Latest TR ever: CP, SFNE, LC Sept 20-22

Associated parks:

Okay, so this is over three months late. Sue me. Please, do it, I dare you! ;)

TR: CP, SFNE, LC, SFGAd or "The Trip that Doesn’t Suck" [part 1]

For over a month I had been anticipating the weekend of Sept. 20 - 22. I had a four-day weekend off from work (which turned into a five-day weekend - score!) and I obviously had to use this time for a road trip seeing as how the season is winding down pretty quickly.

Originally I was going to go to SFGAd for Coaster Celebration the weekend prior, but seeing as how that events schedule didn’t appeal to me all that much, and I had to work, the trip was postponed to the following week. I had asked Keith McVeen (badnitrus) if he wanted to go on this trip and of course he was in, considering SFNE SRoS was his numero uno steel coaster and Nitro was up there as well. We were having some trouble finding people to go with when I suggested we ask my good friend from Chicago, Clayton Hauck (CoastingClay). He heard "SFNE" and was in immediately, as HIS number one coaster is also SRoS. Then I said to ask Julie Santiago (JulieSFO) if she wanted to go, since she’d be on the way from Keith’s and since we had so much fun hanging out with her at SFWoA earlier in the year. Julie hasn’t been to all that many parks just yet, so she jumped at the chance to go on this trip faster than a speeding bullet (oooh, a Superman reference!). She also invited her friend Tim Basista so that meant we’d have a group of five in my mom’s Montero Sport SUV. Bad ass, now we have people set for the trip!


The days seemed to go by slowly up until the very end, then before you knew it, the weekend had come! I started my journey from Atlanta, GA on Wednesday after work at 12:00pm (I had been up since 4:45am, folks). I was en route to Keith’s apartment in West Lafayette, IN which is approximately 590mi from my apartment. 8.75hrs and several pissed off motorists later, I arrived at his doorstep. What is the *deal* with people clogging the fast lane?! AND THEN YOU FLIP *ME* OFF?! Oh, slam on your brakes, that’s real cool. Ugh, I loathe bad drivers, sorry.

Funny side note: When getting off exit 172 in Indiana for Keith’s, I was jammin’ to my New Found Glory CD with the windows down when the directions to his apartment blew out the window. Whoops! So if anyone wants to know where he lives, just go play in traffic around that exit. J

Back to the trip! It was a Wednesday night in West Lafayette, IN...could there be a more happening place anywhere? LOL, so we threw some burgers on the grill and had a few (okay four) Rolling Rocks prior to going out to the bars with some of Keith’s friends from school. A good time was had by all I think. I really don’t remember all that much! Damn those $.25 pitchers of Miller Light.

We left the bars at about 1:30am and were walking back to the apartment when I randomly decided to fall face first onto someone’s lawn for the hell of it. I guess a cop saw this and decided to "harass" us.

Cop: "You guys been drinkin, haven’t ya?"

Keith: "Yeeeeep."

Cop: "You go to school here?"

Keith: "He doesn’t, I do."

Cop: "Well, you won’t be anymore."

Keith: "Why not, I didn’t do anything!"

Cop: "Yeah, but your friend over here is floppin’ around like a jackass!"

[insert me giggling]

Keith: "Yeah, but that’s not me!"

...yadda yadda, more harassment until Keith realized he wasn’t going to win this and apologized, and to my surprise, the cop just let us go! After calling for backup of course (Hey, we’re good kids, what’s the deal here!). After that pleasantness we were off back to the apartment where we crashed at 4am and awoke to some random dude pounding on the door at 8am. "Nuisance Control!" Ugh, West Lafayette, IN sucks! I now have a splitting headache and have to pick up Clay in Chicago, which is about 2.5hrs away. Bah.

Thursday, Sept 19

After taking two advil and still feeling like crap, I departed for Chicago. The drive up was beautiful...if you like endless rows of corn! Oh well I had good tunes, and I was going to see one of my favorite cities ever, so I was in a good mood.

Got to Clay’s around 3pm and hung around the new apartment drinking ‘Nilla Coke and watching some of my California Trip DVD. After we bid adieu to his roommates we left for Jack Wlezien’s (Flabby Lips) dorm at Valparaiso University. On the way down we experienced some TORRENTIAL rain ("whoa, I didn’t know there was a car there!") which sucked, because driving in torrential rain, More corn was driven past and it took FOREVER to get to that damn school. Finally after almost crashing from laughing so hard (could you IMAGINE if you saw two people in a car doing the Robot as they careen off the side of the road, STILL doing the Robot?! Well Clay and I could, and we almost died ourselves lol) we made it to the Lankenau building where Jack and friends were waiting for us. We went to Culver’s to eat (my first time! Butter burgers are gooooood eatin’, yum) and had some fun times scaring little kids with these glasses Clay had. Back to the dorm where we play DDR for an hour or so before we had to kids playing DDR is funny because not many people know about it, and the reactions you get are PRICELESS. Picture two people DDR’ing in a room with a huge window in front and people walking past who have never seen the game and can’t see the TV. Yes, it’s pretty funny lookin’!

So Clay and I left Jack’s at about 9:30pm and headed back to Keith’s to get some rest for the activities tomorrow. We ended up watching "Requiem for a Dream" (amazing movie, check it out!) and viewing this Apple Computer advertisement over and over and over again. Her reaction to the paper getting destroyed is GOLDEN!

