The Ups and Downs of May 2005 (Part 6) (Clementon, NJ Piers, and a couple of other smaller parks)

Associated parks:
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Thursday, July 7, 2005 2:31 PM
“Um….you guys really want to ride this?”


-May 28th-

I woke up before Jeff and got ready. As he was getting ready, I walked over to the lobby area and got breakfast. There wasn’t a big selection but it would do. I grabbed a bowl of cereal and made a waffle. Bill showed up a few minutes later and joined me. I don’t think he was impressed with the selection as I don’t think he ate anything.

Bill and I talked about the remainder of the trip. By the looks of things, Chris didn’t seem to be all that interested in doing much more. We agreed that we would go home if he wanted to. We just had to play the rest of the trip by ear and see what happens.

Once everyone was ready to go, we hopped into Chris’s damaged Saturn Vue and headed to our next park. We knew we would be arriving before opening. This was a good thing considering we expected this park to be crowded with it being a Saturday and all.

---Clementon Amusement Park---

Today I would be going to a few new-to-me parks. This one being the first. The main reason we were here was to ride the new coaster. As we pulled into the parking lot, we could see the old SBNO Jack Rabbit, and the new coaster in the far back of the park. I only know of a few people that got a chance to ride the new coaster last year as it only opened for a very short time.

We walked up to the front gate and waited for the park to open. As we were waiting, we ran into ACE member Ken Simmons. I used to see Ken at a lot of parks but for some reason I hadn’t seen much of him the last year or so. We talked a bit about various new coasters opening up. He shared his opinion on the new world’s tallest coaster in New Jersey and showed me his dark bruises the ride gave him. Zoinks!

Clementon was to open at noon, but it was well after noon before employees started showing up. To make matters worse, the front gate attendant didn’t have the correct key to open the front gate. What could have been something that would have taken only seconds to do ended up taking a half hour or so, By this time there was a line of folks wanting to get inside the park. We were in front so we didn’t really mind. We just wanted to get in before 1:00 if at all possible.

Once the gate was open, we got our tickets from the lone attendant and made our way into the park. We knew the line of people wanting to get inside would be long for a while as the attendant was having problems working the credit card machine. We took it upon us to head back to the new coaster and get in a few rides before it got crowded.

----J2----(#612)

As we arrived, we were once again delayed as the ride operators were just arriving at the ride. Another half hour passed before we were allowed to enter the queue and head of the stairs to the station. I was reminded of Indiana Beach while heading up the stairs as all the coasters are elevated at that park, just as this one is.

For our first ride, Jeff and I went for the front. I knew nothing of this layout and was very anxious to see what it had to offer. The lift, while pretty quick, let us take in the view of this small park. To the right was a lake with a log flume above it and other rides could be seen behind us.

We crested the lift and soared down the first 60-degree drop. We rose and popped out of our seats as we crested the next hill. We could already tell this ride was a winner as the pacing was good. Little did we know the heart of the storm was just upon us. We flew down another hill and began a downright aggressive voyage through all kinds of turns and hills. The train continued to pick up speed as we shot down and into an upward helix that actually made me start to grey out. I have never had a wooden coaster give me that sensation before. Once out of the helix we began our trip back to the station while floating over some more hills before hitting the final brakes with plenty of energy to spare.


What a crazy ride!

The pacing on this thing was literally non-stop. I had only ridden one S&S wooden coaster before this (Timberhawk) and thought there could be a possibility that Tsuna……woops, J2 would be a, dare I say, family ride. No chance.

This ride is not for the faint of heart. It isn’t as rough as I had heard it was, but it surely was something that lets you know who is boss. For having such an early ride, we couldn’t believe it wasn’t sluggish in the least. It’s too bad we weren’t going to be able to stick around and grab night rides as we did have to be at other locations in New Jersey later in the day.

Since there were only a few people in the train at this time (the other train was sent off to get a new J2 paint job), the crew let us stay on. Jeff and I went to the back car while Bill and Chris went to the front. The ride was even more aggressive in the back car. The first drop really feels steeper back there. We spent the next couple of rides in the back car. Bill and Chris joined us. Jeff decided to join Chris in a ride in the very back, over the wheels. I had purposely avoided that seat as I am currently not much of a wheel seat lover. It didn’t seem to bother Jeff and Chris.

