Wooden Coaster Weekend (HWN, BB, & DW)

Associated parks:
None

Friday, June 9, 2006 3:41 PM
...or "The Best Trip Nobody Ever Planned"

I originally posted this on another discussion board, but I spent enough time writing it that I might as well post it here too. Most of the people referenced within this post are people from that group. Warning! This is crazy long. :)

When Holiday World announced The Voyage last July, I think everyone knew it was time for another enthusiast event. So the minute that the park announced they would be holding "Holiwood Nights," my Memorial Day Weekend was booked for my fourth enthusiast event at Holiday World. Actual planning for the event, however, didn't come nearly as quickly. As usual for me, my specific plans were not set in place until the day before we left. I know this drove Brian crazy, but it all worked out in the end...I think.

Since Chris has moved back to New York, and I don't know any enthusiasts in the area, the plan was to drive to Holiday World by myself Friday morning for the event, hit up Beech Bend for Rumblefest on Sunday, then drive back to Madison on Monday. The idea of driving 16 hours alone made me cringe, though, so I asked my best friend, Nick, if he wanted to come. Although he is in no way an enthusiast, one look at the Voyage video made up his mind. I was a bit worried about attending an enthusiast event with a total non-tool, but it was definitely better than driving by myself.

We left Madison at 9:30am on Friday for the long drive to Holiday World. If you're approaching the park from the north, there's absolutely no easy route to get there. Rather than taking the back roads through Indiana as I'd done in the past, we decided to take the Interstate down through Illinois before cutting across Southern Indiana. I think this is probably the best way to get there, since it doesn't require you to go through Chicago, and the speed limit is 70mph for much of the way. We got caught in traffic in Terre Haute because they apparently haven't discovered the concept of timing your stop lights, but still made it to Holiday World by 5:30pm. We met Brian and J at the gate a few minutes later, got our materials for Holiwood Nights, and headed into the park.

We went to the gift shop right away to pick up some tool - I mean, eyeglass straps for Brian and laughed at some questionable Holiday World merchandise. We didn't have time to ride anything before ERT, so we headed to the picnic area to wait with the rest of the tools. I thought they did a decent introduction to the event, but I miss the fun and singing from previous years. They went over safety rules, which were handled professionally and fairly. The lack of hand slapping was disappointing, but understandable. I am not at all a religious person, but I still found Pat Koch's prayer rather touching given the circumstances under which I last heard her pray. It seemed like we waited forever for them to clear the park, but that was probably from anticipation more than anything.

When they finally cleared us to enter, we debated heading to The Raven first, but decided we just couldn't wait any longer to ride The Voyage. Walking into the Thanksgiving section is nothing short of incredible. They have done such a fantastic job with the entrance to this area; with the first two hills of the Voyage looming in the background and a crazy mess of track wrapping around (and through) the station, this is one of the most visually impressive wooden coasters I've seen. Due to a problem with the third train, only two were running, but the wait was still very manageable.

The Voyage queue is almost entirely indoors, and compared with those for the Legend and Raven, it's huge. It's also impossibly convoluted, with lots of winding all over the place instead of just switchbacks. I think this makes waiting in line a lot more interesting than going back and forth. There's also some nice, minimalist theming that's a nice touch. We only waited about ten minutes before entering the station, and since I usually prefer the back seat on airtime-filled rides, we veered toward the last car first.

The Voyage is so long and so twisted that it would take pages and pages to run through a complete play-by-play. I will say, though, that I was quite impressed after my first ride. I didn't think it was the relentless, overly-intense ride that many had described it to be, and it wasn't nearly as insane as The Raven on a good day, but it was still a great ride. I believe we grabbed a second ride near the front of the train next, which left me with similar impressions - good ride, but not the end-all ride many had claimed it was.

By the end of this ride, the Thanksgiving area was filling up, so we decided to hit up the Legend before dinner. Perhaps it's just my imagination, but I thought I remembered an insane pop of air in the front of the train in previous years. One front seat ride, however, had me doubting this, as I had the absolute worst ride on the Legend ever. It was rough, it was sluggish, and it did nothing enjoyable. Honestly, it felt like a Vekoma SLC the way it would speed up and then almost come to a dead stop again. My friend also hated it, and thought it was one of the worst wooden coasters he'd ever experienced.

Wondering what the hell happened to the Legend, we walked over to Kringles for dinner. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the pizza sucked this year. Perhaps it's because they were trying to crank people through, but it was underdone, soggy, messy, and had too much crust. One of the pieces I had tasted like it hadn't even ever been in the oven. But I was starving, and food was food, so I ate it anyway. Thankfully, there were also potato chips and veggies and (of course) they gave us free fudge. We spent far too much time eating and conversing, and by the time we left Kringles, it was already dark.

We walked over to the Raven and waited about ten minutes for a second-to-back row ride. Overall, I thought it was running well. The turn over Lake Rudolph was retracked recently, and was perfectly smooth. The airtime on the first drop and second hill was great. And the final few curves were as furious as ever. However, the middle of the ride just wasn't performing like it used to. The airtime on the infamous fifth drop was present, but not mind-blowing like it once was. Similarly, there used to be a little zig-zag that slammed you back and forth at the bottom of the fifth drop. Now it's barely noticeable. Of course, the fog/mist has been sadly missing for several years. I don't know if these are intentional changes or not, but they were among my favorite moments of the ride. This is still a fantastic coaster, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I missed these elements.