For some reason we didn’t get to sleep until about 3am (I never knew watching someone write code was :-\ ) so we only got about six hours of sleep. Damn.


Friday, Sept 20

If you can’t add, then you wouldn’t know from my previous statement that we awoke at 9am. Today was the "official" start of the trip, at least the coastering part of it! I was more than ready for Cedar Point, it had been waaay too long since my last visit.

We were supposed to leave at 10am but ended up leaving at 11am for some reason. I think we were still watching that damn Apple advertisement! Oh well, it was pretty crappy weather out and the drive over was full of slow trucks, two-lane roads, talking Taco Bell garbage cans, and speeds approaching a record breaking 110mph! We arrived to that awesome Cedar Point skyline a little after the 6:00pm opening time. It was pretty damn empty I’d say! Two rows of cars in the main lot – niiiice. We met up with Julie and Tim at the front gate and made our way inside the greatest amusement park in the country.

Well wouldn’t you know it, we were in the park for all of three seconds when the brightest lighting bolt is seen. Excitement level dropping...

We made it back to by the Skyride Station #2 before the heavens opened up. Okay, this isn’t fun. My good luck must have run out or Keith’s bad luck joined forces with Julie’s and Clay’s because I *never* have rain on my trips! I swear, I have taken eight to nine day East Coast road trips since 1998 and if you combined all the rain I’ve encountered on those trips since then it would add up to like 4hrs TOTAL. Same with the Europe trip this year, I think in the 17 days I was there it rained once at Heide Park in the morning. Seems as though this trip my good luck had expired. L

Well it kept raining. It slowed a bit so we left our shelter under the Skyride Refreshments building and made it back to the place where they’re building SOMETHING, lord only knows what. Since when can you see Iron Dragon so well? Why is this slowly becoming Pavement Point? Someone needs to start a Save The Trees campaign at CP. So sad to see them go. Oh well, all in the name of progress, right?

Speaking of progress, it seemed as though they had added another support section to the top of the...whatever it is. The red and white track were definitely bolted together and were placed RIGHT in front where everyone could see, as if to say "See you stoopid Coasterbuzzers! There is no dueling coaster here!"

After commenting a lot on how much bigger the ride area is going to be than originally thought, we walked back toward the Frontier section of the park. Guess what. It started pouring again. Awesome, now my shoes are soaked through and through (lol, well they DO have like 16 holes in them haha. Maybe it’s time I buy some new ones...) and I am getting irritated. CP controls everyting else, why can’t they control the rain?!

The five of us found the first haunted house located in the old Carousel building. There was a bit of a wait before it opened for it’s first victims (oooh, scary) so in the meantime we were entertained by the horrible Fox news channel people shooting a bit for a commercial or something. It was the worst acting ever! We saw Janice Witherow (PR celebrity of CP) dealing with these people. It took them like three shots to say about four lines. But I can’t complain, Clay, Keith, Julie, Tim, and I all got our mugs on TV! So that was cool, but it was still raining, so that coolness was quickly canceled out. It was about 7:30pm now and we finally got to head into the haunted house.

Well, I have to say this haunted house was pretty crappy. There weren’t all that many live actors so we resorted to scaring each other (and it worked a lot too, lol). The one cool thing was the rotating tunnel of course. I can never get sick of those!

We made it out alive (barely, I almost died of boredom...take that!) and it was *still* raining. I think it was about 7:55pm at that point and I was officially pissed off. We saw Josh Wozny (raven_phile) as he headed to the same haunted house we had just come from. Well since it was still raining and no rides were open, I saw Janice Witherow walking away with some of the Fox crew. Well, ever since I met Julie back in June at SFWoA I had said she is a spitting image of Janice. Well here’s my chance to prove it! I ran over to her, kinda interrupted who she was talking to (I doubt it was all that important, I think he had a halloween mask on lol) and told her about her long lost sister. It was pretty funny when she saw her, I think she realized it herself too. So anyway, they got together for a picture. We told Janice that that pic would be on Coasterbuzz, and there it is! We also inquired about what that big yellow structure was going up over on the other side of the park to which she responded "What structure?" I don’t see what the fuss is over a restaraunt! J

We parted ways with Janice, extremely happy that the picture turned out so well (mirror image anyone?) and walked down the Frontier Trail. I don’t know if it’s because it was the first day of Halloweekends, or that it was hellarainy, or whatever, but there were zero live actors in what is supposed to be the scariest part of the park now. All they had was the fog machines going (although those are fun in themselves, next time you’re at CP, "hide" in the fog and run out of it like a raving lunatic, you’re sure to scare someone!) and some random green light. I bet you couldn’t guess it was STILL raining at this point. It was about 8:10pm I believe and my pissed off level was growing at a rapid pace.

We walked over to Millennium Force’s entrance where it was still closed, but (GASP!) the rain seemed to be letting up! We waited all of like five minutes and batta bing, the queue was open for all the little people to ride. Finally, I was going to get to ride something!

For the first ride, I had promised Julie I would ride in the front row with her. Now, some background on her; she hasn’t been on Millennium Force, Power Tower, Magnum, or Wicked Twister. And she lives in Youngstown, OH. Hmm.... ;)

So anyway we queue up for the front and have about an eight train wait. The others in the group rode twice and when we got on our blue train about 25mins later, the rain had started up again. Grreeeeeaaaaaaat. 93mph in the front row of Millennium Force, this should be exciting. This would be my first ever heavy rain ride on this monster, as well.

