Parks visited: 12
Partners in crime: Bill, Kristin, Katie, Tim, Rob, Chuck, Brian, April, Pete, Dave, Diana, a cameo by Gonch, and a sexy, international phone call from Jimvy!
Day 1: Cedar Point
I started the day off by picking up my rented, sexy but economical black Elantra from Hertz at Yeager Airport in Charleston. 4 1/2 hours later I was at Cleveland-Hopkins Airport to pick up Rollergator Bill at 2pm. Once I found him wandering around the baggage claim area (dazed and confused as usual..lol) it was OFF to Da Point. It was GREAT to hang with him again, since we hadn't seen each other since Solace week back in March. I was stoked!
En route I got a call from Kristin, who said she would meet up with us later. Once we got to the Days Inn we checked in, chilled out, and then went to Meijer's to get food, beer, Diet Coke, aspirin.......the necessaties in life. ;-)
Once Kristin stopped by our room we headed off to Cedar Point. I was PSYCHED to do Dragster first thing, since I missed it opening day. I was also excited to pop Bill's Dragster cherry, not to mention spend the next two days at one of my favorite parks.It was GREAT to see Kristin again, as I hadn't seen her or any of my *kids* since Solace.
Kristin parked in her *preferred* lot which is right beside of Gemini, and is now MY preferred lot as well. Thanks girlfriend! She then showed us a shortcut walk to the Soak City entrance. Thank goodness for the locals! They just don't know HOW good they have it. ;-) I still think most of you are jaded and spoiled, but you know I love yas! ;-)
Once we got in the park we went straight to Dragster as usual. I needed my Gasm ASAP. We got it. Bill LOVED it, and I was happy. SAWEET!
The rest of the evening was spent doing the usuals...... several rides on Raptor, Maggie, Blue Streak, Cedar Downs, Wildcat, MaxAir and god knows what else. The evening was pretty much a blur. I do remember Bill getting yelled at on Calypso, as well as *almost* getting yelled at on Cedar Downs. He's just a troublemaker! We finished the evening off by having dinner at Chet and Matt's near the park. For those of you who have eaten there there is no explanation necessary. For those of you who haven't.....GO! After an amazing pizza feast Kristin drove us back to the motel and we said our "see ya laters". She said that her and Jeff would be by the park tomorrow evening but at that time I wasn't sure when Bill and I would be heading to Pittsburgh. I promised to call her either way to let her know what our plans were. And I crashed soon after. :-)
Day 2: Cedar Point by day/Pittsburgh by night.
We got to the park around opening. AWESOME weather with medium-sized crowds. We got 2 more rides on Dragster (one of them front seat for Bill) as well as a couple of blissful rides on the usuals. Maggie's (mostly completed) new paint job looks awesome! We also got our FIRST front row seat on Millie, which didn't go without some trouble. Bill found one of the ride op's name badges facsinating, and had to snap a photo of it. This in turn made the obviously annoyed ride op to alert the other ride ops that Bill had a camera. To make a long story short, Bill gave me his camera to put in my waistpack......everyone was happy. THEN, we got stuck halfway up the lift hill for about 15 minutes. I LOVED it. I LOVE heights, but quickly got impatient, especially since I saw a cloud looming over us. I thought to myself "Now I wonder what would happen if it suddenly rained as we are sitting here stuck on the lift hill?" Fortunately it didn't, and we got started again. The ride ROCKED my socks off.
After our train arrived in the station they shut the ride down. I am not sure what the problem was. Anyway, the trouble was WORTH the chance to ride this puppy in the front row for once. AWESOME! We hit the main arcade, which is my favorite arcade on the planet. Not only do the DDR's and skeeball rock, but CP has an amazing collection of 80's classics, which I totally love. They have everything from Galaga to that MTV Drum Machine thingy (which is fun!). I could spend hours alone in that arcade.
Bill got his Jr. Gemini credit, which was the first of many kiddy coaster credits on this trip. ;-) He's just a BIG kid isn't he? And he didn't even have to use the "ride without a kid" passes that were handed out at No Coaster Con by the park.
I called Kristin and said we were leaving the park early so I would not pass out during the three hour drive to Pittsburgh. I believe we left around 4-ish and got some food at the local Steak-N-Shake.
The drive to Katie's (CoastinKatie's) didn't seem so long, although once I got into West Mifflin I was tired, testy, grouchy, and sick of the rain. Bill and I fussed over the Mapquest directions, and at the last moment I decided I wanted to take my own route and go straight to Kennywood and call her there for directions. I knew she lived about 10 minutes from the park but I wasn't about to deal with the screwy roads in the area. There are no rights or lefts in suburban Pittsburgh, but more like "sorta right" or "left, left" or "straight but sorta to the right" roadways, not to mention the "look for three exits, take the second one". Sheesh! I had been to Katie's before, and mapped out a route between Charleston to her place in West Mifflin. The directions had me going on NOT only secondary roads but one-lane, third-rate roads, alleys, graveyards..............and I thought West Virginia's roads were screwy! Still, all was fun.
Anyway, once I got to Kennywood I recognized the mall behind the parking lot, and went up there to call her. Damnit......THEN I remembered PA's wacky liquor laws, and the distributor was closed! No Yuengling Lager for me tonight. It didn't matter. Everything was good. I was having a blast!
