Travel Note

16th July 2016

We began the second last day of our trip with a visit to Megan's family located just outside Philadelphia. When the time came to leave for Lake Compounce the ever-helpful Hortense offered to calculate an alternative route for us avoiding toll roads, and we let her do that out of curiosity. The proposed detour added almost six hundred miles and eleven hours of driving, taking us almost to the Canadian border. As amusing as this was, we decided that it'd be altogether more efficient to stick with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The default route eventually took us across the George Washington Bridge, and while that wasn't exactly time efficient it was certainly scenic.

Hortense

 

Lake Compounce

16th July 2016

Hortense knew exactly how to get to Lake Compounce, but her built-in location was for the staff car park on Lake Avenue, rather than the public one which turned out to be several miles away on Enterprise Drive. There was no signage available, and after several attempts to figure things out we gave up and fell back to the old reliable of Google Maps which I'm pleased to say got us out of trouble for the second time this year. Bill and Sam were waiting for us at the entrance tunnel and both were remarkably understanding given that we were around half an hour late.

Phobia Phear Coaster (#2272) is the fifth worldwide installation of the Premier Rides Sky Rocket II, a design introduced to the world as Superman Ultimate Flight in 2012. Operations today were far from optimal, with dispatches averaging one every five minutes and a bizarre split queueing system, but in due course we found our way into row two. I've had nothing but good experiences with this ride type, and I'm glad to report that today was no different; the tracking was smooth from start to finish, and the hang time at the highest point was great. The only thing I didn't particularly like was the name, though it has to be said that I've heard far worse; who here remembers Playstation: The Ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach?

With the new credit ticked off it was time to renew acquaintance with Boulder Dash. Megan wanted to ride in the back seat, and I decided that I'd join her despite misgivings from my experience eleven years ago. The first half of the ride was absolutely brilliant, delivering a wonderful sense of speed punctuated by excellent laterals and airtime. However, a triple-up after the turnaround had a major spine crunching moment that was on the far side of brutal, to the point that I'm surprised that it hasn't caused an injury yet. I subsequently rode a second time towards the front of the train, but as that wasn't much better I decided to find a comfortable bench to sit on while those hardier than me went back for round three. While writing this report I searched for other trip reports commenting on the triple-up, and it would appear that I'm far from the only person who thinks it unreasonably violent.

Sam and Bill were saying that Wildcat invariably has potholes somewhere, and this year was no exception. The first drop was pretty close to perfect, implying that it had been retracked recently, but the rest of the layout felt very much like driving on an Irish country road in the middle of winter, with bounciness and sideways jolting that really shouldn't have been there. The tracking wasn't dreadful by any means, especially when compared against that moment on Boulder Dash, but it was definitely in need of some TLC.

The only other ride we had time for was Ghost Hunt, which I had to skip on my last visit due to queue length. Bill told us that the hardware had been upgraded a few years earlier with a trackless vehicle system, and sure enough there was no obvious guidance rail driving the four seat cars. Part way through our ride the scoring system in our car froze, and while our guns continued to fire it was apparent that none of our shots were registering. This gave us a nice opportunity to set competition aside in favour of enjoying the colourful theming, and we made the most of the chance.

Boo Blaster