Tuesday, July 17, 2001 4:24 PM
Yes, I was at Kennywood twice this weekend (for my 7th and 8th visits this year). On Saturday, Carnegie Mellon University had their annual picnic. Several of my friends and I, alumni of this fine school, have made it a tradition.
Then on Sunday, the event you've all heard so much about already -- KennyKon.
Now, in all my years of living in Pittsburgh, I've NEVER
been to Kennywood two days in a row. I didn't expect that I'd get bored, as I truly do love this park, but at the same time I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to keep myself excited. I needn't have worried, as I was in good company both days...
If it seems like I'm glossing over Saturday, it's because Sunday is fresher in my mind, and we weren't there very long on Saturday compared to KennyKon (my non-enthusiast friends just can't take that much riding ;) )
First of all, the weather was damn near perfect both days. That, combined with various picnics (Kennywood's bread & butter) contributed for some of the busiest days I've ever seen at this park. However, as is typical for Kennywood, many of the lines just didn't take that long (with the exceptions of Phantom and Exterminator) even with the crowds.
This weekend I was witness to first-ride-ever on Phantom's Revenge for a number of people. The ride is, of course, a huge hit. I'm having a lot of fun seeing the rave reviews from CoasterBuzzers who were on it for the first time. My Saturday group got on it once, and was similarly blown away. It just warms my heart to see the coaster I watched go up all winter be so well received by the general public (such as my Saturday companions) and enthusiasts alike. I can only imagine how thrilled Kennywood must be. I rode PR once on Saturday (2nd from back, giving the back row to 2 friends who'd never been on before), and 4 times on Sunday (twice in front), for a lifetime total of 30 laps (23 scanned, whenever phantomphanatic.com updates itself).
Saturday's riding also included 2 laps each on Thunderbolt (which is running VERY well, it's great to see the old girl back in shape), Jackrabbit, and Racer, as well as rides on the Whip, Kangaroo (ever stuff 4 adults in there? Hysterical), Turtle, Pirate, Wipeout (backwards), and Grand Prix. Lunch naturally consisted of Potato Patch fries, and for me roasted corn as well. We left around 7:30 to meet some people at Duke's for dinner, and called it a good day. Besides, I had to get up early the next day for KennyKon...
My riding buddies for most of Sunday were my friends Lori (loriu) and her husband Steve. Other online celebrities at the park included Jeff (and Stephanie), Dave Althoff Jr (RideMan), Scott Short (ShiveringTim), Matt Lynch and Joe Cernelli, and a sizeable crowd from rec.roller-coaster. My brother Matt (Googer) and sister Liz were there, and I was supposed to be with them, but it didn't quite work out that way. We met up early to get checked in, but after that we got separated due to a strange sequence of events.
The first event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I was NOT going to pass on. A small group of us was given the chance to take our cameras up on Pittfall! This is NOT normal operations, and I wasn't about to say no. I got some AMAZING aerial pictures of Thunderbolt and Phantom, which I hope to have posted to my site soon -- watch this space :) Remember, folks, this was something I had permission
to do from park officials -- always follow park rules regarding cameras.
So I split off from my family to go get those pictures while most of the ACErs were off getting the group photo done. I'd told them, and Steve & Lori, to meet me at the Exterminator "informal takeover" at 11:45. Well, I didn't see my family again until dinner, but I DID see Steve & Lori, which established our little group for the day.
Strange Event #2 was a close-call medical problem. After Exterminator and the Whip, we decided to eat lunch. Now, I'm a diabetic who uses an insulin pump. Simply put, this is a small external pump that continually feeds me insulin (the "basal"), and I tell it when I eat, to cover the food (the "bolus"). In the middle of the bolus for lunch, my pump jammed. Not good. So I decided I HAD to go home and switch to the backup (which I bring with me when travelling, but don't bother to bring with me locally). I told Lori & Steve I'd meet them at 2.
Turns out I was able to get the pump working again (long story, but crisis averted). I met up with them just about on time, which was amazing given the amount of traffic that was still flowing INTO the park at the time. The overall net effect of that little incident was I lost some riding time and my great parking space -- sigh.
After that it was off to the races. This was their first time back in the park in 3 years, so they were trying to hit just about EVERYTHING. Even with the crowds, we succeeded, including things I
hadn't ridden in years (Enterprise, Swing Around). By the time the day was done, the non-coaster tally while I was with them included the aforementioned Whip, Enterprise, and Swing Around, as well as the Kangaroo, Paratrooper, Merry-Go-Round, Aero 360, Pirate (twice in a row, with some comments from Lori about how insane we were), Grand Prix, Turtle (complete with "humping"), Gold Rusher, Old Mill, Noah's Ark, Railroad, Auto Race, and their first drop on Pittfall. They hit even more while I was taking my sidetrip home. Sadly, the Flying Carpet and Roll-O-Plane were not operating, or I'd have hit those as well.
Couple that with the 4 PR laps, as well as rides on Thunderbolt, Exterminator, Racer, and 2 on Jackrabbit, and Sunday was an incredibly fun day at Kennywood.
*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 7/18/2001. ***