Friday, March 28, 2008

Let's ride a bull!

Well, I said I'd take ya on another guided visual of another favourite coaster. I'll apologise in advance for the video, the dude is screaming before anything happens but it's the only video I could find that starts in the station. I hope you like steep drops 'coz this is the mother of all drops at the moment. El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure. 181 feet tall...not too bad given Nitro is 230 feet tall, eh? The drop is 176 feet at a 76 degree angle and for all intents and purposes, it may as well be a sheer 90 degree drop because when you're on that train and round the bed and begin pointing IS a straight drop.

So you make your way to the queue. It's always packed unless you hit it right when the park opens. The only bad thing about El Toro is they let too many people into the station. It's small in there and get too crowded. For air time, you gotta sit in the back. It doesn't really matter where you sit, you get a great ride. As you're standing there, you watch a few trains come down that drop and you wonder what you got yourself into. The train speeds by in a blur...70 mph never seemed so fast and this ride is 10 mph SLOWER than Nitro. It sounds aggressive, it looks aggressive, it IS aggressive. Two people ahead of you then it's your turn to board. They load, their train is checked and off they go. You stand there, heart beginning to race and you think you'll have a few minutes to compose yourself but think again, here comes the second train, it unloads and the air gates hiss open. You notice how long the train looks ass you slowly edge forward and take a seat on the outside seat.

You're sitting down when I tell you you're sitting on the seat belt and you definitely need it on this ride. Lifting up, you grab the belt, fasten it and pull the lap bar down.
"What does extreme uplifting forces mean?" you ask me as you point to an overhead sign. I smirk and tell you it means exactly what it says....this coaster has extreme ejector air...and I mean EXTREME. "But it's fun, don't worry." "It's less scary than Nitro because it's not as high, right?" you ask with a nervous laugh as attendants come down the line and staple you in. "Let me put it to you this way....Nitro is like a Maine Coon's big, and it looks tough but a gentle giant. El Toro means is going to buck you around and your butt isn't going to be in your seat until the end of the ride, during the twister section...just before we pull back into the station." Your eyes widen as the ever-familiar "All Clear, Enjoy your ride on El Toro" is announced and the train begins to roll forward slowly and makes a very sharp left turn.

We approach the lift hill and there's a sudden loud BANG! "That's just the catch car engaging the train." I say leaning my head back to enjoy the warm sun on my face. Suddenly, the train gains a lot of speed, almost like a mini launch. It takes no time at all to reach the top and the cable lift, the first on a wooden coaster, is eerily quiet. It slows as the train inches over the top and you notice the front reaching the drop. It is very quiet and still up here but there's not much time to take it in as we're beginning to get whipped over the drop.

STRAIGHT DOWN the ground is racing up to meet us, your butt is not in the seat and the train is going so fast it feels as if we're going to crash through the track and keep on going straight through the ground. 'Holy shit!" is all you have time to say before the G's plant you firmly in your seat as we race up the second hill where you again become airborne but smile and say CHEESE! It's picture time at the bottom of this hill. Again we race up and there's a very swift,sharp turn to the right...into a very heavily banked swoop to the right. The lateral G's are nice here. Racing to the sky again and turning to the left slightly we're diving into and behind the structure where the head-chopper effect is amazing. The train begins to turn to the left again and I say "This is the best part-hold on!" And it's true....after this swoop there's a slight incline as we cross over the other wooden coaster, Rolling Thunder and get one spectacular moment of extreme ejector air before the train hurtles into a very severe but extremely fun serpentine twister section that snakes along Rolling Thunder's infield. Pulling out everyone is laughing and cheering as the train finally begins to lose some speed and hit the brakes before pulling back into the station. "I wanna do it again!" you say running down the exit to get back in line.

The only real problem with El Toro is for the extreme speed, it's too short a ride. It is honestly over WAY too fast. During construction of this, there was one photograph someone snapped that showed workers on the lift hill and the first drop was in gorgeous view. It make both the lift and the drop lok impossibly vertical, I wish I could find that shot but I can't. I have this one but showing the workers strapped to the lift while laying down the track really put things in perspective.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Wow...I don't even know where to begin so I guess at the top is a good place. I think I'm over my bad mojo. I've been working on a lace shawl. Beltane from Goddess Knits. It's perfect...not too hard that it's frustrating and not so easy that it's boring. See:

Actually, I'm a bit farther along than that-I finished that portion and picked up around the edge for the border. There's a few more of her shawls I want to get...they'll look great strewn over a book case and my bed's headboard. I'm going totally bohemian now that I'm 40.

