Saturday, June 23, 2001 9:12 AM
I'm starting to hate the alarm clock, and I actually consider staying in bed this morning and missing the first ride on MF. I stayed awake until past 2:00 AM last night (that tends to happen when this group gets together) and I'm in no mood to wake up for anything.
Fortunately, common sense prevailed (for Kathey and me, anyway... Lexi and Hollie slept in) and I got moving after an extra 15 minutes sleep.
What the extra 15 minutes cost me was the opportunity to go into the park via the Marina gate again. So instead, we got over to the Oceana gate at about 9:20, and wound up about 10th in the season pass line. Once we entered the park though, we were the only ones running for MF from that gate. Once again, the Marina gate folks beat us to the punch, but we were still among the first 100 or so in line.
Just as we were reaching the entrance, I heard "Hey, Duane!". Loriu and Steve were just ahead of us for the first ride. As we were going through the queue, I saw several guys wearing matching navy blue shirts. Upon closer inspection, the shirts read GBRCC on the back. The British Roller Coaster Club that had been touring US Parks were here at CP today. Typically, that's an "OK, that's nice, but so what", however today they had ERT on MF from 8:30 to 9:30. What that meant to me, Joe GP, was that MF was already open and rarin' to go at 9:30. Sweet!
We walked up to the platform and headed toward the back of the train, probably 7-1 (I don't remember for sure), right in front of Lori and Steve. This ride was faster than our other morning rides, likely due to the fact that the train was warmed up a bit from the Brits. Because of the early opening, we were able to score a second ride with only about a 20-minute wait!
After two MF's, we decided that we ought to go back and get the girls moving, so we left L&S to head back to the Breakers.
Lexi and Hollie were both awake, and watching To Tell The Truth on TV. "Sorry girls, not while we're on vacation. We have a TV at home. Go get showered, and let's go." By 11:30 or so, we were back in the park, accompanied by my cousin, Bonnie.
Into the park via the Magnum gate, and of course, Maggie was our first ride. The park wasn't crowded at all, and our wait was only 15 minutes or so. As with every other Magnum ride on this trip, I settled into 1-3 and off we went. It was a bit breezy, and Magnum was runnning wide open. The breeze wasn't enough to slow us down much, and the return to the station gave us more air than a Ray Guy punt (showing age here).
Kathey and the girls hit Chaos, while Bonnie and I sat back and watched. What the rest of you refer to as "Spin & Pukes" are "Super Pukers" for me. Ain't no how I was getting any closer to that thing than I needed to in order to snap a few pictures.
Next was Power Tower. We did only the Space Shot for a couple of reasons... Bonnie hadn't done the SS before, the rest of us had done the TD on Dorney's Dominator last weekend, and of course, there was less of a line there. My preference on the SS is to be facing the lake, but I unfortunately wound up facing the opposite tower. There were three of us across the four-seats (the other two were on another side), and at the end of our ride, I saw a woman on the opposite tower who looked scared to death. I looked at her, looked at our empty seat and said "My God, there were four of us that went up in this thing!". Just then, they took off, so I don't know if her scream was in response to me or to the ride. (heh heh)
We next headed over to Millennium Force. How sparse were the crowds? During the middle of the afternoon, MF's line was only 40 minutes. Very nice. I grabbed 5-1 (again) and MF delivered once again. Three rides on the day was now my personal record. Bonnie and Kathey had a 4:00 pm timeslot for Ripcord with Christie, so we headed back to the hotel to make sure that the three of them were together. Christie was at the pool with Jimmy, and we lingered there for an hour or so until it was time for the skycoaster.
Other than Whirl and Hurls, Ripcord is the only thing at CP that I haven't yet developed the cajones to ride yet. Maybe it's because I understand the safety systems of coasters, drops, etc, but I have no clue how a tiny little wire is going to keep me from crashing into the kiddie area of Soak City. Christie had done Kennywood's Skycoaster before, but Kathey and Bonnie were first-timers. Kathey had wanted to do Ripcord for three years, but I'd never go. Bonnie looked like the lady from Power Tower. She screamed the whole way up to the top. Fortunately, it was Christie who pulled the cord. Had it been up to Bonnie, I think they'd still be up there now. The coolest thing about this was that about 20 of our group had showed up at Challenge Park to cheer them on. They bought the video and we headed out. Happy ladies, all of them.
