Four Days of Fun in the Sun...(TR) Part 1

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Friday, September 24, 2004 6:58 PM
Subtitle: Tekno's trip to Myrtle Beach
When: Sept. 19-22, 2004

Note: I'm Only posting Saturday nite and Sunday on this one. I won't be going into total details for Monday-Wed on the next TR as I did more than just parks. For the entire Trip Report, check out my website, the entire thing should be up by the end of the week.

Myrtle Beach is my favorite place to visit for vacation. It has everything I want to do, roller coasters, swimming, good food, clubbing, you name it. As a kid, my family went every year, but now I don’t get to go as much.

The last visit for me was in October of 2002. Late in the season, it was a much different visit than I was used to, but I had a lot of fun. This year I decided to take some time from my new job and head to the beach with my family. Because of a previous engagement, we would be leaving for Salisbury, North Carolina on Friday, September 17 and staying the nite.

Because of Hurricanes Charlie, Francis, Ivan, Bonnie, and Jennean, I was very afraid we were going to be rained out, as it started raining late Thursday evening at home, and continued thru our trip to N.C. When I awoke Saturday morning to find a beautiful blue sky greeting us, I was more than happy.

This would be the way our entire trip would go. We left Salisbury around 4:30 pm on Saturday and headed south. It was about a 4 hour trip including our stop at Pizza Hut in South Carolina for dinner, but we made it to the Holiday Inn Hotel we were staying at around 9:00 pm that evening.

After checking in and taking our luggage up to the suite, I promptly changed cloths and headed out for a nite on the town. I hadn’t really been out clubbing since I moved back home, so I was happy to finally be getting dressed up for a reason. I cruised around downtown for a bit, which, though during the off season, was still fairly active since it was the weekend.

A few things had changed (most notably the construction had finished) downtown, but it was still the Ocean Blvd. I’ve grown to know and love. I didn’t want to arrive at the club too early, so I rode around and chilled some more around Myrtle Beach. Then, at around 11:30 pm, I headed for Club Kryptonite, one of the best at the Beach. I almost went to the Freaky Tiki as I’ve not been in 5 years, but Kryptonite is too good to pass up.

I forgot my flyer to get me in for two bucks, so I ended up paying $10. Hey, it’s not a cheap club, but it’s worth every penny! This was “Coyote Ugly Night”, so there were loads of hot chicks on boxes and up on the bar dancing and pouring drinks in my, err, um, peoples mouths…Good Stuff!

I won’t go into a lot of detail on my nite @ the Club, mostly because I don’t remember exactly what all happened (hey, 2 shots of Jaeger and a couple other drinks can have that effect), but the club was packed and hoppin. The DJ was great, loads of good music, and the crowd was as diverse as it always seems to be. Plus the place looks fabulous, and much better than even last time. Best. Club. In Myrtle!

So I found my way back to our room at a time I’d rather not divulge here, took a shower, and went to sleep. I knew everyone would wake me up for breakfast in a couple hours. Okay, so day two starts with me not getting much sleep, due mostly to the fact that I had been feeling pretty bad the days leading up to vacation, and woke up with a severely sore throat. Thank goodness I packed the Bufferin.

There is a wonderful place in Myrtle Beach called Mammy’s Kitchen, and they have the best breakfast at the beach. The food is good, and the price is right, even for the buffet, which is to die for. So we left around 9:00 am for Mammy’s, which is a family tradition. If you go on vacation in Myrtle Beach, you simply must hit this place up for breakfast! It is about a block north of the Pavilion on the King’s Highway side, incase you’ve never seen it.

The folks took my grandmothers for a ride around in the daylight of Myrtle Beach. My Fraternal grandmother hadn’t been to Myrtle in almost 30 years, so it was quite different than the last time she was there. Instead of accompanying them on this thrilling adventure, my mid-morning nap was calling, so I went back to the room and slept for a couple hours more.

Since this was Sunday, and the Pavilion was only to be open during the day today, I thought I’d better get there around opening (1pm), get my arm band, and ride rides, so I got up a little after one, changed into my swimming trunks so I could do the water rides, and headed down town. This is the way I like it.

Downtown was not very crowded, and the park was in its usual post-season state of deadness. Everything was up and running with the exception of the Carousel and the Top Spin (which I wanted to ride). This is the way all parks should be ran, however, when it comes to cleanliness. There were more handymen around sweeping and cleaning than there were park goers! And as far as I can remember, it’s always been that way.

I love a nice, relaxing, beautiful day at a sea side park. There was a strong ocean breeze, and some of the ops were running the rides like crazy since it’s so close to the end of the season. My first order of business was that big heap of steel and wood that is known as Hurricane: Category 5. There are a lot of people that say this is the worst there is when it comes to roughness.

Yes, it is rough, but not roughest by far. And this is coming from someone who has been on Son of Beast, Mean Streak, and Raging Wolf Bobs all in the month prior to riding HC5. The Pavilion staff does a good job at keeping their rides up and running at capacity for the time they are open, but this is the park’s first wooden coaster in many years, and I think they just don’t know how to maintain the trains that well. That, and those trains suck.

