The Best of Times, the Worst of Times (Part II:SRM

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 2:50 PM
The Best of Times, the Worst of Times (Part II: SRM and IB)

When last we met, I had just had a surprisingly good day at SFKK, and managed to ride all 8 coasters. This meant that my next coaster, the first one I would ride at the long awaited Holiday World, would be my magic number 100.

Before leaving work on Thursday, a rumor started circulating that my company, which has gotten rid of well over 200 people in the last 3 years through 5 layoffs and was now down to about 65, was going to be laying another 30 off in the next few days. I told my supervisor before I left to call me on my cell phone if he heard any news, as he was as in the dark about it as the rest of us. Once on I64 I checked my voicemail to find a message from my Boss (My supervisor's supervisor) saying 'Brian, I have some information for you, please call me on my cel phone.' CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP. You see, if I lose my job it basically means figuring out a whole new career, and unless Holiday World's hiring I'm not real into the idea of switching lines of work. There were a panicked 10 minutes trying to get my Boss on the phone, until finally I got HIS Boss on the other end, who let me know I was being retained. Breathe. Breathe. That 10 minutes, though, added up to the most terrifying ride of the weekend. Thank God it was now over, I knew I was okay and that little lingering fear could go the heck away so I could truly enjoy my weekend.

As we approached Holiday World from the north I began to realize how truly thrilled I was to be here. You see, ever since I saw footage of Will Koch on TV in front of Raven's lake turn, beaming with pride at what his little park had accomplished in building this world class wooden monster, I knew there was something special going on here and I was dying to get to this tiny family park. At the time I was living in Virginia and wondered if I'd ever make it Nowheresville, Indiana for the pleasure of meeting Will and his baby. Now here I was. About the first thing we saw as we approached the park was ZINGA. Holy cow, it is BIG and BEAUTIFUL. A truly stunning, landmark ride. As I saw LEGEND peaking it's head out from among the trees I was about to burst. First things first, though... set up camp, THEN ride. I was hoping to get a 'normal' ride in on each before ERT started, though, so we hustled. Lake Rudolph is an EXTREMELY well run campground (as it turns out, it is also owned by the Koch family). The bathrooms there were nicer and cleaner than many hotel bathrooms I've been in. 5 stars.

I practially ran from the car to the gates, stopping briefly to watch RAVEN crest its lift hill. After a brief line at registration and recognizing Jeff, Stephanie, and some others (stalker!) I was in. Wheeeee! My initial reaction to the park was that it felt a lot like a mini Busch Gardens Williamsburg, from the design of the European buildings to its landscape and landscaping. I hadn't been able to make up my mind which coaster I wanted for 100... RAVEN was built first, but I was expecting LEGEND to be my favorite of the two, so I chose Legend. This turned out to be fortuitous as I was able to buy an on-ride photo from it, something they don't offer on RAVEN.

I chose to ride in the front, as I figured its line would be longer during ERT. I have to admit a tiny bit of 'underwhelment' on my first ride. I felt the ride started out great but didn't really love it from the helix on. Perhaps it was the front seat. Perhaps it was the cooler temperatures the day had brought. Whatever the case, I thoroughly enjoyed myself but was not blown away. After buying my on-ride photo the line for LEGEND was closed until ERT. I could see that RAVEN's was still open, though, so I made a run for it. When we got into the nearly empty station we heard a funny exchange between the ride supervisor and his supervisor.
His supervisor 'Your sign isn't out'
ride op 'What sign?'
supervisor 'Your closed sign'
op 'They told me to keep it running'
supervisor 'Yeah, keep it running EMPTY'
op 'Ohhhhh.'

I have to say I was not at all underwhelmed by Raven. Though it is shorter and perhaps simpler, I found it to contain just as much thrill as it's bigger neighbor. Once insane mode started, though, Legend would let loose. During the opening festivities most people sat nicely in the theater while a large group from Coasterbuzz hung out in the back making snide comments, especially during ACE's 'honorary member' presentation to HolidayWorld. As Jeff pointed out, 'They PAID to be in _our_ club'. After a visit to the trough, err.. buffet, it was time for insane mode. I would spend much time perseverating about which I liked better, as the Legend at night is truly a thing to behold. I enjoyed it much more, too, after I gave up on keeping my hands raised during the helix and rode defensively on the wild turns. On a later ride I was next up when Jeff Hammersley (HW's head guy on the coasters) noticed the restraint release device was broken, and leapt into action to fix it. Most others gave up and left the station, but I stuck around to watch the process. The thing that most amazed me about Legend was the speed at which it hit the final brakes, literally moving the entire station structure forward an inch or two every time. I asked Jeff what speed it was going when it was stopped, and he said 50-55 mph. Holy cow. That's faster than a lot of coasters EVER get.
As for which is better, I decided there's not a contest. Raven was _easier_ to ride, and every bit as enjoyable as Legend, but Legend does some major butt kicking and is an experience all to itself. There's an equal place in my heart for both. I also got a ride in on Frightful Falls with the bot's cargo weighing almost 1000 pounds (All four of us on it wer pushing 225-250) Whee doggy, that's what I call a splash.

