The Trip of a Lifetime (BPB & SCAD) (7/17/02)

Associated parks:
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Sunday, September 15, 2002 8:36 PM
“Who in the hell is Mr. Whippy?”…………...


Another early morning it was. I quickly took a shower (after all, we were still at Pontin’s) and made my way down to the breakfast hall. There was an 8:30am departure time for those that wanted to ride the coaches down to Blackpool. I had plenty of time to eat before deciding to ride a coach down to the park. I was thinking of walking down to the park as the crisp air from the Irish Sea was a nice wake up call, but at the same, it could have very well agitated my cold that was starting to really bother me. It first started with a sore throat, and then it progressed to watery eyes and a lot of coughing. I thought it would be probably be better to take the coach to BPB even though in a matter of minutes I would be riding coasters in the same brisk breeze.

The ride down to the park only took 5 minutes or so. Some of the drivers had the day off so our coach was being taken back to Manchester for repairs. It was to be back to us at the end of the day. I am not sure what coach I boarded but I was welcomed by many people from my coach. For the first time of the tour, I got to sit in the back of a coach. The perspective was quite different as expected and I got to chat a bit with people from other coaches like Dave Sandborg and Tim Melago. Tim & Dave shared their opinions on Pointin’s with me as well as a few others. It seemed by the 3rd night in this place, it was starting to get to everyone. Chris Trotter also announced that he was thinking of starting up an “Anti Dude Committee” because Alan Conceico and I said “dude” too much. See, people were starting to get agitated, and downright bizarre. I am sure Pontin’s had something to do with this. I could have easily mentioned my idea of starting up the F.I.O.A.G or the “Football Is Only A Game” committee but I decided to let Mr. Trotter have some fun with his words. =:^)

Once at the park, we were once again welcomed by a few park personnel who gave us our wristbands. This time though, there wasn’t a mad dash to get into the park like there was the day before. We had a full hour of ERT on Grand National this morning. I couldn’t think of a better way to wake up. With 4 trains running, the waits were minimal. Once again, I was caught totally off guard with the pacing and violent airtime this ride dishes out. I find that racing coasters are more fun at coaster events when pretty much everyone knows each other and can have fun taunting each other while racing.

After some rides, I noticed an arcade had opened right across from the loading station of Grand National. Sitting right in front was a Dancing Stage machine. Joe Campanella and I played a few games while some people who weren’t riding during ERT watched. Others played soon after and before you know it, the park was officially open and we went to explore this amazing place once more. I walked through another nearby arcade to get a couple of shots of the Grand National as it roared under a bridge nearby and found another Dancing Stage machine. I didn’t play at this time because we wanted to check out some of the rides we missed the night before.

I am not sure of the name of it or not, but we decided to go inside a walk-thru attraction that had loads of optical illusions to check out before boarding a haunted swing, which I find to be one of the most convincing illusions of all time when done right. This version was another smaller version but it was done fairly well. Next up was a ride on the Traver Swings. This was my first taste at an original version. I had ridden the new version at Disney’s California Adventure and it to be fun. The version at BPB is just as fun and due to the breeze coming off the coast, cold as well. We looked down and spotted Larry Scott, Chris Trotter, and Mike Parker walking around and tried many times to get their attention as we were zooming overhead before finally getting them to notice us the 7th time around or so.

Valhalla was closed for a while so instead we walked through Noah’s Arc. From the outside, it looked very similar to the one found at Kennywood but once inside, that wasn’t the case. This was much longer and had totally different scenes. Just as the other version, this was great fun. There are a couple of tricks inside that really surprised us.

Sean Winder, Ivan Hurtado and I wanted a locker for our belongings if we were going to ride Valhalla. We split a locker and got in line. The ride wasn’t open just yet but we decided to wait it out as we heard this was a very popular attraction in the morning. I rode half of it the night before when hardly anyone was riding it but today seemed to be more crowded so we decided to wait it out. About 20 minutes later, the ride was opened and we al purchased ponchos (I knew from my ½ ride the night before I was going to get soaked). We took our places in our boat and began the journey.