In honor of my Florida coaster buddies, I’ve named every trip on HC5 after a recent hurricane, since I know some of you (Bill), don’t care for the ride much. Still, it is a coaster, so here goes.

Hurricane: Category 5- (Francis) My first ride on Hurricane for the day was a backseat ride. My only other ride on the coaster was in the front, so I was hoping that the back would be just as good. I like the approach to the lift, and it does have a rather large first hill. But after the train whipped me over the top (the back was a more forceful ride), you start getting into those rough spots.

The first bunny hill provides ample air in the back, but the valley before it shakes a little too much. Then there is the valley before the next big hill, which, to me, seems to have the worst rattling on the ride (very Son of Beast like). Still, it isn’t terribly bad, and I have no doubts that were they to get better trains, and keep the wheels from getting squared, the ride would be amazing. The first helix is okay if you are sitting on the right side of the car.

You get strong laterals, and it isn’t rough at all. Then there are a couple more hills before the next helix. Sitting on the right side of the car during this helix, however, is not desirable. This was the roughest part of the ride. It doesn’t so much rattle as it does bump thru the helix. I still like it, I like rough wood, and this wouldn’t be my last time to ride it today. But now it was on to something else a bit smoother…

So next I walked back for a ride on Mad Mouse. Mad Mouse is Arrow’s first wild mouse coaster. I’m glad they got something right the first time. This was a new ride in 1998 and my very first mouse. Though the track does have a few banked moments, it is still very much a mouse.

Mad Mouse- This is my favorite mouse. Ever! There was no breaking on the course during the entire day. I was in the front of the car, and I must say, Wild Mouse coasters are the only coasters that consistently give me that uneasy feeling as they go around the tight corners, feeling as if they’re going to come off the track.

This ride has been painted since the last time I was at the beach, which is good, as it needed a fresh coat of pain. The ride doesn’t even break hard on the long break run. Since none of the blocks were on during the day, the coaster picked up major speed going thru the course, around and up and down the hills. Simply blissful!

The day was hot, and I needed to cool down, so next I headed to Hydro Surge, the park’s water rapids ride. There wasn’t any line for the ride, and so I had no wait for a raft all to myself…

Hydro Surge- This is my favorite rapids ride. Though compact, the ride lasts for quite a while. You start by going into a cave, with quite a bit of rapids. And just when you think you’re going to get really wet…you only get trickled upon (c’mon, you don’t think I’d give away the ride’s biggest surprise, now do you?). After exiting the cave, there are quite a few rapids as well as water traps and water falls to bump and splash into. You will not leave this ride dry. It may be compact, but it lasts a long enough time, and is definitely a fun ride, esp. during the dog days of summer.

I walked around to the front of the park some more, and had already started drying off due to the sun and ocean breeze. I thought it best to go ahead and ride the other water ride in the park, the log flume, next.

Log Flume- Though not the wettest flume I’ve ever ridden, this one is quite long. Again, as with everything else in the park, there was no wait to ride. I got in a log by myself, and off I went. Another compact, yet fairly long water ride in down town Myrtle Beach. This ride has changed very little since opening. But the worst change of all happens in the tunnel before the first lift.

The tunnel is fairly dark, even during the day time, and there used to be purple lights racing down the ceiling of the tunnel, but these have since been removed. It’s a shame, as they were really cool to see. The first smaller hill actually gets you wetter than the larger hill. But the larger hill definitely gets your tummy.

After a bit more splashing around, I felt it was time for something more exciting. Now it was time for the first flat of the day, and my favorite flat at the park, The Rainbow. Again, there wasn’t a line, and little did I know before boarding how insanely fun (sadistic?) the lone ride op on Rainbow really was…

Rainbow- I can still remember when they added this ride. They’ve recently painted it, but the rays around the sun in the middle of the ride are gone, as well as some other parts for themeing. All this aside, I was, unbeknownst to me, getting ready to have the best ride on this thing ever. The original program that the Pavilion runs swings you 3 ½ or so times each way, left, then right. You get some amazing views of the beach and Ocean Blvd. when you get to the top. After the gondola was raised to the top, however, the ride was rather different than what I was used to.

I’m so used to wanting more after 3 rotations, since that is when it seems to get good, that I wasn’t prepared for the 8-10 rotations to the left that the ride op gave us! I say 8-10 because I literally lost count! This was amazing, and when we finally slowed down, I figured the ride was over. Not quite. We then started going around to the right! We did this about 6 times, and when it was all over, the older gentleman running the ride said we could ride again. I was very tempted, but was getting hungry, so I left the ride.

I started to get hungry, and though I could have went for food then, I walked by the Haunted Hotel. I’ve been riding this since I was very young, and though I liked it before, Sally did a good job with their re-theme a few years back. There wasn’t anybody on the ride, and no one in line, so I got on for a spin by myself.

Haunted Hotel- Some of the effects and themeing weren’t working, but nothing that was terribly noticeable. This ride still kinda creeps me out! It’s fairly long, and I could tell that they’ve changed some things, probably to make it less scared for the kiddies (this is, after all, the only haunted house in Myrtle not aimed at teens/adults).

