Monday, July 21, 2014

Rising with the Sun on Ravine Flyer II

At the first glimpse of sunlight each summer morning, Waldameer Maintenance Team Members Patrick and Jacob are tightening their safety harnesses as they prepare for their first inspection task of the morning. By 6:00am sharp, they are beginning their daily 3061 foot walk. While a walk of just over a half mile doesn't sound too daunting at first thought, you would be surprised how challenging this walk becomes when you factor in drops of 120 feet, 105 feet, and 60 feet in addition to three tunnels, ten crossovers, and a 90 degree banked turn. Sounds familiar right? That's right, a significant portion of Ravine Flyer II's pre-opening inspection involves a grueling task of walking the entire coaster layout. Not one nut, bolt, track piece, or layer of wood goes untouched all in the name of rider safety and comfort.
Every layer of wood, nut and bolt, as well as each section of steel rails is inspected.
To make this task just slightly less treacherous, Ravine Flyer II's layout is inspected beginning from the final brake run and finishing by walking down the main lift hill. Not only is this walk important for safety, but it also gives many rare perspectives of the 6th Best Wooden Coaster in the World. While Patrick and Jacob inspect, WaldaBlog thought we could enjoy the views and the workout.
Let's begin from the final break run.
First big hill we encounter.  There is no turning back now!
Looking  up from the bottom of the 60 foot drop that follows the 90 degree bank.
Back down into the ravine.
A long straightaway over a few bunny hops.
Did you know from Ravine Flyer II's highest point to it's lowest point,  there is a 132 foot elevation change?
Tunnels feel much longer when you aren't flying 60 mph.
Looking up the 105 foot second drop.
Okay, now this walk (more like a climb)  is getting scary.  A lot steeper than it looks.
Getting twisted as we make our way back to the bridge.
Coming over the bridge.  The protective blue mesh and tunnel hide our next challenge.
120 feet to go. Challenge Accepted!
Getting steeper!

Yikes! We are almost 120 feet up with only a terrifyingly narrow catwalk to climb on!
Hold on tight as we take on this 60 degree climb!
We made it!  What an amazing view from the top!  Now for an easy walk down 85 feet.
Phew! Our track walk is complete, and it's only just after 7:00am. Talk about an early-morning workout! Once the inspection and testing of all the lap bars, seat belts, wheels, axles, bearings, couplings, and car bodies of two 12,000 pound coaster trains is complete, Ravine Flyer II is ready to thrill riders for another Walda-rific day.