The first half of the ride was pretty much the same as it was the day before although the heat elements weren’t working. The heavy fog area and wind areas were working full blast. That wind room was about to tear our ponchos off because of how strong it is. The largest lift (where I was stuck on my first ride) was working fine and I got to see the rest of the ride. There were some intense fire scenes that surprised us because of how close the fire was. At first we thought we were going to become shrink wrapped due to our plastic ponchos, but luckily the fire didn’t get that intense. I was impressed with the ride although I thought the ending was kind of odd. I heard a few enthusiasts complaining about how dull the ride was but I found it to be fun. Like I said before, I tend to look at the more positive things when checking out things like that so I didn’t become bored with this attraction once.

We continued to ride other attractions and coasters before going to the Paradise Room for lunch. The park went all out and gave us a nice spread of food. They even made some food for the few vegetarians in the group like me. People from the park spoke about the history and told a few stories. Our fearless leader, Tim Baldwin, also spoke and presented the park (as with every park on the tour) an official tour t-shirt. Tim also confused a lot of people attending the lunch by saying something like, “Don’t make me get out Mr. Whippy.” I wasn’t quite sure what he was referring to, and by the look of the faces around me, I wasn’t alone.

As we were leaving the Paradise Room, Alan showed us his talent for falling to the ground twice on his way back down to the park level. What is it with this man and his liking to fall to the ground? I would love to see him do this on a crowded street corner just to see if anyone would rush to his aid. Perhaps I’ve been watching too much Jackass.

The group I was with split up. By this time, my cold was really starting to bother me. I hadn’t been getting a lot of sleep and was pretty tired. We had a group photo to take part in soon so I made my way over to Grand National and waited for the picture taking to begin. It was at this time that Alan, my mother Phyllis, Joe, and I became greatly distracted by two girls playing some horse racing game behind the camera man. You see, those playing the game hop onto a virtual horse and act like they are riding them by hopping up and down in a rapid fashion. From our angle, it looked very funny. For those of you in ACE, when the group photo does appear, I am certain you will see a few of us laughing and smiling more than others before of what we were watching. I won’t mention what it looked like was going on, but you can use your imagination. Funny how we can be amused by the easiest things.

Joe and I walked around taking footage of different rides and shooting some POV before we both decided to leave the park and head back to Pontin's for a quick break. Joe wanted to charge up his battery on his camcorder, while I just wanted to take a nap. We decided to walk back. Five minutes into the walk, Joe decides that he needs to get back to Pontin's sooner than I for various reasons (once again, use your imagination) and runs the rest of the way. I walked slowly back and stopped in the general store inside Pontin's. I purchased some cold medicine, some orange juice, and some snacks. I was feeling really bad and was thinking of not attending the mid-day ERT at the park. I downed a couple of pills, turned on the TV and took a nap.

When I woke up an hour and a half later, I felt much better. I still had my cough but I felt rested and willing to go back to the park for ERT. I hopped onto a double decker bus (my first) and was the only one on it so I went upstairs and enjoyed the ride to the park. Not a bad deal for just a pound. Once inside the park I made my way over to Steeplechase for ERT. I shot some POV and had a great time riding against Chris Trotter and Steven Reagan (I won!). Somehow I managed a double ride, from what I was told, is pretty rare on this coaster. My second ride, I went against Robert Reagan and won again. Just as with racing coasters, Steeplechase seemed to be more fun while racing with friends.

I decided to get as much POV as allowed so I went to the Revolution next. I shot some great footage of Steeplechase from up above. I also noticed that the lens on my camera was starting to really come lose. I had to hold onto the side of it while riding Revolution so I wouldn’t shake it loose anymore than it was. I then walked over to Big Dipper and found Ric Turner. Ric is THE man when it comes to video. I asked him if he had any black tape I could use to temporarily fix my lens. He ended up doing a great tape job on it that made it so my lens wouldn’t move. Of course, I would have to fix it again in a day or so because the tape would have to be replaced due to all the use I get out of the camera. With my camera partially fixed thanks to Ric, I shot some more POV of a few more rides. I took another ride on Pepsi Max before heading to the other side of the park looking for souvenirs, which sadly, were almost non-existent, well, at least what I was looking for.