I called Katie and had Bill talk to her to guide me to her place. Once we got there I was exhausted, but happy to see her again and finally meet Tim (CorkscrewFoley) from Canada. We chilled out for a bit and caught up. Afterwards I crashed HARD (yet again).
Day 3: Geauga Lake
We woke up bright and early to make the 2-hour trip to Geauga Lake. This was my first visit to the park since 2003 when it was still under Six Flag's rule. I was kind of bummed that I couldn't use my Cedar Point season pass, although I knew beforehand anyway. Still, the cheap $19.95 "before Memorial Day" special wasn't too shabby, and WELL worth it. The trip was rainy, cold, but the steak/egg/cheese bagel and hashbrowns I had at McD's made up for it. Plus, I had good company. Unfortunately our plan to *draw* cat whiskers on Bill's face didn't work out. He DOES love to sleep in the car, but unfortunately he can wake up way too easily. I guess we will have to drug him next time. lol.
I was excited to visit again, and to revisit Batmaninator (I made up my own names..lol) and X-Flight. We went to X-Flight first thing. Tim had never been to Geauga Lake before so he was quite excited, if not nervous as hell. I LOVE the Vekoma flyers, more than the Beema Supermans. I think we went to SuperSteelVenom next. No, the guys went there. Katie and I did the Intamin first gen drop.... Mr Hyde's. SWEET! A little smoother than Demon Drop. These things STILL kind of freak me out, mostly because they have an eerie sound as if they are going to fall apart at any second. Gotta love it!
Batmaninator was next I believe, and was was a total walk-on. Front ROW baby! Actually, the park was DEAD the entire day for the most part. Dom was there for the taking. ;-) What a RIDE! I LUST IT!
We eventually met up with the Cinci/Dayton boys... Chuck, his brother Rob and eventually Brian (swOHman). We had quite a group of nuts going!I would not of had it any other way.
Raging Wolf Bobs was running better than ever (thanks to the noticeable re-tracking), Big Dipper was flying, and the guys got the Beaver (Mine RIde that is.....lol.) Villian was a hit of the day, but after two rides I was hurting. I know people LOVE it, but it's just not MY type of coaster.
After lunch (I had VERY mediocre chili cheese fries, which I STILL think the chili was from a Hormel can) we did the rounds before it started to rain. At this point the gang went to the bumper cars (which I sat out.....not a huge fan of them) and decided to videotape the others. Apparently THESE bumper cars were on insane mode, considering Bill and Katie BOTH got some nasty bruises/scratches from a few head-on collisions. After that I headed to the arcade for some skeeball as usual and they eventually joined up. There was also a duck incident involving Bill that I know nothing about. Supposedly Bill was chasing the ducks trying to get a photo......:-) I also got an international call from Invy Jim, who usually text messages me when I am on trips. His sweet, sexy Scottish voice is always welcomed, and my cell phone was quickly passed around for all to say hi! Thanks mate!
After an AWESOME day at the park, we left about 6pm-ish in several cars. Some of the peeps wanted to stop and eat, gas up the cars, etc. Bill, Tim and I decided to drive straight back to Katie's place so she gave me her apartment key. Luckily, we got to her place without any hassle, as Bill made me follow the same Mapquest directions that I ignored in the first time. It took us right to her door. About a half hour later, the rest of the crew showed up. We spent most of that evening just chit-chatting. Rob and Chuck were staying at a motel nearby, while the rest of us crashed at her place. Anyway, we promised to meet up again for breakfast the next morning before our trip to Kennywood. I crashed earlier than everyone else, which is no surprise. lol. It would feel GREAT getting to "sleep in" the next morning, since Kennywood was not far away.
Day 4: Kennywood and Potato Patch fries w/gravy
We met up with Rob and Chuck at a local Denny's, but left after we figured out that we were NOT going to be seated anytime soon (or in the next decade for that matter). I had sent some money to Katie beforehand for me and Bill's discounted tickets, which she picked up at the local Giant. Rob, Chuck, and Brian picked theirs up that morning. Sweet!
We got to the park about 10:30-ish, and was immediately impressed by the new entrance......beautiful! We also noticed there were several events going on that day, including one involving the Western New York Coaster Club. Still, the crowds were minimal. First thing was the obvious.....Phantom's Revenge. LOVE IT! Bring it on baby!
Next up was Exterminator, The Whip, and one of my fave rides in the park........PITTFALL! Since we skipped breakfast I was getting hungry, and couldn't keep my mind off of those heavenly PP fries that I look forward to every year when visiting the park. Katie convinced me to try it with gravy (on the side) this time, which wasn't too bad. It went well with the cheese and garlic, although I prefer chili (which Kennywood doesn't offer). I guess gravy isn't my thing. ;-) Bill's order of cheese and bacon bits looked absolutely orgasmic though, and of course he took a photo (to tease Jimvy eventually).
Anyway, after the fries we went to Noah's Ark and then hit the woodies in the back. That double-dip on Jack Rabbitt still scares me to this day, and the new seat belts do NOT hinder the ride experience. Your butt is STILL going to fly out of the seat! Katie and I intended on doing the Skycoaster (and tried to seduce the guys into flying with us, even letting them get in the middle if they wanted), but we waited too late in the day to reserve our spot. Oh well, next time! There is always KennyKon. ;-)
Eventually we met up with my good friends April and Pete. April also drove from Dayton and Pete is another Pittsburgh native. Party time!
