The Year in Coasters 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 9:38 AM

Well, I figured I’d better get this out of the way, since there are only a couple of days left, and I’m kicking off my coaster season early this year with a January trip to Walt Disney World Resort in, like, 2 weeks, so here goes.

My 2010 has been great, and this deals with my travel for the year (interjected with other stuff of importance). It’s been a whirlwind year for me (in a good way) and I got a lot done. I ended up with 27 new coaster credits this year, 5 new parks, a new fair, and 9 parks overall (with, I think 11 trips to Carowinds). The numbers were down from 2009 with overall park visits and credits (14 overall parks and 47 credits), but still a pretty amazing year. I ended the year with 237 total coasters, and hope to hit 300 if I play my cards right for 2011.

The year started off at the ‘biggest party on the planet’, the New Years Eve Times Square Ball drop. I was able to mark that one off the bucket list, and thankfully I’ll never have to go back. Standing 7 hours in the cold, bored, with no food or rest rooms was something I’m glad I’ll never have to do again. It’s not nearly as glamorous as it looks on TV. January 1, 2010, however, was spent traipsing around New York City. We hit up Rockefeller Plaza, Got to see more of Central Park, walked right by where John Lennon was shot (didn’t know that till after the trip, though), spent time in the Financial District, Battery Park (liked it there, would love to go back), Pier 17 at South Street Seaport, and I’m not sure, but we may have even walked thru TriBeCa. We took pictures of the Empire State Building (the line was too long to go up) and Radio City Music Hall as well. I’m still not a huge fan of NYC, but it’s a fun place to visit.

The rest of January was rather HoHum, aside from the copious amounts of snow, but on January 31, 2010 I became a resident of North Carolina. After spending years trying to get out of West Virginia, and 2 years looking for a job while I had a place to live sitting vacant, I finally found a suitable job with the Department of Social Services in Forsyth County (Winston Salem) North Carolina. I spent a week doing housework and shopping before I started, and even though there had been some (slightly major) confusion surrounding the new job, I eventually settled into a position in Adult Medicaid, where I met and worked with a lot of great people in the fine city of Winston Salem. I looked forward to lunch every day as there were plenty of wonderful places to eat downtown and around the area.

February was a busy time as I was learning my new job and working in the house. My only major leisure activity was going to see the Black Eyed Peas at Time Warner Cable Arena as ‘The E.N.D. 2010 World Tour’ made a stop there. The show was great, but I wish I’d have gone ahead and gotten the better seats I had initially thought of purchasing. I still had a great time, though.

March started the coaster season for me. After a terrible bout of some type of stomach illness, I spent a weekend in Atlanta. I arrived late Friday nite at the terrible lodging that I’d booked thru Hotwire. Never again! It was awful, and I quickly made reservations for my 2nd nite at the Downtown Hilton. Next time I’m not going to be cheap, I’ll just get a nice room from the start. Spent Saturday at Six Flags over Georgia where I met up for a while with Dawn Marie and her hubby Russ. Had a nice time with them and over Georgia is still one of my favorite parks, but at least this time I didn’t have to deal with rain. And the food wasn’t bad either. Didn’t ride everything in the park, but I did manage to ride Acrophobia (which was an accomplishment for me as I’m terrified of heights) which I loved, Monster Mansion which is now one of my favorite dark rides, and picked up the kiddie credit at the park. Also rode the sky ride and train which were fun as well. I like Atlanta, but next time I go back, I must spend more time in the city proper.

One Saturday I was able to go on the Carowinds construction tour offered by ACE. It was an interesting look at the park, which was getting ready for the season, and finishing up for the debut of Intimidator (which we’ll get to later). Then at the end of the month I spent some time on the North & South Carolina coasts. We had plans to hit up the Family Kingdom Park, but it closed just as we arrived. Bummer.

April wasn’t very busy as far as my social life went, but I was getting more acclimated to living in North Carolina, and I did visit my first Dave & Buster’s. Since I missed going to Carowinds on opening day to ride the new coaster, I ended up going in April. I headed down to Charlotte one day to pick up my new iMac (love it) and process my season pass for Carowinds. I hopped inside the park for a quick second to get a quick ride on Intimidator and check out the re-themed dark ride. I was not impressed at all with Intimidator for my first ride. Thankfully it quickly grew on me as I made several trips in May, June, July, August, and an eventual 11 visits total, evening hitting ERT for Coaster Stock in June (A great event). The dark ride was much better than it had been before, though, so that made up for a semi-meh first visit.

