CA assistance requested

Tuesday, June 6, 2006 10:58 AM
Ok, a friend and myself are going to California for the first time. We're pretty tight on time, and we're pretty much going for the parks/coasters. Here's what we're gonna do:

Sunday (6/11) ----- PGA & SFMW
Monday (6/12) ----- KBF
Tuesday (6/13) ---- SFMM

We're gonna try and hit those first 2 the same day, and I hope we can do it. Does anyone know about how long it would take us to drive from PGA to SFMW? I figure we'll hit PGA first, then SFMW second (SFMW closes an hour later, anyway). Should we be able to knock out all the major coasters at these parks on Sunday?

Also, if anyone has any suggestions for first-timers for KBF and SFMM, please let me know. Thanks.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 11:09 AM
There is a recent thread on advice for another SFMM newbie here:

http://www.coasterbuzz.com/forum.aspx?mode=thread&TopicID=44810

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 11:28 AM
I would give yourself more time between PGA/SFMW and going to KBF if you are driving between them. That is a LONG drive!
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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 11:36 AM
I know it's a long drive. This is us being crazy again. Basically, we're flying in to LAX Saturday night, driving about 2.5-3 hrs and staying near Fresno. Then, we're driving the other half early the next morning to go to PGA, then SFMW. Then, we're driving back to Fresno area that evening, and then the other half early the next morning to KBF.

How long does it take to get from PGA to SFMW on a Sunday afternoon?

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 11:44 AM
In that case, you might want to hit SFMW first and then PGA. Then the drive back to Fresno would be shorter.

How long between the two? Hour and fifteen minutes?

And why not hit SFMM before KNott's? The drive from Fresno would be a lot shorter.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 11:48 AM
Yea, but SFMW is open a little later than PGA, so we would be cut short an hour in a park if we did it the other way around.

And I want to save SFMM for Tuesday--it will be further away from the weekend and hopefully somewhat less crowded. Also kinda nice to save the biggest for last.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 12:46 PM
If you have not driven up and down the central valley before, you'll get to see how exciting most of California really is. Flat, boring, with cows here and there.

PGA is a rip off, but if you have never been, I guess it's good. On a Sunday though, I bet it will be PACKED. Most of their coasters are low capacity, so good luck with wait times.

I would maybe try to chill the trip down if you can and have a good time.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 1:20 PM
Hmm...sounds kinda like the midwest :)

Yea, PGA doesn't look all that great compared to some other parks, but we've never been, and this is our chance to check it out.

Our original plan was to hit DCA that day, but we changed it. This way, we get to see more of California, see more parks, ride more coasters, and save on admission fees, as our SFA and PKD passes will get us into these 2 parks.

I hope the parks aren't too crowded on Sunday. I went to SFGAm the beginning of May on a Sunday, and crowd size was wonderful--small. Of course, I recently went to PKD on a Sunday and, although it wasn't totally packed, it was a resonable amount of people. Lines for Grizzly, Hurler, and Anaconda were short, but Volcano, as usual on a more than light day, had a long line.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 2:55 PM
The drive on a Sunday from PGA to SFMW should only take a little over an hour like Eric said. And if you're only going for the coaster credits, you should be able to do both parks easily. Although I have to agree with Goliathkills, may take some time to get through PGA's lines with their short small low capacity coasters that IMO aren't even worth the wait sans Top Gun.

Too bad you're completely missing out on the real gems of the NorCal parks, SCBB and Bonfante Gardens. Both miles above PGA and SFMW as far as quality park experiences even with their limited coaster offerings.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 3:08 PM
Besides being a beautiful park, I don't think BG is worth going to for the coasters. Unless you love the little ones. One is pretty fun, but not exciting.

Missing the classic SCBB is a real loss. I would consider dropping either SFMW or PGA. I've never had trouble with lines at PGA, but I was never there on a Sunday. PGA and the Boardwalk aren't TOO far apart, but doing SFMW and then driving to Santa Cruz would be a little far for a couple credits on the Boardwalk. Just depends on how cool you want your credits to be.

