Cliff's Amusement Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Fun Spot America, Kissimmee, FL, US
Due to TIGHT Money It looked like I wasn't going to be able to do an out-of-state Coaster Trip this year, but this past December 25 "Santa Claus" came to the rescue. Popping open the Envelope from one of my Cousins, instead of receiving Money or a Gift Card I got a Notice with a Code from a Web-Based Travel Agent. I logged into that site and found out I was booked for a flight from Orlando, Florida to Albuquerque, New Mexico! I was to leave on Friday, May 18 and return in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, May 22.
Cliff's Park had drawn the Straw for this years Trip, but that wasn't the reason my Cousin booked me to that destination, as I will explain Later.
On May 17 I had to leave the house because exterminators fumigated my house to get rid of Bedbugs. :( So I drove to Kissimmee and Overnighted at a Motel 6. Across the Street was Fun Spot and Olde Towne, so I went there, Fun Spot's KIDDIE COASTER became my latest "Credit" that evening.
The next morning I flew to Albuquerque via Knoxville and Denver. There was a delay in Knoxville, the plane I was in struck a bird in mid-air! Officials examined the plane and decided it was still safe to fly in. As for the bird they scraped its remains off the nose of the plane and delivered it to the Knoxville Roadkill Cafe "You Kill It, We Grill It". (I just HAD to say that! <G> Arriving in New Mexico I went to Sandia Peak and took the Tram to the top of the Mountain to enjoy the view.
On Saturday I visited Petroglyph National Monument just west of the city in the morning. There is an old Lava Flow caused by an eruption in the area approximately 200,000 years ago. Ancient Natives chisled pictures on the boulders there. Why? Heaven only knows. After Lunch I made my way to Cliffs Amusement Park. The park was PACKED! I had to wait 45 Minutes to ride their GALAXI Roller Coaster, then wait another two hours to ride the NEW MEXICO RATTLER. (I feared this would happen, there was a Special Event in Albuquerque the next day, and people were converging on that city to enjoy the event). The 'Rattler is a great ride, each of its hills provides good "airtime" and you get "ragdolled" on the coaster's "Pretzel" Back Turn.
On Sunday I drove north to visit Bandolier National Monument. This is the site of several Ancient Pueblo Cliff Dwellings. The Ancients Modified Caves on the side of a Cliff and built structures around them to live in. Ladders lead to several of them, the ladders are made to look like the ones they used, except I don't believe the Ancients used nuts and bolts to fasten them! Of course they may have been helped by "Ancient Astronauts". <G> (I just had to do this as well!) <G>
Then it was back to the city. The Event I mention was about to happen, and I didn't want to miss it. In addition to being a Coaster Buff I am also a Space Enthusiast, and the event about to happen was in this category. Every now and then the Sun, Moon and Earth form a straight line. When this happens the Moon casts a shadow on the Earth. Yup, an Eclipse was about to occur and Albuquerque was smack in the path of it. This is why my cousin purchased the Ticket for me, he knew I was a Space Buff, so he provided me with transportation to Albuquerque to see it. I arrived at a plot of land the University of New Mexico owned just south of the Airport, smack on the Eclipse's Centerline. There were over 5,000 people there, all with various Gadgets to view the Eclipse. (I brought along a Refractor Telescope with a Mylar Sun Filter as well as my Camcorder to record the event. At approximatly 6:30 PM Local Time the eclipse began. The Moon encroached on the Sun. As it took a "Bite" out of the Sun several people made references to ancient myths and stories about Eclipses. ("OMG, A Dragon is EATING the Sun!", "Release Me! or I'll BLACK OUT the Sun!" etc). As the Moon continued its encroachment it got noticeably dimmer and temperatures dropped. A little past 7:30 The "Main Event" occurred as the Moon passed in front of the Sun. The moon was at its far point in its orbit, so this Eclipse wasn't Total. Instead a "Ring of Fire" occured as the edge of the Sun went completly around the Moon. This event lasted about 4 1/2 minutes, then the moon passed to the other side. A half-hour later the Sun set, still in partial eclipse. As this happened everyone APPLAUDED! I then made my way back to my Hotel. A little Traffic Safety Tip. DO NOT travel on the Freeway during an Eclipse. In the five miles back from the viewing site to my Hotel I passed about 20 "Fender Benders". and I can only guess how they happened. (Oh LOOK, Something's happening to the Sun! CRUNCH!). I'm sure the Hospitals ERs had a Field Day with those who messed up their eyesight looking at the Sun without proper Methods, in spite of a Media Blitz that included both warnings and proper ways to observe the Eclipse (Including diagrams on how to make a "Shadowbox"). Oh well. for the rest of us, it was one COLOSSAL PARTY!
