OK, there's a million SRM trip reports floating around, so I'll keep this short. (Well, I tried to keep it short.)
My friend Tom (coastergeeks) and I left Chicago at about 9:30 am Friday morning for the haul down to Santa Claus via Route 41. The drive was pretty uneventful, but we did get to see the Blue Flash outside of Vincennes. If you're not familiar with the Blue Flash, it's the coaster that a guy built in his backyard. We would have stopped for pictures, etc., but we were pretty amped to get to Holiday World and set up camp before heading over to the park.
We got into Santa Claus at about 3:45, checked in to the campground at Lake Rudolph, set up, and decided to head over to the grocery store for some supplies (beer and various forms of sausage). By this time it was around 4:30, so we decided to head over to the park.
After be registered by Mrs. Koch, we made a trip down the hill to The Legend for our first ride of the weekend.
I have to admit that I was a little bummed out after our first ride (1-2). The train seemed to lag a bit halfway through the double helix, and "stall" at points afterwords. Something seemed a bit "off." The ride was still fantastic, but I wasn't blown away as I had been last fall. We decided to grab another ride in the back row, and see what was up. Here's what was up: Catapult, ejector airtime in the double-up, vicious, throw you around like a rag-doll laterals, and relentless speed. In other words, The Legend. Diesel. Don't Look Back.
Seeing that we still had a few minutes before the presentation in Holiday Theatre, we decided to grab a Raven ride on the way. I've been a fairly vocal "Raven-hater" after visiting the park for the first time, and being pretty "underwhelmed" by my rides. I think it had to do with the hype, maybe that there was no way for The Raven to live up to all the accolades.
We headed to the back, and departed for our first flight of the night on Raven Air. Whoa, what happened since last fall? Apparently a lot of track work. Apparently I hit this coaster on an "off day" last year. This thing was flying like a bat out of hell, and we were flying out of our seats. It wasn't even dark yet! The event hadn't even really started!
Heading up to Holiday Theater, we decided that the trip was already worth it, and that everything else was icing on the cake. That's a lot of icing.
We didn't really get to see much of the presentation, as we were standing in the doorway of the theater, and later decided to just sit on a bench outside as we couldn't take the "stuffiness" anymore.
What to say about the event itself? The coasters only got better and better throughout the night. I know longer can say that I prefer Legend to Raven. Why trouble myself with such a detail? I'll just have a tie for #1. The pizza and fudge that we had for dinner was really good.
And here's the important part: I truly believe the Koch family and the Holiday World staff really care about our having a good time, and enjoy the event themselves. There's no way to fake the hospitality/enthusiasm we were shown. It was actually quite humbling.
Highlight of the night: Mrs Koch putting my lap bar at one click on The Raven and saying with a wink: "That's where you want it, isn't it?" Too much. Way too cool.
We ended the day at about 3:30 am after drinking some beer, rosting weenies, and just kind of recovering from the insanity of our first night of Stark Raven Mad.
"He's blazin' away like the stars in the universe.." A. Vega + M. Rev "Ghostrider"
Someday there will be something here.
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