Parks visited: Silverwood (9/7/02), Vancouver Playland (9/8/02), Fun Forest (9/9/02) and the Puyallup Fair (9/9/02)
Weather: Absolutely gorgeous, except for rainy Vancouver.
Crowds: Very low, almost J-Lo.
After the great reports that came in from CAC 2001, I knew that I had to make room in my schedule for the event this year. Silverwood had risen pretty much to the top of my "must visit" chart after knocking out Indiana Beach and Michigan's Adventure earlier this year. The urgency that arose earlier this spring about the impending demise of Vancouver's "Coaster" made that an easy decision to add in, and then master-planner Mamoosh also hipped me to the possibility of adding the Puyallup Fair and it's ultra-rare credit, the "Coaster Thrill Ride".
When the CAC date was under discussion, Moosh and I both weighed in with the opinion that scheduling the event for Sept. 7th would allow woodie junkies the opportunity to bag all of them, providing they were up to the ardous task of getting from Silverwood on Saturday to Vancouver on Sunday. This was the true logistical hurdle; driving was considered, but the expected drive time (8 hours optimistically, 10 hours being much more probable given the border crossing) was just too mindblowing for me. Luckily, Alaskan Air offered some good deals for a three-legged flight (L.A.-Spokane-Seattle-L.A.) and I was able to skip the drive.
Sept. 7th eventually proved to be the winning date, and plans were made for those who could attend. I would be meeting George "Legal Counsel" Booras, Jim "Fireboy" McIntyre and Dave "Flare" Frasier as they flew in to Spokane, and Mike Overell would be joining us after driving from L.A. (yes, he IS a loonie). Unfortunately, a number of people dropped out of the event due to personal or work related issues, including Moosh. We were bummed to go on without them, but if SOMEONE had to throw themselves on those four hours of ERT to take one for the team...it might as well be us.
Friday, September 6th - Come Together, Part 1
I left L.A. at sunup on Friday the sixth. The flight up was very nice, as I had a whole row to myself on the plane, and was able to go from side to side as we passed over some notable landmarks, including Mt. Shasta, Crater Lake, Mt. St. Helens, and finally Mt. Rainier and the incredible topography surrounding Seattle. A short one hour layover and 30-minute flight later, I found myself in the wide open prairies of Spokane.
Jim McIntyre (AKA "Fireboy", or now "FootageBoy", after this trip) arrived four minutes later, with his 18 bags of camera gear (LOL!). We grabbed our awesome rental (a Hyundai SUV that was a lot of fun to drive) and drove into Spokane, as we were hungry and still had 3 hours to kill before George and Flare arrived. Spokane was kind of funky and a little run-down at the core. After grabbing some good sammies from Subway, we drove around for a bit, looking for the Spokane River but instead finding where all the rich people lived.
After a leisurely scenic drive, we returned to the airport about 30 minutes ahead of their flight from Seattle. Soon we were reunited and off to Post Falls, Id., as Dave and George regaled us with the harrowing story of the poor guy on their flight who blew chunks all over everything on the descent into Spokane...at least it was a short flight!
Mike Overell checked in via cell phone as we crossed the Wa.-Id. border, he was about 10 miles behind us. The area was becoming more hilly and more tree-covered, always a good thing. We soon located our offramp and pulled up to the Westcoast Templins Resort in Post Falls. Located right on the banks of the Spokane River, the hotel offered a spectacular view of the river and the nice vacation homes across the way. $30 bucks a night? Again, thank god for Priceline!!
After winding down a bit with some unique local and not so local brews (Flare's Mike's Hard Cranberry Whatchamacalit was damn good, while the less said about George's Huckleberry Brew the better), we went to the lounge for some appetizers and some raucous games of pool. Fireboy proved to be the most skillful, despite my brutal application of the "Zen Choke" in his direction. After having another round out on the deck overlooking the river, we decided to head into Coeur d'Alane for dinner.
