An intigrated photo report can be found here:
Well, since I have had the chance at some sleep, and I'm not doing this on a bus where I can't see the computer screen, with luck this report will at least look a whole lot better then the last, which really was not up to my normal standards. Oh well, I try anyway ;)
Another early morning for another long bus ride, this time to the south of Portland. All three of the parks on this leg of the trip are small, and I wasn't expecting too much, but I was looking forward to Oaks and the KMG Afterburner as well as their Lusse Skooters.
But first up was Thrill-ville, USA.
(Gotta love the sign :))
We got to the park at about 10:30, half an hour before opening. The park operations manager, Ed, was out at the coaster waiting for us though, and opened the coaster half an hour before the rest of the park just for us, so we got some unexpected ERT on The Ripper, a Schwarzkopf portable ride. The coaster was fun and well maintained, and give the intense ride that you expect from a Schwarzkopf.
I got a few rides on it and roamed the park before the rides opened. First up was the little kiddie coaster, aptly named the Lil' Ripper. It was you typical Herschell type ride, and gave the typical experience.
Our wristbands included a ride on the Go Carts, so I headed over there next. They were decent, I got lucky and got a fast car, and was passing people left and right. The track itself was a small oval, with a couple of little bumps that made things interesting. Over the Go Carts is the Skycoaster, which I did not ride, but was an interesting affair. It actually used an old crane to hold riders, which I though was certainly a different and creative way to put together such an attraction.
Next I went over and rode the Rock-O-Plane. I had never been on one of these before, so was delighted to see one here and get my first ride. It was nice looking and maintained well (all the rides in this little park were). I played around with the brake and got some decent flips, but not any repeated flips. I guess that is a learned talent.
A bunch of the group had gone over to race on the giant slide, so I joined them. This slide was nice and smooth, and in this case, weight has its advantages, and I skidded to the bottom before everyone else.
Next to the slide was an older model Octopus, one with the single cars on the ends of the arms. This was a wild ride. The ride op had it running a long time at insane speed, and you got a ton of fast, heavy G spinning. I was truly impressed, I didn't think an Octopus could be this good.
To finish up my hour at the park I took a ride on their miniature train. It is a fantastic looking little diesel looking train. It was also the slowest miniature railroad I have ever been on. I guess it was to make up for the very short track or something, but this thing crawled along the rails at a slower pace then I could walk.
The park staff was very good, friendly and enthusiastic. The Octopus op was especially good, not only running a great ride, but also asking how the ride was and making sure we were having a good time. You could tell that he liked his job and the whole staff cared about their little park.
Up next was Enchanted Forest. The drive to the park was not long, it is literally next door to Thrillville. Enchanted Forest really surprised me. I knew it was a kiddie park, with really just four adult attractions, but the three I would ride were quality attractions. The park itself sits on the side of a forested hill, and they make good use of the hill, with shrouded paths that hide what is ahead and give a cozy feeling to the park.
Off to the left of the entrance is the Storybook Land part of the park.
I at first walked a bit of it, but decided it would take too long (it took me an hour to photograph the one at Idlewild), so I turned back down the hill to the main gate.
I headed up the hill the other way towards the clanking noise of the roller coaster, the Ice Mountain Bobsled. It was a unique steel coaster with enclosed bobsled like cars. The station looks like an Alpine chateau that you step up into. After about a 15 minute wait I was on the ride.
The trains on the ride are funky, they are single seat affairs, much like the small Schwarzkopf coaster next door, and you sit down and a Plexiglas cover is closed over top of you.
I got lucky and was able to ride up front. You ascend the chain lift up into a mountain that is shrouded in mist where you pick up speed and shoot out of the mountain into several twists and turns.
There is a second lift before another series of turns and then finally back into the station. It is an interesting and fun ride, though it jerks you around a little bit, but it was much more then I expected, and it uses the hilly nature of the park to great effect.
Up the hill a little further is the Big Timber Log Ride, the park's star attraction, and it earns that status well.
It is a nice long ride, with a great drop as well as a coaster like dip. One nice thing that park does is have loaner ponchos in the station that you can put on if you don't want to get real wet. I didn't mind getting a little wet, so I forwent the ponchos. You ascend a chain lift and are dropped into a water trough in the typical sawmill type building. The ride zig zags around, dropping down a small drop, high above the rest of the park, before making a fast drop down the hill, and then back up, like a roller coaster (it is actually listed in RCDB). It is a very cool drop, but not the big one, that comes after a quick right turn, and you drop down a long hill into the water. The water mostly splashes out, so you don't get too wet, just enough. This is one of the better log flumes I have been on.
But, it was not my favorite attraction at the park. That honor goes to the park's outstanding Haunted House walk through.
It sits hiding behind the rees on the hill, a perfect location. I was really surprised by this attraction, I did not expect such a long, dark walk through in a park geared towards kiddies. I had tried to take some pictures, but without a tripod I couldn't capture the looks of it.
