SF America/Kings Dominion 4/20-21 (Part 2)

Sunday Morning, following a fitful night's sleep and breakfast at Waffle House, Debby picked me up, and I got to ride to an amusement park in a white KIA for the second (maybe third?..my friend Jennifer drives one too) time in my life. Deb was a friend of my Mom's who moved to VA in the mid-80's. I reconnected with her back in '06 after Mom died the previous year. I took her now 14-year-old son Zach on his first coaster when meeting them at KD in '08, and it's become a "tradition" to meet them there around Zach's birthday..this was the fifth year we've done THAT. In the car were Deb, her husband Danny, Zach, and his friend Jerry. My going down now is more about visiting with and seeing Debby than riding with Zach. Trying to talk with him is like pulling teeth, and since he usually has a friend with him, he doesn't need the company. Debby and Danny don't ride..she'll do the antique cars (which we did ride) and Dodge-Em's, he might do an occasional water ride. But it's a get-together once a year with people I like.

We arrived right about 10:30. Deb had gotten tickets at her job for $37.99 with no fees..none of us was getting a pass this year. As usual, the boys and I headed right to Dominator. It was cool, but not cold...as opposed to my LAST rides on Dominator with Paul (see Part 1) last year in freezing temps and cold rain. The boys took one ride, but I stayed for three. It's still my favorite floorless, despite some graying out on the loop. It maintained its speed really well Sunday due the the complete lack of the MCBR...wasn't on at all, so the train barrelled through.

Volcano was next. People on various fora have commented about the new line configuration where they hold the line before the ramps leading down to the station. All told , I waited 15 minutes at most. My back seat ride was terrific, and I love the airtime I get on the corkscrews.

As a group, we headed over to Intimidator, but I went to the restroom AND snuck a ride on Flight Of Fear before catching up to them. Having come to appreciate Jokers Jinx some, the roughness and braking on FOF is more bothersome to me now. But it's a fun ride. I don't remember the approach to the "saucer" being completely dark as it was Sunday. A girl a few steps ahead stumbled, and I had to grope blindly for walls and handrails before seeing the light.

I got six rides on Intimidator at that juncture, and it remains my favorite steel coaster. I thank God (and Cedar Fair) for the timing that has allowed me never to ride this thing with the braking on the first drop. I think that would have made me quite sad. I do gray out on the turn, but closing my peepers alleviates that. I find the restraints comfortable, although they do jostle my glasses a bit when going down/up. I rode last or next-to-last seat on each circuit. I couldn't poach, but it was a two train maximum wait at that point. With one train, they pump those babies out, man. My ride later in the day before leaving necessitated a 15 minute wait. Always get to hear some good Southern rock in that area..this time I heard, among others, MTB's Can't You See and That Smell by Skynyrd.

Danny went and did some shopping while the rest of us hit the KIA for lunch. Deb always brings a cooler with PBJ sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks.

Went back in to head to the woodies and the other side of the park. Danny had bought a very long walking stick-type thing with a skull on the tip (he's into horror stuff..HE was wearing a Walking Dead tee, not me!) Three cosecutive rides on Grizzly were terrific, not too rough, tunnel airtime as expected, and of course, no line. The boys bailed after one. I should mention that Sunday was Jerry's first time riding coasters of any kind, so he really started off with the big boys, huh?

I rode Windseeker myself, and it looked like Hurler wasn't running. That PO'd me a little, because I'd heard..from people including Tekwardo here, that it was doing pretty well thus far in 2013. But it was running and I grabbed two rides after that loooong queue walk. They actually were not bad at all, definitely an improvement. My best wood lap of the day came on Rebel Yell. There was a three or four train wait, which was the longest of the day to that point. Worth every second. I have no idea if there was anything done, but it ran beautifully, with airtime up the wazoo.

We stopped to check out the new karaoke show on the midway across from RY, adjacent to Windseeker. I can't carry a tune in a paper bag, but doing karaoke after my aborted GAdv visit with my co-worker/friend Donna two years ago made me realize that making a fool of yourself can be fun under the right circumstances. That time, I'd had two SoCoOJ's so this would be a little different. I tried to talk Deb into duetting on Summer Nights from Grease, but she wouldn't bite. So I shared a funnel cake with her, decided I would do the karaoke only if Zach would take a picture, and thought about what song I would destroy. I chose the Monkees' I'm A Believer and went to sign up. Alas, with only three performers per session, the 3pm was already full. I knew we usually leave around 5, so I didn't sign up for that session. Maybe next time.

I didn't want to leave without the afore-mentioned ride on Intimidator, but I also try never to skip Avalanche..it's just too unique and fun. Waited ten minutes for a ride that seemed fast (I wasn't the only large person on the train, so maybe that was a factor.) I actually never knew they had three trains, although only two were running. The third was sitting adjacent to the brake run.

I finished with a ride on the Woodstock Express, the coaster formerly known as Scooby-Doo. It appears to have earned a paint job.

I skipped Shockwave (down but cycling), Ricochet (slow line) and Anaconda (pain) Speaking of that, my lone lap on Backlot Nut Buster lived up to that moniker as it always does :)..or should that be :( ?

We left a little before 5, and went to Captain D's for dinner, which was disastrous. Danny got a broiled seafood platter which he declared inedible and got his money back. Deb got a fish sandwich, which she called less than average, and me? I decided it was time to try oysters for the first time in my life. I got one down, fighting my gag reflex all the way. Deb and Danny ended up eating most of them, so my supper was hush puppies and fries. The oysters were fried too. My poor eating habits are well documented, but this experience proved one thing..just because something is breaded and fried in oil, that doesn't mean Mike is gonna like the darn thing.

Because I wasn't planning on leaving really early Monday morning, I suggested to Debby that we meet at the Golden Corral near where she lives for lunch..and we did. Wasn't the same without our whole group (Danny was working, Zach in school) but it sure hit the spot. Aside from traffic around Philly, the drive home was pretty smooth..I don't take 95 automatically anymore. It's much less expensive on tolls to take other roads, and only adds 30 minutes to my trip if no traffic.

So in sum..beautiful weather, low crowds, some excellent rides, and best of all?...NO INJURIES!!!

Thanks for reading, folks, as always.

Last edited by Mike Gallagher,

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist


Flight of Fear's roughness adds to the fun of the ride. The braking does also. When the ride is completely dark, the mid-course brake run is creepy just sitting there.

Nah. Sitting in the dark doing absolutely nothing is not creepy to me. I can do that at home.

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist


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