The trip continues…
Friend Bill Berkey gets to do one big trip a year. He has two kids and a third on the way. He used to be one of the most die-hard enthusiasts I know. His priorities changed and he is very happy with his new family, although he still gets that craving to ride the rails of the wicked from time to time. Every year he plans to do a trip with Chris Trotter and myself. Last year we hit Dollywood and a few other parks.
Bill started the planning of the 2005 trips a while back. He wanted to go to Dorney Park and Six Flags Great Adventure. The closer the trip became, the more parks Bill threw into the mix. At one point I totally lost track of what was being planned and just decided to let Bill go to town. I knew it would be a great time no matter what he planned.
This year we would be traveling with one other person. Jeff Johnson. The last I had seen Jeff was on Sunday evening at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta. He was to fly home for a couple of days then fly back to Ohio so he could do the trip with us. We have done a few trips of this nature in the past so it wasn’t a surprise to me to have Jeff back in Ohio in a matter of days. Chris and Bill on the other hand were probably more confused than anything on why he would do that.
The plan was simple. Bill would be driving down to Columbus on Thursday evening. Chris would pick up Jeff at the airport. I would be getting off work at 11:30PM and we would start the trip as soon as I got home. We used to do trips like this all the time but due to my off-schedule the last couple of years, I wasn’t able to hang out with the rest of the guys like I used to with the exception of last year on one trip.
To make intro short, Jeff was picked up at the airport, Bill drove down, and I was at work. I still wasn’t totally sure I would be able to take the trip for a couple of reasons. The first reason being I still wasn’t cleared to take the next day off from work. Everything worked out and I ended up at Chris’s house at around 11:00. We would be riding in Chris’s Saturn VUE. Jeff and I started loading up the back of the SUV. Bill showed up around the same time and we finished loading his stuff. In a matter of minutes we were on our way.
I was pretty tired which was unusual as I sometimes don’t go to sleep until the sun comes up due to me currently being on second shift. I still had no idea how many parks we would be going to and in what order. All I knew is we were heading for Hershey Park and were planning on being there at opening.
The drive through the eastern half of Ohio was pretty uneventful. We talked about past trips (like our we-can-now-look-back-at-it-and-laugh 1998 trip) and continued driving through the darkness into West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
There is one thing you should know about Chris Trotter. Out of all the times I have driven east with him, he ALWAYS makes it very clear how he feels about Washington, Pennsylvania. He hates the area with a passion. I am positive some of that hatred has something to do with the non-stop construction. We didn’t really run into much of it but he was spouting off profanities like they were going out of style. It’s pretty funny. In just a few moments he would have another reason to hate the area, and it was something bad.
Just as we made it to the other side of Washington on I-70, Chris said he was getting tired and wondered if Bill could drive. Bill said he had no problem with that. We were to pull over at the next exit, wherever that may have been. There wasn’t any traffic around other than a few trucks that Chris was passing. Chris also hates trucks with a passion and wanted to get around them as quick as possible.
I was sitting behind Chris and noticed he was driving a bit too fast IMO. Phantom’s Revenge fast to be exact. Normally this wouldn’t be that big of a concern but we were passing a line of trucks, on a curve, at a high speed. I am not a back seat driver by any means but could almost feel something was about to happen. Call it ESP if you want. I don’t know what it was but I don’t think I was the only one that felt it. I inhaled to take a breath to ask Chris to slow down but never got the words out as my attention was drawn to the road in front. Without any warning at all, I heard Chris and Bill make odd sounds as I saw a deer stepping onto the road right in front of us
We hit the deer doing around 80MPH. You can imagine the visuals to that. I ducked down as I thought it was coming through the windshield. Instead it kind of bounced off the hood and into my side of the vehicle, providing a not-so pleasant view. I could have sworn I saw two different deer but the more I think about it, it was probably the same deer.
The driver of the truck that Chris was passing must have seen the deer as he quickly stepped on his brakes. The force of the impact pushed our vehicle slightly into his lane. Had the truck not slowed down, there is no doubt that we would either still be in the hospital, or not here at all. Jeff was sleeping during all of this and woke up after he heard the impact.