Climbing the lift and getting more and more soaked we went. Over the top and striaght down the other side – I think it actually stopped raining and someone starting throwing pins and needles at our faces non-stop! Try and tell me otherwise! Good night that was the most painful ride ever, but for some reason, it made it THAT much more fun. The speed in the front row on MF is unsurpassed by anything out there today. We departed the train and I could tell Julie loved it! Heck yeah, 1 for 1 baby!

I believe we rode once more, toward the middle of the train, and then made our way over to Wicked Twister. Got in line for the back two rows (man, is that not the best queue setting ever?). I rode by myself on this ride. Got majorly stapled by some jackass ride op (yes, jackass is warranted here...he pushed down MUCH harder than necessary; to the point of discomfort. There is no reason for that whatsoever) and we got the 3 -2 -1 countdown. And off we went...rather slowly, I thought.

See I had ridden Wicked Twister way back in May for Media Day. It was, to say the least, one of the most intenese experiences ever. Now, what you get is a much watered down version of its former self. The first pass backwards is LAME! What have they done to this thing! I was so disappointed. The launch, launch backwards, all seemed much weaker than before. The second pass up the rear spike is still pretty cool, but nothing like it once was. I doubt I’ll even wait 20mins for WT next year if this is how it’s going to be run. I pray they go back to the old program.

Keith and Julie rode together in the last row and when they got off I could tell they were pretty ho-hum about it. And that’s saying a lot, since SUE is probably Julie’s favorite coasters. Damn you Intamin for your shoddy welds!

After we disembarked from Disappointing Twister, Clay I and spotted a friend at the exit, it was none other than our very own Natalie Villani, formerly of AirtimeSRoS fame on Cbuzz! She was surprised to see us, as we were her. She is working as a Millennium Force op on weekends now until the end of the season. We decided to chat some and head over to Raptor for a ride. Julie and Natalie actually live in the same city (Youngstown, OH) but for some reason, Julie doesn’t know what part of the city she is from. How long have you been living there, Julie? ;)

Anyway, we walked up to the basically empty platform of Raptor (they were running three trains! God bless you and your love for capacity, CP) and heading for the back two rows. Natalie took the outside left, me in the middle, and Clay outside right. I LOVE the back row on Raptor so much, but still prefer the front for the visuals.

So we’re cresting the lift, and we get that sick pull down when Natalie tells me in a pretty calm voice, "I was on a Wildcat rollback!" It was *so damn random* of a spot to say that, that I cracked up for the entire ride. I don’t remember much other than Raptor being unbelievably smooth and barely any trims, but thanks to Nat’s "hot tip" I was in stitches (oooh, foreshadowing! ;)) the whole ride. Thanks, Nat!

I told Natalie about our insane road trip to the Northeast and she wanted in. She even told her boyfriend Jeff (Jeff who? lol) Tobe that she was going to go with us instead of seeing him for the weekend. Alas, she chickened out, or we didn’t have any room, one or the other. J I’m sure Jeff was happy we weren’t kidnapping her for the weekend though!

We said our goodbyes as she had to be leaving for Michigan soon, and headed back to the rides. The next stop was Power Tower, down side.

Both towers were running on the down side so there was zero line, whereas the shot side had about a three cycle wait due to one tower in operation. We rode facing the construction of "Whatever the hell it is" in the middle of the park and thought about how high it was going to be. I love the anticipation of the drop on Power Tower. You never know how long you’re going to be up there for! Since Keith is a wuss, he seemed a little nervous at the top. "Ugh, I hate this part up here." Haha, I don’t know what that feels like, I don’t get nervous on anything anymore dammit. Wish I did though!

Finally, after about ten seconds, we plummeted 240ft straight down. This was actually a very good shot down I thought. Sometimes, Power Tower can be verrrry watered down and have the wimpiest shots and drops ever, but this one was very good. Definitely worth the 30 seconds or so we had to wait. J

Next up on our tour (what ride is that line from? Anyone?) was the big orange (?) monster called Magnum XL-200. Another first for Julie! We all rode in the last three rows, with Clay and I in the very last row. I love riding Magnum at night – Lake Erie is just a huge black abyss, and it looks as though you’ll fly right into it on the top of the second hill. Even though Clay and I were over an axle, it still provided a very smooth ride, for Magnum. There was air EVERYWHERE, and pretty minimal trimming. The bunny hops on the way back were VICIOUS. They hurt so bad they were making me laugh incredibly hard. I mean, you get launched upwards with such force and it just gets stronger and stronger with each hop. The ride ended and it seemed as though everyone liked it. Julie and Tim were hopping around with joy, but they weren’t wincing in pain either.

After that awesome ride, Keith and I decided we wanted to pop his "Ejector Seat" cherry so off to row 1.3 we went.

When I first rode 1.3 way back in 1998, it was like a new ride to me. There was such powerful airtime everywhere, it was just totally different than any other seat. This time was no different. Our lapbars were at a "comfortable" level, a rarity when it comes to Magnum and over zealous Magnum ride ops.