As we were just about to go over the first drop, our train stopped. No one was really alarmed as this has happened to us on many other rides in the past. A few minutes later a ride operator walked up to where we were sitting and explained to us that there was a problem with the brake sensors in the station. We would be moving in a few minutes but this could very well be the last ride of the day.

While we were sitting up there, I realized I had my camera tucked away in one of my cargo pockets. I asked the ride operator if he could take a picture of our group if I could somehow get my camera out. He said he would have no problem. He continued to talk to other riders on the train as I tried to get the camera out. I was successful and handed him the camera. He ended up taking a great shot of our group, with Jack Rabbit in the background. He handed back my camera and I tucked it back away. Soon, we were on our way for our last ride, which was incredible. I am not sure Jeff and Chris enjoyed it that much as they said they were done with riding. Damn wheel seats.


We were hoping we would be able to walk around the coaster area and get the shots of it running. While we did just that, the coaster was running empty with maintainence men riding every couple of rides. Once we were finished taking pictures of a few more runs, we decided to start heading out.

We found a gift shop that you enter via a large Freddy Krueger mouth, with an arrow pointing to Kiddieland. I don’t know about you but I certainly wouldn’t want to be directed to a Kiddieland while looking at Freddy Kruger. That’s pretty creepy if you ask me.

Despite the awkward entrance to the gift shop, we were able to find some great deals inside. While the front of the J2 T-shirt was alright, they had a large sweat patch on the back. No thanks. We were surprised to see the park still selling Tsunami merchandise. I found a Tsunami shirt that I liked a lot. When I went to pay for it, the cashier told me it was only $5! I yelled over to the other guys and told them about the deal. When I asked why the shirt was so cheap, the girl behind the counter told me the park is trying to get rid of the old merchandise. There was a bit of confusion though as Bill was charged more for his shirt because it had an old tag on it. Mine didn’t. Both Jeff and Bill purchase a lot of Tsunami patches as well.

Once our little shopping spree was over, we headed out to our car. The park didn’t look to be as crowded as we thought it would, minus the picnic area which had a large amount of school kids who were arriving as we were leaving. We hopped back into the Saturn and continued our trip.

The original plan was to continue to the northern Jersey piers. When Jeff told us he had never done any of the piers we decided to start all the way south then make our way up north. Since we were pretty much filling up the rest of the day with all kinds of smaller (some larger) coasters, Bill decided to also throw in a couple of parks in the area that I had never heard of. We stopped for a quick bite to eat at a nearby Subway before heading towards the coast. We did make one more stop though.


---Storybook Land---

Yet another park that Chris decided to sit out on. He is no longer into riding kiddie coasters so he wasn’t exactly missing anything. Bill, Jeff, and I paid our POP (which was pretty steep) and headed into the park. As we walked around to find the lone coaster, images of New York’s Magic Forest Park popped into my head. Storybook Land had the same kind of eerie feel with the same kind of overly-positive theme. We found the ride we were looking for in a matter of minutes. The plan was to ride once then get out.

----Bubbles The Coaster----(#613)

This Miler junior coaster actually had a pretty long layout compared to many of the most standard Miler coasters. As we were riding, we were greeted with many strange looks from parents who couldn’t understand why a few adults were riding. The layout consisted of a curving first drop that passed by a small house that blew bubbles at us. Ah-ha! That explains the reason it has the strange name. The rest of the ride had a few smaller hills before arriving back at the station. Little did I know this wasn’t the only Miler I would be riding today.

As we were heading out we stopped into the gift shop area so Bill could get some merchandise for his kids. Not only was Bill having fun on this trip but he was scoping out some of the smaller rides he could possibly take his kids on soon. This trip had a double purpose. Of course we would never be able to convince Chris of this as we could tell his patience was wearing down faster than the time it takes an Intamin coaster to break down.

We hopped back into the car and continued onto the piers.


