HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — “What do you do with this chaotic state we’re in now where nobody knows where they can go safely, what you can do safely?” Rich Wienches of Hazle Township said.
The answer for Wienches was to build a roller coaster, or as he call it, the corona-coaster, in his own backyard. When he realized the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, he sent his family to his home in Florida for safety. And that’s when he got to work.
“They had no idea it was going on. And during the winter, I started building the cart. Which is the hardest part of it,” Wienches said.
The cart is remote-controlled, and made out of items found in Wienches’ home.
“Uses a jazzy. A senior citizen ridable jazzy. I had one. It’s no longer what it was designed for so I put it into that,” Wienches said.
The whole roller coaster takes up about 3,500 square feet. Wienches says he bought the materials for the track from a home improvement store.
“It’s basically pressure treated wood, PVC conduit pipe which I used my wife’s stove to heat up the sand to put in it to melt the pipe to the angles and the bends you need it,” Wienches said.
Wienches, a retired military pilot, learned engineering in the service. But he credits YouTube for helping him make the roller coaster.
“If you notice I have three grandchildren so it’s all based around unicorns, clowns, flowers. Things that girls particularly like,” Wienches said.
Wienches tells Eyewitness News his family helped decorate the coaster after it was finished, including the tunnel.
That’s not all. The clown and other decorations are made out of recycled road signs and they also light up. Wienches says he put in the hard work to see a smile on his grandchildren’s faces, especially now during the pandemic.
“Our grandchildren are our legacy. Without children you know life gets pretty lonely and to me the happiness on my children and grandchildren’s faces mean more than money can buy. And that’s what this is all about,” Wienches said.
“I like Grandpa and I love the roller coaster that he made. He makes it so well and I love Grandpa,” Olivia, Wienches’ granddaughter, said.