We did the rounds, and eventually ended up at King Kahuna, which I WARNED Bill he WOULD get soaked. He, Katie, and Tim decided to brave it anyway while the rest of us watched, pointed, and laughed our butts off. They got NAILED about three times. They were literally soaked from head to toe. Suckers! LOL!
Later that evening we went to Baby Patch and loaded up on even MORE fries and some of the best chicken strips I have ever tasted. I admit that hot sauce isn't too bad on fries (I tried some of Bill's). Still, I prefer my cheese and garlic. Then we met up with Dave Althoff, who hung out with the us nutsos the rest of the evening. We eventually made it to Garfield's, as I knew it was new to Bill and Tim and they would love it. The rest of the evening is pretty much a blur.
Lord Gonchar caught up with us. It was GREAT seeing him again, and I felt like an ass since I SAW him and his family/posse several times that day and THOUGHT I recognized him each time but was too unsure it was him to walk up and say "Hey Gonch!" I guess it was the new hairstyle. ;-)
After making it back to Katie's we had a blast reading the instuctions and game cards from Ghettopolly (you just had to be there) as well as bulls****ing most of the evening about just about everything. Great times! Katie's adorable son, Matt, came home later that evening so everyone got to meet him. I think the kid was too overwhelmed at all of us! lol.
After a few beers I passed out, before everyone else again. I know.....I crash hard and sometimes too early.....Just ask Bill. lol. Chuck, Rob, Pete and April headed out soon afterwards. What an awesome day!
Oh, and Bill and Tim both got their Little Phantom credits. lol. Bill's second kiddy credit on this trip. There will be more. ;-)
Day 5: Conneaut Lake and Waldameer
The next morning Bill and I said our goodbye's to Tim, Brian, and Katie and started to head up to Erie. Brian had to drive back to Dayton and Tim eventually went back to Canada. The drive was nice, and after a quick stop at Sheetz (hoagies baby!) we were ready to go. The weather was amazing!
This was going to be awesome since it was our first times visiting both parks. As soon as we got to Conneautt Lake we ran into Rob, Chuck, and Dave again who had already taken over the flyers. What a NICE little park! I was immediately impressed. The Blue Streak wasn't too shabby, and after sweet-talking *Grandma* into letting Bill and I on the Little Dipper (I think his kiddy coaster-loving, credit-whoring self is rubbing off on me) we were happy. Grandma, by the way (I believe that's what was displayed on her name badge) was THEE best!
She, as well as the whole Conneaut Lake staff were as nice as they could be. I do believe she misunderstood what Bill was saying to her. I THINK Bill told her that we were coaster/park enthusiasts (which should of sent her running) instead what I THINK she heard (and mentioned to a few of the parents later on) that we were from a "coaster company". I am not sure what I heard, but she was VERY funny and was excited that all of us were from all over the country visiting the park.
Kudos to Grandma! You rock, girlfriend! Grandpa was just as cool, and obviously ENJOYED his job at running the carousel!
Yep, that's Bill's 3rd Kiddy Coaster credit. My first on this trip. Oy.
We explored the park, I got my skeeball fix, and eventually made it down to the beach. We noticed the Tobaggan was not running (which sucks because I have YET to ride one). Rob, Chuck, and Dave wanted to get something to eat so Bill and I went over to the Hotel Conneaut, which I have always wanted to see. WOW! I LOVE old buildings like this, especially hotels that have had reports of hauntings. The very nice lady at the front desk showed us a book of *ghost* stories and photos that had been submitted by the guests over the years. I took a few photos of the lobby and hallway, and told Bill that the NEXT time we were in the area we HAD to stay here! This was just TOO cool.
After exploring the Hotel, we headed back to the front of the park, catching the Devil's Den (identical to Camden Park's Haunted House) and a ride on the Roll-O-Plane, which was a lot more comfortable than I expected. The boys opted for the bumper cars which I once again opted out but videotaped using Rob's cam. We did a few more Blue Streak rides, as well as several kick-ass Flyer sessions before Bill and I hit the road. Flyers are quickly becoming a favorite of mine, especially at the smaller parks. Snappage city! Actually, I suck at it and usually just try to imitate others' moves, which I did as Rob and Chuck were kicking butt.
Bill and I said our goodbye's and headed north to Waldameer. I got a call from Pete saying he was at Waldameer heading to Conneaut, so I knew we would miss him. Actually, I think he said he got to Conneaut about the same time we got to Waldameer. lol. Oh well. See ya next time, Pete!
Once we got to Waldameer we noticed that is was MUCH more crowded than Conneaut, and the crowd was a little more abrasive, as in a ton of disrespectful kids who would rather cut in line and smoke cigarettes than do anything else. It makes you wonder where all their parents were. Luckily the security there was kickass, and we witnessed several kids get into trouble. I do NOT think they were ejected from the park though, which they should have. If it was anywhere like Cedar Point I am sure they would have. Still, the park's security, as well as the ride ops and staff were VERY nice and kept everything going.
The park itself was nice as well, and the Mauer Steel Dragon mousey was MUCH fun. It kind of reminds me of skateboarding. It was WILD!
