Friday, September 3, 2010

Off Topic: The Zen of The Cosmotron

An unassuming, single-story grain silo is tucked behind the classic Tea Cup ride and the very popular “Paratrooper” at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. It houses the “Cosmotron” – my favorite amusement ride ever. The word C-O-S-M-O-T-R-O-N flashes old-school style on a red LED screen above the door and oldies music can be heard when the door is open. As you enter, a number of large black-leather and steel sleds encircle a huge disco-ball. You take your seat; the door closes, and the ride begins.

The lights go out. The oldies music fades to silence. After a few seconds, classic rock starts blaring, colored lights start flashing, and the ride speeds up. The smoke machine pumps out white smoke and a strobe light replaces the colored lights. A small child screams and multiple hands start waving in the air to the music, jumping around in the moonlight-like strobe as the ride slows… then stops… then changes direction to reverse. Strobe and colored lights alternate to the beat of the rock music (and I swear the reverse part of the ride is faster and longer than the forward). But since all good things must come to an end, the ride eventually slows. The colored lights flash slower and are replaced by the steady house lights. The same oldies song that was playing before begins again, right where it left off, as the doors open and the hot summer air rushes in, and the fake smoke rushes out.

I don’t know how long the Cosmotron ride lasts, but it is like a moment of Zen in the midst of a hectic day of demands from the children, hot weather, and way-too-much-walking. For a few minutes the kids are happy, the sun is unable to torment me, and I’m dancing in my seat- without stressing my poor feet. I am not “Mother Farmer” at that time. I’m ME: rock-loving, sun-despising, non-nauseated ME. It’s my happy place.

Can we ride it again?

P.S. I don’t know why it isn’t the “Kozmotron” since everything else in that park seems to be “Kozmo”-related. (NOTE:”Kozmo” is the teddy-bear mascot of the park.) There is a fish called “Kod-zmo” and a mini-coaster called “Kozmo’s Kurves”. But this ride is the “Cosmotron”- with a “C”. Odd.

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