They flew into Cleveland around lunch time on Friday, and after bringing them back to my house to pack in all of the crap I was taking, we obtained burritos at Chipotle (where Artemisa was disappointed at the lack of Mexicans working there), and took the short drive to Cedar Point. It's interesting going with out-of-towners because you realize yourself that there are a lot of things you overlook due to familiarity. Such is the case with driving up the Chaussee to see all of the million dollar homes.
Let me get the one negative out right away. The state of our Lighthouse Point cottage was again less than stellar. I complained about it last year and got a letter saying that I "know it's not normal for the park," but they're doing little to prove that. Fully developed spider webs, gross stained toilet seats, strange stains on the blankets, a shower that doesn't drain, a nasty shower curtain, mold in the corners... these are not acceptable for any place that's $175 a night. I pay less than that on-property at Universal for a AAA four-diamond hotel.
With that out of the way, we hit the early entry Friday night and went straight to Millennium Force. Believe it or not, it was my first time on the ride all year. With the ongoing seat belt drama, and my own shrinking waist, I was curious to see how bad it was. Truth is, there was no struggle and plenty of room to pull the belt even tighter. I observed that it's actually women who appear thin but struggle a bit, presumably because they're just wider in the hips than men.
Anyway, it was a great ride as always. The train I was on seemed to have sloppy springs (a little lateral shuffling), but it didn't seem to slow it down at all. Crazy sustained air on those hills. A little chilly for sure, but good times. Being with Mike, who asks a lot of questions about the ride, I thought a lot about my inner-geek and how closely I followed the ride when it was under construction. It was a real coaster dork moment.
We looped around the park and hit a number of other rides, including Wildcat, Blue Streak, Raptor, Wicked Twister, Power Tower, Iron Dragon and Magnum. It was one of the most productive riding nights I've had in a long time, and surprisingly didn't feel rushed at all. When you're with out-of-town guests you tend to want to not let them down in the face of what's familiar to you, but really it was casual.
We had the pizza buffet at Midway Market for $8. Totally worth it. It was really surprisingly good, and while they didn't have the normal Midway Market variety, they did have all of the normal desserts. One complaint though... there was meat on every pizza. I mean every pizza. Hello... what do the vegetarians do? They're 10% of the population. Fortunately I found one with chicken on it, which worked because I still eat poultry.
We also checked out the show at Red Garter. This year it's really the best it has been since adopting the "Monsters Rock" title. It's technically more interesting in terms of the set and the rock-n-roll lighting, and they finally got male vocalists that can sing rock songs. The women were absolutely stunning, all three above average (and I can't not mention all very attractive, even if that's superficial). The song list still needs a little refinement, but it's the best so far. Great show, and I'm crossing my fingers for the "Big E" awards.
On Saturday, Mike and I went in for morning laps on Millennium Force and Mantis. It got busy in a hurry, and the next thing we got on was Giant Wheel. From there we could see the parking lot was getting zooish in a hurry. We also noticed they had a flatbed trailer behind Wicked Twister with rental power transformers on it. Kind of cool that they do what they have to do to keep the ride up!
We met Artemisa at the TGI Friday's in Breakers for lunch. Aside from everything being a buck or two more than a normal Friday's, I'm impressed that it's so well run, especially for its size. I remember the service was notoriously bad the first year or two, but since then it has been consistently good. Someone deserves a pat on the back.
We crashed in the cottage and napped for a couple of hours. We had a few beers and went into the park around 9pm, really just to enjoy the atmosphere since we wouldn't get a lot of riding done with the crowds. We ran into John Hildebrandt, the GM, and Monty Jasper, the VP of maintenance and new construction, and they took us back to the makeup room where the Screamsters were created. That was really cool.
We stopped at the Fright Zone skull entrance to see Jeff Tobe do his thing some more (we did on Friday night as well). Even though he's out in the real world, I hope they're able to retain him, because he's very entertaining out there.
