Well 40 got us to Baltimore by the slow boat but it was smooth sailing on 95 South after that. So after a 4 hour planned drive hit the 6 hour mark we get to our hotel Super 8 in Ashland, Va. It was a nice hotel at a good rate $80 and is only 1 exit south of the park.
Saturday we woke up and did a poor breakfast at Cracker Barrell which I don't undersand since most Cracker Barrell's are excellent for breakfast. Oh well. We take the short drive to the park and two of us get our season passes the other member of our party wasn't joining our road trip so they got a 2 day ticket online for $48(great deal if you are doing 2 days at PKD in the season). Since we had two days I decided day one would be a ride fest and day 2 would be slow down and take photos before leaving for home before 4PM.
While waiting for the park to open we notice a lot of Boy Scouts standing around in uniform and with t-shirts telling what troop they are from. This could me the park will be slammed today.
We enter the park at 10 AM opening and head back to the Eiffel Tower to get the lay of the land and kill time until the rides open at 10:30. Once down from the tower we notice the gates to the rides are open so we wander to what was decided to be the first ride of the day.
Shockwave (Togo standup) - From the warnings we had about Togo's and our experiences at SFGAdv with Viper I warned my co-riders that this could be painful so let's do it one shot and pray. I see the sign that says no leg braces or prostethic devices allowed and look at my neoprene knee brace which I wear since my knee tends to hurt after a long day at the park. Well I slid the brace down since it is not easy to remove with shoes on and I figure this should show it's not a needed brace. We board the coaster and then the op asks about the brace at my leg and I explain it's not needed just a precaution and she clears me to ride. Harnesses lock and up the lift we head. Down the drop through the loop and up to the beginning of the helix, praying now, knowing if anything is going to bash me here it is. Smooth rounding the helix and over the air hill with a nice pop of air turn and back through another tiny air pop and onto the brakes. No pain at all and actually a fun ride.
We walk over to Rebel Yell and see that backwards opens at noon so we decide to get a forward lap and come back later for a backwards lap if forwards gets a nod of approval. Ride ops seem to be kicking butt and taking names for dispatches something that will change as the day heats up I bet. We get a good wood racer ride from Rebel Yell forwards and it leaves me wanting "more, more, more" later as in a backwards lap is now definitely going to be had.
Next up we continue with the wood theme and hit Hurler. One word here from our whole group and it was in unison. OUCH! I like rough wood coasters but this was abusive. One lap and done. NOT AGAIN until they do some retracking.
Look around at the lines for Hypersonic and Ricochet and decide they will be hit later or tomorrow as each are sporting hefty lines. It's getting pretty warm now and time if flying so we get a quick bite to eat, fries and sodas at Happy Days Diner, which the fries were edible and the Sodas were what was really needed. It's now after noon so we walk right to a one train wait for Rebel Yell backwards.
Surprise one of the day! This ride rocks!!!!! I love the idea of having no clue where you are going and getting tossed as a wooden coaster should toss you. I will always do coasters that offer a forward and a backward ride, forward first then backward but I think I will always like the backwards better. *hint to SF get GADv's Rolling Thunder fixed and run one side backwards again*
Next up was a wander through the park hitting flats like the swings, triple spin and bumper cars. With a look at drop zone and having my friends tell me no way in H E double hockey sticks are we doing that so I said fine we'll skip it and then told my road trip cohort ...YOU WILL RIDE THE DROP ZONE AT PKI. Yep I said it with emphasis.
Next coaster for us would be Anaconda. As we walked up one of our group says "ummmmmmmm why don't I think I am going to like this." and I remember the bashing they got on GASM at GAdv. So I say for them to ride defensively. We board after a 20 minute wait and up we go. Down the drop into the tunnel in the lake with an awesome splash effect entering and exiting the tunnel. The rest of the ride is pretty uneventful and typical of Arrow loopers but not too rough.
Next up was time to be launched out of a Volcano. Here's where the day really turned ugly. It was hot as blazes and there is no ventilation in most of this queue. The few fans they had weren't doing a good job of moving the air around and that many people in an area is never good for airflow. Hint to PKD put misters in this queue and some others. After a hot 1 hour wait we board the coaster and around the bend we go. Launch one was nice and the ride does some interesting maneuvers around the base of the volcano then into the volcano you go and I was shocked with Launch two. Out the top and flip away very nice effect. the a few rolls and dives to return to the station. This instantly became my favorite coaster at PKD.
Next up was Avalanche. It's a nice diversion after a ride like volcano but why is it in Congo? I mean everything around there is hinting Hot Steamy Jungle and then you get a bobsled ride?????? HUH?
