Since becoming a coaster and park enthusiast at the beginning of the new millennium upon my peaking interest in the Ohio amusement park “wars”, one thing I was intensely intrigued to somehow do was make a trek to Santa Claus, Indiana for this little event called Stark Raven Mad at Holiday World. I read countless threads and heard dozens of testimonials from awestruck friends who described it as nothing short of the ultimate coaster rave and a spiritual experience that toppled anything else offered for enthusiasts during the year. Each year came and went with a glimmer of hope in being part of this seemingly near-cult group of people that had this fantastic opportunity. Every chance was ultimately torn apart from lack of independence and stuck doing the high school student routine up to and including 2003 when graduation ripped right into the event. As we all know, that year became life-changing for everyone at Holiday World and everyone in this community and the next event seemed out of sight and out of question. It was like your favorite band breaking up before getting a chance to see them and an entirely stomach-churning little chain of unfortunate happenings. Everything was quiet from the Santa Claus front and we had to be optimistic and patient.
Three years and answered prayers later, Holiday World was ready and they didn’t send a rowboat to do it. They sent an entire ship! The park prepared a coaster, like the new land in America discovered on a little pilgrimage a couple hundred years ago, in the making since the beginning of time to be the greatest of them all and change the world as we know it.. Coaster world that is. They worked with The Gravity Group on the most twisted, literally and figuratively, out and back coaster to ever hit the shores of this country. More on that later. It was also enough time to allow eyes, hands, and hearts to be ready to open again and welcome our group, who wanted to reciprocate the same, for a newly titled late May event at Holiday World that we all now know as Holiwood Nights, coined as a Bob Seger reference by one of my good friends, Matt Scott (Acoustic Viscosity). If it would have been scheduled even a weekend earlier or later, I wouldn't have been able to come with a last midterm in a class falling of the former's Friday and finals spilling in next Monday. I finally had my freedom and I was ready to use it!
Plans were constantly changing over the last few months, but I still wasn’t going to let anything less than an emergency stop me from going and ultimately decided to go down with a best friend, John Gilman (Michael Darling.. No, his name's *not* really Michael- see: Peter Pan character ;)). The two of us made a special trip down to HW on opening weekend, but their new Sally dark ride, Gobbler Getaway, wasn’t open yet, so surprisingly I was going to have even more to look forward to when I got back to the park again a few weeks from then. He was able to get the day off work, I was able to skip my sole Friday class, and Beech Bend offered us all a unique convenience in an event on Sunday night at the Bowling Green park to add to our itinerary including their new Great Coasters woodie, Kentucky Rumbler. We penciled in Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom for Monday as well and made a big trip out of it. Originally, Clint (Tekno Scorpion) was supposed to room with us, but his plans fell through and it sort of helped us with that room cancellation in being closer to the park in another way. Everyone still really missed him on the trip and I can't wait to see him again- fondling and all. ;) My excitement hasn’t built so much is such a long time as it felt like everyone I knew from coasterdom would be attending the event and the ERT and time we had to spent together was as extensive as SRM before.
HOLIWOOD NIGHTS DAY 1
I drove down from Ohio State to my parents’ house in Lebanon, Ohio on Thursday afternoon to pack and get things together for the trip as well as escape a very nasty storm that was trudging through the area. John came down from Lorain, Ohio on Friday morning and picked me up around 2:30 that afternoon, which conveniently allowed us to make it to Holiday World a bit after 5 that afternoon. He gave me the Sirius experience yet again and tried to get me into Bubba the Love Sponge, but I failed to be amused by his humor. I hear you need to give him time to grow on you, but XM is my satellite radio of choice, so I’ll just stick there for now. We kept it on Alt Nation for most of the time and I was happy to find they had a nice selection of indie, rock, punk, and their subgenres. Moderately impressive, but I still prefer Ethyl. Sorry John. =p I'm so hooked on the new Format album and Gnarls Barkley stuff though and those basically became the soundtrack of the trip. The Third Eye Blind self-titled hits this time of year just right and Jimmy Eat World's Clarity owns the night. Can you still feel the butterflies? For me, this is heaven. Perfect summer tunes.