After a fulfilling night it was time to party at the tripowered RV. I knew the sun would rise early on waterpark ERT the next day, so I called it a night pretty quickly, but only after discovering an incredible love for Wild Turkey 12 year (If I become an Alcoholic, just remember it's all Rob's fault. It's a good thing it's hard to find in the US)

Indeed, the sun _did_ rise early the next day, about 5:30, which made it tough to sleep as I was still excited about getting to ride ZINGA. It was a slightly chilly, cloudy morning and I could tell Frank and I would be glad we'd brought our wetsuits. After a lame attempt at building a decent campfire to cook (nay, burn) sausage (I gave up on the eggs), it was time to head over for the 9:00 am rendezvous. Pat escorted us down to the park, where I threw on the suit (Turns out Frank and I were the only ones there who'd thought of it, to the envy of some others) and sprinted up the stairs to Zinga. Boy that's a long way up, especially carrying a four person raft. Man oh man, what a great, unique, fun, thrilling, wild, out-of-control, sweet, awesome, wicked cool experience. There's definitely some air on the drop into the funnel. The two-tone color scheme give a very real 'into the rabbit hole' feeling as you're spinning your way around the funnel, making it hard to keep track of where you are. All 2 hours of ERT I ended up riding Zoombabwe once, Ottorongo once (Go), and Zinga at least 10 times. You could say it was the clear winner. I didn't stick around to check out the rest of the waterpark as I'm quite sure I'll be back someday with my wife, and I plan to explore it more fully then.

The rest of the morning and afternoon passed pretty uneventfully. I was surprised by the great River Rapids ride, which was extremely well done. Great setting, nice theming, a good job all around. Although I knew I'd be riding them all night, and that they'd be more fun then, I kept going back to the coasters because I couldn't get enough. I usually ride any new coaster twice then get on with my life, but these two are undoubtedly special. After a return to the camground and a well needed nap, it was back to the park for one more ride on Raven before Dinner and then ERT.

Dinner was uneventful, until we were lined up to leave and told to go back to the picnic area because Pat had an announcement. I had a bad feeling, like she was going to tell us one of the rides had broken so we'd only get to ride the other tonight. As others have recounted, never has such a large, usually loud and obnoxious group of people become so silent. Pat's prayer was particularly moving, and I was thankful at that point that this extended family of the Koch's, of HolidayWorld and its employees, that I had so much love and respect for would ultimately be okay. Not because of their own strength but because they acknowledge and call on the strength of Christ Jesus, and that's enough to get us through anything.

We shuffled out of the park in shock and disbelief, at once sad and yet wanting to know more to satisfy our curiousity or to be able to point fingers. The tripowered RV was a bit more chill tonight, but not by much. It was good to be there, together, even though 36 hours before many of us had never met each other. We were sharing the experience and holding each other up, laughing and being sad and marking this significant event in our lives as a group.

Sunday was the day to return home, but not without a stop first at my favorite boardwalk in the world, Indiana Beach. Many others pondered if they would be in the mood for Coasters Sunday, or even if it was appropriate. I decided that, though every time I clicked into a ride I would be reminded, that it was good and it was right to go on with enjoying my life today.

From the rides to the silk screened and hand lettered signs to the food, Indiana Beach is one big blast from the past. I made the obligatory first stop on the HOOSIER HURRICANE, and was reminded that I really just don't care for this ride. There's nothing _wrong_ with it, but there's nothing really good about it either. One ride is all it takes. CORNBALL EXPRESS, on the other hand, is the type of ride that will do anything to make you happy. It's almost like a big, goofy, sloppy dog that just wants to please you. After a round on it, we found DawnMarie, STChick and Co. DawnMarie was giving a demonstration of the incredible, disguisting fish show. I won't tell you too much here, just that if you make it to Indiana Beach, you have to buy a large popcorn and pour it into the water in front of the GALAXI. Ewwwwwww.

