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 Review of Pippen/Thunderbolt @ Kennywood
1 Rating Posted by: hrrytraver on 8/15/2005 2:39:00 AM
i understand where some folks dont "get" the Tbolt. it has a strange feel to it. because of its lopsided shape and brief duration it might leave a discriminating rider to question its mythological status. but i, for one, did love it instantly without any initial "let down" period. it may lack the violence of some of the other roaring twenties "rib ticklers", but tbolt is plenty rambunctious and it rocks through its course dishing out great airtime and some serious lateral g forces. toss in super cool rare NAD trains, an intense drop down a cliff right out of the station, a wicked whirlpool of a helix, then tack on a couple of extra deep dips out of sight into the underbrush, and youve got a fun, FUN coaster. tbolt is also VERY well maintained. here it is, running old-school trains up and down its 80 year old ravine section, and yet its still as smooth and fast as can be. kennywood is well known as a living coaster exhibit who dish out tons of TLC to their oldies but woodies, and thunderbolt is the quirkiest, wildest and most interesting to ride of the whole bunch. lastly, i should add that the night experience on tbolt is a must. i took a recent ride on t-bolt at about ten o clock on a hot and rainy evening, back seat, of course. the factories across the river were filling the sky with yellow smoke and the p-burg hills full of crickets seemed so mellow and beatific, a compliment to our very non-mellow rattle up and down the dark ravine. we were cutting across the heat and raindrops, flying out of the seats and slamming into one another. i personally felt that everyone in the train knew that this feeling we had was rare and sublime. thunderbolt has probably delivered COUNTLESS such nights to thousands of riders.

Review Comments

fergusonat on 8/15/2005 12:41:32 PM said:
Awesome review! Thunderbolt is one insane night ride and it is easily my #1 woodie...Im glad you loved it as much as ya did
hrrytraver on 8/16/2005 12:45:13 AM said:
thanks, fergus. i noticed that you have much love for kennywood. im feeling that too. funny how you have to go to an ancient fun park to get a lung full of fresh air.
fergusonat on 8/17/2005 12:14:32 AM said:
Kennywood is an amazing place...I definitely have a deep appreciation for the park and its phenominal history. And all their woodies are so well preserved, its very impressive. And Thunderbolt is one hell of a ride...from start to finish. Simply an eternal classic.
bumprnugit on 8/27/2006 11:36:54 PM said:
Hrry, you are right on the money as far as maintenance of this ride. Ever seen the PBS doc "Kennywood Memories" in which Gino Chamberdoine(?) locks his legs in the lap bar of the front seat and greases the track while standing up during the full circuit, twice for each side? As you have pointed out, night rides are a must, as everything in Kennywood take on a special magic after sunset.
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