A Southern Marathon of Excitement- Part 1 (Paramou

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A Southern Marathon of Excitement- Part 1 (Paramount’s Carowinds)

“Four States of Mixed Fun”

June was a very busy month for me. Some of it was good. Some of it was bad. None of it was boring. With one weekend left in June, it was to be filled with one heck of a great time. However, to understand the meaning behind this weekend, we have to go back to March.

Last March, at the amazing Spring Fling event at Six Flags Over Georgia, many participants filled out their names on a small sheet of paper and handed them over to Jim Taylor, the Public Relations Manager at SFOG. Near the end of this event, Jim pulled around 20 names out of a bowl. Those lucky folks were to be the first people to be asked to take part in a 30 hour marathon to help celebrate the 30th birthday of the Great American Scream Machine coaster.

As luck would have it, my name was picked and I had to decide if I would want to take part in something that sounded fun, yet very difficult to do. I mean, come on. Who would want to ride a coaster for 30 hours if there wasn’t some sort of prize at the end? Well…..I would I guess. It sounded too good to just shrug off as a stupid contest or something of that nature. However, I did have doubt as to if I should even try and attempt this.

At the end of that weekend, Kevin Smallhorn let me stay at his place for the weekend. The last day was to be a great one with a side trip to Paramount’s Carowinds. We took off early and headed to the park, only to get a call from a friend that was already at the park telling us the park was to close in an hour due to crappy weather. We turned around and headed back to Atlanta. Maybe some other time?

June was here in the blink of an eye. I had many things planned for June, but still wasn’t sure about the marathon. My choice to take part in the marathon was sealed when I got an e-mail from Jim Taylor giving directions concerning the marathon. This was my last chance to back out. I decided to go for it. I quickly looked around for a cheap flight, made my reservation, and on Thursday, June 26th, I arrived at Port Columbus International Airport for my flight to Atlanta.

Just as my flight was to take off, a woman sat down in the same row next to me. She asked me if I was nervous. I told her I wasn’t. She asked me if I had flown recently. Perhaps I shouldn’t have told her this was my 24th flight of the year because she then asked me to hold her hand because she indeed was nervous. She hadn’t flown since she was 10, and she was 25 now. For some reason, this has happened to me a couple of other times. Do I look that relaxed on a flight that people feel the need to hold my hand?

I was hoping I could have gotten some sleep on the flight, but instead, I had a good time talking to the woman about where she was going. She was studying to be a mortician (?) and a teacher. She was very surprised to hear about my quest to ride a coaster for 30 hours. Hey, she asked. Most people look at me strange when I tell them I travel to go ride coasters. They have every right to look at me in a strange way. It is a weird hobby to have in the eyes of those that don’t ride much.


As soon as the flight was over, I made my way out of one of the largest airports in the world, and hopped into Kevin Smallhorn’s new “pimp-daddy” truck. Today we would be going to the park I missed the last time I was in this area.

*** Paramount’s Carowinds***

The drive to PCWi didn’t seem as long as it was. I believe it was a 4 hour drive. Kevin told me to bring some CDs so we spent the time listening to the new Type -O-Negative, King’s X, Porcupine Tree, and Killswitch Engage discs. This made for an easy drive in the new pimp-mobile with a pretty nice sound system as Kevin made quite clear to others as we were stopped at traffic lights.

We arrived at the park around noon to a semi-empty parking lot. The weather was very hot. It was 95-degrees out when we arrived. We expected everyone in the park would be in the water park so we just decided to walk around and ride whatever we wanted to, with no rush. I still hadn’t ridden 3 of the newer coasters in the park, but I didn’t think we would have any problem riding them as the park didn’t look crowded. Here is what we rode:

---Top Gun: The Jet Coaster---

Aaaaa. What a nice way to start out the riding part of the day. This coaster never fails to put a smile on my face. Being a huge B&M fan, this hit the nail on the head right from the start. I could have left the park without riding anything else and still felt good thanks to this ride. I hadn’t been to the park since the opening day of Top Gun. I forgot just how intense this ride really is.

Kevin and I then decided to wait for the river rapids ride. This was the longest wait of the day at just over a half hour. We did get a bit wet, but nothing of a soaking. I did like the placement of the waterfall near the end of the ride, even though I did get a bit wet going through it.

=== Rugrats Runaway Reptar=== (#509)

While this may be a clone of the same named ride at PKI, the landscaping on this version is what makes it different. I really enjoyed the look of the coaster as it flew over rocks and a stream. However, the ride seemed to be a on the shaky side. It wasn’t rough. It just made some noise that I hadn’t noticed before on the PKI version. This new version also has different restraints and the seats are tilted back a bit so feet can’t drag on the lift.


Yet another B&M classic. This is one of the few original stand-up coasters that still have the ultra intense flat spin. While the train was quite loud and made sounds like it was shaking like mad, I found the ride to still be fairly smooth. That flatspin scared the heck out of me just as it did the last time I rode it.


I will be honest here. I have never been the largest fan of Hurler. It’s not that bad of a ride. It just isn’t my type of ride I guess. Considering I love Thunder Run at SFKK that may sound strange, but both versions of the Hurler ride the same IMO. Having ridden the PKD version a week before this trip summed up my views on this ride. I do like the ride, but both versions seem to be hiding their true power in some way. I can’t quite describe it. Needless to say, with a walk on wait, it was worth the ride.

We also hit the nearby Drop Zone. While this isn’t the tallest drop ride, it still provides one heck of a gut wrench on the way down. As a matter of fact, it seems to me that the standard Intamin Giant Drops provide a different fall sensation than the Gyro Drops.