Coasters at SFMW are creative and pretty intense. At PGA they are generally uninventive and to the norm, apart from Top Gun, which is a personal favorite- especially when it is running top smooth.

Are you planning on driving the entire night to get to LA? It's a long drive, dude.

Consider changing KBF and SFMM- KBF gets the Disneyland leftovers on Sunday and Monday.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 3:25 PM
The best part about PGA on a trip like this? It's not a place you want to STAY at... I'd get there early, bang out credits, and hope for better luck at SFMW in terms of a "hang-out spot". Of course, I've got next SpringCon PENNED in (screw the pencil, I'm not erasing), 'cause my last trip to NorCal was for Stealth, and it was SAD to see SCBB in all its glory, closed... :(. Moosh had not yet given the "don't plan a trip around one coaster" advice....darn Moosh! ;)

While I know I'll like SFMW, and Bonfante will be beautiful (good thing for the 1G memory card), SCBB is a place I think I'd want to LIVE...like Morey's or IB... :)

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 4:03 PM
^ I've often thought about moving over the hill to Santa Cruz, but not just because of the Boardwalk. Ironically, the area immediately surrounding SCBB is probably the least inviting area in the entire region. Outside of that, the entire Central Coast is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

And a tip for PGA rablat5, as soon as the gates fly open, run to Invertigo, then Drop Zone, then Survivor, the Psycho Mouse, all in that order (all located in the same area). Even on slow days, the lines for the severly low capacity Invertigo and DZ will streach out to at least 1hr waits, so your best bet is to knock these out right at opening when everyone else is running to Top Gun.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 4:57 PM
I'm with everyone here on SCBB. In fact, if you went there in the morning, you could enjoy yourself for a couple of hours and then take an EXTREMELY nice road trip up the coast on hwy 1, through San Francisco (jaunt up to twin peaks for a postcard photo op) and then across the Bay Bridge and straights up to SFMW (either that or take the GG bridge and head around San Pablo Bay (northern part of San Francisco Bay) over to Marine World. And now that I think of it, I think you should do that. That way you get to see some nice scenery too...especially since you are skipping DCA. ;)

PS...the drive I described is probably about two hours without stops.

*** Edited 6/6/2006 8:57:50 PM UTC by janfrederick***

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 5:09 PM
^ That sounds like it would be cool and some beautiful views. Unfortunately, we're limited on time. We would like to get to see more of CA while we're there, but we won't. Maybe the next time we make it out there (hopefully), we can spend more time or get to see some other sights.

^^ Thanks for the tip, jomo. I think I'll pass on DZ, since I've ridden enough other Intamin 2nd-gen freefalls (ToD, Hellivator, Pittfall, and the one at SFGAm), plus the 3rd-gen ones at PKI and PKD. I'll try and hit Invertigo--we'll have done all 3 in the US after that one! Correct me if I'm wrong--PGA, PKI, and SFA, right?

Nate Banta, no, we're not driving the entire night back to LA--only about halfway--to the Fresno area. Does KBF really get some of the Disney folks on Monday? Would SFMM be any worse Monday that Tuesday? And how much worse would KBF be on Monday rather than Tuesday? If we do SFMM on Tuesday, we also should be able to be more well-rested for our largest park.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 6:58 PM
Knott's is really hit-or-miss with crowds. Still, I don't think you'll have any problem getting the credits. Make sure to ride the log flume!

SFMW is fun and all the coasters are toward the front (minus Boomerange) so that you could "knock them off fast" if you wanted to.

Maybe you already said, but why are you staying in Fresno?

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 9:37 PM
^ Because it's about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 10:11 PM
Drive a few miles past Knotts and go to Disney instead. I went to LA for the first time in March and the number one thing we had planned was to go to SFMM. Guess which park we never got around to? SFMM, and I didn't care. Disneyland is the most impressive park I have ever been to. It blows Cedar Point away in throughputs on rides and every aspect of customer service. Plus it has Its A Small World, probably my favorite ride of all time. It's so simple, yet so effective. California Adventures is also very nice, with Tower of Terror, California Screamin, and the best simulator/non-coaster ride I have ever been on, Soarin' Over California.