As expected, we were now wide awake. We decided to pull off at the next exit to see the damage, if there was any. We could tell something was kind of flopping off the side of the car and we could hear small sections of something falling off. We found the next exit and pulled off. This had to been the creepiest exit I have ever seen. There was a run-down hotel and a house with a bunch of junked cars sitting in the front.
We hopped out of the car and could not believe the damage to the vehicle. That deer literally took a chunk out of the SUV. The headlights were crooked and other parts were about to fall off. We had some Scotch tape in the back and Bill and Chris used it to do a quick tape job that would hopefully last us until we got home. Jeff straightened out the headlights the best he could. I really didn’t do much other than taking pictures for insurance purposes if anything. I didn’t lead on but I was really freaked out by the whole thing. I kept my cool the best I could but we were very close to being killed.
We hopped back into the vehicle, thinking we were going back home. Chris said the Saturn was driving fine and the only damage was to the body. He wanted to continue with the trip. We couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know if that was a good idea or not but he knows his vehicle better than I so I trusted his judgment. We continued our drive and decided to pull off at a rest area to get some sleep. We stayed there for a couple of hours but I wasn’t able to get in a wink. I still couldn’t believe what had happened.
I tried to let my eyes rest but I instead watch the sun come up over the large hills that were around the rest area. Everyone else was sound asleep but woke up one by one. This was our first chance to see the damage in the daylight. It looked much worse in the daylight. We noticed a large dent on the hood among a big crack in the driver door which still had small parts of the deer in it. The tape job didn’t hold up as well as we thought, so Chris spent some more time taping up sections of the front left panels so nothing else would fly out. Bill seemed to be pretty hungry and suggested we go into a restaurant and have a bite to eat. Breakfast went fast and we were soon on the road once more.
We arrived at the park about an hour or so before opening. There were no attendants in the parking lot booths. We decided to drive to the main lot (which is pretty far away from the booths) to see if there would be anyone that would take our cash. We ran into a couple of parking employees that asked us what had happened to our vehicle. We told them. They told us to go ahead and park but didn’t take our money. Perhaps they felt bad for us or something?
We had plenty of time to relax and use the parking area restrooms. Other people started showing up a half hour later. We took a quick ride on the World of Chocolate tour before heading to the front gate. We knew we weren’t planning on staying long but we did need to get Bill on two coasters he hadn’t ridden. We purchased our tickets and walked inside. We briskly walked to the ride that I know Bill and Chris were looking forward to riding the most.
Jeff and I had ridden this a couple of times last year so we knew what to expect. Bill and Chris had no idea. When we arrived, we walked right into the station and waited one train for a front seat ride. The launch felt much stronger than I had remembered it. Nothing extremely strong but still fun. The rest of the ride has been described many times before so I won’t go into it. I will mention that I remembered to keep my arms down as the last time I rode as I got nasty bruises on my arms thanks to Intamin’s wacky restraints. While I believe the ride has a pretty impressive layout, there are a couple of sections that threw my neck into the restraints. Bill had a more difficult time riding. His neck was red from just one ride. He agreed to take another ride, but he clearly wasn’t digging those restraints.
Since there still wasn’t a line, we walked back around instead of waiting for Jeff and Chris to finish their ride. We decided to sit in the second seat this time and as we were getting on, Chris and Jeff were finishing up their ride. Our second ride felt the same as the first but Bill’s neck really got it good during the last couple of curves of the ride. He said he was done riding so we walked over to the launch area to watch Chris and Jeff ride.
Once we met back up we walked over to Roller Soaker but Bill didn’t feel like getting soaked so he passed it up. We continued our walk and decided to ride one of the most fun coasters I have ridden.
With Jeff and I in the back of Lightning, and Chris and Bill in back of Thunder, we had a close race for most of the ride. I thought the coaster was running a bit rougher than it was last year, but it wasn’t the least bit painful. Chris and Bill ended up winning. =:^(
Jeff and Chris wanted to ride the Ferris wheel so Bill and I broke off and rode a couple of other things before meeting back up with them.