Somebody started a roller coaster group on Ravelry. That was cool-I had thought about starting one not long after I got my invitation but didn't think there'd be enough people.

I've got an idea for a story. Actually, I had started it a while ago and didn't like how it was going so I put it aside. Now i've got some idea on where to go with it and was all excited to sit and write tonight and I can't. I get 'stuck'. I dunno what the hell is wrong with me. I'd got the ideas and I know it'll begin to write itself once I let go and become a passive vehicle but getting from "here" to there is the problem...I can see it all going on in my head but to click into that moment and do it...I dunno...

I was never like this...I used to write 9 pages per night EVERY NIGHT back in my 20's. I'd cook an idea during the evening, let it take shape and being to write about 9.30 or 10 at night and go until 2 or 3 in the morning. I was NEVER at a loss when it came to writing and now I have trouble...and it's not usually with the ideas bit just getting myself to click into that mindset and sit to do it. I dunno, I don't like it. I don't know if it's my environment (probably), my frame of mind...what.

I think I need a vacation from me. I keep hearing Pink's song "Don't Let Me Get Me" in my head...that's how I feel. What happened to that cosmic river of creativity that was so abundant in the 80''s just not there. I should probably have a glass of Absinthe or two...maybe I will...I dunno.....just not in the mood for alcohol. Oh this is horrible!

One thing I'm happy for is I got my roots done for my 40th hair is so damn white, I'm over the moon with it. I'm so loving this. Why does it even matter?

I promised a few people another virtual ride on another entry.

Now Playing: Pink ~ Just Like A Pill

Now Showing: Rosemary's Baby

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The View from 230 Feet above the ground

I guess this is the time of year when things get really bad, just before the amusement parks open up and my roller coaster withdrawal gets really bad. The final month before opening seems to go by like frozen molasses, so close yet seemingly so far.

For the past five months, I've been riding this over and over in my head and on my coaster simulator computer programme. Every night when I get in bed I walk the queue line,walk up that long, tall flight of stairs and quickly walk to the back row of air gates just as a train pulls into the station...the clamshell harnesses open...the riders get off and walk down the exit.

I smile as the air gates hiss and swing open, take my seat in the final row either outside seat. Row 9 right makes you feel like you're going to get tossed and fly out on the turn of the second hill (it's a very sharp left turn), Row 9 left seat makes you feel like you are just going to slide right out and drop. Either side is amazing but Row 9 is where to ride this baby.

Dude behind the control panel checks to see the 2 other attendants have their thumbs up, he gives the familiar "All clear. Enjoy your ride on Nitro" (I'm getting goose bumps typing this) and the train is dispatched. Slowly rolling forward until it takes that brief diving swoop to the left and begins the noisy climb into the heavens.

The 52 second ride to the top is take in the sunny day,a you rise higher and higher more of the layout comes into view and you begin to get giddy with anticipation that in a short time you'll be flying over the tracks. Higher and higher you climb that the the top...

Feet sticking straight out...Check, hands in the air....check, big shit-eating grin plastered across face...check and there's no time to think...the back row gets pulled over and down that sweet 215 foot drop at 80 MPH at a delicious 68 degree angle and for the next 2 minutes, everything is right in the world. NOTHING else matters...there is no stress, there is no anxiety, there is no sadness, there is no anger. Just pure joy-joy that comes from deep within your soul. There is nothing better! Not food, no drug not even sex can match the joy of this.

The train screams over the steep hills, into the hammerhead turn-around which is overbanked so the train does not lose speed, over another hill, into an S curve which whips you into a sweet double helix...the G's are so strong it's a fight to keep your hands up in the air. Sometimes there's deer feeding at the base of this helix...if you look down you can see them. You pull out and into the mid course brake run where you slow down somewhat but it doesn't matter because you're at the final 4 bunny hops baby....your ass is out of your seat! Hands up...feet out...butt up...into the brakes and back to the station. If it's still early in the day you can run around the exit and get back in the station for a re-ride fairly more staying seated-they won't let you anymore. name is Jerry and I am a roller coaster addict. LOL!

I CAN'T STAND IT!!!!!!! I need to get on this again, it has been FIVE LONG MONTHS and will be at least another month before we get on it again.