The park offered us a chance to check out a showing of their Eclipse show but I declined. I am not much of a show person and when there are coasters to be ridden, I would much rather ride. I am sure the show was fantastic and relaxing, but after a quick nap, I was ready to ride some more. I ended up meeting up with my mother and she relaxed a bit while I played on that second Dancing Stage machine I passed up earlier in the morning.

There were still a couple of hours left before the park closed. Ivan, Sean, and I decided to walk over to the pier across the street to get our credit on the coaster there, as well as possibly giving the SCAD tower a ride. Sure enough, there were a few other ACE members in the area. Matthew Bacoulis had just gotten a ride on the 120-foot SCAD Tower and told us of a possible discount. While the discount didn’t work for us, we had no problem paying the 20 pounds to do something as cool as the SCAD tower.

I did the 100 version at IAAPA 4 times. This is easily my favorite up charge-type attraction I have done. There is nothing like falling with no restraints or cords and landing on a net. This version had a total free fall of 92 feet which was taller than the IAAPA version. I quickly got into my restraint system before hopping over the net barriers. This one is run a bit different. Instead of standing in a cage that takes you to the top, you are told to sit down on the ground and as the cage lifts up, it take you up with it but you are already suspended beneath it making for a much quicker dispatch time.

Since this was a static model, I was suspended in the center of a large tower. At the top, my adrenaline started to really flow and the lone ride operator told me it was time to fall. With one short tug, I started my 92 foot descent while watching sections of the tower whiz by me. One of the biggest thrills I get from doing a SCAD jump is the fact that I can’t see when I am going to hit the net. The fall seems much, MUCH longer than just a few seconds because you are anticipating the impact of the smooth landing in the net, but once you think you are about to feel it, you keep on feeling. Once I landed, I was slowly let down. I had an incredible buzz by this time.

Sean Winder decided to give it a try and he also thought it was great. He ended up getting to fall with his arms sticking out. I would think that would be more fun because when I have done it, I am always instructed to hold onto the top of the harness that is attached to the hook. Sean has done skydiving before and claims that SCAD diving is even more incredible. Wow!

Somehow we talked Ivan Hurtado into trying it also. If anyone should be proud to do something like this, it’s Ivan. He doesn’t do many things like this and was more than happy he did. I could tell by his face once he completed his fall that he was so glad he did it, even though I know he was nervous as hell. Heck, that’s one of the greatest feelings in the world as far as I am concerned. The fear is needed sometimes and it enhances the ride. By this time we decided to get our credit on the lone coaster at the pier.

===Crazy Mouse===(#433)

We had heard that if you tip the ride operator checking restraints, and if the “mood” was right, it would be possible to ride this coaster with the pin pulled. What does that mean? Well, as you may know, the Reverchon Crazy Mice have spinning cars, but they only spin the last half of the ride when a small “trigger” pulls the mechanism that allows the free spinning. The mood must have been good because we ended up getting a pin less ride. The first half was incredible with the added spinning. The big drops that follow the hairpin turns were taking in reverse. The last half was crazy also. We didn’t stop spinning until the final brakes. Needless to say, we were quite buzzed.

The idea of getting on another spinning ride was not the choice of Sean and Ivan, but after meeting up with Greg Legowski at the Waltzer, I was about to get my fair share of rotation. Greg told me that he had never had spinning like this in his life and suggested I ride. I had passed up all the Waltzers at other parks we had visited and was told to wait until we got to Blackpool. I am glad I waited because that made this ride even more special for me. This version had a great lighting system as well as a good sound system. An attendant walked around to each tub, while the ride was in motion, and spun them around so everyone would get a good ride. Greg wasn’t lying. That was, by far, the most spinning I have ever done in my life. It was incredible. It lasted for around 10 minutes also. No joke! Walking down the small steps at the front of the ride were a chore once the ride ended, but it was well worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

After our ride, I ended up going back to the SCAD tower and asking the operator if he offered any deals to those that wanted to ride a second time. As it turns out, he gave me a ½-off deal and I was soon heading up the tower on my back. This time though, I got to fall with my arms sticking way out. This actually enhanced the ride for me What a difference a small little move like that can make.

