It was WAY more crowded than I expected. Fairgrounds drive was packed with cars and people trying to watch the fireworks, and the walkway between the parking lot and the park was jammed with people. Fortunately, that meant that once I was in the park the lines were pretty empty, since everybody was in the stadiums or just standing on the midways gawking.
My first stop was V2.1, mostly to see if the cute op (see "Most consecutive rides" thread) was still there, but she wasn't. :(
No line for the back when I got there and only about half the rows had people. I haven't ridden this in the dark dark (the park only opens til 10p July 4th weekend) and it is completely different. The cool breeze, the lights on all the coasters, and the fireworks visible from the back tower made this one of my best rides on this coaster. That instant when you go from firmly pressed into your seat to zero-g as you come up the back tower is priceless. Had me giggling to myself the whole time. I ended up poaching 3 more rides, all just as good.
Because the park is usually not open so late, I knew I had to get a night ride on Roar. I got to the station around 9:50, thinking I'd have time for at least two rides. Front row queue had about 4 train wait, so I got in for row 2. There was a triple coming in, so I volunteered to move to row 3, so I could ride with the single. They had mentioned that they really liked Ghostrider and I agreed. We chatted a little about rides and life in general as we boarded and climbed the lift. All I have to say is wood coasters come alive at night. By far the best rides I've gotten on this coaster. It felt much faster, much smoother, and with the wind and darkness, the ride was unreal. I couldn't help but bust up at every dip and turn. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much the whole time.
As we pulled into the brake run, I noticed that the station was empty. They had closed the line for the night. I checked my watch, but it was only 9:57. As we came back into the station, everyone was shouting "One more time", which, in my experience, never works...EXCEPT TODAY. Maybe it was because they had closed the gate early or because of the holiday spirit, but the op at the console started egging us on to shout louder. And shout louder we did. I'm still hoarse a day later from shouting "One more time." ;)
A nod later, and we were off hootin' and hollerin' like little kids. The mechanics that were in the station were giving everyone high fives as they passed and everyone was pretty pumped about the ride. As well they should be. Another fantastic ride in pitch black. Great air, great laterals at the high turnaround near V2, great everything. As we approached the brake run, my new friends mentioned that they thought this ride was about as good as Ghostrider. Any other day, I would've said they were crazy, but today I was inclined to agree. I'm normally a CCI>>GCI kind of guy, but this pair of rides definitely got me thinking.
So I said goodbye, made sure to thank all the ride-ops, and headed back out of the park. I stopped to watch the "guessing game" for a few minutes on the way out, as I knew traffic would be insane. The park was still as packed now, at 10pm, as it is on most Sat. during midday (though that was mostly because no rides were open, so everyone was in the midways and paths).
It actually took me longer to get out of the parking lot, than the length of time I spent at the park. (It took almost an hr. to get out of the lot).
Still, the trip was worth every second. Too bad the park is only open until 9p at the latest for the rest of the summer.
*** Edited 7/5/2004 8:24:12 PM UTC by ApolloAndy***
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