Waldameer Park, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
Entering Pennsylvania, the sky was growing darker and darker, with thunderstorms approaching. I passed right by my hotel and went straight to Waldameer, only to find all major rides closed, there was also a tornado watch in the area too. Not looking good. But I was able to do the two dark attractions, Whacky Shack and Pirate's Cove, the latter which I missed my last visit. Both are pretty well done and just long enough, although the mirror room in Pirate's Cove could use some Windex. Also rode Wipeout, a unique flat I also missed previously. They actually played Wipeout....not every cycle though, thankfully.
By now, lightning was in the immediate area, with light rain. Then heavier rain. With only 3 hours until park closing, I shrugged it off and left to grab some dinner, but didn't travel far. Half an hour later, the rain was starting to let up. The sky was still dark, but what the hell -- only a 5 minute drive back to the park. I pulled in, a couple minutes later saw a train going up Ravine Flyer II's lift hill....with people!
This thing is already plenty fast, but with freshly wet track, it was BOMBING through the course, and still smooth as ever. No single element stands head and shoulders above the rest, but they all combine beautifully for one damn good ride. Great view of Lake Erie on the first drop, and the speed never lets up until the final brake run. Did 3 laps, one of them in the front row....not the best idea in the rain.
I detoured for two rides on Comet, a nice little woodie with only buzz bars. The back row is more intense than you'd think! They still had the manual brake levers my last visit, but it's automatic now. Went back to RFII for 4 more laps, all towards the back. There was maybe a single train's worth of people riding, and the ride ops were enthusiastic in greeting every returning train -- and getting loud cheers in response every single time. The good times were cut short permanently by more incoming storms (by now it was 9 PM), but given the iffy conditions I was glad to just get one ride, let alone several. Couldn't have been more than 200 total people in the park the last couple hours -- hats off to Waldameer for sticking it out.
Hotel mini-review: Red Roof Inn off I-90 a few miles east of Erie. (And no, I don't book Red Roof exclusively, haha) I ended up with a handicap-accessible room, but considering the HUGE bathroom, no complaints! Other features: minifridge; faux-hardwood floors. I think this property recently renovated their rooms.
"We need more 'Bort' license plates in the gift shop. I repeat, we are sold out of 'Bort' license plates."
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