7/4/02 - LeSourdsville Lake and Strickers Grove

Associated parks:
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Saturday, July 6, 2002 10:36 AM

Thursday was the first time in six years that I did not have to work on the Fourth of July, so what better way to “relax” on my day off than to wake up with the sunrise and go and sweat off about 10 lbs. at near 100 degree, superhumid Southwest Ohio parks almost four hours away from home? OK, so maybe it wasn’t relaxation, but it was definitely an awesome trip and a memorable day. The traveling gang was made up of the usual suspects (Robodud and KicksTheSky) along with Raven-Phile, who I had the pleasure to meet for the first time. The four of us not only rode some great coasters, but also took some hilarious pics and video and just had an awesome time.

The plan was to hit Americana/LeSourdsville Lake first at noon, hop on over to Stricker’s Grove for the mid-to-late afternoon, and then come back to LL for the night. We entertained the idea of going to PKI for the fireworks, but that eventually didn’t happen. We also got to LL rather late, due to some unplanned detours on the way down to Middletown (nothing too exciting or noteworthy, just food stops and the like). By the time we reached LL and waited in our longest wait for the day, which was to buy tickets (as is usually the case at small, independent parks, it seems), it was about 2:00.

My first reaction to LeSourdsville Lake was surprise at just how big the place is. Now I’m not talking corporate park big, but this place is definitely larger than your average ma and pa run park. The atmosphere is definitely much less “carny” than I expected also. LL feels sort of like what a bigger amusement park might have been twenty years ago. Nothing really looks run-down, except for a few buildings that still need some work and some signs that need some paint. Most of the rides were running, but many of the other attractions (like the live shows, or should I say LIVE HOW, and a really neat looking indoor electric train display) remain closed. A lot of work still has to be done to get this park running at 100%, but already so much has been done, and the place just carries a sense of rejuvenated energy that it can hopefully have for years to come. I was impressed by the retro look of many of the rides (Whip, Flyers, etc) and the neat light posts that line the midways. And the landscaping in a few areas, especially around the Serpent area on both sides of the midway, is also very nice. My only complaint is that they refuse to hand out cups of water (a personal park pet peeve of mine), instead making you buy bottles. I don’t care if I have to pay a quarter for water, I just don’t want to blow $2.00 on bottles. Oh well…I guess they need money however they can get it. The ride ops were pretty funny, especially considering that just about every one of them was smoking...LL must pay them in Marlboros. There were a decent number of people there too (even though that could be expected as it was July 4th), which hopefully is a sign of continued life for this newly resurrected park.

Well, being enthusiasts, the first thing we had to hit was the Flyers. I still have never learned how to snap flyer cables (the other three being pros), and yesterday was not my day either, since these tubs were so heavy. So we were a bit disappointed. Oh well, someday, I WILL learn…

Next up was the Serpent, a very rickety Pinfari Galaxi – as long as it’s not Fun Spot’s Zyklon, it’s all good – followed by a ride on the Sky Ride (or as a sign advertised: the KY Ride …LL should really look into replacing that S) for some views of the park. After that, we decided no more messing around: it was time to “dare to fly” on the Screechin’ Eagle.

I had always been surprised at how much enthusiasts love the Eagle. I could never understand why, because after all, it’s just a little, short out-and-back, right? ;) To be honest, I was expecting it to be sort of like SFWoA’s Big Dipper. OK, so I was wrong; looks can be very deceiving. After getting off our first ride and exchanging shocked glances of disbelief, all four of us agreed that the Screechin’ Eagle is the best wooden coaster in Ohio. It is THAT good. The airtime is the most forceful I’ve ever experienced, both in the backseat and in seat 1.3 (coined the “E-Schmeck-tor seat” by Josh), which were my favorite seats. We’re not just talking about “ejector airtime”; try “I can’t sit down even if I try airtime.” The return run is especially unbelievable. You just get rocketed over the tops of all the hills, and then slammed back down into your seat at the bottoms (gotta love those John Miller pullouts!). Extreme only begins to describe the experience. And surprisingly, the coaster ran smooth as glass, too, not only on the retracked first and second hills, but through the whole course. Now that I’ve ridden the Eagle, if Americana doesn’t make it, I will be VERY saddened to see this coaster die. I am also very grateful to Jerry Couch who decided to open the park this year! If you haven’t ridden Eagle, by all means, make the trip down to Americana. You will NOT be disappointed by Ohio’s best-kept secret!