We found a parking meter nearby and put in enough change for a few hours. We knew we weren’t there to ride everything but we thought a few hours were more than enough time to do what we wanted to do. There must have been a kite festival going on as there were hundreds of them flying all over the place. It was very colorful.


---Morey’s Piers---

I hadn’t been to any of the NJ piers in 6 years and was looking to ride a few new rides. Since Jeff had never been to the area we made sure to get him on all the coasters on the piers we were visiting. Instead of purchasing a wristband, we opted for individual ride tickets even though we knew the wristband would be good at two other piers.

I decided to sit out on riding Great White as the last ride I had gotten on it was pretty bad. I figured there would be a cool dark ride I could ride instead of spending money on this. Bill, Chris, and Jeff ended up riding. When I met up with them they raved about the ride. Perhaps I made a mistake in not riding. Chris informed me a couple of minutes later that they were joking with me as they had a horrible ride. I guess I made the right choice after all.

I can’t remember what pier it was but we ended up riding a dark boat ride where we had to wear ChromaDepth 3-D glasses. Despite being a cheap way to produce blurry 3-D, the effects in the ride looked and worked really well. Chris sat out on this one but we told him it was worth a ride. He declined and we moved onto our next pier.

---Mariner’s Landing---

As with the last pier, there were two coasters I really didn’t want to ride. The last time I had ridden Sea Serpent, I had gotten a good ride. This is something I didn’t expect coming from a Vekoma boomerang. I passed on riding again as Jeff and Bill rode as Chris and I watched.

Rollies Coaster was the next coaster Bill and Jeff rode. Even though this Pinfari doesn’t do inversions, it is equipped with OTSRs. The last time I rode I don’t remember them being bad, but just odd. I also don’t remember the ride using magnetic braking (from Dyna-Brake).

We moved onto the third and final pier of this area.


--Wild Wheels--

This pier has a relocated coaster that I was unable to ride in 1999 due to an accident on a similar ride at another pier. I had done a few like it before and knew what to expect. As we were waiting in line to ride, the skies darkened and rain started slowly falling from the sky. We were just about to get on the ride when the crew closed it down just as it started to storm so we took shelter in a nearby arcade.

We watched as people ran out of the area. While it wasn’t a violent storm, there were a couple of lightning strikes that woke us up. About 10 minutes into our wait, we were approached by an employee from the park that resembled someone that could perhaps work in a guest relations position. The man told us the storm was to last around another 20 minutes and the rides would re-open once the all clear had been given. Wow! Talk about customer service. You don’t see employees walking around in the rain telling people to wait out the storm very often. Do you? We were pretty impressed.

Just as the employee said, the rides started to open as soon as the storm had passed. We were among the first to ride the coaster.

----Doo Wopper----(#614)

This Zamperla “zig-zag” coaster run just as crazy as the last one I rode in Arkansas. On one of the first turns was a large mirror. I thought this was a great idea and the illusion of our car hitting another got Chris. With every curve we made, all four of us yelled, “Whoaaaaaaa!” in unison. This had us laughing by the end of the ride.

Bill and Jeff also decided to ride the Vekoma SLC. Once again I passed as I remember this ride being the roughest out of the versions I have ridden.

We still had a few tickets left so we took a ride on the new Dante’s Dungeon dark ride. Chris and I were spooked a few times by various tricks. Every once in a while a live person would pop out from the dark shadows and scare the crap out of us. Very effective and I would have loved to taken another ride but we had a parking meter running and it was just about to expire. As we briskly walked back to our vehicle, Chris found a Cincinnati Reds hat in perfect condition sitting on the ground by the street. No one was around and it appeared someone had dropped it. He claimed it as his and we continued on.


Our next part of the day was very similar to the first part once we left Clementon. We were to visit one small park then continue on to more piers. Chris said he had no plans on getting out of his vehicle and joining us as at our next stop.

---Blackbeard’s Cave---

This has to be one of the smallest parks I have ever been to. There really isn’t a whole lot here other than an arcade, mini golf, and a couple of smaller rides. Basically, a typical FEC. We walked up to the coaster but there wasn’t an operator in sight. Just as we were about to go find someone that would be able to help us out, a ride operator approached us and looked at us funny. She asked if we wanted to ride the coaster. When we told her yes, she kind of smiled and said it would be no problem. We purchased tickets and hopped into the train.