Speaking of Carowinds, I did go back in May for my first night rides on Intimidator. I did fall in love with the ride, and that visit really made me appreciate finally having Carowinds as my home park. The rest of May was busy, but not so much as far as travel and theme parks are concerned.

June, however, was a fun month, as I made my way back to Holiwood Nights, by way of Six Flags St. Louis. Got picked up in St. Louis for my first new to me theme park of the year, and I really loved the park and the rides. We only had 4 hours, but got every coaster done. I really adored the park and hope to get back soon. The wood was running outstandingly, Mr. Freeze was great, Ninja wasn’t terrible, and Batman was Batman. Oh, and I got on my first Gerstlauer spinning coaster, which was fun too. Holiwood Nights was much better than my 2008 visit, with all three coasters running amazingly. And this time I couldn’t get enough of Voyage. Still skipped the walk back, but one day I’ll hit it up. We did get to spend more time at the water park again, so that was fun.

July and August were pretty uneventful, with a quick trip to Roanoke, July 4th at Carowinds (I didn’t ride a thing, but watched the fireworks), and a day spent exploring Dan Nicholas park near my home. They have a nice Carousel and train ride, both of which I plan on riding on my next visit in the spring. The park was very nice, and there is plenty to do there.

September was pretty amazing as far as coaster riding goes. Flew up to Hartford Friday nite after work and spent Saturday at Six Flags New England, a park I’d been trying to get to for a very long time. This was my first time in New England in over a decade, and the day was beautiful. After some initial trouble, finally got to ride Bizarro (amazing coaster!), and really enjoyed all the park had to offer…except the slow operations. Glad I made it, and hope I get back up there sooner rather than later. That evening we went to Boston as Matt had never been. Waled to the real Cheers by Beacon Hill, over by Fenway Park, and rode the subway Sunday morning we drove to Quassy to get a quick lap on the mouse that left this year. Quassy is a nice park, and now that they have a new wooden coaster, I hope to go back and actually spend time riding other rides as well. The setting was beautiful. But the rest of the day was to be spent at Lake Compounce, now one of my favorite parks. Boulder Dash was amazing! The park’s other coasters were okay, but the park overall was great, with some great rides. Glad I got to ride the Rotor now that it’s gone, but I wish I’d have been able to ride the dark ride. Otherwise, the park has a great selection of flats to keep anyone happy.

We left that nite, drove thru NYC, and headed to Jersey. Labor Day we met up with Ken at Great Adventure so that I could get my Kingda Ka credit. I got 2 rides, and that was enough. Those shoulder harnesses hurt. El Toro is still my favorite coaster, and Nitro was running in top form. I also got my first rides on the rapids and Houdini there. I’m still a Great Adventure fan, but I didn’t expect to get back there so soon. If I make it in 2011, that’s great, but it’s not a priority. I spent one Saturday afternoon at the local county fair. There are tons of these in NC, and in 2011, I plan on hitting way more fairs. I only rode one terrible flat ride that was kind of like a Disk-O, and then headed to Carowinds for the evening. Next year I plan to spend more time at the county fairs around me to check out some of the food and ride offerings.

October is when things started to wind down. Finally made it to PPP, where Phoenix is Amazing, Twister is really good, the food is an attraction all to itself, but I’m not quite sure I ‘got’ Knoebels. Had a nice time after my initial bad mood, and I do want to go back (Phoenix was that good!!), but I need to hit the park proper. I don’t call an ‘even’ with 1800 people an ‘event’, I call it extended park hours.

In November it finally cooled down in North Carolina. I started a bunch of home improvement projects that are well on their way to being finished, and I said goodbye to Forsyth County DSS. I was offered another position in my line of work closer to home, with higher pay and less gas. So far I’m enjoying sleeping in later, and being up later at nite. And the fact that I only have to fill up once a week is a blessing, especially now that gas is $3 a gallon. I miss everyone I worked with in Winston, and I really miss lunch time, but I’m getting used to my new space.

There’s only 3 more days left in 2010, and it’s been a heck of a year (in a good way). I hope the trend continues into 2011 as well. I don’t have any plans as of yet for New Years Eve this year, but I have a feeling I’ll be much closer to home. Perhaps I’ll see what Charlotte has to offer.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Tuesday, December 28, 2010 9:50 AM
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Sunday, January 2, 2011 1:09 AM

It was a good year indeed. Glad we got to hang out so much, buddy! See ya in a couple of weeks.

I'll echo the setiments about New Year's Eve in Times Square... Way better on TV. Bucket list checkoff. Never again!

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