The entire ride was spent crashing into the steel lap bar. And for some reason, I didn’t care! It was actually pretty damn smooth up in 1.3 as well, so the air wasn’t tough to handle. Then the bunny hops came, and all hell broke loose. More and more powerful until the on ride photo camera (although, on this ride, the bunny hop BEFORE the on ride photo hill provided the most explosive airtime) and then the air in the smoke filled tunnel ending with the brakes. What a ride! I mean, it’s no top 20 for me, but I look forward to riding Magnum more and more with ever visit. I honestly don’t remember if Keith liked it or not. Did you, or what, Keith?

We saw Josh Wozny and friends at the exit and shot the breeze for a few minutes about the new "Whatever it is" and then were off to ride more Millennium Force!

We stopped off for a quick Iron Dragon night ride and to boo at all the trees now missing (curse you!). Iron Dragon’s second half has some pretty good swinging action to it, but the first half is as lame as a lame duck. You heard me.

MF was up next and we rode this a few times as there was absolutely no wait. Keith and I caught a front row ride, this time WITHOUT the blinding rain and it was just as incredible as ever. There was some awesome fog from the Frontier Trail filling in on the island that provided a really interesting visual. Blown away as ever, we rode a couple more times, before heading back to Raptor.

Clay and Keith decided to eat some pizza (what else would Clay eat but pizza?) while Julie, Tim, and I rode Raptor. Our plan was to ride in row one, but they had since taken a train off and the line was kinda long. We still stuck it out, but the final blow came when someone decided to have a protein spill in row 6. I read the ride ops lips for the verdict on its contents. Chili cheese fries! Yum, sign me up for some right now!

That took about 10 mins to clean up so we were left with only about 20mins to ride and get to MF. We decided to hop in row two for our last Raptor ride. It was once again running phenominally (damn, my vocabulary is gettin’ larger, how ‘bout that) with little mid course trimming. Keep up the great work on Raptor, CP!

Our group high tailed it back to MF for that ever-so-special last ride of the night. We all wanted to ride in the front but they had closed that off already so it was middle of the train for us. Since I was riding by myself on this last ride I decided to try and get the front since there was no one there. One of the ride ops said sure go ahead, but some other jackass (hey, there’s two for the night....not bad for CP!) decided to physically grab my arm and say "No, you have to ride over there!" and pointed to a seat on the train. Blah, thanks for the tip Hitler.

That didn’t ruin my last ride though, I had an awesome time and even came back with drool all over my face! MF is one of the only coasters than can do that to me.

We started to head out to the front of the park but first we stopped to take a group photo in front of the cool Millennium Force sign. We were sopping wet from the nights rain but it didn’t matter, we just had about 4hrs of walk on rides at CP! It was now time to drive the night to Six Flags New England.

The drive immediately started off on the wrong foot. Clay, Keith, and I had to follow Julie and Tim back to Julie’s house in Youngstown to drop her car off. All of a sudden my "BRAKE" light came on! This is *not* what you need when you’re on a trip halfway across the country. No one could figure out what it was for. We checked the parking brake and all that jazz but it wouldn’t go off. We asked Julie’s parents who said "it might be the brake fluid." Great, don’t you need that stuff to, oh I dunno, STOP the car? Needless to say I was freaking out about this. But really, there was nothing I could do so we just ended up following Julie to her house. It took about 2hrs to get there (for those keeping track at home, I have now driven a total of 20hrs since Wed night and with this 2 added on, 22 altogether! Wowza...) and we stocked up on food, took bathroom breaks, and talked with her parents for a bit. Julie’s mom was awesome and got us all sorts of good stuff like 4 cases of carbonated beverages (aka pop), Gushers, granola bars, Doritos, Fruit roll-ups, water, and other assorted goodness. This revived us for a little bit, and since we had the (much hyped) DVD player in the car, what better a way to break it in than with some Ace Ventura: Pet Detective! Keith was at the wheel now (uh oh...) while I held the DVD player up for the kids in the back to watch. The movie kept us awake for a couple hours, then I had to crash, as I had been up for way too long.

Saturday, Sept 21

I awoke at about 6am to Keith pulling off the road to get some gas and switch drivers. I wasn’t about to drive since I was still dead tired, but it seemed as though everyone felt the same way. I went into the bathroom and for some reason got this burst of energy...I said "to hell with this" and changed, washed up, and got ready for the next 6hr drive. I think it was the idea of riding SRoS shortly that got me so motivated, but I was ready to go!

Everyone else washed up a bit before we continued on our way, and soon enough we were doing 90mph down I-80 in eastern PA. We were to meet up with Dave Johnson at exit 4 in New Jersey, so I called him up and let him know where we were. Well, continuing the "bad luck" of the trip, my cell phone would cut out consistently.

Dave: "Helloooo?"

Joe: "Can you hear me now?"

Dave: "Joooooooooe, where arrrrrreeeeee you?"

Joe: "I hate my life, and I want to die."

LOL, seriously though, needed to talk to someone and not having a reliable cell phone is the WORST thing ever, so damn frustrating.

Finally I made it to the exit, but missed a turn (damn this bad luck you bring me Keith, Julie, and Clay!) so I went about six miles in the wrong direction before realizing it was the wrong direction. Ugh, nothing like getting lost when you need to be somewhere.

We met up with Dave at the TA (T and A?) Truck Stop, filled up, and were on our way to SFNE to ride Superman!

