6/11 - CLP, Waldameer, Erieview, SFWoA

Associated parks:
None

Friday, June 14, 2002 9:31 AM

Edit: I seem to have forgotten what day it was yesterday. The title is supposed to say the 13th.

Disclaimer: these were some of the best park visits I’ve ever had, and the most parks I've ever hit in a single day, so consequently, this will also be one of the longest trip reports ever.

Another Thursday rolled around, and as usual there was nothing to do, which is a frequent problem when you live in the middle of nowhere like me. I, along with several fellow CoasterBuzzers, really wanted to go to a park. The original plan was CP, but we’d been there so much lately and after our 18 hr stay during Coastermania, the prospect of a new park seemed too exciting to pass up. After consulting with Rob (Robodud), Jess, and Chris (MooreOn), we decided to meet Jess in her home state of PA and it was my turn to take a trip down memory lane to my favorite childhood park, Waldameer.

We met up with Jess around noon and took our first ride of the day on the Comet, a 1951 PTC family coaster, also an ACE coaster classic. This had been my first coaster as a kid, and it was nice to see that the handbrake was still in use, and the trains hadn’t been ruined with seat belts and lap bars. After a weekend of intense coaster riding, it was a nice change of pace to hit the flat rides and stroll around the park, just appreciating the park for what it really is instead of how tall or fast their coasters are.

Waldameer was just as well taken care of as I had remembered it, and not much had changed in the ten years since I’d last been there. The Whacky Shack was good for some laughs and it was a cute little dark ride, and the Pirate’s Cove was frightening, but only because the weird carnie working the ride decided to sneak in the exit and scare me as I came around a dark corner. We were saddened to see that the Ravine Flyer 3, a 2000 Miller kiddie coaster, had a height restriction, but we walked up to see if we could ride anyway. After an “I don’t care” from the ride op, we took a spin on the fun little ride, but not without thinking about how great a CCI would have fit in at Waldameer. Maybe someday. After hitting basically everything in the park, we sat down for some homemade fries with cheese or gravy, and then headed off to Conneaut Lake Park with Jess, since it's her homepark and we were dying to ride Blue Streak. After arriving at Conneaut Lake, we were seriously wondering if the park was even open. There was only a handful of cars in the parking lot, but we walked in anyway and discovered that the park was indeed open, just very empty. We bought wristbands and took a spin on the flyers, which weren’t snappable...oh well. We had fun pretending, and got some nice twisting action on them. We then walked by Blue Streak, closed for repairs. We tried Little Dipper next, closed for repairs. Toboggan, same story.

It was at this point we considered going to the park office and asking if any of them would open, because if not, we wanted our money back. A guy in the personnel office said they were working on Blue Streak, and that it would be open in about an hour. He added that Toboggan was closed for at least a month, due to some "major problems." We decided to go hit some flat rides in the meantime.

One of the weirdest, yet funniest rides in the park had to be Devil’s Den. Jeff has this listed as a coaster in the track record index, but rcdb.com doesn’t. I personally think it’s a coaster, since it has a chain lift, a small drop, a track, and wheeled cars, but the fact that it’s electric and has no brakes may have something to do with the discrepancy. On our second ride of the day, the car Chris and I were in had a bit of a problem catching the lift chain, and after several links of the chain had unsuccessfully scraped against the bottom of the car, we managed to catch hold and get up the hill. We couldn’t help but laugh when we heard the op on the platform ask “Did they make it?” before sending Jess and Rob’s car out.

Blue Streak finally opened, but even then it was only minutes after we had witnessed the maintenance guys adding extra support to the turnaround and tightening the tension cables that are anchored to the ground. It kind of gives you an uneasy feeling to get on a 1937 rickety-looking wooden coaster after only one train had been cycled the entire morning, and that train didn’t even have a test rider on it. We also noted the new boards that were oddly nailed to various parts of the hills, and it appeared as though they alone were holding the ride up.

