“It’s amazing what a little rain can do to a ride.”
The start of the ACE Summer Con was here. I was really looking forward to it as I haven’t been to any of the parks in this area. Barry and I left our hotel in Sea-Tac and headed south towards Puyallup. As we were driving around a curve, we got our first glimpse of Mount Rainier. It was very majestic and we couldn’t believe how damn big it was. Of course, we only got to stare at it for a couple of minutes before it disappeared in the clouds.
It didn’t take long to find the town. Speaking of the town, we made the mistake of driving through it about 10 minutes before a large parade was about to begin. We thought it wouldn’t be that bad going through town before the parade started but we were proven wrong.
Once we reached the fairgrounds we found a place to park and met outside one of the main gates for registration. Even though I saw quite a few friends the day before, it was great seeing so many others. Some of them I haven’t seen in years. Everyone was up in spirits before we entered the fair. This was the first day of the fair and the weather was nice. We were warned that if the weather was good, the fair would be packed.
We met up with good friend Steve Gzesh before entering. Steve is the local ACE rep for the area and knew a lot of info about the fair that came in very useful throughout the day. This day would be spent riding with different groups at different times so please forgive me if I forget to name anyone. Once inside we made our way towards the back of the fairgrounds for ERT.
Walking through this fair made me appreciate carnivals and fairs. I grew up going to the Ohio State Fair for many years. In the last 10 years I have gone to that fair twice. It isn’t nearly what I used to remember it being like. The fair I was now walking around in was incredible looking. There were rides galore! I knew this was going to be a very fun day, and I hadn’t even ridden anything yet.
The morning started off with a nice breakfast treat in front of the coaster we were about to ride for ERT. While there were tons of people outside, the inside of the fair didn’t look all that crowded. In a matter of minutes our ERT began on the first coaster of the trip.
----Coaster Thrill Ride----(#586)
What a way to wake us up! This double out-and-back woodie might not be the meanest coaster around, but it was very smooth. It was great to finally ride in some classic Prior& Church trains. Now I can see why GCI decided to go with the design of their trains. These P&C trains were very comfortable.
Barry and I rode the front seat for our first ride. There were a couple of moments of airtime while going over some of the hills. We could tell the coaster needed time to warm up. The park was running one train for us and no one was complaining. The crew was very friendly and looked to be enjoying themselves. As a matter of fact, everyone we met so far was friendly. This should come to no surprise as Puyallup (pronounced phew-wall-up) means “friendly people” in an Indian language. Supposedly the yellow train is a bit faster but we honestly didn’t care. This ride was all about fun and not throwing us around treating us like rag dolls.
For our second ride we rode in the back. The back row seemed to provide the more intense ride as we were lifted out of our seats a few times. We would have ridden again but the rest of the fair was starting to open and we wanted to get on as many rides as possible before it got crowded.
We thought about riding the S&S combo tower but decided not to when we realized it was $10 per ride!!! No thanks! I will skip. We headed over to our next coaster instead.
The only other Monster Mouse I have ridden was at Quassy Park in Connecticut. This version looked pretty old. As we were waiting, the operators somehow ended up putting two cars on the lift. It wasn’t a big issue but they had to shut the ride down for a while and have someone run up to the top of the lift and sit in the first, empty car. Soon after, they got it running.
The fair has a very strict no single rider policy on their coasters. This is a shame as I saw a few enthusiasts be turned down a ride because they couldn’t find someone to ride with. They kept missing a chance to pair up with another person. Barry-not-so-short and I had to ride together. It was quite a squeeze sitting in those small cars but we were able to do it.
This has to be one of the strangest mice I have ridden. The first section contains some hairpin turns but they are taken very, slow. At one point we actually thought we were going to stop. The rest of the ride contained some nice drops and faster turns. By the end of the ride we were more than happy with the pacing.
Before riding another coaster, we took a walk around. As we passed an area with a lot of kids rides, we couldn’t help be notice a kiddie coaster. It wasn’t open yet so we continued our walk. A few minutes later we found an even smaller one. This one had a sign in front of it saying no adults were allowed to ride. As we continued our walk we found another one very similar to the last one we had just seen. This one also had a sign stating no adults could ride.
We decided to walk back to the area where the Monster Mouse was located. We ran into Lisa Scheinin who would be joining us for the next hour or so. Lisa has ridden the most coasters out of anyone I know. The last time I talked to her she had just ridden her 900th coaster so she was more than eager to try and find some more coasters to ride in this fair. We knew we couldn’t ride two of the kiddie coasters but we did try to ride the first one we had seen earlier.
This was a standard Wisdom Orient Express-type coaster which did let adults ride. By the time we decided to ride, others had shown up knowing they could ride this coaster. There really isn’t much to mention about it other than one ride consisted of 9 laps!!
Lisa wanted to meet up with some of her other friends at this time but when we walked back to the mouse, they were gone. She then suggested we ride another coaster.
