Whohoo! It's here, construction, food, and rides from Silver Dollar City! Opening weekend of SDC did not disappoint and this past Sunday the park was packing them in. The people were friendly, food was amazing (you'll see that here!) and the Rocky Mountain crew is hard at work on the super secret coaster going in! One note, this year the park is not allowing eye wear, tethered or not, onto Wildfire siting an incident at a different park where someone had their eye poked out by flying glasses. Not sure where that happened, anyone know more?
Also as a bonus I have disassembly photos over at Celebration City, a few of what the defunct park looks like today AND I got to meet Sean Casey IMAX film maker, producer of "Tornado Alley" and star of the Discovery Channels "Storm Chasers" and got up close and personal with the TIV (Tornado Intercept Vehicle)
So batten down the hatches, slip into your frady hole and enjoy this multi part adventure!
Well shimmer me timbers, where am on this magnificent day?
According to the train, I'm at Silver Dollar City!
Yup, pretty sure that's were we are today.
Why? Well maybe because I can, but mostly for the food. Oh, and that little thing called dirt.
Because we all like dirt right? Even the Irishmen in the second row.
Over by this here barn swing we find...
Earth Movers! Yay
Looking through the fence we find.....DIRT!
Oh yeah, and some concrete going in.
But before I look at more dirt, man am I hungry. So, I thought I'd pop in over here.
So after some yummy cinnamon bread with icing, it was time to cool off, after all it was 80 degrees outside and by gosh I'm melting. Oh, and the line for train was like an hour.
Look! I found the 'Lost River'!
"GET IT AWAY FROM ME!!!"
But man, all that water riding has me hungry again...
So I decided to walk around and figure out what to eat, do I try a skillet with ham or chicken, squash, okra, onions and peppers or string beans?
Or should I get some fresh grilled sausage or a turkey leg?
Or this? So many choices!
Like these potatoes on a stick!
Wow, philly chesse and hand formed burger patties! SDC and Dollywood prove beyond a doubt you can have quality inexpensive food in a theme park!
I think I gained 5 pounds...
They even deep fry their own pork! Such amazing food!!
All those good eats (which by the way, all were under 9 bucks) have made me want to sit and digest. So why not sit on the train.
Where you can find the lost river again.
Wait a minute... I know what's behind the swinging barn...
Why it's construction equipment, imagine that. It was shocking to me in fact.
It's never good to be a tree when you are wrapped in orange.
more random dirt
Now it's getting more better!
Pre-fab footers for a wooden structure have been harvested!
And there are a ton of them growing out of the ground!
Like a TON!
Ah crap. A hold up.
At least they have an out house, you know, after all that food...
Right down yonder they r buildin' one them rolling coaster things, but man is they scarey, I'ain't a ridin it
And a concrete doomsday bunker!
Or maybe it's a tornado shelter...what? Too soon?
See, that pile of wood proves it's going to be a wooden coaster. You saw it here.
So work your magic Mr. Dozer cause I think we are all going to really like what you're building!
And before I left....yeah, I took a few loafs home..
Be on the lookout for Celebration City pictures coming up in a few!
Moving on after Silver Dollar City was a stop at the defunct Celebration City to check out the disassembly of Thunderbolt, have a look.
Oh, and don't forget to post your thoughts and comments such as how long do you think it will be before they are finished taking apart Thunderbolt, how's the weather, what did you have for dinner, when was the last time you've been to Branson, what would you do....
And here we have track pieces
and track pieces with the one support piece that has been removed thus far
and random other stuff like stairs and a catwalk
more random parts
let's get a little closer shall we?
Look, they have a crane!
And torch supplies!
And some sexy lift hill porn.
But now let's go take a look around the park.
At least they are keeping the yard mowed.
One kiddie ride, no waiting.
One OzCat, rotting.
pretty sure the steel would need to be replaced
it's showing a lot of rust compared to two years ago
I would however like to ride it, maybe with skates?
I'd hate to fall face forward and splat all over the place.
So I will leave that for that other idiot.
Speaking of leaving, it's time to go meet up with Sean Casey and the Tornado Intercept Vehicle!
Finally wrapping up my adventure for this week was a meet and great with Sean Casey, IMAX Filmmaker(Check his works on IMDB), Tornado Intercept Vehicle I and II designer, builder, and owner, and star of the Discovery Channel show "Storm Chasers" His recent movie, "Tornado Alley" was an impressive work that ends with the filming on the inside of a large tornado.
