5-3-03 Day one of book research

Associated parks:
None

Saturday, May 17, 2003 8:10 AM
My work has been cut out for me...16 years ago, I decided I was going to write a book about amusement parks and roller coasters. To my chagrin, things kept forcing me to postpone the idea year after year. Well, this year, I am no longer going to allow myself to procrastinate. The whirlwind tour has begun.

What, you ask, is this book about? Well, the simple answer would be Roller Coasters and Amusement Parks in North America. To draw it out a bit, I'd like this book to be an informative travelogue about the parks...some history, some stats of the coasters, lots of pics. Unfortunately, I don't see myself affording trips around the U.S. this year to hit them all, so I may have to confine the book to an area I know and understand the best -- The Northeast.

I have talked to several publishers already and at least one has greenlighted the project. They like my idea of splitting the country into five sections...The Northeast, The Southeast, The Midwest, The South and The West Coast. In fact, they believe it might be a great idea for me to publish five seperate editions...then when all five are done, I should be able to combine them all in one massive volume with annual updates.

I have begun to gather information, both on-line and directly at the parks. Since I'm maintaining full-time employment while I work on this book, I'm hoping I'll be able to find the time to hit everything in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland before the season runs out in September (or October, in some regions).

My tour began on 5-3-03 with the park that is closest to me...Sylvan Beach Amusement Park...and I've ridden the Galaxi for the first time. The park is hardly world class (21 rides on 9 acres, 9 of the rides are strictly for kids) and the Galaxi is no supercoaster (No Millenium Force riders will be chanting after this one) but despite it's modest beginnings, I have used this park as a template for the rest of the venues that will be featured in my book. From here on in, writing my book will be more of a "fill-in-the-blanks" endeavor rather than a total "start from scratch each time" ordeal.

I spent about 2 and a half hours in the park interviewing the owner, some of the park personnel and riding several of the rides a few times. Like I said before, Galaxi is no Millenium Force, but for a compact steel coaster, it does pack a punch. It's a two-car train variant, so coaster enthusiasts can get the proverbial thrill of riding in the back seat or front seat despite the coaster's compact size (tallest drop is only 32 feet, so air time is EXTREMELY limited).

I look forward to my continuing travels in the coming months and, while I would LOVE to get to parks like Cedar Point this year to ride the new Top Thrill Dragster, I fear that time and monetary restraints will prevent that. Assuming, however, that my book is well received, I will be saving my sheckels and looking forward to the opportunity to revisit the park next year.

I have recently erased my entire "track record" so I can keep track of the coasters and parks as I visit them. I have ridden over 100 different coasters in my life, yet, I've found, even after sifting through the parks I have visited in my travels on this site, I could only remember honestly about 60 of them by name. My new track record will include ONLY those coasters I have ridden during research for this book.

I'll also try to keep this forum updated periodically so that interested Coasterbuzzers can follow my continuing adventures...assuming, of course, that this project DOES interest any of you. I am contemplating either starting a website of my own so that interested individuals can follow my progress and see some pics I've obtained. The alternative would be to start a mailing list so that those interested can receive weekly updates by e-mail, since maintaining a website might be time-consuming especially during the summer when a majority of my free time (what little there is of it) will be spent visitng parks.

Comments and suggestions will always be appreciated. After all, I'm hoping that, when this book is finished, roller coaster enthusiasts WILL purchase it. It will be your book, so if I didn't include something that you want to know, it will be your fault if you didn't tell me about it...:-)

I have started this forum topic with the intent of keeping it updated as work progresses on the book. Please try to understand if I don't keep it updated on a weekly basis or if I don't respond to any comments right away. This is a massive endeavor...and I can only hope that the fruits of this labor will be understood and appreciated.

Looking forward to keeping you updated...

Bernie

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Monday, May 19, 2003 6:45 AM
Well, I had thought that the next stop on my trip was going to be Martin's Fantasy Island this Saturday, the 24th...Unfortunately, that trip is going to be delayed. However, plans ARE on for me to hit all the Western New York Theme Parks on the 30th and 31st...Notably, Six Flags Darien Lake which is actually the home of my first ever roller coaster experience...The Viper!!!