Right on schedule at the park, we walked in the park and noticed how humid and intense the sun was beating down. I doubt you'll find a trip report from this weekend that doesn't mention how the heat almost got the best of them, but we kept hydrated the entire time and kept trooping through. John and I registered on-site with the card of my little Dawn Vavrik (dawnmarie), the queen of curls. She was with her boyfriend Russ on his first mega coaster trip eventually en route to her favorite childhood park, Indiana Beach, and show-and-tell him with her parents at home and around Chicago. Congratulations to her on getting a new job and I wish the two could come to Lollapalooza with me in August, but I understand the situation now. One day we will all go to a music festival together whether it's in Chicago, Austin, Tennessee, or California. ;)
We ran into Mike B. and caught up with him on their luxurious trip with some of our other friends to Kentucky Kingdom on Friday where they were treated to lunch and an interested ear for improvements and comments by the General Manager and excellent service from the entire park. What a delight to hear first hand on how some of the Six Flags parks are turning around, especially from people who hated specific ones to begin with and swore to never go again. We tagged him onto us and walked on towards the Voyage and found Tina (coaster queen) walking back from that area and met her friend Katie (coaster katie). The three of us were pumped for what The Voyage had to offer us today though, so we briskly continued on our way and jumped in line. I was pleased to find that they had added some really cool themed elements to the queue that easily must have been snatched from an abandoned Red Lobster. It was brilliant. Up the stairs and into the shortest line, I spotted a few people I knew and gave quick and nervous waves due to being so anxious to ride again and strapped myself inside on for the ride.
THE VOYAGE- Now this thing is quite a monster. It’s 163’ tall, nearly as long as The Raven and The Legend combined, and does those things you wished you could do on those back country roads so ferociously and so out of control, you almost believe the coaster borders on losing that “controlled” sense of terror. There are glorious pops of air all over this ride and great floats down the hills of the out run. The turnaround alone packs the punch you would expect from any average wow-you-in-the-end modern woodie out there that you wish you had time to wonder what sort of hell rages ahead of you. The train storms through the midcourse so fast that if you don’t intentionally remind yourself to breathe, you might have trouble getting those good gulps into your lungs until it hits the final brake run. The triple down may very well be my favorite element on any coaster as your body lunges itself forwards and backwards with great find over each hump.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. For me, no coaster, not even Superman Ride of Steel nor Top Thrill Dragster, has created such a sense of urgency, excitement, and anxiety as the intensity and tension built throughout the return leg of The Voyage. It ends about 20 seconds *after* you're already satisfied with it and exhausted from it. I was so taken and speechless from it that when I got off the first time, my voice was sore enough to have felt like I screamed the entire ride when I hadn't even let out a squeak until the sigh of relief at the end. This is the first coaster I’ve seen where enthusiasts have viewed it as almost being too much to handle over and over again yet still make you yearn for more. I can‘t call it my number one due to my difficulty in being able to reride it as much as I can easily reride my other favorite coasters. It's an overwhelming masterpiece that I have no fear in overrating with my description. It is that good and amazing.
Now, one thing I asked myself and asked others over the weekend, did the park really need this with being a family park?? Is this going to attract guests and really get them inspired to come again and again? What are unsuspecting families who things it’s a nice “Voyage” going to think once they are on it? Well, I’m not in the amusement park, so maybe I shouldn’t be asking the questions on rather or not this was most needed, but they built it and we came. Some of us in more than one way it seems. ;)
I met up with quite a few people outside Voyage including Beth (Toons), Mike (boblogone), Kyle (Recess), Craig (IggyACE) and his family, Frank (sparky697), and our wonderful roommates, Nicole (CoasterChickN) and Kathy and we all dorked around for a bit until we were escorted over to the picnic grove. Will, Pat, and Paula had some announcements and set some rules up for the event to prevent issues from happening and to keep everyone as safe as possible. I know not to take offense to what they’re saying even though I know the rules and I know they weren’t intentionally talking down to us, but I also know what has happened before and why they’d be hesitant, but I appreciate the efforts they went through to make this event happen. The park was cleared out, dinner was being served at Kringle’s, and the coasters plus Gobbler were fired up and ready to go. I grabbed hellos and hugs from Lori (loriu), who had got a sore throat just prior to the trip and developed some sore muscles during, and her family, Matthew (Mamoosh) and Papa Moosh, Rob (nasai), and some others. Luckily Lori is feeling better now, but afterwards I jumped after Dawn and Russ to get his ride on The Legend before they got on The Voyage for the first time. Oh, the feelings of breaking into a budding enthusiast and that first time mystery and suspense.
