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12 April 2005 - 3:14pm
Anyone driving by Holiday World at lunchtime today probably wondered what sort of tribal ritual we were performing.
A tall man with a flaming torch lit afire a pan of gasoline and water in the Raven parking lot. And we were all lined up (in a circle, actually) so that one by one we could put the fire out with an extinguisher.
It isn't exactly on the top of my list of WhatIWantToAccomplishInMyLifeBeforeI'mEighty ... but I must admit I've always wanted to try out a fire extinguisher.
How convenient to be able to do it without the requisite raging fire, scalding heat, and collapsing buildings.
I was always the obnoxious kid at school who volunteered to go first in Speech Class. So, why change now? (Plus it was starting to rain.)
The key, my friends, is P.A.S.S.:
P = Pull. Pull the pin out. (Don't squeeze the handle yet, though.)
A = Aim. Easy enough. Aim at the base of the fire.
S = Squeeze. The squeezing part was much easier than I'd expected.
S = Sweep. No, they're not telling you to sweep up the cinders; it's the motion of your arm as you move the direction of the hose to quickly extinguish the fire.
Our controller, Matt, heckled me, "Hey, Paula! Is this HoliBlogable?"
Yes, Matt; it is. But please don't ever say HoliBlogable again!
12 April 2005 - 12:00am
It's noisier than usual this spring.
There's a giant contraption being assembled right across the street in our Legend parking lot.
And it looks like a hot-air balloon:
Actually, it's a new water tower. Our very own. That massive sphere will hold half a million gallons. That a lot of H-2-O!
Will Koch likes to refer to the water tower as our "insurance policy." If a water main in the area would break, we would be able to use our own reserve. Wouldn't have to close the park and hang up a "Sorry, No Water Today" sign.
This isn't, of course, a new ride. But we're all still pretty excited about our water tower.
Meanwhile, a special crew works daily at assembling that monstrosity. If you look closely, you'll see a welder at work.
Once in a while, we hear a sudden "BOOM!" that has a movie-like echoing sound to it. Each time, I can't help but glance out the window to make sure the orb-a-plenty hasn't pulled loose of its moorings and is heading our way.
The pieces, over the next month, will be painted the happy Holiday World colors. Then two huge cranes will lift the "ball" into place.
I just may post from home that day.
11 April 2005 - 3:17pm
The second train at The Raven is feeling right at home.
You guessed it -- Raven Red! Originally (back in 1994) I was in favor of a black train, since ravens are that color. But the red is so stunning, especially once the trees leaf out; it was definitely the right choice.
Four more weeks. For all of us, they'll just fly by!
11 April 2005 - 7:17am
Just pulled into my parking space and saw, off in the woods, The Raven flying by.
Empty, of course. It's testing time.
But still, what a glorious sight! And the click-click-click sound as the train ascends the lift hill is music to my ears!
We're adding a second train to The Raven this season. I'm not sure if it's here yet, but I'll find out and will let you know.
With the addition of the second train, all sorts of safety contraptions have been added. That's what they're testing. In a nutshell, there will always be a set of brakes between the trains. It's a good system.
We had quite a discussion regarding whether the second train should be "Raven Red" or a different color. I'll wait to tell you until I can show you the new train.
10 April 2005 - 3:17pm
Last summer, we got a call from a travel writer with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Tom and I had been in touch for several years and it was great to know he planning to drive the three hours to visit us.
Tom was particularly fun to walk with around the park. He was fascinated by Zinga, and took lots of photos of those clover-leaf inner tubes plunging into the enormous pink and blue funnel.
When it came time to look at our coasters, I offered him a ride.
I'll never forget his answer: "I'll ride them as long as you hold my hand." Will Koch was with us and we had a good yuck. Will knows what a coward I am and that I’d be no comfort whatsoever to someone who was a bit nervous about riding a top-ranked coaster.
We decided to ride The Raven first, since it's not as long or fast as The Legend. Tom deferred to me for advice when I asked where to sit. I like the front, because you get the best view. The back, though, provides the wildest ride. The back seat it was.
As previously mentioned, I'm a chicken and a screamer. Doesn't matter how many times I've ridden, I still render my riding partner temporarily deaf. It's downright humiliating.
Tom and I hooted and hollered over the hills of The Raven. He grinned as he wiped a few drops of sweat (or were they tears?) away. And we headed down the hill to The Legend. He talked me into grabbing another backseat ride. We screamed ourselves hoarse.
As we lurched into the brake run at the end of the ride, two teenage girls (with fabulous long, blond “coaster hair”—sorry I caught my hand in it, dear) sitting in front of us were still squealing. One shouted to the other, “That was awful – let’s ride it again!”
Late last summer, the Post-Dispatch ran Tom's inviting travel article about his trip to southern Indiana. And in case you’re wondering, he never did hold my hand.