Parks visited: SFOG, Wild Adventures, Family Kingdom, Myrtle Beach Pavilion, Carowinds, Dollywood, Lake Winnie, SFOG (again), Visionland
Weather: Surprisingly temperate and non-humid, plus we (mostly) dodged a lot of thunderstorms in the middle of the week
Personnel: Dave "Flare" Frasier, Tony "Schnaaps" Milano, Mike "BaSSiStiSt" Miller, and Matthew "Moosh" Sullivan, with cameos by Rollergator, Jill and Aaron, the Ed-tastic ChillForce, a wandering Mailman, and the lovely Miss DawnMarie.
OK, I kind of knew this was going to be a good trip going in. But I had no idea how much fun I was in for...
I had originally been looking into making a huge, Chicago-based loop trip this year, hitting up the Dells, Minnesota, Iowa and St. Louis before re-visiting some favorites in Indiana and Ohio. Moosh laughed at my plan and told me I was going to the "dirty South" instead, and that was about all it took to change my mind. Thunderhead was riding slightly ahead of Avalanche in the "must ride now" category, and two great days at SFOT last year had me primed for another visit to one of the "premiere" SF parks and SFOG certainly sounded like it stacked up against SFGA in that category. So, itineraries were discussed, tickets purchased, and plans were made. Moosh and I were pleased to find Dave Fraser interested enough to sign on to the plan, and then we were surprised by recent L.A. export Tony Milano deciding to make it a foursome.
This trip was by far the easiest plan ever. Usually when Moosh and I plan a trip, there’s dozens of emails, we chew over every possible scenario and route, and we overplan like no one’s business. This time, we took things a lot easier. Since we’ve all become fairly competent trip planners, it was very easy to divide the tasks up and come up with a great plan in an almost effortless fashion. I was worried we had forgotten something in the ease of planning, but I’ll spoil the suspense now and say this was our best-planned trip ever, with absolutely no boners or foul-ups (well, other than checking into special events at Myrtle Beach, that is).
[EDIT - Mike forgot to mention the two hotel rooms booked for the wrong night, thus resulting in $170 I had to eat. mOOSH]
Moosh and I had a red-eye out of L.A. on Thursday night, May 26th. After having spent many frustrating nights trying to eke out a few minutes of sleep on planes, I just gave in this time and decided to stay up all night and watch movies on the portable DVD player instead. Great plan, as the flights flew by, with Moosh and I enjoying "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie" on leg one and then I watched "Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia" on leg two while Moosh managed to sleep a bit.
Arriving in Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport. I was kind of dazed and tired, but ready for the adventure ahead. This airport did not help my mental condition much, as it’s all torn up for construction and confusing as hell, signage-wise. But soon we spotted Tony and Dave off in the distance and the fun was underway. My first inkling that the trip would be great was when we got our car. It was a big-ass Crown Victoria. Since we had a few long drives planned, and we all would have baggage for a ten day trip, we decided to spend a little more and get a nicer car. The Crown Vic (hereafter referred to as the "CV") was a sweet, sweet ride. It drove like a grandpa-mobile, but it had a real growler under the hood, as Dave demonstrated for us pulling out of the Avis lot. Plus it was gun-metal gray, so we looked like four Feds on vacation in it; I think that’s the only thing that kept us from
getting a speeding ticket on the trip, as we were hauling ass all over the South all week.
We arrived at SFOG a little after opening, and noted with pleasure that the lot was pretty empty at 11 am. Called by the siren song of the nearby Georgia Cyclone (SFOG has one of THE most enticing entry
plazas, no?) we got a few people’s season passes processed and then made our way in. GA Cyclone is one of those rides that used to get rave reviews but now gets more middling marks. It has long been on my must-ride list due to the glowing write-ups from Mark McKenzie, among others. I think I really get the mixed reviews, because we got some wildly divergent rides between this Friday and our return visit the next Friday; it was kind of a theme for the park, as this ride, GASM, and Deja all offered wildly different rides one week apart. On this first visit, I found GC to be a stellar woodie, just short of top ten for me. Especially the front seat, with it’s 6 or 7 moments of
stand-up air. There was a little bit of violence as well, just enough to please my wimpy tastes. The backseat was also very good, and every one knows just how strong and merciless those fourth drop forces are. You know it’s a good ride when you’re seating on the seat divider!
With the trip kicked off in fine style we proceeded to tour the park. Dahlonega Mine Train is a clunky, funky chunk of Arrow steel, with some nice scenery and a great ending, but also waaay too many lift
hills. We took the scenic sky buckets across the park in hopes of finding a short line for Deja and were rewarded with a 25-minute wait for a ride mid-train. Unfortunately, we met the only bad ride op in the whole park here; the person grouping the queue had every right to deny our request to wait for the back seat, but there’s no need to be rude about it. Fortunately, she was the major exception, as SFOG’s
staff was otherwise completely stellar, friendly, and FUNNY (especially the GASM crew the following Friday). I was looking forward to Dave’s first ride on Deja as I had been majorly talking the ride up and it was his first one. I’ve never had the bad rides on SFMM’s that I’ve heard other people complain about ad nauseum. Well, now I get the complaints. Our first ride on Deja was HORRIBLE. Bumpy and how the hell do you get headbanging on straight track? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! I was so embarrassed as we got off the ride and Dave came up to me and said "yeah, Bass, that was <great>", tongue firmly in cheek.
Sufficiently chastised, we wandered over to Ninja. This looked like a headbanger, but it was actually, surprisingly, rideable. Some great headchoppers on this Vekoma, and there’s no denying it’s a beautiful
and photogenic ride. GASM was next, and this thing really satisfied on this visit (this was another ride that was very different a week later). Very classic lines on this Allen classic, and a lot of airtime to be had. Plus, it’s even more beautiful than Ninja. Before stopping for lunch, we snuck in a ride on Superman, and it easily bested it’s New Jersey counterpart in my mind due to a much nicer topographical setting, as well as the longer train making the insane-ass pretzel loop a G-filled thing O’ wonder. Fun ride, even if it is a one-trick pony. Can’t wait for the first stateside terrain model of one of these.
We had a tasty BBQ luncheon in Lickskillet before wandering thru the center of the park. We noticed lines getting longer, probably a function of school letting out combined with some nice weather. We
passed on Wile E. Coyote, Monster Plantation and Batman at this time due to long lines; we knew we could bag them the following Friday right when the park opened. However, we could not pass up Mindbender, despite one-train operation and a 30-40 minute wait. I am on record as being a big fan of Shockwave and pre-neuter Revolution (not to mention Colossus the Fire Dragon!) and I was vastly looking forward to this. Unfortunately, Mindbender is a bit of a disappointment. It still has lots of air, and a great placement in the park, but the trim brakes are annoying. Not to mention the one-train op was not cool, and the ride just did not stack up to Shockwave. Point, SFOT.