There is only one other Mack mouse that I have ridden that operate as open as Hershey’s. That one being at Europa Park in Germany. Hershey should be proud of the way the ride runs. It isn’t brakeless but it runs like a bat out of hell. Great fun!
I used to really love this coaster but time hasn’t been good to it. My last few rides were so rough that it was almost impossible to enjoy them. While the coaster still has that rough nature to it, I found myself laughing during the entire layout this time. I don’t think Bill enjoyed it very much, but it was worth a ride.
As we were exiting we saw Chris and Jeff riding so we waited nearby. I gave Barry Short a quick call to tell him what had happened to us. He originally wanted to meet us for a couple of parks but the schedule was still up in the air. We didn’t know if Chris would call the rest of the trip off because of his Saturn, or continue. He seemed to be pretty up in spirits so it looked good, but it still wasn’t certain.
After meeting back up with Jeff and Chris and grabbed some lunch. Once we were done, we headed over to give Comet a ride but it had a full queue. We decided to take a couple of rides on the two closest coasters next.
For this coaster being the oldest steelie in the park, it still runs amazingly well. It’s fairly tame but it still gives plenty of rides to folks of all ages. Jeff stopped some line jumpers while in the short line and yelled at them. Their reaction was the same as when he usually stops someone. They can’t believe they were yelled at. The ride itself reminded me a bit of Italian Job: Stunt Track for some strange reason. Maybe it was the curve into the tunnel or something. I am not sure. There was one funny thing that happened during our ride. As we were going down the first drop, one girl that was sitting behind me reached up and tried to pull my arms down. She said we were crazy for keeping our hands up and were sure to fall out.
I know of quite a few people that really dislike this ride. I am not one of them. I think the layout is very unique and it offers different kinds of forces. We walked up to the ride and it had a full queue but we decided to wait it out. The line moved very quickly. Since we had already waited a half our or so, we decided to wait for the front row. Chris was on the phone with his insurance agent so he wasn’t paying attention to where we were standing. Normally he doesn’t like to ride in the front row but once he realized we were just about to board, he was cool with it.
Our ride was incredible. Easily one of my favorite inverteds out there, then again, I haven’t ridden a bad one yet. There are some nice foot choppers at end of the ride that surprised me like it was my first ride. I also noticed the roar this coaster makes is very similar to the roar that Hulk at IOA makes. It is a very distinct roar that is different sounding than most B&Ms.
We decided to leave the park at this time and head to our next park. We ended up having a pretty good time even though we didn’t ride many things. We knew we probably wouldn’t be riding a lot of things at our next park either so it all kind of balanced out. On our way to Allentown, we ran into some construction that halted our journey for a half hour or so, but we still ended up at our location earlier than expected. We knew we probably would be eating dinner later so we stopped at a Friday’s and had a decent meal before heading into the park.
Thanks to our CP season passes, we went to guest services and picked up a free ticket. As we were walking in, enthusiast and friend Rich Koppleman was walking out. That was the only time we saw him at the park so our hello/goodbyes were fairly quick. The park looked crowded with tons of school buses in the lot, but the good thing was hordes of kids were leaving the park at this time.
Once we were inside I could have sworn I saw Cedar Fair’s Jack Falfus walk right by us. When I pointed it out to Jeff, he said it wasn’t him, but then took another look and yelled, “Jack!” It was Jack! The week before he was at Knott’s. This week he was at Dorney. We ran into him basically the same way we run into him when he was at Knott’s. Just by chance. He was surprised to see us as well. He was with someone from Public Relations (whose name escapes me at this time…sorry)
We talked to him for just a few minutes but as usual when talking with Jack, he was pleasant to talk to and had a lot to say that made us happy. =:^) Hopefully I will run into him again, but this time at Cedar Point. He asked us what we thought of the new ride but we hadn’t ridden it yet. He told us to head on over there as it didn’t have much of a line. We followed his advice.