With Clay lightening the load by going with Dave in his car, there was now more room for Julie and Tim to sleep in the back. Keith also dozed off for a bit which left me to rock out to my Midtown, Allister, Starting Line, Mest, Good Charlotte, and others compilation CD.

Since we were supposed to meet up with quite a few people at SFNE this day I started making some calls. It was about opening at the park now, so they would be there, while we still had a couple hours of driving to go. Keith talked with Mike Semtak (Viper423) on his cell phone, and he gave us some disappointing news – one train operation. L The second train wasn’t even on the track! What is the deal with that, eh SFNE?

We crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge and got a pretty mediocre view of downtown NYC and paid the $3 toll. I got a call from Nick Devito (Spacecase8130) and Kris Johnston who we were meeting at the park whenever we got there. They said they rode SRoS and loved it, and the line was only outside the station. Well that wasn’t so bad then, I could handle that.

Fast forward to our arrival at the park at approximately 12:00pm where we met up with Nick and Kris at the front gate. We wanted to check out how long SRoS’ line was so we walked down to Superhero Adventures. Saw it was rather long and headed up to get a Lo-Q. With the season pass discount it was a steal of a deal at $6/person! So off we headed to SRoS for our first ride, with Q-bot in tow!

The line wasn’t horribly long so we stuck our Lo-Q guy in the reader and it said "RIDE RESERVED - SUPERMAN" and that was that. We got in line and waited it out. The time never came up on the Q-Bot so I decided to get out of line and ask the Lo-Q guy what was up. He said it must be messed up and he’d call and see what’s going on. But he said once we’re done riding we can just come right back up the Lo-Q entrance without waiting. Rock on, thanks Lo-Q dude!

I was to ride with Clay in row two for our first ride, and the newbie Julie was to ride with Keith on her first ride in the front row. Well, things changed when we saw the fourteen train wait for the front and the two train wait for row 2! I quickly convinced them to head up towards the second row, and due to my amazing persuasiveness, they complied. J

Clay and I sat down, strapped in, and pulled the lap bar down so as to have a little flying room. Hey, I’m supposed to be Superman, aren’t I? As Dick Kinzel would say, "nothing wrong with a little airtime!"

Up the 208ft peak we went...I LOVE that view of the Connecticut River you get! Not to mention the awesome finale of SRoS. Down the drop we go, and into the tunnel which had no mist on it today (booooo). The second hill of SRoS is absolutely unbelievable in any row, but extra good in the front. The design of it is just perfect, like a bunny hill, only 140ft or so in the air. You get massive ejector air all the way over it!

The overbank is taken at very high speeds, too, and it was after the overbank that I felt the train vibrating violently; it felt like it was going to disintergrate right there! Now that’s power for ya...

The third straight hill is very good – nice ejector air all the way up and over, but it’s what lies next that is scary. The fourth hill is like SFDL/SFA SRoS third hill where it wants you GONE NOW. Not in a second or two, but now!

Entering the twisted part of SRoS now, you get an awesome G-filled helix before getting launched out in the first of two "non-inverting corkscrews". It’s here where your legs are telling you "HEY WHAT’S THE DEAL HERE DAMN IT?!" You want ejector airtime, you make your way to SFNE.

The second tunnel on the ride was filled with mist...HEAVY mist! It’s like three full seconds of watery goodness, and I loved it. I really think it adds a whoooole lot to the ride, in fact. It gives you that "shock" factor...good stuff!

The ending bunny hops are incredible to say the least. I think I still prefer the SFA/SFDL versions, but this day SRoS SFNE was flying like a madman so the trim before the bunnies did absolutely nothing. Hitting the brakes at what has to be 35mph in that short of a span is breathtaking (YAY WE STOPPED...this time...)! First ride on it of the day and I wanted more.

So more is what we did. Since our Lo-Q didn’t work for that last ride, the op just let us go up that entrance without waiting, which rocked. So back to SRoS, this time in the last car. More ejector, more speed, more unbelievable Intamin goodness. Stengel is a freakin’ god.

We decided to head off toward Batman Dark Knight, my least fav floorless ever and like my second least fav B&M. Keith and I rode back in July and I thought it was pretty ho-hum...didn’t do much at all and what’s the deal with the trim? It’s going all of 35mph right there lol.

Well this time we made the decision of riding in the front. So we got to wait at the entrance to the station while the grouper loaded the station. Er, TRIED to load the station. I kid you not, this was the WORST grouper I have ever encountered at any park. She pretended to smack a guest upside their head when they complained about her son being too short, then she used the naughty "F" word about three times, and other various four letter words. I was shocked, but for some reason found it funny and never even went to GR about it. Oh well, back to Boringman, I mean Batman! J

The lift is so damn steep, that’s one of my fav parts of the ride. First drop LOOKS like it should be awesome but leaves something to be desired. Loop is okay, dive loop is really fun (it has a kink to it, and it goes over the exit so you can wave to people), turnaround is there, and then you get to the heartline. My first ride on BDK in July I was severely disappointed by this element. It had been so hyped up but I recall saying BORing as soon as we hit the brakes. Not this time! It throws you and stalls you out in midair...very cool! Definitely the best part of the ride. The ending isn’t all that bad, it’s just not all that spectacular. I don’t find the flatspins rough, but they are kinda rattly. Not bad at all, and certainly not up to the level of annoyingness you get with the "Vekoma Rattle."