I think we were all a bit down at this point, both let down by Mindbender and it’s long wait, as well as finally feeling the sheer exhaustion of early morning travel + park. The solution to our woes lay right around the corner: Freefall, or as we took to calling it, the Dumpster Diver. I usually pass these clunky rides by; I don’t know what possessed us, frankly. Tony, being the smartest of the bunch, quite rightly passed on the ride. Moosh, Dave and I loaded in. These Intamin first-gens are such quirky rides. To me, it’s like you asked a garbageman or a robot to build you a ride. Looking around at what was available, they decided to weld a trash dumpster to a fire escape and then shove it over the side. Brilliant. As we neared the top, we were all floored by the beautiful view Freefall offers of the park and
surroundings. Then we all screamed in unison at the sudden drop, followed by gales of laughter at how loud we screamed. But the real hilarity came at the end of the run-out track.
Anyone who’s ridden one of these remembers the three-step this ride does all over your spine: a slam to a stop, a crunching drop to a 45-degree angle, and then another slam as you come back to vertical. SFOG’s was about 1000X stronger than any other one of these I’d ridden; just BRUTAL! We were
laughing so hard we had to do it again and again. Tony was just laughing at what idiots we are.
Sporting a second wind, we began our rounding out of the day with the park’s fun flume ride and a stop on the Georgia Scorcher. No fan of stand-ups am I, but this one was easily my favorite out of all I have
ridden. It has a really nice layout, some unexpected air, and no headbanging. Good ride. We then had a mini marathon on the Cyclone, and another funny moment occurred, unbeknownst to us at the time. Tony and I had our best ride on the coaster while Flare was down below getting pictures. I was utterly spent as we crested the last hill and headed for the station. Flare snapped us and then moved on. In the car that night, I discovered to my horror that I had a look on my face like I had a severe case of Down’s Syndrome. It’s by far the worst picture ever taken of me, and Dave was merciless in making sure that
everyone saw it. Ass. ;-) Rollycoasters are AWESOME!
With only 30 minutes left in the day, we tried to decide on a last ride. Flare and Moosh were set on a repeat GASM, but Tony and I wanted Acrophobia.
[EDIT - Flare and I never got out GASM ride but we did score the Wile E Coyote Canyon Blaster kiddie coaster and a double ride on their Enterprise -- MOOSH]
We split up and soon Tony and I were in the 30-minute queue for Acro. I love drop rides, but they still scare me a bit if they are tall. And the Intamin models still get my goat a bit, as they always seem to take a little bit longer to start stopping than I think they should. Acrophobia really blew my mind. I didn’t even notice the tip-out of the "seats" on this first ride. I was simply stunned by how much more vulnerable this riding position makes you feel. Great, great ride, and even better if you look straight down while dropping, as I would discover a week later.
After some in-park shopping we headed out for Valdosta. Fortunately, Dave took the first leg and did a bang-up job utilizing his New Yawk driving skillz to get us out of the congested SFOG lot. After a short
stop at Kroger for booze, a cooler and some munchies, we hit the road for Macon and a return visit to the fabled Steak and Shake. Still just as good as ever! Love this place. Moosh took over the wheel whilst Dave and I looked at his pictures on his laptop and recreated the Terrence and Phillip show in the back seat. "Pull my finger, Terrence!"
[EDIT - thank god they were sitting in the back seat with the windows open...the smell was sucked out! -- MOOSH]
We eventually made it to the Comfort Inn and crashed. Damn, that was a tough drive. Moosh and I woke early and made a quick trip to Walmart for supplies. The sun was already shining and we knew we were going to get cooked up real good at Wild Adventures . Our plan had originally been to stay at Wild Adventures until evening and then drive across
Georgia to Brunswick, setting up our drive to Myrtle the next morning. The more we heard about WA, the more we began to think we might want to credit whore the place and get our asses up to Myrtle ASAP. So we were there before opening and ready to mac on some kiddie credits.
WA has one of the most non-descript coaster collections in the US. Even a dump like Michigan’s Adventure or Kentucky Kingdom usually has at least one ride that partly redeems the park and makes you feel like less of a whore as you leave. And then there’s Wild Adventures. We rode all the kiddies except Fiesta Express (DDM) and they were just
what we expected. We rode the SLC and the Boomerang and they were just what we expected. We wandered around and wondered whether there had been a fire at the park that burned all the trees. We rode the Screaming Swing and briefly perked up, as they run there’s better than Knotts and there was some airtime to be had. We saved Cheetah for near
last because we hoped for a miracle. Maybe the reviews were wrong; maybe we would catch a good day; maybe the extensive retracking this winter fixed everything. We left the ride undecided by what Cheetah’s slogan should be: IMO it would either be "I was cheeted by Cheetah" or "I got mauled by Cheetah". It’s always good to get a new bottom 5 woodie, and to add CCI to the club for a change.
On the way out we bagged the rapids ride, and this almost redeemed the park. This thing has utterly weird tubs. They seat 6, and each two seats are in a pod. There are high channels between the pods that
filter the water through the raft without soaking your feet. The raft can also bend in between the pods. Very odd. What makes this ride is the toilet drop, a water feature that draws you in to an ever-
tightening spiral before dropping you down the poop-chute into the river. This was totally awesome and we would have ridden again if not for the 30-minute wait.
All credits bagged, we stumbled out of WA at 12:30. Ack, wot a crappy park. Wanting to grab lunch before hitting the road, we stumbled upon the Old South Barbecue house in Valdosta. What a lucky find this was, as this IMO was the best BBQ of the trip. This is a converted house that had been turned into a restaurant. We had just missed the lunch crowd and we had the place to ourselves. After I dusted three glasses of sweet tea the nice waitress thoughtfully brought Tony and I a pitcher. The staff was very friendly and the owner took time to chat
with us about the area and the history of the restaurant. And the food was quite simply amazing. Very recommended.
I took the wheel as we decided to change our plans, cancel our Brunswick room, and get as close to Myrtle as possible. The DVD player was broken out and this made the long drive blow by, as the passengers watched "Ladder 49" as I drove and then "Logan’s Run" as Tony finished up. The pass through Charleston was especially scenic, as a looming
storm dominated the sky. We also enjoyed the new bridge being built in the harbor, which is a scenic wonder. We booked a new room on the fly and ended up in Georgetown, 30 miles south of Myrtle. After a few beers at the bar next door, we set out for a late dinner and eventually settled on the Dogwood Café. This was a good day for eating, because this was about the best meal we had on the whole trip. Very tasty fish and southern delicacies, and we had a great seat out on the harbor. The waitresses were a hell of a lot of fun, and they encouraged us to visit the attached bar after we ate. Moosh and Tony
begged off and took the Crown Vic home, but Dave and I decided to stay as it was a short walk back to our hotel. We ended up having a very fun night getting quite drunk with the waitresses and some of their friends. South Carolina was really starting to remind of another SC (Southern California) in how nice the people were (not to mention the great weather and ocean-side location). We found a patio on top of the bar and finished off the evening with a great view and some new friends. After staggering home to the hotel, we decided we were too buzzed to sleep yet (it was 3 am by now) so we wandered into the park next door; only to find it was a cemetery! It was kind of spooky but cool to be in there at night. Then, we came across someone who had decided to take a nap in there and we both nearly had a heart attack, LOL!
