The Road to 500, the hard way... aka, The Eli Bridge Tour...

Associated parks:

rollergator's avatar
First, please note this TR is "interactive" in nature, and edits will be made along the way....thanks in advance to those who give me insights, ideas, or corrections! :)

It was first written mid-trip, but then I forgot about it for forgive the time-skips.. ;)

Part I:
I've been to nearly every park left in Ohio in the past three days...and to the State Fair (which TOTALLY rocked, BTW).

For the two days before that, West-Central PA suffered through my visits...damage reports. ;)

In summary:
Saturday....after finally settling in on skipping Fun-Fore-All and Conneaut to get the best park:ride:drive ratios....I settled on first visits to IdleWild, which I'd heard MANY good reports on, and DelGrosso's, as well a quick run-through return visit to Lakemont to score the missing kiddie credit and get a couple re-rides on the World's Oldest operating wooden coaster.

Idlewild - off the hook, totally awesome park, cannot wait to get back. Paying admission before parking your car is *innovative*....applause! Thinking that's an idea worth exploring - esp. for parks, which like Lakeside, need to keep down on "abuse" of the parking lots. Plus, I had my wristband right off the bat, and no need to wait in line for admission...bonus points awarded.

On entry, I knew I needed to do some exploring at StoryBook Land...little did I realize how much time I'd spend THERE....hehe. Walking in
past the picnic pavilions (volleyball, etc., very nice), I just stumble upon the most elaborately-themed Wisdom Tornado ever.

I got so many pics of StoryBook Forest when I first arrived, I burned out a camera battery in there alone. Hmmm, still need DelGrosso's, and whatever new I could catch from Lakemont, so what to do? Well, I knew I had my charger in the car, but the hotel was in the wrong direction (near Pittsburgh) to use, so...why not ask at GR if I can charge my camera battery there...worth asking, right?

NO PROBLEM! Happy to help. I did tell them how much more "free publicity" they'd get... ;)
Did I mention I was liking it there? Left my dead battery charging, knowing when I returned, it would be fully charged for the last hour(s) of operation - and I am ALL about nighttime pics! :)

One of my top five mice, tree cover SO wonderful, banked turns. Vekoma Rules! Oh, and that "kiddie" woodie...good in the daytime, really solid. Add in the quality and variety of older-style flats, Carousel, CATERPILLAR (*with* operational canopy!) and I fell in lust... :)

Only the bumper cars disappointed. Finding partners for the Wheel and the Whip proved tricky, but I lucked into a mom with two kids for the Whip (hey, it's Mangels)...and the friendly staff helped me find a kid to ride the Eli Wheel ("partners required" is *unusual* for either of those rides, really...hmmm). I was warned I'd love the park, but had to leave, with two stops ahead and drive times in the mountains... ;)

On to DelGrosso's - COOL park, lots of history - I've been in nostalgia overload since I arrived. Eli Wheel, Eli Scrambler, Nice Reverchon-style mouse, not quite *spinny* enough, but with a nice view of the waterpark and the sauce factory...LOL!

Cool CP Huntington railroad, nicely themed Roulette Wheel Trabant. Oh, and a cheap Worm credit - note, THIS is why I ride kiddie coasters - hands UP, kids. Never forget, I'm also a Carousel (Carouselle?) enthusiast... :) Sweet!

As with all parks, missed one important flat - at a minimum...I call them "return trip items"....indoor Caterpillar (argh!). The description given was of a Bayern Kurve...shoulda done it either way....bad enthusiast! More unimpressive bumper cars...LOL.

Lakemont - I had visited before for RideFest a couple years' back. The Mouse (R.I.P.) weas down that day, as was the kiddie coaster.
stopped by, LtD not operating, kiddie coaster no longer available to adults as of a couple months ago, took photos and bailed to get back to Idlewild. Shoulda had more time there too, but Idlewild listed 8pm, closing time was closing in...(wish I had known it would later be extended to 10pm)....