----Dragon----(#615)

Yet another Wisdom Dragon to add to the list. Since we were the only people riding, we ended up getting many laps. I would have been happy with just one lap, but the ride operator looked to be having fun watching a group of adults ride or she was having fun at our expense. Either or, we got the credit. and it was time to leave.

Before we left we took a quick bathroom break. We had to walk through the arcade to find the bathrooms. In the arcade was a single player version of DDR. This is only the second time I have seen a single pad version and would have probably have played it if we didn’t have a tight schedule.

Once back on the road we headed north and found a parking space in the super-busy area near our next pier.

---Casino Pier---

I had never been to this pier, or the one next to it. The amount of people visiting the place was incredible. It was much more crowded than what we saw at the other piers we visited earlier in the day. Chris seemed annoyed by the fact that most of the teenagers we saw were talking on cell phones. Chris walked around acting like he was talking on his cell just to fit in. If there are two things that Chris has made clear he doesn’t like, it’s teenagers and cell phones (even though he has a phone). He seemed to be in hell at this time so we just kind of let him vent while we made our way to our next rides. We knew he wouldn’t be riding much so we purchased enough tickets to take a couple of rides on the three coasters.


----Star Jet----(#616)

Alright! A Hi-Miler. These coasters are usually a blast to ride, and can be downright scary as well. The two Hi-Miler coasters I have ridden have made me quite nervous, in a good way. The layout of the one we were about to ride looked to be the same as the one found at Celebration City in Branson. Star Jet also looked eerie with its slight purple lighting.

Since it was a busy night at the pier, the park was running three trains. This meant the line moved quickly. Before we knew it, we were sitting in the trains and heading up the lift. Looking to the left we were able to see waves crashing down below us. Once we reached the top, we made a quick right turn and coasted on a flat section. During this small portion we looked down and were surprised to see how close to the water we were. The ocean was right below us and was slightly lit thanks to the surrounding lights. The eerie view was great.

We dove down the curving first drop before heading in the main part of the course which consisted of more drops and some of those wacky hairpin turns that can be found on other Miler coasters. The ride ended with a quick stop in the brakes and instructions from the ride operator to hold our hands up in the air as the lap bars were released. Our Miler adventure wasn’t over yet as our next ride was also a Miler.

----Wild Mouse---(#617)

This is the first Miler mouse that I have seen. The cars looked and felt like those found on the Miler water coaster Kersplash at the Puyallup Fair. While the ride had some qualities of other mice, the layout was pretty original and contained a couple of slamming moments. We didn’t have to wait for this one as no one was riding it.


----Hot Tamale----(#618)

Here is another coaster I had never seen before. This L&T junior coaster has a really short layout. But it was original. As we were just about to leave the station, the ride went DDM. We started to walk away but were told the problem would be fixed in a matter of minutes so we waited it out. The man that fixed the ride was cool to talk with. He wanted to know if we were enthusiasts (Who would have ever thought?) and wanted to know about our trip. We didn’t get to talk for long before we were sent up the lift.

Even though the coaster was short, it was long enough to get a feel for how smooth it ran. I was kind of surprised really. I know of some other coasters this size that bang the hell out of the riders yet they are considered kiddie rides. If I was a youngin’ and got on one of those, I would probably be crying by the time the ride made a complete circuit.

We still had some tickets to cash in so we decided to take another ride on the Star Jet. We convinced Chris to join us this time. Just as with our first ride, I was quite nervous when riding. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it is the speed the train when it hits those near-impossible hairpins. Perhaps it is the shaky nature of the ride. I am not sure. I know they are safe but those Hi-Milers really do scare me. When I told Fred Miler a couple of years ago that the Scandia Screamer was the scariest steel coaster I had ridden, he looked at me like I was crazy. I guess I may be in the minority.