The next day was probably the most anticipated day of the trip for me. I had heard so much about Myrtle Beach. We had two days to spend there, and I envisioned numerous coaster rides interspersed with some time to lie on the beach and actually BE on vacation. The traffic began to get heavier as we got closer but Dave and Tony, who had been there before, warned us this would take place. We soon began to notice that things were kind of off, though, and it took us awhile to figure it out. The many "welcome bikers" signs were the first clue. By the
time we had parked at Family Kingdom, we had figured out that it was "Black Biker Week 2005". Basically, everyone who saw "The Fast and The
Furious" and/or "Biker Boyz" was down at MB showing off either their tricked-out rice burner or their super-sized SUV with 18 subwoofers. Now, I don’t consider myself a racist, and I have no problem with a group of like-minded people pursuing an activity they enjoy (hello, ACErs!). But there was a hell of a lot of testosterone and attitude going on, not to mention some extremely scanty dress and lots of boozing. We quickly made the decision to get our credits and be long gone to our hotel in North Myrtle Beach before nightfall. We also wished briefly we had invited Rastus on the trip with us, would have been interesting to see his reaction, LOL! None of the bikers was rude to us personally (the two I talked to were both nice) but the hip-hop scene was definitely ON and had us spouting the lingo the rest of the
trip (Hollah!). The most repeated phrase, by far, was "crunk" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crunk) and that saw a lot of usage, as an adjective, verb, AND noun. Good times.
Family Kingdom was up first. We were in that embarrassing situation where there’s more employees in the park than customers; I always hate that, you just feel bad for the park. I guess the bikers get their adrenaline elsewhere. Swamp Fox is the only coaster in the park that adults can ride, and it was a very satisfying piece of work, with some tasteful air and a great location. Not an airtime machine, but very, very re-rideable and fun, and it did have some nice pops to it. The great op, Shannon, made it even more fun by goofing with us all day long. After some quick rides on their Ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl,
their fun Sally shooter, and their very cool (almost a credit) flume, we decided to walk over to Myrtle Beach Pavilion. This is a much more developed park with a great selection of rides, and it looks much more like an established location than Family Kingdom. Hurricane just dominates the park, throwing a huge wall of wood up on the side facing Family Kingdom over a mile away. We began our tour with the Little Eagle, a kind of goofy kiddie credit featuring some attempts at theming and even a tunnel. Fun but clunky. The park's cool dark ride was next, and it was not bad.
We then rode one of the best steel coasters of the trip...the unbraked Arrow Mad Mouse. Myrtle Beach veterans Dave and Tony stuck Moosh and I in the backseat and off we went. What an amazing treat this ride is! I'm pretty spoiled with many mice in my count nowadays, so it takes something special to be more than just another (yawn) mouse. Exterminator fits that category, as do the mice at Vancouver Playland, Lakeside in Colorado, and especially Spider at Lagoon. I gotta add Mad Mouse to that elite company after some great rides on this thing. Just
sick air is on offer here, along with some crunching laterals. Moosh and I love to slam into each other on mouse laterals and this one had some great ones. Very recommended! We then tackled their Sally shooter before heading to the big Kahuna, Hurricane.
Given our experience with another steel-structured, Gerstlauer-clad, CCI woodie in southern Georgia the previous day, we had no expectations for Hurricane at all. I was just hoping it wouldn't hurt too bad! We were expecting a credit ride or two and then out, just like with Cheetah. Well, I'm happy to report that Hurricane was better than Cheetah...not oodles better, but definitely rideable, very aggressive, and even kind of fun. We ended up taking three or four
rides and we all pronounced it not as bad as we'd feared. It could be a LOT more, but then again so could Cheetah. Bummer.
As it was getting late in the afternoon, we decided to get out of central Myrtle Beach before night fell. Good thing too, as the scene was getting crunker by the minute. We noticed a lot more drinking and a lot more nudity on the way back. Interesting, but intimidating as hell too. I feel sorry for the few beleaguered families we saw trying to tough out the weekend with this crowd. As we walked to the car, we noticed a store selling "Git R Done" shirts, so a plan was quickly hatched to buy four of these shirts and wear them to ERT at Rip Roarin’ Rampage that weekend. The phrase is simply all over the south, on T-shirts and everyone’s lips.
We made it out of there with no problems and were soon checked into our nice Holiday Inn Express in North Myrtle Beach. We all rested for a bit before tackling the drive up to Grand Prix Park and it's two
credits, and then a bite to eat. However, this was easier said then done...a "bike rally" was going on across the street from Grand Prix and it took us nearly an hour to go two miles in stuck traffic.
Exasperated, we finally arrived only to find the Wild Mouse down for the rest of the evening. We decided to come back in the morning on our way out of town and pick up the two credits, as well as the Top Star
Tour. We finished the evening by missing our first mexican food restaurant due to an early closure (we ended up 0 for 2 on this trip on mexican food) before finally settling on a nice dinner at the Roadhouse steakhouse.
We awoke the next day to the sight and sound we had been dreading...rain, and lots of it. The forecasts had been warning us of storms for the last few days, and they finally caught up with us. Upon checking out of the hotel, we noticed the traffic to the Grand Prix area again backed up, and we knew the rides probably wouldn't be open during the rain anyways. Bummer, but I no longer get too worked up over missed credits. Guess I'm growing up as an enthusiast, LOL! We had originally planned to spend this night in Columbia, SC, before heading to Carowinds the next day, but the lack of things to do
and our early start out of Myrtle led us to cancel that reservation and Priceline a room in Charlotte instead. We spent a long afternoon driving through the rain and the backwaters of South and North
Carolina before finally arriving in Charlotte and checking into our very-fine Marriot. This long drive was the first injection of talk about Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" single, which three of us hate
and one of us (me) kind of likes. Anyone wondering why people were singing "This sh*t is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S" at Rip Roaring Rampage, your riddle has hereby been solved. ;-)
[EDIT - I never said I hated the song...just that I wasn't a fan of the album because I'm not into "pop" music -- mOOSH]
This trip was going to be a reflection of some changes I've made in my life, and one of the promises Moosh and I made prior to setting out is that we would work out whenever our hotel had a gym (time and schedule permitting, of course). The Marriot had a nice one, along with a neat indoor-outdoor pool, so we got our butts in motion and went down and
sweated for an hour. Dave elected to join us in the exercising but went for a run instead. Tony, skinny little bastrad that he is (wink), elected to lounge in the room. The three exercisers met up in the pool
area for a sauna and then a swim, very relaxing after four hours of driving. We ended the evening with dinner at the Carolina Barbecue, a restaurant that had been recommended to us, but we caught it
at the end of a busy day and a three-day weekend, so they were out of a number of things we wanted. Can't really recommend it without a return visit. Following dinner, we went back to the hotel and stayed up late playing Texas Hold 'Em, a game Moosh introduced us to and which we all found hella fun. This game became yet another theme for the trip as we played it almost every remaining night.