I ask if they want to do Tomb Raider Firefall and get a response of "Not with that line". Ok fine we'll hit it later or tomorrow (NOT!) This ride has a huge line all the time and again nothing to help with the heat. So oh well I missed it but again I will not miss it at PKI.
We then decided to let the Scooby fan in all of us come out. We walked over to Ghoster Coaster and got a quick lap on a great small coaster with some good forces that I can say it is a family coaster not a kiddie coaster.
I will now say that I am one of the converts to the new dark ride shoot em up things after doing Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion. What a fun ride! Nothing brings out the kid in everyone like a ride where you shoot things as the ride goes through it's course. I came in second of the three of us but the person who won had more points than the other two combined. Still a blast and definitely a do not miss ride for this park. A wander over to the water ride area provides a look at two two hour plus waits for the water rides so we skipped them for the day and went to do some rerides of coasters and check on the lines for Ricochet and Hypersonic. We also ate some pizza from the pizza place near the waveswinger at some time in here. The pizza was ok but not great.
Well those lines never got shorter so we added them to Sunday Morning's list. So after a few rerides we got tired and decided we'd head back to the hotel to either chill at the pool or in the room. As we drove back to the room I sensed a slight second wind coming in our group so I suggested some drinks and munchies at a bar near the hotel. We get back to the hotel and get cleaned up and head to the local Applebee's. Two great bartenders make some great drinks for us and some light munchies kill the little bit of hunger to make an easy nights sleep.
Get up the next morning and head to Waffle House for breakfast. Breakfast there was not a good idea it was grease with a side of more grease and I didn't even do bacon. Just eggs and hashbrowns. But my friends breakfasts with meat did seem to have more grease than mine did. I knew this would not be a good thing.
We get to the park and breakfast is not sitting well for any of us. But hey we got coasters to ride so we are going to tough it out. Again lots of Boy Scouts in the lines at the gates but we don't care cause we got only four must do things today, the two coasters that had huge lines yesterday, and the one we never even saw Grizzly, lol. So we are let in to the park at 10AM and head back to the gate that stops people from going further until 10:30 to find out our gold season passes get us past the gate 10 minutes early ... KA CHING! Now we know what to do. Go straight to Hypersonic and get a quick lap then head to Ricochet and knock out two coasters fast!
We get let by and head right to Hypersonic with only a couple other people.. everyone else headed elsehwhere???? Strap in for the first ride of the day and out to the launch we go. BANG it hit harder than any launch I have done. TTD and KK included but then it was calmer after the launch. Up the top hat and down. I don't like the rollbacks on the tophat. then through the turny portion and over the air hill and into some hard brakes. We got off and walked around for another fast lap since no one was near this ride. Second lap front row and same effect. Ok coaster but I think TTD and KK have jaded me.
Walk over to a walk on for Ricochet and get another Surprise. They only use the last brakes on the top Zig Zag portion. Way outta control feeling and one of my favorite mouseys that don't spin. So bad we decide now would be a good time to let me wander and do some picture taking. So after about an hour of photo shooting we are now in Old Virginia and deicide to do the Whitewater Canyon even though we were not dressed for water rides.
BAD MOVE. We got SOAKED. I must say if you want to get wet in PKD and not go into the water park here is where you go.
I now say my best two rapid rides have been in VA. This is a close second in wetness to Roman Rapids at BGW and just a little wetter than the rapid ride at Dorney.
Wandering through Old Virginia we hit the flyers and lo and behold look what we found the hidden enterance to Grizzly. It is tucked beside a building and covered with trees. I found another good wooden coaster in the Grizzly. I love the out of control feel and speed you get on this ride. A nice tunnel that pops you with some air in it never is a downer either.
After another walk around Congo and seeing huge lines at about 2:30 PM we decided let's call it a day and head home hoping to not have traffic issues. Wrong!... 95 North had construction near Fredricksburg so we detoured up US 1 and then after Baltimore I found heavy traffic again so I slid over to US 40 and went through MD and DE on 40.
All in all a great weekend in Virginia with some new experiences and some good rides at a nice clean well landscaped park. Only drawback is no way to really combat the heat other than hydrate yourself a lot and hit the few misters on the midways. This was a good get ready to roll for the big trip in August and got our needed Paramount passes. Next time I do Virginia though I will make it a two park trip and hit BGW with PKD.
Traffic on I-95 South in Virginia during rush hour is murder. Plan on sitting between two and four hours on Friday's, 1 - 2 hours the rest of the week. Then just assume their is going to be an accident that is going to delay you even more.
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