Matt has a huge Atlas, but also has Mapquest directions as well. We're starting to get lost on some small roads, and having to make multiple redirection changes. At one point, I spot what I think is the same Rodeway Inn with donut shop next door that I stayed in seven-years ago off of 250. But, part of me also thinks it's the other Rodeway Inn (I believe there are two). The area has changed quite a bit with some really nice shopping facilities.
It takes a while, but finally we get redirected, and take 250 out of Sandusky. Sure enough that was my motel from seven-years ago, we had just passed it in a different direction. The trip to Columbus is a little bit scary. We're seeing multiple signs for deer, and we almost hit one. We're on some two-lane roads that remind some of us of Indiana/Illinois. Open flat fields with very few trees. Perfect for deer. Let's just say that there was plenty of venison all along our trip from Maryland.
We finally make it to our hotel in Columbus—another remodeled Red Roof Inn with a decent price. This room is much bigger than the first RRI, and everyone is raving about the hi-pressure waterfall shower-head. It helps to relieve a little bit of the pain from CP.
The following morning we make our way to historic Lebanon, OH and are allowed to check in at the family-owned Budget Inn at 2 p.m. (most chains don't start until 3 or 4 p.m.). Matt and I stayed here last year and enjoyed our stay. We get a different room than last year, and it's more like checking into the big bedroom of someone's house than it is a motel.
The exhaustion is kicking in big-time, and only Matt the energizer bunny is psyched to go to KI. At one point I say sarcastically "I can't wait to go to KI!", and collapse onto one of the beds. The thought of going to another big park isn't exciting at all right now. Bryan and Jon have never seen the park, but I think they're feeling the same way.
Finally, we get motivated and leave for the park. We park in Drop Zone 37 and don't have too far of a walk. We walked to the back of the park and get lockers in front of Tomb Raider. We had planned on going to Boomerang Bay as well. Now this time, the lockers ask for .75 in quarters as opposed to the one-dollar coin at CP. Consistency is a good thing people.
Our first ride is The Beast and it's not terribly exciting during the day due to all the brakes, although the ending through the sheds is still good. Jon likes it though. One thing that surprised me was that Matt and Bryan sat on an axle seat, whereas Jon and I sat in the middle of the car. Maybe sleep-deprivation is kicking in, as I know Matt would normally not pick the axle seat after last year's BeastBuzz ERT.
We went to ride the Italian Job because it had a short line, but it was broken, so we moved onto another short line at Rugrats Runaway Reptar. It's a little shaky, but nothing too bad.We then rode the junior-woodie called Fairly Odd Coaster. We then went to the Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Castle Sally darkride-shooter.
First of all, why are there fluorescent lights on in the queue, and second of all, why is Bryan taking off his shirt to show someone his Scooby-Doo tatoo?:) This was one of the bigger disappointments of the day. If the whole point of the ride is to shoot at targets and your gun doesn't work right, then we've just wasted twenty-minutes or more of our lives.
The first gun I pick-up doesn't work at all and Bryan's having trouble too. The second one works somewhat, but there's no laser coming out. I'm strictly shooting by experience that I've gained from all the other Sally rides and I get a fairly good score. Matt looks disappointed as well as he was having trouble as well, and normally he can score massive points on these rides.
Next, we rode Vortex, a ride in desperate need of a paintjob. I don't remember it looking this bad last year. For an older Arrow, it wasn't too bad.
The guys went to ride Racer, while I sat it out. I snapped some more pics while they were on it. As I'm taking some forward-side pics of it, I hear Bryan coming down the exit ramp saying "I'd rather be on Mean Streak," and I bust out laughing. I don't even want to process that statement:)
Everyone was hungry and first place we looked at—LaRosa's Pizzeria didn't display any prices that looked appetizing to us. Looking on the map though, we found something that would be perfect—the new for this year "Wings Dinner Buffet." You pay some money in the double-digits, and a smorgasbord is yours—No ACE convention needed:) Some of the guys were really chowing down, but after a burger, a few potato wedges, a chicken strip, macaroni and cheese, two small chocolate-chip cookies, I was done.
