Homey G's SFoG Detailed Trip Report! (long!)

Associated parks:
None

Monday, April 15, 2002 8:21 AM

My buddy Brad and I struck out early Sunday morning from Greenville, SC to Atlanta (2.5 hours). The horrific part about this trip is the fact that I hadn’t been to SFoG in about 6 years. With Carowinds only an hour away (and a superior invert to boot), I just went there and never thought much about it until I became an enthusiast last year. The weather forecast was for light rain although the clouds looked kinda menacing at times. We finally got to the park at about 9:45, which wouldn’t have been a problem if I had already had my season pass, but I didn’t. My buddy wasn’t getting one so he got his ticket as my season ticket was getting processed. Only taking about 5 minutes we headed for the gate. They gave me a little coupon booklet and as we thumbed through the booklet passing through the gate, we saw that one of the coupons was for a “Bring a friend for free” coupon for THAT DAY. So my buddy pretty much dropped 40 bucks for nothing. Oh well, I had my season pass anyway. By the time we really got into the park it was a little after 10.

All coasters rated on the Griswold scale of –3 (abomination) to +5 (religious experience) with 0 being favorable, but only slightly.

The plan was to head immediately to Superman, but that wasn’t to be the case… I’m so weak for coasters it’s pathetic. I couldn’t pass the…

Georgia Scorcher (B&M Standup) +4

Well, we would have but the lines was miniscule and this was one that I hadn’t ridden before because I hadn’t been since it’s construction (hangs head in shame). We were the next car from loading when someone puked on the train. Thus began this day of frustration/exhilaration for us. Here’s where the problem was. Obviously the car had to be cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned some more. They sprayed and wiped and sprayed and wiped. Fine. They finally sent the car to “air dry” and the other train moved into the station, and then promptly sent this one empty. When the tainted car came back into the station, they cleaned some more and continued this nightmarish pattern of sending both cars empty. WHY not load this one full of people and when the tainted car came back to the station (empty of course) clean and clean while you could, then send it as soon as the full one hit the blocks? No, it wasn’t to be. So a 5 minute wait turned into a 25 minute wait. I was mentally seeing the line for Superman grow and grow. Fortunately, once on this tight intense standup, all was forgotten. This baby is everything that Vortex at PC isn’t and really never was. For those that know, it’s on a pretty small skinny footprint, but they utilize the space brilliantly. I was especially a fan of the straight drop rarely seen on B&M’s. There’s several pops in it that really give some decent airtime, especially in the back. It’s intense, but nothing really to throw up over as it’s smooth as glass.That really taking long than expected we briskly started jogging our way to the back of the park to ride Superman before the line got to be 8 hours long. We were really doing well. We waved politely at Freefall (Intamin first generation drop ride) and veered away from the path to B:TR and Mindbender. We were doing so well, that is until those twin green spikes appeared up over the horizon. Remembering what I’ve heard from others about how the lines can get made me pull the trigger on grabbing a ride on this. (Sigh) Alas, we’re never going to get to Superman.

Deja-Vu (Vekoma Giant Inverted Boomerang) +3

This guy is something else, but unfortunately the loading procedure is too. The line we were in should have gotten us on in about 4-5 cycles. However, that translates to about a 30-45 minute wait with this crew/procedure. As luck would have it though, we were the first to go on our train, so we grabbed front row seats. I’ll tell you one thing, the most unnerving moment on any coaster I’ve ever ridden belongs to Deja-Vu when you’re being towed up the spike being held in ONLY by your OTSR. I can see why they added the orange belts now. I stowed my camera aboard and got a great shot right before it releases on the drop. It comes roaring down the first spike and through the elements, but coming backwards down the second spike, it truly crawls through the cobra roll. Still a fantastic ride worthy of it’s score. But I fear that this will eventually succumb to poor loading procedures and ghastly amounts of downtime. I don’t think it ran much the rest of the day. I project that not many, if any, of these will be built elsewhere, and those that are will eventually come down in the next 5 or so years.Finally, on to Superman! With it’s lift just poking up over the hill, we picked up the pace passing that putrid Ninja and the Great American Scream Machine (hereafter referred to as GASM). As Superman came into full view, so did it’s line. We also noticed that there was no activity on the ride at all. The guesstimate by the attendant was in the neighborhood of an hour and apparently it hadn’t run all day. I was very surprised to hear this considering that everyone that was there (pretty much) was there to ride S:UF. Clearly, they weren’t too worried about it. So while we were there we headed for the GASM.

