Where: Beech Bend, Bowling Green KY
When: Saturday, June 24 - Morning through Mid afternoon
Who: Myself, my wife
Weather: Hot and Humid
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Arrival: Having stayed in Louisville the night before, we made the hour and a half drive, through several down pours, to Bowling Green. The directions on the park's website were exact, except they failed to say that we would be driving past the middle of nowhere to nowhere's extreme outskirts. Driving down the narrow road past corn fields and cows made the sight of the park, sitting in the middle of a field, an odd sight.
Looping Star (or is it Brief Encounter?): 2 rides. After entering the park we headed directly toward Kentucky Rumbler... however it was closed. The employee at the entrance said it should be up "in about half an hour" and that they were doing some maintenance checks on it. We then headed across the way to Looping Star (or Brief Encounter as it is sometimes called). The first ride was in the front seat and it was cramped (so much so that I had to sit cross legged "indian style" in the car). It was a rough ride, but I decided to give it a second ride, this time in the back seat of the back car. Can I say (a high pitched) "ouch!" The way the seat is contoured, you are thrown into it several times during the ride, and you feel like you have been kicked in the groin by one of the cows grazing in one of the near by fields. Twice was enough. We moved on.
Dragon: 1 ride. Okay, its a kiddie coaster, but they let big folks ride it, so what the heck. "One for the count" (I'm shameless).
Shock Drop: 1 ride. It's a small tower, but high enough if you don't like heights... and I don't. Michele chose not to ride it, and she snapped some pictures of me going up. The first one I was clowing around, looking like I was scared. The expression on my face that she took of me stopped at the top was not pretending to be scared... it was real apprehension. Then "click" and ZOOM... down. I don't know why I ride these things, except for the fact that they are about the only thrill rides out there that still scare me.
Haunted House: 1 ride. This was a surprise. We didn't even know that Beech Bend had a Haunted House. It's a classic type ride, no frills, no fancy stunts, nothing too high tech... But it is fun in that cheesey sort of way.
Tilt-a-Whirl: 1 Ride. Nothing much to say here except that we really had our car spinning.
Wild Mouse: 1 ride. Some are calied Crazy mice... some are called spinning Wild Mice (such as this one). There was a slight wait since these are not the quickets to load, but it was not long until we climbed aboard our mouse and we were off. The first thing we noted was that it was taking the course rather quickly and when we got to the point where the spinning began, we were out of control. I don't think the thing stopped spinning from that pont to the end. When we hit the station and stopped, we looked forward and the cars in front of us, and the station, and the trees, and everything, still looked like it was spinning. The older ride op said, "You two were really going." Like we didn't know. We staggered out of the car and down the steps of the station.
Kentucky Rumbler: 5 rides. After we got off of the Wild Mouse, we headed back across the park to Kentucky Rumbler which was now running. We were worried for a moment that the ride might not happen after all. While waiting in the station they announced that there would be a small delay because the train kept overshooting its breaks. They ran an empty train or two through, made a few adjustments, then sent a train out with the first half filled, then a train with the second half filled. All appeared to be fine so they began running full trains again.
This coaster is deceptive. The way its first drop twists and drops through its superstructure fools you... its a really good drop. The rest of the ride is speed, pops of air, and laterals. All of this made better by the fact that it is running Mellinium Flyer trains!
The only negative I can think of about this coaster is that it is short. However, this may or may not be a bad thing. It's relatively low height and short length give you a ride that is fast from start to finish... it never lets up. If you would extend this longer, you may come up with a ride that loses some of its punch half way through. You would then have a ride with a great first half but a mediocre second half. As it stands, Kentucky Rumbler rumbles off the lift hill and never lets up until it hits the station breaks. GCI does it again!
The next four rides (only interupted for lunch... pizza from the gift shop / restaurant you have to exit the ride through), were all back seat rides. As great as the coaster seemed up front, it was even faster and wilder in back!
When thinking of Kentucky Rumbler, a quote from Scott Rutherford's "The American Coaster" comes to mind... in regards to wood coasters he wrote that "Medium is a rare and wonderful thing." This is very true statement when looking at how great of a ride this medium sized coaster gives (it is also a theme that would come up a few days later, but not for the same reason).
Wrap Up: While I could have stayed and ridden Rumbler time and time again, we still had an hour and a half ride ahead of us back to Louisville, so we decided to call it a day mid afternoon. Stopping only briefly for a few pics of Wild Mouse (and a few pics of us sticking our fact throug the Dale Ernhart photo board) we headed to our car and were back on the road.
Beech Bend was a park that kind of surprised me. Parts of it does have the look of a carnival that just set up in the field and never left, but yet other parts show signs that they are constantly making improvements. The new areas around Rumbler and the newer areas around Wild Mouse can compare any found in most major parks. The place was clean, and the employees seemed friendly enough. Food prices were not totally outrageous either.
All in all it was a few good hours at a great little park. The brochure said that Kentucky Rumbler was part of a Six million dollar expansion. That was money certainly well spent.
It's so nice to hear continued good reports from people visiting BB. You know I don't think I've really read any extremely negative things about the park this year. Great TR. Glad you enjoyed my little home park...I call it that since it's the closest one to Nashville. Here's to Rumbler...the dark horse coaster of the year!
*** Edited 7/9/2006 7:43:14 AM UTC by thrillerman1***
My riding partner and I thought that KR could be the start of something bigger like Holiday World did with the Raven.
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