Out of all the different Wildcat coasters I have ridden, I believe this is the only other one that had the exact same layout as Cedar Point’s version. While the layouts are all similar, most of the versions I have ridden have a curving third drop where Cedar Point’s has a straight drop, as did the one we were about to ride. This fair ride also has one of the largest signs I have seen for a portable coaster. The name Wildcat is in HUGE letters and sits above the station.
As we were in line we couldn’t help by notice the strange placement of the main ride operator. He sat in a towering kind of booth in the center of the ride. We could tell the ride operators of this ride were a bit stricter when it comes to loading. We saw a small kid get denied a ride because he couldn’t find anyone so he ended up going down the line looking for someone to ride.
This ride ended up being a huge surprise with its smoothness. I don’t think I have ever ridden a smoother version of one of these. It felt brand new. All of us agreed it provided quite a ride. We would have ridden again if it wasn’t for a long line.
The park also has a skyride with small, enclosed, 3 passenger cabins. We decided to ride this to the other side of the park. The small bench seat that we sat on only faced one direction so if we wanted to see the other side of the park, we would have to ride to the other side of the park.
As we were getting off the ride we met up with good friend Marlon Scott. Lisa and Marlon went to visit Mount St. Helens the day before and travel quite a bit together. Marlon joined us for a few minutes but declined to ride the next ride, as did Barry.
Near the sky ride station was a Zipper. I have only ridden a few of these before. Lisa asked me if I would ride with her as they don’t allow single riders. Soon we were locked into our cage and flipping around like mad. The ride surprised us more than once and we were quite dizzy once our ride came to an end. It was totally worth the tickets we used to ride.
After our ride we walked up to look at a very strange looking ride. It appeared to be a coaster but I wasn’t sure. One thing was for certain. It was closed. There were no cars on it and no water. At first glance it looked like a double flume but after looking at the cars and rails, I could tell this was a coaster. We talked a bit with a couple of guys that were putting the finishing touches on the ride. They told us the ride was going to be closed this day but could open the next day. They were waiting for lift motors to show up. We knew we had no chance to ride this thing while we were visiting today so we just kind of blew it off. It would have been neat to ride it as I have heard it is one tough credit to get, as well as it looked very cool.
At this time Marlon and Lisa left the fair to go to a restaurant they love to eat at. Barry and I walked around and rode various things. We were told in advance to skip one of the dark rides so we ended up taking a ride on the other one. There were lots of cheesy effects that took place inside but I liked it. The biggest gag was when we exited. There was a coffin that you could open up. Once you did, it squirted you with water.
As we sat back and watched people getting wet from this joke, we saw enthusiasts Dave Sandborg, Tim Melago, Mike Saunders, and Greg Legowski taking a ride. We watched as they were also had by the final joke. We spent some time walking around with them before Greg and I decided to ride a rather sick looking flat ride.
I don’t remember who manufactured the ride or what it was called, but it looked kind of like a KMG Afterburner, mixed with a Top Star Tour. Dave and Tim told us the ride wasn’t all that great but Greg and went ahead and rode. It provided a lot of moments where the blood would rush to our heads, but it wasn’t all that forceful. It was a fun ride and Greg and I were glad we rode it, even though we couldn’t walk very straight when the ride was over.
We continued to hang out and walk around before heading to the picnic the park provided us. The place where we were eating was right behind a large stage where a sound check was taking place. I am not familiar with the name of the artist that was getting ready to perform but more than one event attendee knew who he was.
The food the park provided was nice as was the service. There was a brief Q&A session that took place during the picnic about the coaster and its history. It was also announced the park was to largely expand the fair in 2005. This was good news for everyone. There was even a small mention of the fair looking into another coaster. Hmmmm.
Barry and I decided to leave once the picnic was over to check into our next hotel. It was only 20 minutes away and closer to our next park. Once we checked in we took a nap but didn’t oversleep like we did the day before. We wanted to get back to the fair to ride some stuff at night.
Once we made our way back to the fair, we ran into Steve Gzesh and some friends. We spent the rest of the night walking around the fair just checking stuff out. We rode a few things before meeting up at Coaster Thrill Ride for our night ERT.
Just as ERT was starting, the skies opened up and it started to pour. Barry and I decided to ride again in the back row. As we were going up the lift, the rain pelted down on us. It was really cold rain as well. It’s amazing what rain can do to a ride as we were flying all around the course. There is a mid-course trim that didn’t do anything as we slid ride over it and continued our wild ride. As we hit the brakes at the end everyone started applauding.
We would have taken another ride but the rain did sting a bit, and we were pretty wet by this time. We decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. The traffic leaving the area was a nightmare. It took us about 45 minutes to get back to our hotel, and that was only after finding some side streets to avoid some of the traffic.
The next day was going to be a long one that would take us into another country so we needed to get as much rest as we could. So far, this trip was a success in my eyes. I couldn’t wait for it to continue.
S&S’s first woodie, a strange park, and another beautiful city.
Thanks for reading,
Sounds like a lot of fun, and had I known there would have been ERT on Coaster:Thrill Ride with the yellow P&C trains, daddy would have been there. ;)
The ERT during the night on Coaster was one I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Yes, it was rainiy, but it was so damn fun.
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