Day 1(Thur): Work suXors! Can't wait for my Seattle trip!
Day 2(Fri): See day 1
Day 3(Sat): see above
Day 4(Sun): Get up at way-too-f'n-early AM in the morning to make the relatively short trip from P-town to Six Flags' Wild Waves/Enchanted Village near Seattle. Our friend Ben (Railshark) invited my husband Brent and I to one of those corporate buy-out day events for SlaveAway, errr, Safeway. The event was in jeopardy of being cancelled, as not enough tickets were sold as the big S was hoping. In the end, S decided to eat the cost, and held the event for the roughly 3000 ticket holders. Hmmm, maybe I should take back my childish swipe? Nah....... :)
The gates opened at 11am, and (in no particular order) we hit The Dangler. It's a swings ride that I have only seen at this park. It does not rise up, at all. Rather, the centrifugal force as the ride picks up speed causes the chairs to swing way out, eventually getting riders approx 8 feet off the ground. That's it. Never goes higher than that. No dips in the ride program. A good ride for those wary of regular Yo-Yo rides. Plus, it actually achieves a greater speed than your normal swings ride; it needs to in order to get you up to that great height. ;)
Onto their mouse, which is a Zamperla zig-zag coaster. They actually added more padding, at least it seems. Those tight twists and turns still slam you into the sides of the car, but it's not as painful as in years prior. Washed that ride down with the Zamperla hawk-24, located right next door. Speaking of a wash, we were taken to the cleaners (it felt like) on the Flume ride. Not so much with the initial drop, but by some jerk who thought that using the water pistols (while it was cool out) on our way back to the station was a good use of his quarters. Hey guy, next time use those quarters to watch the feeding frenzy in the pond, OK, you little rat B.!
Onto the biggest surprise, Timberhawk. I initially scorned the ride as completely lame, but something, I don't know what, happened in the last year. It's OK now. Nothing great, but I found a few surprising pops of air on it that I swear were not there last year. It's still slow and sluggish in way too many parts for my taste, but that first drop, in the back, provides a nice rush, and another drop through the structure a little later provides a nice pop of air as well. In a nutshell, we rode it 4 times all over the place, and it was more pleasurable than it was when it opened last year. Is it possible that some coasters need a little time to break in? I've heard of such.
On a different note, what the hell is up with new seatbelts on that thing??? Last year, as with many other coasters, it's seatbelt buckle was approx in the middle of your lap. Now, however, it is virtually tucked inside the seat! Actually, they are now on a small 4-inch long belt on your left, with the male end on a longer belt to your right. The female end won't come up any further, and everyone has to turn sideways in their seat in order to be able to see so you can latch them together. This is a particular problem for adults, especially over-sized ones. Anyone know why this was changed? It makes loading time longer, and makes it harder for the ops to check. WTF!?!?!? At any rate, Ben refers to Timberhawk as a 4-minute ride; 2 minutes climbing the lift and running the course, and 2 minutes outside the station as you wait for the train in front of you because no one can get their seat buckled. Nice!
A few flats later, and it's time to hit the waterpark. It should be noted that while it could use a few upgrades, this waterpark is actually fairly decent. One complex houses 9 slides/tubes (all body), while the other has 4 raft slides with a lazy river meandering at it's bottom. They also have a Hook's Lagoon for the tykes, your basic wavepool, and an adult activity area where you can luanch yourself off a cliff (holding onto a zipline) and drop yourself wherever you'd like, a big warming pool, cargo nets(which you used to be able to climb on, but can only climb under now, go figure), 2 cannonball drops (fly down a short tube and come out to a 10 foot drop into the water, and much more.
Best of all, or worst depending on how much patience you have, is their Raging River Raft Ride. It's one of those rides where you drop into consecutive pools of water. I swear one time it took 20 minutes to get down to the next pool, because as I got close to the falls, invariably another rider would come down the pre-ceeding slide and knock me out of the way. Then the current would take me away and I'd have to try to make another run. Anyone whose ever ridden these has probably had this happen at one point or another. It should be noted that the very first drop is steep and long and twisty, making it hella fun! :)
We meet up with my sister for some drinks at The Garage near Capital Hill in Seattle at night; a nice way to end the day.
Day 5(Mon): The Western Washington Fair. That's right, it's time to "do the Puyallup"! Prior to '03, you could purchase a Dizzy Pass for $17.95, good for the flats (except S&S' Supreme Scream), and for the Mouse Coaster and Kersplash (Wildcat and Coaster Thrill Ride were exempt as well). Well, starting last year, you could get a Super Dizzy Pass for 10 bucks more (Mon-Thur only), that includes ALL rides. Considering that Scream was 10 bucks a pop, and CTR was 5, it's a steal. Well, it went up by 2 bucks this year, so even though it's 12 more, it's still a bargain.
A few words about the Zipper, which I had successfully avoided for 37 years becuase, well, it looks held together with cotter pins. I found out that it really is! Rob (Nasai) seemed jazzed to get on a ride that is a prior killing machine. "...killed 2 people at the Seattle Fun Center in '98..." or something like that, right Rob? As for me, not so much. Then watching Ben(Railshark) and Rob get tossed around like dressing on a spinach salad didn't install much confidence. Our ride together tame??? If you say so...