Other than the Eagle, LL has a very neat collection of flat rides. We grabbed a nostalgic ride on the Sky Slide (made me think of when I was a kid at CP), enjoyed the neat walk-through fun house with working spinning cylinder, and I even had my first ride on a Tip Top, a cross between tea cups and a trabant (which was very cool). They also have a Zipper, which only Josh was brave enough to ride. The Tilt a Whirl runs beautifully (although we discovered that if you try to cram four people in the car it just sort of tilts instead of whirls), but the Whip was sort of a disappointment. We even rode the National Amusement Device miniature train (hey Beavis, it says NAD, huh huh huh, huh huh huh :) ) back to the frontier-themed area of the park to see the most wicked looking Arrow log flume I’ve ever seen. This thing had rapids, no joke! We didn’t ride it because people were coming off absolutely drenched. By this time, it was already 4:00, so got our hands stamped and headed to Strickers, planning to return later for some more Eagle laps and to hit the kiddie coaster (which broke down just before we were going to ride).

We really didn’t know how to get to Strickers, so we just headed to Ross with plans of maybe stopping and asking how to get there. But surprise, while riding on SR 128, a coaster just sort of popped up out of the wheat fields and grabbed our attention. So this is Strickers (“if you build it, they will come”). Once we entered the grove, I forgot I was surrounded by farm fields. The place is so well-shaded, which was very welcome considering the heat. What a neat little park! In addition to having 2 coasters, there are also some good flats, like flyers (more snappable than LL’s but I still couldn’t get it) and an insane little tea cup ride. They also let us ride the kiddie whip, which we found to be more exciting than LL’s full-grown model…go figure. The rides are good, but where this tiny little park shines best is in its atmosphere. This is the most relaxing, laid-back little park I’ve been to yet. I’m sure it has no problems booking company picnics, because it is the perfect little amusement park for that sort of thing.

Our first coaster was the Teddy Bear, their in-house designed junior woodie. This is a very smooth little ride, reminiscent of John Allen’s kiddie coasters. And Rob provided some very hilarious “coaster show on-ride commentary” for one of our rides. The Tornado, a double out and back full-grown coaster, was also designed and built in-house, and it is also a cool ride. It fools you into thinking it’s a dull coaster, and then halfway through the ride, it hits you with some extreme air worthy of Screechin’ Eagle on it’s sort of modified double down element (coined a “double halfy whammy thing” by Josh) and some more ejector air on its final bunny hop. I find it hard to believe both of these excellent little coasters were “homemade.”

Strickers was a great little park, but by the time we did all of this, it was starting to push 7:00, and we wanted to get back to Americana to fly the Eagle some more. When we got back, we only found that Eagle had gotten faster and even more extreme than it was earlier in the day. We also discovered that we couldn’t get on the Herschell kiddie coaster, as the ride op yelled at us before we even stepped foot on the entrance ramp. As it turns out, the breakdown we saw earlier in the day was a break overshoot that resulted from too much weight being in the train (this was our own deduction…the ride op was not calm enough to tell us this, instead she just screamed “YOU CAN’T RIDE THIS! THIS IS A KIDS' COASTER. YOU AREN’T KIDS!”). OK, so we were denied one more for the count, oh well.

By this time, it was 9:00, and LL was closing the rides to prepare for fireworks. We didn’t feel like hanging around another hour before the fireworks began, so we left. We debated stopping at PKI to see Fire in the Sky, but that would have put us getting home really late, and considering all of us had to work early the next day, we just decided to drive home. By the time we dropped Josh off and got back to Kristin’s house, it was past 2:00 AM, and I had another hour to drive home from there. So as much as I would have loved to see PKI’s fireworks, I’m kind of glad we didn’t stop. Besides, while driving home on the interstate, we must have seen every single fireworks displey in Southwestern Ohio. They were just going off all around us, which was very cool. As Kristin said, it was a totally immersive firework experience…gotta love coasternut humor… :)

Once again, this was another awesome trip, and LL will undoubtedly become an annual trip if it manages to stay open, because I don’t think I will be able to go a summer without the Eagle. Thanks to Rob, Kristin, and Josh for the great time, and thanks for reading to anyone who made it through this long TR!