At this time, we started to head back to BPB. We walked by an arcade and I found another Dancing Stage machine. Needless to say, I played a few games before moving on. Once back in BPB, we didn’t have much time to ride anything so I took the time to walk around. I ran into my mother and we took a quick ride on the Derby Racer. We were kind of bummed that the horses weren’t racing like they do at Cedar Point, but they were fun. That was the last ride I did at Blackpool because soon after, the ‘Bye Bye” song started to play signifying the park was closing.

As we walked out of the park, we met back up with Joe, Larry,Mike, Phyllis, Sean, Ivan, Alan, Greg Galley, and Chris Trotter. The sun was setting providing a great visual. We took a couple group shots in front of the sunset before walking back to Pontin’s for the last time. This was another one of those moments where everything was perfect. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was having a great time talking about the trip. We took our time walking back. No one was in a hurry. This moment seemed to last much longer than it actually did. I enjoyed it very much.

It was also during this walk that I thought about my time at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I honestly thought the park could be overrated from hearing so much about it, but after thinking about it as we were walking away from it, I turned around, looked back, and thought to myself that the park was underrated. There simply can’t be enough good things to say about it. I mean, I really loved the place. There is only one coaster in the park with an inversion and I had fun. For someone like myself that loves inversions, that is something to think about. I am honestly going to miss Blackpool. Easily the most impressive park I have been to so far.

Once back at Pontin’s, I decided to see who was all hanging out at the pub. I ran into Janna Rasmussen, Kip Ross, Joe and Alan. They had been in there for a while, having a few drinks, and wanted to have some fun. I don’t drink so I thought I might seemed bored to them. While they weren’t drunk, Joe was pretty buzzed (so it seemed) and when Joe gets buzzed, who knows what will happen. We walked outside and found a nearby playground. Alan decided to go back to his room. At first, we just gently swung back and forth but someone had the idea of trying extreme swinging.

Someone would start swinging while someone behind them pushed very hard to get the swing up as high as it would go. I tried it once and once only due to the fact that I decided to jump up at the height of my swing and land into a sandy area. By doing this, I landed in the sand, fell face first, and spent the next 10 minutes trying to get the sand out of my mouth and shoes. Kip and Joe were pushing Janna so hard that for a second there I thought she was going to do an inversion on the swings. We also jumped on some sort of jungle gym thing before Kip decided to try something else.

We started walking back to my room so I could go grab my video camera when Kip runs up to a random room, knocks on the door very loudly, and runs away. Janna, Joe, and I look around at each other, and then took off running in Kip’s direction. We had no idea why because we could have easily just pointed in Kip’s direction if someone had answered the door, but for some reason we followed Kip. I went back to my room. The rest of the group was going to meet me there soon. On the way, Joe decided to stick his head into some woman’s window (so I was told) and they soon came running into my room telling me what he did. If this would have happened to me, I would have been extremely pissed, but because I laughed along with what they were telling me they did. Perhaps it was because we were having so much fun in Blackpool, or perhaps it was because we knew this was our last night in Pontin’s. All I know is that I had the time of my life these last couple of days and I knew we still had a long way to go. Could it be possible to overdose on fun?

Next up……

Alton Towers and the horror that is school children

Thanks for reading,

-Sean


*** This post was edited by Sean F. on 9/16/2002. ***

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Monday, September 16, 2002 5:53 AM

Told ya the Waltzer was worth it. Now imagine, that ride we were on, was the third in a row for Steve and myself :)

Yes, we're insane that way.

I wish I'd tried the Scad tower, looking back. Oh well, next time I see one...

-----------------
--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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Monday, September 16, 2002 9:33 AM

Oh those European days......

I totally forgot about those two girls "riding" the horses in front of Grand National, that was so hysterical and yet very obscene! **cough cough** 10 pounds **cough** first jump** cough cough**

Sean, these are such great TR's, I wake up every morning anticipating whats going to happen next. (even though, I really know whats next)

Sean here is the picture of the wildmouse at BPB.

Major props to the person who suggested the pbase website. I think im addicted.

