The Trip of a Life Time (SFB)(7/21/02)

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Friday, September 20, 2002 7:02 PM
Part 11- Six Flags Belgium


“So this is a Six Flags park huh?”………….


Today was another luggage day. We didn’t have a whole lot of them last week, but this was the start of the second week and things were changing. While we said our goodbyes to the While Coach group the day before, we welcomed all those that were joining us on the Green Coach. By the start of this second week, it felt like we have been on the road for a very, very long time. This was both good and bad. It was good because we were having so much fun and it was lasting, but bad because we knew that the length would make it that much harder to leave the tour at the end.

As expected due to the lack of sleep the night before, getting up this day was a chore and a half. My shoulders were still a bit sore from riding some insane flat rides the night before. We also lost an hour because of a time zone change. Even though I made an announcement the night before about the time change, I was hoping everyone was ready to go. After a quick shower, I packed up all my stuff and headed down into the lobby. There was a nice breakfast provided so I quickly got something to eat before heading out to the coaches.

It was quite a site seeing so many people with luggage out front. It reminded me of the first morning of the tour. For one coach, this was the first morning. Little did they know what they would be in store for, then again, neither did we considering this week was different than the first week. At around 7:50am, I did a head count as I did every time we departed a location. According to my numbers, we were missing two people. I won’t mention their names but they both were out with us at the fair the night before. At first I thought they had just overslept so I quickly ran into the hotel lobby and asked if they had checked out. According to the clerk, they both checked out separately. While they were both rooming together, I found it odd that both would check out considering they only had one key. I checked with the clerk twice before heading back to our coach.

On the way, I ran into Tim Baldwin who wanted to know if I had everyone on my coach. When I told him no, he became concerned. To be honest, I was totally comfortable with leaving them behind. While I was hoping I wouldn’t have to make that choice, they knew the rules and if they were out walking around or something, they knew what time they had to be on the coach. Tim thought differently and we both went into the hotel lobby to ask once more. As expected, both the clerks behind the counter told us they had indeed checked out. Tim asked if we could call up to their room. As it turns out, they hadn’t checked out, but they had just woken up. Tim told me to go up to their room and tell them the importance of leaving now so I did. .

I went up, told them we had to go now, and within 4 minutes they were on the coach. Unfortunately, this didn’t sit well with a few people on the coach that clearly displayed their disgust with me and with the way things were. Had they know that I wanted to leave also, they might have not complained as much as they did. Too be honest, I found the whole thing to be quite funny as did many others. Oh well, you live you learn. Time to move on.

We had a one hour drive to the first park of the second week, Six Flags Belgium. On the way, we passed a few large windmills. I am not talking about those old wooden things but these high tech steel creations that stand like 300-feet tall in the sky. Funny, it sounds like I am talking about coasters, but I am not. These windmills were fascinating to watch as we drove by.

Once at the park, we were greeted by a few park people who handed out wristbands. We weren’t really late and ERT hadn’t even begun yet. We were notified that we would be able to ride two coasters for ERT instead of just one as originally planned. Most everyone went right for the major coaster for ERT.

===Werewolf===(#452)

This was the first for most of us. It’s not every day you see a wooden coaster made by Vekoma. The layout didn’t look to provide a very wicked ride, but like I say, “Don’t judge a ride by looks alone. Give it a ride!” The trains were very comfortable. They actually reminded me of the Millennium Flyer trains found on Lightning Racer at Hersheypark. As for that layout….

“WOW!!!!”

This coaster was great! It was smooth but wicked enough to toss you around. There were many moments of surprise airtime and it had excellent pacing. I don’t know what Vekoma did, but this was very enjoyable. I went around a couple of times to ride before moving onto another Vekoma coaster.