Great American Scream Machine (Wood, out and back) -1

With only one train running, this line, which should have taken 3 minutes, stretched into 15. The ride op, bless his heart, was trying to have fun on the mic, but the crowd wasn’t really having it. Most of the folks in the line were disgruntled S:UF people anyway. For some reason I noticed that 3 of the coasters in the park (GASM, Ninja, and Ga. Cyclone) were barely getting over the top of the lift hill. Maybe someone can give insight into this as it seemed very strange to me, but nonetheless GASM traversed its terrain nonchalantly. Nothing really bad, but it’s showing it’s age now more than ever. No real airtime makes you wonder why you got on in the first place. 20 minutes.Now, we decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and get in line for S:UF as they were testing now. I also noticed that they were not letting folks into the actual que line and when the finally did let people in, they had a park security guy walk people back in a manner that would make a pallbearer procession seem like the Indy 500. Once the ride started allowing people on, this very long line was decimated by S:UF in roughly 25 minutes. Not too shabby.

Superman : Ultimate Flight (B&M Flyer) +4

First let me say that the dual loading stations is not only VERY impressive, you find out later that it’s essential to the success of the ride. The coaster runs three trains that alternate sides. You load from one side, and unload from the other. Now, onto the discussion about the trains. I’ve heard many on this site question how sure B&M is that the mechanism would hold due to the “nosescraper” elements. But I tell you buddy, when it locks in place, it locks in. I took several pictures of the ride and station. The huge pistons that are needed to pull the trains into the flying position are not playing around. In fact, they look so impressive, my mind was instantly at ease. The harness (OTSR) serves dual purpose as well. Not only does it serve as grips to hold onto, but it also keeps your midsection safe. What I didn’t know about it until I got on is also an added flak jacket type device which comes down and fits unilaterally with the OTSR. It’s very comfortable and locks in place before takeoff, no pun intended. This is what actually holds you in to the seat. You don’t even make chest contact with the OTSRs. Also, the motion of pulling down the OTSRs simultaneously closes the ankle restraints. Another thing is they don’t raise you into the flying position until you’re completely cleared in the station, which ends up being a very good thing.As far as the ride goes, it’s fantastic. The two times we were able to ride it, we found the back was the most rewarding as you’re pulled through the elements. There’s not much in the way of airtime based on the style and restraints, but the sensation of flight is really the main gimmick in place here. Oh, and for those that haven’t heard… the pretzel loop is amazing. This monstrous element carries around 4 G’s I believe. Now for those that say, oh that’s not all that much, let me say this. Sure you say that when you’re sitting on your kiester. Tell me that when 4 times your body weight is on your chest cavity! The onride photo session is located right at the bottom of the pretzel too, so it’s tough to put together a decent pose. Picture Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd in “Spys Like Us” when they got off the G force simulator and that’s what most of the pictures look like! Great fun! The only problem with the coaster results when you hit the block brakes. At this point you’ve been in the flying position right at about 2 minutes and change. If there’s any trouble getting the trains ready, you wait in the flying position. The first time we rode, we sat for an additional 2 minutes. Now remember I said you’re NOT getting out of these restraints. It got kind of unnerving and I think if I were stuck in that position more than a few more minutes I might have gone a little cukoo. Most of it is due to the fact that you can’t stretch out your legs because they’re tucked and locked in behind you. The other part is you’re hanging horizontal and after fighting G forces for 2 minutes, your neck is tired so it just wants to hang making the blood rush. None of this affected my buddy much, but I really was ready to get out. Again, take it with a grain of salt if this kinda thing doesn’t bother you. I wouldn’t have thought it would bother me either. I suggest just stretching your legs out a bit before pulling the OTSR down. 30 minute wait. Totally stoked after that great ride, we made the wonderful decision to ruin it by riding

Ninja (Vekoma Multi Element Looper) –3

I’ve taken my last ride on this. If it can’t even transition from the main drop into a vertical loop without a serious BANG in row 2, seat 1, then it can’t do anything. Not to mention I smashed my knee pretty good. I was ready to get off even before I was through the first vertical loop. I’m not usually in favor of any coaster being removed, but do it. Make better use of that land. I had rather they put in the world’s largest Victoria Secret store there (or anything else I have entirely no use for) than keep that nightmare of a roller coaster. 5 minute wait.After that we headed for Mindbender, but it started to rain and they were having malfunctions anyway, but they were still running B:TR, but by the time we made our way over there, it had closed to. Not a downpour, or thunder, or lightning, but all coasters shut down. Even the woodies. When the rain stopped after 20 minutes we had made our way over to Acrophobia.

