On Tuesday, June 11, a group of high schoolers from Hill 'N Dale Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky left for a 3-day training school in Adams, Tennessee. I still count as a youth even though I graduated last year. Anyway, we trained with YWAM, Youth With A Mission, to run a Vacation Bible School in a church across town, in a poorer Lexington neighborhood.
We met a lot of cool people at the school, and brought them back with us because we like em so much. For the end of this VBS, us and the YWAMers took a trip to SFKK on June 20. This is the story...
I wake up to my screaming alarm clock, fix breakfast, and get the newspaper. There's a story on the front page of Section E about Ed Markey. After about 5 minutes of screaming about what an idiot he is, I decide to read the funnies. (Please, no Ed Markey comments in your replies. Everything that can be said has been, and there's no need to repeat any of it.)
I arrive at church. There's only about 3 other people there, so I take a seat in the sun and wait for my friends to arrive. They finally arrive at around 9:15. My plan was to ride in the Stich's minivan with them, but at the last minute, I was forced to ride chaperone in a van of middle school guys. Of course, right before we pulled out, Tamera, another adult, jumped in the van as well, negating my presence. At 10:30, we stop just outside of the I-64 Junction to get gas. Rachel opens the door to our van requesting Mrs. Stich's son to repair the CD player in the van. I take the opportunity to head for the Stich's van.
Arrive at SFKK. Eric, our youth pastor, tells us to divide into groups. Before I can react, Rachel says "Come on, Dana." And I am now in a group composed of myself, Rachel, Rebecca, Liz, Erin, and Tamera. I'm walking around the whole day with five girls. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. ;) We finally get inside at noon, and head for our first ride...
Hellevator, 3-car operation, 30 minute wait, 1 ride
Ah, there's nothing like your first ride. I had never been on any drop tower before today, and I was a little nervous in line. We pass the time by playing a rousing game of "Zip, Zap, Zing." Then, it was our turn. We wave to our friends on the ground watching us. We go up. And up. Then, here comes the ground. I was screaming in terror for half of the drop, but screaming in sheer joy for the rest. I was actually disappointed that Hellevator doesn't hold you at the top. But, it was the first 2nd-gen freefall, so what can you do?
We met up with Eric and head across the Bridge From Hell to ride the coasters. First up is SFKK's star attraction...
Chang, 1-train operation, 10-15 minute wait, 7.0 out of 10, 1 ride
Hmm. I have mixed feelings about this one. This is a coaster that lets you feel the G's. Through every element, I was getting pressed into the bicycle seat. The midcourse brakes were barely on, if at all, so I even got some airtime on the hill after the brakes.
At the other end of the spectrum, this ride has a few problems. The green paint on the track spine is chipping off, revealing exposed, naked, grey steel. The purple on the supports is faded, and the rails are piles of rust. It was pretty shaky, mostly through the dive loop. And it just kinda limps home after the second corkscrew. It's definitely worth the wait, and is better than some other coasters I can name, but it needs a lot of work.
After a brief discussion about Six Flags's marketing ploy of placing Chang's exit in a shop, we opt to ride something half the group hasn't been on yet. That coaster is of course...
T2, 1-train operation, 15-20 minute wait, 8.0 out of 10, 1 ride
OK, I'm gonna get some flames for this one. How can I give an SLC a higher score than a B&M? Easy, T2 is better than Chang.
I don't know what happened. Maybe they did some work to it over winter, or maybe I just caught it on a good day. Whatever the case, I got a pretty smooth ride, intense from start to finish, complete with airtime on the final hill. Whatever headbanging was more bearable than Chang's. I don't know if the padding was changed like Serial Thriller's, but it sure felt softer than last year.
The general consensus among the group was one of exhiliration and joy. SLC's have an awesome layout. People often bash them for being clones, but if it works, why try to fix it?
I rode with Eric, and we got the first ride out to the group, so we had to wait a few runs to let the rest of our group catch up. We spend some time forming a plan. I suggest eating then riding Thunder Run. No one else is hungry, though, and TR didn't look like it was running. So Eric leaves our group to pick up his wife at the airport, and we take the Long, Twisty, Convoluted Path To Nowhere to ride...