His personality on camera matches his in-person personality. Very relaxed and personable. Despite having notoriety he is the kind of guy you could have a beer with, watch a football game with, or go fishing and you would never know he was a celebrity.
Some interesting notes from my conversation with him:
*TIV II gets 10 miles per gallon *When traveling for appearances promoting "Tornado Alley" TIV II is towed via trailer. *The original TIV is growing old in a field in Kansas *Currently working on shooting the sequel to "Tornado Alley" in 3D *Will begin chasing for 2012 in May *When on Mythbusters the "other guy" requested his vehicle be tethered to the plane during the high end 160mph wind test. They granted his request but left 20 feet of slack in the cable. When the engines reached YOLOcoaster the other vehicle started to slide and snapped the tethering cable and then sucked up towards the plane's engines. The TIV, however, stayed put with no damage. *Asked about how it felt to live out his dream he responded by saying it felt wonderful and gave him the feeling of wanting more, which is what he's doing by filming the sequel.
All around great guy. Check out the pictures below of the TIV and of some recent damage to Branson.
ENJOY! And feel free to post your comments!
On my way to the Branson IMAX I decided to take a moment and drive through town. Afterall the IMAX is literally within eyesight of Celebration City, but I really wanted to see once again the powerful destructive forces that a tornado can bring.
the low end motels didn't fare too well
Over two weeks later the carnage was everywhere.
This is the Shoney's that was on the news quite a bit
Special photo for ChrisRad
Stuff was literally blown blocks away
More or less leveled
Very sad indeed. Many people left from my city to assist in the days after with some still there.
They will rebuild, that's for certain. And one of the guys who not only films these beasts but also helps collect weather related data just happened to be in town!
Why look, its Sean Casey and I with the TIV!
What a massive beast
How amazing is it to see something that's not only been on International television but has also driven through multiple tornadoes!
So lets take a look under the hood. This is where Sean normally sits.
And this is the turret
This would be how thick the door is
Did I mention he made this beast himself using a modified Dodge truck chassis?
For the seat enthusiasts
above the drivers seat. Wiring was everywhere, I imagine some of it was left over from the Discovery cameras and equipment.
More thickness shots.
How about a nice overview
These spikes lower into the ground to prevent movement as a tornado passes over it.
lets move over to the passenger side.
and the passenger floor
looking towards the rear. Sean didn't mind people climbing in and getting up close and personal which was really awesome.
A few close ups of the turret
The 3D camera mounts here.
And for the car nerds, I have a series of under shots
And there you have it, bye TIV! Thanks to Sean and the Branson IMAX for their hospitality! And another item checked off my bucket list!
Hope you enjoyed this in depth look at this modern marvel. Be sure to post and let me know what you think!
Incredible to see that thing up close (The TIV) after seeing it so often on TV and elsewhere. You get a sense of durability with it- which, considering the things it will go through you'd HAVE to have that in scale. The visuals of the destruction from the Tornado that came through recently are a reminder to everyone of how quickly life can change for people, and how destructive these acts of nature can be. Having relatives in that corridor- and friends as well- we should be thankful that there are people going out in these vehicles to study the effects- and hopefully someday come up with a suitable set of devices to make them more survivable.
A question about the spikes (the ones that 'hold' it into the ground)- are those mechanically lowered, or spring/fire-powered down? I'd imagine that would have to be something rather fast-acting to prevent 'issues' along the way.
Also: Does the vehicle go off-road often? (My memory of the series is rotten- as usual.)
The SDC pics are great- I'm looking forward to that credit-whore trip this year. Celebration City, however, is quite sad to see. OZCat looks so sad falling down and splintering for such a 'new' ride all over. Of course, it could have been preserved- but that would have required some serious help along the way. Now that it is rotted and rusting, it's days are numbered till it becomes firewood.
Sad, sad photos leading up to the TIV meet and greet. During the first two seasons I thought there was a disturbing disconnect between the excitement of the storm chasers and the devastating potentially killer nature of the storms. The past two seasons the chasers seem to have developed a conscience, but it feels forced. Only the academic team in their thin skinned trucks comes across as likable.
Sean comes across as whiny and mercurial,but I'm sure that's the producers' doing. In real life, no one could be as much a jerk as Reed, could they?
Whatever, it takes steel to deliberately run down those twisters. I'm sure Sean is an interesting character. It's cool you got to meet him.
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