Other than a lap on Skyride (or a one-way trip), we didn't get on anything else. It was just too busy. But that was OK too... the point was just to enjoy the company of friends and the atmosphere. When we returned to the cottage, we smoked chocolate-flavored cigars and made turkey burgers.
The first thing on Sunday's agenda was the recording of the podcast with Cedar Fair boss Dick Kinzel, and it mostly went OK. A little editing and it'll be in good shape. Following that we had lunch at Famous Dave's. This place still needs to work out their service kinks, and I'm sure that wasn't lost on Mr. Kinzel, who I heard was there with us but in the next room.
I had a serious headache (I wonder why?), so while Mike and Artemisa picked up merchandise, I took a nap in the car. I felt much better after that and we headed to White Water Landing. I have a lot of memories of the ride, but none of them are particularly sentimental or even specific. It was, I think a very important ride in the lineup, and suspect it will be missed.
Next we met up with the Walsh family to see the Tell Tale Heart performed. I was seriously impressed. It's little things like this that really make the Halloweekends experience above average, and I regret that after this many years I had not previously seen it. Good stuff.
We met Kara and Linda at WWL so they tagged along, and they all rode Mean Streak while I sat it out. I did join them on Gemini though, and that was my last Cedar Point ride for the season. It was smooth and trimless. Good times.
I didn't want to stay for any of the usual last ride bull****, because I can't stand the enthusiasses that make a scene and claim some kind of entitlement. I learned years ago to steer clear of that nonsense.
Driving around Perimeter Road one last time, I was reminded again that the closing weekend experience is still about who you spend it with. It's still the people that matter the most in this hobby, not the number of laps you get. I'm grateful for the friends I have and careful not to ever take those relationships for granted. It's the people that make it worth riding.
Nice TR, Jeff. Thanks for sharing.
I also have to mention seeing the park, kinda idoling in some areas was really cool, like rides standing guard in areas, with the lights on and such. ALthough it was cold friday night, just getting some views and things on coasters was great, and the movies made my night, although i think they kept showing the creature from the black lagoon. Halloweekends was a good experience, and i havent been to one in like 7 years or so if they went that far back. So with Cedar Point this year, i have had experiences that will last a lifetime, i didnt have the crappy cabin and choice eating problems, but it was a different season out there. I have become accustomed to it being a place to hit roller coasters, but with little events like this were things arent the normal summer day, you get something extra out of it, plus it kept me out of athens for ohio university halloween.
I second the whole "last ride of the year" thing. The Magnum ride that vacoasterfreak and I got an hour before closing was good enough to end the season.
My wife Cindy and I both found the podcast very interesting and entertaining. Thanks a bunch for putting that on at the Red Garter. You guys all asked some very good questions.
It was nice seeing you again even if it was for only like two seconds. You looked so different from when Cindy first met you last year that she didn't even recognize you!
The first thing on Sunday's agenda was the recording of the podcast with Cedar Fair boss Dick Kinzel, and it mostly went OK. A little editing and it'll be in good shape.
Seriously, it was a wonderful time, both at the Podcast, and throughout the park. I rode White Water Landing at around 7:30 p.m., and a picture-taker (Sneek Peeks) was on hand to get photos of me and other riders in the boats in the station. My last coaster ride was too on the Gemini (blue side only), but it was before my final WWL ride. My final 'ride' was Sky Ride, mainly because I wanted to rest my feet a bit to get to the photo stand. Just being one of the last guests at Cedar Point this season was in a thrill in itself.
And thanks to Jeff, Dick Kinzel and Cedar Point for putting on a neat show that I can't wait to hear (again)!
I tried waiting for the last ride a few years ago and it was a nightmare also. We got in line for The Force at about 7:30 and the ride went down for about 20 minutes after our train. We sat in the brake run until they got it reset. I began to think that we would have the final run of the year ;)
That trailer with the transformer has been behind WT for some time now.
We are going to try Lighthouse point next year for Coastermania.
You must be logged in to post