There is so much do to in Southern California. You should not limit yourself to just Amusement Parks. Go to Hollywood/Beverly Hills/Bel-Air, they are like nothing you have ever seen before. Take a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway through Hungtinton/Laguna Beach, the drive is amazing.

There is so much to see in SoCal, don't lock yourself into Amusement Parks because you will miss so much of what it has to offer. This is coming from a coaster enthusiast who passed up SFMM and Knotts to explore LA, and I would pass them up again in a second.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 10:52 PM
Right. And that's really great that you had such a good time. But if you read what the original poster has said, they are short on time, and looking to collect some coaster credits, specifically.

I'm as guilty of the, "skip everything and go to Disney" knee jerk as anyone else, but that's just not what everyone is looking for. Otherwise, I'm sure they'd plan an entire trip just around Disney.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 1:11 AM
I agree with Jomo, run to the back of PGA and get Invertigo and Survivor out of the way first. They are both super slow loaders. Top Gun can have long lines, but moves fairly fast if things are going well. I can't think of the last time I've seen a real line for Vortex, but I haven't been on a weekend for a long time.

If I had to choose, I'd recommend SFMW over PGA. I love Top Gun, but I think Roar/Medussa is a stronger combo.

On a Sunday, the commute from PGA to SFMW will be much better than the other way around. I-80 westbound is a nightmare on Sundays getting back to the San Francisco area.

Unless you have a real desire to see/drive-thru San Francisco, I'd recommend against it on your way from PGA to SFMW. The Bay Bridge is a complicated maze right now. You could easily spend an hour on Sunday waiting to get across it. (if it's even open!! I believe it's going to be closed again this weekend for construction work.) You can easily cut across on 84 or 92 to 880 and/or 680 and bypass the congestion.

You may want to think about your Monday/Tuesday combo, too. You can probably make it from SFMW to SFMM in about 6 hours. The drive from SFMM to KBF can easily add another 2 hours depending on traffic. I would definitely NOT recommend trying to get thru downtown LA at 8 or 9 in the morning or 5 in the afternoon.

I'd also recommend against Fresno unless you have a real need to go there. I-5 is the fastest way to go to/from LA and SF. Taking 99 instead of I-5 could add another hour to the drive and there really isn't anything there (no offense to Fresno readers).

There are hotels along I-5, but I couldn't tell you much about them. I-5 is pretty much an hour of nothing, then a McDonalds and a gas station, and then another hour of nothing. You could probably just drive until your tired and find a hotel (or sleep in your car in a rest area). Just keep in mind that you may end up driving for another hour before another hotel or gas station shows up. You can pick up one of the free "Traveler" newspaper/ad things at a gas station on I-5. It has ads for the various hotels on I-5 so you can plan your drive times.

I also found this site:
http://drivei5.com/interstate_5_north4.htm

After you hit exit 176, you're in no man's land.

Can you tell I've done this before??

Good luck and welcome to California.

P.S. Avoid Harris Ranch unless you like the smell of cows.

P.P.S. Bring tunes. I-5 is limited to a Christian-Techo station and...well, I think that's it.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 2:00 AM
See, what I figure is "knock out the credits at SFMM onn THIS trip", go back to relax and enjoy DL/DCA, and catch a few *other* parks like USH (pleasantly surprised) and LegoLand (ditto) at a leisurely pace on your NEXT trip...

Of course I'm a *regular* at Solace and have YET to get to a couple of the smaller parks like Pharaoh's and Castle. But I finally got Belmont's Dipper just this March, and that was a cool little seaside park as well.

Has Adventure City officially closed its doors? I know they were still open during Solace this year. SoCal would take a long week (i.e., big coaster trip, 9 days more or less, a week off work) all on its own to do properly...but I understand where "basic drive-thru creho'ing" is essential at times too...

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