Personally I prefer the Reverchon spinney mouses, but this (as well as the Whirlwind at Seabreeze) was nuts. I hope to see more of these! The Comet sorta reminded me of the Big Dipper at Camden Park......not too thrilling but had it's special qualities, and a few surprises.
The Ravine Flyer was Bill's 4th (my second) kiddy coaster credit on the trip. Woohoo! The ride op was having a blast with us, as well the *adults* wondering who in the world these two nutsos where and when did they escape the insane asylum? ;-) Good times!
We still had a somewhat long drive ahead of us, so after one more ride on the Comet and Steel Dragon (and some skeeball of course) we headed north to our motel in Buffalo, which we would spend the next three (four for me) nights. The Motel 6 was VERY cheap ($35 plus tax a night). I stayed there once before when I went to PCW, Martin's, and Darien last fall, so it was a no-brainer. After some late-night grub at Taco Hell and a few cold ones, I crashed hard, yet again. WHEW!
Day 6: Niagara Falls and Marineland
This was my VERY first visit to Marineland (as well as Bill's) and my second trip to the Falls. I missed this park last year during my Canadian/NY trek, so I was excited about seeing something new.
Before we left Bill and I talked about how to deal with the Canadian border patrol. Basically I told him to shut up and let me do the talking, and to NOT mention the words "internet" or "coasters".
When I visited PCW last fall, I made the HUGE mistake of letting the guards know more than they wanted. In other words, I was driving all the way from West Virginia, alone, IN a rental car, with nothing on me except a black bag in the trunk, and no other business in Canada other than visiting a park I had never been to before. I guess I set off EVERY possible red flag out there. LMAO!
Anyway, they searched me, every single inch of my rental car, and asked me about 10,000 questions.....from where I was born to why I wanted to go to PCW. After the nice but intimidating lady went through my wallet and saw I had several season passes, she knew I was telling the truth. ;-) It was a pain but I answered ALL their questions without breaking a sweat. Then again I am a HORRIBLE liar and had nothing to hide anyway.
Anyway, back to THIS trip.......Bill suggested that we tell them that we are engaged. I told him it was a BAD idea, considering it would bring up all kinds of questions on top of the already "where are you going/why are you here?" questions. They would want to know "Where's the ring?" "When's the date?" "Where did you guys meet?" "Where are you getting married?", etc. In other words, we did not need to make up things and I assured him we only needed to answer what they asked us, and tell them the truth (that we were going to Niagara Falls and Marineland).
That idea was scrapped quickly and crossing was a piece of cake. No issues. :-D We were only asked for our ID's and where we were going and how we knew each other. No biggie.
Once we got to Marineland (after making a few wrong turns.....mostly from Niagara Falls diverting our attention) I was excited to be visiting yet ANOTHER new park. We got our tickets and immediately went to a show involving seals, dophins, and walruses. Marineland is absolutely beautiful! The walkways are wider than usual and the flats are spread out. The landscaping and ambience is absolutely breathtaking. It's VERY tranquil and uncrowded. The sealife and wildlife (especially the deer) were especially cool. We slowly took our time, taking it all in. The animals were pretty set in their ways, as in "If you don't have any food I want nothing to do with you", except for one playful baby killer whale that had us cracking up. What a sweetie!
We tried a few of the flats and eventually made it back to the two coasters......Tivoli (a kiddy) and Dragon Mountain (an Arrow POS that I rode once and called it "done!") Yes, it hurt me. The Tivoli was a blast, and was Bill's 5th kiddy coaster credit, as well as my 3rd. lol.
After some lunch and a visit to the arcade (yup, skeeball!) we made the VERY torturous task of climbing the hill to the S&S Drop Tower. I think we were passed by several kids who was running up the hill like it was nothing. For us old farts, though, it took a little more time. There were NO crowds, and we got two rides in before calling it a day. Bill wanted to get another battery pack for his cam and get a few more rides on Dragon Mountain, so I agreed. I just sat down and enjoyed the tranquility.
We then stopped by Niagara Falls on the way back to the motel. I DO admit that the Canadian side of the Falls is much more photogenic and overwhelming.
All I can say is it's absolutely one of the most intense pieces of natural beauty I have ever seen.....sorta equivalent to the Grand Canyon, the Colorado Rockies, or Maui's beautiful beaches. All are awesome! Next time I want to take one of those helicoptor tours I saw.
After about an hour of enjoying Niagara and American Falls (and getting a little soaked from the mist) we headed back to Buffalo. I finally found some Yuengling and Bill went to Fuddruckers next door for some late grub. And I CRASHED.
Day 7: Paramount's Canada's Wonderland
We woke up pretty early as we wanted to get to PCW at opening. I was concerned with the traffic as it was nearly bumper-to-bumper during my last visit. We stopped by a market for some hoagies (I eat a LOT earlier than he does), gassed up the car, and headed for the border. This time the guard was more interested in his lunch than even checking our ID's. Go figure. lol.
