7/7/03 - SFWoA comes full circle!

Associated parks:
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Monday, July 7, 2003 6:57 PM
This day was supposed to just be a "Quickie" at SFWoA for me. I hadn't been there since opening day, my late class got cancelled and I just didn't feel like going to my early one. So, right after work (2pm) I left for SFWoA. Should have taken me about an hour and a half and I was expecting to spend about 4 or 5 hours in the park just trying to get all the rides once.

Well, that's when the adrenaline filled afternoon began!

At about 3pm, the clouds started to darken in front of me. I was near the Ohio border at this time, and I knew it was supposed to be a chance of storms. It didn't bother me much, since I figured clouds will keep away crowds at the park, and I'm driving in the opposite direction of it - it should skirt right over my head. Well, little did I know I'd be a de-facto storm chaser today!

About 15 minutes later, when things started to turn a little green and the lightning was beginning to pick up, I started to scan the radio for a local station. Heard a Good Charlotte song I knew hadn't ever been "released" so I stopped at that station, finding it to be the Univ. of Akron station. Well, right after GC, the DJ comes on and says "We're starting to get severe weather alerts all over the area, here are a few. First off, we have a tornado warning, that's warning folks, not watch, for Portage County." This set off an alarm in my head, cause I knew I'd herad of Portage before ...

" ... there is also an unconfirmed report of a funnel cloud over Ravenna ..."

... and it clicks - Portage is the rest stop before the Ravenna exit which leads to SFWoA ... I was headed right into the belly of the beast this afternoon! I started to panic, as I've been through some nasty weather in my life and being in a vulnerable position during a storm really gets to me. So, I floored it to get to the Portage rest area (again, I hear on the radio "tornado warning for Portage, if you're in Portage take shelter immediately" ... as I drive past the "welcome to Portage county" sign ...). Once there, I had a chance to pee and calm my nerves a little, and went outside to sit in my car and wait a little of the storm out ...

and what did I see coming right over the rest area but a nicely formed funnel spinning like mad. Again, panic set in and instead of doing what I should have done and just stayed put until everything passed (I knew in the back of my mind that these powerful storms don't stick around long), I began to drive to get away from this funnel. Well, I ran into some of the worst, most dense rain I have ever been in. Couldn't see the road, couldn't see the other cars, nothing. This lasted all the way through the Ravenna exit and a good ways along Route 44. Then once the rain let up enough I could see, I kept passing through these white whispy clouds over the road that would shake my car violently when I passed through them. Needless to say, by the time I got to SFWoA, I was quite rattled. On an adrenaline rush like nothing else, but rattled.

So here starts part 2: The park

Most normal people are scared away from an amusement park by a freakin tornado outbreak, but not me! I still went happily into the park. I knew everything would be down for a while, as there was still quite teh lightning show which I managed to snap a few pictures of behind Superman and X-Flight (unknown yet if they turned out). I got into the park and just walked around for a while to let the storms pass. The rain had stopped, so there was just some lightning and ominious clouds, and after about 30 mintues (about 4:45pm) the rides started to test and open up.

Now, there was absolutely NO ONE in the ride lines. The midways looked like a normal day to me, but I never waited more than one train for any ride all day, and those waits were only because I wanted a certain seat, and had nothing to do with full trains! I amazed/pissed off the Superman crew, as I rode it in 3 power-rides of 5, 3 and 3 rides over the course of the day (total: 11 rides, 10 back, 1 front - after WT, S:UE is rather weak in front, but the back is awesome!). The Batman crew knew me as well as I rode that 4 times in a row and had a conversation with the guy at the end of the queue who looked very bored. I also rode Villain 4 times in a row, and X-Flight in 2 sets of 2 (total, 4 rides). All of this was in the space of about 3 1/2 hours of ride time. So, I had a blast!

But, the title of this TR - SFWoA has in my eyes finally become a park worthy of its coasters! The crews today, even though it rained and some people were very pissy were still somewhat enthusiastic, X-Flight sounded like a CP crew, joking with riders and themselves, and every crew just moved very fast! The entire park was just great after the rain stopped and I had a great time! The entire park just finally felt ... magical. It had that effect that makes me forget life and just concentrate on where I am. When I crossed underneath that sign, I was in another world, and that's something that SFWoA has been missing for a while. I hope it wasn't just the rain that produced this effect and that the park truely has progressed this far. Keep up the great work guys!

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"As soon as you design something that's idiot-proof, the world will go and design a better idiot."
--Brett
*** This post was edited by PittDesigner 7/7/2003 11:21:40 PM ***

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Monday, July 7, 2003 7:20 PM
It must be fun to go to a park w/almost no one there.

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"Train Secure"

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Monday, July 7, 2003 7:47 PM
Well, that is pretty much SFWoA any evening. Very empty. When the park was converted to SFO they had to close the park because of a tornado warning and we were all in the gift shops assuming tornado position. They gave us free tickets to return. But, since we had passes it was 6 free tickets for friends! The park closed that night around 8, so this was after a full day. Glad you enjoyed your day at the park. I'll be there tomorrow!
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Tuesday, July 8, 2003 5:02 AM
There were no touch downs yesterday, and I was listening to SkyWarn at the time. No one spotted any true vertical rotation. Are you sure you saw what you think you saw?

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED! What time does the water show start?

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Tuesday, July 8, 2003 5:08 AM
It looked like right out of "Twister" or the weather channel or something. It never did touch down, just stayed up in the sky for the part that I saw it, but it was a wide, circular cone that was trailing behind an anvil-shaped cloud. From what I remember from the Weather Channel, that's what they're supposed to look like.

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"As soon as you design something that's idiot-proof, the world will go and design a better idiot."
--Brett

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Tuesday, July 8, 2003 5:41 AM
Nice TR, but I have to disagree with you on one thing. I think that S:UE is a lot better than WT. I think the vertical drops and the stall at the end make WT seem boring. I'm planning a trip there right after I go to CP in 2 weeks, and I hope I can get to have as much fun as you did.

Mike

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