===Cobra===(#453)

This is a standard Vekoma Boomerang. What wasn’t standard was the smooth ride it provided. There wasn’t a wait for this one so the ride ops let us stay on for as long as we wanted. I think I went for three times before leaving this ride. Never did I think I would ever ride a Boomerang twice in a row, but I did. I wonder what was done differently with this one considering I have ridden quite a few that weren’t this smooth.

The park was to open soon but ERT hadn’t ended. As much as I would have loved to ride Werewolf again, I walked around the rest of the park with Larry Scott, Chris Trotter, Johanthan Hymes, and his friend Mike. Most parks wouldn’t let people walk around while ERT was still going on but this park had no problem with that and let us walk where we wanted.

We headed to the very back. On the way we passed the enclosed Anton shuttle, Turbine. The ride operator told us it may open later in the day, but they weren’t sure. We continued to walk admiring all the nice landscaping. This sure didn’t feel or look like the Six Flags parks I have been to in the US. We found a very nice looking mine ride that opened just as we walked up to it.

===Calamity Mine===(#454)

This was my first time riding a Vekoma mine coaster before. You want theming, check this ride out. It was right up there with Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain, but had a much more compact and very hidden layout. I didn’t know until I was riding it that it had two lifts. There are some tunnels we went through that provided some very close clearances. The last part of the ride took place over a swamp area, well, at least it looked like a swamp area. It might just have been stagnant water that hadn’t been cleaned, but it was a nice touch. I could have easily ridden this coaster again but we wanted to go check out some of the other stuff before the park got too crowded.

Chris, Jonathan, Mike, and I decided to head to the front of the park. We noticed that the park was getting crowded. One of the coasters we hadn’t ridden was not open just yet we made our way over to the Vekoma SLC. Upon arrival, we realized we had a long wait in store.

===Vampire===(#455)

For some reason, I thought this was the first SLC but looking at it closer, I found that not to be the case. The first versions of the SLC have minor differences to them from the new versions. Trust me, I had plenty of time to look at this coaster as the long line slowly moved underneath. The park was only running one train so the wait ended up being much longer than it should have. We were a bit surprised to see a man behind us, jump the queue railing, and relieve himself right there in front of everyone. The only people that seemed shocked were us. Perhaps this is a custom in Belgium?

Finally, after an hour wait, we walked into the loading station and went for the back row. For me, the back row of an SLC provides the smoothest ride. Sure enough, our ride wasn’t all that bad. Sure, we got tossed around a bit but it wasn’t offensive. The true verdict came when Chris mentioned that even he didn’t think it was that bad. Considering what Chris usually thinks of SLCs, that is a compliment.

We walked back over to the enclosed shuttle loop to find it opened. We got in the long line and noticed some other ACE members in front of us including Janna Rasmussen, Kip Ross, Ivan Hurtado, Sean Winder, Joe Campanella, and Alan Conceico. We all tried to make the best out of our time spent in line. It was while waiting in this line that I realized how many smokers were around. There were a couple of kids in front of us smoking as well as many, many more. I should have known. Just one look at the ground proved that a lot of people smoke in this area. We waited about 45 minutes before we were sitting in the train.

===Turbine===(#456)

This Anton creation originally was outside but people living near the park protested the noise levels so the park decided to enclose most of it. Everything is enclosed except the two spikes. This was only my third flywheel launched coaster. The pervious versions found at Knott’s and Six Flags AstroWorld surprised me with their power. This launch, however, rocked my world. Talk about power! WOW!! We shot down the track at blazing speed before entering the vertical loop. This was strange because we really couldn’t see the loop coming other than track heading straight up. Out of the loop and out into the sunlight where we hit the forward spike.

As we fell back down the spike and entered the enclosed portion of the ride, something happened. I am not quite sure how to explain it but I will try. We entered the loop backwards as normal, but what wasn’t normal was the very strange illusion that followed. Because we had no reference on which way was up or down, the straight section that lead back to the station appeared to be on a 90-degree angle. I actually grabbed my lap bar because I was so confused at what was going on. How in the heck were we going straight up 90-degrees all the sudden? It didn’t make an ounce of sense until we pass through the station, which also felt like it was at 90-degrees. When we finally went out into the sunlight again and up the back spike, I got my bearings on what was going on before arriving back at the station.