The drive wasn't so bad, even though we encountered SOME traffic. Bill suggested some alternative routes but I suggested that we stayed on the Q.U.E. since the LAST thing I wanted to do is get lost in Canada. We got to the park a little after 10. The weather was PERFECT, and although we saw about a dozen school buses the crowds were not overwhelming. After going through the metal detectors we headed up to the ticket booth. A kid stopped us and asked if we wanted to take a ticket off his hands. Apparently someone from his school group bailed at the last minute. DAMN RIGHT! This saved me about $47-ish, in American dough.
Unfortunately the ACE discount doesn't apply to PCW, even though any Paramount Season Pass does. I didn't get a Paramount pass this year, but everything worked out obvioulsy. Bill later said he let me have the free ticket since the only reason I was visiting the park again so soon was because of him. Aww. ;-) He was right and at first I was not crazy about visiting PCW again so soon, but everything worked out and I ended up have a BLAST!
There was a sign that said Italian Job was closed, which kind of bummed me out since that was the only "new-to-me" coaster I needed at the park. We went to a the Psyclone and Sledgehammer first thing.......BOTH excellent, INSANE flats. Then it was Tomb Raider: Ride of Pain. Never again. ;-) I am not crazy about 90% of PCW's coasters. They range from absolutely painful to just.....boring. I am not dissing them, I am just VERY VERY fussy and my tastes are particular and refined. I will try ANY new coaster/flat once, but if I don't like it, I will prolly never do it again unless I am with a newbie. Then there are others like Mean Streak, Psyclone (SFMM) and SOB that I absolutely refuse to ride again. I have nothing against them and I know they have their fans and I respect that. They are just NOT my type of wood, and I can't tolerate the headaches.
Anyway, the highlights were Vortex (an Arrow suspended on crack....woohoo!) Thunder Run ( a powered coaster that reminds me of Space Mountain) as well as Italian Job once they opened it. IJST was JUST as fun and crazy as the one at PKI. LOVE that tunnel! We also did Shockwave, which was a crazy, evil TopScan that has been RIGHT up there with my favorite list of flats since I first did it last fall. SICK!
PCW's staff/ride ops/ crew are the best. Between several coasters breaking down they usually had them back up and running VERY quickly with the exception of Top Gun, which apparently had to be shut down to retrieve a lost article from a rider (whatever that was). Still, they got it going within a reasonable amount of time. Even Italian Job broke down again about an hour and a half before closing. I wanted to leave but Bill convinced me to stay. They had it opened about 45 minutes before closing, which provided for our second and final ride of the day. The park, IMHO is the most beautiful out of the Paramount chain.
The landscaping and watefalls are wonderful. We had a GREAT day. And yes, Bill got his 6th kiddy coaster credit.....that being Taxi Jam. lol. We thought about doing the Cliffhanger, a double-Top Spin, until we saw the riders get NAILED, probably worse than King Kahuna. If I was wearing a bathing suit I would of done it, otherwise I like to stay dry during a park visit. lol. The drive back to the motel was pretty much a blur. I barely remember crossing back into the USA. And again, I crashed while Bill went out for another late dinner at Taco Hell.
Day 8: Six Flags Darien Lake
We woke up rather late but were in no rush. I stopped by Martin's (a local grocery store) to pick up some road munchies. This was my second visit to Darien Lake, and Bill's first. I had a GREAT visit last fall and immediately fell in love with SROS. I am more of a "floating air" person than an "ejector air" person but when a coaster provides a little of both, with some intensity ALL the way through you can't help but LUST it. Unfortunately SROS was down this time, and although we saw them working on it later in the day it was clear it would not be up and running during our visit. It kind of broke Bill's heart, since that was the 3rd ROS he needed, and it broke mine as well. Oh well. We shook it off. Everything was good. :-)
I had a BAD experience with Predator last year, but THIS time it was smoother (we got in the front seat which I found out had something to do with it). Still, my one ride was enough. I wasn't feeling too hot for some reason today and I could feel a headache coming on if I tried another Predator ride. Still, it rocked, and the Ibuprofen I took beforehand helped.
Darien Lake is not very big, and it's VERY easy to do the coasters quickly in a circular fashion. Luckily for us the biggest draw of the day was the waterpark, which left the park relatively uncrowded. Next time I AM going to hit that waterpark, especially since I noticed the new funnel, Tornado. LOVE those!
We hit Coast to Coaster which wasn't as painful as I expected it to be from last year, as well as the Twister (another Huss Topspin), which was a riot! The ride op let us ride a second time without leaving our seats. Luckily this was a *dry* Topspin.
We noticed Viper was down as well, and was told it would probably be fixed within the next week. I didn't care since I got to ride it last year and wasn't looking forward to getting my head smashed again, but I was ready to ride it with Bill. Oh well.
Unfortunately Bill was denied his kiddy coaster credit this time, which I couldn't understand since I got to ride the Brain Teaser last year. It was the SAME as the one at Marineland. Still, the ride op would not budge. Maybe I look young for my age? Maybe it's my height? LMAO. I have had little to NO problems with scoring a kiddy coaster credit.
After a ride on the Mind Eraser (ugh) I was ready to call it a day. Bill wanted to take a few more pics of SROS and get a few more rides on Predator while I chilled out. I called my old college bud, Jenn, which I had planned on visiting the next day (she lives near Scranton, PA). My visit wasn't going to be which left me some more drive-time for my trek from Buffalo to New Jersey the next day. I will have to visit Jenn next time. She rocks!