I would have loved to take a ride on the nearby Skyscraper but time didn’t allow it. Instead we headed for the next and last pier of the day, but only after we stopped to get some food. I don’t remember the name of the place we ate at but it had a carousel inside. The Sprite I got to drink was horrible tasting and when I went back to return it, I saw a man behind the counter yelling at a customer because he didn’t pick up his pizza fast enough. I believe this is the first time I have seen a pizza Nazi, or Pazi, before. I expected my horrible Sprite to be thrown at me when I complained but the man was nice to me and gave me another drink.


---Funtown Pier--

We bought some more tickets and headed for another Miler coaster, the last one of the day.

----Funtown Family Coaster---- (#619)

The layout of this one was almost like a mirror image of Bubbles the Coaster. Nothing to really mention here other than it wasn’t painted and the first drop went around a small drop ride. The lone ride operator was pretty cool. I just think he was happy to see anyone riding his coaster..


There is a small powered coaster at the park but we passed on it as it looked like it was closed, and none of us count powered coasters. We headed over to the largest coaster in the park.

----Looping Coaster----(#620)

Yet another coaster that gave me butterflies before riding. While standing in the short line, we noticed a display board that looked like it at one time had some sort of stats about the ride. It wasn’t in the best condition as with the coaster. Jeff and Bill sat in front of me. I don’t know how old this ride is but the condition of the seats and OTSR made the ride to look really old. We thought for sure we were going to get a beating on this ride and prepared for the worse.

The ride looked kind of like a Jumbo Zyklon, with a vertical loop thrown into the mix. When I first saw the coaster from the other pier, I thought it was a nasty Pinfari Looper like the one that used to run at Beech Bend. Looping Coaster is larger than the Pinfari version. At least the loop was.

As we crested the lift we all were pretty quiet and held on tight. We tore down the first drop and into the vertical loop. We thought for sure we would feel some pain but there wasn’t any. As a matter of fact the rest of the ride wasn’t all that bad either. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the ride came to an end. We all agreed that the ride looked much worse than what it really was. Before we left, I took a quick ride on the S&S combo tower. It wasn't half bad. It didn't look that incredible when watching it from the ground but I was surprised once I rode it.

With our full day or riding over, it was now time to head back to the poor Saturn. On the way we saw a near fight between two thugs as Chris was getting some ice cream. No punches were thrown but a lot of yelling was going on. Had there been an actual fight, we would have been right in the middle of it.

Once back at the SUV, we left the busy atmosphere of the piers behind us and found our hotel a bit later. Once we were in the room we could tell the small thread of fun that Chris had managed to keep was all but gone. I thought for sure he was going to throw in the towel and suggest we go home the next morning but considering we had come this far, and there was only one park left on the trip, I think he felt like he could somehow manage one more day. We also had to take in effect the reality of the condition of his vehicle. He had to worry about getting it fixed when he got home.

The next day could be the saving grace for the trip; however, the last park we would be visiting is not exactly a favorite with the group. All we could do was hope for the best.


Next up…..

Hoping to be able to crest that tall ass drop before going home.

Thanks for reading,

-Sean


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Saturday, July 9, 2005 11:14 AM
I haven't been to the Jersey shore parks since the mid-90's so reading your TR was kind of like a walk down memory lane so to speak. :-)

Judging from your pics it doesn't look like much has changed which is great. I always loved those boardwalks. :-) Hopefully I will get to revisit and reaquiant myself with those little parks this year.

I visited Clementon for the first time last fall and although I still refuse to call Tsunami by it's new name (J2 is just so.....wussified...Tsunami fits the coaster perfectly) the woody totally blew me away. It's INTENSE but not painful intense. We got to ride it at nightime which was even more insane. It actually feels like you are "surfing" and you are on the verge of "wiping out".

Glad to hear you guys loved it!

-Tina

<------looking forward to Part 7 :-)

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Monday, July 11, 2005 12:05 PM
<---chanting in line outside the movie theater, hehe

"we want part 7, we want part 7"

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Monday, July 11, 2005 1:41 PM
Too bad you missed the Great White and the Great Nor'Easter. Also, too bad you had the names of the Piers wrong.
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Monday, July 11, 2005 1:50 PM
Sam,

What are the names of the Pier's exactly?

I am not a fan of Great White or Nor'Easter so I don't feel as if I missed much.

-Sean

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