Underwater Programming Laboratories
Warning: Don not attempt to perform or recreate any of the activities or actions in this story. Riding an amusement ride/attraction may expose you to forces or experiences beyond what you are capable of safely mentally or physically withstanding. Always observe and follow posted warnings and restrictions before riding any ride/attrition and always follow all instructions given by ride/attraction operators.
An unexpected journey
“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.”
I had no intention in riding one ride all day, every day I came to the park. It had been two months since my first ride on Yukon Striker when I asked my son, who works at Canada’s Wonderland, what the least crowded day of the week was. He told me it was usually Tuesdays so I showed up at the park the following Tuesday ready for a day at the park. I brought my camera bag as I usually do because I enjoy capturing interesting shots there and share them on my photo blog over the years. When I arrived, I headed to Yukon Striker first to give it another try. Yukon Striker has a dedicated single rider line that they draw from to fill in any empty seats on the train so I gave that a try.
The single rider line has rules you have to follow and some caveats. The rules are pretty simple. You don’t get to pick the row or seat you want. You will be directed to a row that has empty seats after they have fill what they can from the stand by and fast lane queue. If you are in the single rider queue with friends and or family, you may be broken up to fill any empty seats. There is no guarantee that the single rider queue will be any faster than the standby queue. One of the caveats is that if there are no empty seats, then no one will be selected from the single rider queue.
Fortunately for me, first thing in the morning you can get on with in minutes using the single rider queue. The first few dives were intense during the first drop which started to fade intensity after a few runs. The single rider queue was keeping pretty short so I kept going back on for another and I was having fun. After a few hours I decide to have some fun with some friends on social media. I posted that I had been at the park for three hours and only been on one ride. When they queried if the lines were that bad, I replied back that no, the lines were great and that indeed I had only ridden one ride but I had had ridden it twelve times.
I was having fun and figured as long as I was having fun, I would keep riding it until I wasn’t having fun. It didn’t take me long to realize that riding Yukon Striker over and over presented a challenge. I was getting lightheaded in the vertical loop and second inversion. Passing out was not something I wanted to do. I came close to that a few years ago.
Rewind back to 2012 when I first rode Leviathan. I used to hate the first drop on roller coasters because of that horrible sensation of falling. I had figured out that if I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly during the drop, it minimized the sensation. Trying that with Leviathan proved difficult when the drop is over 300 ft. About a third of the way down I ran out of breath and I started to tense up. After reaching two thirds of the way down I realized that it wasn’t that bad anymore and relaxed. When the train hits the bottom of the drop at 148 km per hour, riders experience about 4.5 Gs. Ascending up to the first turn I started to only see in greys and my peripheral visions started closing in. I didn’t black out, but it was pretty close.
I was not looking forward to a repeat of what happened on Leviathan, or even worse passing out so I started experimenting with different techniques to mitigate the light headedness. After trying a few, I stumbled across something that was so simple. Turns out that it works on other rides that have high G elements and I don’t get lightheaded anymore.
I was keeping track that first full day of riding Yukon Striker out of interest. My son came over on his lunch break and we did a ride together and then we did a run on Mine Buster before he had to head back. Some of the crew on the ride started to recognize that I kept getting back on and commented to me about it. I think they found it an oddity that someone would spend for what they saw their entire day on one ride. For me, I was fascinated with more than just riding it. When in the queue I would look at how the floor in the station retracted the undercarriages of the train cars as they passed over the queue, or the lift mechanical systems. I have always loved learning how things work, this was a giant machine with many parts, and I wanted to learn it all.
I took breaks to hydrate and take photographs around the park, photography being my other passion, and near the end of the night came back for a few more dives before the park closed. My count for the day was 24 dives on Yukon Striker, and one run on Mine Buster. I returned two weeks later with an app on my phone that I downloaded to make it simpler to keep track of the count. It had big numbers and buttons so I could read it easily without my glasses. By the end of the day I had lots of pictures of Yukon Striker and finished with a count of 23 for the day. Some of the crew were getting more interested in my activities. They were not alone. I was starting wondering myself how far I was going to take this. I didn’t have an answer.
When I returned almost two weeks later I had an answer when I brought with me a new counter app on my phone. I am a software developer and wanted a counter with more features, so I wrote my own app. This new app, with big numbers and buttons, had three counters on it now. The day count, the total count, and one that counted down to whatever goal I wanted. The goal was set to 100. Two days after that I got in 50 dives in one day, and reach my first goal of 100. I also performed my first goal ritual. Normally I don’t care what row I sit in. I decided for my 100th dive I wanted to sit in the front row and go barefoot. I did, and it was fun. I did not know how many more times I would be riding in the front row barefoot. I would find out as this journey was now well under way.