-Matt "the famous Blink 182 merch guy, you already got my autograph, check Dude Ranch for my name" Bacoulis

*** This post was edited by baclueless on 9/16/2002. ***

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Monday, September 16, 2002 8:17 PM

baclueless said:

Oh those European days......

Sean, these are such great TR's, I wake up every morning anticipating whats going to happen next. (even though, I really know whats next)

Thanks! Just wait until you finally see the footage.

Sean here is the picture of the wildmouse at BPB.

Sean here? LOL. Believe it or not, some people do pronounce my name "seen".

Major props to the person who suggested the pbase website. I think im addicted.

Agreed. Thanks dude!

-Matt "the famous Blink 182 merch guy, you already got my autograph, check Dude Ranch for my name" Bacoulis

By the way, what band are we seeing in October?

-Sean


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Tuesday, September 17, 2002 1:52 PM

sean sez:

Once back at Pontin’s, I decided to see who was all hanging out at the pub. I ran into Janna Rasmussen, Kip Ross, Joe and Alan. They had been in there for a while, having a few drinks, and wanted to have some fun. I don’t drink so I thought I might seemed bored to them. While they weren’t drunk, Joe was pretty buzzed (so it seemed) and when Joe gets buzzed, who knows what will happen. We walked outside and found a nearby playground. Alan decided to go back to his room. At first, we just gently swung back and forth but someone had the idea of trying extreme swinging.


No, no...I was there. I remember it somewhat vividly (remember, I had a few beers and had a shot of tequila with Greg Legowski at the pub). The first door Kip knocked on, we all ran. You guys ran around the back of one building while I kept going straight in front of it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I fell...though not on puropse this time, heh

I stayed with Kip and Joe the rest of the time...it was wrong. Really, really wrong, lol

-loving the TRs-Alan



*** This post was edited by ScepticUniverse on 9/17/2002. ***

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Tuesday, September 17, 2002 2:10 PM

Heh. Yeah, too bad that shot of tequila wasn't the Prarie Fire we were originally trying to get. Maybe next time...

(For reference, that's a wimpy version, I usually see them made up 50/50, with the tobasco put in first and the tequila layered over it)

Welcome to CB, Alan. 'bout time ;)

-----------------
--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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Tuesday, September 17, 2002 3:25 PM
Very well written TR; had me laughing out loud several times. It's always great to hear people's opinions about Blackpool...I really miss that place! Wow, I can't wait until I can take trips like this one :)

-------------
Kara (car-uh)
1024 Laps
621 in '02
BuzzCon Frequent Flyer
Proud Co-Founder of the CoasterBuzz Street Team

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Tuesday, September 17, 2002 6:40 PM

ScepticUniverse said:

No, no...I was there. I remember it somewhat vividly

No way! This is like a reunion. Glad to see you posting on here Alan.

I know we took off in different directions that night but after everyone left my room, I went to sleep.

How much longer did that stuff happen for?

-Sean


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Tuesday, September 17, 2002 6:42 PM

ST chick said:
Very well written TR; had me laughing out loud several times. It's always great to hear people's opinions about Blackpool...I really miss that place! Wow, I can't wait until I can take trips like this one

Thanks Kara! There are plenty more to come. One each night until the 30th!

-Sean(who is thinking of going back next year but doubts it)

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Thursday, September 19, 2002 6:35 PM

Sean F. said:
That was the last ride I did at Blackpool because soon after, the ‘Bye Bye” song started to play signifying the park was closing.

As we walked out of the park, we met back up with Joe, Larry,Mike, Phyllis, Sean, Ivan, Alan, Greg Galley, and Chris Trotter. The sun was setting providing a great visual. We took a couple group shots in front of the sunset before walking back to Pontin’s for the last time. This was another one of those moments where everything was perfect. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was having a great time talking about the trip. We took our time walking back. No one was in a hurry. This moment seemed to last much longer than it actually did. I enjoyed it very much.


I had a similar perfect end to a perfect day that day. Kip, Jim Wagner and I took the trolley to the last stop which was near an access road to the beach (we didn't want to mess with those hexagon things!). We walked down to the beach, walked along the beach towards Pontin's where we saw a dead shark (!), and watched the sun set from the sand dunes.

Janna

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