We left Kansas City early in the morning and started our long trek to Monticello. The trip was longer than anticipated due to some bad weather and the inevitable road construction. We had hoped to arrive in time for the 4:00 P.O.P. but were about an hour later than that. (At least we think we were, one can never be sure what the real time is in Indiana--see footnote).
Last time I visited IB, the Hurricane had not been painted, Superstition Mountain still had a dark ride and Cornball was just a dream. Tim had been there more recently and had ridden Cornball but not LoCoSuMo. We arrived at the bridge end of the park and hopped on the chairlift to travel to the other end. This is a rare chairlift ride that actually serves as transportation. You may be familiar with the Von Roll detachable sky rides like those at CP and SFOG where one can load from either end. Park chairlifts on the other hand are often simply there to allow riders to admire the scenery, with loading and unloading at the same end. This chairlift however served a dual purpose; it got us to the other side and it was a great opportunity to get a good look at how the park had changed since my last visit. The park did not look very crowded, and with the exception of a few ride additions and conversions here and there looked pretty much as I had remembered it. Halfway through you are still presented with that funky baked corn smell from the taco stand below, where I think they still bake their own shells.
Our first stop was Cornball Express. I had heard a lot about how this little woodie really delivers, so I was looking forward to getting on this coaster, and I must say I was not disappointed. I knew from the moment I climbed in the train and saw the single lap bar that I was going to like this ride a lot. (Some of you like to call them buzzbars—a slang term I despise—but these really don’t buzz, they just click.) I loved the airtime, the laterals, the run through Hoosier’s structure, the pacing…everything. It’s what every medium sized woodie should be. We took several rides, both front and back, and it’s great from either end. I think I prefer the front of the train to the back, as there seems to be more airtime up front. There was rarely anyone waiting on the station deck and sometimes the attendants held the train if they saw people coming up the steps, but the train was quickly dispatched once everyone was in place. I thought the ride crew was very attentive and very friendly. (Contrary to what you might have read in a recent trip report.) One thing I did notice was that at least one attendant would watch the train during its circuit. I’m guessing they were making sure that no one on the train did anything they weren’t supposed to be doing.
I rode Hoosier Hurricane back in 1994, it was my first CCI coaster, and I was impressed with its smoothness and how well it maintained its speed, but I was always disappointed in how it lacked airtime. It’s still running pretty fast, and I later learned from Tom Rebbie that PTC had just refurbished the trains, and it’s still smooth. I was glad to see that the park is taking good care of it. I’m still surprised at the lack of air, especially when you look at the design. With a double up and drops all the way to the water, it looks like it should really deliver, but somehow it doesn’t. It’s a fun ride, and of course it gets extra points for that single lap bar, but I wish it had some airtime.
I didn’t know what to expect from Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain (LoCoSuMo). I had heard from some that it was too violent, but I understand the park has been working to smooth it out over the years. I do not like to ride anything backwards and I was a little concerned about how they might load the trains. As it turns out I had nothing to worry about. If you want to ride facing forward they will accommodate you. My first ride was in the forward facing seat of the last car. What an amazing ride this is, I knew there were sharp turns in it but I never expected to see the car in front of us turning one way while we were turning the other. With the tight turns and quick drops, it’s hard to believe this is actually a wooden coaster. I loved this ride, it’s really quirky and I haven’t experienced anything like it anywhere else. This ride had the longest line of any in the park. We managed three rides, two in the back car and one in the front. I rode each time facing forward, but Tim opted for the backwards-facing seat on our second ride. I don’t think he enjoyed it as much as facing forward.
We took a few spins on Tig’rr, the park’s Jet Star. I was glad to see this classic Schwarzkopf run the way Anton intended. There were no added seat restraints and no added trim brakes. This is a fun ride; it’s too bad there aren’t more of these around.
We also took an obligatory spin on the Galaxi. It’s too bad there are so many of these around. In my opinion they’re far inferior to a Schwarzkopf Wildcat. I’m not sure why there are so many of these, and so few Wildcats. Perhaps these were significantly cheaper, or SDC had a better salesman. Whatever the case at least its better than a Pinfari Zyklon, which I consider the weakest of that style of coaster.
Den of Lost Thieves used to be a pretty good dark ride. Since my last visit Sally Corp. converted this into an interactive ride adding animatronics with targets, and guns and a scorekeeping system to the cars. The transformation was amazing considering the limited amount of space they had to work with. As always, these are great fun, but I particularly like the fact that each car held only two riders, as there was much less competition for the targets.
We stopped in the souvenir shop, and were surprised to find a t-shirt with a familiar looking photo on it. It’s a beautiful night shot of Hoosier and Cornball that we featured on the cover of the 2004 ACE Roller Coaster Calendar. IB loved the shot so much they bought 100 calendars from us. Apparently they also loved it so much that they felt it needed to be printed on a t-shirt.
We tried out the Air Crow flying scooters from Larson. Like most of IB’s rides this one is on a platform on the water, and like the park’s YoYo you fly out over the water during the ride. Larson International recently re-introduced a modern version of this classic ride, and this was the first of theirs I’ve done. I don’t like to snap the cables, as I believe the real skill is in getting these to fly well without snapping, but I usually ending up with an inadvertent snap here or there. Not so on this ride, I’m not sure if you could snap the cables even if you wanted to. Not that I cared, I did get some pretty good dives and swoops, and it was great fun. I was surprised that after the ride, I couldn’t unfasten the seatbelt until the ride operator came around with a key, a safety feature I had not yet encountered. Tim joked that if the ride cables ever did snap you would probably land in the water which would cushion the impact. Unfortunately unless the operator dove in after you with the key, your vehicle would sink with you strapped into it.
No visit would be complete without a meal in the skyroom, so we stopped in for a late dinner. There we ran into fellow ACEer Dave Wynn, who happened to be waiting tables, so we asked to be seated in his section. I think I had met Dave once or twice before, and Tim knows him because he occasionally contributes to RollerCoaster! magazine. Both our meals were wonderful, although I made the mistake of ordering a tall glass of ice water to accompany my dinner. I had forgotten from previous visits just how much “taste” the water had to it, and not all of it good. Tim really loved his raspberry chicken and asked Dave if he knew anything about it. He excused himself for a minute and came back with the chef, who has happy to meet these two enthusiasts who came all the way from Texas. He shared the recipe with us, and we hope to try it at home soon, perhaps even this coming weekend.
It was pretty late when we finally finished our dinner and we managed a few more rides. Tim was hoping to make it to the car before closing so he could take some nighttime video. By the time we got to the bridge, the park was closing and they promptly shut off all the decorative lighting making nighttime shots pretty useless, so we didn’t bother. We had a wonderful time at Indiana Beach, a park I would probably visit more often if it was closer to…well…if it was closer to anything!
Next stop Michigan’s Adventure.
Footnote: Most of Indiana is in the Eastern Time zone but not all of the state observes daylight saving time (which effectually makes them, at least during the summer, central daylight—the same time zone I currently live in). Several counties near Chicago are in the central time zone and do observe daylight saving time. Five counties near Cincinnati are also in the Eastern Time zone but unlike the rest of the state do observe daylight saving time. The result is that you can never be sure what time it is when you are traveling through Indiana. For more information visit http://www.mccsc.edu/time.html
*** Edited 7/10/2004 3:10:04 PM UTC by Jeffrey Seifert***
I really liked the Galaxi though, I didn't think it was to intense, I just thought it was fun
Glad you had a fun time!
Haha, I never even though about that happening til lyou mentioned it, funny, but kinda scary stuff.
Thanks for a great TR!
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