...Oh, and congratulations to Rob for not getting pulled over this time… ;)

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It's 106 miles to Indiana Beach. We've got a full tank of gas and a half-full cooler of cokes. It's light, and we're wearing Disaster Transport 3-D glasses....hit it!

*** This post was edited by MooreOn on 7/6/2002. ***

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Saturday, July 6, 2002 12:55 PM
Nice TR!

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-Sean Newman
84 coasters in Track Record!! Hypersonic XLC # 100 in July. Waiting for the 305 foot drop tower in 2003. Thank you PKD.

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Saturday, July 6, 2002 4:32 PM
Sounds Great! I have been planning a trip there since this Spring! Can not wait to go.!!!!It is only a 2 to 2 and a half hour drive for me. Yet I have not been there......Wassup with that????

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Behold the Power of Cheese!
Careful, Treat them right. CCI's don't grow on trees you know.

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Saturday, July 6, 2002 8:46 PM

Great TR dude, I know I met ya cause I seen josh several times at Strickers. Was that you with him when I asked Josh if you guys were living on the ferris wheel? I swear you got a 20 minute ride cause we rode the cuddle up 3 times and you were just getting off.

Some minor corrections. Both strickers coasters were built in house but are clones of long defunct coasters. They did not design em. In the back seat of tornado, I counted no less than 5 airtime spots at night with two being ejector!

That flume at LL is not one ioada ARROW. It was completely done in house with insurance settlement money from the fire of the bathouse in 1990. The flume actually over ran thier projections by $200,000 and cost $800,000 total. I still think it is the most exciting flume and definetly the wettest. I like it better than DD Ripsaw falls even though it isn't as long.

We visited LL on the 5th. Dude, you have no Idea how much they have come in only one month. Couch said he maintained it? 12 guys worked 12 hr days for six months just to get the gate opened and from the looks of things they are still hard at it. Couch bought the park. He did want to get it opened but needed someone who knows the buisness and had some capital to get it in shape. Tom Pugh of Pugh Shows is leasing the park with a option to buy. Other than the pool and kiddy area Pugh's people are doing everything including rehabing ever ride before they put it back together.

The whip is a awesome whip. It was running quite a bit faster than opening day but not near what it used to run, Same for calypso.

Now for that second best woodie in OH. Ok, some may think it's #1 and I find it hard to dissagree. I am sticking with villain but I will say this. EAGLE ROCKS! I had not ridden since 1998 but at that point it wasn't running near as good as it is now. This coaster back in the early 80's broke my tail bone off the turn around drop by lifting me sideways and landing me sideways but I got to say. This coaster is running better than it has since I have been going there and I have visited LL since 1969.

You mentioned a big park of long ago? Well in 1974 the park bosted over 100 rides and attractions including rides like the paratrooper. kangaroo ramp coaster :) A weird ride and only one I ever seen called space combat. A antique car that is now at Kentucky Kingdom and many many other rides. Pugh has connections and I am possitive if the park dose well he will continue to improve it.

As for the Op's. I also think Camels are part of the paycheck :) I really didn't mind because they were not smoking near anyone that I seen.

I noticed anything from super nice people running the park to blunt don't do that, WALK ect.

I love this park and hopes it keeps doing well. It was steady all day friday and got busy about 6pm with live music and a heck of a fireworks show. Fireworks and music will be every friday at Lesourdsville lake!

Thanks for the TR :)

Chuck, who says the area the flume is in was supposed to get Thunder Run, Not raging THUNDER but I'm not complaining.

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Charles Nungester
Lesourdsville Lake, The great American amusement park opens the season June 6th Thurs-Sun every week. Park phone is (513)539-2193

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Saturday, July 6, 2002 9:12 PM
Charles are you sure the flume was all "in house" according to an unofficial LL site it was designed by barr engineering. http://www.barr.com/PDFs/Factsheets/amusesrv.pdf
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Sunday, July 7, 2002 7:18 PM

Great TR MooreOn. I like the Teddy Bear, Too! :-D

Can't wait to get in more trips with you guys. Don't worry, the phun doesn't stop there. PPP is coming really soon.

see ya on the next trip.

