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Kennywood 2011 Trip Report
August 14, 2011

My third day with The Season Pass' "Wheels on I-80" trip took us all to Pennsylvania's Kennywood and this is another park I was way overdue to revisit. It has plenty of kick-ass rides, but it's also a king's ransom of historical goodies, well over a century old and one of the very few remaining "trolley parks" in America (frankly, off the top of my head, I can't even think of another). And there's been nothing but good buzz surrounding its newest toy, Premier Rides' LSM-launched Sky Rocket coaster. So, yeah, I was really pumped that Kennywood was on the itinerary.

We wasted no time in heading right for the back, to Kennywood's crown jewel, the mighty Thunderbolt.

At one time, this divine woodie was considered the greatest on the planet. That may not be the case anymore, but it is still a masterwork.

In hindsight, it would have been ideal to wait and ride later in the day. The early morning run was very good, but it felt like it wasn't really firing on all cylinders, needed to warm up some more.

Still, even at less than full throttle, this is an epic ride, what with the first drop right out of the station, and that searing one-two punch of the final plunges, its two largest. There's no other coaster I can name that ends as dramatically as the Thunderbolt. You want to know what a "ravine coaster" is? Ride this and be enlightened.

We didn't get on the Turtle Chase, but it's another terrific example of Kennywood's importance as a preserver of rides almost entirely extinct. (And this was a product created by the notorious Harry Traver!)

After a couple of spins on the T-Bolt, we made a beeline for that big metal thing looming over the portal to "Lost Kennywood."

It was too chilly to ride the Pittsburgh Plunge, but the whole area around it is beautifully put together. First class, Kennywood!




© Robert Coker
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