I awoke Saturday morning at 4:00 am to depart on the next leg of my journey: Silverwood Amusement Park in Athol, Idaho, home of two elusive, quality CCI coasters and the original Corkscrew from Knott's Berry Farm.
Rob had warned me the previous night that the drive was very exhausting, as half of it was through "a wasteland," and that I was basically a lunatic for driving there and back in one day by myself. He's right, I am a lunatic. More on that later.
So, I quickly showered, gathered my things, and was on my way out the door by 4:30. The first leg of the trip was pretty uneventful, as the sun had yet to rise and I couldn't really get a feel for my surroundings. I knew that I was driving through some mountains, but that was about it. A couple hours later the sun came out, and I was absolutely stunned. I was driving through some of the most beautiful country I'd ever seen. My grandfather used to call Pennsylvania God's Country, but I think he was mistaken.. If ever there was such a place, I was in it now. Thinking that Rob was nuts for considering this "a wasteland," I happily cruised along, snapping pictures, stopping at a scenic view, and generally just enjoying life.
Then, it hit me. "The Wasteland" became a reality. Miles and miles of nothing, and Spokane (my mental marker of how far I had yet to go) was still a distant blip on the radar. Forging on at 80 mph (the speed limit is 70, and I was being passed as if I was standing still), I hit Spokane, and was once again in beautiful country.
At about 9:25 am, I finally pulled into the Silverwood parking lot, and I was in a daze. Fortunately for me, the park didn't open for another 1 1/2 hours, and I was able to take a much needed nap.
I awoke at about 10:30, as activity had picked up in the lot, and proceeded to the front gate, picked up a ticket and waited to enter the park. Upon entering, I was struck by how "weird" the front section of the park is: There's basically a train station surrounded by Victorian looking shops with a narrow path that branches off of it leading to where the rides are. The rides are pretty much situated in loop, with signs pointing you towards different areas. I, of course, headed directly to Coaster Alley. I didn't fly across the country and drive almost five hours for some bumper boats, did I? :)
Coming around a bend, the path opened up, and there they were: Timber Terror (CCI out and back) on my left, along the park's perimeter, and Tremors (CCI twister) in front of me and to my right. Really just a wood coaster fan's wet dream, in all honesty. I'm a geek, I know it, and that's the truth. It was just a spectacular sight: All that lovely track, the gorgeous mountains, and the bright blue sky filled with huge, puffy white clouds. Too much. Way too cool.
I decide to hit Timber Terror first, and on the way to the station it became evident just how much a guest can "interact with" the coasters in Coaster Alley. While there are fences to keep one out of harm's way, there are ample opportunities for picture taking and the like, as there are paths and large grassy areas all around the coasters.
Without much ado, I was into the station, and waiting for my first lap in the back seat of Timber Terror, or "Timbers, Jr." I'm becoming much more of a twister fan, and out and backs just do less and less for me, but Timber Terror is a quality ride, with some excellent airtime, particularly in the front. The back seat offered several moments of ejector air, but the front was where it was at with the copious amounts of really nice floater air. Timber Terror runs one PTC train with a cool green and yellow color scheme and buzz bars. Apparently, the maroon train that I had seen pictures of was from the ride's first incarnation as Grizzly.
Back in the station, and it was time for the main course: Tremors, the weekend's #1 candidate for major anticipointment. Could Tremors live up to all the hype, and warrant the ridiculous amount of traveling necessary to get a ride in?
I headed straight to the back, and was greeted with a two train wait. Up the lift, swoop to the left, and bam! The king of first drops: A very steep decent into an incredibly small tunnel, so small that it makes the one on The Beast's first drop look big. Follow this with an incredible speed hill into another "so small I'm going to be decapitated" tunnel, and you have what has to be one of the best opening sequences in all of coasterdom. There's major air in spaces that I really wished I was fully in the train. Excellent stuff here. Following the opening tunnels is a big swooping helix followed by several bunnies with another great head chopper (this one from the structure) that leads into another smaller helix/turnaround. This section is followed by another bunny hill, a quick jog to the left, and another dive/bunny combo through two more tunnels. The last tunnel contains a combination of forces that ejects you out of your seat and then slams you back down hard. All in a way too small tunnel. Cool.
No anticipointment here. Tremors lived up to, and surpassed the hype. So that was my reaction to Tremors at 11:20 am, before it had even warmed up and got "good."
After another spin, I spotted Mike "Bassistist" Miller who I had made arrangements with to meet at the park. Mike's group consisted of: Dave "Flare" Fraser, another Mike, and George whose last names esaped me. We all went for another ride on Tremors, and then caught a ride on Timber Terror in the front. Here, we ran into Jim McIntyre (sorry if spelling is off), and set off explore the park a bit. These guys were attending an enthusiast event, The Coaster Alley Convergence, which I couldn't squeeze into my schedule. I really wish I could have, as the event included a four hour ERT on both coasters after the park closed. Oh well, there's always next year.
I didn't really do much else other than take a token lap on Corkscrew for the credit. Seeing that I had to drive back to Seattle that night and wasn't staying for the ERT, I broke off from the group and got in as many rides on Tremors and Timber Terror as I could.
I took a break from riding at about 4:00 pm, and ran into Dave and Jim while they were taking some pictures of the coasters. We B.S.'d for a while, and Dave and I grabbed a lap in the back of Tremors which would be my last of the day.
Following this we searched the park for Bassistist (who we found in the parking lot, duh) so we could make arrangements for Sunday morning's meet up before heading to Vancouver. I said my goodbyes, and I was off again to Seattle.
And here's where the real ride starts. I had been dreading this part of my trip for weeks, and it was finally upon me: The haul back across Washington after a day at the park, by myself, at night. It started out well enough, and before I knew it, I was already out of Spokane and into "The Wasteland." The sun was setting, and the purple skies made the burnt out terrain look like I was crossing Mars. I put Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots on the stereo, and all was well in the world. Then it got dark, and I had to battle my fried-out senses into getting back to Seattle in one piece. With the help of some truck stop sludge (coffee) and a bunch of Red Bull, I made it back before midnight.
So, was it stupid to make the trek by myself? Yes. Would I do it again if it meant more rides on Tremors? Yes. Without a doubt.
Oh, Kevin Bacon was nowhere to be seen.
"The perfect machine, you seemed to be, when I built you up in my mind..." - Reverend Jon Autry
*** This post was edited by chris on 9/11/2002. ***
Silverwood is definatly on my to do list next year. I still can't beleive that I haven't gone up there yet. Tremors sounds and looks awesome. Good TR.
84 coasters and counting
I can fix anything.....where is the duct tape?
*** This post was edited by Ronald S. Anderson on 9/12/2002. ***
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