It is a very long, complex walk through though, with great scenes and gags, including holograms and anomatronics, and everything was working. I would say it was on par, if not better then, the walk through at Indiana Beach, and alone makes a visit to the park worth it.
I had just enough time to briefly check out a few of the small attractions, like Geppetto's Workshop, another walk through geared to the smaller set with some neat little stunts, like a holographic gnome that kids can reach in and try to catch. They also had the Indian Caves, a maze, and the Dancing Fountains show, which I caught a glimpse of.
I grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then it was back to the bus.
An hour after leaving Enchanted Forest we were in the parking lot of Oaks Park. I was looking forward to Oaks, expecting it to be a highlight of the trip, but I left a little disappointed, but not too much so. I was excited because Oaks boasts a KMG Afterburner, as well as Lusse Skooters, a pair of flats that are just awesome.
After a short search, I found the ticket office (we did not actually come in the front gate, but a side gate, so I didn't know where it was), and then headed for the Skooter building at the other end of the park.
The park screams classic, with a long midway, anchored at one end by the coaster, and the other end with the roller rink, all on the edge of a river. It, like the rest of the parks on the trip, was small though.
I got to the building I found cars that did not look like the Lusse Skooters I know and love, instead having these antique car bodies that, upon further examination, were made of fiberglass.
But, once a I sat down in one, oh yeah, it was a Lusse all right. You could tell the chassis was nice and heavy, with a big steeling column and motor under the hood. Even better, it ran like a Lusse, nice speed, hard hitting, and I think because of the light body, this cool skidding action that allowed me to fishtail around the corners. The area was smaller then at Knoebels, which meant you couldn't really get to full straight away speed, but the cars still hit hard, and as I rode later, there were a bunch of kids that were taking no prisoners, making for some fun, hard hitting rides.
After my spin on the Skooters I just worked my way down the midway, hitting the kiddie coaster Zooooom,
an Octopus which was a pale comparison to Thrill-ville's,
and their darkride, the newly themed Lewis and Clark, The Big Adventure.
It was marked as new for June, 2005. I don't know what it was before, but they probably should have stuck with the old theme, whatever it was, because this one was pretty bad.
Across the way was the Scream'n Eagle, their name for their KMG Afterburner.
I love Afterburners, when run properly, they are, in my opinion, the best pendulum ride out there. This one was not run properly. In fact, it was not driven at all, but was running an lamest program possible, with just a few swings at full power and a very short ride cycle. The ride ops did their best to pump up the riders, though there were few, the park was pretty dead, and they were having a good time, but I guess ignorance is bliss, because I thought this one was right down there with Hershey's Claw in terms of intensity, and I know this ride can be soooooo very powerful, it is a crying shame to see one run like this one.
I made my way to the other end of the midway and took a ride on the Looping Thunder Coaster.
It was one of those little portable looping numbers like at Seaside and Ocean City (both Ocean Cities actually), dull, painful, and only worth the credit. I neglected to ride the Rock-O-Plane across from the coaster, which I understand was a mistake as I was later told that it was much looser and could be flipped better then the one at Thrill-ville.
I instead made my way back to the other end for more Skooter action, with a stop at the Carousel, an old Herschell-Spillman model.
It ran pretty well and had a very unique managerie of animals, including a kangaroo,
ostrich, rooster, and my favorite, the sea dragon.
I finished the last half hour on the Skooters with the same group of kids through most of it, so the ride op was letting us stay on (as he said, the park was dead, there was no point in making everyone get off and walk around), stopping the ride momentarily for new riders, and instead of the obligatory recitement of the rules, was simply saying "you all know the rules, don't break 'em." The very last ride was a fantastic one, with several from the tour, including Dan and Martha, all having a great extended ride. I could have stayed on them another hour after a ride like that, but alas, it was a long drive back to the hotel, with a longer ride the next morning to Silverwood in Idaho.
I liked Oaks, but I think the rides could have been run a bit better, expecally the Sceam'n Eagle. The park could also benefit greatly from a small wooden coaster, to really complete the classic look and feel of the place. Maybe I was hoping or expecting too much from it. It is a nice classic park though.
Final trip report coming soon :)
*** Edited 8/31/2005 11:15:25 AM UTC by Cyclonic***
Next door at EF, you are right on about the rides adults can enjoy. I can't wait to return next year when their Sally inter-active dark ride opens. I understand the ride will have at least one room you will enter ONLY if a certain target/ or total is hit. And the theming for the ride looks as amazing as the other attractions at the park. I hope next year's new ride brings more people to a truly unique, small gem of a park.
As for Oaks, their dark ride was a standard, cheesy haunted house ride through, the type you find at the fair. That it's been re-themed, along with last year's addition Up and Away, shows the park also trying to bring in new things. Those whip-lash inducing bumper cars are indeed the highlight.
Glad to hear you enjoyed my old stomping grounds.
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