Acrophobia (Intamin Roto-Drop)

A little disappointed myself. A nice little thrill, but the tilt wasn’t in FULL effect and the drop wasn’t really anymore impressive than FreeFall. And a little warning for the fellas. Prepare thyself, cause it is just a bicycle seat. I’ll really just head for FreeFall unless I’m with someone who wants to ride it. 10 minute wait.

Georgia Cyclone (Wood Twister) +4

The surprise hit of the day! The last time I had ridden this, it was sluggish and unnecessarily rough. However now it is as close to Nirvana on a wooden coaster that I’ve experienced. Airtime monster in the back! 4 total laps on this baby, and it wasn’t enough for me! Just beats out MegaZeph for my all time favorite. I had a nice little conversation with some Acer’s from Maine. They said they saw Claude on hand for Superman. Roughly 5 minute wait a ride.

Mindbender (Schwartzkopf looper) +1

I know, I know. I don’t wanna hear it. It was running great when we got on, but I dunno. This doesn’t really seem to do it for me much anymore. Not to mention I was still in afterglow from Ga. Cyclone. Sorry. Flame away. 10 minute wait.

Batman : The Ride (B&M Invert) +2

It’s B:TR. What can I say that someone else hasn’t already said. Oh wait, I can complain about making everyone walk through that hideously long que when the coaster is a virtual walkon. That’s basically it. The crew was a bit jaded, but apparently not like some other SF parks. My biggest qualm about the crew was whenever anything was amiss, they always said “when my supervisor tells me this, I’ll let you know”. Gimme a break, I’m not asking you to give me a “Dave” description as to what’s wrong, but surely you know a timeframe people.

Quote of the day when Mindbender was on it’s period.“Attention, Mindbender is temporarily down due to technical difficulty” says cookie cutter ride attendant

.“Well how technical” voice through the crowd wanting to know whether to wait it out or not.

“It’s technical” came the rebuttal.

Hope you enjoyed the read as much as I did riding. Email me with any questions! I’ll also be happy to pass along pics of S:UF’s trains through IM if you have broadband. Homey G (aka) Brian

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Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas.

*** This post was edited by Homey G. on 4/15/2002. ***

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Monday, April 15, 2002 8:41 AM

Homey G said:

Acrophobia (Intamin Roto-Drop)

A little disappointed myself. A nice little thrill, but the tilt wasn’t in FULL effect and the drop wasn’t really anymore impressive than FreeFall. And a little warning for the fellas. Prepare thyself, cause it is just a bicycle seat. I’ll really just head for FreeFall unless I’m with someone who wants to ride it.

Yikes, you'd rather ride that horrible junky ride Freefall than Acro? I'm assuming you actually didn't ride Freefall then, as that is EASILY the most hurtful ride I have ever been on. Try it next time, I think you'll be singing the praises of Acro. (The stop at the end is unbelievably rough, I cannot even believe they're letting that ride operate)

biggest qualm about the crew was whenever anything was amiss, they always said “when my supervisor tells me this, I’ll let you know”. Gimme a break, I’m not asking you to give me a “Dave” description as to what’s wrong, but surely you know a timeframe people.

Um, don't be so sure. At SFGAm I know the policy is to say to the guest when they ask when something will be open again is, "I'm not sure, check back later." That's it, nothing more, nothing less. Think about it this way -- if they had said "It should be open in fifteen minutes" and you come back expecting to get on then, and it's STILL closed, surely you're going to be upset. "Well, he TOLD ME it was going to be open in fifteen minutes!"

*THAT'S* why they don't give you a time.

Other than that, great TR...I will refrain from comment on your thoughts of Mindbender. ;)

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"I have a flashlight, enjoy the show!"