So with Batman under our belt (it was running two trains, hooray) we decided that was enough of that and Dave Johnson suggested we ride Cyclone. I was all about that! Cyclone has some of the sickest airtiem on any coaster operating today. Well, we got over to that part of the park train. Thanks SFNE! We decided to skip it as the wait was over 45mins probably and we couldn’t budget that much time. So out of all the coasters there, I think BDK and Mind Eraser were the *only* coasters running more than one train. Makes you wonder why CP consistently gets praise – because they operate their park like a park SHOULD be operated, maximum capacity almost all the time. It left a really sour taste in my mouth at SFNE (this is the second time this year we didn’t get to do all the rides because of long lines due to single train op).

Ah well, we saw the line for Scream wasn’t all that bad so we jumped in the queue. About 20mins later we were on the Space Shot side (no combo towers today, BOO!). This S&S is definitely one of my favs of the regular sized towers. The launch is very powerful and the airtime at the top is intense as well.

Time was running out before we had to be at Lake Compounce for OcBoulderFest so we went back to the reason we were at the park in the first place – Superman! We Lo-Q’d it and then got in line...the line had grown VERY large and was about 70mins now. We still waited it out and took some random funny pictures while we endured the slow moving line.

Fun 1

Fun 2



(Now that’s potent airtime!)

Tip: When going to amusement parks, take along digital cameras or camcorders. Take lots of pics no matter how stupid they seem because when you get back from the trip and see them, they’ll bring back lots of awesome memories and you’ll get that "ahhhhh" feeling.

Well guess what, the line would have made us miss our Lo-Q ride since it was so long so we left SRoS’ line and headed for Nightwing, a Huss Fly Away flat ride. This has got to be the all time SLOWEST loading of any flat in existence! Nonetheless, more Cool pix were taken so the wait wasn’t so bad. After I think about 25 mins we were getting on this Human Waffle Maker. I personally don’t think the restraints are uncomfortable, but can see how others might see them that way. I rode next to Keith for his first ride, while Julie and Mike rode behind us.

I *love* this ride. It’s so intense at the bottom and has some damn nifty visuals to boot! It feels like I’m doing the world’s slowest backflip. Keith seemed to like it as much as I did, hence all the "wheeeeee’s." J

After we departed the best flat of the day (ahem, *only* flat), we once again went to the big red and blue one for the last ride of our stay at SFNE. The line again moved excruciatingly slow, but it could have been worse. I think it ended up being about 65 - 75 mins as Clayton and I hopped in our front row red coach seats. We pulled the lap bars down snug (read: Holiday World snug ;)) and prepared for what was going to be one of the best rides of my life!

We climbed the lift and I took it all in...the river, the trees, the rides, the park...I knew I wouldn’t be on this coaster for a very long time so I wanted to remember everything – then we plunged down 221’ into a mistless tunnel at 78mph! Up the second hill and that’s where it hit me...I got so much ejector air it felt as though I would become one with the Connecticut River! And that theme continued onto all the other hills, just as severe of airtime, and with my lap bar position where it was, I was enabled to feel each and every force this bad boy had to give. And let me tell ya, when we hit the second tunnel and I was engulfed in thick, watery fog, I lost was just one of those rides. We hit the bunnies with such ferocity I was thrown up and landed HARD both times. Into the brakes where my body was tossed like a rag doll into the lap bar and the look of absolute astonishment on my face. At that moment, SRoS was probably my new #1 coaster. I was on such a high, I couldn’t even speak.

Clay and I rejoined the group, who had already got their rides and were taking pics of us in all our front row glory, and I still couldn’t even form complete sentences. It was just that damn good! I had decided I REALLY wanted to make it my #1 coaster, but I knew I was getting Nitro tomorrow, and if that failed for perform then it’d go to #2 (yeah, I know, I’m a coaster dork, so sue me).

We said our goodbye’s to SRoS, and the rest of SFNE and got in our respective cars for the 45min jaunt to Lake Compounce. First timers for this park would be Julie, Keith, Nick, and Kris. After some miscommunication, pissed off motorists, wrong turns (thanks Dave!), and DDR tunes, we arrived at The Lake. It was getting dark already, as it was approaching about 7:15pm. The park closed at 8pm, when ERT started on Boulder Dash. So we had some credits to hit for the newbies! Keith, Clayton, and I headed off toward Wildcat (more like BORing Cat!) to check that one off the list.

I sat with Clay, and Keith in front (or behind?) of us. Clay’s first mistake was sitting with me. I replayed an incident that happened on that very coaster the previous summer with Scott Schaffer by cutting off all circulation to his midsection with the seatbelt. Gotta be safe there, Clay! :-p

Wildcat, surprisingly, offered a pretty decent ride, I thought. Very smooth and some out of control-ness in the middle part. I’ll be riding it again, so it gets the Joe C stamp of approval!

Next up was the Zoomerang (how...clever) credit. Keith and I ditched Clay and nabbed a front row ride on this incredibly unique (cough) six looping coaster! Dare I say, this was *the* smoothest ride on any Vekoma I’ve ever had in my life! Wowza wowza, what the hell did Compounce do to this thing? Not one single solitary tap anywhere throughout the course! Keith and I were amazed and told the unbelieveable tale to Dave Johnson, Matt Smith (of Medusa fame), and Landan Ansell upon our exit of the ride. I hadn’t see the latter two cool cats since they randomly picked my butt up on the way down to IOA in August. Ahh, those were some good times!