Anyway, Bill and I left Darien around 4-ish and hit a chinese buffet (not too bad, and they even had Buffalo wings! Go figure ;-) before I dropped him off at the Buffalo Airport. He was scheduled to fly into Atlanta, meet up with some peeps at SFOG, and then attend Rip Roarin Rampage that Saturday. We had a GREAT week together, and are obviously AWESOME travel buddies. I was happy that everything went smoothly (thanks to my trip-planning) but I was sad to see him go. See ya next month, Bill!
After I dropped him off I headed back to the same Motel 6 and chilled out for the evening including more Yuengling Lager, a few phone calls, too many chips, and Sex And The City. ;-) And I crashed.
Day 9: Seabreeze and Dorney Park
I checked out of the motel and stopped again at the Martin's grocery store for some more road munchies. I was CRAVING wings (again) at this point and could not resist them. They were messy, spicy, and blissful.....just the way Buffalo wings were meant to be!
I made it to Seabreeze (near Rochester) and learned that they were having some type of school event, which meant TONS of kids. Luckily, there was a reduced price for the day ($12-ish) that included admission and unlimited rides. I was immediately seduced by the park. WOW! Even though there were tons of kids, it seemed the waterpark took most of the crowd (as usual), which was fine by me.
The park was beautiful, and very friendly. The Jack Rabbitt was a blast, as well as the Bear Trax (my 4th Kiddy coaster credit this trip...lol.) I only rode it because I knew Bill would give me hell if I didn't. Na, it was FUN!
The Bobsleds was VERY unique.....steel tubular tracks on wood with kick-ass airtime....laterals..... It was nuts!
The Whirlwind (another Maurer mousey) was just as fun and insane as the one at Waldameer. After I did the coasters I felt a need for skeeball (yet again) and noticed that the DDR was cheap (3 songs for .75 cents). I played two rounds. Woohoo!
After a few hours at the park I left since I knew I had a LONG drive ahead. I drove down the road a bit to take some photos of Lake Ontario and grab some KILLER Thai food at a local place that I cannot remember the name of at the moment.
On the way I called Diana (Coasterwench) to let her know I would be at her place near SFGreatAdv later that night, but would probably visit Dorney beforehand. The drive wasn't so bad, as I went back onto (I-81) through Binghampton and Scranton and took the Philly Northeast Extension (I-476) to Allentown. At this point it started to RAIN, but I decided that I had to visit Dorney anyway. I was tired, delirious, and probably shouldn't have been driving anyway. ;-)
I got to Dorney about 6pm-ish, and parked at the strip mall across the street. I had planned on doing a "fly-by" visit to get the Hydra credit, but ended up spending about an hour at the park. The rain worked out in my favor, yet again, and after getting my free ticket at the Customer Relations counter (which was PACKED with season passholders waiting to get their photo taken) I was ready to hit Hydra and leave.
Hydra wasn't running, but after 20 minutes or so (after the rain let up) they opened the ride. I waited about 10 minutes once I got in line. I got somewhere in the middle of the train, and about that time it started to rain again. Luckily I had an "emergency" poncho which helped (at least kept the camera dry) Still, I put on my shades (to protect my contacts) and prepared for a painful ride.
The Jo-Jo Roll was unique, and although I felt like I was in a washing machine, (due to the rain) it was funky. I LOVED it! It's short but VERY sweet. I immediately got back in line for a second time.....second row. SWEET! Afterwards I was on a high, and decided to hit a Steel Force and Talon ride, in the pouring rain of course. ;-) Afterwards I hit the arcade, did some more DDR, and left the park for New Jersey. After tolerating TONS of traffic and horrible weather, and many stops, I arrived at Diana's house about 10pm-ish. It was GREAT to see her, Rick, and the boys again. I think I CRASHED after catching up.....BIG TIME!
Day 10: Six Flags Great Adventure/KaGASM!
We left Di's house and stopped by Wawa for some breakfast. I was VERY excited about getting to Great Adventure since I had not visited since 2001. Once we got to the park we noticed Kingda wasn't running, and Di said that they won't run it in the rain (it was just sprinkling, I thought.... Hell, I have rode MANY coasters in POURING rain, why not Ka?) Anyway, I bought a sweet Six Flags poncho (left my cheapy one back in the rental car). Di suggested that we get a Qbot, which I have never used before. I would soon find out it was a GREAT idea since it was obvious the park was going to be VERY packed today, despite the rain.
Anyway, once we got our Bot we headed over to Golden Kingdom and to check up on Ka's status. NICE! I was immediately impressed by the area and the themeing/landscaping. Well, I was impressed overall by how much better Great Adventure was looking since my last visit. The tigers were beautiful and quite playful! I didn't realize they were the same tigers from SFWOA.
The walkways and wooden posts in the Golden Kingdom area had some amazing hand-carved artwork. There were new shops and plenty of new places to eat, as well as the turtles. Beautiful! The park did an EXCELLENT job with this!
Anyway, once we got to Ka the rain let up and we noticed they were letting people in the queue (which is probably the LARGEST, most beautiful queue I have seen!) It still wasn't running but we figured IF they were going to fill up the queues they were planning on opening it soon. We rented a locker and soon headed into the line. Kingda was not available for Qbot at that time but we decided to try after our first ride. The queue filled up VERY quickly, and about two hours later (after much testing) they opened it.
