The Trip Start and Words of Fun
“Time to evacuate”
So you may be wondering why I named these series or trip reports Four Jammed. No, these reports aren’t going to be kinky or whatever your dirty mind may have dreamed up. Four Jammed is just the first thing that came to my mind when I was thinking about this trip. The “four” describes the driving portions of the trip as 95% of the driving in between the locations we went to was 4 hours. Jammed just means our schedule was pretty much jammed with no time to do anything else other than drive and visit parks.
The original idea of the trip was pretty basic. Have fun at the ACE Preservation Con. The two parks of the Con, Magic Spring in Arkansas, and Libertyland in Memphis were two parks I have never been to before. However, once I mentioned going to the Pres Con to Jeff “Master Planner” Johnson and Barry Short, I knew a simple trip of just going to those parks wasn’t going to happen. We all agreed to travel together to preserve funds, so everyone came up with some input on how to make this trip as fun as possible. We are not strangers to doing crazy side trips but some of the ideas floating around were just wrong.
The plan, while not as simple as the original plan, was as follows. Everyone was to fly and meet up in St. Louis as it was the cheapest out of the cities we looked into. From there, we would drive 4 hours to Kansas City and spend the few remaining hours of the night at Worlds of Fun. From there, we would drive 4 hours to Springfield to spend the night. The next day would include a visit to Silver Dollar City and Celebration City. The day after that, we would drive 4 hours to Hot Springs, Arkansas to start the Pres Con part of the trip at Magic Springs. Next was a 4 hour trip to Memphis to spend some time at Libertyland. The final day would be to drive 4 hours back to St. Louis before flying home. It was going to require a lot of driving, but we thought it would be fairly easy2.
Wednesday, July 28th. An early morning with an unexpected event.
I dropped my car off at Port Columbus International and hopped onto a shuttle taking me to the main terminal. I walked up to the metal detector area and was welcomed by a nice lengthy line. It took me about 20 minutes to arrive at the actual metal detectors. I was stopped from walking through the detector as the woman that was viewing the X-ray monitors had to stop and fix her glasses. She slowly opened up a small kit and began messing around with her glasses. This went on for a few minutes before her supervisor came over to tell her she had to keep things moving. This set up a small argument between the two of them. To say I was wearing my patience thin at that moment was an understatement. I had plenty of time to spend, but I could clearly hear folks behind me panicking about not getting to their gate in time because of what was happening.
I arrived at my gate well over an hour before I was to depart. I spent some of the time playing Ms. Pac Man on my phone. I was in group ‘A’ so I would be boarding my Southwest flight in the first group. For those not familiar with Southwest’s boarding procedures, there are 3 groups (A, B, and C). Each group holds at least 30 people. Depending on when you check in, you can usually get in either group A or B. Group C usually contains those folks who wait the last minute to check in. Once in the plane, you can sit wherever you want. I usually go for a back row as most people don’t like to sit back there and frequently get a whole row to myself on unfull flights.
Our plane was arriving from Richmond and was about a half hour late. This was no biggie as I had 3 hours to spend in the St. Louis airport area waiting for Barry and Jeff to arrive. Once our plane arrived and passengers exited, pre-board folks were allowed to enter. Just as group A was about to enter, the man collecting boarding passes slams the door shut to the hallway that led down to the plane. He then took off running away from the gate.
Confusion quickly set in with many folks. I have flown many times and I have never seen this happen. Did the man have to go to the bathroom or something? I heard some commotion coming from the security gate area. After a few minutes, the man came back. He quickly got onto the P.A. and said,
“Ladies and gentlemen. Security has just informed us of a security breach. We are going to have to evacuate the entire concourse and have everyone re-screened.”
Hundreds of people began the slow walk back to the security gate area. Once back in the main terminal, everyone waited as many security personnel had a brief meeting on how to get everyone back through in a timely fashion. Not only did they have to rescan the hundreds that were already scanned, but they had to scan the hundreds of folks waiting to get through the first time. What a chore this was going to be. I talked with a security guard about what happened. He said a man tried to run past security to catch up to a friend or hand him something. He was tackled and taken away. While it may have been a hassle to be rescanned, I was glad security was doing something as the crew I saw when I went through wasn’t exactly all there. It took about an hour to get back through the gate. Sure, I would be arriving in St. Louis an hour later than expected, but I still had some time to spend once I got there.
