It took three and a half hours to drive to PowerLand from my overnight hotel in Oulu. I made a five minute stop along the way to replenish my water bottle, but otherwise went straight through. The journey was unusually tiring; much of the route was single lane highway limited to 100km/h, but every single junction dropped that to 80km/h for a few hundred metres and the changes were ruthlessly enforced by speed cameras located adjacent to the signage. It was tempting to set the cruise control to the lower speed and leave it there, but that would have really upset the motorists behind me. If anyone from Väylä is reading this it would be really nice if you could agree on constant speeds for major trunk routes rather than constantly changing up and down.
The park has a paid parking option, but a free alternative is available just three hundred metres from the gate making it the obvious choice for all but the terminally lazy. The walking route has some excellent photo opportunities, and though I took full advantage of them I discovered a few hours later that my shots were useless as my camera had been inadvertently switched into low resolution mode. I've never understood why the designers at Canon believe that people might want to photograph at anything less than the maximum possible resolution, especially when the SD card in use has the capacity for more than ten thousand shots. This exceptionally stupid feature has caught me out on a few occasions over the years.
My day began at Neo's Twister (#2683), a Fabbri Power Mouse with a cartoon steampunk theme. The ride is one of five operating examples of the "Midi" layout, and as with its brethren it is an uninspired machine that can be safely skipped by more sensible readers who choose not to count their roller coasters. Having said that the comfort level today was for the most part fine; the only minor embuggerance was a particularly harsh series of brakes towards the end. The straightening device in the station completed its task without even the faintest hint of a bump. (A sixth identical machine at Castle Amusement Park in California has been closed since 2014 due to structural problems, and as of this writing it seems unlikely that it will operate again.)
The main draw for the day and the reason for my visit was Junker (#2684), my second new Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster in less than a week. The ride uses a bank of Linear Synchronous Motors to accelerate passengers to a top speed of 104.4km/h in just under two seconds, and though this isn't quite as forceful as rides like Do-Dodonpa and Hypersonic XLC it is nevertheless at the upper end of what one typically sees from launched coasters; for purposes of comparison the acceleration is around ten percent quicker than that found on both Formula Rossa and Top Thrill Dragster. The trains are virtually identical to those found on Karacho; they feature two rows of four seats, comfortable lap bar restraints, and an aircraft theme with illuminated "engines" at the rear.
The ride layout is excellent. A descending left turn out of the station leads onto the launch track, which is engaged with a rolling start. A forty metre top hat delivers a pleasant pop of airtime, which is followed in short order by another on the next hill. This leads to the highlight of the layout: a horizontally stretched loop that delivers something like three seconds of hangtime at its apex. A climbing turn then leads into a block brake, though there was no slowdown there today, allowing an over-banked curve, dive loop, and corkscrew to be enjoyed in full. I managed four laps in total, three in the front row, and one in the back. The latter had some very slight vibration in places, but it wasn't sufficient to impact my overall enjoyment.
My next hit was Thunderbird, a fourteen year old wood coaster from Great Coasters International. There was a partially loaded train in the station, and rather than wait a cycle I decided to jump into the third row, from where the comfort level was flawless. I made a mental note to return for a back seat ride later in the day after exploring the rest of the park, though sadly that plan had to be written off when the weather unexpectedly broke.
At this point I'd ticked off everything on my must-do list, so I decided to see what else might be of interest. I wound up at the Fun House walkthrough, which was located at the northern end of a seven thousand square metre former warehouse that has been disguised from within park boundaries by a number of Italian-style shopfronts. The experience wasn't radically different to a travelling unit, with a mundane series of standard effects (moving floors, a rotating barrel, and a moving staircase) with little to no adornment. The comparison against the magnificent installations at MOI Park and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi could not have been more pronounced.
A quick spin on the Giant Wheel revealed a sign for Joyride VR, which I soon discovered to be an €2 up-charge option for the park's L&T Systems coaster. The sign pointed to a dedicated queue which led to the back car of the ride, which is now reserved for those wearing Samsung Gear VR headsets. The footage today placed me in the pilots seat of an airplane flying around a canyon, and it worked pretty well; the frame rate could have done with being a little higher, but I suspect that the developers chose to prioritise image quality. Perhaps in a few years time the hardware will have developed to the point where trade-offs of this type are no longer necessary.
My next stop was at the Devil's Mine Hotel, an elaborately themed target shooting dark ride manufactured by Gosetto. The guns had a feature that I'd never seen before: each was limited to a maximum of 250 shots per game, with a descending count appearing beside the current score on a LED display. Many of the targets caused things to light up or move when hit, and I suspect that those that didn't were broken; there were a few close enough to be physically touched that failed to register when I shot at them. I decided to do a second ride in order to photograph some of the sets.
My route took me past the Mine Train, and though I didn't need the tick I figured that it would be rude not to occupy an empty seat. The ride had a few moderate clunks along its journey, as is expected from older examples of the type, though they were not particularly problematic. I followed this up with a back seat on Cobra, the only Vekoma Boomerang to operate with MK-1211 rolling stock. The harnesses today were a little tighter than I'd have preferred, but the experience was comfortable and there was no headbanging whatsoever. (I suspect that more versions with these trains would exist had there been customers for the genre in the late noughties; there was a seven year gap prior to the next model, by which stage soft vest restraints were in vogue.)
It turned out that I'd enjoyed my last ride; I stepped into a restaurant for a lunch break, and by the time I emerged back into daylight the heavens had opened in spectacular fashion. The forecast on my phone indicated that the downpour was expected to last for around two hours, and as I had a three hour drive ahead of me I decided that it was best to hit the road.