Date: 8/17 (evening) and 8/18 (till 7:00pm)
Weather: Hazy, Hot, Humid and at times Mostly Cloudy with an occasional shower to makes things more steamer but cooler at the same time.
Base: Hampton Inn Ashland, VA
I drove down from the Washington Area on Tuesday afternoon. After making a couple of trips to BGW this season, I've discovered leaving between 1 and 2:00 is the best time to drive I-95 on a weekday. I can cruise the HOV lanes for about 20 miles of the trip and get out before HOV kicks in. Construction is usually on the north bound side to prevent rush hour snarls. The only backup I hit was the result of gawkers of a fender bender.
I checked into my hotel and chilled for a couple of minutes before grabbing some grub at the Ponderosa and arriving at PKD around 5:15pm. Thanks to special discount tickets giving to a local association, I was able to get in the night before for free.
My strategy was to ride the coasters in the Congo section of the park on Tuesday evening and anything left over on Wednesday morning. So I headed back to Volcano:The Blast Coaster (V:TBC)
I entered the queue and managed to make it almost to the point where you enter the station. The wait from this point was about 35 minutes for the front row of a coaster that was running trains 2 and 3. As I got closer to the front of the queue I began to observe what I was in for. I was a V:TBC virgin. The more I observed, the more I began geting cold feet and butterflies in my stomach (okay, that perhaps it was from the grub at Ponderosa). When this coaster leaves the station, it leaves at a pretty good clip, you make a turn and continue to proceed, non-stop, until the wheels on the last car hit a sensor when you are launched through the Volcano, into a haripin curve, up into the center of the Volcano and roll out the top. A process that seems like it only took 10 seconds to complete. I couple of heartline rolls later you are back in the station. This was a great coaster but it lacked a couple of elements from being a really great coaster, perhaps a pretzel loop would add a little more excitement but I still had a great time on this coaster.
After V:TBC, I headed over to Flight of Fear (FOF). Once inside the building for Flight of Fear, you are treated to a video that setups up the "situation", the video it timed to some special effects (like flashing lights) and part of the queue actually has you going through a space ship before boarding the coaster. I found it interesting how the employees where ear plugs around this coaster to protect their ears from the launch. Once you are seated and strapped into the coaster (for me seat 1.1 and running two trains) you are then launch into the dark with barely a light to see what is happening. The trim break at the top actually added to the excitement by teasing me to about what is about to come. The colored lights add to the effect. For me, my favorite part of the Premier LIMS is the speed heading down from the top and FOF is great with that speed. If your not familiar with the layour of the track layout you definetly get the feeling of an out of control experience. Flight of Fear was running pretty smoothly, the line moved reasonably fast since I only waited about 20 minutes before I boarded. The only problem I had, and this is the first time I had a problem with this on the Premier LIMS, is the restraints. I felt stapled in to the coaster and had a hard time buckling the safety belt. None the less, my flight was great.
After FOF, I decided to try Anaconda. I also decided it would be my last ride on Anaconda. This coaster is rough. In fact, the roughness makes the Vekoma SLC's feel as smooth as silk. I really digged the drop into the under water tunnel and back out the other side. The coaster has some great elements, however, coming out of the sidewinder and the loop I made a quick phone call to my dentist to get the crowns replaced on my teeth and didn't close my mouth the rest of the ride. A few more praises to god and I was back at the station. NEVER AGAIN!! In fact, I took a long look at the area where Anaconda stands and quickly decided I would not shed a tear if the PKD took out Anaconda and put in another coaster. Perhaps a B&M Flyer themed to Borg Assimilator. Perhaps the first flyer to actually go through a tunnel? You already have the space theme going with FOF, why not continue it with something like the Borg?
After leaving Anaconda, I headed over to The Grizzly, it was getting to be dusk and I was hoping for a night ride but couldn't make it happen. Grizzly was running one train. With one train there was approx. a 30 minute wait. Once you leave the station you begin hearding the screeches and you understand the grizzly reason why they called it "The Grizzly". I don't know why I felt intimidated at PKD to keep my hands inside the ride at all times. Even on The Grizzly I didn't feel I should let go and never did. After the first drop I began to say, okay this is another over hyped woody. However, Once you reach the top of the second lift and you begin picking up speed for the rest of the ride. With pops of air here and there. The coaster, while smooth wasn't to smooth. For me, a nice out and back coaster.
I was going to try for a night ride on Hypersonoc:Xterme Launch Coaster (HS:XLC) only to find out it was "Down due to Technial Difficulties" and they weren't sure when it would be back up. So, I decided to try on Wednesday.
The rest of the evening, I spent sometime walking around the park and trying my hand at some night time photography of the park with my digital camera.
Stay tuned for Part II. *** Edited 8/19/2004 5:39:11 PM UTC by coasterguts***
Maybe it needs more paint and wheels?:)
While you were down at PKD I was busy with my sister & the kids at SFA for a few hours & like your situation on I-95 we spent quite alot of time stuck in rush hour traffic just trying to get there,but it sure was worth it to see my nephew get his first laps in in Wild one.
Perhaps the first flyer to actually go through a tunnel?
Actually, both Air and S:UF at SFOG have small tunnels. And if you mean for a flyer to go through the existing underwater tunnel, it would make for an interesting ride. I'm not sure the 4-across train would fit though. *** Edited 8/20/2004 8:45:26 PM UTC by person***
BATWING FAN SFA said:
I agree with ya Guts on Anaconda,boy did that thing give me a major a$$ kicking back in july when I rode it.
I call those spots on arrow coasters where it hurts...
Tim.....who cant believe this guy disliked two of the best three rides there, lol....oh well, u cant please some....
still trying to think of a good signature...
BTW, I thougth my picture was taken on V:TBC? Did I miss the on ride pictures some place? *** Edited 8/22/2004 1:21:15 PM UTC by coasterguts***
It just gets rougher the further back in the train you sit,now if they removed the butterfly element & reduced the power on the MCBR so it went through the screws a little faster then you'd have a somewhat redeemable ride but the way it stands now they've just got a slow moving headbanger on their hands at the moment.
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