Lehigh Valley

Going the distance: Local couple celebrates 2,700 rides on Dorney's "Steel Force"

SOUTH WHITEHALL, Pa. - If you're a fan of roller coasters, you get it.

"The thrill, the speed, a little bit of airtime when you're in the cars and you pop outta the seats!"

Phil and Julie Wehr didn't get together just because of coasters, but they say it didn't hurt, either.

"We've been coming here since before we were even married. We've been married over 30 some years," Phil says.

And in 30 years, they've developed a favorite...Steel Force, the ride many feel transformed Dorney Park.

"When Steel Force opened, it was touted as being taller than the space shuttle and taller than the statue of liberty," says Michael Fehnel, Vice President and General Manager of Dorney Park.

He says it was a myth when people first heard about it. A mile-plus coaster?

"Nobody believed it, because they just didn't build roller coasters that large back then," he says.

But it forged ahead, and guess who was first in line?

"We were here on opening day," Phil and Julie tell us.

In fact, they loved it so much, they rode it again and again countless times.

Well actually...

"We're about 2,712!"

…they were counting.

"That's a whole lot. I can't - that's 3,000 miles probably of riding Steel Force!" Fehnel says, shaking his head and smiling.

So how about a couple more?

To mark the 20th anniversary of the ride, these coaster enthusiasts braved a wet day.

Of course, at 2,712 times, not much seems to scare them.

But why do they keep coming back? Because, they told us, life's a journey.

"It's an adrenaline rush," Phil says and Julie adds, "Just living life, yeah."

You might as well enjoy the ride.

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