“ Dude! Expect security up here any second!.”
As I woke up, I couldn’t help but think about the performance that I fell asleep to last night while watching The Late, Late show. Slipknot, in all their nasty masks played live on the show. It was something to see, but not enough to keep me up thus the reason I fell asleep watching them.
The trip was starting to take its toll on me even though it wasn’t a very hard trip. Well, compared to some of the other trips I have done. I woke up with a pretty nasty headache. Jeff Johnson, Barry Short, and I did not set the alarm clock correctly so we woke up and got ready a full hour ahead of what we had planned to. We decided to take this extra hour and head into Magic Spring to get some breakfast.
We found a Perkins and got something to eat. I could tell the people that work in this town weren’t exactly the nicest people I have seen. We witnessed a waitress pour some hot coffee all over the pants and shoes of a customer. She didn’t say sorry or anything. She just walked away. While the staff at Magic Springs was nice to us, we could tell outside the park was a different story in more ways than one.
After our breakfast, we headed back to Magic Springs for our morning ERT. As we stepped out of our nice air conditioned car, we were welcomed by heavy humidity. We knew we weren’t going to have a pleasant day in the park with this heat but we decided to make the best out of it. Our ERT was on two of the coasters we had last night. We first took a couple of rides on Arkansas Twister then moved to Big Bad John.
From the looks of the amount of people that showed up for ERT, it looked like ERT was going to be very exclusive. Sue Barry and Rick Yekel could vouch for that as they were the only two people riding Big Bad John at one point.
Soon, the park opened so Barry, Jeff, and I decided to ride a few more things before deciding what to do. The Double Shot was close by so we took a quick ride on it. As with most Double Shots I have ridden, this one didn’t disappoint. Barry and Jeff decided to take pictures and footage while I rode Twist ‘n’ Shout by myself. For some reason, the coaster wasn’t running as wild as it was the day before.
Jeff and I decided to give Gauntlet one more ride. This time we decided to ride in the back row. As we were waiting for a back row ride, we heard a recorded warning being played in the station that said the back row was for “experienced riders only.” We decided to stick with it to see if a back seat ride would be smoother despite the strange warning. As it turns out, it wasn’t smooth and was just as rough as the middle row I sat in the day before. I felt no need to ride this again. I wasn’t feeling well thanks to the hot weather. The park was becoming packed as well. We decided to skip the picnic the park set up for us and head to Memphis.
The four hour drive to Memphis was much better than the drive to Little Rock from Branson. By the time we were going over the Mississippi River in Memphis, I was feeling horrible. I didn’t want to do anything the entire day except sleep. Our hotel wasn’t that far away from the popular Graceland. Jeff wanted to visit before we went to Libertyland but I declined to go. I gave Jeff the keys and told him to have fun. Barry decided to take a nap as well and pass on going. Jeff returned an hour later saying he passed on going into Graceland as there was an hour and a half wait. After some more napping, it was time to go to another new park for us all. I still wasn’t feeling well but I thought I would feel better once I got to the park.
We arrived at the park around 5:00pm. We could tell from the parking lot the park had all kinds of cool rides including a new portable Fabri drop tower named Rebellion. Instead of going to one of the coasters first, we got in line for this cool looking tower.
The seating on Rebellion was strange as the tower only held 6 seats (if I remember correctly). The seats are arranged in a way that everyone gets plenty of arm room and no one is sitting directly on one side of the tower but facing out on an angle. Instead of a cable towing the seats to the top, this ride used a double chain lift. It also didn’t stop at the top but rather slowed down and when it got to where it needed to be then the seats were dropped instantly. Even though it only may be 100 feet tall or so, the sensation was incredible. The magnetic brakes started way down near the bottom so it felt like we were going to crash into the metal floor as we fell.
Since there were other rides we wanted to ride, we took off in search of the coasters. We met up with Robert Ulrich and spent the rest of the evening with him. We couldn’t get on the kiddie coaster as it had a height requirement so we went to the Arrow looper that resides in the back of the park.
From what I remember, this is the first model of this coaster I have ridden. It’s basically the standard layout of the original corkscrews like found at Busch Gardens Tampa but with a loop thrown in before the corkscrew portion. Cedar Point’s Corkscrew has a similar layout but Revolution doesn’t have the camelback. Revolution has only operated at Libertyland.
For a coaster that looked pretty old, it ran pretty well. I was expecting to be thrown around a bit but it didn’t happen. It had the standard Arrow transitions but they were taken at low speed so it didn’t bang us around.
Robert suggested we do the log flume next. We were welcomed by a long line but Robert assured us it would go fast. The line didn’t seem like it was moving. A quick look at the boats being stopped made us bail out of line and head to the next coaster.
