Parks visited: PKI (5/30), HW/SRM (5/31), IB (6/1), MiA (6/2) and IB again (6/2)
Weather: Muggy and hot in Indiana, perfect in Michigan
Crowds: Perfect everywhere, except for (yet again) PKI
Mullet-count: 634 (including fem-mullets, mul-ettes, 2 Elvis mullets, 1 feathered mullet, 1 WWF mullet, and 1 midget mullet)
Day 2 - Revenge of the Raven
Friday dawned bright and early as we hustled to get ready early, had breakfast in the Lodge, and then hustled over to the park for the nuptials on the Legend. This was one funny park event. The properly-attired wedding party filled half of the Legend train, with an assortment of coaster nuts as the witnesses (I just missed getting on the train and had to watch from the ground). The person officiated the ceremony was none other than The King himself, a reasonable facsimile of the early 70's Elvis, complete with some sketchy muttonchops and a proto-mullet. Talk about cornering two markets; not only a passable Elvis impersonator but able to hitch folks as well! He climbed up to the top of the lift and then the train was winched up to meet him. He performed a couple of numbers (one of which got more than a little off time due to some delay issues) and then the ceremony. Following that, he sent the couple off for their first ride as husband and wife and then sang another number as they went around a second time.
All of the rest of the rides had come open by then, but I needed to see what the PTCs had done for the Legend. Taking a front seat ride with Tony, I was pleased to see that the first half of the ride was already running up to high standards...however, there was some slowing in the helix that I hoped would go away over the course of the day. The PTCs are much more comfortable than the Gerstlauers, and they sure do look nice. And it's very cool to come over that second hill and see the purple monstrosity that is Zoombabwe covering the ride like ugly on an anteater.
Next was the Raven, and I have to say I was utterly blown away on this ride and every successive one. I had an idea what the miraculous Jeff H. was capable of, but he went above and beyond in this case; the Raven was running WAY better than last year's peak...at 10:15 in the morning!!! I had placed Raven at #2 after last year's SRM, but I liked it significantly better than the Legend (my former #1) on this visit. The front had 5 spots of solid air and the big drop was giving air almost throughout the entire train! Way to go, Holiday World!
We met up with the rest of TSB2 and Moosh's crew after this ride and toured the park. Not much else seemed different. Holidog's water area was still a lot of fun (although, I can now recommend to anyone listening that they NOT jump straight over the large squirting fountain unless they want to get all kinds of private parts soaked). I finally got on the Monster, which was fun and gave Moosh and I a chance to cackle. I missed the Rapids Ride and Flyers this time, ah well.
The heat had stared to become really oppresive, so what choice did we have but to repair to Splashin' Safari for some water park action? I was a little leary of Zoombabwe at first, so I did some wave jumping/body surfing in the wave pool and took 4 laps on the lazy river.
My friends then caught up to me and told me I HAD to try Zoombabwe. Alright, fine, let's go. Where's the station? All the way up there?? OMG, I'm going to have a coronary getting up there. Forget the free drinks, parking, and sunscreen, I'm ready for the free elevator! ;-)
I finally made it to the top, and man is it freaky up there. These skinny little stairways, dangling over about a 100-ft. drop off. And, every few minutes, the Legend would dash by and make everything shake. At least I could comfort myself with the knowledge that Indiana is not known for earthquakes! This would just be too much in California.
I boarded my first raft with Tony and Mike Sterling. I realized with horror as we entered the tunnel that I was facing backwards and that I was the heaviest person on the raft. And then it all went black. The tube of this ride is so utterly dark you might as well have your eyes closed. We began picking up serious speed, and then the raft climbed the wall with great force! Around and around we went, faster and faster. I knew we were near the bottom and was watching for the light so I could brace for the water impact, when all of a sudden it felt like we went straight down! This next to last drop is only about 20 feet at approximately a 20 degree angle, but it felt like 50 feet at a 60 degree angle. Truly terrifying. We then went extremely high up on the next curve, and I thought the raft was going to fold over. I was also half expecting us to bend the space/time continuum at this point, as we were near warp speed! We then hit the water with a mighty splash and a hearty "Oh my god, let's do that again!", which we did, to the tune of 4 more rides. This is absolutely the wildest and best water ride I have ever done, and, once again, Holiday World proves that anything worth doing is worth doing right.
We sampled a good number of the other slides also that afternoon (the black ones were a lot of fun, but the long green one was kind of boring after Zoom). I knew that I needed a "disco nap" prior to the ERT festivities, so most of us went back to the hotel to lounge a bit.
We returned to the park pretty much just in time for pizza service. We timed it just right, eating and getting out of there before the main part of the crowd came in to eat. This also benefited us on the rides, as we were able to get a number in before the lines swelled. However, even with a big crowd, the throughput was a lot better than last year. Legend's line was flying, and Raven never seemed to get beyond a 10-20 minute wait. This SRM was the usual blur of alternating between Raven and Legend, with a flume and falling star ride interspersed here and there for variety. Raven picked up even a little more intensity and was stunning by the end of the night. Legend also picked up a bit, but the ending (the helix and the 4 corners) were just too slow compared to last year for me. I know this is not a done deal and the park needs more time to break the coasters in and whatnot, so I don't think the Legend is ruined by the PTCs in any way, shape or form. But, on this night, I did miss the Gerstlauers (and this is the only ride I liked them on).
ERT finally drew to a sad close and I knew it would once again be a year before I set foot in Holiday World again. There's always a heavy sadness, almost a misery that sets in when I leave this park. I sure wish something like this could exist in California, but there's no chance. What else is there to say but "Thank god for the Koch's!"? It was such a joy to see Pat cheerleading in the station and operating the Raven, and to see Will running around all day, happy to be at this place he so obviously loves, instead of hanging out in some air-conditioned office or out on a golf course somewhere. Their love of this park and this hobby really shows, and it may be that this final little detail is what makes Holiday World and SRM so special.
We all met up back at the Lodge and had a great room party that lasted until very late...sorry if you were rooming near us, LOL! I think the undoubted highlight was the bizarre and borderline-pornographic "Shock Video" show on HBO we ended up watching. I finally fell asleep at 4 am, not the best choice as I was set to drive the next leg, up to Indiana Beach. But, who cares...SRM, like Christmas, only comes once a year! And this one was probably one of the top ten days in my life.
To be continued...
Mike Miller - On the gravy train to coaster nirvan***
Ahhh the memories.
When I got back into the hotel, I turned on the TV and also watched a bit of Shock Video until I changed the station once they started showing dudes that were pulling busses with their nads. How sick can one be?
-Sean (who also noticed a few mullets during ERT) F.
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