The flight to St. Louis was completely full thanks to a large church youth group that was heading back home. I don’t have any particular reason to dislike a large group like this, but I did find it very annoying when the group decided to sing camp-fire-like hymns for most of the hour flight. Luckily, I had my MP3 player with me so I drowned out the off key hymns for the more soothing sounds of the latest Killswitch Engage disk.
Once I arrived in St. Louis, I took a shuttle to the rental car area and picked up a Ford Taurus. I have never driven a Taurus. After a few minutes of driving, I found it to be comfortable. The sound system wasn’t the best but it would get us by.
I drove to a nearby mall and decided to walk around. The mall wasn’t busy at all so I took my time walking around looking for something I would be interested in. I didn’t see any music stores but I did find a Gamestop. I browsed for 10 minutes or so before deciding to go back to the car and wait for Jeff and Barry to call me. As soon as I got in, I got the call. I picked them up in about 10 minutes and we began the first of our 4 hour drives. This time, we would be heading to Kansas City.
From the sound of things, I wasn’t the only one that had a negative start. Barry’s car broke down before he got to the airport so he had to have it towed where it would be waiting for him when he was finished with the trip. He would then have to have it towed back to Virginia as he flew out of Baltimore. Jeff had some important bills to mail before he left California but left them sitting at home.
We weren’t going to let any negative stuff ruin the trip. We were all glad to get this trip going. The drive went by faster than expected even though we stopped a couple of times. It felt strange driving on I-70 in Missouri as I was just on the same exact road in Columbus a few hours before. At around 6:30pm, we arrived in Kansas City. Our plan was to get to Worlds of Fun by 7:00 and spend the last 3 hours at the park.
We ended up walking up to the front gate at exactly 7:00. We went to guest services to get a free ticket thanks to our Cedar Fair passes from different parks. While we were waiting, we watched a security guard argue with a family. From what we could patch together, the family was thrown out for line jumping (Yaaaa!) and was offended so they started arguing with the guard.
Once inside the park, we decided to head to the newest coaster. I had been to most of the parks on this trip before, but I would be riding some new rides. As we got closer to the new ride, we could see the twisted layout in the area that used to be occupied by Orient Express. The loading station of OE was still visible but the new coaster makes the area look brand new.
This was the first Gerstlauer spinning coaster I have ridden. I know there is an identical version at the Mall of America, but I have never been there. The layout contained many twists and drops, all while the coaster car spins freely. While we were waiting in the 20 minute long line, we noticed that there wasn’t much spinning on this coaster. At first we just dismissed it as something to do with the cars themselves but we later saw one car get a few good spins in.
For our first ride, Barry and I sat on the same side. Jeff sat on the other side facing us. I could tell the face-off aspect of the ride was going to play a huge part in the fun of the ride. Our car left the station and heading up the quick lift. Barry and I were facing backwards at this point and didn’t know what was in store. Once we crested, we coasted down a nice curving drop before arriving at a small switchback section. Our car wasn’t spinning quickly but the changes in direction were enough to give all of us a strange feeling.
The next part of the ride contains two helices that are heavily banked. Our car rotated in a way that spun us through in a very weird movement. It was almost like we were riding a whirlpool on the side. It made us all laugh as it was a brand new sensation we have never felt on a coaster. Our car hopped up into the next block section then all hell broke loose. We began to spin like mad. Even though we knew the next part of the coaster has a couple of curves and drops, we had no idea where we were at. There is a nice drop and rise after the next block that got us spinning even more. The last part of the ride consisted of a quick 270 degree upward helix before hitting smooth magnetic braking. Man, I do love magnetic braking. This was the first smaller coaster I have ridden to use magnetic braking and it worked well.
To say we were impressed in an understatement. This coaster was pure fun. Of course, we had to ride again instantly so we got back in line. This time, Barry sat on the other side while Jeff and I went up the lift backwards. Just as with our first ride, we spun like crazy. When we got to the final helix, we went through it in a way where our position never really changed through the element. We kind of just rolled through it while the car remained to keep us facing the same way through the whole thing. Weird.
With two rides in, we decided to ride a few more things before closing time. Detonator didn’t have a line so we grabbed a quick ride. There is something to be said about Mark 1 Space Shots. They usually provide an insane amount of airtime at the top and this was no exception. Barry decided to skip the next coaster. Jeff and I soon found ourselves sitting in the train of…
I had already ridden this one but Jeff had not. To be honest, it wasn’t all that bad. I didn’t find it to be rough at all. Still, it was very familiar. If I hadn’t ridden it, I wouldn’t have cared, but it was there. It had no line. It was a coaster. Nuff’ said.
