How The West Was Fun (Part 1) (KBF) (2/6/03)

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“Wait a second……..I thought I was going to Europe”

Part 1- The start and Knott’s Berry Farm (Feb 6th, 2003)

I have a strange work scheadule. One that provides some extra time for traveling or whatnot, and one that provides me with many, many days of non-stop work. The days I work change every 12 weeks or so. When my working days change, I either have to work 7 days straight, or I get 7 days off paid. Also, every four months, I have to work massive overtime. In Janurary, I worked every single day in Janurary with the exception of the No Coaster Con weekend. By mid-Janurary, I knew I needed a break, and I knew I had a week off coming up.

With the bitter cold season we have been having in Ohio this year, I decided to head to my favorite area of the country. The west. There is something about that west that drawls me to it. It’s not exactly the parks or coasters, but rather the atmosphere, sharp vistas, and open areas. With every visit to California and Nevada I have done, I have wanted to go back even more as soon as I got home. The last time I was in the California area was one year ago. I felt it was time to get away from Ohio and head out that way.

I usually fly Southwest Airlines because of their amazing Rapid Rewards system. I have gotten a few free flights though the Rapid Rewards program and I was working on getting another couple this year. I did a search on the Internet for cheap airfare and as it turns out, Southwest had the cheapest airfare for the days I was looking for. I soon contacted Jeff (self proclaimed ‘master-planner’) Johnson and told him I was heading out that way and wanted to know if he wanted to join me at any of the parks I was going to hit.

Jeff and I have done some amazing trips. We usually do trips in a pretty insane way at times. For instance, we did a week long trip a couple of years ago hitting virtually every park in California, with a small side trip to Idaho, then back to California the next day (18 parks in 7 days). While this way of traveling isn’t for most people, I like to travel this way most of the time. The way I look at it, you are born at point ‘A”, and die at point ‘Z’. Why not live and see the most you can when time allows it?

I knew I wanted to go to Knott’s for a couple of days, as well as go to Six Flags Magic Mountain to get a few more X rides. As it turns out, SFMM was only open on a Monday so I had some time to go a few other places between the day I arrived, and the day I was to go home. I asked Jeff if he would be interested in driving to Las Vegas, another one of my favorite places. He said we could do that with no problem. Now, all I had to do was to wait for the day to get here so I could board my flight and head out to the west.

A couple of weeks before my trip, Jeff calls me and wants to know if I would be willing to spend some extra cash to make this trip even more fun. He told me that instead of driving to Las Vegas, we could catch a cheap flight (through Southwest again), to spend more time in Vegas. He also had another plan. He threw in the idea of taking a flight from Vegas to Phoenix, Arizona, and going to ride a couple coasters there. My uncle lives in Phoenix and I thought that would have been the perfect time to visit him. I have never been to Phoenix with the exception of a layover at the airport. Needless to say, I told Jeff to go ahead and book the flights.

February 6th got here rather quickly. With each passing of a bitter cold day, I knew I would be in sunny California very soon. I woke up early that Thursday morning and finished packing. I headed out to Port Columbus and dropped my car off at a long term lot. I passed through security with no problem. Usually I get stopped at least once and have to take my shoes off for randon checking, but this wasn’t going to happen to me today.....and to think I even put foot powder in my shoes before I left.

Southwest now does things a bit differently. It used to be that you would receive a boarding pass at the boarding gate. Now you have to check in. While the “first come-first serve” mentality still prevails here, you have to check in at the ticketing counter to get your boarding pass. I was fairly early in arriving yet I somehow managed to get a “Group B” boarding pass the second group to be allowed on the plane. Usually I have no problem getting into the first group, but things have changed. No problem.

I got to my gate and realized that the display read that I was going to Chicago. This confused me for a bit because when I booked my flight, I could have sworn it said this was a non-stop flight, which I found to be strange in itself because Southwest rarely has non-stop flights from Columbus to the west. Usually I have to stop in Nashville or some other place. I made sure I was at the correct gate before sitting down. I had no problem going to Chicago first, but I was wondering if my arrival in California would be effected. It wouldn’t.

Soon, I hopped onto my plane. This was one of the new Southwest blue planes. Well, it was new to me. Out of all my flights on Southwest, I have never gotten to ride on one of these newer blue planes. Today was my lucky day. Each seat was leather and provided some extra room. I had no trouble getting comfortable before we were de-iced. I noticed that it started to snow heavy and just smiled as we made our way down the runway and then into the grey clouds of the Columbus area.

About 45 minutes later, we arrived in Chicago. I sat in the same seat as passengers left and new folks arrived. My next journey was to Phoenix. Another surprise. The 3 and a half hour flight went by quicker than expected due to me listening to some tunes and re-reading Dave Sandborg’s European Coaster Odyssey trip reports on my Pocket PC. After a quick stop to Phoenix, I was off to Ontario, California. It was actually cheaper to fly into Ontario instead of LAX, and plus, it is a much easier airport to get around in IMO. I took a quick nap during the 2 hour flight and woke up to the sight of the mountains in the LA area. After spending 7 hours on this plane, I was more than ready to get outside. Heck, I could have flown to Europe in that time.

