My son, after hearing me rave about Shivering Timbers decided he wanted to see what all the "raving" was about, so Ian, his girlfriend Donna, and my coaster riding buddy, Catherine hopped into the car with me for the 3 hour trip to Michigan's Adventure. After a few false starts, including Ian nearly forgetting his Cedar Point season pass, we were finally on the road by 8:20 with our fingers tightly crossed. The weather report predicted not just thunderstorms, but severe ones with high winds and hail. The weather held for most of the drive, but just past Grand Rapids the sky darkened and it began to pour just as I-96 makes the turn northward.
We crept along and discussed options, such as stopping for fast food and hanging out until the weather cleared, but just as we turned onto north 31, the rain stopped and we could see lighter patches in the distance. By the time we arrived at MiA, the rain had stopped completely and there was clear blue sky in the west.
I'd thrown tennis shoes into the trunk just in case, but MiA is compact enough that I felt I could get away with sandals and not have my feet kill me by the middle of the day like they do at Cedar Point. Ian waited for Donna to purchase her ticket after we got ours with out season passes. Catherine and I headed into the park immediately for a quick pit stop and then to Shivering Timbers after arranging to meet up with Ian and Donna at 1 pm.
As expected, the soaked wood and early ride meant a much slower ride in the blue train, although it felt good to be riding Timbers again. After one ride, we decided to come back later after that baby warmed up. Catherine and I wandered to the back. Catherine hadn't been to MiA since Cedar Fair took over, and was checking out the changes, mostly cosmetic, that had been made. We also checked out the new Family Grill back behind the arcade where the picnic shelters were. It's not exactly a sit down restaurant, but with choices of burgers, hotdogs, chicken (fried, BBQ or grilled sandwich) all available as meals with macaroni salad and baked beans, it's a pretty decent attempt to provide an alternative for guests to get a decent meal and enjoy it in the shade.
We headed toward the Wild Mouse and noticed the Scrambler all torn apart...COMPLETELY torn apart. Even the base was gone. The Mouse was still testing, so we went to Wolverine Wildcat instead for a fast ride in the back. I still consider this coaster to be a mini Mean Streak. We hit the Dogems, and took another hop over to Timbers which was sufficiently warmed up and running like the great coaster it is. We noticed Mad Mouse was running and headed over. We waited in a 25 minute line (the longest line of the day) and had a blast screaming with the silly pre-teens who sat behind us. It was near 1 pm, the sky had cleared to a hazy blue, and the temp began to rise. We met with Ian and Donna by Corkscrew, and headed to the Family Grill.
We all opted out of the full meals, with Ian, Donna and I getting the fried chicken and Catherine getting the grilled chicken sandwich, all accompanied by chips. The fried chicken was great, although the $3.25 price tag for just a chicken breast seemed a little much to me. But, it's park pricing. Ian and Donna weren't very impressed with their ride on Timbers, and I explained they needed to ride it again as it runs much better after having some time to warm up. Ian was much impressed with Zach's Zoomer, saying it's small looks are decieving.
After lunch, Ian and Donna decided to hit the water park while Catherine and I went to Zach's Zoomer, then decided since it was warm enough, and we still had a good portion of the day ahead of us, we'd take a chance on the Hydroblaster. I hadn't been on this yet and wasn't sure how wet I'd get. My main concern was for my cell phone which was safely tucked away into a pocket. We were the only fully clothed riders, and I wondered if doing it was a silly idea, especially after seeing the sign that said "If you lose your raft, just ride the rest of the way down on your back". Oh...great. Catherine went first and I heard no screams until 20 seconds later when there was one brief cry. It's a cool ride, totally enclosed in the tubes and very dark so you don't really know which way you are going until you hit the bottom and slide onto the carpeted landing strip. What a blast. The only part of me that got wet was my butt. We looked kind of funny walking around like that, but it was worth it.
We grabbed ice cream cones (swirls for each of us) and opted for the next less soaking ride, Logger's Run, another ride I hadn't been on yet. With Catherine in the back and I in the front, we didn't get more than a brief spray at the end of the drop. It was on to Wolverine Wildcat for a near front ride which was a bit smoother than our back seat ride before. We hit Sea Dragon, a swinging ship type ride, and got another fast ride on Timbers before checking out the train. It's such a lame ride, although I chuckled as the engineer sped the train up to go through the tunnel. Hopefully we'll see this expanded in the future.
We headed back to the flat rides and did Thunderbolt after complimenting the ride op on his DJ like voice, had a great spinning ride on Tilt-a-Whirl, and a ride on Falling Star which always freaks me out. It was nearing 4 pm, so we opted to head toward Mad Mouse again and then try to locate Ian and Donna. Just as we loaded into our car, I heard my name called, and there were Ian and Donna in line. How convenient, and is another reason I love this little park. It's so much easier to find others.
The four of us went back to Timbers since Ian and Donna had not ridden it since earlier in the morning. We rode in the last car, with Ian and Donna in the last seat. When we arrived back at the station, Ian was grinning ear to ear and said "NOW I understand why this coaster is talked about all the time!" He's placed Timbers 3rd in his woodies list, behind The Legend and The Raven. Of course, I have yet to get him to King's Island to ride The Beast.
We took another spin on Timbers, and I figured Ian and Donna would be getting bored by now. But, surprisingly, they were having a great time and Ian mentioned staying until closing. We hit Wolverine Wildcat again, and did Logger's Run with a full car. Donna was in front, and with the weight of Ian, myself and Catherine behind, she got a fair soaking, but was a great sport about it. We headed back to Timbers, but I needed to make a pit stop at the ladies room, so Ian and Donna went ahead. It was then I decided to check my phone for messages and saw a text message from Gordon. "It looks like I'm going to be employed". I was ecstatic. The weather was gorgeous, I was doing what I like best to do: riding coasters, and Gordon finally had a job. It was the perfect ending to my vacation!
After a couple more rides on Timbers, we moved on to Thunderbolt and then Tilt-a-Whirl. Donna opted out of this one, and after Ian, Catherine and I got off dizzily, Donna said our car was spinning faster than all the others. We grabbed a ride on Falling Star again, a ride Ian had never experienced and enjoyed, and took one more spin on Mad Mouse before hitting the road around 7:30 pm. We made a stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner, and managed to avoid most of the rain (a brief shower around Lansing) until we were within 20 miles of home.
Thanks to Catherine's "no rain dance", the weather had cooperated all day and we had a great time. Ian and Donna thoroughly enjoyed both the water park and rides and never once felt bored all day. It seemed most of the guests were enjoying the water park, which Ian and Donna said was great, so there were few lines, if any, for the coasters and other rides. Having my coaster bud, Catherine, to ride with really helped make the day.
I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead
A little trick for cell phones and other electronics on water rides is to carry a zip lock bag. I have one in my fanny pack for my camera and cell phone.
Keep your Arms Down, Head back, and Hold On!
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