Part 3- Castles N’ Coasters (2/8/03)
After an early wake up call, Jeff Johnson and I were quickly on our way back to the Las Vegas airport for another flight. We decided to drive back to the airport via The Strip. It amazed me how dead the whole area was in the morning. There was hardly any activiy at all. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. It was Las Vegas after all.
We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. We had no problem getting through security. We arrived at our gate just as a flight was getting ready to go to Phoenix. We still had 2 hours for our flight to take off so we kindly asked a Southwest employee if we could switch our flight to the one that was just about to leave. According to the woman we talked with, there was room on the flight, but we would be charged $60. We decided to stay and wait. After all, there was a Pizza Hut located right across from our gate and we hadn’t eaten breakfast. Yum!
A couple hours pass and we soon found ourselves on an hour flight to Phoenix (and over the Grand Canyon). I couldn’t wait to get there. I had never gotten a chance to see the city with the exception of the aiport, and this would also be the first time I have gotten to hang out with my uncle in his turf. Every time I see him, it is when he comes to visit in Columbus. I had previously asked my uncle if he would pick Jeff and me at the airport and he had no problem with that, and also asked if we would like to stay at his place.
Once we awere off our flight, we met up with my Uncle Dan, my cousin Kyle, and his next door neighbor, Dima, who was from Russia. .It was so great to see my Uncle and Kyle as I haven’t seen them for over a year. They were concerned that rain might show up in the area later so they decided to take us right to a new park for me.
===Castles N’ Coasters===
I wasn’t sure what to expect when arriving at CNC. From the outside, it looked like a mini-golf course with coasters, which, in reality, is pretty much what CNC is. Once we had our tickets in hand, we walked into the “castle”. Inside was a snack bar, and quite possibly the most impressive arcade I have seen. It wasn’t the largest, but it had the largest span of video games from every year I have seen. Everything from Asteroids, to DDR. However, we didn’t have time to play as we had a couple of coasters to ride.
----Desert Strom (#497)---
Once outside, we walked next to the cool looking mini-golf courses and all around the coaster we were about to ride. This coaster, while compact, covered quite a lot of the property. The park uses plastic cards that can be recharged with credits. We purchased enough credits to take 3 coaster rides.
If I remember correctly, this was to be my very first O.D. Hopkins coaster. The trains were very different than what I was used to. There were no over the shoulder restraints. Just a lap bar. The boxy trains were pretty comfortable also. We had to wait for our train to be filled before we were dispatched. For our first ride, we decided to ride near the back. Soon, we were dispatched.
The lift hill was quite steep. There were a row of lamps on the lift that seemed to be bouncing as the train made its way up the lift. Once at the top, we dove down a sharp left hand drop and directly into a very strange shaped loop. What made this loop unique was the exit. It was higher off the ground than where the train enters the element. This provided some very strong forces.
We then went around another left turn and entered another very strange loop. The first part of the loop felt normal, but the exit was once again strange as it tossed us out sideways, providing some strange upside down laterals. We then made another left turn and into a very nice helix before hitting the final brakes. The compact layout has only left turns so it can fit in the area. I enjoyed my ride on Desert Storm and we still had one more coaster to ride.
----The Patriot (#498)---
This was another O.D. Hopkins design. From the ground, this looked more like a Vekoma Roller Skater but upon a closer look, there was more to the layout. The trains were smaller than those found on Desert Storm and seemed to be missing a car. Once again, we had to wait for the train to be filled before we left the station. I was surprised to be dispatched from the station without the lone ride operator checking the restraints.
While going up the lift, the park added some air brushed images of famous cartoon characters on a panel going to the top of the lift. Once we crested the lift, we made our short journey around a few palm trees and a couple of helices. The final helix was quite tight and made for a nice ending before the train hits the final brakes with quite a bit of speed. As we were in the final brake run, we could see the missing car sitting off to the side. For a junior coaster, this was quite fun as was evident by the amount of kids riding it. One ride consisted of two laps.
