Continuing on our circuit from Queens to Rye to Allentown to Pittsburgh to Conneaut Lake to Niagra Falls, we were now faced with a decision. Where to go next? We decided to head toward Rochester, where we could see a park that was new to us, then travel eastward, see the show that Jason II's girlfriend was appearing in and then have a full day for parks in MA and CT.
The next morning, Friday 21st, found us breakfasted and at the gates of SeaBreeze Park in the Rochester area, on the shores of Lake Ontario. We wanted to ride the Jack Rabbit, another 1920 John Miller creation still in operation. We purchased tickets and waited for the gates to open.
Unfortunately, the staff at Seabreeze opens the gates at 11am but does not run anything but Water Rides till Noon, so we took this window of time to be first in line on the Jack Rabbit. We weren't disappointed, for the ride was a classic example of 20's design, with a really great tunnel at the end that where everyone screams. Great fun! We then did the other coasters there, most interestingly, the steel rail bobsled coaster that the park staff created in the late 1960's from an existing small woodie. A unique creation, indeed!
We made our final stop at the Carousel house, and boy were we glad we did. Throughout the trip we had been reading the histories of the PA Parks through the Jim Futrell book, and after the coasters, the crazy history of each park's carousels had proved fascinating, especially considering the various fires, floods and piece by piece auctions of the horses to raise funds. We were afraid we wouldn't leave the park with this knowledge, but the Carousel House at Seabreeze proved to be a highlight.
Built in 1996 to commemorate the new replacement Carousel, the House is beautiful, with a great classic design, a row of rocking chairs that face the coaster, and a wall display history of the Park We loved seeing photos of the park alongside a timeline. In addition there is a great Wurlitzer Band Organ for the Carousel, and the display shows you the piano rolls and paper ephemera of bygone eras.
Jason II is a musician and asked the Carousel attendant about the Band Organ. It turns out that Mr. Caulfield is an expert on carousel and carousel music, and he showed us the musical mechanism and told us the history of the park's carousels, music machines and more. This was truly a highlight for us and a recommended stop for all lovers of amusement park history!
We crossed NY State rather uneventfully, saw the show at a Summer Stock house and headed on toward Agawam, MA. We found a horrible motel near Springfield (but were too tired to argue about the high price and lousy room) and settled in.
The next morning found us at Six Flags New England by 9:15am. Two years earlier we had attempted the same thing, but the threat of rain kept us waiting in lines for five hours but never riding anything! (But it did cause us to discover Boulder Dash when we left SFNE in disgust!)
The day was relatively sunny so we knew we had fate on our sides. Although I had already made a second trip to SFNE, Jason II had never actually ridden anything there. Once inside the gate we headed straight for Superman: Ride of Steel , one of my favorites and a long wait. We arrived at the queue only to be told it was closed indefinitely. We decided to run over to Batman:The Dark Knight and beat the crowd. We had a great time on B:KF and saw some "Coaster Zombie" club members ahead of us, but couldn't get their attention in time to chat.
We then went to the Riverside Cyclone and enjoyed 5 relentless circuits on the beast. If any coaster proves that the back seats are roughest, this one certainly does! Fun! Fun! Fun! We also did the Thunderbolt, which is not too thrilling but a woodie nonetheless, and then indulged the Head Banger, I mean Mind Eraser so Jason II could up his count. Ouch!
We saw that they were finally running S:ROS (it was after 1pm) so we got in line. The wait was posted at 150 minutes, but we got on in just under 2 hours. Unfortunately they are still only running one train since last year's accident, but the attendant said they are testing a new train from Europe and hope to be back to two by mid July. Let's hope so... S:ROS is a great ride, and having done all three, I will admit that SFNE has the edge. (But I love the ride, period.)
It was now almost 3:15 and very hot, so we cooled off on the Penguin River Raft. It is very well themed and trust me, you DO get wet on this one. But the wettest one I've seen is the one at Dorney which drenches you with Waterfall after Waterfall! Crazy!
We then did another ride on the Cyclone then took off for Bristol, CT where my favorite woodie lives... Boulder Dash! We got there (to Lake Compounce) just before 5pm and got the after 5 special ticket. The park was none too busy so we immediately got on BD and fell in love with it all over again. What a great concept and great ride! We did about 4 runs then hopped over to Wildcat for a different thrill.
I then suggested we go down to the end of the BD run, where I saw the Skyride operating. We had never ventured this far in the park before and it was a great decision to do so. The Sky Ride is incredible, going completely up and over the top of the mountain, showing breathtaking views and scenery and lasting an incredible 25 minutes! I recommend it to everyone, but not to anybody with a fear of heights, for you really go way up there!
After the Skyride (and a new view of Lake Compounce Park) we got back in line for Boulder Dash. We rode again & again and as we neared the 8 O'Clock closing time we got in line for the last seat. It looked like we would be the last train, but a young coaster aficionado behind us refused to give up a last row chance (he was the ONLY person in line) so they let us all ride again. And if that wasn't enough, we all begged the ride op Alan to let us go again. He replied "It's 8:15, I'm not going anywhere" and let us ride again! This was a great thrill, getting to ride over & over virtually uninterrupted. Thanks & kudos to a top notch ride op staff at Boulder Dash, who were very accomodating and so proud of their coaster. I wish more ops had the pride they have.
We then headed back to NY, where my early morning flight would take me home. It was a great trip, and a perfect way to experience so many of our classic parks. I strongly urge anyone who has only done the modern parks to take the time to discover the charms of these smaller places, as well as other favorites of mine like Knoebel's, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and more.
Anyway, I hope this proved entertaining and enlightening. I always enjoy reading other posts here, and felt that it was time to share a little of my three year coaster odyssey. In August (4-14) I'm going to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and to Parc Asterix among others in Europe, if other Buzzers have tips or are going to be there at that time, let me know.
Anyways, thank for reading and they'll be more to come.
"You have to scale a lot of lift hills to coast easily..."
*** This post was edited by FloridaFlyer on 6/26/2002. ***
"drop rides, not bombs."
The wife and I were at both BPB and Parc Asterix in April - really enjoyed both parks, although we basically went to Asterix just to ride Tonerre de Zeus. That, my friend, is one insane ride. Think of the most intense coaster you've been on - Zeus will blow that away.
As for Blackpool, the best advice I could give is to try to get a room close to the park (there are literally hundreds of motels/B&Bs within walking distance). The guide book we had suggested the more "upscale" north pier area, but frankly we saw little difference and ended up paying twice as much as we could have.
Can I assume you don't have time to visit Alton Towers or Oakwood? They are both wonderful places. For a synopsis of our trip to the U.K., check out http://club.coasterbuzz.com/forums/thread.asp?ForumID=13&TopicID=22042
Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.
Good Times!! Good Times!!
*** This post was edited by cdrpointcrazy4 on 6/26/2002. ***
84 coasters in Track Record!! Hypersonic XLC # 100 in July. Waiting for the 305 foot drop tower in 2003. Thank you PKD.
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