“Top of the world…. or a fiesta?”
The last day of the trip was here. Jeff Johnson and I were tired, a bit sick, but ready to continue on to more parks. We woke up around 10:00am. Thanks to the ultra-nice accommodations we received at the Butternut Knoll, both Jeff and I got in over 8 hours of sleep. This is unheard of on a trip like this.
Yes, you may have noticed that I frequently mentioned sleep at the start of the reports, but sleep, or the lack of, plays a big part in finishing a trip like this. Trust me; I have done trips in the past where I didn’t feel like continuing because of a severe lack of sleep.
We didn’t have to be at a park for a few hours. Kathy Lyons was at work. Her son Bret decided to show us around the property. They own a lot of land. Bret shows us all kinds of cool things about the area. There is some nice hilly terrain that makes for an incredible sled hill in the winter according to Bret. It sure looked steep to me. While it was nice walking around the woods, Bret had something else to literally blow our minds.
Bret goes into the house then comes back out with a large box. Inside the box were all kinds of fireworks he has collected over the years. He wanted to fire off a few as well as show us some of his own home made launching tools.
Jeff and I were kind of nervous as we didn’t know how powerful this stuff was. Bret played it safe by not showing off when lighting a firework. It was fun watching what some of those ‘works’ did. While some firecrackers were going off, Jeff had an idea. He went into the house and returned with a souvenir he got after our nasty ride.
Bret strapped it to a few firecrackers and lit them. After a few loud cracks, we walked back over to where the small explosion was a few seconds ago and saw the pin laying on the ground in once piece. This thing was stronger than we thought. Bret then strapped it to a bottle rocket and, well, sent it on a super flight of its own. We never saw it again. However, yesterday I informed by Kathy that Bret did find the pin, with only a couple of burn marks on it. So much for that.
After the cool fireworks display, we went back in and watched TV while we waited for Kathy to come home. At around 12:30pm, Kathy pulled up to the house. A few minutes later we said our goodbyes to Bret and left the Butternut Knoll. We decided to follow Kathy to our next park.
Kathy only lives 20 minutes away from the park. She got us there in no time flat. We warned her in advance we weren’t planning on staying at the park for very long before leaving for another park. She had no problem with this and told us she wanted to go to our next park as well. How cool is that?
As we walked into the park, Kathy mentioned a conversation she had with a manger she knew named Steve (I probably have the name wrong but you get the idea) about the status of Ravine Flyer 2. Just as she was talking about him, a man walks from behind a fence area. It was none other than the Steve she was talking about. Introductions were made and we talked for a couple of minutes before Steve left. We were standing right next to our first ride of the day.
With similarities of other junior wood coasters, this one is really unique due to its setting in a heavily wooded ravine. The ride doesn’t use the terrain very well but make up for it by a couple of near misses with trees. The turn around above the station is completely shaded by a large tree. While we were going around this turn, Kathy pointed out that the park constantly has to cut out part of the station roof because the tree keeps growing.
Jeff and I were looking forward to riding the next coaster considering we rode one exactly like it the day before.
This Maurer Sohne mouse looked incredible. The pain jobs on the cars were top notch as was the dispatching. Just as with the version we rode the day before, we were amazed by the mechanics of the ride as well as the restraint system. Everything seems so simple yet works so well. The system that is used to straighten the trains back into the station is cool to watch as you get an idea of how the cars unlock to spin during the course of the ride.
After a couple more rides we moved over to our next coaster.
---Ravine Flyer 3---(#577)
The name for this coaster cracks me up for the fact is it just seems to be waiting for the 2. Aren’t we all? The entire layout of this small junior coaster is over water. The first drop leans to the left and almost made me feel like I was going to fall into the water. Kathy didn’t ride but took pictures of Jeff and I riding. This ended up being the last new-to-me coaster of the trip.
Once we had ridden the coasters, Kathy and I made sure Jeff was subjected to the Wacky Shack and Pirate’s Cove dark rides. The park wasn’t crowded so lines were minimal even for these two rides. Kathy suggested we ride the Ferris Wheel next. From on top she pointed out the proposed layout for Ravine Flyer 2. I had no idea this coaster was going to go out as far as it hopefully will. Kathy also showed us a steep cliff that the coaster would utilize as well. I am very anxious for this ride to be built now as I now know how much land it will use.
We ended our time at Waldameer with another ride on Steel Dragon before dashing off to our cars and heading to our next park. The drive was only 45 minutes away or so but we knew the time spent at this park was going to be very minimal if we wanted to pull off what we had planned.