16 of us made plans to eat our annual "night before departing" dinner at Midway Market, but we screwed up the times. Six of us were there at 4:00, and the other 10 of us showed up at 5:15. The first group was finishing up just as we got there, so we got a fairly large table and once again, MM did not disappoint. The cost is up to 13 bucks a head, but that's still less than twice what a burger, fries and soda would run you, and the food is infinitely better. Once again, the best value in the park. And a quick shout-out to our server, Harris. Excellent job. I went through four glasses of iced tea (it was kinda warm outside) within 15 minutes, but my glass never seemed to be empty. On a side note, I saw Harris coming into the Marina gate on Tuesday morning, and it appeared that he'd spent his entire cache of tips at Louie's Monday night.
After dinner, we were too full to ride immediately, so Kathey and I walked around for an hour or so, played a few classic arcade games, some skeeball (bring it on, Dan), gave our food time to digest, and headed back to the front of the park. We ran into the 4:00 diners from our group, who had just come off Raptor and said it was a 40 minute wait. We headed over and waited only 30 minutes. We took the back row again, right-hand seat, and loved the run.
It was now about 7:15, and we decided to do another circuit on Magnum. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the line took up only about three rows of the queue, and within 10 minutes I was sitting in 1-3. Corey was there operating the ride. We did a little sign language that amounted to "Hey, let's get beer", but he was working until 11:30, and I knew I'd crash by then. I'd been running non-stop for three days now, staying awake late and waking up early. At any rate, the ride wasn't as intense as the earlier one had been. The trims were back on again, but it's still airtime galore.
We headed off the ride and right back into line. This time, we walked all the way to the bottom of the stairs. 1-3 for the last time of this trip. Corey was now doing the spiel, and included at the end "here on Magnum, my favorite coaster, and (pointing at me) yours too?". Good thing Maggie had reclaimed my #1 spot on Saturday, so I didn't have to lie. "And mine too!"
Said sayonara to Corey at the end of the ride and headed over to Gemini. I was a bit surprised to see that both sides were running, as some seats were going out empty. We grabbed seats on the blue train, although in retrospect, I wish we'd taken opposing cars. I got the inside, and it seemed that everyone on both trains was into the hand-slapping. It was one of the best Gemini rides I've had. We decided to do one more before MF, but this time the red trains weren't running. Gemini is still a nice coaster if it's not racing, but it loses an awful lot when you're not going head-to-head.
It was still only 8:15, so we once more headed back to the hotel to see who we could find to do the last MF ride of the night with us. Last year, we all met there at 9:45 and rode together as a group, but we hadn't made specific plans this year. My cousin Cindy's bf, Brian, was the only one that we could convince to come with us.
At 9:00, we set out for MF. With the lines in the park as short as they'd been all day, I was hoping that we could squeeze in two rides before close. Apparently everyone else in the park had the same idea, because when we got there, that's where everyone else in the park was -- in front of us in the MF queue! We waited 1:45 for the final ride, but once again, it was well worth it. I have yet to look back on an MF ride and say "you know, that really wasn't worth the wait".
Our gait back to the hotel was very slow and deliberate, since we wanted to just absorb the ambience. It was 30 minutes from the time we exited MF to the time that we arrived at the Breakers pool, where a few members of our group were indulging in an adult beverage. In fact, at almost any point on this trip, some number of our group could be found poolside. If you found yourself stuck alone and didn't want to be, you knew exactly where you could go.
By midnight, we packed up and headed to the room. Checkout would be 11:00 AM tomorrow, and I was still planning on one last MF run before we headed out of town at 2:00 PM tomorrow. I had planned on packing tonight, but by the time the AC in our room hit me full force, I called it a night.
I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation!