09-08-02 Lake Compounce - First Time: Wood can be good.
I will preface this TR by saying that I have recently discovered wood. I rode Viper at GAm. earlier this year and thought it was decent and then rode Ghostrider in the day and thought it was decent and then rode Ghostrider and night and thought it was unbelievable. Much better than a lot of the steel that I used to think was untouchable (but still not better than the best steel). My old coastering motto (having heard a lot about Boss and Villian and being disappointed by the roughness) was "If it's wood, it ain't good." After Ghostrider I changed my motto to "If it's wood there's a small chance that it's good." So of course having discovered wood, I had to get down to Lake Compounce before the end of the season to check out Boulder Dash.
Headed to the park after church in Boston. Picked my friend Steven up and we were off around 12:30. Got to the park around 2:30. Parking was $5 which was a nice break from the $10 I've been paying at SFNE. The gravel lot explained the low parking price. Paid the $30 to get in. First time all season I've paid full price for a park (I don't count season passes), but the free soda made it okay (At Six Flags I would've paid $10 for the amount of soda I drank).
First thing I did, once inside the gate, was to look for Boulder Dash. I knew it was built into the side of a mountain and that it was a terrain coaster, but I didn't really know what it looked like at all or it's layout. So when I looked up at Boulder Dash from just inside that gate I saw.....trees. Couldn't see the coaster at all. Not a single inch of the track. The forest combined with the buildings completely obscured the ride.
On our way to Dash, we stopped at the Wildcat which was a walk-on. A surprisingly fast lift for such a small woodie. Nice air and nice laterals. I like the roughness of the older woodies, but I don't think I could ride this too many times without telescoping my spine. A nice warm up for the main course.
Still could only barely see a few parts of the Dash at this point. I still had no idea what to expect. We got on line for Boulder Dash (single train op all day) and watched it climb the hill and dissappear through the trees. Save the coasters at Kennywood, I've never been on a terrain, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Boulder Dash climbing up the side of the mountain. At this point I made the slight mistake of looking at the park map, and figuring out what the layout looked like. Basically a figure 8 out and back. Oh well. So for our first ride we rode the last row of the train. Climbing up into the forest was one of the coolest beginnings to a ride ever. I would love to ride this in the fall when the leaves are changing. So a summary of the ride in one word: Airtime! Wow. This ride was smooth fast and FULL OF AIR. Every hill had some nice pop and some of the turns had great laterals. The hill right behind the station that turns to the left as it drops feels like it's banked the wrong way, because you're getting tossed as you're dragged down. The first drop was surprisingly steep and fast as well, and the course just keeps on going and going. At one point I thought we were about to hit the turnaround because we were coming to the end of the populated areas of the park, but it just kept going. Hill after hill of fabulous wonderful air. A tiny break at the turnaround before being dragged down a turning hill and then another huge series of hills. Fantastic air all the way back. I don't know if it was better than GR, but it was certainly right up there. Lines were 20 minutes all day.
Next we got some free soda (which was awesome) and took a trip on Zoomerang. Sat in the middle somewhere and tried Mika's anti-nausea technique (see TR from SFNE), but I couldn't really exhale steadily as I ended up laughing from being balled up. Got off the ride pretty dizzy. Sorry Mika. I'll have to try harder next time. :P
Went back for more free soda (hey, it was free) and then went down into kiddie land to see if we could snag a ride on the kiddie. Max 48" limit, so that was a no go. It didn't look like I'd be fitting into those trains anyway.
So, back to Boulder Dash (where we stayed for the rest of the day). Rode in front and I was tearing up on the brake run. I don't know if it was from the wind or from laughing so hard. Most likely a combination of the two. Awesome ride. I thought it was better than the back, so we took another front. Awesome again. Tearing up again. Wow. We decided to hit the back again and this was even better than the front (the ride kept getting better and better as the day went on, somehow). The air was present everywhere in the ride in the back whereas the front doesn't get as much kick on the first half of the "out". More and more laughter. So after 2 more front and 2 more back, it started to get a little darker. We rode in the front just after dusk, so it was still pretty bright, but the wind was cooler. The ride seemed to be picking up speed. Everything seemed more forceful. We couldn't wait for it to get dark out. Unfortunately on this ride (remember it's single train op) a guy came up the exit in a wheelchair and his friends took the entire first car. Fine. But then, one of his friends swapped seats with a fifth friend who was waiting and they all rode again! Urgh.
Finally it was pitch black and we took a ride in the middle, hoping to also be able to squeeze in a front (it was about 7:30 at this point). This ride is unbelievable at night. I Tthe combination of the cool air and the fact that (even having ridden it 8 times already) I had no idea where we were going, coupled with the dark made the ride seem a LOT faster. Amazing. Right about now I began to think that Dash might overtake Ghostrider. We got off and ran around for the front. The queue closed a bit behind us, but there was only a three or four train wait for the front. Unfortunately, there were only two trains worth of people in the station, so we took the first row of the back car. Up the lift everyone was hooting and hollering (last train of the day). This was the most enjoyable ride I've had on any wooden coaster. I still had no idea where I was going. A lot of the attractions' lights were turning off so the entire course was pitch black. So many of the turns and hills took me completely by surprise, I felt like I was riding with my eyes closed. It was fast and furious and there was so much air. Dash gave Ghostie the boot as my #1 woodie. Awesome awesome ride.
On the way out, I stopped for more....free soda! Also stopped at the potato patch, because I really liked Kennywood's fries, but LC's was out of cheese, so I passed.
Overall, this park blew my expectations out of the water. I'd still take S:RoS over Dash, but for service, atmosphere, crowds (or lark thereof) and soda prices, I'll take LC any day. I have since changed my motto to "If it's wood, it can be really good (if it's a CCI, running PTC's, at night :P)."
Thus, the end of my season (I think).
*** This post was edited by ApolloAndy on 9/9/2002. ***
Glad you liked The Lake. I love Boulder Dash. Those bunny hills never seem to stop. Gotta love the best ride ops in the world ( my opinion ).
About your parking remarks. At Canobie Lake Park in Salem, NH the parking is free and it's not gravel.
If you liked Lake Compounce you'll like Canobie. To find out more go to My Canobie Lake Park Site.
I have to agree with AppolloAndy. Boulder Dash took Ghostrider out of the top spot for me also. The ride is all air, and depending on what kind of air you like, you have your choice. Sit in the front for some great floater air or choose the back for the most intense ejector air I've ever experienced. It is a great ride wherever you choose.
As far as the other coasters that you mentioned as disappointments(Villain,Boss), I also agree and you can add Twisted Twins to that list too.
Now, what do all of these rides have in common? The trains are all the same. More specifically, the lapbars are awful. The rides are not enjoyable as you slam your legs repeatedly on these poorly designed bars. Put your standard PTC cars on these rides and they would probably all jump dramatically higher on my list. Until then, they are designs with a lot of potential and little enjoyment.
Number of coasters ridden: 225
Nice report! At the end of the evening, did your last train on Boulder Dash "earn" a second ride to close out the night? (as mentioned in my 8/22 report)
Wow, another vote for Boulder Dash that dethrones GhostRider (including mine)--the darkness and the setting among the trees and rocks sure enhances the coaster experience in all rows!
Glad you enjoyed the park as well as I did! (The first weekend after Labor Day seem to be an optimal time to attend a theme park--great weather and light crowds).
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