VF Coaster Craze 7/27, including StarTribune.com video

Associated parks:

It was a day of contrasts.

I hung out with smaller groups, yet probably more total people than in the past.

I took fewer photos than I can count on my fingers--yet wound up with more footage than ever.

VF offered ERT on fewer rides than previous years, yet I had what was hands-down the best session anywhere.

But on to the story.

ARRIVED: About 5 to 8. I didn't start my daily 5K until almost 7:30 and I tell you, the run was NASTY. It wasn't quite 80° in the early morning hours, but the humidity was about 79%. Didn't even register during the first half mile, but somewhere between Mile 2 and 3 it felt like running through a steam bath. So heavy, I had to wring out my socks after running. I generally only have to do that on 10Ks.

Not that I entered the park at 8 AM, mind you. I spent the next 20 minutes pacing the lot, waiting for Ree Ree to show up. You remember her, right? My work buddy who's made every Coaster Craze I've ever attended, even when the rides curl her into an unresponsive ball. Not that I was upset about that; She had to pick up this year's ever-changing guest list. Of course, Mar-uh was in tow. She's been the only other consistent CC attendee. Other frequent guests--like Danae the Pleasantly Shocked and her cousin Kevin (being rode by his older sister) were no-shows; the former had a hockey camp and the latter? We still have no idea.

Mar-uh had a new bud who's name I can't recall at the moment. Ree Ree's babysitter's daughter wanted to go with us and brought a friend of hers. She was a real sweetheart; always making sure Mar-uh's little sister--who's the same age, but much much shorter than Da Midget never felt left out.

LEFT: Around 4:00, hot and tired of waiting in line 20 minutes to cool off on a slide. And again at 11:30 PM.

PARK APPEARANCE/ATMOSPHERE: Like Valleyfair, more or less. I like the newly developed area (Riptide, Xtreme Swing, PT) quite a bit--but a few trees really wouldn't hurt. It would be nice to see some other areas freshen up much like it.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: No Midget or FKA CBaby this year. They were out of town at a convention with their Mom. I talked them out of it last year...but not this time. Boo.

Second most disappointing: No AM ERT on Steel Venom. I know, I know--it's been a couple seasons since they've offered it. But as often as every person in my group--regular, sporadic, one-time only attendee--waxes nostalgic about it, it bears mention.

I may have had to list 'Morning ERT' under this category, if not for Ree Ree's late arrival. We got our tickets, buttons and got to Renegade by 8:30...just in time to watch an empty train blow past the station. Make that almost empty. Wasn't that one of the maintenance folk in the front seat? Maybe they were adding the second train...wait, why is the station so crowded? Was that the first train? Really?

Had Ree Ree arrived on time, we would have only wound up sitting in the station waiting for ERT to begin. Proof positive that it's only a party when I get there, people. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you! :)

But seriously--the end of the already-truncated ERT session was further clipped by time taken to add the second train. So all in all, two hours of Renegade ERT was more like an hour and change. Then again, there was always Excalibur. (Ba-doom KSSSSHHHH)

Truth be told? I kinda like Excalibur. In the front seat or in the second-to-last row, anyway. But it's already a walk-on or short-wait ride most of the season. Out of morbid curiosity, I gave some of the middle cars a try during ERT. Ow? Then again, some of Excalibur's more endearing features are already incorporated into Renegade--only better executed. Might its days be numbered?

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE: I'll start with the fourth most pleasant: They actually had the management team available at lunch for Q&A. To my knowledge, that's a first. Of course, my only question centered around an eight-letter word that starts with 'W.'

Which leads to the third-biggest surprise: Larry MacKenzie specifically asking me: "You come here a lot, don't you?" Who, me? I guess black guys in dark clothes tend to stand out in Cold Country. I see some of the other management folks a lot, but I don't recall seeing him much. I guess standing out may have led to #2...

After our first Renegade ride, we were quickly ushered aside by a couple gals with a camera. My first impulsive thought was GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH shooo go-'way go-'way you're cutting into my ERT time!!!!!! But I took a deep breath and realized our gracious hosts would like us to speak to the media types. When you wanna interview a variety of people--and candidly, among a group that looks less than varied--one group with loads of variety might be a good idea.

And Number 1 on the surprise list? My group ate a healthy chunk of the on-face camera time. If you missed the hint? That's a link to the StarTribune.com video. There's Elissa, Ree Ree, yours truly, Stunt Midget and me again somewhere in the mix.

BEST EXPERIENCE: 'Escorting' the Stunt Midget into the kiddie pool to stand under a wall of falling water. Oh MAN I forgot how good that used to feel. Back when we could get wet at will, we'd spend every Friday at the park. Now that we can't, Da Babies visit frequency is every other week. If that.

Close second: Hanging out with Kar-UH, Matt and Will in the evening. Not to say Ree Ree and my Stunt Family's chopped liver...but I kind of expect them to be there.

WORST EXPERIENCE: Getting shut out of the prize drawing. WHERE'S MY FREEBIES people? Where? My group didn't get shut out--good heavens no--just me. Sucks. *pout*

REALLY QUITE GOOD: Of all things, lunch. It was the rough equivalent of the BBQ they offer for an extra $15, so I was more than a little bit curious.

The KC Beans were the most pleasant new item. Good taste and a nice, spicy finish. Some of the kids in my group didn't like the dogs, which I found puzzling. Whassa matter with an mostly-beef dog, people? Are you missing the taste of beak or something? *shakes fist*

I'm sure the leaf lettuce and tomato slices for the burgers are more expensive than the average salad fixins...but still, it was only a couple packets of italian dressing from a makeshift plate of garden greens. So close, yet so far away.

WITHOUT FLAW: PM Renegade ERT. Middle of the blue train. 24 laps (per a very experienced counter of things like that :)) without ever getting up. NICE.

Thanks VF for a great event.
Hopefully, next year Midget and FKA CBaby will be back too.


*** Edited 8/2/2007 1:19:10 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
You just can't go wrong feeding the press a "It never lets up" line. :)

WORST EXPERIENCE: Getting shut out of the prize drawing. WHERE'S MY FREEBIES people? Where? My group didn't get shut out--good heavens no--just me. Sucks. *pout*

I hear ya man. I didn't get anything either. :(

LG: I hear ya. When I saw the finished product, I noted the other 'softballs' that I obviously missed...like sucking up to woodies vs. steelies.

VF-New Coaster: Last year we cleaned 'em out. Da Babies and I didn't even need WoF souvenirs during our August visit because we already had one of everything.


NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.

Kick The Sky's avatar
I really need to get out there for that event next year. Being five hours away means I should have no excuse not to go :) I really miss going to VF every year but I have been so dang busy as of late.

As always, a superb report, Playa!

Certain victory.

And what's your excuse for not doing Renegade???

Of course, my only question centered around an eight-letter word that starts with 'W.'

W _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I'd like to buy a vowel... "O" (There are 2 O's!)

W _ _ _ _ _ O O _

I'd like to buy another vowel... "A" (There is 1 A!)

W A _ _ _ O O _

Um, I'll spin. ;)

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
wavepool, duh. ;)

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

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