Playa's Entourage(s) @ VF's Coaster Craze: AM ERT

Associated parks:
None

Monday, August 1, 2005 4:27 PM
TIME ARRIVED: 8:02 am. Yes, I know. I know. Certifiable dork behavior.

Helpful tip when visiting the park: Never, ever, ever park next to anyone else if you can help it. You never know if they're changing into a swimsuit, fixing a Janet Jackson-grade wardrobe malfunction or worst of all, fully clothed but rummaging up their nose for a snack. Don't ask.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS:

1) Latina Girl didn't make it. It's not that she overslept as much as she kept me up till midnight, woke me up at 5 to tell me she didn't get any sleep and THEN overslept. Hey! I coulda used that sleep time myself..to say nothing of arrangements to accomodate extra additional friends.

2) It was only 80 degrees out...which kept me from extended Riptide time. More on that later.

Other than that, we did have some key defections from last year's nearly All Asian entourage. Last year's bench-warming pal The BunnyHugger was gone. He will be missed for his expert purse-holding and on-ride pics. His full-time student, part-time model sister was also missing. I wonder if she's still mad about last year's mid-chew photo?

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE: This was a zero-injury event. Yes, you heard correctly. Nobody ripped off a toenail or banged into anything or started spurting blood like a Monty Python sketch...ending a streak that stretches back to the 20th century.

As we waited for the others to arrive, I asked the girls if they wanted to wear Dork Shirts. "SURE!" squealed Da Midget, who couldn't get into a Talon shirt fast enough.

"Uhhhhhhh, NO." quipped CBaby. "That's crossing the line," she wailed, squinting at the growing line of uh, classic coaster types getting tickets. Nothing Da Midget said could convince her. I think CBaby eventually got her point across.

About 10 minutes later, Ree Ree and this year's bunch hit the park. Note Baby M (with the long hair)has her own sub-entourage this season. Also new to the bunch is her kid sister Little C. Hard to imagine she and Da Midget are only a year apart in age, but a foot and a half apart in height. I wished I had remembered to grab some Barbie Uno cards or something to keep her occupied. She was two inches too short for any ERT rides.

Introductions and tickets aside...it was Steel Venom time! Or 'Venom Steel' as Baby M used to call it.

One of the best features of SV ERT--besides being the fastest of the standard-model Impulses--is the pure ERT available provided you get there early. Don't get greedy with a front or back row seat and you might stay a while.. Whoosh! There they go again! Of course, the early AM crowd is very generous about swapping seats...and front-row twists could bring tears to your eyes.

After a dozen laps or so, I hopped off and went for the front gate to check for LG. Who should I see but a group of dedicated Ohio dorks! These poor souls drove overnight just for the chance to see the 'Playa bang his head into something (else) before heading for Wisconsin Dells.

Still no LG, so I left her name at the front gate and walked back toward SV as Baby M and her entourage screamed "Heyyyyyy!!" from a WT train. We joined them for a few WT laps (rather good for WT, thought not as good as Early June) then headed back for some quality time with Riptide.

Ahh, Riptide.

You people-snatching, hoisting, flipping, headache-making fabulous spin-and-spue. And I was just talking about how the mechanics feel!

They've been working and working with this machine's issues...which, from a totally uneducated eye, appears to be problems convincing the gondola that it's ''parked.' Some of the earlier remedies had the thing screeching like an aging school bus. Last Sunday's programming reduced the arm's lowering distance between revolutions--resulting in a number of mind-blowing sextuple-flips (I only managed to catch a few unbraked 5 1/2s). ERT runs weren't quite the same--but if anything, they convinced me that less may be more.

But first, a brief moment while a couple of kids yelled at a forward-facing rideop for insisting that they leave the ride and return instead of staying aboard. Enthusiasses? Hmmm. I thought so...until I got off, got back on and realized the ops in the rear-facing seats were allowing riders to remain aboard. No wonder he was upset! Once the head knew what the tail was doing, all was well.

How do I describe the current program? Hmmmm. Arms raised in reverse to near full-height, then a locked-gondola rotation, a flip at the top and a spurt from the fountains that give the forward-facing riders a watery blippity-slap. Back to the top ferris-wheel style, then a slow, locked-gondola descent into the fountains (or just as they lower on cooler days) followed by an unlocked swing near the bottom. rotation back to about 4 o'clock from the queue end, a locked-gondola rotation to the top and then the multiple-flipping sequence.

The program running that morning lowered the arms between the final revolutions again, so it was a quadruple flip into a locked headstand at the six o'clock position. NICE. I liked that better than the unlocked 5 1/2s.

Unfortunately, getting soaked didn't feel the same in 80 degree weather after two weeks of 90-plus heat and the Riptide was essentially its own shade tree. Once you climbed off, it didn't feel so bad. But once you were out of the sun, getting AquaSlapped...YIKES!

Which explains why Da Midget was declining more Riptide runs, but standing under the gondola to get soaked.

I hope it makes next year's ERT agenda, too.

I was hoping to work my way to noon...but I'll take a break here and do more later.

*** Edited 8/1/2005 8:41:28 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

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Monday, August 1, 2005 5:06 PM
Once again a very solid TR! So you actually saw someone snacking from the snot locker?
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Monday, August 1, 2005 5:09 PM
More like mucus interruptus.

I think she could hear the girls squealing "Ewwwww!" from across two closed windows.

-'Playa *** Edited 8/1/2005 9:09:56 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

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Monday, August 1, 2005 8:11 PM
She? You mean it was the rare "Mucus Muncha Femina" That's a rare species to be found out in the wild. ;)
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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 3:43 AM
Wow! I must say this is a quite colorful TR, Playa. I am enjoying it. :-)

Aquaslapped....LMAO!

<----gets more popcorn.

-Tina

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 1:26 PM
Redman: Well, bear in mind it was a coaster event...and you never know, she coulda been on Atkins.

-'Playa

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