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.
The last mile
“Find the journey’s end in every step.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Season pass holder preview day 2022 and I am back to continue the journey. After getting into the park and heading over to the rope in Medieval Fair, I hear from behind me someone asking about what my count is up to. We talked until the rope drop, headed over to pick up our Fast Lane Plus wrist bands, and I headed over to Striker for my first dive of the season. I knew that it had been a while since riding and my immunity to the drop sensation had long warn off. Sure enough, the sensation was back in full strength. After a few more dives it had passed and I was back having fun on Yukon Striker.

I continued to help out when I could when I was able to make a mother and her child’s day a bit better after I noticed they had been split into two different rows. I offered to swap seats with them so they could ride together and they were very happy. Later that day I rode a few times with someone who recognized me from 2019 and we shared some of our experiences on Striker over the past few seasons. Despite how many people showed up at the park, and it was a lot, I managed to finish the day off with 40 more dives.

Day two of the last mile and I decided to pick the better of the two days this weekend weather wise knowing it would most likely be busier that day. After 11 dives I passed the 950 threshold giving me encouragement passing the half way point of the 100 rides to 1,000 to go starting the season. It was definitely busy today but the fast lane plus line was short and I was able to keep getting rides in. After reaching 20, half of what I was hoping for that day, it looked like I was on track to another 40 dives for the day. Fate had another plan in mind and I finished the day with 38. I was very pleased with that and had a good day riding and meeting people.

Before starting out day three I had used my two previous days of riding Yukon Striker to estimate when I would reach 1,000 dives. I had calculated that I would reach my goal between 3 and five in the afternoon assuming the same rate as before. The first few dives were not going to plan but that was fine because I only had to get a total of 22 for the day. Shortly after 1 pm I passed the halfway point for day and only had ten more to go. Then the plan went out the window.

The park was not only busy, there were a lot of guests with fast lane plus wrist bands now showing up at Yukon Striker. Combine with a few delays and I was now getting about 2 rides and hour. At that pace, it was going to be close. The line length would vary, sometimes long, sometimes longer. Traditional on the fly calculations were flip flopping between make it and not make it. If they close the queue 30 minutes before park closing like last visit, that could throw a monkey wrench in it as well. With all the variables constantly in flux, I was ridding one dive at a time and seeing where it was taking me.

Just after 6:30pm I had completed dive 999 and was headed back into the queue for dive number 1,000. It was time to head to the row one line and get ready for another barefoot ride. It had been a while since I had ridden in row one. Sitting there waiting for the all the restraints to be checked and get on our way felt very different from the previous 999 dives. There was a strange quiet about it. It felt like it was taking longer than it normally does to get under way, yet it didn’t concern me. There was no anxiousness to get under way and no calculating in my head about how long it was going to take, or how many rides I was going to get that day. Then I heard the operator announce over the platform speakers that this was my 1,000th dive, give us our departure instructions, and we were on our way.

When I get asked what the difference between row one and row two, I tell them, the wind. I forgot how windy it is on row one. A fantastic ride with a great zero G fall down the drop. I took some time after the run for a picture to commemorate my achievement and headed back in for one more dive in row one while I still had time before they closed the queues for the day.

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