It was obvious that CTR (http://www.rcdb.com/installationgallery257.htm) had been the recipient of some TLC during it's extended downtime. You could see where they re-tracked the turnaround over the station, and we hear the turnaround after the initial drop gets the same treatment after this year's fair is over. It showed. The turnaround had much less shimmy in it than I recall. Kudos to the fair association for understanding the draw that this gem is. And what a gem it is. A John Miller design, which means both floater and ejecter air and LOTS of bunny hops. Intense bunny hops. For the full effect, you need a few things. First, you need the yellow P&C train. Rob is absolutely right that for whatever reason, this train is a noticeable difference in the ride it gives compared to the other replica trains(blue and orange). Also, you must ride the very back. By yourself. See, there is no seat dividers on the cars. And while another rider next to you provides some stability, being by yourself you have nothing else keeping you in, save the buzz bar. No secondary restraints. So when your in the back, getting pulled over the hills by the rest of the train, folks, you are out of your seat multiple times during the ride. With my hands up, naturally, it felt like I was standing up during those drops.
Now don't worry. The bar itself has a secondary buckle to be sure the bar will always stay latched, so you are quite safe. It reminded me of Jack Rabbit at Kennywood a lot. A little longer, and a bit more intense. A double down and two double ups, with the double up over the station, which goes immediately into the turnaround, providing nice ejector air. CTR, providing your in the yellow car, is pure bliss. And don't count out the very front, offering a different ride with air all it's own. Folks, get out here! If you arrive and the yellow train isn't on, ask for it. They may not drop what they're doing to accomodate your request, but they will let you know when and if during the day they will run it. Then wait for it. Thank me later...
Rob has already mentioned the Wildcat (http://www.rcdb.com/installationgallery260.htm) and Kersplash, both very fun and extremely re-ridable. And that Herschell mouse is indeed unique. You sit stacked with the other rider (log-ride style), and then a spring-loaded plunger with some padding comes from the front of the car to the chest of the front rider. I have never seen that style of restraint before. It's got a nice drop you take before the weaving twisty turns. The cars even have fuzzy tails on the ends. The rumor has it that it is getting too cost prohibitive to keep opening it every year (cost is one reason it does not open for the Spring Fair), and it may be removed. If it is, same rumor has it that a similiar coaster would replace it. I put my two cents in for a spinning mouse; I said they would be the only place on the west coast with one. The response was that had been mentioned, but didn't seem likely.
What is known is that the Puyallup Fair, one of the biggest in the nation with 1.1 million visitors in it's 17 day run, is expanding it's fairgrounds next year. How much of it will be devoted to rides remains to be seen, but they ride section will expand. Not that it needs to. It already has more rides than your average park! Just go to www.thefair.com, and follow the links to the rides page, and even then they are not all listed. At any rate, the mouse may not even make it next year. But I heard that last year as well, and lo-and-behold it was still there this year. :)
I never rode Knott's Tampico Tumbler, but Inferno is that type of ride. Does it always run in insane mode?? A lot of fun, but man, it felt like those cars were just gonna fly off into the horizon. Ask Rob and Ben, they watched as I clung onto my bar in pure terror! Madness, I tell you! ;) And of course, what's a visit without a few rides on the S&S combo tower. Fantastic!
And the food? Mmm, Mmmm, good. You just can't beat the Fischer scones for a dollar. Made in front of you and still hot when you get them, with jam in the middle. Yum-yum. And visit Marlowe's for a good breakfast, Pete's BBQ for lunch, Spud's for dinner, and Seattle's Fudge for free samples! And get some real fresh-squeezed lemonade (which I find at most Flags but curiously not at CP on my visit) to combat that afternoon sun.
Add in the Arts and Crafts, Animals, exhibits, etc, and you'll have the most fun you've had in a while! Start planning now for next year, and let Nasai know when your comming. He's gonna get lonely after I move down south... :)
*** Edited 9/24/2004 8:40:03 PM UTC by Robocoaster***
I would pay good money to have seen Robo on the zipper. I love those things, but seeing as my wife doesn't I always have to wait for a while before another single rider comes along. Looks like I need to get up to the Fair with you crazies. It would have at least tripled my coaster count for this year, isn't that pathetic? But with the lack of coasters, I have rekindled one of my other loves, drinking heavily.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please don't make eye contact with the terrorists. Their guns are quite small, and really don't pose any threat.
*we now end this special bulletin*
As Pale Rider mentioned, those seat belts were no fun. According to a couple of the operators that were running the ride, the park is going to get new seat belts or fix the problematic ones that are currently in operation.
Timberhawk was just what I thought it would be. A nice family wooden coaster. There were a couple of nice pops while riding in the front as well.
The only things Timberhawk has over Coaster are its first drop and overall appearance. The only excuses I can offer for my overly kind review of Timberhawk are: (1) It was an ACE event, which put me in "be a gracious guest and say only nice things" mode, (2) it had been a while since I last rode Coaster, and (3) I really, really, really WANTED to like this ride. Now that I've got some perspective, I can see it for the overgrown runaway mine train that it is.
On the other hand, it does have some nice plants growing nearby.
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