----Hydra: The Revenge----(#611)
I was most looking forward to riding this than probably any other coaster on the trip. Our excitement built up as we walked through the queue, watching the trains flip and dive overhead. I couldn’t believe how much the paint job looked like Raptor’s but that should have been expected as most Cedar Fair parks have at least one ride painted with this color scheme.
For our first ride we waited for the front. It only took about 10 minutes total from the time we entered the line, to the time we were sitting in the train, looking at that strange looking wormhole of an inversion called the jo-jo roll.
The all clear was given and we slowly rolled out of the station and began our twist of a journey into one of the most unique starts to a coaster I can think of. I had heard that if you keep your legs totally relaxed while going through the inversion, your legs will fold with one leg over the other. This is true and I laughed as this just added to the bizarre nature of what was going on. The inversion wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable to me.
We dropped out of the jo-jo and around a right hand curve before hitting the lift. This lift set-up is something I haven’t seen on a B&M before. Usually there are drive tires to match the speed of the train with the lift hill. Not on Hydra. I did see some brakes but I sure didn’t feel them being activated. We grabbed the train in the same flawless nature as with any other B&M. My only guess is there is a rather sophisticated variable lift motor that can match the speed of the train without jerking the train. Anyone know for sure?
We made our way up the lift, with our hearts still pumping from the awkward beginning. We crested and dove down to the rocky bottom. We then shot skyward and into a very strange looking element. The park calls it an inclined diving loop. I don’t think I would call it an inversion, but it really surprised the hell out of me as it has a fun snap to it.
We dove back towards the rocky ground and up into one of the best, if not the best, camel back I have gone through. The float going through this inversion worked perfectly IMO. We then were shot into the largest flat spin I have seen that once again, surprised me. The bastard-child-cobra-roll was next. This sure didn’t look or feel like any cobra I have seen before. So far this ride was very unique. Hopefully this will shut up the “B&M don’t do anything creative so they suck” crybabies who refuse to believe a park does have something to do with a layout.
Out of the cobra and up into a cool flip turn. I didn’t know this element was so far above the bottom of the cobra roll. This surprised me (do you see a trend here?). We hopped over a nice hill, giving us a bit of a breather before rotating through the next flat spin, which dives right into an upward helix, then ultimately the final brakes.
What can I say? From hearing some negative reviews about the ride, I was hoping the ride would be good. I didn’t know it was going to be THIS good. I have heard the ride was running very sluggish during the opening week so perhaps that is why some people didn’t like it. Everyone I was riding with really enjoyed it and it ended up being the hit of the day. What to do next but to ride again. Our next ride was taken in the back row and was incredible.
Since we only had a few hours left to ride, we didn’t ride everything but we did get some great rides on various rides. I decided to spend the extra $5 and ride the new S&S Screaming Swing. I had not seen one of these operate, and honestly didn’t know anything about the ride experience. When I walked up to it, it wasn’t running. The crew was just waiting for people. Bill ended up riding with me.
The restraints were something I hadn’t encountered yet. They were pretty comfortable. The ride started swinging back and forth. It only took a few swings before we had reached the highest peak of the ride. The sensation was pretty new to me even though I have ridden rides with similar motions. The airtime at the high points was great, especially with those restraints. I thought it was well worth the $10 I spent (I paid Bill’s ride as well) and would do it again in a heartbeat. I can’t wait for the larger non-extra-pay versions to start hitting parks around this country.
Time to ride some more coasters.
Good God! I don’t remember this ride being so much fun. What have they done to it? I must admit. I have never been a fan of this ride as it really didn’t impress me the last few times I have ridden it. Bill and I rode in the front seat and couldn’t believe the ejector airtimea and smashing laterals we got. In the past I thought I remember some trims slowing the train down on the out portion of the ride, but I didn’t seem them nor feel them this day. Great ride!
Once again, I never really cared for this ride until last year when Jeff Johnson and I got some incredible rides on it. Today was no exception. Lots of air and speed. We would have taken another ride had we not wanted to ride a couple of other things like taking a ride on the powerful Lazer
We waited about 20 minutes to take a ride on this. We opted for the back row. As we were getting strapped in, a ride operator noticed my TTD shirt and said he couldn’t wait to get to the park sometime this year. Even as we were leaving the station, he was asking about TTD. The ride was just as fun and intense as I remembered it. The ending is very unique with its non-stop pacing.