From the sounds of the people I was riding with, they also were confused. As I was walking away from the ride I ran into some other ACE members who were talking about the strange sensation. I am glad I wasn’t the only one that experienced it because I thought I was going crazy there for a few seconds. I really wish I could have gotten another ride on this because out of all the shuttle loops I have done like this, this was the most fun, mainly for the cool illusion it provided.

Earlier in the day we tried to ride the kiddie coaster in the park but were turned down. As we walked passed it a second time, we noticed a whole queue of ACE members and families wanting to ride so we joined them. The very cool ride operator said he had no problem letting us ride but would rather have the families ride first, and we could fill up the available seats. No one seemed to have a problem with that and soon we all got our rides on …

===Coccindle=== (#457)

This coaster had a small oval layout with ladybug type cars. There were a lot of ACE members that didn’t ride because of the line, but it was well worth the 30 minute layout mainly for the reason that families were looking at us strangely as they sometimes do when we ride kiddie coasters. Still, it was a coaster and we will ride just about anything.

Chris, Mike, Joe, Larry and I then went over to the tall Giant Drop in the center of the park and waited the 40 minute wait to ride. I am so glad we decided to ride this because it ended up being one of the greatest drop rides I have ridden. I am not sure how tall it was but my guess would be around 220 feet or so. What was an added bonus was the nice, longer than normal, stall at the top before we dropped. The drop seemed to last much longer than it looked. The theming on the ride was funny also. Once again, I wish I could have ridden this again but I didn’t have time.

We had only one coaster left to ride before we had hit all coasters at Six Flags Belgium. While we didn’t see it when we walked in, there was yet another Vekoma coaster around the Werewolf area. We had heard from other ACE members that the coaster wasn’t running but when we walked over to it, it was giving rides. The school bus yellow/orange track and purple supports made for a rather odd looking color scheme. This would be our 5th Vekoma coaster of the day and we didn’t care. So far we hadn’t been beat up on any of the rides.

===Tornado===(#458)

This was the third version of this ride we have ridden on the tour. The other versions were found at Flamingoland and Alton Towers. While I found those to be fairly easy to ride, this version was pretty violent. I am not sure how long this coaster has been here but it felt really old. The trains were making squeaks and the ride had a kind of lose feeling to it; still, I have ridden much worse so I didn’t mind.

With all the coasters ridden, I spent some time walking around the park checking things out. I ran into my mother, Phyllis Withers, who suggested I go and purchase a Belgium waffle at one of the food stands. While I have had waffles before, eating one in Belgium was kind of neat. I found a stand and ordered one from a girl who seemed to be American. After talking to her a bit, I found out she is from Belgium, can speak two languages, and has no accent when she speaks English. Most people we talked to at the park did speak English but had a very heavy accent. According to the girl, she loves the American accent more than an actual English one so she adapted it. She said our accents are pure sounding. She then handed me my waffle and I walked away.

I am not much of a park eater. Park food in general isn’t very healthy so I don’t eat much. This waffle was a different story. I knew it wasn’t healthy but it was damn good. So good in fact I went back and got another one. Later in the day I bought a third. The best tasting waffles I have ever had. I suggest to anyone going to SFB soon, try one of their waffles. I am sure you will like them.

We had a half hour before our meal was to be ready so I went over and checked out the line for Werewolf. Within 15 minutes, I was on the ride again. It had indeed improved since our morning rides. I wish more people from the states would be able to sample a Vekoma wooden coaster like Werewolf because it was amazing. Maybe we will see one of these over here sometime in the future. Who knows?