We boarded the first train of the day, still asking ourselves “is this safe?” but as we experienced the glorious stand up airtime on the first few drops and the violently insane laterals around the turns, we forgot all about the safety issues. The maintenance men, who were still working on the turnaround even as we rode, waved at us as we rumbled by. In all we got 5 rides on Blue Streak, and plenty of entertainment from the cackling carnie guy who was running the ride.

We parted ways with Jess and headed back to Ohio. On the way home we stopped in my hometown, Geneva, to visit Erieview Park, yet another childhood memory of mine. We rode the Brat, a steel kiddie coaster built in 1959. I may have ridden this when I was little, but I didn’t remember it, so we chalked that one up as a credit to our track records, rode their demented funhouse/murderhouse dark ride, and headed for home.

As we made our way back west, I had a brainstorm. “Hey Rob, hey Chris…how far are we from Six Flags?” By this time it was after 7, and we weren’t really sure if SFWoA was open until 8 or 10 that night, but we took a chance, and made our way to Aurora. Lucky for us, we saved $8 (when did parking prices go back up?!) because the parking attendants were gone at 8 when we arrived, and the park was indeed open until 10.

In two hours' time we got 7 glorious, airtime-filled night rides on Villain, 5 of those being re-rides, 1 ride on Batman, 1 on Superman, and 1 on Big Dipper. I have to say that SFWoA has redeemed itself to me now, after my previous two disappointing visits. The Villain crew was awesome, full of energy and humor, so kudos to them for allowing re-rides!

Trip recap: four parks in one day! It was a new personal record, and one that we weren’t even trying to achieve until it actually happened. After all our marathon coaster riding at events last week, it was so much fun to go support some privately owned "ma and pa parks," take in some great classic coasters and flat rides, and finish up the night on a piece of CCI perfection. If anyone's interested, my pictures are posted here: http://community.webshots.com/album/40676135hrPLEG

and part 2 is here: http://community.webshots.com/album/40676209gFaeRR

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BuzzCon '02 Frequent Flyer: Having fun on the flyers is a snap!

*** This post was edited by KicksTheSky on 6/14/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by KicksTheSky on 6/14/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by KicksTheSky on 6/14/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by KicksTheSky on 6/14/2002. ***

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Friday, June 14, 2002 9:55 AM

That trip was indeed a rush despite not riding rides nearly as tall or fast as Cedar Point's. I find myself asking once again.. "What's with Pennsylvania and kick-butt parks?" I had a really great time even though Big Dipper and Tobaggan didn't open at CLP.

For any of you old school Geauga Lakers. The world-renouned "Rotorman" is alive and well. You may remember that guy on the old Rotor that stood between the enter/exit doors to reride the Rotor all day long. That mumbling scraggily hair guy has since then gotten a haircut, but he still mumbles more than ever.

We were walking back from the Villain to leave the park, when I saw him. The bumbling guy walking and looking side to side waiting for someone to mumble to. Of course me, Kristin, and Chris walked past him and he had to "chat" with us while walking. Chris needed to waste a few photos on his camera so he took one of the "Rotorman."

I believe the "Rotorman" is now the "ThrillerMan," I can't be sure if this is true or not.

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Proud member of the Frequent Flyer Club
"Make it Stop! MAKE IT STOP!!!"

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Friday, June 14, 2002 1:13 PM

Wow...what a fun day! To think that up until about midnight the night before, the plan was just to hit CP...this change of pace was just what I needed!

Although Waldameer and CLP are both small, independent parks, their atmospheres are very different, and going from one to the other was also a change of pace. Waldameer is a beautiful, family-based park and Conneaut is a quirky carnie park...both very entertaining and memorable.

Some of the employees at CLP absolutely cracked us up, like the one-toothed seventy year old carousel operator. Our ride on the carousel seemed like it was never going to end, so I looked around for him to find that he was nowhere on the platform. Turns out he hopped aboard the ride and was eating a sandwich on one of the carousel benches behind us! When he finished eating, he hopped back off the ride and shut it down for us. He was also dancing to the (horribly out of tune) organ music while letting people on and off the ride...quite a sight!