By this time it was getting dark. We decided to leave before closing so we could get to our hotel in New Jersey at a nice time. We did take one more front seat ride on Hydra. As we were in the station, we smelled a burning sensation. The ride operators smelled it as well. It wasn’t coming from the ride but rather a light near the station. It wasn’t serious as someone went down and fixed it (my guess is someone spilled something on it from above) and the odor went away. We thought for a second that the ride was going to be closed down but it never was.
Our last ride was just as great as the other two. I really love the camera placement near the jo-jo. Jeff and I had the idea of posing with our thumbs down so when we would see the picture, we would be upside down with our thumbs up. Yea, it was a goofy idea but it worked.
We then left Dorney and headed east. Bill got the crazy idea that we might be able to go to Delaware and visit one more park for the day, but we would have to hurray as they closed at 10:00. Chris didn’t seem like he was interested but he knew this was Bill’s trip so he said he would go.
--Blue Diamond Park—
We drove through Wilmington and ended up seeing a Ferris wheel in the distance. I didn’t know much about this park other than it had two coasters and a few other rides. When we pulled up to the park, I was surprised to see how small it actually is. It’s a tiny place, but it did have some nice looking rides like a Skydiver that was running extremely fast. We came to ride the coasters and if we had time, try other stuff. Chris decided to sit in his vehicle as he said he didn’t have enough energy to walk. I don’t blame him. We really did have a pretty busy day.
Bill, Jeff, and I looked around for a place to purchase tickets. A woman who works for the park noticed we were looking for something and asked us if we needed help. When we told her we wanted to purchase tickets to ride the coasters, she looked at us like we were mad. She told us the park, while open, was still testing some of the rides and we weren’t able to ride them. The two coasters were testing with sandbags.
Just as we were about to walk away, she told us to follow her and we soon were introduced to the owner of the park, as well as a guy that was in charge of the maintenance. They explained what they were doing and asked if we lived in the area. When they found out we came from California and Ohio. We were told to follow then over to the coaster. While we knew there was no chance of us riding the coaster unless we were park employees, Bill and I weren’t upset as we had already ridden them at other parks. The Jumbo Zyklon came from Bland’s park, and the Orient Express came from Martin’s Fantasy Island. Jeff hadn’t ridden either.
We got to talk with some other people that work at the park. They told us what they were doing to the coaster to get it open among other things. We had a great time hanging out with them and they really did take care of us. Let’s just say Jeff was probably happier then the rest of us by the time we left the park. =:^)
As we were leaving, we got to talk with the owner again. We thanked him for the incredible hospitality and headed out. When we told Chris about our unusual time spent inside the park, I am not sure if he believed us or not.
We made our way across the river into New Jersey and found our hotel for the night. Barry Short called me and told me he was thinking of joining us the next day. I wasn’t sure this was a good idea as the rest of the trip was still up on the air and we didn’t know if Chris was going to be able to handle it as he was really showing signs of not having fun. Had we thrown one other person into the mix, it could have been even worse. Only time would tell though.
Riding the renamed storm and a whole lot of other rides as well.
Thanks for reading,
That accident really was freaky.There wasn't anytime to react. It kind of happend in slow motiion but was over before we knew it. If that makes sense.
We were wondering what the damage would have been had we been driving a vehicle that had a metal body. Since the energy of the deer hitting the car took out a section of the Saturn, we wondered if that same energy would force us off the road in a stronger vehicle. That energy had to go somewhere and the Saturn took the brunt of it but left a lot of damage.
I was just travelling that same route on I-70 this past weekend. We saw TONS of deer, mostly dead.
It's wild. For every one deer that West Virginia has PA has 15.
That is a pretty freaky route, even in the daytime. And I always crack up at the signage on that road, including a large "HUBCAPS" sign that is just the most redneck thing I have seen.
I recently went through Delaware and totally forgot about Blue Diamond Park. I guess it doesn't matter since the coasters are not open yet. :-)
Again, killer TR!
