Skooters run so fast, and hit so hard, there really are none like them. We had a great time beating each other up on them, and ended up re-riding several times. Rachel managed to get me really good right at the beginning of one of the rides, it was one of those hits that you feel right up through your spine, I actually groaned after that hit.

After the Skooters we roamed the park a bit, hitting the various flats like Power Surge and the Merry Mixer, the High Speed Thrill Coaster (AKA the kiddie coaster on crack) as well as the Haunted House. I think the Haunted House is one of those things that you either really like, or find incredibly corny. I, as well as my sister, really liked it, the other two found it to be corny. Oh well, at least the very last gag got them all. I will not reveal it, but those who have ridden know what it is.

Later in the day we finally got over to the Twister, which was running very well this day. Matt loved the Twister, much more then the Phoenix. It was running pretty fast, and the laterals on it were very intense, which is Matt's cup of tea.

After another run at the Flyers, this time getting Greg to ride, we hit the Phoenix one last time, or two at least. On the last ride I insisted on the last seat, my personal favorite. I had been riding all day with Matt, but this time I grabbed my sister just as we were boarding and got her into the back seat as well. It turned out to be the best ride of the day, with loads of airtime all over the track. My sister was breathless as we pulled into the brake run, it was great.

Before leaving, Matt and Rachel did some shopping, while Greg and I enjoyed a nice ride on the new Scenic Skyway. The ride runs up over Knoebels Parkway and to the top of the mountain on the other side. The ride down offers a great view of the park, where you are well above everything. It is a nice ride, but a bit pricey at $3.00.

We all had a great day at the park, it even stopped raining at some point. I was glad we made the Trek, even in the foul weather, and I think it was a great way for my sister to finish off her leave.

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"If you make it too smooth, it'll be like sitting in your living room."
-Bill Cobb - Designer, Texas Cyclone

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Thursday, June 12, 2003 7:33 PM
I think the guy running the Flyers meant "HE" was running 50% slower! ;)

It's amazing how fast they are on you when you get the brass ring.

Where did you eat when you were at Knoebels? Tell me you had their fries.

I find it hard not to have a fun time at Knoebels even when the weather is not so great. Glad you had a good day!

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Signature will be closed today. Sorry for the inconveinance.

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Saturday, June 14, 2003 12:39 PM
Maybe, but the ride sure didn't seem any slower this year then last year.

Yeah, they were standing there watching. I tried handing the actual ring to the little kid next to me, so he could turn it in, but the op was right there even as I was turning to do so.

We atw in the International Food Court. I had the honey dipped chicken (and corn, only a "Buck an Ear", go there and you will get it), while Matt had the Bison Burger. I have had it before, and while it tastes much like beef, you can tell it is different, and certainly leaner. The other two both had tacos. I love the fries, but passed them up this time, there is just so much to choose from, instead I left the park with a hot fudge boat, which there was no way I could have finished, it was soooooo big, but I made an attempt at it. I would like to see them get some better ice cream, however, I have found the type they sell to be a bit bland, it tastes fine, just doesn't have a very strong flaver. I would suggest some Hershey's Ice cream, which is excellent and fairly local (even if they do have a competing park).

Bad weather is good at just about any other park, but Knoebels. I will always have a great time there, but since the park does not get too busy anyways, I like some nice weather.

Someday I will run into you there :)

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"If you make it too smooth, it'll be like sitting in your living room."
-Bill Cobb - Designer, Texas Cyclone

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Saturday, June 14, 2003 1:33 PM
Where is the International Food Court? I've missed out on all the good places to eat on my two visits. Why do they want to know who you are and where your from if you get the brass ring?

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-Sean Newman

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Saturday, June 14, 2003 1:56 PM
Can someone explain this whole brass ring thing for me? Thanks...
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Saturday, June 14, 2003 3:57 PM
Awesome TR! I have only been to Knoebels once, and it rained like mad also. :-) The Haunted House is the best, not to mention the Phoenix. ;-)

-Tina

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Feel The DragsterGasm....
www.intenserides.com

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Saturday, June 14, 2003 6:28 PM
The International Food Court is all the why in the back corner of the park. Basically, you walk back until you get to the Phoenix, hang a right, and keep going, it is past the Mining Museum, and to the left of the kids theatre.

The brass ring thing is pretty neat because it is so rarely seen (though I have been on four carousels now that run a ring machine). Basically, they have an arm along the side of the carousel that is extended out when the ride gets up to speed. The people riding the outside horses can reach out and try to grab the rings on the arm, much like knights used to grab rings with their lances to practice, which is where the idea comes from. Anyway, most of the rings are steel, but every once in a while there is one made of brass. When the elusive brass ring is caught, that rider usually gets a free ride (Bushkill park last year was giving you a chance in a raffle for a fancy carousel model instead).

Knoebels doesn't really keep track of who won each time, they just ask for your name and where you are from to make it a little more spiecal by announcing it over the loud speaker. I really don't think this works too well though, because the speaker is usally drowned out by the organ.

One interesting thing I forgot to mention in my report, they had actually switched the organ that was running sometime during the day.

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"If you make it too smooth, it'll be like sitting in your living room."
-Bill Cobb - Designer, Texas Cyclone

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 7:36 AM
You know, I've actually timed the dispatches on the Phoenix. From the time the train stops in the station, unloads, re-loads, and starts moving again, 30 seconds is about average. I have seen them do it in 22 seconds, though, believe it or not. That's no seat belts and a buzz bar for you ...

And as far as the rain goes - our first trip to Knoebel's was on a cold, rainy day, and it may have been the most fun I've ever had at a park.

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Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.

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