KBF TR 2/10/04

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Monday, February 23, 2004 11:00 PM
KBF TR 2/10/04

Knotts was all but abandoned by the general public on Tuesday. The parking lot only had a sprinkling of cars. Every single ride was a walk-on. When the passenger train that ran through the park passed pedestrian walkways, ride operators dutifully closed the gates for no one. And then, re-opened them. The Knotts shops scattered throughout the park were attended by helpful employees who were just plain lonely and wanted to chat. It really was a ghost town.

Timber Mountain Log Ride
It had been a number of months since I rode the log ride, and I forgot about the middle section where you plunge into complete darkness, and then careen down a 10 or 20 foot drop, mid-course. It's fun to forget a ride's layout, and then re-discover it, as if you're a first time rider. The Orange County sun was so bright that the darkness in this midsection was disorienting.

I have fond memories of the log ride when I was six. My father was full of surprises on our trip to California. He studied the Knott's park map in advance, and tricked us into climbing aboard the log ride without knowing its perils. He guided us to the log ride from the "blind side" so we couldn't see the plunge, and we boarded. We trusted him. I had no idea the ride ended with a steep plunge, so we weren't expecting it. The ride has multiple short lifts, and we were completely duped by the winding layout. The sunlit opening approached. Where is the ground? Where is the ground! My mother screamed in terror. We shrieked with laughter. The story of my father's hiding the drop made the ride a legend in my mind. For the unsuspecting rider, the plunge really is a surprise.

You can see the construction work for the new coaster. The rail that the boat used was in clear view, as the lake has been drained. Jaguar, in my memory, had become a lazy family coaster, slow and without air. When I rode it, though, the coaster had a peppy speed, several tight turns, and one pop of mini-air. Jaguar will have a nice view of the new attraction.

This Jekyl and Hyde coaster is an energetic and feisty racoon by day, and a rabid, blood in your mouth, rampaging mongoose at night. By day, you can take your time: examine the layout at your leisure, select the best seat, check out the condition of the track, (one section of track in the swoop before the chain-lift is pretty chewed up). Heck, even enjoy the mid-course turn around and lively "drop" during the daytime.

But by night, this cruel beauty will gut-punch your solar plexis and you'll forget everything. You'll be assaulted, LSD-style with this coaster's relentless volley of earthquake thunder at hill bottom, and Everest silence at hilltop. Thunder and silence. Thunder and silence. A vertigo of orange track lighting, and a whip-smart onslaught of evil grey, heat-ravaged southern pine. A hurricane of board lumber crashing at you, thick tunnels of deafening wood-web, lap bar straining, lunge-forward g's, die-alone laterals, crisp cataract blasts of February-cold air into your watery eyes, and greased-track smooth-silent negative g's. The "drop" grabs you by your thighs and swallows you into the cold-black, slow-black clay Sierra subterrain. The can't-breathe bed-spin helix suffocates you, laughs, and shoves you toward the brake run.

The battered gold train limps into the abandoned station. No re-rides.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004 9:10 PM
boblogone's avatar Are you looking for a job in advertising?
Wednesday, February 25, 2004 10:45 PM
No, but thanks for offering. I just got a consulting job writing copy for Thorpe! Yahoo!
Thursday, February 26, 2004 1:44 AM

boblogone said:
Are you looking for a job in advertising?


And Bill, that's all you rode?

Thursday, February 26, 2004 1:46 AM
rollergator's avatar

boblogone said:
Are you looking for a job in advertising?

Got a spare one, Mike? ;)

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)


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