The next dawned cloudy and muggy but at least there was no rain. After another workout and a stop at Bob Evans for breakfast (all this good food I can't get at home!) we made our way to Carowinds and we were the first car into the lot. I didn't really know what to expect of Carowinds. It doesn't seem to get a lot of notice, and there's no real stand out coaster in their lineup, other than maybe Top Gun, The Jet
Coaster. Tony had been before and insisted that we go to Top Gun first because it can get long lines. Any of our fears of a crowded park were soon laid to rest, though, as it became obvious this was a very light
day at the park. We proceeded to have one of the most fun days of the trip, and certainly the best day I've ever had in a Paramount park. Carowinds easily outclassed PGA and PKD for me, and I had more
fun than I ever have had at PKI. I think PKI is probably a better park, but it's been so crowded every time I've been that I have to give the award to Carowinds for now. Maybe if I ever got an uncrowded day at PKI it might change my mind.
We began with Top Gun, and I have to say this ride nearly found a way into my steel top 10. It's very, very good, utilizing the terrain to deliver a powerful, disorienting ride. This easily became my new favorite inverted. It's just so "snap"-py into the elements,
especially the batwing. Plus there are some amazing headchoppers and visuals in the front seat, particularly in the zero-G. I even liked the hill over the station...no airtime, but a nice visual and a needed breather. I'm on record as hating B & M flat spins and the only nice thing I can say about Top Gun's is that there is only one of 'em. This one is intense, and actually caused me to injure my shoulder a bit when I wasn't paying attention on one ride and I got pile-drivered into the OTSR by that damn flat spin. Figures the element I hate would exact some retribution. Bastard.
Thunder Road was next, and it was a nice ride with a little bit of air but was mostly wooden freeway to nowhere #74. We then made our way to Super Saturator, and this one was the one that made our day. The sun had come out and we were all in the mood to get drenched. My previous experience with one of these rides had been less than optimal, riding
Hersheypark's Rollersoaker on a cold, rainy morning with no one around. This time, there were people manning the guns, people to bomb, and nice sunny weather to do it in. We spent almost an hour riding
this and playing with the guns, then came back for more than an hour more of fun at the end of the night. The ride op was totally into the fun we were having and he sent us around again and again. One of THE highpoints of the trip. I found myself to be an excellent bombardier, and we took to riding over and over and concentrating all four of the vehicle’s tanks on specific targets. There was one little kid nailing everyone with the final water gun before the brake run, and we just decimated him with four perfectly timed simultaneous drops. He had to do the Walk Of Shame out of the area, completely soaked. Excellent!
We followed our morning tour of marine mayhem with a walk around the perimeter of the park, collecting the remaining credits and the odd flat. Some quick impressions: Carolina Goldrush is a decent mine train
with a nice tunneled ending; Ricochet is a competent mouse; Carolina Cyclone is an OK Arrow looper with a decent tunneled finish; Hurler does it's PKD counterpart one better by having some more than decent air, but loses points for some squealing and thrashing in the corners; Drop Zone is an adequate drop tower but no Acrophobia; Vortex is a cruddy stand-up; Runaway Reptar is a head-bangy junior invert (how the hell do you make something that slow headbang?); and Fairly Oddcoaster is yet another very fun Paramount kiddie woodie. Two flat rides
deserve mention: The Flying Dutchmen's Revenge is an ultra-neat Spongebob Squarepants-themed ride that features ADORABLE little sailing ships that pop up and down over bunny hills and randomly rotate back and forth from forwards to backwards facing. This thing was SO MUCH FUN! And it pulled some decent lateral G's too. And the relocated PKI Flyers were fun to ride. I kept missing them at PKI so
at least I got on them. I suck at snapping but Moosh was easily able to get his going and even said he was holding back so as not to make the ride ops freak out. Sounds like these Flyers are running as well as ever.
My last new credit in the park was the re-located Stealth. I endured some ribbing from my buds about counting relocated rides but to me the change in scenery changes the experience enough to count it again. Anyone who disagrees with me is welcome to reduce my count by 3 in their eyes, LOL! The "re-imagining" of Stealth as the Borg Assimilator is really, really nicely done. The placement of the water and the Borg globe make for a very photogenic ride, and the placement of the queue/pathway allows for lots of angles you could never get at PGA. Unfortunately, the ride was kind of a mess, very jarring and 100 miles from smooth, nothing like the futuristic wonder I rode at PGA back in 2000. And it's my 350th coaster, so everyone can laugh at me for having a relocated coaster as a sort of milestone, LOL!
We finished this wonderful day out by a major marathon on Top Gun, followed by the afore-mentioned second hour on Super Saturator. We poured ourselves out of the park on a complete high...I think all 4 of us declared it our favorite Paramount park. I know it holds that position for me. I can see where it would not be so fun on a crowded
August day, but who goes to parks on days like that anyhow? (wink)
We needed to make a decently long drive to our hotel in Asheville, NC that night, and I was at the wheel. Perhaps the only bummer of the trip happened on this drive, as I managed to lose my prescription
sunglasses when I took them off in the car and they disappeared, never to be seen again. Those glasses have been with me from my very first coaster trip, and I shall miss them. We popped a DVD in and I got to witness the boys enjoying "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie", in honor of our great ride on the Flying Dutchmen earlier.
Arriving in Asheville, we checking into our second Priceline hotel of the trip, the Renaissance. This was a very nice hotel, but unfortunately a late arrival and an early departure kept us from enjoying their ultra-nice pool and gym arrangement. We headed out for
a late dinner, after calling a local Mexican food place to confirm they were open. They said they were, but then they were closed when we arrived ten minutes later...so we were now 0 for 2 on mexican food so
far. No worry though, as a branch of The Mellow Mushroom pizza chain was open just down the street. This was one of the best meals of the trip. I had a caeser salad with jerk chicken, and each piece of chicken was a marvel of flavor. The others liked their food and ale as much as I, and many to-go boxes were ordered for a cold breakfast the next AM. The Mellow Mushroom was also where I first noticed the large number of fairly "out" gay people in the area. Did not expect that in the South, as the opposing bible-belt thing was surely out in force. I
guess people are the same all over, no?
