My last day of coastering in the Northwest was upon me. After surviving the journey to Athol and back, I wasn't too happy to hear my alarm go off at 6:00 am, but what is a coaster junkie to do?
Soon, the meeting time of 7:30 am had arrived, and Rob and his kids were at my hotel. I was quickly introduced to the kids (Zach, Kaiya, and Tiana), and found out Rob's wife, Tomoko, wouldn't be joining us today, as she was feeling a bit under the weather. A little while later Mike Miller, Jim, and George arrived from the airport, and we were off to Vancouver.
The drive to Vancouver was pretty much a repeat of the rest of my weekend travels: Midwesterner finds himself in awe of the mountains and lush vegetation. I was feeling pretty good, having pretty much recovered from the riding and driving of the day before.
Soon we were at the border crossing, where I received the third degree, but were finally allowed to cross. We nervously waited for Bass and crew to enter, and once again were off to Vancouver.
The rain started as we entered the park, and I honestly was glad. I'm one of those freaks that actually enjoys riding in the rain, as I feel the slick rails really bring the coaster to life, and the small crowds the rain brings are always welcome.
Rob had told me that Coaster was much larger than it appeared in pictures, and he was right. I really wasn't expecting such an impressive looking structure. The walk into the station was nice, taking us past the lovely flower beds that line the approach to the lift.
As we entered the station, I had the feeling that I was in for something special as I looked out at the gnarled mess of track. The pictures I had seen, and even the POV, did not do the ride justice. It's just so wicked looking in person, as you really can't get a sense for just how tight those final turns are unless you see it "in the flesh." While waiting I was introduced to Chris "cmiesen" Miesen and his wife, who were also up from Seattle for the day.
So, on to the ride. Jim and I boarded in the last seat of the P&C style train, and we were off. The ride starts with a nice cruise below ground level through a concrete trench to the lift hill, where one is taken up about 70 feet. The first drop is nice, with some great air in the back, and into the first (slow) turnaround. Another nice drop, a double-up-type maneuver, and into turnaround number two. Then, as you go over the fourth drop all hell breaks loose. What follows is some of the most wicked, violent, ejector air that I've ever experienced. As the beautiful train glides along the course, your body is catapulted, slammed, bashed, and tossed about, all while the ride picks up intensity. The beauty of the design is that as Coaster goes through the course, the air hills get more demented, and the turns actually get tighter and tighter. Coaster hates you, and wants to kick your ass out of the train. We hit the breaks, and let out a gasp of breath. Wow. That's what I'm talking about. Coaster is my kind of ride. A quick reride was in order, and we were off to the Wild Mouse before the line became too long.
The Mouse at Playland is absolutely the best I've been on. It's just wrong. I don't know how many times I seriously thought the car was coming right off the track on those switchbacks, and the last turn into the brakes is just plain freaky. I'll let Rob fill everyone in on the wonderful new friend he made in line, wet Willy.
Following the Mouse, we hit Playland's S&S Tower, the Hellevator, The Rainbow, and finally The Corkscrew, a smooth (yes, you read that correctly) Vekoma model with a cool helix finale.
Lunch, more rides on Coaster (which at this point was absolutely out of control), some games, and another spin on the Vekoma followed. Feeling drained because of the rain, we decided to cut out early.
Arriving back in Seattle, Rob invited me to his home for a bit, and I got to meet Tomoko, who made us a wonderful homemade Japanese soup for dinner.
I had such a great time hanging out with Rob and his family, but it was sadly time for me to get back to my hotel and pass out.
"The perfect machine, you seemed to be, when I built you up in my mind..." - Reverend Jon Autry
I had the same reaction the first time I rode the PNE Coaster back in 1998.I can only imagine how much more intense Coaster is in the rain.I wish I could have joined you and Nasai for the day.
I can fix anything.....where is the duct tape?
*** This post was edited by Ronald S. Anderson on 9/13/2002. ***
Rob - Tell your kids I say "hi." They were so great; such huge personalities.
When I return to Playland, we'll have to make sure your new buddy is there, as I'm sure no day without him will be complete for you. ;)
It was too bad about the weather, but, as you know, I enjoy riding in the rain, so it wasn't a complete "wash" for me.
Ronald - Maybe you can join us the next time I'm out that way. With that much quality wood in the area, and the new GCI coming next season, I know I'll be back.
'Let's fly close to the sun. Let's do it just 'cause it's fun.' - The Wedding Present '2,3, Go'
Xcelerator- Put the Pedal to the Metal!
Xcelerator- Put the Pedal to the Metal!
im going to playland opening day on april 18 less then a week away for all of you vancouverites
*** This post was edited by fatkat61 4/13/2003 3:43:01 AM ***
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