Skyliner beckoned...but the place was filling up for some fireworks/minor league game, etc., and with LtD down and the drive ahead, this turned into a failed credit stop. :~P

Returning for more Idlewild (and my recharged battery), I knew I wanted a couple things, like the train....but I found out it had just closed. Somehow, I knew I'd be back. Decided to skip the (Vekoma?) Mad House thingy in favor of not beginning my trip with a dose of nausea - the same logic that made me skip Howler. Hootin' Holler, next visit I promise to enjoy you more... ;)

Trinado was down all day. Didn't even SEE "Confusion Hill". Found it on the website later, LOL. Later I also found out about Mr. Robinson and his Neighborhood. But I got a LOT of classic rides, had a BLAST of a day (and night), and one thing is for certain - intensity on the kiddie woodie as the night wore on was NOT lacking...LOL! And, again, you have to "miss" stuff to force those return visits.. ;)

Employee note: Amber, who op'ed and height-checked on RolloCoaster, was giving out high-fives to all the kiddies, whether they made height or not. Many kids didn't make it, but none left crying, thanks to Amber and her positive attitude. Amber, you're on "the list".

Sunday...Kennywood - no relation to Kenny Rogers? Disappointing turn of events that...ROFL! Planned on the entire day there, and wanted to get an early start to Columbus, but I was told to stay late for a few night rides on Phantom's Revenge.

Ummm, what can I say, it was Kennywood. And to those who say I'm a credit ho, I rode Lil Phantom TWICE - and already HAD the credit. (No children were harmed, no lines either time). This was the day that it would have been easy to leave for a few hours during the day, but I decided against. Nice, relaxing day....vacation. Back seat of JR in the morning, best OTP - one trick pony - coaster
going (sorry CP fans but JR is 85, and TTD's trick happens *before* the first hill). PR is still amazing as anything. Nice to get on that again...a non-Intamin RoS. LOL!

Opened the day waiting for PR to open up - something to do with the park opening a half-hour later than I thought... :)
Shoulda hit the restroom out by the front gates, by the time I got off the ride I made sure I *knew* where the closest restroom was... ;)

Wanted to try and get an early ride on Exterminator (my general theory of avoiding lines is based mainly on capacity), but Exterminator proved tricky by opening later. Apparently this isn't at all uncommon. No biggie, they really did BUST those cars in and out, making the line MOVE fast enough so the half-hour went right by.

Made sure to get on all the rare/unique flats, AutoRace remains one of my favorites anywhere for the nostalgia factor (scores BIG points for me). Ditto for Kangaroo...wanted to add *another* type of Flying Coaster to my count, hehe, but I realized I could be excommunicated for such sacrilege. :)

Ran into Mike Henninger (sp?), gushed over the employees at KW and ESP. those at Idlewild....did I mention Idlewild? :P
Got my night rides in on Turtle, T-Bolt, Racer, and, of course, Jackrabbit. The cute teenagers in front of me in line stacked themselves "just so", allowing me to ask for, and get, a back-seat ride at night on JR....I am the coolest... :~P

Kennywood - I could LIVE there. When nostalgia meets *excellent* rides and the employees are really QUITE good, I'm one HAPPY gator.

Kennywood pics, en masse:

Monday - late start, Erieview not opening too early, and Steak and Shake being slower than molasses in January. But my companions on this leg, Lisa and Jake, are WAY big S'n'S fans. Me, I'm more of an S&S fan, but hey, it was nice to have some intelligent conversation with someone ELSE for a change... ;) Jakes elbow, broken a couple weeks' prior, was also going to get its first "test-runs", seeing what rides/parks would be available to him....

Erieview really had some VERY cool older rides, and the auction :-/ is being handled by the same folks as did Libertyland's.

After getting Jake his approval for nearly every ride in the park, we proceeded with our wristbands to the enormous selection of rides... ;)

Rides in SOLID condition considering most are from the late 50s/early 60s...and don't even get me started on the TRAIN ride.
Another awesome Haunted house, not QUITE up to Myrtle beach levels, but definitely would be a good addition to MANY smaller parks. A first-gen Eyerly Octopus? Insane!
Hand-operated carts for the little kids...nice!

Flyers looked functional, with pretty toucan designs.
Alas, the motor seemed to have one VERY low gear, and without any kick it was a bit more "family-orineted" than I would have preferred. Got more "ride" out of the Eli Wheel (*everyone* in Ohio and PA has Eli Bridge Wheels and Scramblers, so much so that this TR almost got tagged "The Eli Bridge Tour"). Oh, yeah, the Brat was cool - since we were going to Wisconsin later, we named it "The Brat"...shoot, you can't see it, but there's an umlaut over the 'A', pronounced "brot" as in bratwurst.

Again, ran into park manager, Woody, a short discussion about the rides/auction ensued...

Off to Memphis Kiddie Park, short stop. Ride Little Dipper (how ACErs fit in that during the CON is WAYYYY beyond me, I'm at around
190-195,and it was a TIGHT squeeze). Nice that they proudly display the plaque of the ride's importance.

Cool stuff there, too, including a neat car ride that interacts with the coaster. The *really little* little kids have a gem in that place. The interaction between the kiddie-cars and the coaster was pretty sweet, reminding me of my RCT habit of making rides "intertwine".

Another cool hand-operated cars thingy...different theme though:

Ride tickets always make me happy when I have 10-15 minutes to ride *a* ride and get out...not really a POP kinda place for the jaded enthusiast...LOL!

Cedar Point - the way I got Lisa interested in traveling Monday, LOL. Checked out Maverick progress on the way to the magnum entrance...(thanks again, Kristin, LOL). I Started out on TTD while Lisa and Jake found out that CCMR was his ONLY coaster riding happening due to his busted elbow. Cedar Fair must have the most "conservative" insurance carrier ON THE PLANET. ;)

Got Lisa her TTD lap due to the "adult pass" or whatever they called it. THe LAUNCH on that thing IS the thing, and I can understand SOMEWHAT her love for it. THe view is nice too, but where's the rest of the ride? ;)

Also got in Skyhawk (Jake was OK for that), CCMR, quick look at Maverick (more on that name later), Cedar Downs, and off to end the night on MForce - kiddie coaster my eye, Lisa! Force sign at night:

Went off alone Tuesday to Coney Cincy and PKI....Coney Cincy has a LOT of cool history...obviously. Moonlite Gardens for instance: Also found some cool rides - nice Carousel, even if not "classic":

Bumper cars with a REALLY long cycle, Eli Wheel (remember, everyone and their brother in Ohio and PA has one), powerful Eli Scrambler (ditto), and of course, a BAD Galaxi knock-off...yikes that sucked! :( Hehe, at least no one was hurt on THAT particular cycle. Nice signage though, almost enough to make up for the ride (lack of) quality:

Dry sack slide always makes the bad things better... :)

Also, had to ride the Moser freefall in Lisa's honor...she LOVES those things for some reason...*shrug*.

Once I saw the words "Coney island museum", I knew some time would be spent there...and it was. I know I'm a nostalgia freak, and I *guess* I understand that not everyone is...but WOW, that place had me misty-eyed.

Good news at Coney - Grover Watkins' Tempest. Sit-down version of the ridiculous SCAT2 from Beech Bend, MUCH easier on the tummy. Even rode it twice. :P

Finally, before I left, I had to get one lap on one of the truly influential coasters in our history, the Shooting Star!

On the way to PKI, stopped for some Skyline Chili. REALLY nice people in there, we talked about parks and coasters and stuff - I was GOING in for take-out, then ended up spending the better part of an hour. Ah well, not much I really *needed* to do at PKI....

Until I got there, LOL. Delirium WAS what I expected, in a good way, but the restraints were overly confining. My fav spinny-swing is still the KMG Afterburner. On to Drop Zone...THAT'S my idea of a drop ride. :) S&S makes good "shot towers", they're the 80' versions like at IB. I like Acro enough I suppose, but the PKI/PKD ones are THE drop rides for me...

Caught Top Gun (I love the suspendeds, 'ceptin CP's). The walk allowed me several good views of Sonny, in all its resplendent SBNO-ness. Nice tarps, eh?

