Camden Park 6/29

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Tuesday, July 3, 2001 11:22 AM
This is my first attempt at a TR, so it probably won't have as much information as some do, but I'm going to give it a try.

On Friday 6/29, I went to Camden Park in Huntington, WV with two friends. We all live in the area, but had not visited the park for some time. Over the past few years, it has had a reputation locally as being a very filthy park. However, we had heard that the new management had made a number of improvements, so we wanted to see for ourselves.

Fridays at Camden Park are their $6 after 6 deal, where park-goers after 6 pm can ride all they want for $6. This seems to be a very successful promotion for them. We arrived about 6:20, and there were probably 200 people lined up outside the gates waiting, even though all entrance queues were operating.

Once we entered, we proceeded to the Lil' Dipper. We noted that the pathways were very clean -- impressive after a full day of operation. Several rides had been repainted this season, and we could see that maintenance had been improved on others.

Sadly, the Lil' Dipper is in sore need of work. We noticed several ties that were split as we traveled through the ride. Watching from another queue line, the train appears to be bouncing off the track at several points in the ride, and the track itself is bouncing up and down on the metal superstructure. This disappoints me, because this was the first coaster I ever rode, many years before I was brave enough to try something larger.

Our next ride was the Log Flume. We were impressed to note that this ride seems to be maintained very well. The trip through the tall weeds adds to the themed experience of the ride. We waited the longest in this queue, approximately ten minutes.

From the log flume we went to the Haunted House. The theming on the Haunted House appears to have been updated. I was actually impressed with the displays the car passes -- they were well above the quality of most haunted house attractions one finds at Halloween. Some were quite gory.

We moved from there to the Big Dipper. Big Dipper has seen some work. There was new wood in the superstructure, and several sections of track had been refurbished. I wish that the park would do something about the trains. They are Century Flyers from NAD, and could be quite beautiful if they were restored. I enjoyed the small pops of airtime the coaster delivered, and discovered a new appreciation for laterals. This is far from the best wooden coaster I have ridden, but I liked it just the same. Part of it was the charm of the classic status of the coaster. The last time I was at Camden Park I had no idea what makes the Big Dipper special; this time I was interested in the old trains and the lever based dispatch and braking operation. Add two-position lap bars -- up and down :) -- and a long tunnel to that, and it becomes a fun coaster to ride.

After the Big Dipper, my friends and I went to the Magic Rainbow, which uses centripetal force to pin riders against its side as the ride elevates to a vertical position. It was my first time for a ride like that, and I found the effects of the G-forces to be interesting. Turning my head and talking was very disorienting.

One of my friends wanted to ride the Sky Diver, a hundred-plus feet tall combination of a Ferris Wheel and a spin and spew. Normally I avoid rides like that ... although I love inversions on coasters, I don't like rides that turn you upside down for long periods of time for (in my mind) no good reason. He finally convinced me, and I spent five minutes in various positions (upside down, staring at the ground, right-side up). For a long time I was afraid the ride ops had forgotten that my car was occupied. (I always seemed to pass the controls at too great a speed to ask to be let off. I supposed I could have screamed, but that would have hurt my pride, so I stayed silent. :) ) My friend, however, barely completed one rotation before asking to be let off.

Sky Diver left me slightly nauseated, but that was nothing that another ride on the Big Dipper couldn't handle. I learned that the back of the train is a little rougher than the front, and feels like it is jumping off the track at times.

A thunderstorm was beginning to move in, so we left the park at that time. It was approximately 8:10 pm, and we could have easily ridden every ride the park had to offer before 10 if we had stayed. (If there was no thunderstorm, of course.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2001 11:27 AM
When will the the Thunderbolt open?! I have seen this park from the road and I think it is "cute" great TR!

"Bathroom 1 looks too intense for me"-Ed Markey
Tuesday, July 3, 2001 4:13 PM
The Thunerbolt is in Kennwood. Oh Yeah is a nice TR.
Tuesday, July 3, 2001 6:32 PM
He's referring to the Thunderbolt Express, the Arrow Shuttle Looper that came to Camden Park from PKI several years ago. I've heard rumors that it will reopen in 2002, but I don't have any hard information to confirm that. I may be dealing with management in the near future -- I am hoping they will book the band I manage for a show at the park -- and if I get a chance I'll slip in a question about the coaster.

I also found out that the Sky Diver is 73 feet tall -- which still places it as the tallest ride at Camden.

Thanks for your comments!

Saturday, July 7, 2001 8:20 PM
Nice TR! I'm heading to Camden after KennyKon and
SFWoA, so I'm looking forward to this new park very much!

Rob''Just got back from alot of coastering'' V

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