And then there was the cackling Blue Streak operator, who let out his best evil carnie laugh before dispatching every single Blue Streak train. He made my day! My favorite moment is when, right before sending the train out, he picked up a big bolt and said, "I don't know where this came from, but it's from somewhere on the ride...hope you make it back all right...mu ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...mu ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"

As for the Blue Streak itself...OH MY GOD! There was a ride in the back where I thought I was gone out of the train on the second hill...Awesome coaster, and as an added bonus, it even gives your spine a chiropractic readjustment! ;) And Kristin, I love your caption of pic of maintenance working on BS: "Watching maintenance prevent the turnaround from falling over before we rode it."

Running into the "Rotorman" was interesting too...seems like he's SFWoA's version of Mr. Skyward!

Great TR, great pics, and above all, a great time! :)

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Area 51:
The Writing's On the Wall!
"Cedar Point is building for the future! More news later this season!"

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Friday, June 14, 2002 2:59 PM
I envy ALL of you.....why oh why do I have to work? :( Nice TR and pics! Looks like you guys had a great day. Gotta love ride ops that get into their work. LOL. I'm sorry about Conneaut's Flyers....those represent the portable version, which are always plagued with a speed or cable length problem. Strickers', Seabreeze and Erieview all have this type. Most seem to go too fast for snapping.

Though I did the 4-in-one thing last year (Lakemont, Del Grossos', Williams and Hershey), I can relate with this schedule too, since I did the same thing, only replacing Geauga with Idora (thankfully right before the bulldozing!). My regret was the 10 minutes we had at Waldameer.....I plan to spend a decent amount of time there one day this summer. Congrats on the great day, and I can't wait to scare some kids with you again! I think a BuzzCon Flyers reunion is in store.....
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Brad Sherman
BuzzCon Frequent Flyer, helping to train new ride ops properly!
Model coasters and rides

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Friday, June 14, 2002 3:25 PM
Of the 61 times that I have ridden Villain, I never once have gotten a re-ride! There were even three people in the station, THREE, yet they still didn't give me a re-ride! Oh well...
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Friday, June 14, 2002 4:51 PM
Nice Trip Report! I really want to go on Blue Streak it looks like a great classic coaster.

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-Sean Newman
83 coasters and soon to be more
Life is a roller coaster Ride It!

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Friday, June 14, 2002 6:07 PM
Waldameer was my "summer park." We vacationed at Erie every year, in a little cottage right by Waldameer. They had a great ballroom with dances and live bands in the evenings. There was a stair case leading down to Waldameer Beach, which was the best beach in Pennsylvania. The Comet used to be a mega coaster. The road going down to Presque Isle was a narrow two lanes and in much tighter cut. The coaster went over the road on a steel bridge and looped and circled around through the woods on the other side of the road. Then it roared back across the bridge into the park, took a few more tight turns in what we now call a helix, and came into the station. Inevitably, some drunk fool stood up and waved at the cars on the way across the bridge, fell out, got hit by a car down on the road, and died. Waldameer was ordered to shut down the ride. They compromised by cutting back to what is now the Comet on the park side of the tracks.

They had a great old Ferris Wheel from which you could see beyond the trees to the lake, the city, the bay, and all over Presque Isle. People said the top of the Ferris Wheel was the highest point in the county.

They had a quirky combination miniature golf course, flume ride (with four seat boats instead of logs), and garden restaurant. So you'd ride these boats around a winding course through people putting and right next to people eating dinner. It was common to talk to these people. You'd drift by and ask how the salad was or who was winning. At the end a lift pulled the boats up the usual high hill and dropped them down a flume. The spray was away from the tables and golfers.

They had a Tumble Bug, Looper, Train, Bumper Cars, Tiltawhirl, Rockets, Carousel, Octopus, Flying Scooters, a decent Kiddieland, and various other rides I don't remember as clearly. The Train rambled off through the woods along the cliff looking down on the beach. It was pretty cool.