Anyway, back to the show. So now we had another crowd, and what to do...well there’s always the kiddie tea cups, let’s ride those!

Well, Clay and I were the only ones dumb/immature enough to do that, but it created quite a spectacle. More so than I had hoped. ;) You see, when two "adults" (I use the term loosely for Clay’s sake lol) spin the car fast, it starts rocking and makes ungodly noises that freak out kids and their parents in neighboring cars. So the ride op apparently WASN’T supposed to let us on, but with my undeniable charm, caved into our request...much to the disappointment of families everywhere!

I guess I let myself go crazy as I spun this tiny cup ‘round and ‘round...It started rocking violently back and forth. "Slow down!" the ride op yelled..."I’m trying to!" LOL, I wasn’t really, I wanted to see how fast this sucker could get! At one point before we even started the ride I had spun it so fast Clay and I almost got tossed! So I cooled off a bit on that, as I do value my life somewhat.

So finally our Insane Tea Cup ride came to and end, to the *delight* of the ride op and the parents of the now-frightened youngsters riding next to us. We all had a good laugh, and called me a few names, and then headed out to meet up with everyone at Boulder Dash, since ERT was starting soon. But first we needed a Potato Patch fry stop where we loaded our veins with fatty goodness (cheese, please, and lots of it!).

Now onto the main course, that CCI mountain wonder coaster, Boulder Dash! There were TONS of ACEr’s standing in front of the entrance waiting for the ride to open (they added a second train just for us, awwwww) so we all did some mingling. I got to see the ol’ Europe Coaster Odyssey gang again: Danielle, Matt, Alan, Steve, Janna all get shot outs! Sorry we didn’t get there earlier to hang out but that’s what ya get when SFNE runs one train on everything. L Oh well, we still had good times, no?

So they opened up the queue and let all us rabid fanatics in line. This was to be my first true night rides on BD so I was excited. Keith and I joined Michael Graham in line for the front half of the train, where we ended up waiting for the very front row for Keith’s first rides. The crew was awesome and handing out double rides (even though that sucks because I’m sure we could have gotten more rides if they were all single, but I will stop complaining nnnnnnnnnow) so our first two rides were to be in row 1.1. And in pitch black. Ooooh la la what does this beast have in store?

The lift was *incredibly* dark! It was so eerie going up the side of the mountain on a coaster lift hill and all that jazz...awesome setting. The drop is pretty lackluster in the airtime dept (we were in the front, however from previous rides I know it’s bad) but does it ever build up the speed! Keith said it best after his third ride – "It’s like the Millennium Force of wooden coasters." I agree, as it’s mostly about mind numbing speed the whole ride.

Anyhoot, ERT ended after 4 rides (two front and two back), which seemed *very* short and all, but what can ya do? Well, Keith, Julie, Clay, Tim, and I walked down the exit to say our goodbyes, when I decided that I could probably sneak a couple rides in from the exit if the ops said it was okay. And sure enough, it was! I got to ride three more times behind Janna Rassmussen, Alan Conceico, and I believe Matt and Danielle, too! Again, night rides on this puppy are where its at. You can’t see a damn thing as it tosses you all over the place! Gooooood times.

So our ride session on BoulderDash came to and end (so sad) and I met back up with my group, who *seemed* mad at me for whatever reason (nya nya I got three more rides in BOOM!). But they weren’t, which was cool! So we said goodbye to EVERYONE... there a lot of cool folks at this event! Got a big ass group hug from the ECO contingent (and proceeded to fall on the ground with everyone on top of Danielle I believe haha).

I guess if I had one suggestion for this event it would be to have a little longer ride session. With how popular it was, four rides is just too little for an ERT session, IMO. Maybe next year!

Well I think that will do it for this part of the TR...I fear if I try to include SFGAd on here, I will never finish it. J I will get SFGAd part done sometime within the next year, probably. Hope you all enjoyed it, and sorry for the lateness!

"No honey, the monkeys have already done enough damage on this trip." - Guy coming out of front gate at SFGAd

Best. Trip Report. Ever.

Jonathan Hawkins
"There is a cluster of bees at the top of the lift. Sorry for the inconvenience."

BullGuy's avatar

TR's are like wine. If you let 'em age a bit, they're that much better. :)

Never Has Gravity Been So Uplifting.

Jeff's avatar

Well, it is pretty damn late, but better late than never. I always find the details surrounding a trip far more interesting than the coasters. :) Nice job.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - -

Do you still have fingers??? ;)

Very well done TR! And you brought back some crazy memories of my first rides on S:ROS. Are there any more questions as to why this is earth's best steel thingy? For anyone that hasn't been on it but is wondering, yes it is worth the trip just to ride this one coaster!

Superman:The Escape(1997-2002) May he one day fly again.

Funny stuff, even funnier is the fact I remeber you guys that night and now I know who you were LOL. I was hanging out with Josh for most of night.

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!
Ode to the offseason:
Offseason Offseason what shall I do? Who cares the sun is still shining the sky is still blue! GET A LIFE!

Great trip report Joe. All of your TR's are great. How long does it take you to write these. It takes a long time just to read them.