This was the last coaster of the trip. Its claim to fame is being “Elvis’s favorite ride.” I knew it was one of the oldest coasters in the world, so I didn’t expect much. As we were getting in line, a group of kids line jumped us. Jeff yelled at them and they got out of line. Jeff wasn’t satisfied with that as he then got the attention of the chaperone the kids were with and told them what happened. No Pippin for them!
For my first ride, I waited for the front like I have done many times this trip. I didn’t really even know the layout of this ride so I was surprised to see a long turn after the lift. There was new wood all over this ride so I knew the park took care of it. The first couple of hills were fun and not rough at all. After the second turnaround, we saw the true power of this coaster as a couple of the hills that follow caught us off guard with the incredible amount of airtime we got. It really surprised me. The third turnaround resulted in shoving everyone to the side as we flew around it. The last part of the ride had a couple of more fun hills before hitting the skid brakes.
I had no idea this ride packed the punch it does. This had to be the biggest surprise of the trip. One ride wasn’t enough so we decided to catch a few more before heading to the reception the park put together for us.
The reception was nice as it afforded us a nice place to sit and relax while the park was closing. We were served ‘Elvis’s favorite snack” which was fried peanut butter sandwiches with banana. Seriously, this is one of my favorite snacks as well, minus the bananas. A large number of people left the reception early so they could get a ride on the train that travels around the park. I decided to stay and chatted with many folks including Don and Carole Feeble, Bill (Rollergator), and Tina Nelson.
When ERT began on Zippin Pippin, Rebellion, and Revolution, Tina and I went straight for Rebellion as we both dig drop rides. She hadn’t ridden it yet so she was excited. We couldn’t stop with just one ride so we went around for a few more times before moving on to Zippin Pippin. It was dark out so we knew our rides on Pippin were going to be awesome.
We ended up riding quite a few times. With each ride, I liked this coaster more and more. I would return to Libertyland just to ride this coaster if I was in the area. The front car seemed to give the most wicked ride out of all the seats I rode in.
A few of us decided to spend the rest of the ERT on Rebellion. The park afforded us the chance to take our cameras on the rides during ERT. Barry shot many different angles of the drop ride while riding. Since there wasn’t a line for it, we were allowed to stay on until ERT ended. We must have gotten 10 rides in before ERT ended.
With ERT now over, everyone made their way out to the parking lot. Some people were planning on coming back the next morning for more ERT, but Jeff, Barry, and I had to drive back to St.Louis so we could go home. We said our goodbyes to everyone and made our way back to our nearby hotel.
Before going to sleep, we stayed up and watched a very bizarre cartoon that took place on a space station someplace. I don’t remember the name but it was very strange. What happened as I was getting ready to go to sleep was even more strange, or funny, depending on your point of view.
I was brushing my teeth in the sink that was close to our door to our room. I heard some wild laughing going on out in the hall so I peaked my head out and saw two women putting their ears against a door down the hall. They were giggling about something but I didn’t care so I closed our door. A minute later, the laughing sounded like it was much closer so I looked through the peephole and could see the same two women doing the same thing to the door across from ours.
I had a feeling that our door was going to be next so I decided to play a little joke on them. I asked Jeff to give me the first line that came to his mind. He was confused as to why I asked this but I told him to say something quickly. I looked out our peephole once more and saw that the two women were listening in our room. Instead of just opening the door and scaring them away like I should have done, I decided to say the first thing that came to me.
“Jeff, where did you put that crack pipe?” I said.
Sure, it wasn’t the most intelligent thing to say but it did get a reaction out of the women as I saw them cover their mouths and continue laughing as they moved no down the hall.
Jeff said they probably were going to get security. I had to laugh at that as I said it in such a funny way that anyone would have known it was a joke. Jeff left our room to go outside to grab a smoke while Barry and I continued to watch bizarre cartoons.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
It seems like Jeff forgot to take his hotel key and was locked out.
….or so I thought.
I opened the door and was surprised to see a security guard standing in front of me.
“Oh. Hello there sir. What’s up?”
The guard said in a very nervous voice, “Um….We just got a complaint from two people who said someone was smoking crack up in this room.
I began laughing. I can’t believe those two women did that. I told the man that no one was smoking crack and explained why I was joking about in on the first place. I told him he could come in and search the room if he wanted but he could tell that wasn’t necessary. He said those women had put in two other complaints that evening about people fighting and doing other things but they were all false. It sounds as if I wasn’t the only one that tried to fool those fools.
The guard shook my hand and told me it was cool. I told him he should go downstairs and ask my friend the same questions he asked me as Jeff said he knew security was going to come up. Sure enough, the guard did exactly that but Jeff knew he was being messed with.