One thing I noticed was the butcher that is chopping up someone’s bloody leg. That used to have a light right on the leg, but it was re-positioned so you can barely see what the butcher is cutting up now.

Well, next it was time for another flat, so I headed to the area that used to house my favorite and the best flat ride in the whole park. But now there is only a smaller, slightly neutered version of the previous ride there. Incase you are wondering, I’m talking about Wipeout. What used to be an indoor, air-conditioned Trabant, with a killer light show and loud music has been replaced with a smaller version of the ride by another company. This ride has seats that face each other as well.

Wipeout- I went to get on, but the op said I couldn’t ride by myself. I was kinda mad, and got out of line, when a middle aged lady stopped me and said she wanted to ride because her kids were getting on as well, but didn’t have anybody to ride with. We rode together, and while the ride is still fun (we were on a forwards facing seat), I miss Sky Tracker. It gave a rather long cycle, and I felt bad for crushing the poor lady, but all in all a fun flat (something you don’t often hear me say).

I felt I might as well go back and take another trip on Hurricane, this time in the middle, so that was where I traipsed off to next.

Hurricane (Charlie)- I had a headache by this point, but the ginger pills I popped before the park were helping me with the nausea from Wipeout. I decided I needed a middle seat on Hurricane, so that was where I went first. This was the worst seat I had on the train. I sat on the left, since I knew the second helix was worse, and sitting on the left helps that a bit. But this was such a jarring ride, that it actually jarred my headache away! Weird!

It was time for a quick break from the park, so I walked down Ocean Blvd. and looked in some of the stores. I then walked over to the best Burger joint in the world, Peach’s Corner, for an incredibly good Peach’s Burger Basket. What is a Burger Basket you ask? Well, to find the answer, you must go to Peach’s Corner and look at the big sign with the question “What is a Burger Basket you ask?”

After my burger and fries, I headed back over to the park. I did another spin on Hurricane first.

Hurricane (Ivan)- Another back seat ride, with almost a full train. I love the station to HC5, its up really high, and you can over look the ocean. Plus there is a great breeze. Back is definitely the place to be for air. It is rougher than the front, but still a fun ride.

Next, another spin on Mad Mouse, as I was quickly falling in love…

Madder Mouse- Again, no breaks, but I had 2 annoying kids behind me on this trip. I never knew a mouse could be this fun! You rip thru the course without any breaks, by the time you get to the incredibly long break run, you have to be going fairly fast for a mouse. Again, 5 out of 5 stars!

I was completely dry by this point, so I figured I have another go at Hydro Surge. After a quick bathroom break, I got in line.

Hydro Surge (again)- This time I was in the raft with 3 little kids who proved to be as much entertainment as the ride. It got me soaked again, but I was in my swimming trunks. The kids were in their cloths. The little boy in the group got splashed by a huge dip in the rapids, and then started giggling and yelling “Oh! My underwear!” I thought I’d die laughing. Good fun, cute kids, but I was over the water rides.

I decided it was time for a bigger break from the Pavilion. I rode by the Family Kingdom which was in full swing, and almost went in for a ride on Swamp Fox, but thought “Hey, it’ll be open at 1:00 pm tomorrow, why bother?” Can you sense the foreshadowing in that sentence?

Went back to the hotel room, checked in with the family, and then walked down to the beach, which was fairly desolate. There were a few people on the beach, some with dogs making me wish I had one of our 3 with me.

I walked to the nearest pier, which was maybe a mile away, staying in the surf most of the time while walking. I pet some dogs, looked at some shells, and just generally enjoyed the waves, birds, breeze, and sights (thank god for bikinis and hot chicks). I went back to the room for a while to rest up and change cloths.

I really wanted some nite rides at the Pavilion, and since I was going out anyhow, figured I’d stop back by before the park closed at 8:00 pm. I jumped back thru the gates about an hour before closing to get another spin on the coasters. I walked around a bit, and then headed once again to HC5.

Hurricane (Bonnie)- Now was time for my front seat ride. Again, it wasn’t as exciting as a back seat ride, but still fun. My only problem with riding in front of a coaster is that the wind kills my eyes. This would be my last ride on this trip. Hopefully one day they’ll put on some new wheels and do some maintenance to the track.

So with my 4 rides on HC5, I knew I needed at least one more ride on one of the best mice ever built. I headed back to Mad Mouse just a few minuets before park closing for one more ride by myself.

Maddest Mouse- Did I mention that there was no blocking on this ride? Again, another insane trip on Mad Mouse, worthy of the top spot on my mouse list. I’d take one of these in my back yard, please. And, yes, it would fit.

So my day at the Pavilion had come to a close. I rode around a bit before I settled into a small local bar for a drink and some time playing one of those bar trivia games. I didn’t stay out nearly as late, though, since I knew I wouldn’t sleep well with my nightly sore throats. To be continued... *** Edited 9/24/2004 11:08:09 PM UTC by TeknoScorpion***

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