THE LEGEND was running so well and I sort of abandoned it last year as it was slowly scooting away from my #1 as Thunderhead bettered it, I got more attached to PPP rides on Phoenix, and The Raven continued to hold its own with a lot of rough spots on the Leg last year. This year though, I’m back on the wagon and wanting to finally make my “Got Head?” shirt to pay dues to how much I love this coaster. The back seat is just a must on all of these coasters, but I love the twist down the first drop and the bite to the double up from there. It’s easing its way into the top of my list again and it feels so good. It was storming through those helices and into the four corners early in the night. I don’t know what happened since last fall, but thank you Holiday World. There were two trains going and the wait was never more than a train or two for me and non-existent later in the night.
THE RAVEN so continuously delivers though and I think people will still have a really hard time finding the ride “forgettable” in a park with two fresher and bigger coasters. It started it all at Holiday World and nothing on the other two can really replace the sweep by Lake Rudolph or the unnerving dive and thunderous roar into the woods from drop five and on that replicates something The Beast at Kings Island wishes it was still packing. Yet again, the back is where it’s at and last half of this ride is still something I can’t make it through without desperately reaching for the bar by the bottom of the last drop. Like I told someone while we were in line, if I could only recommend one coaster at the park as essential to sample in the study of coasters, it would be The Raven. It does everything right all the time. This coaster has never failed me.
John and I were getting quite hungry so we hopped on over the Kringle’s and had some delicious pizza, which was so fresh and even better than what I had last year. People were working so quickly to keep the line down as well and everyone was circulating through the Pepsi Oasis fairly fast as well, so we were in there and in seats in less than 5 minutes with the hundreds of people eating there. The fudge line was a bit longer, but we finally found Matt (AV), caught up with him, and told me that he had some 80s music on a date CD to learn me with and I eventually have some 90s to exchange with him as well. We’re trying to broaden our musical horizons even more since the music to coaster/park to thread came up. Rob dropped by to have a piece of pizza with John and I and we discussed a few movies that impressed us from 2005 including A History of Violence and Brokeback Mountain. It was quite enjoyable and I wish he and I got to talk more. I’m glad you really do miss me Rob. ;) I’ll get out there soon- promise. Over the course of the night, I ran into some of my good friends, Kristin DeJonge (Kristin Marie), Troy and Brad Sherman (B&M Guy and Arrow Guy), Pat Ryan (cdrpointcrazy), his parents, and his friend Lacy, Bill (rollergator), my boy Brian (Homey G.) who was totally not bringing the love like he should have, Kris Allen, Ed (chillforce) who I kept missing all night, and met Josh (Rampage) and Brandi, who I absolutely adore and can’t wait to hang out with again. They’re such friendly, funny, and inviting individuals for real.
I wasn’t up for The Voyage again tonight, but I went back and forth between the other two woodies quite a few times and took a few spins on Gobbler Getaway. It’s such a cute dark ride, but the old lady at the beginning is so real that it’s creepy. Imagining the reality of her basically rubbing the cat to death as the fake skin comes up to expose the electronics underneath amuses me. So does the picture of the marijuana leaf hanging on the wall. ;) My score was really inconsistent, but I found as I went along from John that if you aim the gun a little lower on the target, it’s more likely to score you the points. Every park really needs a dark ride and this was truly what I was most looking forward to as well. So many people were enjoying it and it made me happy. Rerides galore until the park closed and then we packed into our cars and got ready for the after party. A lot of us went over to the campgrounds and hung out around Riverview Mike and his son’s spot with Lisa Broadrick, Mike Miller (bassissist), Frank, Rob, Lori, John, Nicole, and a number of others. We were trying not to be loud, but a little alcohol and dirty stories and Craig humping people can get everything pretty riled up. It was fun watching me be more mature than my elders. ;)
HOLIWOOD NIGHTS DAY 2
I avoided drinks the before night because I figured it wouldn’t allow me to sleep and sure enough, I couldn’t sleep anyways. Nicole set up a really nice hotel at the Days Inn in Jasper and between a sore throat and a warm room, I was a little uncomfortable and tried some iPod tv (The Office yay!!) and even some Nintendo DS, but nothing worked. Nicole and I maybe got three hours of sleep between us as we noticed each other tossing and turning in the morning. I just had to get up and get a shower early. I put on shorts this time because I knew it would be a scorcher out today, put on my new pair of brown Macbeth shoes, and got some breakfast consisting of some yogurt, a muffin, and apple juice until the others got up. I called a couple people, updated mom on what was going on, and went up to find Nicole coming down for some food as I was walking back into the room.
We all got dressed in our swimwear for the morning to do the waterpark ERT and it was definitely worth heading over to the park. George (redman) and his family was there and spotted me and we had a little conversation for a couple minutes until the gate opened. I love the new additions and how well the park has used the land and made the layout easy to get around. I wish Kings Island would try to eventually get their waterpark to loop all the way around instead of having some dead ends. Hopefully Cedar Fair makes some smart decisions over there, as it’s quite a draw. I didn’t do any swimming or sliding, but it was nice to people-watch and chat with friends walking around and sitting down for breakfast and such. I talked to Beth and Mike for awhile and watched Beth get her knitting on. She’s so crafty. This was the first event in a long time that I’ve been able to talk to Mike without him having his Hannibal Lecter mask on, so that was refreshing as well. ;) Brian Neal and his friend stopped by and had some breakfast with us for a bit.
Evidently Rob and Matt had ridden one of the tube slides together and it flipped and Matt flew head first into the side of the tube and cracked his glasses and cut his forehead. I’ll leave the full story for Rob to handle in his TR, but it’s funny to imagine them even riding that together in the first place since they both have a pretty tall and strong build. Glad you’re ok too Matt. Rob had introduced me to a really nice guy that I had seen at the CB event last fall named John and I told him that if he was hanging out alone again tonight to join up with us if he wanted to ride with other people. I didn’t get a chance to catch back up with him at any point until the end of the night, but I hope to see him at more events. Very cool young guy and obviously made a great impression on Rob as well.
Nicole, Kathy, and I went back to the hotel for a couple hours to take a little nap and we all laid down and fell asleep to a shark show on the Discovery Channel about this kid who wanted to ride sharks, but it did wonders for us. When we woke up, we were refreshed and probably had a better afternoon and night than the one before. I was totally energized and ready to go and we took the spins around the park and had a blast again. We found John and he got himself changed from doing the waterpark all morning and into the afternoon and he and Nicole got some flat riding done with Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride and I caught up with Bruce (who has a new baby boy! Congrats!) and the rest of the group. We stopped for a late lunch at The Alamo, which had much faster and better service than we had opening weekend. It took a half hour to get our food then and was so unreasonable that we wanted to file a complaint. Anyways, it was right out and ready to go this time and I was very pleased. The walking tacos are so tasty and perfect for a change. Highly recommended for anyone who has only had the pizza or whatever at the park in the past.
Surprisingly, Mike (Incidentalist), one of the first enthusiasts I met back in 2003 right before the last SRM along with Rob, Jeff Rogers (Peabody), and Rob Bob (robocoaster), saw me and it was so nice to see him again. He’s one of those people I met at the roots of my experience with meeting other enthusiasts, so I’m really thankful for him and the rest of those guys for making such a great impression. I forget his friend’s name, but he was unbelievably cool and talkative. I love when someone from the “outside” that isn’t familiar with anything that we do really just jumps on board and takes the ride like they were meant to be there all along. Bring him back Mike and tell me his name!
I saw Nicole eying the rapids ride all day and while we didn’t ride it, she got an entire roll of quarters to splash riders. I wish the geysers had a better aim towards into the boat, but it also allows people who don’t want to get too wet to not have to walk away soaking and squishing. That’s the point though, isn’t it? - At least to see which people really “get it” with the water.
It was time for us to join back together for dinner, tonight with some chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, and more. I sat with Josh and Brandi and met their friends Bryan, Neil, and Jon Smith, but we established he’s not the same one from Pocahontas… Right! ;) Neil and Jon were both previous OSU boys, so we had a bit to talk about and it was fun finding people who live just across campus from me. I’m totally missing someone else I met at dinner, but my head’s all over the place and so was trying to keep up with every name and getting a chance to converse with everyone. Dinner was solid and we were off for more riding. We finally found Tommy and James, who had snuck by us sometime before dinner to the other side of the picnic area and Tommy did a little picture show and tell and flashed me a little as well. They hurried off to do their thing and I caught up with a bunch of random friends for the final night session. John saw his friend Joe E. who I met a long time ago with Kristin I believe and they all attended LCCC up in Lorain, Ohio together a few years ago.
I took a couple spins on Gobbler and found a guy I had met the night before at the after party at the campground named Martin and he was very interesting and had a lot of the same ideas I did about The Voyage, its intensity and the park’s decision on adding it, the gorgeous carousel that has never been put into the park, and how much we love the Disney parks. I finally found someone that’s just as off-centre in the enthusiast community as I am. ;) Lines again were excellent and quick to get on. I had countless rides between Raven and Legend, both of which were running beautifully.
I got back to The Voyage, which I knew I had to ride at night sometime. I was sort of determined to avoid it, because I thought it would be too much for me at night and make me sort of sick, but Kristin talked me into it and offered our little exit pass in Troy to get me on quickly so I wouldn’t have long to think about it. I was quietly forced into the back row, my adrenaline pumping, and off into the darkness. I believe in a thing called HOLY (INSERT EXPLETIVE)!! I enjoyed The Voyage much more at night and I’m not sure if I was just so defensive and scared that I didn’t notice the sharp intensity or if seeing less of our train speeding through the woods that I could just break it up in flashes, but it wasn’t as nauseating as I imagined. Certainly not like seeing The Blair Witch Project on an IMAX screen or anything. I was in love with everything.
Nicole, John, and I went to a little store near the exit and got some ice to keep our drinks cold and make some blenders. Lori provided the blender and it really did make superb margaritas in their consistency and Nicole perfected them to taste. I need her at all my socials. ;) Josh, Bill, Neil, Jon, Frank, Craig, Gary (Garbo), and a few others were there again. I got to meet Eric (EchoVictor) and his hilarious girlfriend, who reminded me so much of my cousin that I couldn’t take it. Eric’s evidently the best host in the northern US from all the stories I’ve heard and a really nice guy. He probably gets this all the time, but he reminded me of Ben Affleck- Chasing Amy years. ;) We got a little rowdier (I guess?) tonight and the neighbors eventually told on us and a cop came up to tell us to quiet down. It was sort of amusing when he came up though because we were already finished and everything was fairly calm. Anyways, the neighbors could have joined our party if they wanted, but I understand how that can be if you’re on the other end.
The event night was finally over and I was content and happy with all my rides and everything I was able to see. One thing I know for sure, this event freakin‘ *HWNS* (see: pwns/see: owns) and I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to go. Thank you Holiday World and I sincerely hope the park has their faith restored in enthusiasts to make a safe and fun event happen and get some privileges such as handslapping and energy back from the previous events.
BEECH BEND AND RUMBLEFEST
Sunday morning, Kathy woke the rest of us up (or tried to poke John, who was too deeply asleep) and told us she was heading back home, so we said our goodbyes and told her to be safe and went ahead and got up ourselves a little bit later. This was a chance to sleep in and we took advantage of it. For lunch, a bunch of us (Frank, Kyle, Lisa, Jake, Neil, Jon) returned to Big Chuck’s BBQ like we did a few weeks ago and had the same bubbly waitress who we refer to as “I’ve got a crazy chicken in my pants” girl. She’s too funny and cute. Food was excellent again and highly recommended. Just a tip, the ribs are big orders, so prepare yourself for what you’re getting yourself into.
We slapped on some sunscreen and were on the way to Beech Bend for Rumblefest. At first we expected a pretty large turnout for ERT and while it was impressive, it wasn’t overwhelming on the one-train operation. It took around an hour and a half to get to the park from the Holiday World area, John’s GPS almost had us turning into a fenced field, we finally found the park’s entrance around the corner, and found on-site registration to be a breeze. I saw who I thought was Nate from CB in line at registration, so I asked him and sure enough it was. I talked to him for a minute and got my event materials together. I think the park was really happy to have everyone there and the entire staff was so generous and nice to talk to. They really reminded me a lot of the staff at Dollywood and they were just really welcoming. I told several of them that too and they just appreciated it so much and grabbed my hand and shook it and were just so hospitable. Just adore them.
The rides in this park in general are sort of run of the mill carnival. They had a really weird and dangerously spinny flat entitled Scat 2, which we all made a lot of, uhh, dirty references to all day. The haunted house dark ride was nice and very old school, but mostly dark and uneventful. The kid’s area looked nice, but the kiddie coaster itself was a bithc. Whoever decided that the entire coaster needed to be tilted on a 45 degree angle from lift hill to final turn needs to rethink what career they’re in or seriously, what world and gravity they’re a part of. Not very fun and I got a bruise to show it. This is probably the second coaster I’ve ever got off of and said “credit!” The other was a kiddie coaster at Wild Adventures called Tiger Terror. Major ugh.
Anyways, Nicole’s allergies acted up while we were towards the back of the park and my eyes were majorly itchy, so we went out to get drops in the car. Just a warning for those with allergies, they might act up a bit in this area. On the way back in, John decided to get some Dippin’ Dots and the girl only had orange left, so she gave John two large oranges for the price of one small so she could leave. Nicole helped him and I eat them and a couple more people tried them when we got to the Rumbler seating area. We saw the Power Surge going up and down a bit and being stopped in weird positions, but it never opened that night as far as I know.
Nicole and I finished the dots and got the courage to try the dreaded Looping Star everyone was hating that day. We decided to go for a front seat ride and boy this was something I wasn’t prepared for. I thought Viper at Great Adventure was a raging possessed death trap, but this thing takes the cake. When we hit the top of the hill after the loop, it popped so hard that I, legs crossed in the front, kicked my right foot over the top of the car and had to push it back in. It was really scary and bizarre, but I had to now finish the ride. The loop was way tight and every corner was pretty tough. While I didn’t hate it and I could ride it again, I’d probably stay away as much as possible on future visits and there aren’t many coasters I’d say that about.
A group of us just sat and talked for the longest time near the Rumbler and had the best time just people-watching and enjoying the weather, which looked semi-threatening a couple times, but it never developed into much of anything. I rode the Wild Mouse, which was a spinner and got some pretty crazy rotations going there. Everyone knows how this works and how to distribution weight and people to make it go insane, but I’m not a spinny person, so this bordered on a little much for me. =p It was enjoyable though and I’d do it again next time.
We headed over to the pavilion for dinner and had hot dogs, pulled pork, chicken, and baked beans. The drink offerings were very southern with only lemonade and sweet tea offered. It was alright though and very nice of the park to put all of this together. A ton of items were put out for door prizes and I don’t believe anyone I knew won anything, but it was cool of them to have some things to give away. One of the oddities of the trip was this random door on the second floor area of the pavilion. It just has to be seen to be believed. If someone has a picture of this, please post it. The guys from GCII talked for a few and sent us off to ERT. They operated the Rumbler all night, which was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I joined up with Tommy, James, Josh, and Brandi for the night and we spent most of it on the Rumbler and the other guys took a spin on the Mouse. They introduced me to colincoon and R U A RYDA? later that night. I sat it out and waited with Brandi though. I got to meet and remeet a couple people while in line with them over there though. Rob Ascough introduced me to millrace and Wabash Cannonball and I ran into April and Dave Althoff behind me later in line. I just get a kick out of running into people like that. I can’t believe we all come together from all parts of the country like this.
