It was the summer and time to plan a big coaster trip. I had made it to Cedar Point to ride my 100th coaster Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. Now what shall I do after hitting 100? Work on 200 coasters, of course! I decided to cut a path through the Midwest and the Ozarks. It was time to go these parks:
7/12 & 7/13 Six Flags Great America
7/14 Michigan’s Adventure
7/15 Six Flags St. Louis
7/16 Silver Dollar City & Celebration City
7/17 Magic Springs
7/18 Worlds of Fun
That was the plan, anyway. Things have a tendency to change.
As I was planning this trip, I had wondered if I should visit Indiana Beach or Michigan’s Adventure after Six Flags America. I wanted a half-day park because I would have to cross Illinois to St. Louis. It was going to be a 5 to 7 hour drive. I decided on Michigan’s Adventure. That park seemed a bit out of the way from a lot of parks. It would have been about a 5 ½ hour drive from Cedar Point and about 8 hours from Holiday World. Besides, if I go to Stark Raven Mad in the future, I can always do Indiana Beach then. I had considered going to both Michigan’s Adventure and Indiana Beach, but that would have been a tiring day. I would do Michigan’s Adventure since I don’t think I would be able to pick it up on any other coaster trip. Besides, I had to do Shivering Timbers. Indiana Beach has some good coasters, but I wanted to gallons and gallons of airtime from that wooden coaster. Out and back coasters are my favorite type of wooden coaster, so why not ride this highly ranked woodie?
I left the Candlewood Suites in Wheeling, IL at around 6:00 am. Microsoft Streets and Trips figured that it would be about a 4 ½ hour drive, but I had to figure in the time zone difference too. If I left at 6:00 am, I would make it to Michigan’s Adventure in about 5 to 5 ½ hours. I packed up the Dodge Neon and hit the road.
I arrived at Michigan’s Adventure at around 11:20 am. The rumors are true…the park seems to be in the middle of nowhere. I drove around a lot of houses and down a two-lane road. Suddenly, I saw the Michigan’s Adventure sign and the beauty of Shivering Timbers! Man, that coaster is huge! The line for parking was long, but it gave me a chance to watch Shivering Timbers in action. It seemed to have a good cycle. As one coaster came into the station, another one went up the lift hill. I was drooling to ride it pretty bad!
I paid my $6 parking fee and I got a space pretty close to the entrance. The entrance fee was $23, but it was $20 for me since I had a $3 coupon from Cedar Point’s Getaway Guide. I entered the park and was ready to ride!
I was tempted to head to Shivering Timbers first, but I heard people suggest to ride it later as it gets warmed up. Besides, why not save the best for last? I headed to Zach’s Zoomer first. I waited 15 minutes for a coaster on a one-train rotation. I knew this was a ride designed for smaller-sized people. The knee-high gates gave it away. I hope a 6’3” guy like me can ride it. I could, but I had to hog up a seat in the middle for myself. I even had to cross my legs for the lapbar to come down. The ride was a gentile wooden coaster ride, but nothing really special. I think kids would love it.
As I waited in line for Zach’s Zoomer, I watched as the Corkscrew’s line became longer and longer. Also, I looked out over the entire park, I did not see a speck of shade or even a tree anywhere. All I saw was lots of concrete. The day was pretty hot too! Maybe the park needs to charge an extra $3 and plant some trees!
Next up was Corkscrew. I’ve seen video of this ride in Robb Alvey’s Coaster Season where the tracks were white. Now the tracks are orange except for the corkscrew part, which was yellow. I waited 15 minutes for this coaster on a one-train rotation. The queue spiel seemed to go in and out due to static. Someone needs to send the intern so he can hit the speaker with a shoe! I sat near the front. The Corkscrew reminded me of the Python at Busch Gardens Tampa. Like the Python, the Corkscrew banged my head around, especially during the corkscrews!
The next ride was the Wolverine Wildcat. I waited about 20 minutes for it. This wooden coaster didn’t look too bad. I took a seat in the back. As I was on the coaster, I noticed a sign that said anyone who came back into the station with the seatbelt undone would be ejected from the park. The coaster itself was pretty rough and my seatbelt was shaking. I thought it would become undone, so I hoped that it was stay buckled! I tried to keep my hands up on this coaster, but it was so rough that I hung on for dear life! I did want to try it again in the front when the line was shorter.
It was around 12:30 and was time to ride the beauty that is Shivering Timbers. The wait was about 10 minutes and I took a seat near the front. I pulled my seatbelt as far as it would go so it would be nice and loose. I put three clicks on the lapbar. I was ready for some airtime! As the train headed to the lift, there was that sign again, warning people who came back with their seatbelts unbuckled would be ejected from the park. I gave a few final tugs to the seatbelt to make sure it was locked. If I ever try to undo my seatbelt or the restraints, I will head straight for the grave of the woman who died tragically on the Raven.
