Last Friday I found myself in Seattle, WA for the beginning of a three day coaster trip that I had been anticipating for months: I was going to explore the Pacific North West, and sample the fine selection of wood coasters that can be found there. My schedule would be hectic, but I was confident that in the end it would be a rewarding one, and I was right!
Before I get to the TR, let me say that the scenery in this part of the country is absolutely gorgeous. Having spent the majority of my life in the Midwest, I was simply floored by the mountains and the lush vegetation. If I hadn't set foot on a coaster the three days I was there, I still would have felt the trip worthwhile just to take in the magnificent scenery.
I flew into Seattle early Friday afternoon, picked up my rental car, checked into my hotel, and was on the phone with Rob "nasai" Jones, who I had been e-mailing, talking to on the phone, and planning with for weeks, by 2:30 pm. My original plan was to "do the Puyallup" by myself, and meet up with Rob and his family Sunday for a trip to Vancouver. When I called Rob to check in, he informed me that his band rehearsal for that evening had been cancelled, and that he was free to join me for The Fair. Things were looking up. We agreed to meet at my hotel, and that we would take my luxurious rental car.
About an hour later Rob arrived, and we were off. Let me say that it was so nice to finally meet Rob in person after the weeks of correspondence and planning, and to see that we clicked just as well in person. I felt as if I had known Rob for years as we made our drive.
As we approached the fairgrounds, we passed Enchanted Village and Rob pointed out the wooded area that the new GCI will be built in. If the park leaves the woods intact, you folks are in for a treat. I know I'll be back next season at some point to check it out. Arriving at The Fair, we grabbed parking on a side street to save a few bucks, and proceeded to the gate where we paid our admission.
Once inside, we headed to ticket booth where Rob bought the "first round," and headed straight to Coaster Thrill Ride for our first ride. I really had no idea what to expect from this coaster, as there isn't alot of info out there. I pretty much only knew that it's a Miller out and back that runs an original Prior and Church train (Ole Yeller), which sadly was not being used this day (more about that later).
We boarded the blue train in the back seat, and were off for our first ride on this family classic. Ronald Anderson gave a good play-by-lay in his report, so I'll leave that to him. While the ride wasn't extreme in any way, there were some strong laterals in the turnarounds, and some great pops of air in several spots (better in the front).
After another ride on CTR in the front seat, we headed out to explore The Fair a bit, and take in some other rides. Unfortunately, as there was no POP this night, we had to be very selective with what we rode, and skipped most of the extensive flat ride selection offered.
We found a phone so that Rob could check in with his wife, and had a couple delicious scones, which I forgot to grab a bagful of on the way out!
Our next stop (after another quick CTR lap) was The Wildcat (standard issue Schwarzkopf model). I hadn't ridden one of these since I was a kid, so I had absolutely no idea what we were in for. I really enjoyed the ride, and thought it was like a Galxie on steroids, with great drops and some really impressive positive g's.
With this we found ourselves in the "upcharge zone," where there was a SCAD Tower, a Euro Bungee, and a Skyscraper. Unfortunately for Rob, I'm a wus, and wasn't about to do any of these things, as much as he and the op tried to convince me. I love to watch this stuff, but I just don't have the desire to do it once I'm right in front of it.
After about fifteen minutes or so of gawking, we were back on the midway and back to the rides. I had previously been unsuccessful at scoring a ride on the Mouse, as The Fair is very strict about the two rider policy, and there were no single little kids to be found for the taking. You see, there was no way that the two of us would fit into one of those cars, so I was left to find a kiddie. I normally wouldn't hi-jack a youngster, but I really wanted to ride the Mouse, as it had a different layout than the other Herschell Mice I'd been on.
The Puyallup Mouse starts with a big drop prior to the switchbacks, rather than starting with the switchbacks. Once the switchbacks were encountered, it was pretty much standard Mouse action, with one exception: A brake which stopped the car followed by a chain to pull the car back into action, causing the car to really crawl through the hairpin turns, effectively making the ride seem as if it had just disengaged the chain lift.
Well, I found a lucky little boy who needed a partner, and we were off, much the delight of his father who obviously did *not* want to ride the thing. Once we were seated in the car, I noticed something else interesting about this mouse, it had a T-shaped bar that came off of the front of the car as a restraint. The bar was parallel to the track and slid back and forth being secured by a pin. After seeing how tightly myself and my riding partner were crammed in after the bar was secured, it was evident that Rob and I were never going to fit in this thing together. The ride itself was fun enough, as I'm a Wild Mouse fan.
It was time for me to "buy a round," and pick up an odd credit. The Puyallup Fair has a very bizarre water coaster that I did not even catch the name of, let alone the manufacturer, etc. Cars which look like plastic Wildcat cars engage a lift, go through a swooping drop, and plunge into a clear plastic tunnel filled with water. A curve is taken, another lift is engaged, and the process is repeated, this time next to another car which has just engaged the initial lift. The effect is that the ride looks like it is racing/dueling, but it's not. It's all one circuit, and the two lifts/drops merely run side by side.
It was now time for more CTR laps and a sampling of a couple flats. Rob conned me into going on the Zipper, which I had not ridden since my youth. My last Zipper ride resulted in me becoming extremely ill, and ending my family's day at the county fair early, so I had avoided these things like the plague. We got in to our torture chamber, and I honestly had a blast. This and CTR were the highlights of the night. Neither of us had been on a Frisbee, so we took a fun spin on The Fair's and decided to head over to CR for one final lap.
At this time the sun was setting, and the sky was a beautiful purple-violet background. Combine this with the mountain setting of The Fair, and it's just too much for a Midwesterner like me! CTR had built up quite a long line at this point, and there was still single train operation. We were longingly looking at the yellow train sitting dormant in the station, and hoping that it would get put on so that I could get a spin in the original P&C train. It didn't look like it was in the cards, as we made it to the front of the line for our last lap.
As we were talking, Rob looked down the station, and directed my attention to the transfer table where "Ole Yeller" was being put into commission just in time for our last ride of the night. It was too good to be true. I was really amazed that we would luck out and get to ride in the real deal, an honest to God Prior and Church train. What a way to end a great night!
After our lap we headed to the car, just beating the evening rain showers rolling in. The drive was over in no time, and a great day with a new friend had to come to an end.
Next up: A lot of driving, a Martian landscape, and Silverwood.
"The perfect machine, you seemed to be, when I built you up in my mind..." - Reverend Jon Autry
*** This post was edited by chris on 9/11/2002. ***
I can fix anything.....where is the duct tape?
Sounds like a great time, chris. So happy you got to ride on the P&Cs, my turn next year....I also do all the mice and kiddie rides, and figure that "hi-jacking/temporary custodianship" is a whole lot easier in the long run than getting a kid the old-fashioned way....;)
Thanks for the TR, and we WILL eventually get you onto a Skyscraper....Katanga perhaps? Once you ride one, you'll know what fear looks like....the g's are insane....
It takes a village to raise an idiot....
"No, Cornwallis, swim for your life or you're gonna get caught in the whirlpool."
'Gator...agreed. Those Skyscrapers are silly. I love 'em, but, holy hell, they are scary. Especially the originals, not the Zamperla's... I love the strapping, and nothing to hold onto. Death awaits!!!
Chris, I am so glad you had such a good time. It was a really great time for me as well, and I actually went home after such a good day to find that my wife hadn't left me! She wasn't that mad after all!!! LOL! Seriously, it was great to hit the yellow P&C train after a number of rides on the blue train. It was really obvious (I never can tell the difference between trains) that this puppy scoots! A great ride, and a great time with a new friend was what I needed. Thanks for including me in your trip!
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