Now here’s the coaster I’ve been ready to talk about since Sunday and had to wait until towards the end of my TR just to do it- the little Great Coasters’ masterpiece called KENTUCKY RUMBLER right here in Bowling Green, Kentucky. During the day, I thought it was a cool ride, but could never unseat Thunderhead and would probably barely break into my top 10 or 15 if I made a list. Night rides changed and rocked my world! At first I was a little embarrassed and thought it was just a guilty pleasure, but after so many rides, I’m not going to stop myself from saying, this may be the most fun coaster I’ve ever been on besides Thunderhead and with that, I’m just trusting night rides make it ever better. It totally blows away The Voyage in my book due to the fact that I can reride it almost endlessly, it makes me laugh and smile, and it just gave me chills in how much it rejuvenated my love for coasters in general again. What a back seat ride. The twist down the first drop is giggle-inducing and it’s non-stop through the whole course and surprisingly, it may be even more perfectly paced and more perfect in length than Thunderhead.
Oh my joygasm! This is what it feels like to just really, with every part of my body, enjoy being part of this again. This coaster, Holiwood Nights, Rumblefest, the entire experience. I got countless rerides again and the GCII guys and the employees stayed until way after midnight and I adore them and appreciate them so much for that. The handslapping and interaction really did help the mood intensify a multiple of times over, so I’m glad they let us do that as well. On one of the last few runarounds I got between the exit and entrance of the ride, I noticed that two of my best friends (left anonymous, but they know who they are ;)) that hadn't talked in ages were finally speaking again. That made it an even more magical night that these two brought themselves back together and I was so happy for them. The events were finally over and there was a mass of goodbyes going on, which happens way too much and way too fast during these things, but then we can just look forward to the next time.
Nicole, John, Matt, and I went together to our hotel and had a late night snack at Denny’s with a clumsy yet charming waiter that had a great personality, so we didn’t give him a hard time. The food came out right and it was all good and John and I got the biggest breakfast on the menu it seemed. We were laughing like we were at band camp when we went to bed and had some fun jokes and stories to tell. Soon we were fast asleep and ready for the weekend to wind down.
KY ACTION PARK AND HOME SWEET HOME
We all really slept in late this morning and knew we probably wouldn’t have time to get to SFKK. Since we were with Matt, I knew we had to go to Steak N Shake sometime, so we made it there Monday for lunch and had a really clueless waitress that couldn’t get anything to work out and obviously had dreams of one day receiving a personality. The food was delish, we got extra fries for free, and it was nice to have that last chat with us altogether before Nicole left on her way back home. Frank had this wild idea to leave Craig as many voicemails as possible before he got home, so the four of us got onto that and I left him one that basically said, “Hey Craig, I just wanted to call and tell you that I have one word, one sound, and one smell for you: BEAVER! Bye!” For those who don’t know, “beaver” is Craig’s family’s term for releasing gas or farting. He really enjoyed the messages I think as the first message I got back from him last night was “#@^%er!” ;) Nicole was out and the rest of us had to get on the road to Louisville. Kentucky Kingdom had to be cancelled with not enough time left, so sorry Lisa for not being able to hang out there. We’re Columbus peeps though, so you can kidnap me anytime really.