Then it was up the lift, down, and over the first lift hill. It was airtime heaven! Then down and up again! Wow, such airtime! Down and up – bam, more airtime! The coaster turned around and bam, bam, bam, more airtime! Then came the trick track and more airtime! This is heavenly! Finally it was to the last helix and into the station. Wow! That was a great ride! Shivering Timbers is now #3 on my top 5 wooden coaster list.
I decided to have some lunch at the burger place beside Shivering Timbers. I had a chicken breast burger combo. It came with a drink and fries. It was $7, which was a pretty good deal. The burger could have used some greens on it, but I don’t know how long vegetables would have lasted under a heat lamp. The person before me had ordered about 10 burgers and drinks! If he has that many kids, I’d like to shake his hand! He has his fatherhood work cut out for him.
I headed back to the front to ride the two coasters that I haven’t ridden yet: Big Dipper and Mad Mouse. Big Dipper was around the entrance. I thought the walk from Shivering Timbers in the back of the park to the Big Dipper in the front would be long, but I was there in five minutes! The park really isn’t that big.
I rode the Big Dipper since it had no line. I have no shame – I ride kiddie coasters for credit. The restraint looked like a plastic clip from luggage and I could barely clip it shut. The coaster went around and around about four times and I couldn’t help giggling throughout the entire ride. It seems so silly for me, who has conquered Top Thrill Dragster, to ride this measly kiddie coaster! Still, it wasn’t a bad ride and a kiddie ride where I didn’t need a kid!
I headed to Mad Mouse next. This coaster had the longest wait of 25 minutes. There weren’t too many coasters on this mouse. I’ve seen mouse coasters (like Primeval Whirl at Animal Kingdom and the Wild Mouse at Hersheypark) have a lot of trains on the track where it looks like a big Tinkertoy. Mad Mouse wasn’t like that. It was sweating in the queue time too since there was no shade! As I waited for the Mad Mouse, I wondered if I could ride the Scrambler, but it was all disassembled. I don’t think the park would be happy if I jumped the fence and sat in the Scrambler car. Also, the Froghopper was in front of the Mad Mouse. A few young girls rode it and screamed in a goofy way that the ride op had a hard time keeping a straight face. That was my queue entertainment for the day. I sat in the back row of the mouse coaster. In the front seat was a young woman who was very quiet. She didn’t scream or do anything at all. Riding a mouse is serious business? The coaster was a pretty good ride. The s-curves weren’t as jolty as I find on other mouse coasters. There were some nice dips, but no real huge mouse drops.
Since I had conquered all the coasters at Michigan’s Adventure, I decided to go to Shivering Timbers and ride it for the rest of my stay. I rode it four more times, alternating between the front and the back. By this time, the ride was pretty much a walk-on. It was around 2:00 pm and very hot. I guess everyone was in the water park trying to cool off. I would have jumped into the water with my clothes on if I could! Anyway, Shivering Timbers was a great ride. I didn’t find much difference between the front and the back. I couldn’t find that one row was better or worse than the other. My least favorite part of the coaster was the trick track. It didn’t do much for me except jostle me around a lot. Shivering Timbers has a small train ride beside it, which didn’t seem to give much except for a scenic view of tall grass and weeds.
I decided to give Wolverine Wildcat one more ride near the front. The ride was a walk-on by now. It was just as rough in the front! Oh well…back to Shivering Timbers for three more rides! My last Shivering Timbers ride was in the front. It was a walk-on, so I did it. The front gave a good view, but it didn’t seem very different than the other rows. It was 4:00 pm and I had a seven-hour drive to St. Louis, MO. It was time to buy some postcards and a Shivering Timbers t-shirt before leaving this park.
Aside from the lack of shade, I thought Michigan’s Adventure was a good deal, even if I paid the full $23. My nemesis of a theme park King Richard’s Park charges $23 for a few flats, a kiddie coaster, and a go-kart track. They have a “water park,” which is essentially a glorified fountain. Michigan’s Adventure has six coasters, a good number of flats, and a water park. All this for $23! If you rode everything and did the water park, you could spend an entire day here.
Also, I don’t think I would have dropped by Michigan’s Adventure if Shivering Timbers weren’t here. I came to the park primarily to ride this great wooden coaster. I don’t think I would have driven for so long to ride Wolverine Wildcat and definitely not for the Big Dipper or Zach’s Zoomer. The airtime sweetness of Shivering Timbers made the long drive worthwhile.
I then drove through Michigan, part of Indiana, and all of Illinois to get to St. Louis, MO in about 7 ½ hours, even with the time zone difference. I arrived at 11:30 at the Baymont Inn outside of St. Louis. I got this hotel off Priceline for $25. The hotel was nice and clean, but the front desk clerk could be called Miss Frowns A Lot because that was all she did. Even the clerk from the morning shift frowned a lot too. Are these people not happy with their jobs?
Tomorrow: Six Flags St. Louis
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