Just a word of caution--I love traditional parks, so my views on them are probably different then alot of peoples.
Drove up to my friend Pats house, hung out….went to a Hibachi place for birthday dinner……I had rice. Stayed up half the night.
Got up at like 7 am or something…..eaaarly, but we had to for the 2 and a half hour drive up to Williams Grove. Get to WG, and its closed. Poop. So we make the grueling 20 mile drive to Hersheypark. It was raining. Nobody was there. Like mabye 100 cars in the parking lot total. So we go on in, and hit comet first…still in the rain. I think all 100 people must have been in line for comet. About a 6-7 train wait for it. It was somewhat faster as the rain lessened the skid’s impact….but I still am saddened to see such a great ride tamed by the "big park mentality".
After that we walked around waiting for stuff to open….they seem to close everything in the rain there, but we eventually got to get on all of the major coasters. Lightning racer was same as I remembered…..kind of forceless and only one or 2 moments of airtime….but still a very fun ride. Great bear I’ve never felt much towards--its fun too, but just seems like a few inversions with a lot of boring track between them. Don’t get me wrong I thoroughly enjoy it, but just not my kind of ride. Sooperdooperlooper was a lot of fun theloop has very good gs, and an uphill brake run. Fun final helix too. Then we got on Wildcat. Wow has this ride changed. I remembered it as being laggy, jackhammery, and not very amazing at all. But not anymore! This thing got a major track job and is running amazingly! Massive airtime and laterals later on in the ride and very good pacing. The first GCI in my top 10. Very good stuff. (but I havn’t ridden thunderhead yet)
Now what everybody is waiting to hear about. Storm Runner. Funny name as it was closed at even the first hint of rain. We managed 2 rides, one in the very front and one in the very back. Wow….I wasn’t expecting nearly that good a ride. –g all over the thing, great pacing for such a big ride, and just all over a great ride. Definite steel top5 if not #1. Amazing. Still not good enough to break my all time top10 though…..but qutie possibly all time top15. Got a lot of cool night pics too.
Started out on what we thought was a 2 and a half hour drive that ended up being just over one hour to Knoebels. We got to the park at like 9 30 am, and it opened at 11, but being as awesome as Knoebels is, it was standing wide open and we walked right on in, took some pics of stuff and gave Pat a basic lesson on what he was in for at the greatest park on earth. Then we were even more blown away. They have BREAKFAST! At REASONABLE PRICES! We all had some great food, then at about 11 30 boarded Phoenix. Phoenix has been my #1 for a long time, and even in the morning just reaffirmed my faith in old Schmeck. Pat was blown away. Its like all of my friends #1 now.
From then on I don’t remember what order so I’ll just give you a basic rundown. We ended up with probably 3 rides on Twister, maybe 4….great ride, and top 10. One ride on the haunted mansion--wow that last trick. You have to experience it firsthand. One on the skyride, got some .awesome pics. Probably 7 or 8 or 9 on the flyers.
I just can’t get enough of them. They snap so hard, and so well. It really gets to hurting when you are getting really good snaps….the way it just bangs so hard. I slightly modified my snapping position and style after watching a few people getting amazing snaps (coasterpunk you rock) and got even better snaps. One time when I got off I had like 6 people waiting in line wanting to shake my hand or get a high 5 from me! Little old me! Good stuff. Very good stuff.
We rode some other flats and stuff, Pat rode more then me because my stomach doesn’t like spinny rides. The bumper cars there are the best in the world(everything there is the best in the world). They hit so hard and are so fast. I got to ram Chris who works for GCI a number of times. That was great.
Speaking of Chris, I learned a lot from talking to him in line(thanks dude!). Then we ended the day with probably 15+ rides on Phoenix. Wow….that thing was running faster then at PPP last year I have to say. AT least as fast. The last 9 or so moments of airtime were all great lap slappers, total standup ejector airtime. I don’t know how any other coaster can top this for my tastes. Its just that good. Knoebels. Greatest park on earth. Greatest coasters on earth. Greatest food at a park(TRI TATERS WHOOHOO!). Greatest everything. (I really love this place)
This was the longest drive of the trip, some almost 3 hours to Lakemont with about a half hour stop at Del Grossos to try to ride the mouse, but the manufacturer was there doing something to it so we had a pizza and left.
So on to Lakemont. I rode the toboggan. We laughed the whole way it was just so funny--not bad not good just hilarious. Then it was on to leap the dips. I missed this my time before, and timing worked to our advantage. Leap the dips, the worlds oldest coaster, was my 150th coaster. Sweetness. This ride isn’t slow and boring like I expected it to be either. Its got a few drops where the car actually lifts a few inches off the track and clunks back down--its quite freaky as the car isn’t locked to the track.
I spent like 10 minutes looking for the mouse that turned out had been sold earlier that summer. Got a good laugh from that.
So on to Skyliner. We probably got 10-15 rides total. I just love Skyliner. It doesn’t have the most airtime, the most laterals, the most gs. the most anything. but its just so much fun, and so rickety. And the whole park is so laid back. Now Skyliner does have a couple great moment of airtime though, and many other decent ones. And that first one is a whopper. In the back of the train you float eternally down the first and second drops, and get slammed violently into the buzz bar on the 3rd. In the front you float a good foot off the seat going up into the first turnaround. Great stuff. Lakemont really had a good impression on us, they were so laid back it made for way more fun. I wont go into details on the laid back ness, as there was so much, but it was great. And they had AWESOME nachos there.
Last park of the day--back to Williams Grove. This time it was open…we got there like 5 pm. And they were only open to 6. It had been 3 years since I had ridden the Cyclone, and I remembered it being the roughest, most painful, scariest ride out there, if not much of a thrill do to its somewhat laggy ride. Well that was totally different this time. It was rougher, ricketier, and WAY FASTER! I don’t know what they did to it(other then take off the trim) but it’s a different monster. The thing just bounces merrily along its way, with some very good and scary airtime, as the train is falling apart, the track is falling apart, and the whole thing looks like a rainstorm would knock it over.
This is THE scariest coaster out there folks. The lap bars don’t always seem to lock, they are covered in duct tape. The floorboards are loose and you can see between them, the whole car creaks and flexes side to side quite a bit. It feels like its not rolling but sliding along the track. They had to have half a train to run the coaster. The back seat is roped off because its so rough that it hurts people’s backs. When we walked up for our first ride, the op looked at our shirts and asked us if we were enthusiasts. I said yes, and he proceeded to offer us the roped off back seat--I declined remembering how I had to sit down for half an hour just to be able to walk again after it 3 years ago, and its even rougher now. Pat and I were both allowed to take povs and pictures on the ride. At the end of the day we walked up to it and nobody was there. So we kind of waited around and the op came strolling up and asked us how many rides worth of tickets we had. 2. He then put us in the front seat and (even though you need half a train to operate it) ran us around twice not even stopping in the station. just rollin’ on through. Williams Grove is just great, and I really hope it doesn’t succumb to rising property prices in the area and all, it’s a gem of a park with the ricketiest and scariest coaster out there.
Overall a great trip, some of the most fun we have had thanks to the utterly and total laidbackness of Lakemont and Williams grove….and the awesomeness of Knoebels as always. Great stuff!
Did you get on the High Speed Thrill Coaster? I thought that it was a kiddy ride untill teens and other adults started to ride. That little thing is fun.
#1 Steel: Sky Rush
#1 Wood: Voyage
#1Park: Holiday World
Maybe we will see you at PPP this October.
The Cyclone is the only coaster I ride that has the fear factor only because you think you can die at any time.
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