The venerable Comet — a rollercoaster that began its storied career in 1927 — is a hidden landmark at the North Country’s Great Escape theme park.
It sits near the very back of the Park, tucked behind more modern, glossy thrills. The lines, when they exist at all, are short.
As you rattle up to the summit of the first big drop, as I did yesterday during my annual pilgrimage, it’s a little daunting to see the flakes of rust on the steel support girders and the flimsy-looking wooden rails.
But then the journey begins and it is, very simply, one of the finest roller-coaster rides you will ever experience, far more complex and satisfying than the newer and higher-G-force “Boomerang.”
For one thing, this roller coaster feels like it goes on for miles. It has peaks and valleys. Yes, there are thrilling drops, but there are also lighter-than-air rises and dips.
Yes, there are sudden jarring turns that make you feel like Steve McQueen in a vintage roadster, but there are also graceful moments of dreamy floating.
In short, there’s a narrative to this roller coaster, a sense that it’s more than just the thrill-ride equivalent of jumping off a cliff.
Here’s how Wikipedia describes it:
Roller coaster enthusiasts recognize it as one of the best wooden roller coasters in North America because of its historical significance, elements of hills and drops, and terrific “air” time giving riders the sensation of floating out of their seats.
One final cool element is the sound: This coaster chatters like a freight train running out of control, a rhythm punctuated yesterday by whooping laughter and shrieks.
This may be the greatest summer weather-wise that anyone of us will ever see in the North Country. Take my advice and cap it with the perfect summer thrill-ride.