We next wandered into the Action Zone, only there are three rides that aren't running—Drop Zone, Delirium, and Son of Beast (which we knew about ahead of time). So I re-christen the area the "Inaction Zone." We knew very little about the SFKK accident, but we understood why DZ would be closed. I walked up to two ride ops and ask if Delirium is down for the night and they say "Yes." Well, it's a good thing we got our Giant Frisbee ride in at CP.
Well, there is one coaster left operating in the Action Zone and that's Top Gun—my favorite, but short—Arrow suspended coaster. Bryan comes along with us, but is obviously nervous after his Iron Dragon incident on Wednesday. (if you're only reading this TR, he elbow got stuck at about head-height and even though he called out the ride ops to reset his harness they dispatched anyway). I promise him that I'll lower the harness this time, and he's okay with that.
Even Matt makes a comment that it is also in need of a paintjob, I'm shocked, because usually that kind of thing doesn't bother him as much as it does me. Well, paintjob be damned, it's still a lot of fun and mighty fast, if a little bit short ridetime-wise.
Next up is the ride close enough to be in the Action Zone, but in Octoberfest—Adventure Express. I think everyone loved this ride, but Jon is still calling for the Smoothing Tool from No Limits:) It was incredibly strange to be sitting in the same exact trains as found on Magnum (minus the funky windshield, of course). People have always joked that Magnum is an overgrown minetrain, but I didn't realize until then how true that statement was!
On our way back to our lockers, Bryan decides he's going to fulfill a lifetime dream of his—a ride on a Eurobungy called Launch Pad? Whatever makes him happy. Hmm...Now would be a great time to try out the video-recording feature of my camera! (insert devious laughter) This costs us sometime, and we start realizing that we're not going to make Boomerang Bay tonight. He makes weight at 170lbs. (max is 200lbs.), and it is hilarious watching him bounce up-and-down and flip around. He starts getting pretty tired after a while though, and stops a little bit early.
Walking back to our lockers, there's a debate about whether the last ride of the night should be The Beast or Tomb Raider. I said I'll hit TR if there's not enough time to do both. Well, we get over there and we find out that there's no line for TR, so we hop onboard. The place is pretty well lit-up in comparison to 2002, so I get to see a little bit more of the ride. They also have new-to-me zippered pouches which replaced the clear plastic ones that they didn't want you to use in 2002.
To call TR jerky, would be the understatement of the year. Each stop at the show elements of the ride feels like when you have to make a sudden stop in your car. It's the antithesis of the mostly fluid motions of a regular Top Spin. There's also no soundtrack playing, so the whole experience just feels absolutely stupid. The only good part was that the lava looked more realistic than in 02'. It's kind of neat on the way out that I spot the operator's booth, and I actually got a fairly good shot of the gondola from a side-view at the exit to the ride.
There was one last ride for the night and that was The Beast. We're told over the P.A. that operations will stop at 9:50 p.m. for the nightly fireworks show and will resume after they get the o.k. Matt and Jon go out before we do, and I look down at our watch, and it's now 9:52. Finally things come to a halt, and I change places with Bryan so he can watch the show. I don't believe he could see anything though.
The break though was good. We talked to some teenagers behind us (I believe one of them was Beast Fan), and had some good laughs. Sadly though, we found out the whole story about the SFKK accident as we were only getting bits & pieces from the t.v. and I was leaving my cellphone out in the car where I could've gotten the full story.
Operations start-up again, and after Matt and I raved about BeastBuzz ERT last year, Bryan wants to try to duplicate the effect. There's a fairly bright moon out, but he still has his sunglasses with a strap connected to them. He decides to ride the whole way with the sunglasses on!:) I think it freaked him out a little bit.
Day 2-1/2 Saturday at Boomerang Bay
It's only been five-days since KW, but it feels more like five weeks. Still we decided to do a waterpark today. The parking lot is a lot more full than the day before, but it's still nowhere near the insanity that was BeastBuzz 06'. We parked over in the Boomerang Bay lot, and for some reason, my GL pass actually scans where it wouldn't scan at the main entrance. The waterpark is fairly dead, and it's not cold.
First up, was a must from last year—a racing slide, after we missed them at three different locations. Even though Coolangatta Racer is an Octopus racing slide, it only has one hump versus the monstrosity at SFGAM (which was broken at the time).
First though, we see a site that grosses us all out—a teenaged boy is wearing shorts that don't fit him at all and he's showing a lot of crack. Why do people try to fool themselves like this? Hopefully, we won't see him again, although it's not that large of a waterpark.