Once off my flight, I walked outside and made a quick call to Jeff. Jeff was to pick me up but he was stuck in traffic, and I also arrived 20 minutes early. I noticed it was cooler outside than I expected, but considering where I live, this was much warmer. I had no complaints. I just sat and waited for Jeff to show up while looking at the beautiful mountains across from the airport. That view never ceases to amaze me.

Jeff showed up and pulls in between two cop cars. As I am walking over to his car, I heard one of the cops make a comment to Jeff about pulling in between the two cars. Jeff wasn’t driving irratically, but the cops seemed like they didn’t agree. Oh well, no harm done. Time to go to Knott’s!

As Jeff and I made our way towards Knott’s, I decided to call a few people on my cell. I hadn’t talked with my father since around Christmas time so I gave him a quick call to catch up on things. He was amazed I was out in California this time of year but he didn’t blame me for wanting to get away from the cold weather in Ohio. Jeff also made a few calls, securing a deal for a new condo. Congrats Jeff! I know you will love it.

==Knott’s Berry Farm==

I also called ACE member Sean Winder who I hadn’t seen since the Europe tour. Sean only lives about 5 minutes from Knott’s and said he would meet Jeff and I there. We arrived at the park very quickly and soon made our way in. As we walked up to the front gate, I realized I had done something very, very stupid. I left my Cedar Fair pass at home. I had taken it out of my wallet the night before just to make sure I had it, but obviously didn’t put it back in but rather my PKI pass. No worries though as the park had a hefty discount for those that wanted to go into the park after 4:00pm. The park was only open until 6:00pm that night but I had no complaints. I just wanted to ride something. Anything.

We met up with Sean and walked right over to Xcelerator. This was my first time seeing it in person. WOW!. That looks incredible. I wanted to ride Xcelerator before riding Dragster so I could get a feel of what to expect. The only problem was that Xcellerator wasn’t running. No activity at all and it wasn’t listed on the ‘rides closed’ sign out front. We ended up finding out that it was to start testing soon and to come back.

We wanted to ride Montezooma’s Revenge but it was closed, as was Boomerang. We ended up taking a quick ride on Supreme Scream To this day, this ride gets me every time due to the fact that riders are actually pushed down with great force from the top, unlike a few other tamer towers I have ridden. We also made our way over to Ghostrider for a quick ride. The park was virtually empty so we didn’t have to wait long for a ride. Jeff and I rode in the back seat. I have heard reports of people being stapled in a very nasty manner. I didn’t happen to me. Actually, I don’t have a problem with being stappled. As long as I am not in pain while riding, I don’t care. I wasn’t in pain at all during our ride.

Ghostrider was running all out. It had just gotten out of rehab and was running very fast. It did seem to toss me around a bit more than I remember, but it was still kicking. After our ride, we decided to walk back over to Xcelerator to see what the deal was. There is an arcade near the exit of Ghostrider. As we were passing it, I heard a sound that I am pretty familiar with. That sound being a Dance Dance Revolution machine (Machine #1 of the trip).

I know Jeff and Sean are not the biggest fan of that game, but they waited as I played a quick game. This was a 3rd Mix machine and I knew the songs pretty well. However, I decided to play Afronova in ‘heavy’ mode, a song I am not familiar with in that mode. The end result was that I fell of the frickin’ machine and landed on my knees. How embarassing is that? Jeff about lost it. Oh well, I guess I need to practice at home more.

After my moment of being a jackass started to fade, we made our way back to Xcelerator and noticed that the “toaster brakes” on the launch area went down. They were finally testing the ride!! I got to see a launch for the first time. What a launch it is. There is a very loud siren sound during the launch that I originally thought was part of the theming or something, but as it turns out, it was the launch mechanism making that sound. From what Jeff and Sean said, it normally doesn’t sound like that.

We quickly walked over to the enternce of the ride and waited for it to open. We watched test after test. Probably 12 in all……then it happened. A train didn’t make it over the top of the tower and rolled back. By this time it was 5:30pm and it didn’t look good. The train sloooooooowly made it back to the station but never was launched again.

While we were waiting it out, we talked a bit with a younger enthusiast who seemed to know his stuff about the ride. We didn’t get to talk to him for very long but I could tell he was kind of bummed that it didn’t open either. Jeff, Sean, and I decided to leave the ride area and walk over to the marketing area. Jeff had talked to the General Manager, Jack Fallfas, as we were entering the park. Jack told us to drop by his office once the park had closed so we could chat with him. I had done this in the past as well and looked foward to it. Jack is a blast to talk with and is very honest. However, we must have just miised him as he was gone once we arrived. Oh well, maybe next time Jack. No problem.

I will admit, I was kind of bummed by not getting to ride Xcelerator, but I had another chance tomorrow. I wasn’t upset because I know prototype rides have issues. I was actually expecting this with it being a Intamin prototype launch. Let’s just hope Knott’s can find out how to make the ride more reliable as I have heard it has plenty of downtime. Hopefully Cedar Point won’t have to go through the same thing with their version.