---Caroline Cyclone---

Kevin suggested we wait for the front row. I am glad we did because we had a nice ride while in the front. The loops were very strong as was the airtime before the corkscrews. I had forgotten about the tunneled helix. It’s amazing how this ride feels totally different than the near twin at Circus Circus. Yea, I know they are both totally different rides, but their layouts are almost identical, and they feel nothing alike IMO.

---Carolina Goldrusher---

While I have ridden this coaster, I didn’t remember a thing about the layout. Basically, the layout consists of a couple of helices, a nice tunnel, and that’s pretty much it. It’s a nice family ride and a great coaster to introduce kids to steel coasters.


This was another new one to me. While the PKD version is one of the larger Mack mice, this version is the standard that parks like Hershey, and BGW have. Nothing wrong with that considering those are great rides. This was no exception. Our ride was even better than it could have been thanks to a couple of girls who were clearly terrified to ride this thing and screamed the entire ride. Kevin and I about lost it watching these girls freak out.

===Flying Super Saturator=== (#511)

The last new coaster I needed to ride at the park. I was really looking forward to this one because I rode the Hershey version not even a week before. I really enjoyed Roller Soaker and was hoping Super Saturator would be just as fun.

From the first glance, this looked to be a wetter version. Then again, a lot of the water effects on Hershey’s weren’t working for some reason. Most of the water effects on this version were on. Kevin and I got in line and within 2 minutes were soaked thanks to some nice water bombs from the flying cars above. There is a section in line that riders could drench two sections of the line with one water bomb if timing was correct. Thanks to some skillful riders, we were hit more than a few times.

Kevin and I decided to aim for this area of the line when it was our turn to ride. While the loading of this coaster was a bit on the slow side thanks to the limited capacity, our wait wasn’t all that bad. When it was our turn, we sat backwards and hoped for the best. Yes, we got wet thanks to the water curtains and geysers, but the real fun was just about to begin. We started to make our way around “the curve” when Kevin and I both released our bombs at the same exact time, drenching both sections of the line in a big way. It was a sight to see.

After our ride was over, we went over to check out the Scooby interactive dark ride. I didn’t do too well but Kevin prevailed. I am so used to the PKI version; it was kind of cool to see a smaller version with most of the same scenes. We then headed over to the Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure. Kevin and I got paired up with a woman and her son. We clearly had a lot of weight in the boat and were worried about what our outcome would be as soon as we went down the final plunge. This version is larger than the PKI version, but doesn’t include as much theming. The final plunge was a good one and thanks to our added weight, we got soaked. Big time! It was nice though as it was still baking outside.

We decided to start heading out of the park. However, we decided to wait for a front seat ride on Top Gun before we left. Once again, this thing impressed me again. Our front row ride was insane. The visuals are incredible and the forces were very strong. I wish I could have gotten a few more rides, but I was tired and was looking forward to getting back to Atlanta to get some sleep. After all, I had a big day in store. Kevin and I then left the park and headed back to Atlanta. On the way, Kevin really showed me what his truck was capable of. Talk about impressive…..and scary as hell at the same time. No more comments.

Before we reached Atlanta, we stopped at a Wal-Mart and picked up a few things for the marathon. Thanks to the suggestion of Kevin, I purchased a roll of bed foam for super cheap. I had a feeling we were going to need it for the marathon. I also picked up a tiger stripped inflatable neck pillow. Once again, I was sure it would come in handy. However, thanks to Wal-Mart’s cheap prices. I also purchased Rambo: First Blood Part 2 on DVD. No reason why. I saw it and bought it.

Once back at Kevin’s in Atlanta, I quickly got ready for sleep and the big day ahead. I actually was nervous about doing a marathon on a coaster. How long would I last? Would it be painful? How could I sleep on the coaster?

All these questions were just about to be answered in the next 24 hours.

Up next……

My-oh my how time flies when you are having……..airtime?

Thanks for reading,

-Sean Flaharty
*** This post was edited by Sean Flaharty 7/1/2003 9:24:50 PM ***


Sounds like you guys had fun! I need to make it to Carowinds. I love Montu, and Top Gun looks to be just as fun.

As far as the flatspin on Vortex, how does it differ from the other stand-ups? I'm always on the lookout for intense B&M elements. The wraparound immelman helix thingy (that is the technical term, I believe) on Fire Dragon is my favorite!

I-4: The scariest ride in all of Orlando!

C'Mon!!! Get ot the good part already!!! Just kidding... ;). Great TR as usual. Let's see how the finale turns out....

**Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my gosh....I could be eating a slow learner.**

Matt D said:

As far as the flatspin on Vortex, how does it differ from the other stand-ups? I'm always on the lookout for intense B&M elements. The wraparound immelman helix thingy (that is the technical term, I believe) on Fire Dragon is my favorite!


The flatspins on the earlier B&M stand-ups are more wicked. Halfway through the element, the train does a very rapid turbo-twist to exit out the element. It's very intense and the feeling is not found on the newer B&M stand-ups.


Nice TR as usal. I wonder if you will make it through the marathon;)

Edit: Not that it really means anything but why did you change your screen name from Sean F.?

-Sean Newman
*** This post was edited by SFgadvMAN 7/3/2003 6:44:27 PM ***

SFgadvMAN said:
Nice TR as usal. I wonder if you will make it through the marathon;)

Edit: Not that it really means anything but why did you change your screen name from Sean F.?

-Sean Newman

Thanks Sean.

My account expired and when I tried to use the same screen name, it said it was already taken so I just created another screen name.


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