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Archive for Saturday, July 17th, 2004 08:10 pm GMT -5

How it all started….

Saturday, July 17th, 2004 08:10 pm GMT -5

Dark Ride Project Diary…

Background: 

 All of my life I loved haunted house rides… and all of the haunted house props we have been building over the past few years were for a reason. The first goal was to get our props featured in one of the local seasonal haunted houses; the second goal was to open our own haunted house.

 

 On July 17th, 2004 our plans changed.

 

 Although we were in the process of looking for a location and doing prelim design work on a transport system – we were years away from any type of real construction of a haunted house. On July 17th, a dark ride transport system (Cars and track from an antique Pretzel ride) was put up for auction on Ebay.

 This was an opportunity that was just too good to pass up. Not only would we save thousands designing and testing a transport system of my own design – we would have an authentic piece of amusement park history.

Update August 7, 2004

 Well – we just got back last night at 2:00am from picking up our ride cars. Everything went perfect! Which is odd for our luck. First – our truck was nice and clean. It was a little costly – but the guys at Penske got us in with little notice.

 

 We made it to Detroit in about 9 hours. Then we met the people we were buying the ride from. I have to say – when you buy things on-line, you never know what kind of people you are going to be dealing with. But these guys were the best! This was not only the best Ebay purchase I ever made; I feel that I left with some new friends. Check out my links page if you ever need costume or Halloween stuff – these are the guys you should be buying from. I also want to take this time to give a special “shout out” to Tim – the owner of Screamer’s Costumes, Renee – his manager and our Detroit information center, Dave – this guy can be anyone’s best friend… and could probably drink everyone he meets under the table! Last but not least is Cecilia.  

 

 The ride cars were exactly as they were described to us, and the truck we just the perfect size. By 4:00pm, we were back on the road to York. We did not make it back till 2:00am. 

    This is the day reality hit. We decided to store the “parts” cars at the house and leave the good cars at the storage facility. Upon further examination of these vehicles – I have deemed them almost totally lost. There is an old mechanics trick that when you machine something too big – you simply spray the metal with a little saltwater and the parts will eventually rust together into one piece. Well, this is what time and Mother Nature did to these cars. I feel that restoring these vehicles would prove to be impossible, as much of the original metal was now just dust.

 With the utmost of respect to everyone that will curse us for this – We took an air chisel and cut the two bad once into little pieces. Now before you write me hate mail – let us explain. The “frame” on the two bad cars is in tact – and there is a very good chance we could re-use these frames and wheels to construct new ride cars that will out-perform the original ones, and probably be much much lighter.

 Here are a couple of pictures of the cars in my driveway, and the two frames we saved from the destroyed cars. (Note the wet spots on the frames are two cans of WD-40 soaking into the rust. If I am ever going to get these apart – I’ll have to soak them for a few months

   

 It should be noted that these stripped down frames still weigh over 250 pounds each!