*** Edited 7/6/2005 9:50:38 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
I didn't mention this in the trip report but after we had the accident and got back on the road, we had to stop in the middle of the Interstate as a group of about 10 deer were walking across the road. Needless to say we were kind of freaked out by it.
I have also hit a deer on another coaster trip. This time it happend in 1990 as I was heading to Cedar Point. I had a car load of friends and we saw a deer running along side of us. The deer ended up slamming into the side of my car and sent us spinning around. I thought for sure I killed it but it got up and walked away.
Oh yes! The 50,000 Hubcaps exit. That's a classic exit.
Blue Diamond Park was to have the coasters running the next day so you could have visited.
Sean Flaharty said:
“Are we still alive? Seriously. Are we?”
The trip continues…
When I first read that, it just made me burst out into laughter, but in all seriousness I am glad that no one got hurt as that would suck big kahonies.
My brother hit a raccoon last week right before our Dells trip in his brand new Scion XB and it pushed his front end into his radiator and pretty much totalled the whole car so I can sympathise with you on that.
Keep the TR coming though, it is always fun reading your epic tales, seriously you need to make a movie on this. If they can make a Shark Boy and Lava Girl movie (WTF) then your movie would be hilarious. I'm sure the CB crowd would go see it.
Intamin, the problem with "sprawl" is that unlike most other creatures, deer actually thrive in the fragmented forest/suburban setting. They just love all that landscaping people put up. And with all the development, hunting is off limits. So the only way to get rid of the deer surplus is by vehicle, or let nature do it in a more cruel way. Of course the other problem is that deer carry deer ticks which carry Lyme disease.
As far as elk go, I've heard they're more likely to charge than deer which would turn tail and run. A few people in northern PA found that out when they got too close with their cameras.
If you ride the Knoebels train around dusk, you might see some deer out near the turnaround (had to get the amusement park tie in there somehow). No elk yet though.
We are all amazed that the tape job that Chris did lasted the entire trip. I guess we were lucky we didn't run into any rain. I saw the Saturn last weekend and you couldn't even tell there was damage. They did a great job.
I hate hitting animals. I have run over a fair share of rabbits and even a racoon once.
Thanks for the compliments. Part 6 is posted now and the 7th (final) part is written. I should be posting it on Sunday or Monday. After that, it's back to writing another series (only two parts this time).
It's funny you mentioned making a movie as I sometimes use the footage I shot as a reference for my trip reports. I had planned on putting together an hour and a half long video from the footage I shot on the ACE Europe tour. It was basically going to be the video version of my trip reports.
I canned the idea as after writing the trip reports. I realized there was no way I would be able to edit 10 hours of footage into something I liked. I ended up putting all 10 hours of footage on 10 DVDs so I wouldn't end up messing up my MiniDV tapes from playing them so often when someone wanted to see the footage. A few people have copies of all 10 DVDs and have watched it all. I know two people that watched it all in one sitting. I can't believe it. Even I wouldn't do that.
As far as the Lava Girl and Shark Boy movie, I haven't seen it but I almost did. No joke. I am a huge 3-D movie buff and wanted to check the movie out but after hearing some reviews from people I know, I passed. I didn't think the trailer looked all that great to begin with. Oh well. I have a feeling 3-D is going to be coming back in a big way soon. At least I hope so. =:^)
A few times I have seen deer walking around in the woods while riding The Beast. This is usually around April or May.
As far as the deer, a friend of mine's parents live in Northern PA near the PA/NY border close to Binghampton. The area is VERY desolate but they told me their car insurance rates skyrocketed when they moved from Shippensburg (near Harrisburg).
Their insurance agent told them the reason why their rates are so high is because of the deer population and the number of claims that are reported involving them. Go figure. :-/
3-D is awesome! I still have my Viewmaster. ;-)
<---who thinks Sean SHOULD write 3M (the makers of Scotch tape?) and tell them the story. lol. ;-)
*** Edited 7/9/2005 12:38:11 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
You have one of my Europe DVDs? Are you confusing that with the ECO CD I sent you?
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