---Conneaut Lake Park---
This was only my third visit to this park. The first time I visited was during a crazy coaster event in 1997 where there was a dusk-till-dawn ERT. Yep, you read that right. A 12 hour ERT. I didn’t last all 12 hours as the people I went to the event with were cold, tired and wanted to leave. It seems I never get to spend a lot of time at this park but what time I do spend I have a good time.
We walked into the park and purchased some tickets. There are, depending on how you count coasters, four coasters to ride. Our first ride was on a classic.
While this coaster can be fun to ride, I think it’s more hit and miss depending on where you sit. I learned early on to avoid the wheel seats. For once I got to ride in the more open train. While not as comfortable, it did give a non-offensive ride. However, the people that were sitting in front of me were bouncing like popcorn. I could tell they weren’t having fun.
I get some flack from friends for counting this as a coaster but it meets my definition. Jeff wasn’t so sure. He looked at it and said it was a dark ride. The first part of the ride contains a lift, turnaround, and small drop before going into the dark portion of the ride. The entire course is gravity driven with no assistance by other means. After Jeff rode, he decided to count it.
We tried to ride the kiddie coaster but were denied. The ride operator told us that there is a strict no adult policy. I have heard of adults riding the coaster so I don’t know what the actual policy is. None of us were crushed because we were denied a ride. It wasn’t the first time this has happened when trying to get a kiddie coaster credit and it won’t be the last.
The Toboggan coaster hadn’t opened the entire season and didn’t look promising this day either. We walked down to take a look at it before deciding to leave. Kathy also decided to leave and go home. It was nice getting to hang out with her for more than 5 minutes this time. Kathy and her family know hospitality very well and it showed. I look forward to getting to hang out with them again in the future. For those of you that know Kathy “Aunt Rose” Lyons (you thought I forgot about your nickname didn’t you Kathy?) know what I am talking about.
As Jeff and I sat in our car getting ready to leave, we had to make a decision. Originally we were going to drive down to Pittsburgh and visit a park named Fun Fore All, but Jeff also wanted to go to Cedar Point as well. I had to work very early the next day so unless we could make it to Pittsburgh and Sandusky by 8:00pm, we would have to skip one of them.
We decided to go to Cedar Point.
Our drive took us through Cleveland during rush hour. For a while we didn’t think we were going to get to the park by 8:00pm but we ended up pulling into the lot at 7:30. Our goal was simple. End the trip with an exclamation point!
Thanks to the two TTD Freeway passes I got from Coaster Con, we walked past the main part of the line. The main line looked to be about an hour and a half. We joined up with it at the bottom of the ramp leading into the loading station. Since we skipped a large part of the line, we decided to wait for a front seat ride.
---Top Thrill Dragster---
Here it was. The last coaster of the trip. In about 20 minutes we were sitting in the front seat ready for our ride. Jeff had only ridden this one other time. During that ride he didn’t get a chance to look around while at the top. Our ride was just as incredible out of all the other rides I have gotten. The launch takes my breath away every single time. I haven’t become jaded by it and don’t see it happening anytime soon.
Jeff was really hoping for a rollback but I knew as soon as we were heading up into the sky that our chances were slim because we were really hauling. As we were going over the top, Jeff got to look around this time and used some choice words. As we hit the brakes, our ride came to a stop, as did our trip.
As soon as we left the ride, Jeff went into the gift shop to purchase a couple of things before we headed back to the car and began the drive back to Columbus. As we were leaving the park we were greeted by a very soothing sunset. Jeff slept for most of the way back. I am so used to the drive that it seemed like no time at all before the Columbus skyline came into view. Every once in a while I will hear how horrible the drive is from people that don’t do it very often. Yes, it can become boring at times but I have been traveling those roads up to Sandusky since I was 5 years old. Sometimes it seems longer to get back than it does to get there but I honestly am so used to it that it doesn’t bother me. I know almost every inch of that road as many other enthusiasts from Columbus do.
We pulled into my driveway 2,559 miles and 19 parks later. We could have visited a couple of other parks along the way but I am glad the trip went over like it did. This trip couldn’t have been done without the massive planning that Jeff did. We have done quite a few insane trips together but this one really tested our limits and patients. I am not sure I would have been able to do the trip the way I did if someone else took Jeff’s place. What can I say? He is the man and I am glad he is one of my best friends! Thank you so much for making this trip as insane as it was. It was action packed and didn’t have a dull moment, just as the other trips have been.
