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 4 - Are We There Yet?
Mike Kallay agreed to do the 4-hour drive to Michigan's Adventure, and at one point I think all of us were asleep but him. The fast pace was catching up to us, but fortunately we had the van to stretch out in. Northern Indiana and western Michigan appear to be the fireworks store capitals of America. I'm not quite sure how 2 different stores on the same highway could bill themselves as the "Largest Fireworks Store in the World" but we were in too much of a hurry to get out and measure square feet. It looks like a large percentage of people in this part of America like to celebrate our country's independence by blowing up a tiny part of it.
I couldn't help noticing a small rise in sophistication as we entered Michigan. It's inexplicable but we all noticed it: better stores, less mullets. As a matter of fact I only saw 2 mullets in the entire state.
The drive to MiA is pretty, but goes on for a hell of a long time. Just when you think it can't go any longer, though, that cheesy little "amusement park, 4 miles" sign pops up. We were all drooling at our first sight of the Timbers, as I knew we would be. I felt that feeling I had before IOA and before riding the Beast...something you have seen so much and now it was finally there in front of you.
We had been advised to do everything else in the park and then Timbers, which was sound advice. So we bagged the kiddie steel (a copy of the Dutch Wonderland steelie, I believe) and the kiddie wood (a copy of the Beastie, but not quite as fast). Still fun though, and I can't get enough of those cute little PTCs! We then rode the Goliath-Screw and enjoyed it's multi-colored paint job. I guess the cries of "Save the Station" were finally heard. Next was the Mad Mouse, one of those doofy Arrow mice with banked turns which was actually pretty fun. Wolverine Wildcat followed; I don't know how MiA made a ride that looks so much like Phoenix and rides so little like Phoenix, and I don't want to know. We were all grateful for the retracking that had been done on W.W. It was smooth in those parts. Other than that it was just plain boring however.
Up to this point that park had been pretty unimpressive...the rides were nothing great, and the park is, to put it bluntly, ugly. I don't know why it has to be so ugly, what with all the greenery nearby, but they decided to clear-cut the forest and put up this one-level-above-a-carnival park. I had some hope left however, because it was time to Shiver the Timbers.
I was deathly afraid of anticipointment on this ride. I settled into row 2 and put my bar down snugly. A little turn and we were off up the lift. Cresting this very tall lift gives a phenomenal view of the area and the coaster itself. My first ride was very good, but surprised me by seeming a bit rough at the turnarounds. The air was there, however, and I made up my mind to ride this until it was time to leave.
Fortunately I ran into Kira, a regular on Coasterbuzz (ST Chick), and she gave me some tips and pointers on the ride. I adopted the riding technique of holding on to the lapbar so it wouldn't drop, and then pushing myself up off of it at each airtime moment. By 5 rides I had it down, by 10 I was in love, by 15 I was in heaven. Yet another #1 contender. Everyone else from TSB2 dropped out except for me and Mike Kallay, and the rides were plentiful as the ride ops were letting us "vulture" a bit. I also have to say that ride op John (don't remember his last name) really made our visit, working the crowd and telling some funny one liners. His Cedar Point training is obvious. We scared the crap out of him by telling him what the Knott's ride ops have to do now ("Check!").
By the end of the session, Mike K. and I were venturing fully extended seatbelt, one click ("golf click") rides, and just getting staggering airtime all over the course. I'm an airtime junkie, and I don't care if the ride is repetitive, so long as it's lifting my ass all over the place, repeatedly. Guess that's why I like Magnum so much. ST is surely the Magnum of wood. I even thought the trick track worked. Can't wait to come back and ride this again, although I sure wish CCI would be contracted to build something similar closer to home.
5 pm rolled around and we decided to head out...not to Indianapolis yet, though. Indiana Beach was on the way and was open until 11, so we soon found ourselves back again with 2 1/2 hours left in the operating day. After locating Mamoosh and his party and telling them where we were, I gave myself to Cornball the rest of the night. That familiar bliss settled on me again as we bashed around the course, exited, vaulted the railing, and queued up over and over again. I grabbed a ton of rides before closing, and enjoyed the last ride of the night in the very back seat, with it's 8 moments of fabulous air. We bid adieu to the friendly ride ops and went back to the hotel, where Moosh and Co. had 3 of the 4 suites. Sadly, the trip was almost over, but it was great to tip a few and spend a last few minutes together before heading back to Indianapolis and our flights home (except for Greg and Tony, who stayed on an extra day and went to SFGAM).
We mounted the Short Bus for the last leg and started down Highway 24 to the interstate. Mike Sterling was driving, and, as we blazed through Wolcott, we were flashed by a police car and pulled over. Unfortunately, I had neglected to tell Mike that "Indiana" is actually an old Iroquis Indian term meaning "speed trap". I don't know what it is about this state, but the Short Bus always gets pulled over there! Mamoosh last year, Sterling this year. Ticket in hand, the newly chastened Mr. Sterling drove the speed limit down to Indianapolis, depositing us in our rooms at 2 am. Everyone else was already gone by the time I awoke and I had a nice, uneventful flight back to L.A.
Once again, SRM was magical. Last year was great, and this year topped even that, although the margin is very, very close. In closing, I would like to thank everyone at Holiday World for putting on such a great event. I sure wish my favorite park in the world was closer, but I'm willing to get on a plane every year to come visit. Just tell me the date, I'm there!
Thanks also to the crew of TSB2 for making this trip great. You are all great traveling companions and we will do it again!
Mike Miller - On the gravy train to coaster nirvan***
Nope, missed the Yo-Yo, didn't look like it did much. You're not the first person to tell me I was wrong! ;-)
I was too busy Shivering the Timbers, anyhow...
Mike Miller-On the gravy train to coaster nirvan***
"He's blazin' away like the stars in the universe.." A. Vega + M. Rev "Ghostrider"
Someday there will be something here.
Now open Zero-G Thrills, an all new Coaster and Amusement Park Photos site
Mike Miller-On the gravy train to coaster nirvan***
First of all, I DO have too much time on my hands. Great reports! I read all of them, because I will be in all 4 of the parks within the next 3 weeks. Thanks for the tips, I'm just praying that PKI is NOT what you explained and what I encountered 10 years ago. What a mess! Thanks again!
There's nothing like a woodie...
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