[EDIT: funny...I didn't notice any openly gay people there...I must have been really tired ;) -- mOOSH]
Wednesday opened up with more rain, which made the mountainous territory surrounding Asheville look great but also had us dreading getting rained out at Dollywood. Knowing it's a big regional draw, though, we were sure it would be open, and we would just have to gut out whatever conditions awaited us. We all know how rain affects woodies, so at least we had that going for us. The drive to Pigeon Forge was rainy throughout, and the parts I could stay awake for were beautiful. After grabbing a quick breakfast in PF we made it up to the park and were able to park very close to the entrance. Despite a nagging steady rain, we decided to dress for water rides and we made our way into the park.
We knew we couldn't avoid going to Thunderhead first...collectively, between the four of us, there's about the same will to wait and patience the average 6-year old demonstrates at 6 am on Christmas
morning. We made our way up to Thunderhead Gap and took in the awesome view. What an amazing looking ride this is. Sprawled here and there, sporting that typical GCI beauty, we instantly knew, even before riding, that this was going to be something special. Settling in to the front seat (there was basically a 1-3 train wait with single-train op all day long) I strapped myself down and enjoyed the attempts of the ride ops to entertain the crowd and drum up some enthusiasm. It worked, cause I was enthused. "Let the thunder roll!"
Slamming into the brake run, I was stunned. This is just simply THE complete ride. It has sharp air. It has floater air. It has vicious laterals and features two or three of the best directional changes I've ever experienced. It has unrelenting speed and not one single dead spot. I knew after one ride that I had another woodie to add to the previous 5 I had tied for number one. We would ride a few more times before moving on to discover the rest of the park, and then we would end the day with a two-hour session on the ride, and Thunderhead would find two more gears of increased speed before the park closed. It sure helped that the sun came out and it became a beautiful day soon after our first rides. Thunderhead is a winner and is worth traveling for all by itself. I think the phrase "sweetly aggressive"
applies perfectly here.
[EDIT - I was worried Thunderhead wouldn't live up to the hype. It SURPASSED it! Yes, folks...it is THAT GOOD! -- mOOSH]
We headed to the water rides next. Mountain Slidewinder was first and we had a fantastic ride on that. Very reminiscent of the Wilderness Waterboggan at Silver Dollar City, but made even better by it's pretty hillside location and the funky Styrofoam boats. It was fun for Tony and I to watch the Herschend-park virgins experience this, as well as the next ride, Blazing Fury. This one started off another round of count-arguing, as all three of my fellow travelers decided to count it, but I do not (nor do I count Fire In The Hole!). It just seems like a powered dark ride to me, even if you do ride in coaster trains. Blazing Fury was surprisingly different that SDC's version. It was missing the drop in the dark and the splashdown wasn't nearly as wet, but that collapsing train bridge effect is hella cool. We also bagged the flume at this point, and it was a fun ride made even better by the ride ops singing "Happy Birthday" to Tony as we went along the course. Not a drencher like SDC's, but a very fun and solid ride.
The last ride we would hit up in this "holler" was the awe-inspiring Tennessee Tornado. This is a visually stunning ride that occupies a nice plot of land. Riding in the back seat first yielded a spectacular first drop, just about Arrow's best (X not withstanding) in my
opinion. The loops are huge and odd and G-filled. This ride was too much in the front seat, but surprisingly pleasant to ride in the back. What a great drop!
Prior to lunchtime we wanted to ride the rapids, and this was a competent ride, fun but not a drencher (again, SDC's brutalized Tony and I last year with an aquatic beatdown). Now that the sun was out
and we had the water rides checked off, we decided to change clothes and enjoy the rest of the park in a more comfortable manner. That task accomplished, we reconvened at the BBQ stand for a tasty rib luncheon. It was no Old South Barbecue House but it did the job for theme park food, and then some. After spending some post-lunch time exploring the shops and desert choices (ice cream for me, and it was GOOD), we hopped on the train ride. Dollywood makes a big deal out of their train ride, scheduling departures and offering pre-ride and during-ride spiels that are interesting and informative. The ride was
a scenic gem and rises up into the hills above Thunderhead for a long relaxing trip. The conductor and the engineers continued the streak of great employees in the park, inviting us up into the cab of the train for some photos at the conclusion of the ride.
As our time at Dollywood was drawing to a close we all decided it was time to give the rest of the day to Thunderhead, and this session was one of the true highlights of the trip. The ride ended up in a six-way
tie for number one in my wooden rankings, and the park also cracked my top ten at #4, in a tie with Silver Dollar City. I think SDC has the slight edge in rides but Dollywood has such a great charm to it, and Thunderhead tops any coaster offering SDC could make (I haven't ridden Powderkeg yet, of course). I think we were all in mutual agreement that Dollywood was THE class park of the trip, barely eking out SFOG in that respect. I would heartily recommend a visit to the park for anyone who understands that 16 coasters does not a great park make. The employees MADE this park for us, and even added a rebuttal to our "Git R Done" repartee; "Got R Did"!
We sadly said goodbye to Dolly and made our way to our hotel in Gatlinburg. It was time for yet another birthday dinner for Tony (dammit, why can't MY birthday be in June, LOL!) so we took him out
for his favorite things, loud rock music in a smoky beer pub...OK, those aren't ANY of Tony's favorite things, but we made due. The food was at least good, and we were able to sit far enough away from the lousy band to talk to each other. The beer was quite tasty and we eventually retired to our creek-side room for some more poker and drinking. Nothing quite like having a loud, active "crick" right outside your window. We left the window open all night and the creek lulled me to a very deep and sound sleep.
I woke up very refreshed the next day, and we loaded into the Crown Vic for a scenic drive over Newfound Gap into Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This was a very nice drive, with some beautiful
greenery, along with a few awesome gorges and some nice "river running next to the highway" action. The only bummer was that the top of Newfound Gap was socked in with clouds, so we missed the views that were obviously otherwise available. Bummer.
The 4-hour long drive finally ended with our arrival at Lake Winniepesaukah. This was another much-anticipated park for me, as I was looking forward to a nice traditional park with a classic, re-rideable woodie that was open late (10 pm). We hadn't had any night rides yet on the trip and I was hoping Cannonball would entice us to stay for some. Unfortunately, though, Lake Winnie had the misfortune of being the next park after Dollywood on our trip. No fault of the
park, as it was adequate, but we just did not click with the park or any of it's rides (other than maybe the Boat Chute, and that was just due to it's sheer wierdness). Cannonball was adequate, but no more than that. It was missing the airtime it sure looked like it had. It just wasn't that fun either. Wild Lightnin' was a horrible mouse...as the ride op said, it was like a car crash that takes a minute, 30-seconds.