Security was great, and made it clear that NOBODY was going to cut in line. Di and I were somewhat close to the front, and once Ka opened we waited about 10 minutes. All I needed was ONE ride baby! Just one!
I was impressed on the way they loaded the trains......two trains on each side of the station (close to Storm Runner's). Once we got into the seats I was completely comfortable, and impressed at how roomy and comfy the restraints were (and non-headbanging, just like Storm Runner's).
The launch came right away, before you were really prepared. The only "warning" is a loud horn. I was used to watching Dragster's "drag strip" lights so this was a different type of anticipation. I didn't really get nervous, er, psyched until I heard the horn. Then it was WHOA! HOLY S***!!! YEAH BABY!
The launch was amazing to say the least, and it flew over the tophat like a bat out of hell. Di mentioned that she DID get a rollback on Media Day which is cool but from what I saw those trains FLEW over that hill, where Dragster's sometimes "creep" over. Kingda was hauling ASS!
The hill was heavenly. WOW! Airtime city! After it was over I was laughing. I soon spoke with good friend and L.A. native, Jodi (Coastermom) as we discussed Gasms and what my take was on Ka.
Personally, I slightly prefer Dragster over Ka, but ONLY by a hair. Of course I have only had one ride on Ka and many on Dragster so maybe I need more experiences with it. I prefer the lapbars over the OTSR's, EVEN though THESE were VERY nice. It's just a personal preference. Even though Ka launches faster, the initial "launch" is more powerful on Dragster, at least that is what I felt. And I noticed that Ka seems to rattle a bit, but that did NOT hinder the experience. In other words, if I was forced to pick one.......I would pick Dragster. BUT, that hill was just BLISSFUL. The whole experience went from "HOLY S****T" to "Ahhh, that's nice" all within several seconds. I didn't get weak in the knees like I did with my first Dragster launch 2 years ago but it left me with a smile on my face all day like I had just had the best sex in my life!
Alright I admit it......I love them both! I am a launch fangirl and cannot choose. :-) After our ride the line was a good 4 hours so we decided to Qbot, which left our next ride at about 6pm-ish? The ride later broke down at least two times that I know of, and we eventually cancelled our reservation in order to take in some of my OTHER fave rides.
We Qbotted Nitro, Chiller, and Medusa throughout the day..........three of my faves. I could of cared less about anything else, although we had a good ride on Rolling Thunder. Nitro was just airtime heaven.....SWEET as honey, or as my friend Jodi puts it "a magic carpet ride" that was both intense yet blissful. I rode it once back in 2001 and was eager to get "reaquainted".
It was also exciting to ride Chiller for the first time WITH lapbars. YEAH!
I was HAPPY, despite the crowds. Di and I spent a lot of the time just walking around. I was happy no matter what. We caught some grub (pizza fries for me) and just had a GREAT day enjoying each other's company and chit-chatting, and fitting in a few coasters here and there. It was interesting to see Viper in it's almost-completely demolished stage. No heartbreak there.
Batman was looking SWEET, and I barely recognized it with the new paint job. We didn't ride Batman, but it still has a special place in my heart as being my FIRST invert, and I couldn't believe the thing was already 12 years old. I remember riding it the first time in '93-ish (I lived in Philly at the time and fequented SFGreatAd quite a bit) and it was strange to see Nitro overtowering it. Still, glad to see these puppies are still running. I LOVE the old Batman's!
We stayed till park closing, and finished the night off on Medusa before heading back to her place. Again we stopped at Wawa for some grub (yes.....hoagies!!) and I tried to stay up for a while (but eventually crashed......HARD). In the meantime I got several calls from Ed and Kelly, who were attending the Rip Roaring Rampage event in Alabama to let me know how the ERT was going. At the same time I was telling them all about my KaGasm. What a day! Kudos to Great Adventure! I will be back VERY soon. ;-) Rock on!
Day 11: Six Flags America
The next morning I said my goodbye's to Di and family (her sons are BOTH budding enthusiasts) and headed south to Maryland. I visted SFA once last year and didn't really have that much of a thrilling experience. SROS was down at the time, and Roar was a little rough IMHO, but I was going to give it another try. Still, on my way there I had my doubts "Should I go?" "It's TOO damn hot, maybe I should just go home?" "Oh screw it, I have a SF season pass....stop being a wimp!"
I was already tired from the week. I was bruised, scraped, and sore ALL over. However I was tanned, happy, and reflecting on the past week and how much FUN I had with everyone who I met up with, especially Bill, Diana, and the OH/PA peeps. I stopped by for another steak/egg/cheese bagel at McD's (I do NOT like McD's food except for that bagel!) and started feeling better.
As I pulled into SFA's parking lot I wasn't too happy about the $10 parking but then again I didn't really care. I wanted SROS and I wanted him NOW! I noticed the lots were PACKED, but I soon learned that yet again, MOST of the crowd was in the waterpark.
I went to Roar right away, as I was DYING to try this again.
OH. MY. GOD! I would rank it up there with Thunderhead. Did I mention I am a GCI fangirl?
I was getting a little worried since I didn't see SROS running at all, so after an AWESOME ride on Jinx I made my way over to Supey. There were a few ride ops hanging out, and one of them told me that SROS would probably be running within a few hours. I don't remember why it was delayed, but good news is better than NO news.
