Matt McIrvin's Steam-Operated World of Yesteryear

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Lake Compounce
Jorie is staying with Diane and Noreen tonight, so Sam and I went down here to Lake Compounce for a day of riding big rides and such.

I'd been curious about Boulder Dash, Compounce's enormous wooden coaster from 2000 that hurtles through the woods along the mountainside. The first half of the ride is almost entirely hidden from view by the trees. In structure it's an out-and-back with about a zillion bunny hills in the second half that it takes at fairly high speed. It's an amazing ride that keeps throwing you in the air long past the point you'd think possible; the complete ride lasts close to three minutes (update: possibly an exaggeration: the above video is 2:04), and I'm not sure a woodie of that stature would be much fun for significantly longer than that, though I know there are a few that are longer.

Sam went on it with me, and I feel kind of guilty for not warning her sufficiently that it would be much more intense than she might have expected. I am, frankly, kind of a lightweight myself as coaster fans go. Boulder Dash was an intense enough and long enough assault on the senses to keep me from wanting to re-ride it today, or even to tackle the park's other woodie, the nineteen-dickety-seven Herb Schmeck Wildcat (which, I've heard, the years have not been kind to).

I did ride the Zoomerang (which has been painted purple since that video was made), their standard-issue Vekoma Boomerang looping shuttle coaster, which was a pleasant enough divertissement. Coaster fans are traditionally bored with these but it was actually my first one. I think the backwards half is actually the less scary bit. I've heard some are more headbangy than the Zoomerang was.

We spent more time doing watery stuff. Lake Compounce has a huge number of water slides, tube slides, a Lazy River thing with a tube slide oddly built into it (on which I managed to alarm the lifeguards by wiping out at the bottom), and a nice splashy raft ride. I also rode the Wave Swinger; for some reason when we go to Canobie I never get around to riding the one there.

Also, free soda. And the crowds weren't bad. I'd heard it was going to be deathly hot with possible thunderstorms, but the weather was more pleasant than that for most of the day, and the storms never came (there were a few sprinkles early on).

Compounce is a great little park and I highly recommend it if you have occasion to pass through Connecticut on I-84, or as an overnight trip from the Boston area (you could probably manage it as a day trip but it'd be a bit much).

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The name seems to actually be a corruption of "Compound's"; the place supposedly once belonged to an American Indian known as John Compound.
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Another potentially cool ride there was, unfortunately, not operating: a ski-lift-style skyride that akes you way up the mountain. There are notices there saying that if they have to evacuate the ride you need to be able to climb down the mountain. I suspect that's why it wasn't operating; the brief rain in the AM would have made things a little slippery.
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By the way, here's a tip for people visiting Lake Compounce: Follow the signs to the park, or pay attention to the park website's preferred directions/GPS coordinates. Do not blindly follow your GPS or mapping app to the park, because what appears to be the only road past the park does not in fact take you to the parking-lot gate, which is where you need to be.
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