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Monday, April 15, 2002 9:29 AM

Gotta respectfully disagree with you on FreeFall. Yes it had aged a good bit, but I think that the whole magnetic braking of the newer Intamins take a little away from the whole effect. I LIKE FreeFalls sloping action. Granted, the ending is VERY rough and can hurt you if you don't know what to look out for, but I do. :)

As far as Mindbender, I don't really know what to say. The forces are great, the openness of the lapbars speaks for itself, and I'd cry if they removed it. However, it just doesn't really BITE like it used to, that's all. It still got positive marks. ;)

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Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas.

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Monday, April 15, 2002 9:35 AM
Very nice TR! Nice to see a long, detailed one...
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Monday, April 15, 2002 12:04 PM

Nice trip report.

I had a similar experience with the Cyclone. I rode it last October, and was less than impressed. This past March, however, I was blown away by the ride I got.

Mindbender rules. ;)

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"He's blazin' away like the stars in the universe.." A. Vega + M. Rev "Ghostrider"

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Monday, April 15, 2002 12:23 PM
Thanks guys. I prefer to read long detailed trip reports too, but it took the good part of the morning to do it. ;)

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Sorrrrrrrry folks! Parks closed. The moose out front should have told you.

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Monday, April 15, 2002 12:46 PM
Yes, great report. Can't wait for my trip in July!!!

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Dayuum, Your HOT!

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Monday, April 15, 2002 1:12 PM

Are you driving in? I plan on being there most every weekend, and there might be sometimes without a riding buddy.

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Sorrrrrrrry folks! Parks closed. The moose out front should have told you.

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Monday, April 15, 2002 1:35 PM
I have to agree with your remarks on Ninja. I still can't believe that they chose to remove Viper instead of Ninja to make room for Superman. I'm certainly looking forward to the day when i can make it down south again, as Superman looks like one hell of a ride. But, in a way, i still miss Viper. Every Schwartzkopf shuttle i've been on has given a great ride, and the theming on Viper was particularly good for a SF park. Ninja is a joke of a ride, and imagine how cool Superman would have been going over the lake like that!

Just some thoughts.

(Oh, and i agree with your +1 rating of mindbender. It's a gem of a coaster for it's historical value, but the ride itself is far surpassed by most of the park's other rides.)

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Monday, April 15, 2002 1:44 PM
Might be you and me against the world though Nelson. ;)

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Sorrrrrrrry folks! Parks closed. The moose out front should have told you.

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Monday, April 15, 2002 3:02 PM

Homey G. said:

As far as Mindbender, I don't really know what to say. The forces are great, the openness of the lapbars speaks for itself, and I'd cry if they removed it. However, it just doesn't really BITE like it used to, that's all. It still got positive marks.


That might be because Anton's "fangs" were lost with Viper's removal....sorry, pun intended but failed....I'll always love the lapbars and the vertical loops, the smooth ride, the MINIMALIST track, the color, the way it hides in the trees, the green river, everything about it. (on a bad day, I'd give it +3, but I'm a sucker for a Schwarzkopf).

As for GASM, don't know what to say...last October it raced through the track and gave great air, even on the return (dog)leg...it was definitely one of my more favored out-n-back woodies. I think it has "moods" like some other wooden coasters.

Ninja, one of the closest steel coasters I've ridden to the scrap-heap...maybe the junkyard warriors could make something useful out of it....and I'm a serious hardcore diehard preservationist! SFoG actually bought this thing after it ran (ok, banged) through the course for a few years on the Joisey shore. WHAT were they thinking?!??

Acro may not have been everything it was billed as, but my feelings on the first-gen freefalls have been noted...and mom always said to say nothing if you have nothing nice to say...

Deja Vu....basically an Invertigo with better drops...I like the Invertigos, which certainly have better seating arrangements in terms of loading/unloading, but the view on the GIB is pretty good no matter the seat. WARNING...Vekoma seems to have calculated poorly the speed on the backward drop, and I also predict more "strandings"...Zappa's "Valley Girl" might be the appropriate song for this ride...

Ga Scorcher...equals RRv, not in length but in score...intense, fast, and NO midcourse...vertical looping only means the ride will age well...you don't have to believe me now, but look into the future.

S:UF...the ride I've been watching....can't wait!

Great TR, Brian.....thanks....(although I'll get you for your score on my beloved Anton)...

edit: forgot to mention, love the shiny new sig...the bummer part is Chevy got to ride Revolution with LAP BARS - take note, SFMM!

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Any resemblance between this post and humor is purely coincidental. No robots were harmed in the filming of this episode...The sarcasm filter default has been left ON for your enjoyment.

