Come on … fess up!

…you’re still eating leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast, aren’t you?

Actually, not a bad idea…

Hey, Wayne! Can we come up with a Breakfast Quiche to serve at the new Plymouth Rock Cafe?

Dee Ann came up with that name. Clever girl.

“Outstanding Concrete Achievement Award”

I kid you not.

This award exists.

And in a few weeks, that award will be proudly displayed here at Holiday World.

I’m afraid I may have offended Steve a bit; I grinned and started laughing when he told me about the Outstanding Concrete Achievement Award.

“You’re joking, right?” I chuckled. My chortle quickly choked into a cough when I saw that … he wasn’t.

Yes … here it comes … brace yourself … suddenly, I found myself between a rock and a hard place.

How narrow minded I’ve been.

Sure, I know all about the organizations that I’m associated with here at the park, but I all but scoffed at the thought that the Indiana Ready Mixed Concrete Association might want to get together once in a while and pat each other on the back.

What more concrete evidence could you ask for but the Tiki fountains at Bahari?

So congratulations to Steve and his crew for the award. (Do they call each other “cement heads” in private?) You’ve all worked hard to earn this distinction.

Okay, one more and then I’ll stop.

The awards luncheon next month, will the social time before the meal be called … a Cement Mixer?

Talking turkey

Yesterday, we got a look at the train for The Voyage.

And what about that other ride?

No trains for Gobbler Getaway, but rather Turkey Trotters…

There will be a dozen Turkey Trotter cars, seating up to four persons each.

These Turkey Trotters will take us through the town of Autumn Falls as we try to help turkey farmer Cornelius Van Snoodle locate his missing flock.

We don’t want to give away too much of the “plot,” but rest assured no mayhem will ensue.

A bit of chaos, perhaps, but definitely no mayhem.

Midnight train in Georgia

Okay, so it’s not midnight blue, but close enough.

Will, his mom, and three of our directors were in Atlanta last week, attending the annual IAAPA Convention.

The folks at PTC had a display model, which garnered a lot of attention.

Interesting new seat divider…

Remember, The Voyage will have three trains when it opens May 6. And each train will have seven cars (the trains on The Raven and The Legend all have six cars).

Here’s a side view…

The IAAPA Convention is huge (IAAPA stands for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions). There are loads of social events, seminars, workshops, plus a gigantic exhibition.

Look who Will and Mrs. Koch found …

It’s our friends at The Gravity Group.

From the left in the back row, that’s Korey, then Chad (affectionately named Chadwick by the Discovery Channel crew last month), Larry, and Mike.

This photo was taken by Justin, the head of the European Coaster Club. He’d emailed me from Atlanta to tell me he’d seen Will and Mrs. Koch in the exhibition hall. I emailed back in my standard professional manner that it was good to hear they weren’t goofing around.

I guess Justin figured I needed proof.

By the way, that additional element that has been added to The Voyage is a third 90-degree-banked curve.

It will be positioned just after the first one. You’ll bank 90 degrees to the left and then after about 100 feet of track you’ll bank 90 degrees to the right. Sort of a big “swoosh.”

The third 90-degree-banked curve is the one closer to the end of the ride.

Heading out soon for Thanksgiving with family and friends? We wish you all a warm, wonderful, and safe holiday!

“Paging Dr. CoasterNut …”

Received this nice email from Dr. Jason the other day. He said it was okay to post it, in an anonymous sort of way

Jason from (large city, located three hours from Santa Claus) here; as always, the blog looks great.

Just a word to let you know how I’ve been showing your video. I am in the last year of Medicine Residency at (large city) University School of Medicine.

People know me as kind of a Coaster Nut.

Anyway, we have a couple big presentations every day; one in the morning and one at noon, to a rather large group of residents.

The presentation is usually a PowerPoint that is projected to a large screen in a room that would be the size of a mini-movie theatre. So, to “warm up the crowd,” when I do a presentation, I bring up large movies of roller coasters.

Can I just say what a “hit” The Voyage was.

Everyone loved it; the terrain, the underground elements. As the train neared the top of the hill, there were people who gasped in the audience. And it’s just the video!

I offered to close the video prematurely (when one of the older attendings arrived), and everyone said “No!!!” This was during the return part of the ride when the train is speeding and twisting and turning and banking.

They just had to see the end.

I’ve shown other videos with bigger roller coasters, but none was as well received as yours. I’ve even shown an animation from a new coaster down south (big park in Atlanta), and people said, “It’ll be okay.” But The Voyage! What a ride. “It’ll be great!”

This is truly going to be one tremendous ride, and you already have the acclaim from a group of nerdy doctors in (big city).

(Perhaps we’ll leave the patients for a weekend and caravan on out to Santa Claus in the spring.)

Hee hee.

Just kidding.

Sincerely,

Jason (last name omitted) MD

Crossing Over

What a lovely fall day.

Much better than yesterday.

Not as chilly. Not as windy. Not even as muddy.

Tom, the editor of Construction Digest, and I took a lovely stroll from one end of The Voyage site to the other.