Today I would be riding coaster #103, LOST COASTER OF SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN. I skipped Indiana Beach last year, and was hoping that this year they'd add back the theming from Superstition Mountain as promised. Add back they did, plus some. I don't want to spoil any surprises, just know if you went last year you owe it to yourself to go again. By all accounts it's 100% improved. For thos of you who haven't been, as Frank says 'Don't expect it to be like a coaster and you'll enjoy it', which hits it on the head. It's not a coaster, It's a wild, wild dark ride. A really fun one, at that.

We hooked up with Rob and Jeff for a spin on Power Tower and another round of Lost Thieves, and then we were treated to an incredible show of DDR skillz from Rob Vacaro and Kara (STchick). They were shown up, though, by Kristin's gay boyfriend Rob Willi, who did it on both pads at the same time. I don't know whether to respect him or pity him. ;)

I thought the weekend was over as I got ready to head home (and after a MOOSHING on cornball and one more ride on LOCOSUMO, this time backwards), but it turned out the two places Rob and Jeff had lined up to stay at had both bailed on them, so after checking with my sweet wife invited them to crash at my place. How often do you let near total strangers from the internet sleep at your house? Well, I guess I HAD known them for 2 days, anyway. So the crazy, wild, sad, fun, funny, rewarding, attitude changing weekend was completed by waking up Monday morning to the sound of Rob sawing logs in my guest bedroom. Couldn't have designed a better ending myself.

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Maihama, Maihama Desu
*** This post was edited by ThemeDesigner 6/4/2003 8:02:25 PM ***

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 6:24 PM

ThemeDesigner said:
During the opening festivities most people sat nicely in the theater while a large group from Coasterbuzz hung out in the back making snide comments, especially during ACE's 'honorary member' presentation to HolidayWorld.

Snide? No... that was anxiety talking. The sun was setting, bellies were grumbling (after six hours in the car) and time was a wastin'. Besides, I don't think any of us were interested in sitting on other people's laps in the theater.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 7:27 PM
Brian.....awesome TR :)

I had a blast hanging out with you and Frank. Your hospitality was also a super nice gesture, and greatly appreciated. Allthough Saturday night was devistating, the company throughout was just as good as any coaster.


My best to everyone I met on the trip (and to those that I didn't! :) )

Peabody/Jeff
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- "I used to be in the audio/visual club, but I was kicked out because of my views on Vietnam........and I was stealing projectors" - Homer Simpson

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 8:01 PM
I want to vomit just thinking about the fish. YUCK.

And next time, I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to feed me to the carp. ;)

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Don't ask me if I'm in a bad mood; I naturally look "mean." I don't ask if you're goofy because you have buck teeth.

AIM: Pritti Kittie

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 9:00 PM
Again, a great TR, Brian! Man, your skillz on the computer rival those of Chaucer! ;)

I didn't know Rob was gay either.
---------------
www.mp3.com/ethyl - because my band is "ok"
*** This post was edited by nasai 6/5/2003 1:01:58 AM ***

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 9:15 PM
Gay? No. I would have described his DDR skills as just "silly" ;)

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- "I used to be in the audio/visual club, but I was kicked out because of my views on Vietnam........and I was stealing projectors" - Homer Simpson

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003 9:24 PM
Great meeting you Tom...er, uh...I mean Brian, as well as the many others I got to know at Holiday World, the campground, and Indiana Beach this weekend. I was in the same boat as you about Indiana Beach at first but am so glad I went--it was just what I needed to move on after such a tragedy.

And no, despite his fascination with being called "Willi," Rob is NOT gay ;)

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- Chris

I put the "D" in DDR.

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 5:14 AM

ThemeDesigner said:


I also got a ride in on Frightful Falls with the bot's cargo weighing almost 1000 pounds (All four of us on it wer pushing 225-250) Whee doggy, that's what I call a splash.

(snip)

Indeed, the sun _did_ rise early the next day, about 5:30, which made it tough to sleep as I was still excited about getting to ride ZINGA. It was a slightly chilly, cloudy morning and I could tell Frank and I would be glad we'd brought our wetsuits. After a lame attempt at building a decent campfire to cook (nay, burn) sausage (I gave up on the eggs), it was time to head over for the 9:00 am rendezvous. Pat escorted us down to the park, where I threw on the suit (Turns out Frank and I were the only ones there who'd thought of it, to the envy of some others) and sprinted up the stairs to Zinga. Boy that's a long way up, especially carrying a four person raft. Man oh man, what a great, unique, fun, thrilling, wild, out-of-control, sweet, awesome, wicked cool experience. There's definitely some air on the drop into the funnel. The two-tone color scheme give a very real 'into the rabbit hole' feeling as you're spinning your way around the funnel, making it hard to keep track of where you are.