We still had enough credits to take one more ride so we headed back to Desert Storm. This time, we rode in the front. The difference was amazing. While going through the first loop, my arms were shoved back down due to the strong forces. Those forces in the loop are very strong. Don’t let the size of this coaster fool you as it packs quite a punch. I don’t hear much praise about this coaster. Is it just the fact that not a lot of enthusiasts have ridden it? We enjoyed our ride so much that I ended up purchasing the on ride photo.
After we were done riding we made our way back into the arcade. The arcade had a balcony with even more games. I walked around with my uncle while Jeff, Kyle, and Dima played various games. I found a DDR USA machine ( 4th machine of the trip) and played a game. Dan had never seen me play and didn’t know about the game so I think he was confused as to why I would want to play it. I explained how fun it was but he didn’t want to give it a try.
After I played one game, I went downstairs and found yet another machine. This time, it was the very first DDR Extreme machine I have seen (5th machine of the trip). What made this machine even more special was a custom 50 inch monitor that CNC installed on their own. I watched as someone did more of a ‘show off’ display than actual gameplay. Once he was done, I got a chance to play. I wasn’t sure what this machine had to offer so I just played a couple older songs that I knew before asking someone watching me what a good song was to play. Someone hooked me up with a new song that I had neverf heard before. I don’t remember the song name, but even in heavy mode, it was fairly easy to pass IMO. I am not a show off type of player and you will not see me doing any of those silly little hand stomps or double spins. I just like to play to play. Nothing else. No offense to those that like to show off though.
I ended up talking with a guy that really new his DDR stuff. He asked me where I was from. Once I told him where, he asked if I knew of any 3rd Mix machines in my area. I wasn’t sure if there was anymore left. He told me that if I could find him one for sale, he would give me $100 as he liked to upgrade older machines for a hobby. I told him I would search and gave him my card with my e-mail address on it.
After I got done playing, we all met back up and left CNC. I had a great time at the park. For some reason, Jeff and I both thought the park had a kind of Scandia type feel about it. Whenever I am in the Phoenix area again, I wouldn’t mind stopping back again. I thank my uncle for taking us here as we had a good time.
After we left, we headed back to Dan’s amazing house. He lives in Glendale and lives in a very nice neighborhood. Once we were inside, I got to say hello to my Aunt Mollie and was introduced to their pets, Daytona, Brently, and Noah. Noah cracked me up as he will only drink filtered water. We ended up staying in for most of the night, watching the Top Fuel Dragster races that Jeff and I were originally going to attend in Pomana, California. I am not much of a race fan but I will admit, it was cool to watch.
After the race, we went and picked up some food before coming back and just chatting while working on Dan’s computer. We never did figure out how to take care of the problem that Dan had on his computer, but we tried. The problem wasn’t all that bad, but it just annyoyed him.
Before I went to sleep, Kyle showed me how far he was on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on PS2. Jeff has just started playing the game and was amazed at how far Kyle was. By 11:00pm, I was out of it. I needed to get some more sleep because we had some more traveling the next morning. It was great to hang out with my relatives for a while. I always enjoy their company and can’t wait to see them again soon. If you ever are in the the Phoenix area, be sure to give you some time to go to Castles N’ Coasters. I am sute you will like those coasters. I sure did.
Next up……. More fun 1,000 feet in the air and a trip back to Cali.
Thanks for reading,
*** This post was edited by Sean F. 2/20/2003 12:13:25 AM ***
*** This post was edited by SFgadvMAN 2/20/2003 7:12:05 AM ***
Not many people seem to like Desert Storm (besides me that is :)) because people love to complain that it's rough, even though there are only lap bars. I found it to be a pretty fun ride, with some unique inversions.
There were some rumors that CNC would move, or expand in some way. I hope those rumors come true!
You are about to discover what lies beyond the 5th dimension, beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination in the Tower Of Terror.
Xcelerator could have been #500 if I would have gone back, but I decided to pass on it and wait and see what's next. As it looks right now, Titan at SFOT will take that honor. If Titan isn't open, then it could very well be Dragster. Thanks again.
I didn't find Desert Storm to be rough at all. I do love those inversions though. It does appear that CNC is going to expand a couple miles from Glendale.
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