What do you think?
Are you ready for another one?
Thanks for reading,
. *** Edited 9/29/2004 5:53:17 AM UTC by Sean Flaharty***
I'm glad you two had a great trip.
As Jeff and I sat in our car getting ready to leave, we had to make a decision. Originally we were going to drive down to Pittsburgh and visit a park named Fun Fore All...
Unless you were after some serious credit whoring, you didn't miss much. Not a park, really. It's an F.E.C. with just a Zamperla Fiesta Express and a few kiddie flats. There's an arcade, batting cages, go-karts and mini-golf.
"Top of the world...or fiesta?"
Was it even close? :)
*** Edited 9/29/2004 6:03:30 AM UTC by Lord Gonchar***
If you ever need help riding any time along the way, let me know, I'm curious to see if I could hang with you 2...
Thanks dude! It really was a good trip.
We kind of knew there wasn't much at Fun For All. We knew there was a Fiesta Express but we didn't know what else. From the picture you provided, it doesn't look like much of anything. Had we had more time, we would have probably attempted to do both of the last parks.
Oh, and to answer your question, it wasn't close. LOL.
I know Homey G also said before he would love to do a mega trip with a few of us. Perhaps we should rent out a bus and travel rock star style. Hell yea! =:^)
I mistakenly did a trip with someone that said they were hard core, when in fact they were not. It took a whole 24 hours to realize this person was actually afraid of coasters and just wanted to hang out instead of ride. To make a long story short, I didn't have much fun and I know the other person didn't either.
Oh yes. The gas. At the start of the trip we were getting about 15 mpg. Our crappy Ford Taurus had no business being a rental as it had many problems including a severly dented wheel on the front right side. That was all the rental place had at the time of night I picked up the car.
The strange thing was the gas milage would increase as the trip went along. At the end of the trip we were getting around 23 mpg.
As for finding the holy grail, we never did find it but I thought TTD was the perfect way to end it as it is the coaster I enjoy riding the most at the park.
I can't think of a more perfect ending than a Dragstergasm. :-D
Awesome Sean, as always!
<------who likes the idea of an insane rock star-ish trip via tour bus. Woohoo!
I'm not going to lie and say I'm all "Hard core", mostly because I don't know, never done anything like that;).
But.....I'm not afraid of coasters, and "hanging out" involves riding and standing in lines to me;).
Clint, it would HAVE to be a *rock star* tour bus, with beds, bathrooms, HDTV, PS2, frig, etc... and hopefully Sean will bring his metal DDR pad. 8-}
But.....I'm not afraid of coasters, and "hanging out" involves riding and standing in lines to me.
Lines?? True CreHos don't have time for lines! Real "Hard-Core" trips can only be taken in spring and fall. ;-)
Great TR series, BTW, Sean! Butternut Knoll looks pretty tasty, and I can say with all certainty that I would never leave it if fireworks were available.
I would have no problem hanging out. If Jeff Johnson is around though, you may have a problem hanging out with him as he can be, um, rather.....
...How do I say this?
...let's just say people notice him in a bad way when he is around.
-Sean (just read the Silver Dollar City cave report)
Wish I had driven but maybe next time (I am from overseas so I wasn't game to drive), could have done many more parks. At least I mastered the art of sleeping on Greyhound buses.
It was great to finally meet you at Fall Freak Out! I had a blast and if you *do* write a TR, I look forward to it. We'll have to hang out for a bit sometime if you're not too busy with your other groupies. ;)
Well, Sean, it now looks like you have a stalker, but don't worry, I don't bite!
Thanks a lot! Even though our meeting was short, it was great to finally meet you as well. My face was so numb from those frigid Beast rides that I just wanted to get back to my hotel and warm up. I know Keith wanted me to ride again but I honestly was freezing. I guess that's what I get for wearing a ultra-light jacket and wearing shorts. If you are going to be at PKI on closing weekend, let me know and we can possibly meet up. The groupies will have to find something else to do. LOL.
Since a few people have asked me already, I guess I am going to do a PKI TR after all. I just have to finish the two other trip reports from the last two trips first.
Oh, and Tekno, I already have a stalker. He was at the event but didn't hound me more than 5 minutes this time. Now, Coaster Con was a much different story. =:^) There is another place in the group for another groupie if you want it. Just fill out the application on my website and send it in.
-Sean (yes, I am kidding for those that are comedically impared)
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