We stopped at the water's edge and took in the beautiful (and rather large) lake. The shore visible to us was just the tip of the iceberg, as the lake wrapped out of sight southwards for another 40 or so miles. The sun was just beginning to go down and the sky was alight with fire. We walked out onto a dock that featured pontoon boat rentals, boat rides, and, down at the end, 2 seaplanes. The photo junkies on the tour (pretty much everyone but me) were soon swooning over the 40 miles for $40 price, and the decision was made to return in the AM for a flight, as the light was fading fast on this day.
We took the short drive from the shore to the city center and then parked, wandering around the downtown area in search of a restaurant. The city was fairly dead, as tourism season pretty much ends after Labor Day weekend. After speaking to a few locals, the consensus recommendation was for the Coeur d'Alene Brew Pub and Restaurant, which promised to fulfill our hankering for good local microbrews AND good grub. The restaurant was fantastic, with some great food and an amazing lager. Full, and quite squiffed (Fireboy was the D.D.) we settled back in at the hotel, with a multimedia presentation on Fireboy's laptop of Mike Overell's pictures from the drive up from California.
Saturday, September 7th - Gobs and Gobs of ERT
The morning of CAC allowed us a chance to sleep in a bit. Mike O. and Flare went to run some errands while George, Jim and I sat down to breakfast at Mallard's, the restaurant inside the hotel. The food was absolutely scrumptious, one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. The view overlooking the River made it even better. I instructed George on how to eat next to Jim...it's pretty easy to remember: once the food arrives, never, ever let your hands go further than your salad fork towards him. Any stray objects in his airspace may and probably will be eaten. Jim polished off two breakfasts and was opening the menu again when we dragged him away from the table. Burp!
The day was a bit cloudy but the sun was breaking through as we arrived down at the seaplane dock. I had decided $40 was a bit much for a plane ride, so I waited as the others boarded the DeHavilland Super Beaver and were soon bouncing, hopping, and then flying down the lake. After a good half-hour spent basking in the sun and nice breeze, the sound of an engine far off preceded the sight of the tiny speck of plane returning. After they circled Coeur d'Alane a few times, they settled down gently and de-planned, all pretty psyched over the beautiful scenery they had just witnessed and documented. The day off to a suitable start, we headed to Silverwood.
Silverwood pretty much jumps out at you as you head up Highway 95. The park's skyline presents a pretty neat optical illusion at first...it looks like the first drop of Tremors rises up into the lift and first drop of Timber Terror. I knew nothing of the layout of Tremors, other than the fact that the first drop went into a tunnel and came out inside the gift shop. I purposefully avoid learning too much about a coaster before I ride it. There's nothing better than rounding a corner or topping a hill and seeing an awesome drop or unexpected tunnel...something CCI knew how to do exceedingly well!
We parked the SUV and walked under the highway to the main gate. Kevin Coley (our awesome event organizer, give him a hand!) had dropped off envelopes for all of us with ERT wristbands and coupons for $7 off the already low admission price. Thank you Silverwood! We paid and entered. The layout of the park is rather odd, with a row of shops off to the right, the park's airstrip in front of you, and the pathway to the majority of the rides off to the left. The park's train crosses the path here...this is a beautiful engine, one that the park's owner outbid Disney to acquire. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a ride on the train...it's a shame, as this is widely acknowledged as one of the highlights of the park.
We wound over to the rides area and eventually came face to face with Coaster Alley. To the left is Timber Terror's very graceful turnaround, and to the right is Tremors' similar roundabout, a sight made very familiar to me over the last month by sitting on my desktop, courtesy of Mike Kallay's ultra-swank desktop shots (http://www.ghostrider.org/Downloads/Wallpaper/Wallpaper2/Silverwood_-_Tremors.JPG). I still managed to divert my eyes from the ultra-twisted layout of Tremors, despite being virtually surrounded by the thing.
Our first ride for the trip would be Timber Terror. Being a huge Shivering Timbers fan, I was vastly looking forward to this straight-up out-and-backer. The ride is a real delight, offering a great kick in the backseat on the first drop and a cool double up. Cool, I already had one ride bubbling under my top tier and I still had Tremors to go.