With only a two train wait, we knew we were going to get in a couple of quick rides on this Morgan hyper. I only got to ride this once on my last visit so I was looking forward to giving it another ride. The highlight of the ride for me is the crazy head chopper section of the helix. The airtime going over the second hill was cool as well. The bunny hops on the way back were taken a bit slow, but they were still fun.
The last time I rode this coaster, I didn’t care much for it. There was virtually no one riding it. We rode near the back. Jeff had ridden it when it was running much better and was looking forward to riding again. Sad to say, Timberwolf was not running up to par this evening. It wasn’t exactly painful, but it was shuffling all over the place and by the end of the ride, we were more than ready to leave it. Perhaps I caught it on another bad day.
With everything ridden we wanted to ride, we still had some time to get in a few more rides. We rode Detonator once more and headed back to Spinning Dragons for one last ride. This time, I sat on the other side by myself, but in the left seat. Barry and Jeff said we weren’t going to get much spinning if I sat in that seat but I decided to give it a try anyway. Sure enough, the spinning was tame. Oh well. I learned something. The coaster really does stand out at night as it is lit very well.
At 10:00, we left Worlds of Fun and began a nice lengthy 4 hour drive to Springfield where we would be staying. I had driven from Springfield to Kansas City before and remember the drive being less than stellar. It was raining a fine mist and was foggy. Hopefully the drive tonight would be better.
Famous last words.
The drive to Springfield was nasty. Misty rain fell the entire way to Springfield. There isn’t any real quick way to get to Springfield. If you are familiar with the area, or go look at a map, you can get an idea of what I am talking about. There were no lights anywhere. It was just dark and rainy. The 4 hour drive seemed to take much longer as it was just so blah. Thankfully, we got to our hotel before dawn. Barry found a cool place for a reasonable place. We didn’t stay up late as we had another big day in store for us.
Hopefully it would be a dry day.
The power that is B&M and GCI
Thanks for reading,
*** Edited 8/27/2004 1:23:00 AM UTC by Sean Flaharty*** *** Edited 8/27/2004 1:30:18 AM UTC by Sean Flaharty***
/I'll stick with America West
Sean Flaharty said:
I talked with a security guard about what happened. He said a man tried to run past security to catch up to a friend or hand him something. He was tackled and taken away.
What a moron. Can't people think for themselves anymore? Not only did he ruin his own day, but he screwed up travel plans for everyone else in the airport, which I assume sent a ripple effect through other airports because of the delayed flights.
It's just like that guy who 'forgot' he had a gun in his carry-on luggage at the Miami airport. How the heck do you forget you have a gun with you while going into airport security? "Let's see... going through metal detectors... uh.. watch, keys, cell phone, yep, that should do it! BING BING BING! Oh crap, I forgot, I have a gun, too!"
Ok, back on topic. Sounds like you had lots of fun otherwise! Hopefully someday I'll be able to make it to those parks.
Until then I am piggy-backing on everyone else's TR's. LOL!
The Gauntlet was AMAZING! Not too bangy. The BIGGEST surprise was the Arkansas Twister though, especially during nightime ERT AFTER it rained.
Excellent TR Sean, as always! It was a blast hanging out with you guys over that weekend!
*** Edited 8/27/2004 5:45:49 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN*** *** Edited 8/27/2004 5:47:03 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
coasterqueenTRN said:The Gauntlet was AMAZING! Not too bangy.
That's what I wanted to hear, Tina! Now are you going to just tease us with juicy tidbits like that or are you going to post the whole thing ;)
I keep telling myself this summer that I'm going to post more TRs but it just never happens. Maybe I'll throw some up during the off-season as well.
Sean's TR's are very descriptive and makes you visualize everything he is experiencing as you are reading it. I love reading his stuff.
He is pretty much nailing the whole weekend........can't wait till he gets to the Libertyland part! :-D
I guess you are right. I just got off a Delta flight an hour or so ago and didn't hear any signing, but then again, I slept the whole flight.
I do believe I rode Timberwolf near the front my first ride a few years ago. I didn't care for it much then etiher, but it wasn't the worst.
I agree. People are stupid. My flght back to Columbus a few hours ago was delayed 40 minutes because a baseball team wanted to get on the already full flight I was on. Since no one was willing to give their seats up, they decided to throw a fit at the gate resulting in a nice delay.
Well at least there was one person that liked Gauntlet. =:^) Nuff' said about that.
The Libertyland report will be in part 4. Look for it sometime this week.
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