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.
Season 2.0
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Helen Keller

It would be 633 days before riding Yukon Striker again after the entire 2020 season had been cancelled. I added a page to my website to display statistical information of my progress including daily breakdowns and graphs. It also displays additional stats like total days, distance and time on the coaster, and the total distance fallen during the dive. I also updated the app on my phone to update the website in real time every time I updated the count in the app.

When Canada’s Wonderland opened the park for seasons pass holders for two days before opening to the general public I attended in the afternoon each day. To comply with health guidelines the single rider queue was not in use and the capacity of the trains was a fraction of the full 24 riders. I was only able to get two dives in on the first day, and gave up after one dive on the second due to the two and half hour wait in the stand by queue in brutal heat. I was not off to a good start. I looked up the season pass fast lane plus upgrade and discovered that if I purchased one, it would be good for the 2021 season and valid until September the following season. It was an expensive proposition but the extra season convinced me to purchase one. It was fortunate that I acquired it when I did. Less than a week later they were sold out of them.

Two weeks later I had two weeks off for vacation, the ride capacity restrictions had been lifted, and the single rider line was reinstated. This meant I could use the fast lane or the single rider queue depending on number of guests in them. I visited the park six times over the next two weeks. Twice in the first week on Tuesday and Thursday and four times during the second week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. This was a marathon with the count each of the first five being more than the previous. Within three days I was riding in the front row barefoot for my 400th dive finishing the day with 413. The next day I finished with 42. This left only 45 more to go to 500.

The next day started off as usual. I would arrive at the park getting to the front gate around 9:00 am and sit down in front of one of the security gates and relax in the in the early morning sun. When the gates opened I would go through security, get my Pass scanned, head over to Medieval Fair, and get into the Leviathan pre-line. This is where they would queue guests up separately from other guests and hold them closer to Leviathan to minimize guests rushing across Medieval Fair at rope drop and getting injured. I had no interest in going on Leviathan but it got me close to the fast lane wrist band pick up. At 10 minutes to rope drop, they would walk the pre line over to Leviathan’s queue where I would break off and pick up my wrist band without having to wait in line. They were always happy to see me and get me on my way. From there I would be able to walk back across the park to Gran World Expo and get a good spot there for the rope drop.

After rope drop, it was a brisk walk down to Yukon Striker. I wasn’t the first there, but I was the first there with a fast lane plus wrist band which got me through the queue while the guests in the standby queue were still being walked through by a crew member. This got me up to the platform first and a front row seat on the first train. The first three hours were going great. The lines were not bad due to the weather in the morning and the crew was doing a fantastic job at keeping the cycle counts up. At this rate I should hit 500 by the end of the day easily. During the afternoon the single rider queue was insanely long and the fast lane plus queue was starting to back up. At 5:00 pm the lines were getting better but the damage had already been done. With only three hours left and the number I needed to complete, I accepted that it was not going to happen that day.

At 7:20 I entered the queue just after finishing a run and I had seven left to go. A daunting task to complete seven runs in forty minutes. I completed two runs and was back in the queue by 7:30. Only five more to go. In reality I only had to complete four runs and get back in the queue by 8:00. I started letting the crew know when I only had five more to go and they started encouraging me on. I think they were as excited about it as I was. When the train was ready to leave for 498, one of the guests asked to have her restraint opened to take off her sweater. She walked slowly over to the bin by the operator’s booth and then slowly walked back to her seat. Then she took time to retie both shoes before getting back into her seat. All this while I am looking at my watch is disbelief. Finally we were on our way.

When the train was coming back into the station for 499 and stopped, the floor that retracts when the trains move in the station did not move. My head dropped forward and I sighed. When the floor doesn’t move it usually requires an area supervisor and or maintenance to clear the fault and restart the control system. That would take far longer than the time I had to get back in the queue. On either side of the track is a concrete walkway between the track and the gates. For safety there is a light curtain that runs along the surface of each walkway to prevent the floor or train from moving in the station if someone steps out on either walkway. I catch one of the loaders out of the corner of my eye walking along one of the walkways. He stopped, reached down, picked up a small piece of cellophane, and walked back to his cubby hole. The train moved less than a foot forward, the floor came up, and the restraints opened. I couldn’t believe the train was that close to final and stopped by a little piece of cellophane. I hopped out my seat, grabbed by bag and bottle from the bins, and headed for the queue. I made it back into the queue and got in just before it closed. I don’t know if me or the crew was more excited during those last few runs. Either way I was in the queue and all I had to do was get on and enjoy another ride barefoot in the front row. It is hard to describe what I was feeling when I sat in the seat and pulled down the restraint. All the anxiety, uncertainty, and excitement of the previous six runs turned to euphoria that was washing over me as the train left the station. It was a relaxing ride of victory that I savoured from beginning to end.

It took me 21 visits to the park to reach 500 dives. Over those 21 visits I had traveled 552.5 km on the coaster with a ride time of 20 hours and 8 minutes and a total drop fall of 122,500 ft. To commemorate the occasion I purchased a Yukon Striker Squishmallow. He is so soft and squishy and a great reminder of an awesome milestone.

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