Andy's Great Plains Wood Coaster Round Up (SDC, SFStL, BB)

Monday, August 5, 2013 1:22 PM

I had to road trip from Fort Worth to Louisville for a work conference, so we decided to make a trip out of it. We went with another family so in total it was 4 adults and 5 kids. We left on Monday, did SDC in the evening, camped for the night (more later) and all day Tuesday. Drove to St. Louis and did SFSTL in the afternoon and evening Wednesday and then went to the conference on Thurs-Sat. I stopped by Beech Bend for a credit sweep on Sunday on the way back home.

I will present this trip report in awards format:

The “this track should not be banked at this angle” award – Outlaw Run. The moral of this story is that if you take a regular element and bank it abnormally it becomes insanely cool.

The “would have been top 5 except for the stupid barrel rolls at the end” award – Outlaw Run. They just made me disoriented and queasy and didn’t add anything to the ride. Everything up to that point was breakneck, novel, extreme and fun. Those just felt…uninspired. It’s still probably around #10 for me, but if another element replaced those two rolls, it easily could have been right up there with Voyage and Boulder Dash.

The “closest to an elitist enthusiast my wife has ever come” award – Powder Keg’s pacing. She complained that Powder Keg has an awesome launch and some really awesome elements and then completely dies on the lift hill. The lift, followed by the last drop and helix completely ruin the pacing of the ride. I am inclined to agree, though I didn’t ever think I’d see that day that my wife would complain about pacing.

The “my wife is becoming the good kind of enthusiast” award – Wildfire. She was nervous getting on the ride, but then she said, “This is B&M, right? What else do they make?” I listed all the B&M’s we had been on together and she said, “Oh. Okay. I like all those rides” and when we finished she said, “I really liked that ride and I could tell how well engineered it was.”

The “why isn’t this backwards anymore?” award – Thunderation. It’s still a good ride, but it was a really good ride backwards.

The “Holy crap, my kid can ride this?” award – log flumes. My older son is three and a half and almost 40”. Of all the rides I was surprised he could get on, the log flumes were the most surprising. Happily, he loved all the ones he did and kept wanting to do them again. I think we got 7 or 8 total laps on log flumes this trip.

The “Both my sons could ride this all day and it’s actually incredibly fun” award – Splash Battle at SDC. We had a blast riding this thing and both my sons were getting into it. The 3 year old was aiming, but I had to run the pressure thing, and the 1 year old was just happy to get sprayed. The was the biggest positive surprise of the trip and I don’t really like water rides.

The “Holy crap, this ride is creepy. And my son liked it?” award – Fire in the Hole. Seriously, this ride is messed up. It almost gave me nightmares. It also makes no sense at all. And yet my older son thought it was awesome and wanted to do it again.

The “never, ever, ever, again” award – it rained ALL NIGHT Monday night and our tent was leaking. We spent a good portion of the night crawling out into the rain and trying to use garbage bags to ward off the flood. The next night we switched to a cabin and immediately bought Scotch Guard waterproof spray and coated our tent with it. It's effectiveness is yet to be determined. Still, it will probably be a while before we try camping again after that. Though I’m sure next spring we’ll be thinking “You know what would be fun? Camping!”

The “Wait, you were okay with Fire in the Hole, but this scared you?” award – Scooby Doo’s scary swamp. Maybe it was because things were closer to the car or popped out or they were louder, but he was crying the whole time.

The “Meh. Another middle of the pack GCI” award – American Thunder. It had some straight hills, but they didn’t have that much air. I have something like 10 GCI’s under my belt and none of them make my top 10. I don’t know why GCI doesn’t seem to make strong air hills, but that’s what I’m a sucker for and so GCI’s just don’t do it for me.

The “This ride is still as bad as when I rode it 12 years ago” award – Boss. I just don’t get it. There’s nothing redeeming about this ride. It’s rough, the trains are brutal, and there are no good parts.