I walked to the location of where I food was and noticed the doors hadn’t been opened yet. I talked a bit with Jim Raimar before we decided to run back and get another ride on Werewolf before we ate. We rode in the back seat and had a great time flying over those hills and slamming into each other on some of the turns. The back seats seemed to provide the more intense ride from what I could tell.

Jim and I walked back to get something to eat. The park laid out a nice spread off all kinds of food. I myself only had a salad because there weren’t a lot of things for vegetarians to eat, but I made the best out of what I could. The park wanted everyone to have a good time and they proved that in a big way by offering free drinks to all. When I mean free drinks, I mean FREE drinks. Nope, I am not talking about Holiday World’s free soft drink deal. I am talking about free soft drinks, beer, and wine. I don’t drink alcohol so I stayed with the Fanta Orange (which, for some reason, is yellow in Europe). Some of my friends however “lived it up” and had quite a lot of beer and wine.

As soon as our dinner was over, we were to leave. I made my way out to the coach park. Nigel and I had fun pointing out those who were visibly drunk. We even saw one person attempting to do a cartwheel while in the coach park. Everyone kept on telling me that Joe had a bit too much to drink. Sure enough, Joe showed up with a huge smile on his face and was telling anyone that wanted to listen that he had 8 beers in a half hour. Hopefully this wouldn’t affect the way he acted on the three hour drive to Holland.

At 6:00pm, we departed Six Flags Belgium. I was very tired by this time and decided to try and get a little bit of sleep before we reached our destination. We would be staying in Amsterdam tonight and I had a feeling I was going to be out late again, so I needed to get some sleep. Joe on the other hand wouldn’t have any of that and continued to wake me up with every chance he got. I ended up putting on my headphones and drowning out his voice while listening to my MP3 player. Sorry Joe. =:^)

I didn’t get much sleep but I did relax enough that I was able to just sit back and take the view in once I did wake up. As soon as we crossed into the Netherlands, things became flat. There weren’t any large hills that we had been seeing a lot on this tour. Nigel explained to us that Holland is mainly flat all around. Some of the scenery we passed was old wooden windmills, to a very large TV tower that, according to Nigel, serviced most of Holland due to the nature of the land.

Once we arrived in Amsterdam, some folks made plans to go check out the nightlife while most of us went to a McDonalds across the street from our hotel. We were staying across from the airport and had access to the trains to downtown. As easy as that sounded, I wasn’t in the mood to go downtown this night. We would be staying here two nights so I planned on seeing Amsterdam the next night. After a quick bite to eat at McDonalds, I went back to the hotel and watched a bit of TV before falling to sleep. Tomorrow we would be going to a park that I really had no idea about other than it was supposed to be one of the most beautiful parks on the planet.

Next up………


Efteling and a rather, um, interesting night in Amsterdam

Thanks for reading,

-Sean

*** This post was edited by Sean F. on 9/20/2002. ***

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Friday, September 20, 2002 7:42 PM

Man your experience in line for Vampire was similoar to an experience I had while in line for Mind eraser @ SFA,in which some rude guest had the nerve to use the queue railing as his own personal restroom facility which was disgusting to say the least.

I'm surprised to hear that Vekoma makes some wood thats worth riding,I wouldn't mind taking it for a spin,from the pics I've seen it looks pretty good.

What type of design is Tornado? is it a lim launcher similar to Superman the ride at SFH?

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Saturday, September 21, 2002 5:19 AM
Turbine is a Schwarzkopf flywheel-launch shuttle loop. Tornado is a Vekoma Corkscrew.
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Saturday, September 21, 2002 11:52 AM
If Tornado is anything like Corkscrew at Alton Towers, think of a normal Arrow Corkscrew, with a few extra turns.

Here is a good picture:

http://www.rcdb.com/installationgallery778.htm?Picture=1

What is the theming of the Giant Drop supposed to be? It looks funny. :)

Oh, by the way Sean, I saw one of your fellow Odyssey people today at the SFEG ACE event. Didn't get a chance to say hello, though.
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TOGO!