On to the IJ:ST credit. Figured it would be a wait, its exceptionally family-friendly, the newest coaster, and centrally located. 45 minutes was the announced wait, breakdown happened as I was JUST nearing the ride entrance only a half-hour later. Had some good laughs with the other hardcore holdouts. We were all thinking "how'd they know it would break down?" Fifteen minutes later, as scheduled, we were on. The ride portion itself, missing stair-steps sequence, no powerslide, tunnel section, everything seemed virtually identical to PCW's version.

Of course the breakdown made the line SO short, I got another ride about 20 minutes later... ;). Since I was in front of a family with an odd number of people, I hi-jacked one of their kids to ride with me in the front. I'm cool like that... :)

Racer forward and backward, backward was meh, forward was WAY rough. But there's always *the shot* that tells me..."you're at King's island, relax and enjoy".

Flight of Fear, still very cool despite the SLOW speed and TOTAL stoppage at the midcourse...whiskey tango foxtrot on that one! :-/
Vortex had no wait, and I've always had a strange liking for the corks on that ONE ride. Hate 'em everywhere else, even B&Ms, but at the SLOW speed Vortex takes 'em, me likey the hang-time.

Went to Beast, trims EVERYWHERE. First drop, crest of second hill, and the helix drop. Add in the shed brakes, and it was more a "local"
than an express ride. Cedar Fair CANNOT do anymore damage to this ride than Paramount has already done. >:(

Since I'm known as a non-movie person", I got pics of two of my all-time favorite Paramount films

If it ain't Zeffirelli, it ain't Romeo and Juliet... ;)

Besides, Lord knows how long before Cedar Fair gets rid of "The Paramount Story" to put in some cool new B&M coaster...LOL!

Went to get my ride on Avatar (just in case the powers-that-be decide that it IS in fact a credit....KIDDING!). Really, I just wanted to try the "extended DiskO" and see what kind of hill/air were available. Pretty cool ride, even if unspectacular. Certainly drew a long line, mostly due to proximity to the waterpark.

Finally, hit the kiddie wood before I left. (Needed ONE good wooden coaster, LOL).

Lisa told me it would be easier to drop off the car Tuesday than on Wednesday as planned. Long story short, I will *never* darken the door of Alamo rental cars again... >:( . I actually cursed on my way out of their doors, something that's TOTALLY out of character with me around strangers....I ended up being charged for a replacement key that THEY lost while shuffling through my rental car agreement, maps, directions, etc. But I got them to refund that when I got home and found that they had added $75 to my four-day rental. Good times!

Wednesday, we hit Wyandot. Immediately, I was impressed by the theming....What a well-themed park!
If Columbus Zoo does shut down the park for '07 to re-theme the place, I think it's a shame as the only SF park I felt was better-themed, was SFFT. THe New England whaling concept was *almost* as well-done as Amityville at USF.

Started out with Guest Relations again, Jake's arm. Apparently SF's insurance carrier is less stringent than CF's... ;)

Started out on the Eli Wheel. JUST laast night, John Ratzenberger's "Made in America" did a piece on William Sullivan's Eli Bridge Company (Get there Eli? - never heard of that before, and I *specialize* in olde-timey sayings and such)...made me think of finally completing this epic TR.

Land bumper-boats, SWEET find! Sea Dragon's celebrating 50 years, and was....pretty good I guess. Hand-operated braking is ALWAYS a plus for me... ;)

Also rode the nice CLASSIC Carousel. Lisa laughed at me, as many do, but any ride that's older than me, I *have* to ride. What a well-themed park (hehe).

Again, a completely unique flat, Monsoon by park name, Frolic by mfr. name. Thank goodness for manufacturer's plates, saved me from extensive research a few times this trip, LOL.

Off to Ohio State Fair....apparently Jake's arm wasn't much of a problem there either, other than Fireball (KMG Afterburner) he was pretty much able to ride anything he wanted, And since neither Jake nor Lisa likes Power Surge....LOL! We destroyed the place, it was CROWDED - but no lines....and the bathrooms were empty, I guess everyone was sitting in the midways eating roasted corn, hehe.

