If you've been a roller coaster nerd on the Internet for a long time, you may remember the genesis of a running joke that persists today. Somewhere in 1998 (and good luck finding it), a kid made a post on the Usenet rec.roller-coaster group that Lakemont should tear down its Leap-the-Dips roller coaster, a comment made more absurd by the spelling of "TAER" in all caps. Usenet might as well no longer exist (it was never a particularly good way to conduct discussions, even in modem days), but that meme has carried over into the world of Web forums.
A few weeks ago, Cedar Point announced it would remove Disaster Transport to make room for the new [censored]. "TAER IT DOWN" of course came back, and this time with celebration, as far as I'm concerned. That ride was an awful eyesore. Yes, I'm concerned about the alarming rate at which rides that young families can ride together are disappearing, but that awful steel box has blocked views of the lake for far too long.
Fortunately, this raised an opportunity to do some more fundraising for Give Kids The World, my favorite charity. One of my BFF's, Kara, works there in an event fundraising role, and I've gotten to know the president a bit after helping promote the Coasting For Kids event we've done for the last four years. So of course, I had to jump in and help, to celebrate the end of that boring ride, and raise some cash! Participants got to take the final laps on the ride, and combined with midway donations during the day, we raised about $16k. How awesome is that?
My original plan was to go up and shoot video, around the park and at the event. At the last minute, I bailed on that idea, because it occurred to me that I'm always documenting this stuff and never really just participating. That troubles me. It was a flawed plan anyway, because I mistakingly read the calendar to believe they were open until midnight instead of 10. Also, it was dark, and we were talking about an indoor ride. What was I going to see? Turns out, I ended up lending a hand and being occupied with that anyway.
I had dinner with Pam and Kara, and it was interesting to hear people talk about their jobs in a way most of us never do. They're in the non-profit business of making happy memories for the families of sick kids. After dinner, I helped count money, talk to guests about GKTW, get people organized for the final rides, and even hold a flashlight. Whatever they needed. It's not really "work" to give money or put up some graphics on one of my sites, so it's nice to actually do something to get my hands dirty. It's a good feeling. Pam is trying to convince me to help out at IAAPA this year, which I'm just not sure about.
In any case, I had a good time, surrounded by a lot of my favorite people. I wish Diana and Simon could have been there, but that's a pretty late night for the little guy (and Diana :)). I know I give the, uh, "commitment" of some CP fans a hard time, but when it translates to cash for a cause I believe in, I can't not be proud of that community.
Disaster Transport/Avalanche Run will be gone in a few weeks. Can't wait to ride [censored] in the spring!