Speaking of Tremors, that's where we headed next. After a short wait, I boarded in the very last row. I had managed to still see very little of the layout, and now it was time to learn the whole thing. The first drop is just vicious in the back, IMO one of the best first woodie drops anywhere (I still prefer Legend and Cornhole, but just by a lil' bit). And then, the insanity starts. The little hop up out of the gift shop and over the path was already flinging you WAY up in the air at 11:30 in the morning. As you fly into the air over this hill, the mouth of tunnel #2 comes flying at you in the best headchopper I've ever seen. Usually I never even notice headchoppers, they just don't do as much for me as they do for some. This one elicted a "holy sh*t" from me as I frantically tried to pull myself back into the train. No problem, though, as Tremors took care of this for me by slamming my ass back down. Not for long though, as I again flew up and to the right on the pullout, in my book the most extreme moment on a ride full of extreme moments. I can't think of any coaster that has as intense of a beginning as Tremors.
However, all things must balance out. I found the middle third of Tremors to be kind of lackluster. Not bad, just not up to the standards set by the incredible opening. To me, the ride grows progressively weaker from the 470-degree-odd sweeping turn to the two forceless bunny hops immediately preceeding the tunnel finale. The end of the ride picks up the intensity again and redeems the ride. There is a nice drop into another set of tunnels (unfortunately, this drop doesn't quite produce the forces it looks capable of) followed by another air-y pop and then a great slam downwards in the second tunnel and a sweeping fan turn into the brakes. Ultimately, I rank Tremors just slightly below my uppermost tier (Legend, Raven, Cornball, and Timbers) and right in there with Ghostrider and The Beast. Surely Top 10, and just about Top 5 as well.
The rest of the day was a leisurely ramble around the park. Hooking up with Chris Baran from Coasterbuzz, we toured the rest of the rides. The Skydiver ride was a lot of fun, as I put my life in FootageBoy's hands and he recklessly spun us both dizzy, but that gut crushing restraint really sucks. I used to fit better into these...time to diet! The Log Ride was nicely landscaped, if not very thrilling. The Corkscrew was a fun bit of nostalgia. Climbing the metal steps and riding in the back seat took me back to Knotts in the 70's in a fun way, that didn't involve polyesther, disco, or Ford Pintos. I also took quite a bit of time to shop, taking advantage of Silverwood's end-of-season 40% sale to pick up some geek-wear and a few presents for the family.
The one downer of the day was unfortunately the luncheon at Lindy's. It seemed like it took forever to get seated, and then twice that to be served. By my count, it was over two hours spent that could have been put to better use, despite the food being pretty good. It was nice to see everyone, but I really wish we had just dropped in to say "hi" and then eaten elsewhere, so that I could have gotten in a train ride and maybe a trip on the Rapids.
As closing time drew near I hauled my swag out to the lot and changed into cold weather riding gear. Despite being shorts weather during the day, the temperature had dropped down into the 40's the night before and I was expecting more of the same. I made it back into the park just in time for the group photo in Coaster Alley. Following this, the park asked us to come back to the picnic area for a bit while the park was cleared of patrons. A P.R. Rep. for the park gave us some juicy details on the park's upcoming projects (let's just say I will probably be back to Silverwood in 2004 or so) and the park graciously provided rare (read: unsellable, LOL) mugs featuring the "Grizzly", press kits, and refrigerator magnets, as well as a giant tub of Pepsi.
The time had come for ERT, and I was pretty nervous. 4 hours is a long time to ride, but it's tolerable most times because you'll inevitably wait at least a few minutes in between each ride. In this case, we would be riding over and over again, and I was worried whether or not my old hide would be up to it. My group started out at Timber Terror...as most of the peeps went to Tremors, we had T.T. all to ourselves. After about 5 rides, I felt Tremors calling my name, so I wandered over, displacing the back seat riders. I then proceeded to reel off about 20 rides on Tremors, a number in the back seat and then 10 in a row in the next to last row as we just rolled through the station without stopping. I actually wanted to stop on the last few, as I was starting to feel both nauseous and hungry, but I didn't want to be the wimp that stopped the run, LOL! By the time the train stopped, I exited and went down to the benches between the two rides.
