I was out at Cedar Point very briefly today to tour the construction site of Gatekeeper, the new roller coaster opening next spring. None of the structural components are there just yet, but they've already started pouring footers for the station, lift and the first inversion. It's the first roller coaster that they've built that really has extensive scope since Maverick, though they started on that one completely under the radar a full year early. Walking in that sand reminds me more of the construction of Millennium Force back in 2000.
Watching something like this take shape is very interesting. You see them dig holes in the sand and pour concrete with bolts sticking out that are within millimeters of where they have to be. Then a bunch of impossibly heavy steel starts showing up and they start bolting it together into a roller coaster. A building pops up over the station, thousands of feet of wiring is connected and landscaping fills in over all of that dirt. A ride opens in May.
This new ride is interesting for me personally because of all of the change in my life. In fact, it was on the day of the media event for Maverick that I met Diana (I'll spare you the retelling of how I was tired out of my mind for our date, and she talked about rehearsing calls for a show she stage managed). This is the first big ride I get to see open with her, and our little man. Of course, he won't be able to ride it for a few years, but I'll have these great new memories with him and his mom.
It's funny how, in the long run, these rides always end up being about the people and not the geekery of the ride itself.