I have actually ridden all five of the adult coasters at the park over the last several years, but I need to re-ride them all again for the purpose of gathering accurate information for my book. It's a tough job, but SOMEONE has to do it...:-)

So, I guess this blurb is turning out to be a "Non-trip" report...

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Writing a book about roller coasters sure has it's ups and downs...

Man, do I have a long way to go...75 parks in under 5 months...I must be insane!!!

Coaster Count -- 1

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Friday, May 23, 2003 9:01 PM
This project sounds like an awesome idea. If your project is to be completed, I'd be sure to buy a copy! Also, I'd love to recieve updates, either by site or e-mail. Such a great idea! Good Job and Good Luck!

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Free Falls on Drop Zone: 5!
Batwing Flights: 7!
Superman: Ride of Steel Airtime-age: 10!

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Friday, May 23, 2003 9:55 PM
Thanx for the vote of confidence! I'm going to have loads of fun writing this book. Every day, I sit down and cull through the myriad of information I have found and try to write a paragraph or page for the book. Any insights or suggestions are ALWAYS welcome...

Keep watching the Trip Reports here on CB.C for more upcoming information. I'll be hitting two significant NYS parks this Sunday and at least one next Friday.

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Writing a book about roller coasters sure has it's ups and downs...

Man, do I have a long way to go...75 parks in under 5 months...I must be insane!!!

Coaster Count -- 1

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Saturday, May 24, 2003 2:00 AM
Are you going to do anything about the parks that used to exist before they shutdown? or the parks that were planned but for one reason or another never got off the ground like Disney's America or Marriotts Great America in Washington, D.C. Nice little sidebar, I would think.

Look forward to the book. When will your first autography session be?

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www.sfafans.org

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Saturday, May 24, 2003 4:07 AM
Well, I think it's a little early to discuss autographs just yet. I've got to finish the book first...:-) I suppose, though, a coasterbuzz convention would be a great venue to both sell the book and offer autographs, yes?

I'd like this book to be more than just a travelogue of the current parks...if I can find a way to incorporate defunct parks or lost experiments, the mentions will definitely be there. The vast majority of the book will focus on parks, however, that currently are open for business...
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Writing a book about roller coasters sure has it's ups and downs...

Man, do I have a long way to go...75 parks in under 5 months...I must be insane!!!

Coaster Count -- 1

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Saturday, May 24, 2003 6:28 AM
I think your book sounds like a great idea! I live in Massachusetts, which makes me even more excited. I hope you are able to get lots of information and pictures of SFNE because it is by far the best park in New England, but gets little recognition in other books. I would also like you to talk about defunct parks or rides that used to be at parks.

Keep working you are doing a great job!

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Saturday, May 24, 2003 1:29 PM
I'm for one am looking forward to it because I don't live in the area. It'll be great to have all these parks available at my fingertips! I'm also curious on how you plan to do other sections of the US, like you said about having five editions. Maybe find someone who is as eager as you that live in those regions I would assume maybe.

Do you plan on using Color or Black and White pictures in your book? Since you're going to be using a publisher, I'd assume Color, but some prefer to keep it cheap with Black and White.

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Free Falls on Drop Zone: 5!
Batwing Flights: 7!
Superman: Ride of Steel Airtime-age: 10!

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Sunday, May 25, 2003 3:51 AM
Every park will have a fair amount of coverage in my book. I don't believe that the theme park industry is JUST about the big boys, like Disney and Six Flags. Granted, yes, they deserve the space because there's a lot going on there...but what about the smaller parks? They deserve just as much ceverage even though they ARE smaller, but with a little planning, you can have just as much fun at a park like Sylvan Beach, for example, as you can at Six Flags Darien Lake.

I'm going to shoot for publication with color photos, but if it becomes necessary to save money in publication costs and to make the book more affordable, I'll print in black and white if necessary.

Well, I'm off on my latest park adventure...I'll post a new Trip Report tonight...

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Writing a book about roller coasters sure has it's ups and downs...

Man, do I have a long way to go...75 parks in under 5 months...I must be insane!!!

Coaster Count -- 1

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