I honestly felt pretty crappy, and was wondering if I was done, barely short of an hour into the event. Even though that would have been somewhat of a waste, I already had a bunch of rides so it wouldn't have been a tragedy. I sat out for almost an hour, slowly recovering my equilibrium. Having food around would have really helped, but everything was closed and we couldn't leave ERT and come back.
After about an hour, I gave Timber Terror another try. I was still getting some nausea, but I could keep it together as long as I took a short break after about 5 rides or so. Another 8-ride-run on Tremors did me in again, but recovery was quicker and I was going strong by the end of ERT. As were the coasters...it gets very dark in Coaster Alley, and both rides had added notches of intensity, especially Tremors. That pop out of the first tunnel set, holy jezuz!
ERT ended at 10:30 with approx. 19 of the 37 attendees still in the park. I think the general consensus was that 4 hours is a bit much, and 3 is probably closer to ideal. However, as David Hamburger pointed out, it was nice to be able to take a break and not have to worry about missing the rest of the event. Had the event only been two hours, I would have been mad that nausea cut my ride time practically in half. So, next year, 3 hours, and Silverwood, PLEASE let us bring food in! We'll order some extra pizza for the ride ops, Mkay?
BTW, mention must be given to the ride ops for making this event extra special. At first they were a little leery of us, as if in fear of catching the geek disease we all seem to be afflicted with. However, they soon warmed up and were whooping it up right along side of us, making Bethany at Holiday World look positively depressed in comparison. We helped undo all their careful training, getting them to high 5 trains, turn the lights out in the station, pull up on one-click bars, and lots of other tomfoolery. This was the extra added ingredient that make the event great, and kudos to their boss for letting them ride on the last Tremors train of the night with us!
We all stood around and thanked Kevin for putting this together and then we were off for our hotel room in Spokane. A short while later, we were tucked in downtown ($30 Red Lion Ridpath, did I mention I love Priceline??), with a full 3 1/2 hours to sleep before beginning the insanity anew.
Sunday, Sept. 8th - Hell Day
When the alarm went off at 4 am (after a 12:30 am tuck-in and pass-out) I desperately wanted to be anywhere other than out on the road, heading for the airport. I would have given my left anything to sleep for about another 10 hours. However, today was Hell Day, and good old Alaskan Airlines had me penciled in on their 6:10 flight from Spokane to Seattle. Not wanting to let them down, I resisted the urge to lay back down "for just another minute" (which might have lasted until CAC '03 had I given in) and made my way down to the lobby. Flare and Mike Overell remained behind. Mike had to drive his own car to Vancouver and Flare, despite having plane tickets with us, decided to drive with him and keep him company. Mike insisted he could make the drive in 7 hours, and they were still both sacked out when I left.
I had dubbed this day Hell Day in our pre-trip plans, in tribute to similar days on past trips that had been crammed with travel, usually long drives before and after a day at a park. While they are exhausting, they are sometimes necessary to get everything in, or to insure a relaxing day the next day. This was the case today, as we would be flying to Seattle, then driving to Vancouver, enjoying Playland, and then driving back to Seattle for our hotel that night.
I somehow sleepily guided the SUV to the airport and then we all boarded the plane after a short wait. The flight again provided beautiful views of the Cascades and we were down in Seattle before we knew it. We picked up our rental (no SUV this time, a crappy Taurus) and sped off to meet Rob Leland (Nasai) from Coasterbuzz and Chris Baran (fresh from his very own Hell Day the day before). They would be our guides up to Vancouver and Playland.
We drove up the 5 until we were just shy of the Canadian border, and then Rob led us off the highway to his super-secret border crossing. I hadn't been out of the country since 1990, so I had no idea what to expect. The line was short, which appeared to be good...unfortunately, that meant La Migra had very little to do, so they decided to give us the once-, twice-, and third-over. After tossing our car and full cavity searches...OK, just kidding, but they did make us pull over and walk in to see the Immigration Man. After some questions, we were free to proceed to the Great White North, eh?