Once Jeff came back, we all had a good laugh and got to sleep at a decent hour. The next morning we loaded up the car for one more time and drove 4 hours (our last drive) back to St. Louis. We were thinking about going up into the St. Louis arch but time didn’t permit it. I haven’t been up in there since I was 15 or so and Jeff and Barry hadn’t been up there at all.
Once we dropped off the rental car, Barry and Jeff went ahead to the airport while I argued with the rental car company about being overcharged $120 for bringing the car back a half hour early. It only took about 20 minutes to get everything sorted out and I was soon on a shuttle back to the main terminal where I met back up with Barry and Jeff. Jeff flew our first so we hung out at his gate until it was time for him to leave. We all went to the bookstore and picked up magazines to read. I picked up the latest FHM. It had a small review of the Dragon from Coasterdynamics and mentioned Jack Rimer and Mike Graham. Way to go guys!
Jeff’s flight left on time. Mine was a half hour late. Barry decided to hang out at my gate until I left. We talked about how the trip went down very well despite all of us having a negative start. My flight was only an hour long as I had to fly to Chicago to change planes. The pilot made up some time and we ended up getting into Chicago Midway a few minutes early. This was fine with me as I was to only have an hour layover.
As we were making our way to our gate so we could deplane, our plane stopped and the captain got on the PA.
“Ladies and gentlemen. There is a plane sitting at our gate. We have word it should only be another 15 minutes until we are able to park our plane there.”
From flying so much, I know 15 minutes isn’t 15 minutes but rather 25 or so. After 20 minutes goes by, the captain comes back on and tells us he has no idea what the problem is and we would have to wait it out as there were no other gates for us to go to. This wasn’t good. I tried to tell the flight attendants that I had to catch a flight in under a half hour. They said there was nothing they could do. I had never missed a flight before and it looked like my first time was just about to happen.
Finally the plane that was occupying our area left and we were allowed to deplane at the gate. I got off the plane and ran to my gate hoping they would still allow me to board as it was down to a few minutes. I get to my gate and see a sign saying my flight has been delayed an hour.
Never have I wanted a delay until this moment. It all worked out for the better. I got home a bit later than expected and still wasn’t feeling good but in retrospect, I think the trip was a success. We drove a total of 1,343 miles on the trip. Not bad for just a few days of traveling.
Taking a needed break after a trip like that would have been nice, but it wasn’t going to happen.
You see, Jeff had something up his sleeve for months, and it was going to start two days after I got back from this trip. Of course, I couldn’t pass up another trip like the last one we had. This second trip was a bit more jammed though.
The goal was simple. Nineteen parks in seven days.
Whirlwind Tour ’04 was here!
Look for the trip reports soon.
Thanks for reading,
. *** Edited 9/6/2004 1:37:31 AM UTC by Sean Flaharty***
The Pippin was one of the highlights of the trip, especially nightime ERT. We all had AMPLE time for as many rides on it and the drop tower as we could handle. :-D Being a lifelong Elvis fan/historian of sorts (thanks to mom) it was fun to finally get to visit his "favorite" ride. Elvis, due to his thrillseeking nature, was obviously a coaster fanatic. I think Bill and I even discussed what Elvis' "coaster count" would of been.....lol.
The Pippin was just........blissful. I reminded Sean to keep thinking of Elvis (for spiritual purposes) as we rode (you have to remember it was VERY humid and the humidity with the lack of sleep does strange things to the minds of a couple of kids from the midwest who aren't used to such THICK and muggy weather...right Sean? ). lol.
The peanut butter and banana sandwiches were surprisingly VERY tasty. :-P It was a nice break from all the barbecue and cole slaw that was provided all weekend at both parks. lol.
*** Edited 9/8/2004 1:35:16 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
Was that the cartoon you were watching?
It's hilarious, I love it.
Glad to see you had fun, and glad to hear a report on a Fabri drop tower too. I hope we see more of these at small places and carnivals/fairs.
Hooray for SeaLab 2021
Was that the cartoon you were watching?
It's hilarious, I love it.
Yep. That was it. It was so bizzare, yet we couldn't turn it off. Go figure.
The drop ride and Pippin are enough to get me back there. I really didn't think I would enjoy the park as much as I did.
I totally forgot about riding for Elvis. For my first ride I thought I would be thinking about the coaster being Elvis's favorite as that is virtually the only thing i knew about it. As soon as we left the station I forgot about it.
I am not surprised one bit that you knew of that show. You seem to know all of those bizare shows. You ready for LoG and Type-O?
Go figure. We couldn't turn off a strange cartoon in Memphis but we had no trouble turnning off the free hardcore porn in France.
You must be logged in to post