We all raced together, and I lost pretty badly even though I tried to kick-off the back of the slide. This could've been a really long wait, so we're happy that things are light.
We're also excited that they have some old-school non-mat slides and we all simultaneously rode Down Under Thunder. Moving over to the Awesome Aussie Twister, we spot the "crack-kid" again. Doesn't he realize that there's a draft back there?:)
Matt sits this one out as he's afraid about hitting his head. This had the most unusual riding position. I think it was legs straight, but hands locked behind your head. The three of us get off just fine. I think Matt's momentum though could've ruined things for him, so it was probably a good decision of his part.
Right next door is Bondi Pipeline and as we ascend the stairs we were met with the "crack-kid" one more time. This is the only slide where they have the "rivet-police." There's a straight speed slide and two twisted slides. They're not very tall like the ones at KD and Carowinds.
The lifeguard asks the crack-kid to spin around for rivets and I'm really surprised that he didn't a) comment on his exposure of his flesh and b) let him ride because of buttons on the back of his shorts. If I were the lifeguard, I would've told him to get a bathing suit that actually fits him, but he lets him go anyway. This will be our last viewing, and thank God for that.
We then moved onto Sydney Sidewinder, a tube slide. A nice, but freezing-cold lifeguard is asking people if they want to go forwards, backwards, or spin. I tell her "all of the above," but she tells to pick one, so I go with spinning. It was pretty fun.
But then I see something way more fun in the background—Snowy River Rampage—one of those monster-size raft rides that'll fit your whole family. O.k., let me rephrase that—based on the average size of some of people in the waterpark, you might have to take two rafts. Thank goodness for the high walls. Yes, I'm mean.
The four of us fit just fine, and it's lot of fun and quite long. I'm hoping this is what they added at KD this year. Our goal to hit the road back home is 2 p.m., but that's looking like it's going to slip-on-by. We look at the Tornado called Tasmanian Typhoon and decide the line's too long. Even with the different starting entrance from SFA's, it doesn't look like anyone's going any higher anyway.
So Matt wants to try out the Pipeline Paradise—where they have some Flowriders. The left channel is the widest, and is curved like a seashell. It's also for people with some experience and/or have brought their own boogie boards. The other two channels to the right are straight and are for inexperienced riders. Unfortunately, Matt doesn't have his glasses on, so he accidentally waits in the pro-line first.
Bryan and I try to watch from the grandstands, but I go check out where Jon is at the Great Barrier Reef wavepool, and I'm not sure where Bryan was, so we missed Matt's ride altogether. I really wanted to ride one more dry ride back in the main park, so we got changed and headed on in. We passed the line for the picnic pavilions, which looked scarily like the same line we waited in last year at BeastBuzz. At this point, we're thinking the main park is packed and...
It isn't. We looked at Italian Job, and it had a full queue (next!), went up to Delirium which was testing, but they couldn't tell me when it would open (next!), so our last ride was Adventure Express. I still needed close-up shots of Firehawk, and I can feel the group wants to kill me. Everyone is fried, but we walk over to Fort Kinzel anyway. I take some pics, and a short video.
Matt looks at the two-train/two-station operation and says "Now, that's how it's supposed to be run," to which I quickly correct him. "No, when Batwing is running both sides efficiently, they don't wait until the other train returns to the station. You can dispatch one train when the other train crosses over the lift.
It's interesting to me that up close, the red color of Firehawk is actually more of a maroon color. I should know since the grey/maroon color was my Catholic-school colors for eight-years of my life. At around 4 p.m. when we left, it starts raining again. How fitting for the theme of our trip.
Thanks for reading, anyone who took the time.
-Donald, Owner/Webmaster, KIExtreme.com - The In-Depth Guide to Kings Island
We have both Flight of Fear at KD and Joker's Jinx at SFA, plus Batwing at SFA, so there wasn't really a need to ride any of those rides if we didn't have to.
In my opinion, the KI-version of Flight of Fear is the roughest spaghetti-bowl of the four, so I don't think we missed out on anything there. Firehawk had a huge line on Saturday, and we had a long drive back to the Baltimore-area in front of us. Our arrival time at my house was around 1:50 a.m. in the morning.
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