TopScan (Space Roller):


Spin Out:

The place was FULL of cool flats. Dark rides and walk-throughs were EVERYWHERE....also, since it was Amusements of America, I got to add three new "travelling credits". Crazy Mouse - the op TOLD us he'd give us a good ride (early pulling of the pin) - no dice. Told him we got a dud ride, so he said "get back in line". Still no luck, worst ride of the three was our last...tipping didn't help, LOL.

Always nice to find some "friendly folks" around.. :)

Giant dry-sack slide... always a good find.
My sack came from Colombia...probably held coffee at one point.. ;)

Wacky Worm, credit SCORE:

And, just for Acoustic matt, the Hang Ten:

Galaxi ride named Avalanche, very good...more good than Coney's version was bad, LOL:

VAST improvement over that POS at Coney, I got laps in abundance while Lisa and Jake marathoned the Orbiter.

It was good, but no SO good I didn't get a re-ride to end the night, LOL. And during their Orbiter Marathon I caught a cool drop ride (not unlike Libertyland's with the half-moon seating configuration):, and a Musik Express.

As the rain started to fall, and Jabob's cast needed dry, we headed out....five hours after entering, and definitely a GREAT day at the Fair.

Might not be Puyallup (or even that close), but a REALLY well-run Fair. Now if only they'd get the carny-folk to stop SMOKING so
much....yeah, riiiiiiigggghhhttt...

Part 2, to follow shortly, was SUPPOSED to get me to #500....didn't happen, thanks to being DENIED so many kiddie credits. But it forced me to get #500 on lakeside's Cyclone, and that CAN'T be a bad thing... :)

*** Edited 10/4/2006 6:30:18 PM UTC by rollergator***

Where the hell is that?! I've been in every PKI shop this season and haven't seen any of that Top Gun stuff yet...

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks Cincy Coney's coaster is one giant piece of junk!

rollergator's avatar
Top Gun? LOL, I took that pic because of the Maverick hat (and meant to comment on it!).

Maverick had JUST been announced at CP, and the hat was ALREADY in the PKI gift shop next to the candy shop - to (finally!) answer your question. The one out front, just to the right side of the reflecting pool as you enter...

*** Edited 10/4/2006 6:39:00 PM UTC by rollergator***

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Jumping crocodiles, Bill. Did BaSS write that for you?

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

rollergator's avatar
^ No....but he is a "character" in Part Two... ;)

I'm *sure* he'll be overjoyed (rollseyes)... :)

It woulda been way longer if I'd written it.

Mike Miller - The CPG: The ORIGINAL flash mob

coasterqueenTRN's avatar
^LMAO! That's what I was thinking. ;) Bill's photos tell stories all by themselves.

I KNEW when I hit Idlewild last year that Bill would fall in LOVE with the park. It's so him. ;)

Now if only I can get his butt to Camden. ;)

Isn't it interesting how Delgrosso's managed to spell "odyssey" two different ways--and both of them wrong? ;) *** Edited 10/5/2006 5:04:07 PM UTC by millrace***

rollergator's avatar
^ Shoulda just gone Ziggy Stardust on us and went with "Space Oddity".... ;)

Admit it, you were taking a picture of that babe and the plaque happened to be right there. :)

(My apologies if that's the mom or grandmother of anybody in here)

rollergator's avatar
^ They'd have a hard time IDing her with *that* pic...LOL!

Next time I'm in the area during the season, I will be spending more time at DelGrosso's. Side note: Just yesterday, I *finally* found their sauce on the shelf at my local Publix. The ladies running the store/shop out front told me FL would be getting them soon...:)

I almost never miss an opportunity to talk with someone's grandma/grandpa...I even adopted a grandpa for awhile at Kennywood. He and his wife had both been "enthusiasts" back in the days before we were called that...she could no longer ride due to health problems, but grandpa, about 70 and wearing his BGW (Loch Ness Monster, IIRC) shirt, rode with me for a couple laps on T-Bolt. (Lesson, kids: If you need a riding partner, find someone wearing a shirt from *another* park).