Dude, Frightful Falls was a blast with you, me, Chris and Dave (Kneemeister)...Both my wife and Chris' daughter were laughing at how we sounded on it. "Like a boat full of drunken sailors."

Just as fun was when we loaded you, Frank, Chris and myself into Zinga! We were CRUISING! (BTW, I was/am so envious that you and Frank had wetsuits!) ;)

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--George H
---Currency tracking experiment... http://www.wheresgeorge.com (Referring to The "George" on the $1 bill - Not Me)
*** This post was edited by redman822 6/5/2003 9:15:34 AM ***

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 6:09 AM

ThemeDesigner said:

Kristin's gay boyfriend Rob Willi


Just for that... I will steal 5 minutes of your life

Have a nice day ;)

~Rob "Secure about his orientation" Willi
*** This post was edited by HeyIsntThatRob? 6/5/2003 10:10:01 AM ***

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 7:05 AM
Wait, wait, wait....Rob Willi *isn't* gay? Man...I'm surprised my gaydar didn't deafen anyone within a 50 foot radius when I met him!

Great series of TRs, Brian. Glad we got to meet and spend time together. Sorry Cornball wasn't as conducive to mooshing as Raven or Legend so we'll have to give it another try some time. Hope to see ya again soon ;)

mOOSH

PS - jus' kidding, Willi!

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Vegas -- June 7-9
ACE Con-Quest -- June 11-22

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 7:35 AM
Rob,

that kid is in need of some serious therapy... ;)

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--George H
---Currency tracking experiment... http://www.wheresgeorge.com (Referring to The "George" on the $1 bill - Not Me)

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 8:01 AM
Hey its all good Moosh, I can take a joke as well as a next person. Just remember who wasted five minutes of your life when you consider calling me gay again ;).

Redman... you're right, that kid needs some serious therapy, he also needs guitar lessons and singing lessons.

~Rob "What the hell did I do to deserve this?" Willi

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 8:03 AM
True, Rob, perhaps we could start a collection, though and send him to an American Idol3 tryout...I'd love to see Simon, Paula and Randy react to that song... ROFLMAO

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--George H
---Currency tracking experiment... http://www.wheresgeorge.com (Referring to The "George" on the $1 bill - Not Me)

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 9:19 AM
Ah yes, friday night at the Tripowered Rv. Holy Cow

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Unfrigginbelievably Amazing

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 10:10 AM
for some reason, doesnt remember friday night at the RV......anyone care to remind me? lol:)

brian, i will ALWAYS remember your play by play commentary on Stella at SFKK....awesome dude:) awesome TR!!

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Parking-$7

Admission to BGW-$35.99

Lunch at Trapper's Smokehouse-$13

graduating Anheiseur-Busch Beer School with 3 of your greatest coaster buddies-PRICELESS:)

Brent, Corey, Kip...you guys rock :) SRM 2003...w00t!!

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 10:12 AM
Brent says the video turned out good, can't wait to see it.

Edit:Don't forget the POV of rolling down the hill!

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Touchè, teacher, touchè.
*** This post was edited by ThemeDesigner 6/5/2003 2:13:45 PM ***

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 12:06 PM
Are you sure that was Rob sawing logs? I thought it was Jeff who made all the noise *wink*

Great TR. Wish i could hae talked the family into IB, but they get coastered out way before i do.

Awww....Rob Willi, *I* know you aren't gay! You just LOOK it when you "flit like a butterfly" on a DDR pad.

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I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead
http://www.webtechnik.com/ebony/CPLady.htm

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 12:12 PM

Jeff said:
Snide? No... that was anxiety talking. The sun was setting, bellies were grumbling (after six hours in the car) and time was a wastin'. Besides, I don't think any of us were interested in sitting on other people's laps in the theater.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM


Jeff, it depends on whose lap you are sitting on. ;)

Fever


I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 12:56 PM
Dang you, Rob Willi, I want that five minutes of my life back! I wasn't strong enough to just turn it off, sadly.

That kid is messed up.

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Touchè, teacher, touchè.

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Thursday, June 5, 2003 1:09 PM
OMG, it's Booger boys' husky younger brother.
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I have been arrested more than you
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