I finally rode the ride my mother warned me about!
More about this legendary ride later... This will be sort of a mini-tr of the Maryland State Fair, especially since there seems to be a lot of members who live in the mid-Atlantic area on this board. At this point you would only have about 3 days left to visit the fair but that may be possible for those who live not far from Baltimore (well, the fair isn't in Baltimore itself but rather a few miles north of the Beltway).
Anyway, my mom and I decided to go to the fair yesterday (we were going to also take a friend of ours but he had to work and this was the only night I could have made it) as we hadn't been in ages since before my father died more than a decade ago. We got there around 5:30 pm and I had to rush and get an unlimited ride band as they were only being sold until 6 pm. At $17 (including a grocery store promotional discount, which sadly has expired) this was a great deal and I didn't want to miss out on it. The ride bands can still be had for $22 for the rest of the fair if anyone's interested.
We wandered around for a while and got something to eat, but then I decided that I wanted to do some riding once 7:30 rolled around. Well, the very first thing I see at the front of the midway, right near the entrance (for some odd reason I didn't notice it the first time I came in, probably because I was really hungry and thinking about food) is this:
Well, a very long time ago when I was maybe 10 years old, my mom took my babysitter (who was about 17) and I to a fair or carnival, and I must have expressed some interest in ridding the Zipper. So, my mom told me to wait while she and the babysitter tried it out. Well, once they had gotten off she basically said there was no way she'd let me ride anything like that! At least not as long as I was a minor. And from that day on all thru my childhood I figured that the Zipper must have been really something for my mom to ban me from riding it.
Well, time went by and I became an adult, but I really never came across another zipper where I had a good opportunity to ride. True, I had driven by many a fair and carnival and had seen Zippers whirling away on the midway, but a really good opportunity had just never presented itself. Worse yet, in the last few years I've developed terrible motion sickness, which is luckily treatable with a prescription patch. The downside is the cost - my insurance isn't great and I pay about $12 a patch (which does last three days, so I can get days worth of riding in on one patch), so I have to figure if the smaller stuff is worth blowing a patch for.
Well, this was indeed worth blowing a patch on - I had little idea of what to expect. I was afraid for a moment that I would be unable to ride due to the no single rider policy (not sure if that's common to all Zippers or just to this particular carnival company). However, I lucked out when I saw three kids in line and asked the last girl if I could ride with her. She looked to be about 8 years old, not much younger than I was when my mom banned me from the Zipper. It was also her first ride (apparently her mom had instituted no such ban!).
They ran this Zipper both forwards and backwards (not sure if they all do this or it's like Himalaya-type rides - some do and some don't go backwards) - the forwards part was pretty good - some nice pops of positive and negative g's, but when the ran it backwards all hell broke loose! That was totally awesome - the car we were in flipped many, many times. I can see why this ride is legendary and has a lot of fans. Oh, the girl I rode with thought it was a little scary, though she didn't seem upset or anything. She did say that she thought a lot of people must puke on this ride, and I agreed with her that that was very likely the case.
Anyway, I'm glad I finally got to ride this flat with such a storied reputation last night.
I did ride some other things (though not as much riding as I had hoped, as it got crowded when it got dark and my mom was getting tired of waiting), including one of those "claw" type rides (you can see it in some of my pictures), and hang-gliding type ride (which was a joke if you had bought tickets - it took forever to load and you only got about two turns!). I also rode the Ferris Wheel, which had to be the slowest Ferris Wheel ever - not counting the loading - it just turned really, really slowly! That was great for taking pics but not good for wasting time I could have been riding other things.
That one really wore me out - if you like some serious centrifugal action this ride is for you. It was a bit much for me and I had to quit for the night after riding it. I also rode a Music Express, which was fast but only went forwards. The claw ride was good and had some nice airtime.
Finally, my mom and I got a red velvet funnel cake, ate part of it and then headed for home (and ate the rest once we got home).
I have more pics here:
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
I have ridden some that go both backwards and forwards, and others that only went one direction.
One of the wildest I rode was in Guatemala at a travelling carnival. About half of the lights were out, much of the padding was torn, and it was really rusty. They cycle those rides fast and furiuos in Guatemala! That coupled with a few spins on the Sooper Loops made for quite a night!