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Saturday, September 21, 2002 2:32 PM

The name of the tower ride is Dalton Terror. The guys you see over the seats are the Dalton brothers. They come from a comic called Lucky Luke.

SFB seems to be worth visiting sometime afterall. For the next season they're adding a Sally interactive dark ride, and SFB has been rumoured to get a Intamin Goliath like coaster in the future.

About the Vekoma woodies, the best woodie from the 3 seems to be Thundercoaster @ Tusenfryd, Norway. I have yet to ride it but i should get a chance next year. For 2003 Vekoma is building a Robin Hood clone/mirror in Poland. Maybe Vekoma should start to work mainly with woodies ;)

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Saturday, September 21, 2002 5:35 PM

Nice TR Sean! That launched ride sounds confusing. And are there any other Vekoma Woodies?

-Sean

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-Sean

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Saturday, September 21, 2002 6:02 PM

olov said:

About the Vekoma woodies, the best woodie from the 3 seems to be Thundercoaster @ Tusenfryd, Norway. I have yet to ride it but i should get a chance next year.

I thought that design was Allott & Lomax and not Vekoma. They do look very similar in design though.


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Saturday, September 21, 2002 6:08 PM

PT300 said:

Oh, by the way Sean, I saw one of your fellow Odyssey people today at the SFEG ACE event. Didn't get a chance to say hello, though.

Cool! I haven't run into anyone from the tour other than Chris Trotter, but that doesn't count as he lives about 15 minutes away from me. =:^)

I am planning on going to CP tomorrow. Perhaps I will run into a few people from the tour there? (Jerry, bring the sign if you go)


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Sunday, September 22, 2002 10:21 AM

Re: the weird indoor-coaster illusion:

The same thing happened to me the first few times I rode FoF. After the final corkscrew, when the train hit the brakes, I felt like the track was tipped over to the left 90 degrees. I had to shake my head to get it to look normal again.

Now I *wish* I could make it do that!

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He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2002 6:58 AM

Huh? 'in Europe Fanta Orange is yellow'

What's the color in the U.S. then ? All my life, Fanta has been yellow overhere :p

Fanta Lemon = white/yellow

Fanta Orange = yellow/orange

Fanta Sapaya = red

Fanta Melon = orange/red

Fanta Cassis = purple

...

There are many kinds of Fanta in Europe, but not every country has them all. Belgium only has three (Lemon, Orange, Sapaya); Holland has three others (Lemon, Orange, Cassis) and Germany has the Exotic and Melon flavors. I believe to have seen Blueberry somewhere too...

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Wednesday, September 25, 2002 7:47 AM

Thundercoaster was indeed designed by Allott Lomax but the coaster is built by vekoma and the trains are also Vekoma.

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Sunday, September 29, 2002 5:24 AM
Very nice TR. I'm really enjoying the series. Its funny that you won't eat park food but you ate Mcdonalds about 10 times in 2 weeks.
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Sunday, September 29, 2002 10:15 AM

medusafanatic,

Actually, I only ate McDonalds a few times at most. I will eat park food if I am REALLY hungry, but I try to avoid it as most of is junk. I am a huge lover pizza though. =:^)

Luckily, most of the places we ate at had some sort of meal for veg-heads like myself, so junk food wasn't all we had to eat. I think I lost something like 8 pounds on this tour.

-Sean

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Monday, September 30, 2002 5:52 PM

According to RCDB, the vekoma wood coaster you're referring to is called Loup Garou, does that translate to Werewolf or is rcdb wrong?

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Tuesday's Gone With The Wind.
Elijah Rock.
Is it written in the stars?
La Vie Boheme!!!

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Monday, September 30, 2002 8:31 PM

Yup, that's "Werewolf".

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--Greg
"Now all I want is to find a way home, to warn Earth -- look upward, and share the wonders I see..."
My page

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