TRs dont get any better than this! Great Job Joe!....reading stuff like this totally reminds me of trips in the past i went on with Joe and the other "Chicagoans"

SFGAm Viper

Hey Joe, nice TR. It was pretty surprising to see you that night, totally random. You're lucky my friend Jenny made me go over to WT to say hi to Seth.


Ughhhhh. My eyes are strained now. ;)

Very well put together and informative TR. Its amazing the amount of driving that you do to hit these parks. I believe you had another TR a couple of years ago with close to the insane amount of driving.

"You are a trooper" :)

2 superheroes in Gurnee next season? Oh the humanity. :)

That was definately the most I've ever driven. We left after work that friday and drove overnight to meet them at SFNE. We got to Agawam at about 8 A.M. EST and there was NOTHING to do in that city! Couldn't even find anywhere for some breakfast! Oh, and since it was a drive for SROS, it can be considered a pilgramidge :)

Hopefully we'll eventually get a TR from the SFGAd portion with a link to "The Bag."

WOOD: It does a body good.

I agree--I myself can't wait til everyone gets to read about The Bag! The Bag brought happiness to so many people that day. Its story deserves to be told and then passed down through the generations.

I sure do miss that thing.


I sure was surprised when you told me this was posted! Now let's see if you actually finish it... ;)

But yes, Excellent TR! So many Great things on that Trip! Everytime I read it I think of something new. Talk about GOOD Times!

My 1st ride on MF, front seat, in the pouring rain was just the 1st of some very memorable moments. As mentioned above we can NOT forget the bag! Happy times with that bag! Also, toilets, broken kitchen sinks and the "Crucifier." And of course, the Coatsers! :) And some GOOD Coasters they are!

Great Friends + Great Coasters = The Best Times! Lol, corny but true!

Gemini's avatar

Legendary said:

What is the *deal* with people clogging the fast lane?! AND THEN YOU FLIP *ME* OFF?! Oh, slam on your brakes, that’s real cool. Ugh, I loathe bad drivers, sorry.

You were, of course, traveling at or below the speed limit. ;) That pesky limit applies to every lane. There's nothing I loathe more than being tailgated in the passing lane by a driver who just has to go 90 in a 65. :)

Anyway, very nice TR. It's refreshing to read a trip report as opposed to a coaster report.

Virtual Midway

*** This post was edited by Gemini on 12/30/2002. ***

Whoa, people actually read that thing! All 7,822 words? Wowza, color me impressed. :)

Jeff, I agree, I much more enjoy reading details about a trip than the same ol "we rode this, that was fun, then we rode this." It just makes it easier and more enjoyable to read. So that's why I do it. :)

DWeaver, yeah, I'm pretty sure I still have all my ten digits in tact! The funny thing is that TR has been worked on since the day I got home from the trip. So it's kind of funny reading it myself, as things in my life have changed dramatically since that trip!

MagnumForce, you mean Josh didn't tell you who we all were? Well that prick! We'll have to get him next time, look forward to meeting ya.

SFgadvMan, like I said to DWeaver, this TR has been in the process of being posted for about three months now. And it's STILL not even done (SFGAd part of it will be almost as long as this probably!). How long did it take you to read the whole thing?

Andrew, yeah we had some crazy ass trips when I lived up there! Keep the tradition alive lol.

Nat, yeah it was completely random seeing you! And excuse me, but I think you're the one who is lucky for getting to see me. :-P I think I'll call you "Rollback Girl" from now on, okay? hahaha.

Chitown, sorry about your eyes, man! Haha. Yeah I drive a *lot* these days, it's pretty insane. I forgot to add that detail in the TR though, total distance put on my mom's Montero? 3,636 miles! And that was all in the period of what, five days? Not too shabby hehe.

SpaceCase/evvdave, you'll get your damn The Bag TR soon enough! Probably three months or so, lol. It was awesome that both of you guys made it on this trip, I loved the group we had at SFGAd! I really can't wait to tell the world about Nitro-Peek-a-Boo and The Bag though, so just hold tight.

Julie, that MF ride...unbelieveable. I am really glad you liked it as much as you did (and didn't listen to Tim "Theme Park Critic Extreme" haha). I really can't wait to see the video footage you shot from this trip, should be funny stuff. Also, why have you not put the pic of you and Janice up in your Cbuzz profile, hmmmm?! Get to work! :)

Thanks again everyone for the comments! Glad I gave some of you something to do while at work. ;)

"No honey, the monkeys have already done enough damage on this trip." - Guy coming out of front gate at SFGAd

Legendary- About 30-45 minutes.

Legendary said:

And excuse me, but I think you're the one who is lucky for getting to see me.

BULLpoo. :o)

Legendary wrote:

Whoa, people actually read that thing! All 7,822 words? Wowza, color me impressed.

Color me impressed that you wrote it (and did all that driving!)

Jann***, one of the "lucky" ones who got to see Joe at LC (and what does he do? smack the crap out of my arm!) and also a big fan of ButterBurgers

What's wrong Joe, ain't got no bag love?


Legendary wrote:

Keith: "Why not, I didn’t do anything!"

Cop: "Yeah, but your friend over here is floppin’ around like a jackass!"

If only the cop knew you Joe, then he would of known that it wasn't the beer make you act like that. Being a Jackass comes natural to you :)

*** This post was edited by TeuFelHund on 12/31/2002. ***

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