Canada was full of little subtle differences...street signs, stop lights, stores, etc. As we proceeded north to Vancouver, the skies got darker and darker, and it began to lightly drizzle. Uh-oh. I have only had one rainy day on a coaster trip before (Kennywood last year) and I knew my weather karma was going to come due sooner or later. By the time we got to Playland it was a fairly constant drizzle, but it had not blossomed into full rain...yet.
As we crossed the street and brought our tickets, my eyes were magnetically drawn to Coaster (not unusual, since the rest of Playland is kind of a dump, eh?). This beautiful, ancient creation has been on my must ride list for years, and if circumstances dictated that I would have to ride it in the rain, so be it. We made our way to the platform and I boarded the last row. Just a minute to admire the comfortable trains, and then I was off.
Coaster is an awesome slice of history, full of powerful, stand-up air that repeatedly introduces your gut to your lap-bar. "Mr. Gut, Mr. Lap-bar." "Mr. Lap-bar, Mr. Gut." Unfortunately, my gut already had a grade A bruise on it from Tremors rise out of the first tunnels, so my rides on Coaster were not as pleasant as I would have liked. A word of advice: CAC and Coaster do not mix, unless you're going to give yourself a day or two to heal in between.
I enojyed Coaster quite a bit, and it sits just shy of my Top 10...I couldn't quite dethrone Phoenix for it. Maybe if it hadn't been raining and I hadn't been bruised. I actually preferred the front as the air was a little more controllable up there (controllable being a VERY relative term where this ride is concerned). We grabbed a number of rides and then went credit hunting.
Playland's Corkscrew is a bit different from any other Corkscrew I've ever ridden because: 1. it has a different layout, with an extra drop, a big helix, and a trip around the outside of the layout before heading home and 2. it's actually smooth, fun, and re-rideable. It also looks like a funky version of a Jet Star, leading to appelations like "Jet Screw" and "Cork Star", both of which are vaguely dirty and not suited for the family park that is Playland, eh?
The last credit at the park is the ungodly fun Wild Mouse. This ride easily takes the award for the biggest surprise of the trip, in my mind. FootageBoy and I waited nervously in the ever-increasing rain, wondering how in the hell we were ever going to fit in those tiny little cars, as the park had a strict two-riders only rule. Our turn finally arrived, and it was a bit easier than we thought it would be. I had thought I had been on good mice before this...Treetop Racers, say, or Mulholland Madness without much braking. I knew nothing. This was the real freaking deal! Full on slamming turns, great airtime pops, and that unholy last turn, where you have tons of feet to build up speed before that wicked last turn. This was an utter highlight of the trip, and I'm really bummed I only got two rides on it, due to a bit of a line and also due to the fact that it was now pissing down rain and the ride queue is not covered at all.
Quite wet, we sought shelter at the burger joint. The chicken sandwich was so-so, but the chocolate shake was delish! George, Jim and I sat and stared out at the ever-increasing rain. Rumors were going around that the park would close early due to inclement weather (the park had this posted at ticket counter, kudos to them). And Mike O. and Flare still had not arrived from their "7-hour" tour of Washington state and points northward. I had horror show visions of them arriving just in time for the park to close for the day, rendering their long drive in vain. Just at that moment, however, they showed up! I waved them over but Dave waved me off, heading with great purpose towards Coaster. He knew as well as I that he had to work fast to get some rides in.
We went back to coaster and rode with Dave and Mike, as well as Rob and Chris, who we had lost track of at the start of the day. George and I then accompanied the two late arrivals on another sweep of the park. By now we were all quite wet, and the agreement was made to ride Coaster a few more times, then to head back to Seattle well ahead of our planned 7 pm departure. These rides were another highlight of the trip, bashing around in the rain and sharing rides with some dear friends. Too bad the lap (gut) bar was killing me, eh?
