We had decided before entering the park this morning that going directly to Thunderhead would be a bad move. We figured that the three hundred or so ACE members would all congregate there almost immediately. Instead, therefore, we made our way over to Tennessee Tornado, which was a total walk on. There was still almost nobody waiting when we returned, so it seemed logical to get in a second ride. The queue would be much longer once the enthusiasts in the park realised what a good ride it was.
By the time we got to it the wait for Thunderhead was down to about twenty minutes. George and I had just reentered the queue for a second go when the heavens opened completely. Lightning strikes in the area led to the immediate closure of the ride. There were only a limited number of places to shelter, one of which was at the ride exit beside the photo booth. However, for reasons best known to themselves, the park would not allow anyone to remain there and insisted that we all move out into the rain. This deserves to be repeated. It was raining hard, none of us were dressed for the weather, and the park told us that we could not stand in the shelter. I meant to check the gift shop for hypothermia medication later, though it slipped my mind.
I needed to clear my head, so I split off from the rest of the group. As I was already wearing a poncho it seemed like a good time to try out the Smoky Mountain Rampage rapids ride. As rapids rides go this was relatively generic, though it did have a number of surprises in the course. My boat was shared by a number of local children and their mother, who had evidently been dragged on board against her will. The sound effects coming from her direction provided a great deal of amusement for the rest of us!
We had previously arranged to leave the park just after lunch time. Since I did not feel hungry, I spent the time clocking up four back seat rides on Thunderhead.