I went to Batwing, and then back to Jinx and Roar, and got a nice ride on the Wild One, as well as Two-Face. I wasn't too thrilled with SLC's at this point and remembered Mind Eraser wasn't all that so I skipped that one.
About 2 hours later Supey opened, and I was one of the first to be there. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh YES! Just what I needed. I got one more ride before calling it a day, but not before my batteries died in my cam (and my back-ups died the day before) so I wasn't able to get as many pics of Supey as a wanted to. Oh well. I was VERY happy. I played a round of DDR before I left, and made it out of there within 3 hours since I had a LONG drive home to Charleston. The park was busy but the lines were no more than 15 minutes, which was even better. I later learned that there was a shooting in the parking lot later that evening, which thankfully nobody was seriously hurt. I am just glad I left when I did!
After a few days with mediocre to "meh" to downright PAINFUL coasters I was giddy at what I had just experienced at Great Adventure and SFA. These were MY coasters! MY type of wood! MY Beemas! My Ka! My Chiller! My SROS!
Actually, SFA gets a TON of flack but the park has just about everything I love.......an Intamin hyper, a sweet GCI, a fun, classic out-and-back woody, a Vekoma flyer, and a decent Invertigo. Add an Intamin 3rd gen drop and a Huss Frissbee and a few other choice flats and you have my DREAM park. The staff were funny and enthusiastic, and I got a MUCH better experience than I did last year.
Like I said, my tastes are fussy but we all have our preferences. I loved ALL my time spent at every park on this insane trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was another successful week I pulled off since Solace week. I was proud of myself. :-P
I don't remember when I got back into Charleston, but it was late. I was SO tired, but so excited.
This is the LONGEST TR I have ever wrote, probably the first one on Buzz in a long time. Thanks to those who shared this week with me and thanks to YOU guys for reading!
*** Edited 6/13/2005 2:38:41 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
Seriously, it was a pleasure to re-read this TR, from the one you sent the other day. I was happy to see how much fun you had with everyone as well. There are a LOT of great enthusiasts to be friends with, aren't there?
Glad you had such a good time, and I certainly wish I had come with. Maybe next time?
Hopefully with my SFDL pass, I'll be able to go to SFgadv later this summer.
I think Darien Lake is falling apart. Viper has been closed all season so far, and Superman has been breaking down constantly as usual.
How were the crowds there anyway?
a cameo by Gonch
Oooh, my first cameo role! Can I put that on my resume?
Excellent TR and even more excellent to I managed to catch you guys before the day ended. :)
Heck, Gonch goes to the midwest just to avoid me ;).
It actually took me about a week to write, adding to it when I felt the need to/had time. WHEW!
The crowds at Darien were not too bad. It was VERY hot that day which meant most of the crowd was in the waterpark.
What is UP with these Supey's? I see they keep breaking down at SFA & Darien. I am not sure about SFNE but there must be a bug going around.
Rob, anytime! I am sure we will catch up at some point. A road trip with you would be dangerous, deviant, and totally a blast! Bring it on!
Clint, I thought about stalking Gonch but luckily he stalked us instead! And if it makes you feel better I will give Jimvy your phone number. He can leave some pretty sexy messages. Just ask Bill. ;-)
*** Edited 6/13/2005 7:23:26 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
Midget and I were briefly stranded on Riptide and couldn't understand why no one else was pumped...
I agree with your view of KK vs. TTD. TTD had better on-ride themeingwith the christmas tree lights and drag cars, etc. - though the Golden Kingdom as a whole is incredible. But I might be a little skewed bc I've ridden ka so many times an only dragster twice. But yea TTD my first launched love. <3 <3
I wish I had the time/$$$ to go on a 12 day coaster trip. Maybe when I'm a little older.
Glad you had fun!!
Great TR Tina - the phone call was a hoot and it was great to chat to a few of the gang!
Glad you had such a great time matey.
It's a matter of having season passes, travel partners, finding the best rates on motels/rental cars, eating cheap food, crashing at friends' homes when possible, coupons, discounts, etc. The "big" trips take SOME planning and budgeting, then again it's great to splurge a little when possible.
I guess being single without kids helps as well. ;-)
Oh, and SOME saving. :-P
He suggested that when he and I crossed into Canada to go to Vancouver.
Excellent TR Tina, shame I couldn't write something like that up....oh well, I'll post pics, that'll be my *modest contribution*... ;)
you've got to be kidding ;)
I am not surprised. Did it work?
I suggested roofies but Katie said that was a bad idea. ;-)
LOVE the pics! I have already copied the ones I needed. :-P I think my fave so far is the Potato Patch fries with the cheese and bacon bits and the side of gravy. ;-)
Bill suggested that we tell them that we are engaged.
He suggested that when he and I crossed into Canada to go to Vancouver.
Oh man, he suggested it to me when we went to Tijuana... Oh wait that wasn't me or Bill ;)
I have no earthly idea as to what's going on with Superman @ SFA. I guess we should be thankful it opens at this point. Tip on Superman, look at the pulley at the top of the lift hill as you walk back to Gotham City, if the pulley isn't moving, there's a good chance the coaster isn't running.
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