--Josh

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-*Wicked Twister....didn't theysing "We're not gonna take it"??*-

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Sunday, July 7, 2002 9:07 PM

CoasterMan- said:
Charles are you sure the flume was all "in house" according to an unofficial LL site it was designed by barr engineering. http://www.barr.com/PDFs/Factsheets/amusesrv.pdf


Barr engineering, Ok, but I knew it wasn't arrow. Matter of fact I know of no other LOG FLUME built like that.

Chuck

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Charles Nungester
Lesourdsville Lake, The great American amusement park opens the season June 6th Thurs-Sun every week. Park phone is (513)539-2193

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Monday, July 8, 2002 8:33 AM

I was also at LL on the fourth (a full and complete report to come, as soon as I get it written). Yes it was 1,000 degrees out and almost unbearable.

As Chuck said, you can't begin to fathom just how much the park has improved since opening day this year. Yes the Eagle is running AMAZING, but I find it to be more re-rideable than the Villian (just to weigh in on that score). In regards to "the evilest log flume", yes you come off very drenched, I was probably one of the people riding it right about 4pm. (I had the shirt with the rollercoaster decorated up to look like the American Flag)

I'm glad to see that all exisiting rides in the park are now operating with the exception of the Showboat (Belle of LeSourdsville). (I won't ding them for Pirat as it isn't built yet, and the alledged Orbiter is no where to be seem) Each ride received an immaculate makeover job and almost looks brand new. I'd assume after he gets the Pirat up and running, and fixes whatever ails the Showboat, they can concentrate on the food service. (Food really should be there next prioirty, they have plenty of games, and have added a lot of carnival games since the first weekend, the gift shops are starting to re-open, I hear they have three live shows going, and according to aother forum will soon have strolling entertainment and costumed characters.

So gift shops and food should be, I think the next priority.

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David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville

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Monday, July 8, 2002 1:44 PM

Most of my favorite rides from Americana/LL disappeared over the years. The absolute best was the circular bumper cars. They were identical to the bumper boat vehicles (big rubber rings around them), except there were two levers to control it instead of one. Push both levers straight forward, you go straight forward; push one and pull the other, you spin around. Best bumper cars ever.

I also miss the Indy 500, old-school go carts on a wooden track (roller-rink style). The aforementioned Kangaroo (we called it "The Jumpy Ride") and Space Combat were awesome. In Space Combat, you ride in a rocket, and you can shoot down the person in front of you, and spin around to shoot at the person behind you. If you get shot, you can't make your rocket go up for a few seconds.

Also the Sombreros, which I got very sick on. The Great American Thrill Show (featuring Revolution and Colossus). Sheesh, they really did used to have a lot of rides.

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He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2002 4:52 AM

Sad but true, when I was growing up, and was a frequent vistor to Americana, the rides midway was much more spectacular, then hard times hit the park and the selection dwindled ride by ride as the park tried to stay afloat.

Here is the midway I remember from the early 1980's:

Starting at the front gate, working towards the train ride:

Indy 500 (Wierd wooden go-kart ride), Electric Rainbow(Round up), Sombrero (themed teacups), Haunted House (dark ride), Paratrooper, Sky Ride, Rock-O-Plane, original Dodgems, original Carousel, Scrambler, Kangaroo, Whip, Flying Skooters, Screechin Eagle, Skippers Warf (U-Drive Em Motorboats, like Knoebels has), Speedway, Giant Slide, Great American Thrill Show, Space Combat (described above, that ride rocked), Calypso, Tilt-A-Whirl, Krazy Kars (the round intertube bumper thingys), Showboat, Antique Cars, Trabant, Country Bear Show, Train ride, then the back section had a Galleon pirate boat to keep the log flume happy. I want to know, Chuck, how long that minigolf has been there, it doesn't look terribly old, and thats a lot of midway space that could have been other things.

Also my favorite childhood ride in Kid's World is gone, it was a 'train' ride on a dark-ride style track, you rode in little train engines.

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David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville

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