[EDIT - never have I wished for a braked mouse more than on Lake Winnies....HOLY FRICKIN OUCH! -- mOOSH]
The Boat Chute was cool but not really worth more than 1 or 2 rides. I think we had the most fun on the miniature golf course, which was kind of thrashy but at least fun (Dave squeaked out a win over Tony). Lastly, I gotta mention the Fly-O-Plane. I am a bit of a devotee of the Rock-O-Plane ride (it's one of my favorites) and I kind of enjoy the Roll-O-Planes, although they tend to beat the sh*t out of you. The
Fly-O-Plane is a whole 'nother bag of sick. Once the ride started, I quickly fell onto the side of the plane, and my vehicle lay at a 90-degree angle to upright for the duration of the ride, much like a dead dog. The controls were completely inadequate for doing anything more than twisting the plane into an even MORE uncomfortable upside-down position. After a few tries at doing ANYTHING I gave up, put my arm under my head, and tried to take a nap. The others all reported the same ride, except for Tony; I guess that, due to his lower body weight, he was able to do something with his plane. Unfortunately for him, that something consisted of wild spins over and
over and over. He got off the ride somewhat shaken and dizzy.
[EDIT - I was so looking forward to the only Fly-O-Plane left in operation and the last of the O-Plane models I had not ridden. What a disappointment it turned out to be -- mOOSH]
With that pleasant experience behind us, we decided to hightail it out of there and get a headstart on our drive to Marietta, Ga. and our La Quinta Inn. We grabbed another Steak and Shake credit on the way there and played yet another round of Texas Hold Em in the hotel.
The next day saw my first and only Waffle House visit of the trip, as Moosh and I arose early to bag some breakfast before making our return visit to SFOG. We had been worried about traffic heading down there but it was smooth sailing all the way. Gator checked in by cell phone and we coordinated a 9:15 am meetup at the front gate. Wow, Gator’s on
time for something? Who are you and what have you done with Bill??
Walking up to the park, we soon met up with Gator, Jill, and their wacky new friend Aaron, who provided a lot of fun for the group during the day. Aaron was a bit of a theme park virgin (I think he said he’d
only been to IOA and BGT, so this was his first Six Flags experience) and it was hilarious watching his reaction to things like Superman, Deja, and Acrophobia. Something about hanging out with a relative newbie just makes a park visit better; I guess it’s nice to see someone be non-jaded about practically everything. Plus Aaron was a complete wack job, and funny as hell. I also got to meet the
ultra-cool Ed "Chill Force" Mcinerny. I’d been wanting to hang with Ed for a hella long time and he’s a real hoot. Great to meet ya, Ed!
We had been advised the park would open the front section early, and this advice was right on. Therefore, we were able to bag quick rides on Georgia Scorcher and Georgia Cyclone before the rest of the park opened. While walking around, we began to notice pink spray paint markings all over the concrete by Scorcher, and pink tags on a few trees here and there. Later in the day, we saw more of these markings all over the Great Gasp/Looping Starship area, as well as out in front of the park, over the main entrance and extending out to the lawn across from the entrance. Very, very interesting, and the elongated plot definitely portends either a hypercoaster or a rocket to me. This park is missing a truly tall ride (other than Vu and the Gasp) and this should fill out the collection nicely. Sucks to have Gasp go, tho.
Once the park opened we headed to the back. On our agenda was many more Mindbender rides, as well as the two credits we had missed the previous week, Batman and Wile E. Coyote. Mindbender provided a couple more good rides, including an excellent front seat ride, but it just suffers a bit in comparison to Shockwave and the one-train op got annoying real fast. This would unfortunately prove to be a theme
during the day, as the park was expecting lower numbers than the previous Friday and one train operation was rampant throughout the park, harming operations on Cyclone and GASM as well as Mindbender. The ops were still fast and funny, but me no likey one train ops. And that big trim on Mindbender SUCKS!
After grabbing a competent Batman ride, we worked on the middle of the park. Wile E. is a very neat-o kiddie coaster, right up there with High Speed Thrill Coaster in terms of a happenin’ kiddie ride. Cool
theming and a bit of a surprise. We then hit Monster Plantation and Aaron and I had an interesting conversation on what this ride would be like if you were on acid. The consensus was that it would be very, very scary. I did really like the big monster you go right by near the end, and the theme song is very infectious. This is one of those rides you can’t believe is in a Six Flags park.
Gasp was next and it was a sweetly reminiscent ride of my youth, taking me back to Knott’s Berry Farm of old, much like SFOT’s did for me last year. These are such old-fashioned fun rides, with a little bit of a thrill and a great view. Sucks to see them go but at least it seems like something good is going to go in it’s place.
We spent the remainder of the day re-riding numerous favorites as well as getting in some rides we had missed previously, like the train, the carousel, and the hanson cars. All good stuff. As I noted at the top of this report, we also noticed a vastly different level of performance on certain rides in the park. On the negative side, GASM was missing some of the air it had previously had, and Ga. Cyclone was
rougher, more shuffly, and much more violent, with less air. On the plus side, we had a much better ride on Deja this time, AND we were able to pick our seats, which worked out great as we were the first
ones to pick, and we divided evenly between the front and back rows. I got a hell of a kick out of Aaron’s near-hysterical reaction to the ride.
We finished the day with mini-marathons on Acrophobia and then Ga. Cyclone. I have to say that SFOG is easily now one of my top ten parks, and I put it in at #8, tied with SFOT. Even though each park is a little different, they feel like two sides of the same coin. Lots of great rides and quirky personality, in beautiful locations. SFOT gets the slight edge on coasters, SFOG on beauty. Would love to get back here when their new toy opens up.
Priceline had another treat waiting for us this night…a 23rd story room at the Omni, overlooking the entire skyline of downtown Atlanta. We were too beat to go out, so we invited Gator and crew over for drinks and had pizza delivered in. This was one of the best parties of the whole trip, as everyone got pretty lit, and we got to watch the skyscrapers outside our window fade in and out of the fog while we were doing it. The lovely Miss Dawnmarie also joined the caravan at this point, and it’s always good to see her. ;-)
We planned to sleep WAY in the next morning, as we knew we would not need a whole day at Visionland. Despite a raging hangover, I dragged my ass out of bed and Moosh and I went to go work out. The hotel’s gym crapped all over the previous ones (as to be expected) but their pool/Jacuzzi set up was oddly inferior. We finally got the troops up and out at noon, and then had to deal with a ½-hour hassle getting our car out of the valet lot. I love luxury hotels but just build a garage and let me park my own damn car, mkay? I’ll walk, I don’t care. The $20 parking charge hurt and we should have asked for it to be reversed
after seeing how bad their service was at getting our car for us. No tip for you!