The “Should have stayed at SFoT” award – SFStL. Both parks have a Mr. Freeze (now reversed), Batman, Pandemonium, Sky Screamer (ours is bigger) and our boomerang is now theirs. In fact, my wife said that her elitist enthusiast t-shirt would say, “I traveled here from Texas so I could skip this boomerang again.” The mine trains, double tracked flumes, and classic woodies are fairly similar, though I give the slight nod to SFStL’s in all cases.

The “Why is this so much better than ours?” award – Pandemonium SFStL. Better spin and continuous loading(!) Continuous loading is so good for capacity, I don’t know why more rides don’t use it. I also liked the setting a little more.

The “Hershey’s hills have nothing on this” award – SDC. Seriously, pushing a stroller with 2 kids around this park left my legs killing me the next day. Especially that hill over by Wildfire – my god!

The “greatest kids ride area ever” award – Grand Exposition, SDC. We just let the kids drag us around to every ride they could get on in this area. Great selection with low height limits. The whole family had a blast. We probably spent 2 hours there and rode everything they could. A nod to the boats that go around in a circle. I didn’t ride it, but my wife did with my son and they go really fast.

The “reasonable food at a park(!)” award – SDC Moonlight Madness burger deal. A burger and fries for $5 after 7 pm. We got 6 of these meals.

The “Wow. This is an actually good GCI” award – Kentucky Rumbler. In the back, it’s probably one of the best GCI’s I’ve been on (Ozark Wildcat is the other contender). Great air, lots of great twists and turns, and I didn’t even get to ride it after it had warmed up or at night.

The “New record for shortest park visit” award – Beech Bend, 28 minutes. KRumbler Front, Back, Back. Dragon, Wild Mouse. My kids and wife were waiting in the parking lot and we had a 12 hour drive ahead of us, so I didn’t feel like I could spend any more time there. I also didn’t really want to spend much more time there other than riding KRumbler a bunch. I think this is the first time a trip to the park has cost me more than $1 per minute ($32).

Of all the coasters, rides, and other fun we had, I think the highlight of the trip was getting to start taking my kids on bigger rides. Splash Battle, the flumes, the river rapids rides, and even Fire in the Hole. Nothing makes me appreciate my hobby more than getting to share it.

Of the unique major coasters, my CBuzz ratings will be:

Outlaw Run – 5 stars
KRumbler – Low 5 Stars
American Thunder – 4 stars
Powder Keg – 4 stars
Wildfire – 4 stars

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Monday, August 5, 2013 2:50 PM

I was in a tent at a camp ground for my trip to Cedar Point, and unknown to me, their tenting area is in a flood plain, sitting right next to a river. They said the entire tenting area was under 8 feet of water 2 weeks before I arrived.

I wondered why there weren't many picnic tables for the tents, and it was because the river had dragged them all down stream, and they were piled on top of each other jammed in the trees, some left hanging in mid air, after the water receded. It was actually pretty cool to see that. And, the reason they had not gone to get them was because the area around them was still flooded.

So, the spot where I set up my tent was still damp. Then the area had torrential rain again, all day on the Saturday that I was there. And, my tent was drenched, and had water coming up from under the floor, and the tarp under the tent was flooded, with about 2 inches of water on the ground, all over the tenting area, as the river rose again.

I worried that, if the water got any higher, my tent would float away. But, it held pretty good, and the rain stopped around 5. And, it ended up being a very nice night, though there was mud everywhere, including inside my tent. But, I at least know where the higher ground is located, if I go back.

Glad I did not go to Cedar Point on that Saturday. Bet it was awful there.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Monday, August 5, 2013 2:52 PM
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Monday, August 5, 2013 5:21 PM

I enjoyed your entire post, but your comment about your wife's idea for an enthusiast t-shirt related to the Boomerang warranted the +1 on its own.

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Monday, August 5, 2013 9:45 PM

Sirloin stole my thought.

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Monday, August 5, 2013 10:47 PM

Fire in the hole should be renamed to reflect the terror it inflicts. Something more along the lines of "blazing dream crusher" would work.

Last edited by 913girl, Monday, August 5, 2013 10:55 PM
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