Nor Cal Adventure- Part 2 of 3- Santa Cruz

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Wednesday, August 14, 2002 12:56 PM

Here goes part two of the Nor Cal series. My trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (SCBB from now on!) was on Friday August 9th.

Let me start by saying that the drive down to Santa Cruz was a wonderful one. The redwood forests just miles from the beach are pretty cool. Upon reaching the city of Santa Cruz we had no clue which direction the boardwalk was in, so we drove following the coast, and eventually we found it.

As a general commentary on the park, the atmosphere there is wonderful. The old buildings look like they came straight from Paradise Pier at DCA, except even nicer! I was very pleasently surprised with the great condition that all of the rides and buildings are kept in. Thumbs up for that.
The staff at the Boardwalk were really nice, many of them (as in PGA) appeared to be from Europe.

The first ride we hit at the SCBB was of course the Giant Dipper. The 1924 classic woodie really had me excited. I have been on Belmont Park in San Diego's version, and have heard that this one was superior. How true that was! The crew working the Dipper were very fast and very efficient, checking all lapbars in a very timely manner. The first drop down into the black hole was great and the fast curves in pitch black were great. My first time I had no clue which way we were going next. You can't even see your hands in front of your face in there! The rest of the ride was great, and relatively smooth. The great attributes of a wooden twister could be easily found here, as well as some nice airtime when sitting in the back of the train. A wonderful classic coaster.

We continued our walk down the boardwalk, which boasts the best park scenery around with the beach and the Pacific Ocean just across the walkways.

We went to the log flume, Loggers Revenge next. The ride was pretty typical and not terribly soaking, but once more the views made up for any other shortcomings.

I had never been on a GhostBlasters ride before, so I was really excited to try this one out. This ride is a ton of fun! The scenery inside was decent, but the whole shooting aspect made the ride great, and very re-rideable. I scored 1090 my first time and 1200 my second time. I'm not sure what is considered a good score.

Being a dark ride fan, I decided to hit the Cave Train Adventure. This prehistoric themed ride showed scenes of cavemen visiting the prehistoric era beach boardwalk. For any haunt fans out there, I immediately recognized Danny Elfman's "face like a frog" played in the ride as a part of the Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns soundtrack. The ride was enjoyable and good for kids.

I was so happy when the ride op said nothing to me when I went on the kiddie coaster, the Sea Serpent. After being rejected at PGA, it was nice to get the kiddie coaster credit here. It was a pretty enjoyable little ride, much better than most SoCal junior coasters like Timberline Twister or Canyon Blaster.

Moving on, we took a scenic trip on the Sky Ride. The ride goes right over the main midway and right along the beach, so this was one of my favorites as far as these rides go. At the SCBB, a few of the carts on this ride have plaster cavemen and cavewomen riding on them. Kind of strange, but pretty funny. The ride op didn't see on of these coming, and we almost ended up on the lap of one of the cavemen while getting on the ride... ;)

The other coaster at SCBB is the Hurricane, what seems to be a portable SDC model. This ride is really intense with its tight turns and steep twists. It was a whole lot better than I expected, but it really packs a strong punch!

Now I don't normally ride the Merry-Go-Round at parks, but this one looked like so much fun that I had to try it. The catch with this one was that you could grab rings placed in a holder just in the reach of the outer horses as you went by on the ride. You can then throw them off the carosuel into a small hole painted as a clown's mouth. Let me say this is a lot harder than it looks, but it makes what might have been an average ride a lot of fun. They have a real organ and drum set there providing music, which adds to the great atmosphere of this ride.

We also went on the Ghost Train at the Boardwalk. It was rather cheesy, and none of the effects and props were much better than average.

After several more rides on the Giant Dipper, and of course some delicious corn dogs, we decided to head back towards the hotel. We did stop at the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose on the way back. That is a pretty cool attraction, worth the trip if you are close.

My day at the Boardwalk was very impressive. I loved the park and its selection of rides. I didn't do half the flats but they had some good ones there. I would highly reccomend this park to anyone traveling in the Santa Cruz area.
That was part 2 of my Nor Cal series, part 3 will come tommorow with the topic of an awesome park- SFMW.


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