Twisted Twins: Stella, 1-train operation, walk-on, 7.0 out of 10, 1 ride
I went all out for this one. I rode with Rachel, who reminded me that she is very much a hands-up screamer on rides. I had my hands up, sliding all over the place, enjoying every minute. TT was dueling on every dispatch. I felt several good ejections, and the helix is a great ending. But the trains were squealing and screaming throughout the whole ride. Methinks the tracks need some grease. Oh well. Since we rode one, we had to ride the other...
Twisted Twins: Lola, 1-train operation, walk-on, 5.5 out of 10, 1 ride
I rode with Rebecca this time, so I took it a little easier. Gerstlauers lack seat dividers, and she's a bony little thing, so I tried to keep my upper body on my side of the seat. She was, however, shocked and worried when I tried for a 4-click ride. Or maybe it was 3, I can't remember. In any case, there were about 4-6 inches between my legs and the bar. :)
Lola was screaming even louder than Stella was. I got a few small floats, but on the whole, this side was actually pretty boring. I didn't really feel anything, it just seemed to cruise non-chalantly around the course.
By now, our plan was to grab some lunch and head for Hurricane Bay. Sounds good to me. I pay 6 bucks for some Mountain Dew and cardboard-like pizza. I suddenly remembered why I don't eat inside Kentucky Kingdom. Some guys from the church rode the Roller Skater. The pizza sauce stain on Rebecca's pants miraculously disappears. And Quake is running...
Quake, walk-on, 7.0 out of 10, 2 rides
We really had no intention of riding Quake, but when we saw it operating, we were awed by it's size and motion. We were also awed by the fact that it was operating, a rare sight indeed. We approached with slight apprehension, afraid that we would lose our just eaten lunch. But this thing is much milder than it looks. It's more thrilling than nauseating. We got a pretty short ride, but it was fun, so we literally ran back around to the entrance to ride again. If it's running, you have to ride it.
Into Hurricane Bay. I forgot my swimsuit, so I'm forced to ride waterslides in khaki shorts. Let me say right now, I've been in nicer waterparks than this. I don't know what the ground is made of, but it's extraordinarily slippery, and I have the cuts and scrapes to prove it. I didn't really trust those lifeguards, either. They didn't seem to care much about their job.
We had a lot of fun, though. It seems like you could hear all the way to the bottom on those tube slides, so we were yelling to each other on the way down. The waves in the wave pool are so much better than those on other wave pools. Those things are huge! I still have breathing trouble as I type from chlorine in my lungs. Rachel made the comment about them standing out since it's five girls all together in pigtails wearing dark swimsuits. I made the comment about me standing out as the one guy walking with those five girls. :) We also played several more rounds of "Zip, Zap, Zing."
I also got a great view of the dormant Thunder Run. It's sole train was sitting in the station, with no mechanics or ride ops anywhere in sight. It didn't run or even test all day. I don't think anything is wrong with it, though. Crowds were extremely light today. Everything else was a near walk-on, so they probably felt no need to open it.
We had to meet with the rest of the church at 6 to leave, so we left Hurricane Bay. Erin asked us if we wanted to get in one last ride before we left the park, and I suggested the Enterprise...
Enterprise, walk-on, 7.0 out of 10, 1 ride
Still my favorite flat ride. They're still pretty short, though. This one seemed to spin longer after we "landed" than normal. Erin didn't feel good after riding. After staring right at it several times, she made the comment, "I didn't know it went upside-down!" I couldn't help but laugh. Rachel didn't ride the one in Myrtle Beach a few months ago, so I was surprised that she rode this one. Oh yeah, it's maroon now instead of pink. I don't know how long that paint job has been there.
Time to say our goodbyes. Our YWAM friends left back to their school in Tennessee, and we'll most likely not see them again for another year, if ever. We left back home for Lexington, with only our memories of two glorious weeks. The ride home with 7 girls (our youth group has a high female:male ratio) was peppered with a discussion of shoes. I couldn't think of a better way to end this week than this. Now excuse me while I go cry...
All the world is born right-handed. Only the greatest can overcome it.
Can we change the name of Top Gun to your mom so no one wants to ride your mom?
All the world is born right-handed. Only the greatest can overcome it.
Stop the lawyers, not the rides!
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