[EDIT - we would still be waiting for our car had I not made a scene and got those people's ass in gear! What do I care, I won't see any of them again and it got the job done! -- mOOSH]
I handled the two-hour drive to Bessemer and got us there quickly. Luckily, Gator had left earlier than we did, and thus he was able to advance-scout out for us a traffic trouble spot in Birmingham, giving us a chance to go the slightly longer way around and avoid the whole thing. Thanks for throwing yourself on that hand grenade, Gator! We checked into the Jameson Inn and had to sloooowly adjust to Alabama
speed. No offense to those who live there, but service in Alabama seems to consist of two speeds: “slow” and “check his pulse”. The clerk kept wandering off for no reason and check-in took almost 30 minutes. WTF? After a quick freshening up in the room, we were off to Visionland.
Upon arrival, we had to wait in a line at guest relations for our event materials. It wasn’t a long line but it did seem to take a long time. There was no shade and the heat, which had left us pretty much
alone for the entire trip, had finally arrived and was pouring it on. We finally got our gear and entered the park. We were all totally surprised to see a full-service bar inside the park. Been years since I’ve seen even beer displayed openly in a park, much less hard alcohol. Very interesting, and we naturally had to stop in for a visit and a cold one.
I think we were all burned out from a long trip, and Visionland is not the most attractive park out there, unfortunately. We decided to grab the credits only, and head back to our hotel for some time by the
pool. So, that decision made, we headed up the hill for Rampage. This was another much-anticipated coaster on the trip for me. It had taken a backseat to expectations for Thunderhead, though, so I kind of felt all along this would be the sleeper hit of the trip, and I was oh so right about that. Our first ride was good, and the ride has a great layout, but the true goodies were waiting for us at ERT some 8 hours
hence. We moved on to Zoomerang, which was competent, and at least visually appealing. We finished up with the park’s ghetto shot ride (who stole the other half??) which provided a nice ride and great view, and then knocked out the Marvel Mania kiddie coaster as well. An hour at the park and we were SO ready for that pool!
We spent a really nice couple of hours goofing in the pool and just enjoying a respite from parks, crowds, and heat. Eventually Gator and his crew decided to go back to hit the water park, and Ed, Flare and Moosh decided to go back for some more rides and the event dinner. The thought of boiled weenies did not intice me, so Dawn and I decided to lounge poolside and Tony went for a nap. I just literally did not want to go back to the park, and Dawn and I had a nice time talking and laying out as the sun slowly set. Got a nice tan too. ;-)
We knew we had to eat before ERT (I get nauseous if I try to power ride without food in me belly) so we ducked in to Ruby Tuesday’s for a nosh. The salad bar was quite tasty, and Tony and I teased Dawn for getting the "big salad". We also enjoyed the 80’s grooves being laid down in the restaurant. It may have been that we had been driven a little goofy by 10 days on the road…although I don’t know what Dawn’s excuse would be, LOL!
Returning to the park, I joined Gator’s crew for a Ferris wheel ride while Dawn and Tony decided to brave the rapids. The wheel was a lot of fun and the park looked much better at night. Connecting with Flare via cell phone, I was advised I HAD to try the park’s yo-yo ride.
[EDIT - its a Wave Swinger, not a YoYo]
Since I’m always up for an interesting yo-yo, I was down with that and the whole crew convened there. We loaded up and the ride started to spin up, before making a funny noise and kind of E-stopping. Poor Ed, I was sitting right behind him and you knew he was going to get some crap for it, LOL! The ops made us redistribute the lard and then they fired up the ride again. It was a damn fine yo-yo; not anything
spectacular, but definitely powerful, and funner than hell when they turned the lights out. We were also able to squeeze in another Ghetto Shot ride before ERT, while enjoying some repartee with Quentin, the
ride op with the foot fetish. He he he...
Now it was time to let it rip on the roaring Rampage. We all had our "Git R Done" shirts on and that became one of the catch phrases for the ERT session. The coaster had gained 2 or 3 extra gears in terms of speed and intensity, and I knew after one ride I had yet another #1 coaster to put in my rankings. In fact, when I got home, I kicked Beast and Ghostrider out of my top 10 wood, and elevated Tremors, Ozcat, and Phoenix up to #1’s also, so now my top 10 is 10 rides all tied for #1! So much easier this way, LOL!
Rampage was just dishing out the action this night. I power-rode the whole ERT session, and could have gone for at least another hour when ride time ended at 1 am. I rode all over the train and I have to say
the front seat was my favorite, although the back (and the middle even!) didn’t suck. There’s just so much air on this thing, plus some of the best laterals out there, bar none. I love the high turn to the right after the Ansley hill; the train just HURLS itself into the upstops and to the left here. Scared the crap outta me the first few times. I also loved the huge drop buried back in the middle somewhere, and the pothole/slam downward right after that. And that
left/right/left thing it does right before the final drop? Genius! This ride just really freakin’ delivered, and it was an awesome ERT session, and an awesome end to our trip. It was also great to run into Jeff Johnson on one of his CreHo weekends, LOL! This was just old school ride time, almost reminiscent of SRM or CAC in terms of the ops and enthusiasts vibing in concert with each other. A true exclamation point to our tour of the South!
We stumbled out of the park and back to our hotel. No one wanted to sleep, so we had more drinks and just babbled for hours about how fun the trip had been and how much Rampage had just rocked our world. A screening of "Road to Nowhere" was then asked for and granted on Dave’s laptop, and we finally hit the sheets around 4:30 am for 2 hours of sleep, LOL!
Good thing Moosh had knocked off a few hours earlier than Flare and I, because he took the wheel at 7 am for the drive back to Atlanta. Flare had an early-ish flight at Noon and we knew we had to account for the time change at the state border, plus the construction zone on I-20 east of Birmingham. Fortunately, traffic was very light and Moosh did
an awesome job of driving the three sleeping enthusiasts safely back to Atlanta. We made Flare’s flight with plenty of time to spare.
We had two hours to kill before the rest of our flights left, so we decided to go back into Atlanta. We briefly discussed going back to SFOG but we were parked-out and there was nothing we particularly
needed to ride again. So we decided to go to The Underground and the World of Coke which are right next to each other downtown. The Underground was pretty dead as it was 11 am Sunday morning, but we got a feel for it and it looked like an excellent place to party or shop. We grabbed some foot court Cajun food and then moseyed over to the World of Coke. I almost choked when I saw the $9 admission price. I
considered waiting outside for Moosh and Tony but decided maybe something in there would be worthwhile. Boy was I wrong! 9 bucks to look at corporate propaganda? Someone PLEASE stamp "loser" on my forehead for me. Thanks. I don’t even drink soft drinks, and I hate commercialism of any kind. Suffice to say, I wanted my 9 bones back.