It was an evening and rainy day park, since in the afternoons everyone went to the beach. But I remember in the mornings they'd open the gates and people would come in and walk around for two hours before going down to the beach. No rides would be open, but people would sit in the TiltaWhirl cars and hand push them around the circles, and sit in the Flying Scooters and swing back and forth. You don't see that happening anywhere anymore.

I haven't been there in years, but we've talked about making a trip back this summer.

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Friday, June 14, 2002 7:31 PM

I rode the Ali Baba flying carpet at Waldameer and didn't get sick Who'd have thunk that I would ride a flat ride?

I rode the Ultimate Trip (indoor Scrambler) and didn't get sick! The bumper cars (at CLP) were quite funny.. with 6 cars, you can't bump as much. I hit a kid really hard and him and his 2 friends ganged up on me

I took the longest Carousel ride that I've ever been on.. and prolly the longest Tumble Bug ride as well. I under-estamated the sheer thrill of the Tumble Bug, as I nearly got pitched from the ride a couple times...

The carnie guy scares me.

My pics of Waldameer can be found HERE

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AIM: Pritti Kittie

*** This post was edited by Jess on 6/15/2002. ***

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Friday, June 14, 2002 7:36 PM

What you are saying about the Comet being a Mega coaster is very interesting. However, after doing some research I think what you are talking about is the "Ravine Flyer." Just like you described, it went over a bridge and onto more Waldameer property and had a helix at the end. The Ravine Flyer was closed in 1938 after a man was flung to his death. It looks like the park has been trying for years to rebuild the Ravine Flyer as Ravine Flyer II using the same plans and CCI as the named company to build it. The article about the lawsuit and legal despute is right here.

Ravine Flyer III, the kiddy coaster opened in 2000 a year before the Ravine Flyer II was supposed to open, which explains the reason for the number.

I thank you again Trekker Park for giving me this information so I can research the history of the park. History is a big interest of mine and I'm glad you filled me in on what used to be at the park. I hope someday that Ravine Flyer II will return as yet another CCI creation that many will enjoy.

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Proud member of the Frequent Flyer Club
"Make it Stop! MAKE IT STOP!!!"

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Friday, June 14, 2002 7:49 PM
A CCI within an hour of me would be great...

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AIM: Pritti Kittie

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Saturday, June 15, 2002 7:36 AM
Robodud : (should that be dude?) : We're talking a long time ago and my photos and old park maps and everything are packed away up at the family home in Pennsylvania, but as I recall it was indeed the Ravine Flyer and when they cut it back to only one side of the road they changed the name to Comet. I remember the incident being a topic of conversation for a long time among park workers and people who frequented the park, and although the lawsuit claimed he had been thrown everyone said he was standing up and waving before the train started across the ravine.

It will be July before I get to Pennsylvania but when I do I'll try to look up that package of old Waldameer postcards, photographs, maps, ballroom programs, etc., and see if I can figure out how to scan them into something and send you copies. If they scan too grainy maybe I can get your address and mail you copies.
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Saturday, June 15, 2002 1:04 PM

KicksTheSky,

At Erieview park, did you go to any of the arcades? Right across the street is my aunt and uncles arcade called the "Sports Center". Have you ever been there?

I am going there July 4th week to work, since they get so busy. One good thing about having them own that arcade is free games, and merchandise. All I can play games! wohoooo :)

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Six Flags Worlds of Adventure Online

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Saturday, June 15, 2002 2:58 PM
No, we didn't have time or money to hit the arcades, unfortunately. We did walk by them though on the way to and from the car. We did, however, make a brief stop at the shooting gallery to "take a picture" of it..heh heh. Not many places have the old style ones anymore, so we had to seize the moment and do the camera flash trick. Instead of yelling at us, the guy working there actually laughed, and we got some interesting looks from the people passing by :)

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BuzzCon '02 Frequent Flyer: Having fun on the flyers is a snap!

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