On the way home from the mall on Friday I got the bright idea to stop in at GCI's headquarters outside of Sunbury, PA. I must have driven past the place at least 100 times saying one day I'll stop in. Well today was finally the day!
I was on my home around 11:30 am when I pulled into theri headquarters. It's on a backroad between Sunbury, and Shamokin (where I live) maybe 10-12 miles away from my house. The building isn't very big but it not tiny either. Driving past the place you wouldn't know it was a coaster company but the GCI logo sign gives it away.
I walked in the front door and was greeted by Jeff Pike Vice President, and Chris Gray Engineer Support. I simply told them that I was a fan of there coasters and wanted to stop in and tell them how much I liked them. I also told them I rode all there creations except for Gwazi. They thought it was pretty cool a fan stopped by the office. They wondered how I knew where they were and I simply told them I lived nearby.
They told me I was there on a pretty good day. I got there just as parts for a Millennium Flyer train were arriving so they gave me a tour of the place. In the basement/ shop is where they build the trains. It looks like your basic garage except instead of engines and transmissions it was coaster cars and parts! They had just completed a Millennium Flyer car last night. I'm pretty sure everyone knows where that will be going next week and down the road for next year. (I got to sit in it) :) It was the first time I sat in a coaster seat since PPP. The seat was a bit hard but thats because it was new and people weren't bouncing around in it yet. They also said that they have models of all their coasters they built but they are packed up and will be at IAAPA next week. While in the shop Clair Hain President came in. We talked briefly.
I mentioned about a field that is next to the office. I told them I was always expecting to see a coaster pop up there one day or at least a part of one for testing. Unfortunately they informed me that they didn't own it but they had the same thoughts. :)
After we we left the shop we went back up stairs to the office area. They had many pictures of there coasters and computer drawings on the walls, along with a map of the US with pushpins of all the places they either built or did work on a coaster. While there they also showed me some photos of the woodie they are working on at Celebration City. I believe they said they want to have it complete by March.
I didn't want to seem like a reporter grilling them with the basic enthusiast questions. Where will the next coaster be? Will you build more than one coaster a year? When will you do this, or that, blah, blah, blah. I simply wanted to stop in and tell them I liked their coasters. I also told them I plan on going on the trip next summer thru the Ozarks with the Coaster Zombies and will be at Celebration City. They told me to stop back and let them know what I think of there newest machine.
In all I probably spent a half hour there looking around in amazement like a kid in a candy shop. I thought it was cool of them to take a little time out of there busy schedule (getting ready for IAAPA) to show me around the place.
That's GREAT!! Glad to see they did take the time out of their schedules. That may be a stop for us this summer, when we come out to PA to see you, C-Punk.
There's nothing like a woodie...
That's very cool that you got to see the place and they were nice enough to show you around. I may keep that in mind the next time I am up that way instead of visiting the Yuengling brewery again. :-))
I know I really enjoyed the PTC tour during the ACE Con last year in Hatfield.
How close is it to Knoebels?
----now wishing for a Yuengling Lager .....which is not sold in Southern WV damnit!
Feel The Adrenaline....
*** This post was edited by coasterqueenTRN on 11/17/2002. ***
From Knoebels your looking at about a half hour drive or so. It's pretty easy to find if you go from rt 487 toward Elysburg then take rt. 61 toward Sunbury. 61 meets up with rt 743 then you stay on that for about 8 miles. It would be on the right. Just look for the GCI logo out front. The first time I saw it I almost wrecked the car looking. ;)
I always wanted to do the tour of Yuengling. I used to go to an orthodonthist a block down from the brewery.
I had always wanted to visit it too, and luckily it's a convenient stop on the way to Knoebels from Allentown.
It's quite a small brewery but the tour is awesome and they have a museum/gift shop that you could spend at least an hour or two in. If I think about it I will post the pics I took of it on my site sometime. I think I enjoyed the Yuengling tour more than the Anheuser-Busch tour at Williamsburg.
Well, you don't get to attend a "beer school" like you do at Williamsburg but Yuengling's tour is more personal IMHO.
The next time I am going trough the Allentown/Bethlehem area I may stop by the Pabst place to see what that is all about. Looks interesting.
And yes, ya get two free samples!
(coasters and beer.....not to be mixed together....much, unless it's to help kill the soreness afterwards.)
Feel The Adrenaline....
*** This post was edited by coasterqueenTRN on 11/18/2002. ***
Yuengling's tour is awsome. I usually make a stop on the way up to Knoebel's from Philly too. It is much more personal, last time our tour guide was actually one of Yuengling's daughters. Just an all around great company.
I live near PTC's headquarters, I wonder if I could do the same thing.
"If you make it too smooth, it'll be like sitting in your living room."
-Bill Cobb - Designer, Texas Cyclone
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