On our way back, Matt spotted a sign that said KY Action Park and noted that this is where the Alpine Slides were. He and John were all over the idea of stopping, but I’m used to riding these from the years visiting Pigeon Forge, Dollywood, and Gatlinburg, so I could take or leave it. Matt convinced me to ride them again, so I hopped onto the sky ride (which I usually love, but this type- the middle of nowhere rusting ones- is creepy) and lifted off to the top off the hill. I was pretty hesitant after seeing a guy (who I believe was an enthusiast) scraped up at HW a few weeks ago, but I had a fun ride down the hill and it was worth stopping for. It added a little extra excitement to our day and luckily none of us broke or ripped apart our bodies on the way down. I think you have to pretty intently try to make something happen for it to occur. This area was such a tourist trap and we passed a place called Monster World and Dinosaur World. So bizarre, but places like that intrigue me in just to history of how they sprout up. I need to get a book on this.
We dropped Matt off at the Louisville airport, hugged and said our goodbyes, and took a glimpse at the nice eye candy in Chang’s fresh paint job. I am really looking forward to getting here sometime later this year with all the fairly pleased reviews of the park and how interested the General Manager sounds in bringing up the status of the park and making it a great place. I've always liked the park and never had any issues a lot of people have had, but anything to improve any park is always welcome in my book. John and I had a quiet ride most of the way home with our tired eyes just to reflect on how wonderful riding some amazing rides, visiting wonderful parks with top-notch service, seeing our old friends and making new ones was. I had the privilege to meet and hang out with so many good people this weekend that I wish I could name them all as recognition to how friendly they were to me and how they helped make my weekend. If I didn’t mention your name, let me know! This is one of the best times I have had in months and I will definitely be doing this again next year if everything falls into place again. Thank you again to everyone that made this happen. I love you all. :)
Plus Danny *** Edited 6/3/2006 8:23:06 PM UTC by +Danny***
Me: "I'd describe the Voyage as being thrown into a well padded box and having the box thrown down a well padded set of stairs."
Brad Sherman: "No! Don't give Mike any ideas!"
Mike Graham (from behind me): -evil laugh-
Me: "Ack! Hi! You're that Mike!
John, there were a lot of good quotes over the weekend, but I just can't remember what they all were.
LMAO Bill, I knew I'd miss someone or two and that makes me feel really bad because you noted that I didn't love you anymore. This is not true though as if I had actually found you within distance to speak and ride at the park, I would have ganged up with you. If my trip report had liner notes at the end, you'd get a special place there.
However, I was one of those who considered it too much even for me early on and had to take breaks between rides.
I don't know if it was from being cooler or actually finally getting in coaster mode but by late saturday ERT I was ready and able to reride it several times.
I cannot possibly deny the ultimate coaster on the planet a #1 ranking based soley on my ability to re ride.
YMMV and I respect that but I can't agree with people saying it's the best coaster I ever ridden and then give another the best ranking.
Dee.Pee. *** Edited 5/30/2006 10:20:30 PM UTC by +Danny***
4241 words by my count!
PD *** Edited 5/30/2006 11:41:59 PM UTC by +Danny***
+Danny said:... you noted that I didn't love you anymore.
Well, it was hard not to notice... ;)
I still love *you*, even though my love is unrequited... :)
What a great weekend with great friends and great coasters. Thanks to everyone involved. Let's do it again next year!
Bill, I'll show you the love! Come up to Indiana Beach for LCW and ride Cornball with me and I'll make sure you know it. ;) Let me know what you're doing this year so I can find you. I'll make it up to you fo'sho. Bromey G. and I need to make something happen as well as we didn't get to spend quality time together either. :(
Nice to see you too Troy! I agree with you about the faves thing and Rumbler would be my choice backyard coaster, but I still think The Voyage is a feat and very deserving of high recognition. Sorry I didn't get to spend a lot of time with you guys, but run-bys on the exit were always convenient and I could always find you. I'll see you soon hopefully. :)
+Danny *** Edited 5/31/2006 1:46:34 AM UTC by +Danny***
Nothing wrong with that.
Great TR now that I actually had time to read it!
PS- If the Michael Buffer name went over anyone's head, he's the boxing/martial arts/wrestling announcer who coined the catchphrease "Let's get ready to rumble!" and a reference to Rumblefest. :) *** Edited 5/31/2006 3:58:23 AM UTC by +Danny***
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