All good things have to come to an end, and the next day it was time to go home. The Airline fouled up my Schedule, actually booking my Connecting Flight BEFORE my first flight arrived. The only solution was a flight on another airline, but that had me laying over nine hours at the hub. But they gave me Vouchers for a FREE Breakfast, Lunch AND Dinner, so that made things better. Arriving in Orlando I beelined my way to Titusville, there was ANOTHER Space Even on Tuesday Morning. A Rocket launch from cape Canaveral the first Privately Launched Spaceship to the International Space Station!
Sounds like a really fantastic trip other than your bad luck with the planes. What is Cliffs Park like other than the coasters? I've never heard of it!
"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band
It's a Traditional Park, nothing fancy. In addition to the Coasters (They are getting a new one next year, the Greased Lightning Shuttle Loop Coaster that used to operate at the now-defunct Astroworld). They have a Log Flume, a Drop Tower, A Carousel (Don't know who made it), a CP Huntington Train Ride and an assortment of the usual Spinners. Their New Mexico Rattler is unique as the park actually finished the Coaster themselves! Classic Coasters Inc. went belly-up while the ride was being built, the park pooled its resources and completed the ride. I do recommend visiting this park whenever you are in the area. There's a LOT of things to do here and in the surrounding area, In the short time I was in New Mexico BARELY scratched the surface.
Its funny you mention the ring of fire because i was watching it live online that night as it was live from New Mexico and California so i took a screen shot from each location:)
Just for the record, the next Solar Eclipse visible from Daytona Beach is next year on November 3. It's a Partial that will occur during Sunrise. The Following year another Partial eclipse will occur on October 23, it will take place at sunset.
Then on August 21, 2017 a TOTAL Eclipse takes place in the USA! :) The Path of Totality will run diagonally from Oregon to South Carolina, I most likely will see the eclipse in South Carolina, afterwards I will probably descend on Carowinds to celebrate with a coaster ride!
Another "Ring Of Fire" Eclipse crosses the US on October 14 2023, this one will also cross Albuquerque, New Mexico!
Then, on April 8, 2024 Sea World San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Six Flags Over Texas, Magic Springs, Holiday World, Cedar Point, Waldameer Park, Marineland Niagara, Martin's Fantasy Island, Darien Lake, Seabreeze Park and The Great Escape will all be in the path of a TOTAL Eclipse! (I know the Texas Parks will be open weekends at this time, I wonder if the other parks will open that early in the season?
PS. My Sea World/Busch Gardens Platinum Pass that I purchased from the San Antonio Sea World in 2010 will expire this October. I always wait a few years before I purchase a Season Pass from whatever Park Chain it came from, after all after a number of visits you've most likely "Burned Out" that park, so it makes sense to let them put in a number of new rides and shows before visiting them again. Since the San Antonio Sea World is in the path of Both the 2023 Annular and the 2024 Total Eclipses, my sources tell me 2023 will be the year I get another Platinum Pass from them. I'll probably visit a Six Flags park (Most likely Georgia) so I can have free shots at their parks in Texas as well. Meantime I have Universal, Disney and Legoland to chew on. :)
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