[EDIT - worst $9 I ever spent. I"ll never get those 10 minutes back...and yes, folks, that's how long we were in the World of Coke -- mOOSH]
We headed back to the airport and dropped Tony off next. Moosh and I dropped the car off and then got the great news that all flights through Dallas had been delayed an hour. Thus began an afternoon/evening of flights slowly being pushed back and then pushed further back. I intended to get home at 7 pm and instead made it home at 9:30. Ack.
This was a great trip. I hesitate to say best ever, because I’ve never had a bad one, but this one had such a great combination of parks and people and rides that just rocked my world. And it came at a time when I REALLY needed a week off from real life. Thanks to everyone who joined us, and of course extra special thanks to Mooshie for co-planning this and making everything run so smooth! Love ya, bud! I had a GREAT time. I love the South, and I could SO see myself living in the Carolinas. I’m ready to pack now!
[EDIT - love ya too, Bass. Thanks for being such a great travel partner. I'm ready to go back there, too ;-)]
Glad things went well.
Somehow I think that is what he ment. And some how, that doesn't suprise me coming from someone traveling with mOOSh...;)
Tekno and Mooshie sittin in a tree...
i'm not sure what to put here..
Remember the episode of the Simpsons when Bart cuts the head off the Jebediah Springfield statue? It begins with shot of Homer and Bart walking down the street and Homer says, "Yeah, I pulled a few boners in my day."
*** Edited 6/10/2005 6:29:41 AM UTC by Mamoosh***
Kyle Says: Diamondback was a lot of fun! Made his first time at Kings Island worth it all!
The Underground is just that.......an underground shopping area near the World of Coke. It has shops, restaurants, vendors, etc. It's fun.
The World of Coke's admission is $9 now? wow. I think Dawny and I paid $7 each last year. Damn.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
Too bad you couldn't enjoy Saturator in it's opening year, before they removed about 3/4 of the water effects and raised the drop about 10 feet. It used to be 20x better, but still a fun ride. I think the maintenence has been a real problem for them, as every year we lose more and more of the water effects.
Good to see someone else respecting good ole' Carowinds. Clean, well-run, decent rides, and overall nice ops. :) Great TR.
MBP's mouse immediately rocketed into my "mouse rankings", only the Reverchons and quirky Milers are better than the Arrow Mad Mice. PCar's is "competent" (your word), MBP's is excellent!
Swampy does indeed rule, some of those John Allens really ARE maintained...;)
You WERE warned about WA....but Ed didn't listen either. Credit whore's dream/nightmare, all in one convenient place.
"I think all 4 of us declared it our favorite Paramount park."
You heard it here first...;)
The Vekoma junior inverts are teaching the little ones that Vekoma is Dutch for OUCH!
Also, don't disrespect our RollerSOAKer riding, where else were SFNE execs gonna find out how much FUN those things are...;)
"...people are the same all over, no?"
Freakin' hippie! ;)
"Let the thunder roll!"
"I was worried Thunderhead wouldn't live up to the hype. It SURPASSED it!"
Not surprised there...I think Cornball and Legend were the two that impressed me THAT much as brand-new wooden coasters.
Blazing Fury and FitH *are* coasters, they aren't powered in the drops...so nyah! J/K, LOL! :)
TTornado, why wasn't Arrow building more of THOSE instead of killing their company gambling on X?
"The conductor and the engineers continued the streak of great employees in the park"
Tied with T-Head for Dollywood's most valuable asset....GREAT employees, a Herschend tradition. :)
"I would heartily recommend a visit to the park for anyone who understands that 16 coasters does not a great park make."
Sorry to hear you didn't get the kind of rides on Cannonball at LW that me Dawny and Tina got last year....it was running WELL that day. But this tidit needs mentioning:
"Fly-O-Plane is a whole 'nother bag of sick." I got the same uncomfortable/unfun ride you got. Someone mentioned *the blue plane* and I saw a rider on the next cycle getting Tony's ride....lucky SoBs...;)
Boat Chute, almost too long in the tunnel...but beats the daylights out of the Arrow hydroflume, no? :)
"Gator checked in by cell phone and we coordinated a 9:15 am meetup at the front gate. Wow, Gator’s on
time for something? Who are you and what have you done with Bill??"
"We're already in the park, they opened early and we're in line for GA Cyclone!".....Yous guys suck! ;)
Aaron says Hi!....I'll try and convince him to come to CAC. :)
"me no likey one train ops. And that big trim on Mindbender SUCKS!"
Agreed! One-train is fine for a 3-train wait...after that, it becomes annoying, quickly...
I liked Wile E. alot, and will ride that again next time I'm at "my SF home park". Monster Plantation seems to have gotten major work done since last season, sound system revamped, it's not going anywhere...Yay!
"The lovely Miss Dawnmarie also joined the caravan at this point, and it’s always good to see her. ;-)"
I just had to reiterate that point... :)
"Thanks for throwing yourself on that hand grenade, Gator!"
Since I was the one closest to home, it was my grenade for the taking... ;)
"We were all totally surprised to see a full-service bar inside the park."
Why do you think they're so PATIENT with their customer service? ;)
ZIERER-Brand Wave Swinger, with the oh-so-cool *lighting package*...has it been THAT long since Con-Quest? LOL! It was run in INSANE-MODE (TM), I think the mechanic mighta stopped by the bar for a few before adjusting the speed of that thing! Good times! :)
Quentin and his pede-philia (the feet thing, not the kids), that was one of the highlights of VisionLand....you know employees have fun with enthusiasts, but do they have ANY idea how much fun we have with THEM? Quentin certainly enjoyed the banter, esp. at the end of a long hot day...;)
"There’s just so much air on this thing, plus some of the best laterals out there, bar none. I love the high turn to the right after the Ansley hill; the train just HURLS itself into the upstops and to the left here. Scared the crap outta me the first few times. I also loved the huge drop buried back in the middle somewhere, and the pothole/slam downward right after that. And that
left/right/left thing it does right before the final drop? Genius!"
Definitely struck me as one of the finest wooden coasters I've ridden. I love intensity, and Rampage DELIVERS! Thanks to the park employees, to the park mgt., to the ACE reps, and most especially, to the ride maintenance guys, they simply BLEW us AWAY! :)
Bass, Moosh, really nice TR....wanna ghost-write mine from now on? ;)
*** Edited 6/11/2005 6:28:28 AM UTC by rollergator***
Thanks for the great TR, Mike, and Moosh. How I envy you both.
The Flying Turns makes all the right people wet - Gonch
The World of Coke's admission is $9 now? wow. I think Dawny and I paid $7 each last year. Damn.
I remember going down there and had to pay $9. Than again I was wearing my Mountain Dew sweatshirt and my Mountain Dew hat. ;)
That could be why people were looking at me funny the whole trip. :)
i'm not sure what to put here..
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