The drive back to Seattle was nice and went quickly--our border stop consisted of about 3 questions, and 2 minutes later we were back in the U.S. of A. Checking into our airport Holiday Inn ($30/Priceline/love it/did I mention it?) we dried off, freshened up, and went down to the bar for some popcorn and suds. On the advice of the server we proceeded down the street to Roasters for dinner, and had one of the most raucous, laugh-out-loud dinners I've ever had! We all sang Happy Birthday to Mike Overell (it was nowhere near his birthday) and a number of us nearly proposed marriage to our server (Go Carissa!) who belonged in a big-screen comedy, not a Roasters in Seattle. We didn't want to leave, but we eventually had to, and we repaired back to our room for a good night's sleep, with no particular sort of wake up call set for the AM.
Monday, September 9th - Come Together, Part Two
The original plans for Monday had been to spend all day at the Puyallup Fair. However, after talking to a number of people at Silverwood who had gone to the Fair on Monday, we decided a full day wasn't necessary. Since Flare and George had to leave that night and early the next morning respectively, we decided to squeeze in some sightseeing on this day prior to making the run out to Puyallup. We crowded all 5 of us in the Taurus and proceeded off to downtown Seattle.
The Space Needle is pretty impossible to miss. The area around it was pretty dead, due to the end of summer tourist season. We were able to go right up without waiting in line, and were soon taking in the incomparable views under a (thankfully) clear and warm Seattle sky. The city is huge and very spread out; it kind of reminded me of Los Angeles in that respect. The S-Needle gives great views of downtown Seattle and the Puget Sound, as well as the numerous lakes and mountains surrounding the area. Mt. Rainier was barely visible off in the distance, almost indistinguishable from the low white haze clinging to the foothills. We spent quite some time shooting panoramas, and just contemplating the incredible view.
We next wandered over to the Experience Music Project. This is a very funky building worth taking a look at (http://www.emplive.com/), but the $20 admission was a little steep and we all passed.
Fun Forest stands in between the EMP and the S-Needle, but it was only scheduled to be open weekends this time of year, and we had not been able to fit it in on Sunday. We walked over to the Windstorm coaster and shot a few photos. As we were heading back, I noticed three workers coming over to the ride. Flare and I instantly marched over and asked if there was any chance the ride might open today. The workers indicated no, they were only opening it briefly so a group of schoolkids could ride. We got to talking to them and they were amazed to find out that most of the 5 of us had been on at least two of the other Windstorms around the country, and at least two of us had been on all of them, except this one. The lead worker finally looked around, said "Ah hell, the damn kids are late anyways", and invited us up to take a ride! Completely giddy with sudden count-luck, we all hustled aboard and got a quick circuit, finishing just as the school group arrived. This may not have been the best coaster I rode on the trip, but it was certainly the giddiest!
We next took the very cool monorail into the downtown area. We wandered down through the skyscrapers to the Pike St. Market, home of the famous fish-tossers and a hell of a lot of ethnic foods and fresh meat, fruit, and flowers. We spent some time walking around, did a little crowd watching, had some snacks, and then headed back to the car.
It took about an hour to get down to the Puyallup Fair from downtown. Once you get off Interstate 5, the drive turns very green and lush, and we passed Enchanted Village on the way there. The Village was closed, but it looks like a decent little park, and the dense vegetation surrounding it would make a hell of a locale for a woodie. We eventually sighted the S & S Combo Tower that marked the Fair's site, and soon found ourselves parking near the second classic woodie of the trip, the 1935 Coaster Thrill Ride.
Fair admission had already been purchased offline by Flare, so after a quick purchase of a Dizzy Pass ride wristband, we were off. CTR was the obvious first choice. The trains looked almost identical to Vancouver's Coaster, and the beginning of the ride was similar, but after that the two were wildly divergent. Whereas Coaster is all about violent air, CTR is a much more gentle ride, delivering only one good pop in either the front or the back seats. However, CTR does have the Fun Factor down cold; this is a coaster that is enjoyable to ride over and over again, especially in the dark. A pleasant ride, with some floater air and a few good lateral slams. Unfortunately, CTR was not covered by the wristband deal, so each ride was about $3 in tickets. Still worth it (I took 5 rides) but I would have dearly loved to have taken a session on it with repeated rides.