Here’s something new…

As you start up the lifthill, you may see one of the other two trains heading back to the station.

Right over your head.

That’s what the enthusiasts call a “head chopper.”

Not to worry; it’s all smoke and mirrors.

No heads will roll.

Promise.

Here’s the crossover from another angle.

This is the bottom of the lifthill, crossed over by the beginning-of-the-end of the ride.

Remember, at this point you’ve only been through three of The Voyage’s five underground tunnels.

The other two are on the other side of the station.

Or so I’m told.

As I told Tom, I don’t have one of those engineer-egghead brains.

When Will drags out some blueprints or other design graphics during staff meeting, it’s always the same. About six of the directors pop out of their seats and lean across the conference table, studying and questioning.

Mrs. Koch and I always catch each other’s attention from our seated position. Sometimes we shake our heads. Other times we roll our eyes. And once in a while, we just laugh.

We’ll get it all figured out by opening day.

That’s soon enough for us.

Above is the second hill; the lower track is the return trip.

Let’s take a closer look.

Tom tried to snap the very first photo of Hill #3 under construction.

Ever the gracious hostess, I sneaked behind him and took one first.

And finally, we gawked at Tunnel #1 for a bit.

From this angle, the opening at the top (in the foreground) is where the train will fly out as it exits the tunnel.

See the opening to the right, more in the background?

Is there really enough room for the train to change directions (from down to up)?

I don’t know…

Maybe I should ask Will for another glance at those blueprints.

Skeletal remains

Walking through the park in the off-season is sort of creepy.

Since we’re closed for the season, there are no happy families, no wondrous smells from the restaurants, no holiday-themed music.

Just a big ol’ empty park.

The fountain and all the pools are empty. The flags have been taken down.

The maintenance staff takes apart just about everything for winter rehab.

Skeletal "spider ride"

In the past several days, we’ve received a bunch of emails asking for more construction updates plus additional info about Gobbler Getaway.

Every last one of them included the phrase “… since this is your slow time — just kidding!”

Hmmm.

I’d post a photo of my desk, but I wouldn’t want to traumatize the children.

And as we get closer to Thanksgiving, I will provide more information about Gobbler Getaway.

Just a few nibbles, though. We wouldn’t want to over-indulge and spoil your appetite, now, would we?

Keep a lid on it

Let’s get something straight … the “lid” for Tunnel #1 in no way resembles Tupperware.

And the tunnels are nothing like those on The Raven and The Legend.

Because the tunnels at The Voyage are underground.

Cedar wood worked for the tunnels at The Legend (and offered a lovely whiff of relaxing aromatherapy), but for the underground tunnels at The Voyage there’s a need to use a material termites won’t be able to snack on.

Concrete. And lots of it.

One piece at a time (each piece weighs something like three tons), the pre-poured concrete slabs are being carefully lowered into place.

Take a look at the upper right portion of the above photo. You’ll see some Voyage structure through the trees. See where we are? That structure is part of the second hill. Hill #3 has yet to be built; at the bottom of the hill, we’ll fly into Tunnel #1.

Wonder what it will sound like?

And will the internal temperature be cooler than outside in the summer, as caves are?

Rachel took this photo from the other side of the tunnel.

…and here it is from a bit farther away.

After all the pieces are in place, a final layer of concrete will be poured.

And then it all gets buried in dirt. (That’s the “underground” part of all this.)

And regarding the added element mentioned a few weeks back, we’ll let you know more early next week. Will is going to be on another podcast with CoasterBuzz and will spill the beans then.

Sort of an early Thanksgiving goody.

Honoring our Veterans

The eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Time to say thank you.

To people my parents’ age, my own age, my son’s age.

Each has a story. Some choose to talk about their military days, others don’t.

Mrs. Koch likes to tell the story about her dad.

This is a photo of him. Jim Yellig was a Navy man during the first World War.

One Christmas, he was stationed on a ship at the Brooklyn Shipyard in New York.

Everyone on board, so far from home, agreed to hold a Christmas party for local underprivileged children.

But where was Santa?

“Hey, Jim — you do it! You’re from Santa Claus, after all.”

Truth be told, Jim Yellig was from nearby Mariah Hill. But who could resist talking about a town named Santa Claus? Not Jim…

Jim wasn’t thrilled about the idea, but agreed to do it.

The experience changed his life forever.

When he saw the hope and love and trust in the eyes of these little children, frightened by the war and hurt by poverty, his heart melted.

As he told the story years later, “Afterwards, I said a little prayer: God, if you get me through this war alive and send me home, I’ll forever be Santa.”

Both promises were kept.

God bless our Veterans on this, and all, days.

Keeping track

That big ol’ crane isn’t just lifting steel.

How handy is that?

At Monday’s staff meeting, Will told us the “lid” for Tunnel #1 is supposed to arrive on Friday.

I’m picturing a gigantic Tupperware lid being lowered down onto that huge underground tunnel.

I don’t want to be around when they burp that thing.