End of the Season Wisconsin TR 8/29/06 - 8/30/06

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, September 3, 2006 12:13 PM
Parks: Mt. Olympus, Timber Falls

Coasters: Hades, Zeus, Cyclops, Pegasus, Avalanche

Crowds: Light

Wait Times: 0-5 minutes

Weather, sunny and cool

Hades is breathtakingly fast woody. Breathtaking. I can’t tell you if it’s an illusion of speed, or the real thing, but as you plunge out of the station and whip across what should be a tame pre-course, it strikes you immediately that on Hades, velocity is king. The pre-course seemed to be another world, enclosed by trees -- suddenly you’re not at Mt. Olympus any more, you’re in a secluded forest with rolling hills. Then, the lift hill.

It’s mammoth. High enough to give you assurance that you’re riding a world class woody, but not so high that you get that scared metallic taste in your mouth. The plunge…

The drop is smooth, steep, long, and then, bam! You enter the cave—a blast of cold concrete air! An explosion of noise!. A deafening roar as the train dances over an obstacle course of bunny hops, twists and turns. (The lights were on—I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be if they weren’t.) Incredible, roaring, explosive speed! You emerge from the tunnel, and there’s silence. Wow, this is an enjoyable coaster. Smooth, artful, wicked! You catch your breath in the turnaround, and we’re picking up speed as we plunge into the tunnel again! Cacophony! Aural chaos! The roar deafens you again, you dance again over the obstacle course, retracing your steps, and emerge from the tunnel with a huge airtime floater hill. The ride is almost over, you think.

The train banks suddenly and goes through a wicked series of end course maneuvers which feel like a new kind of helix – a twisted, intense, g-force laden race course with faster, faster, faster intensity!. Oh, God, yet more hills, faster now, intense turns. Oh, God! Now, more intense g-force laden hills! More lightning turns, and sitting in the middle of the train now, what is this violent head bouncing all of a sudden?! Uh-oh. “This thing is getting wicked! How bad will this get at the end of the course?” I thought to myself. “I might be in trouble here!” as my neck really experienced a continual vibrating/bouncing that lasted for several seconds, and then again, vibrating, bigger vibrating, now a full fledged shaking of the head in a weird, jolting updownupdownupdown rattle of my head, only here in the last part of the course! What the hell was that? Well, it stopped as quickly as it started. Lightning speed over the twisted track, and a sudden, but smooth descent into the station. The riders behind us say “My head hurts.” as we pull into the station.

Wow! What a thrilling, re-ridable coaster! Intense, brilliantly themed design, incredible pacing.

Let’s talk about the head rattling, which is the only flaw in this coaster, and it only happens at the end over a couple of the final hills. Was I not leaning into the turns? What is this “death rattle”? Why does it only happen over these final hills? Is it G-forces? Why doesn’t it happen anywhere else in the ride? Did this death rattle develop over the course of the summer, or was it there at the beginning at the ride’s premiere? Was the death rattle there in its first season? Does the “death rattle” happen only in the middle cars? This small glitch marred an otherwise perfectly designed coaster.

On to Zeus. This is the ultimate wooden coaster. Intense speed, lots of incredible air time and, a delightful out and back that wanders out into the woods. Thoroughly enjoyable. I could ride this into infinity. (Re-rideability gets more important as you get older like me, and Zeus is thrilling without being overwhelming with no Napoleanic need for intense g-forces, or brutal laterals.) Floater air, rolling terrain, and re-ridability. What more can you ask for in this life? Magnificent.

Cyclops. Um, this is an odd bird, cramped higgledy piggledy into a strange Picasso footprint. Ejector air on the featured hill, intense g-forces, intense, brutal laterals. And then, it’s over. No pacing. No length. No story. Just a collection of oddly assembled intense elements.

Pegasus is a delightful woody that even my frightened nephew, twelve, enjoyed. You don’t see family coasters like this very often. It’s great to see designers really pour over the layout of a small coaster. This one has an artful design and pacing, despite its small stature.

At Timber Falls, the Avalanche coaster surrounds a mini-golf course. You get up-close and personal with this coaster if you play 18 holes. You can touch the coaster. Get 10 feet from it. Stand underneath as it roars through a banked turn at 70 mph. If you’ve ever wanted to own a backyard coaster, this is what it would feel like. I kept fearing that I would accidentally walk onto the track! That’s how close it is.

Well, the ride is classic. It makes two circles around the 18-hole golf course, with elegantly designed hills, graced with abundant airtime, and intensely banked turns. I’m 42 and re-rode it 10 times. Avalanche lulls you into a coaster rhythm. The park was so quiet, with so few riders, that I often road alone. On slow days, the ride op doesn’t play the instructional recording. Just the roar of the train. Often you can ride alone. You’re in the middle of Wisconsin. Cows, trees, corn fields, a silent ride op, and a coaster.

Mysteriously, there are blonde, cherubic, German Wisconsin children who ride this coaster continually, over and over and over and over again. It’s so strange and wonderful. Watch for them in the summer. It’s so curious. They often ride alone, in an empty train, seven, eight or nine years old, riding over and over and over again. (We’re talking the seventh most intense and revered wooden coaster in the world, and these children ride it like a merry-go-round.) They sit silently in their seats, continually re-riding unless a patron stands in line for that seat, which they graciously give up, then move to another. I talked with some blonde girl who appeared to be eight, and was sitting in the front seat. I asked her if I could ride in the front seat, so she politely moved and sat in the next seat in back of me in the same car. She said “Isn’t it grand?” What an odd thing for a young girl to say. I said, “Yes, it’s grand.” That’s all she said. Was she some kind of ghost? Where the hell were her parents? My sister and nephew thought it was strange. She continued to ride alone for the rest of the day in various seats. Well spoken. Perfectly composed. Didn’t scream. She was like a coaster cherub from another land. Then, later, a blue collar dad, a red-faced gentleman drove up in his family SUV, and he and his daughter, I assume-- another blond haired girl, maybe 8-- hopped out. They rode the coaster several times, and, satisfied, left the park. They didn’t speak. It was some kind of Wisconsin family entertainment ritual. They probably stop by and ride the coaster a few times, and probably head home for French Onion soup with baked mozzarella on top.

Strange and beautiful, this coaster, at the end of tourist season. If you’re quiet, you can hear the wind blowing through the trees as the coaster starts the chain lift ascent. *** Edited 9/4/2006 1:16:11 AM UTC by Bill***

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Sunday, September 3, 2006 4:44 PM
wonderfully written
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Sunday, September 3, 2006 6:43 PM
I agree DorneyDante...you rarely hear the word "Artful" and "Where the hell were her parents?" in the same TR.

I love how all of our styles are varried in these forums. It's one of the reasons I keep coming back.

Well done Bill!

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Monday, September 4, 2006 10:34 PM
Amazing trip report, what a nice read.
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