The Schwartzkopf Wildcat was next, and this one really reminded me of the old Mountain Express at SFMM, even making some of the same noises. This thing is very dependable and offers some great air on numerous drops. The next credit was a goofy little tire-driven kiddie coaster named Tiger Express, similar to the Wisdom Orient Express Moosh and I rode earlier this year at the Conejo Valley Days fair. Kersplash was next, a VERY odd coaster of indeterminate origin that featured not one but two drops into water. Kinda fun, and kinda wacky. The Mad Mouse was the last coaster we were able to ride (there were two more (identical) kiddies, with 150 lb. weight restrictions). Since the Wild Mouse from yesterday had been the best mousie I had ever ridden, karma stepped in and balanced things with this, the worst mouse I've ever been on. Just a big bucket O' suck.
The fair also featured a fine flat ride selection. All the usual suspects were there (Zipper, Tilt-A-Whirl, Ferris Wheel, Octopus, etc.,), but the Fair distinguished itself with two portable models of some of my favorite flat rides: a portable Frisbee, and a portable Tampico Tumbler (!!). The Frisbee was massive, but unfortunately it also was not covered by the wristband. It was also running kind of a tame program, with only one brief moment of "spin cycle", one of my favorite flat ride moments. I'm glad I rode it though, as it's been ages since I've been on one. The portable Tumbler was a true highlight; it seemed to run a bit faster than Knott's. I had no idea they even made a portable Tumbler. This ride had German writing on it, so I wonder if it's wintering in the states.
The Fair also had the predictable outstanding food (especially the BBQ and the ice cream!), some good shopping, and the ever-popular pig races, which Overell dragged us too in a fit of crazed enthusiasm. Their S & S tower is situated away from the rides in the shopping area, but the $10 (!) tab to ride sure scared me off quick...so I still haven't done a combo tower.
We soon found darkness falling and the night drawing to a close. We all had two rides left on CTR and we each took front and back seat rides. I think I prefer the front, but it's a close thing. After a brief stop to pick up some merchandise (the Fair's theme was "Come Together", a great sentiment in these times and the inspiration for the title of this trip report) we were off to the airport to drop Flare off for his red-eye back to NYC. It's always such a joy to hang out with him and I'm already looking forward to the next time! I ended the night with a dip in the Holiday Inn's spa to relieve some of those coaster riding aches and then it was off to bed.
Tuesday, September 10th - End of the Road (for a little while)
George was up and out early for his 8 am flight back to Florida; it was good to travel with you George and I hope to do it again! Just leave the Huckleberry beer alone next time, he he he! Jim and I planned to get up early and fly standby back home early, as our flights were not scheduled to return until much later that evening. So we dropped off the rental car, proudly marched up to the ticket counter, and were then told that we couldn't go standby with the Web fares we had purchased. Ah, crushing defeat.
Staring 10 hours of airport waiting in the face, we called Mike Overell, who had driven off to Bremerton for sightseeing that morning. He took pity on us and came back on a ferry to the airport area, and we soon found ourselves in downtown Seattle again. We walked all over the pier area, Pioneer Square, and then down to the neighboring football and baseball stadiums (Mike O. is a sports junkie, and he looked about as happy outside of Safeco Field as I looked riding the Mouse at Playland, LOL!). It was a hell of a walk, but it sure did beat the crap out of 10 hours in the airport.
The time finally drew near for our scheduled flights and Mike dropped us off, on his way down to Portland and the Oregon coast. I managed to get FootageBoy and his 18 bags onto his flight to Oakland, and mine left soon afterwards. I arrived back in LA just prior to midnight, and was home by 1:30.
This was an outstanding trip (haven't had a bad one yet, knock on wood). I was expecting it to be all about wood, and it mostly was, but I was also not expecting to ride any good steel at all, and the Vancouver Mouse fit into that category nicely. It's nice to be getting this traveling thing down to a science; now all I need to do is get my work to give me four weeks off a year and talk my wife into letting me take three trips a year!
Special thanks to:
Kevin Coley, for putting on a hell of an event. I know it was difficult at times, but all those difficulties looked pretty far away when you were blissing out on those last few Tremors rides. Good job, m'man!