*** This post was edited by rollergator on 4/15/2002. ***

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Tuesday, April 16, 2002 9:58 AM
Thanks Bill. I think I dodged most of your punjab sticks you were throwing at me! :)

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Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2002 10:14 AM

Great American Scream Machine (Wood, out and back) -1

With only one train running, this line, which should have taken 3 minutes, stretched into 15. The ride op, bless his heart, was trying to have fun on the mic, but the crowd wasn’t really having it. Most of the folks in the line were disgruntled S:UF people anyway. For some reason I noticed that 3 of the coasters in the park (GASM, Ninja, and Ga. Cyclone) were barely getting over the top of the lift hill. Maybe someone can give insight into this as it seemed very strange to me, but nonetheless GASM traversed its terrain nonchalantly. Nothing really bad, but it’s showing it’s age now more than ever.



LOL - I was the foreman there, I try to have fun with guests in line, but the crowd just sucked that day. I tried to have another train added around noon, but it never happened. I tried though! As for the lift, just recently it was slowed down at the top to reduce its speed throughout the course because of the rainy weather we'd been having all week. I know Ninja's lift fast kicks off at the top for some reason, I never noticed it on Cyclone though. But that's the reason GASM does it. If it begins to run too slow, the mechanics will come back out and speed it up again.

*** This post was edited by MisterX on 4/16/2002. ***

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Tuesday, April 16, 2002 10:17 AM

Haha MisterX, if you're the guy I'm thinking of, you held my digital camera! I'm very protective of that thing. ;)

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Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2002 10:41 AM
Those coasters do crawl up the lifts. Mindbender, GASM, Ninja, & I don't know how many times I've thought I was stuck again at the top of the Cyclone, only to creep the rest the way up.......

I moved away from a few hours from SFoG a few years ago, & have been back only once since(now it's five, six), it was strange to go last season & have Batman & Scorcher as "new" rides for me. I, too suffered from "I've neglected this place", I now have "Caro-shame" as it's been about five years for Carowinds. VA parks have drawn me in, what can I say?

The season Ninja opened, I was taking like the fourth ride of the day, I had my keys pinned with a safety-pin to may pants. I guess I managed to bang into something, opening the pin & loosing those things in that mucked-up water. After breaking into our truck for the spare, I was convinced I wouldn't ride such a thing again. I did ride last season to test my tolerance, but Ninja is THE ONE ride I totally call crap. One of these days, a train's not gonna make it over the lift AND they're going to have one not make it off the break run AND no people will ever get in line for it again, EVER. It's just that kind of ride. People literally run out of the exits & exclaim their feelings for Ninja. I dig that theming, though! Give me a different Ninja.

Anyhow, interesting to see more peeps who prefer the GACy over the GASM. I remember air on the GASM:), just NOT after the days of the Cyclone. They're both good wood. ....and Mindbender, it's always nice, that last swoop made my wife puke last year, I thought she was going to let it go on people below in Gotham, plus I'm yelling at her not to get puke on Anton's ride. I would have to say it was the 2nd coolest puking experience I've EVER witnessed.

.....AND
you did NOT mention riding the Mine Train! Hideous, I tell you! That's park history.......

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Tuesday, April 16, 2002 11:52 AM
Yeah, but I've ridden that previously and wasn't too stoked. I would have if it hadn't rained cause I was on that side of the park. I have a season pass, I'll catch it again soon. :)

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Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2002 12:33 PM
Okay, Brian.....now I feel guilty for not reading your TR before commenting on the SFOG thread. Regardless, a nice TR and it made me feel like I was there.
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www.tripowered.com ~ You will love the look on her face.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2002 2:48 PM
Nice TR.

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Got Cheese?
May 4th, Oh Yea!
Welcome to Batman Knight Flight, America's longest floorless coaster.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2002 5:29 AM
Thanks guys. I appreciate it. Gotta flex my season pass a bit, so I'm going back again Sunday.

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Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2002 5:51 AM

gotta agree with p_c_r on that one Brian....failing to mention my beloved Arrow mine trains IS a sin of omission...(of course, having committed the same sin, I really can't say TOO much)...;)

Still lovin' the mine rides! Mine all mine....

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Any resemblance between this post and humor is purely coincidental. No robots were harmed in the filming of this episode...The sarcasm filter default has been left ON for your enjoyment.

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