Once we left Knott’s, we also said goodbye to Sean Winder. Jeff and I then contacted two more friends, Patti and Claire Forrester, and wanted to know if they would meet us for dinner. There was a whole slew of people that I would loved to hang out with from the area, but I knew it would have been difficult for them getting time off to do so considering the quick nature of this trip, plus, I know I will be back later this year and hopefully I will get to spend some time with them at that time.

Patti and Claire went on the Europe tour. They were on my coach. While I didn’t get to hang out with them much while on tour, by the end of the tour, I felt like I had known them for years. Both of them agreed to meet Jeff and I at a place called The Spaghetti Factory. We had a great dinner as we talked aboutt the Europe trip. Patti even brought pictures. Our waiter was amazed that we have gone to different countries to ride coasters. Patti and Claire’s friend Scot, who was also on the tour, could not make the dinner but he was just as nice as they were while in Europe. I am sure I will run into him some point in the future.

After a fun dinner, we said goodbye to Pattt and Claire before heading back to Jeff’s apartment. Jeff dropped me off before leaving to go sign some more papers for his condo. While he was gone, I played a few of his games on is Playstation 2. I am not sure how long he was gone for, but I ended up crapping out rather quickly and by the time he got back, I was out of it. As usual when I fly info California from Ohio, I get tired early the first evening thanks to jet lag. I guess a 7 hour trip will do that to you.
The next morning was to be another travel day so I had no problem trying to catch up to sleep. Getting sleep while I could was something that was rare on a trip like this. Some of the trips I have done with Jeff resulted in sleeping in cars at gas stations and truck stops due to the traveling aspect. It was nice to get more than 4 hours sleep for a change. Mind you I am not complaning in the least as I had another fun day ahead.

Next up……..Another attempt at riding Xcelerator, and Las Vegas.

Thanks for reading,

*** This post was edited by Sean F. 2/18/2003 1:26:01 AM ***

As usual, Awesome trip report. How do you do for a living anyway?
I was the one at KBF looking pissed at Xcel being down. Anyways, I didnt do much that day, go out of college at 3, got to KBF by 4, rode Ghost 4 times and then sat watching Xcel test and roll back over and over :(

It sucked having Xcel down, but we made up for it with a dozen rides on S:TE that next monday! :)
*** This post was edited by ThePhantomLives 2/18/2003 4:08:29 AM ***

Great trip report Sean! I was scared when i saw your name in the trip report section because I thought I would have to spend my whole morning reading your trip report;) Any idea when your next TR will be out? I love reading your TR's.

P.S. Are you going to SRM?

-Sean N.
*** This post was edited by SFgadvMAN 2/18/2003 8:50:38 AM ***

Sean - I always look forward to your reports. One can only read stuff like, "First we rode X and it was fun!!!111" so many times. But the detail in yours makes it feel like I was along with you. So do you write down everything that happens so you won't forget?
A day is a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. A week is seven drops.
FYI Sean there is a Speghetti Factory in Cincinnati by Forrest Fair Mall. Glad ya had fun even though Xcelerator was closed.

Joe Barnett
Forum Moderator/Editorial Writer

Mamoosh's avatar
Wish I could have joined ya, Sean! Thanks for the trip report ;-)

Humor Ingredients: all natural flavors, some artificial additives. Sold by weight, not volume. 100% satisfaction not guaranteed. Void in Texas and Puerto Rico.

Same thing happened to me on a 7th mix machine at the orleans once except I didn't fall on my knees. It was most embarassing. My sister still makes fun of me to this day at it happened last may.

I hope they kill that iron yuppie. Thinks he's so big. The great homer simspon

Coaster File,

Do you mean 'what' do I do for a living? If that is what you meant, then I work for a insurance company as a Output Operator (Level 2)


It was cool talking with you at Knott's, even though I didn't know that was you. Does that make sense?


Thanks! My next TR will be up in just a couple of minutes, and yes, I will be at SRM.


Thanks for the words dude! Nope, I don't write anything down. I sometimes will use my video footage as a reminder but with this trip, I didn't shoot a whole lot of footage so I had to go totally from memory.


I wasn't aware of that. I know where Forest Fair Maill is. Thanks for the info. I will have to go there sometime.


It would have been cool to hang out with you also but I understand. I am sure I will run into you at some point this year.


Glad to know there is someone else out there that can relate! See Jeff, we aren't all that bad. =:^0


voldemort said:
My sister still makes fun of me to this day at it happened last may.

Hey that rhymed! And Sean did you know that the name of your TR is also the name of a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie?

Man I need a life.
If Milli Vanilli fell in the woods, would someone else make a sound ?

Eurpo-mir said:
voldemort said:
My sister still makes fun of me to this day at it happened last may.

Hey that rhymed! And Sean did you know that the name of your TR is also the name of a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie?

Man I need a life.
If Milli Vanilli fell in the woods, would someone else make a sound ?


Nope, I wasn't aware of that. That's scary!


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