Moosh, for help in planning this trip from the very beginning. It really sucks you couldn't go (damn your work!) but you were missed and thought of often over the course of the weekend. And, oh yeah, you haven't been on Tremors yet, MUAHAHHAHA!
Silverwood, for letting us rent a little bit of your magic!
Mike Miller - on the gravy train to coaster nirvana.
Mike - It was nice meeting you guys this past weekend. I wish that my schedule on Saturday hadn't been so hectic and that Sunday hadn't been so chaotic, so that we all would have had a chance to hang a bit more. Maybe some time in the future?
As you know, I'm so jealous that I didn't get to stick around for the ERT, but I think that I was all the better for it on Sunday. You guys looked and sounded positively "worked over," while I was merely "fried." :)
Glad you guys had a great time, and a hassle free return to the states.
"The perfect machine, you seemed to be, when I built you up in my mind..." - Reverend Jon Autry
Great TR, Bass. While it sucked to be sitting at home while I knew you guys were enjoying the coasters up there I was also happy for you guys and knew you'd have a good time.
PS - I can get Tremors easily...I'd like to see YOU get Goliath Jr! I"ll always be able to hold that one over you...BWA HA HA HA HA!
"Mmmmm....forbidden donut!" - Homer Simpson
Moosh: Well, I did already ride it, when it was the Wile E. Coyote kiddie coaster...course, with my screwy counting method, I'd count it again, so I guess you CAN gloat about that one. How'd you get it??
Same way you did! D'oh! OK then...I have Elitch Garden's Mr. Twister and Wildcat...you'll NEVER get those!
"Mmmmm....forbidden donut!" - Homer Simpson
Mike Miller - on the gravy train to coaster nirvana.
Go ahead, Bass...I'll just whip out a big ol' can of Drachen Fire ;-)
"Mmmmm....forbidden donut!" - Homer Simpson
Hey, hey, hey you two!!!! Naughty boys. Go to your corners....
Bass, it was great to see you, if but for a very short, rainy time. It was also really nice to get a 2nd car ride with you on Coaster. That said, I wish you had a chance to hit the park when it wasn't raining. I think Coaster deserves another chance???? :)
Ah....don't worry about it. I will have it on a farm soon.:)
*** This post was edited by nasai on 9/12/2002. ***
"Mmmmm....forbidden donut!" - Homer Simpson
He started it, Dad!!!!
>Bass, it was great to see you, if but for a >very short, rainy time. It was also really nice >to get a 2nd car ride with you on Coaster. That >said, I wish you had a chance to hit the park >when it wasn't raining. I think Coaster >deserves another chance????
Good to see you too! Sorry if we were all a little crabby...Tremors had beat the crap out of us, then add in 3-1/2 hours of sleep, a plane ride, and a 3-hour drive!
I hope I do get to give Coaster another chance. I liked it a lot, but I can see where it might be even better if I wasn't bruised and wet!
>Ah....don't worry about it. I will have it on a >farm soon.
Can I live in the barn? I still think you should make the station the ground floor of a 3-story house!
nasai - I've been bad and deserve to be spanked.
I call 'shotgun'!!!! ROFLMAO
Uh oh, Dad is taking off his belt, you know what that means!;)
I wish I could have met up with you guys, I was at the Puyallup Fair on 9-9-02.
I would loved to have ridden the PNE Coaster in the rain for a few laps.I remember how much more intense Timber Terror at Silverwood was after a rain shower there a few months ago.You had to brace yourself when the train hit the brake run as it was going so fast!
I can fix anything.....where is the duct tape?
'after a rain shower'? I didn't know they stopped for a little rain. Took a spin on both 'Silverwoodies' in a downpour, no need to worry, one train-op no need to stop. 'Some rides may be closed due to inclement* weather'. There are parks that close their rides if it is damp enough to cause a bad hair day and then there are parks that see rain on a regular basis.
*inclement- see hail, tornado, meteor storms, Godzilla, armegeddon. I think that is how it reads in the Silverwood manual.
Thanks for the TR Mike!
I really enjoyed reading it. It sounds like you guys had a blast. At the event last year, I had a blast and can't even imagine 4 hours of ERT!! Yikes!
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