They were really nice, we ended up talking on a bench near AutoRace while I enjoyed a cone....

Ooooh, money shot!

Keep an eye out for the jars with the $3.00 off admission coupon on the label, gator. With that new coaster coming in, they might raise their admission price all the way up to $11.95 next year.

I wonder if they'd bother sending any of those jars that far south.

$11.95. That would be $1 increase and since the coaster will probably be $2 or so by itself, that's not bad at all. Delgrossos is a park that gives you a good deal either way. If you want to do a lot of riding the POP is cheap. If you just want to stop to take a few rides, the pay-per-ride is cheap.

Of course, you'll also want to spend something on food while at the park: things like pizza, potato salad (one of their specialties) and if you come on a Wednesday, the spaghetti dinner.

I live about 100 miles from this park and plan to make a trip to it and Lakemont next summer.

Arthur Bahl

rollergator said:

...AutoRace remains one of my favorites anywhere for the nostalgia factor (scores BIG points for me).

I knew I always liked you, 'Gator. ;) Seriously, glad to hear someone else is a big fan of Auto Race. I don't know if it's because it is a classic or that it's the only one left or simply because it is so much fun, but I just love that ride. I hope they keep it as long as possible.

rollergator said:

On the way to PKI, stopped for some Skyline Chili....

I see you have excellent taste in rides and food. :)

rollergator said:

On to Drop Zone...THAT'S my idea of a drop ride. S&S makes good "shot towers", they're the 80' versions like at IB. I like Acro enough I suppose, but the PKI/PKD ones are THE drop rides for me...

Couldn't agree more. I'd take either of those Drop Zones over any other drop tower any day.

Great TR! Sounds like you really had a great trip.

- Aaron K

rollergator's avatar
Finally back from PPP trip...even got to hang with RGB... (slightly amused by thoughts of jeremy seeing RGB and RGW - only jeremy calls me that - together)... :)

Arthur....Re: DelGrosso's....hard to believe there was a good Arrow corkscrew *available*...they got a really good ride, has inversions for diversity of line-up, and had a really nice feel to the place (good staff, again, LOL). I'll be back to DelG's when I have more time (Turns Tour?)

Aaron...Re:'s also something else we have left from Traver...can't imagine it would still be around if KW was owned by CF, SF, etc. Kudos to Kennywood! :)

Regarding the drop rides....I reserve the right to change my mind again once I get on Sonic Boom... ;)

Great TR and photos! Sorry I missed you while you were in the Pittsburgh area. Rick and I were touring the midwest at the time (15 parks, 46 rollercoasters, 16 new credits).

Next time you are in the area, I hope we can get together. I will make sure that you get to Fun-For-All, since I'm a bigger credit ho (768 credits). I have been known to travel 5 hours for a kiddy coaster credit!

I agree with Tina, you MUST get to Camden Park next year! You will love it!

rollergator's avatar
Hi Pete! :)

At least we got to meet up here in Florida. Hope you and Rick had a great time.

With luck, I'll get "part II" written up this weekend/next week so I can get to work on the Denver trip that actually DID get me to 500....then I guess PPP is next. When *will* I have the time to ride MY coasters? ;)

edit: Fun-Fore-All would be great. Also puts me in the area for Conneaut's Toboggan and their new dark ride...thinking THAT may be the trip that FINALLY gets me that missing John Miller up at Seabreeze... ;)

Yep, I'm a ho...

*** Edited 10/13/2006 5:55:23 PM UTC by rollergator***

I love Seabreeze! Let me know when you are going. I owe you after you were such a nice host when April and I were in Florida this year.

You know what a credit ho I am with that Florida trip. Would you believe we missed the Wacky Worm in Jacksonville Beach? I didn't even know about it! Is it new?

I will return to Florida soon when Starliner opens.

We are going to Conneaut Lake Pumpkin Fest and ACE Blue Streak Shriek event tomorrow. Wish you could go with us! Let me know when you come to the Western PA area next year.

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