Our ERT was quickly running out, so we decided to walk back to the Voyage. We passed The Legend on the way, and since the line was short, I couldn't pass up giving it another shot. We decided to give the back car a try, and basically walked on with a one-train wait. I was nervous this was going to beat the hell out of me like the previous ride did, but I had a huge smile on my face when we pulled into the brake run. THIS is the Legend I remembered. That crazy pop of air was notably missing, but otherwise the ride performed well. I don't know if the front seat ride was just a fluke, but I wasn't about to ride up there again to find out.

Throughout the event I heard many people say the Legend was running the best it ever had. I'm not sure I completely agree with that, however. It wasn't nearly as brutal (and thus not nearly as insane) as I remember it, and the airtime wasn't quite as crazy. But I think I enjoyed the Legend this time more than ever before. The out and back portion of the ride is great, and the run back to the station is crazy fun. I still think the helix is a low point, though. It doesn't really do anything fun, and it's really just kind of boring. I think the idea was good, but a fast-paced, highly-banked helix would have been far more fun.

We made it back to the Voyage with time for one more ride. At this point the line was filling up more than half of the queue, so we ended up waiting about a half hour for a seat somewhere near the front. This was the ride that did it for me. I'm not exaggerating when I say this was nearly a religious experience. There was suddenly air on the first three hills, the turnaround was crazy, and then all hell broke loose. I don't know if it was because it was dark out, or the ride had just been warming up all day, or whether it was because it was full of fat ACErs, but this thing was flying. The whole run back to the station I couldn't stop thinking, "This is going WAY too fast!"...and then it kept getting faster! We were literally flying around the curves at warp speed, slamming back and forth, up and down, left and right so fast that I can't even wrap my brain around what was happening. This is the S:ROS of wooden coasters. It was like the second half of the Raven for two minutes, except even crazier. It was insane. It was out of control. It was absolutely fantastic. I felt totally exhausted when we pulled into the brakes, and all I could mutter was, "I think the Raven has been displaced." That was quite possibly the best roller coaster ride I have ever had. EVER. It totally sealed the deal for my new #1 coaster.

We finally ran into Beth (bethtoons) on the way out of the park, but I was hot, exhausted, and not in a very talkative mood. Sorry Beth. :) A few minutes ater Brian realized he had lost his keys, but after discovering that my fudge had exploded in my pocket and was all over my cell phone and pants, I decided to go back to the hotel and pick them up later if necessary. We met up with Jeremy and Erin at the hotel, as they had just rolled into town, and not long later Brian and J turned up with their keys. Apparently they found them somewhere on the Voyage, though I have no idea how they weren't thrown into oblivion. They also said Paula offered them a ride to the hotel if they didn't find the keys. Crazy. :)

We sat around in the hotel and talked for quite awhile. I especially enjoyed the DVD Jeremy made from our Florida trip way back in 2002. It was nice to get nearly everyone together again, but after half a beer ( ;) ) I was ready for bed. And even though the room was *freezing* and I was stuck on a crappy pull-out couch, I had no trouble falling asleep.

I knew there was no way we were going to the waterpark ERT, so we didn't actually end up getting to Holiday World until 11:00 or so on Saturday. Brian, J, Jeremy, and Erin had arrived earlier, and since cell phone reception at Holiday World is spotty at best, we headed to the Voyage figuring they'd be there. We waited about 15 minutes for a front car ride, which was excellent but still nowhere near what it was doing the night before. We hadn't run into Brian, Jeremy, and Company yet, so we decided to try out Gobbler Getaway.

The wait was only about 10 minutes, so apparently the crowds hadn't discovered it hiding back there yet. I thought the ride was fun, but nothing super special. It was better than the average Sally dark ride, as there were a lot of clever tricks and jokes. But as Brian pointed out later, only about half of the rooms actually have targets in them, which is disappointing. I appreciate Holiday World actually choosing to tell a story with their dark ride, but the non-target rooms simply aren't interesting enough to do that effectively.

By this point I was starving, so I led us to the Alamo to get some tacos. I seem to remember these being far better than they actually were. I think my "burrito" (which was really just a taco with beans) had about a tablespoon of filling in it. The tacos were better, but nothing great. At least they were cheap.

We trekked up to Liberty Launch, where we ended up waiting about ten minutes to ride behind some nasty, smelly people. I wish we would have taken advantage of the single riders' line. This is probably the weakest S&S tower I've ever been on, and was in no way worth the wait. I want a ride like Indiana Beach's used to be!

We finally got a hold of Jeremy, and we met them back at the Alamo. Brian and J were heading to the waterpark, and since Legend and Raven had significant waits (and Raven was running one train), we decided to get changed and join them there. On the way out of the park I ran into Joe (legendary) and talked to him for a bit. I told him I preferred the front on the Voyage and was told I'm in the minority. Oh well, I'm used to having different opinions than everyone else.

We found Brian and J in the waterpark, got changed, and slapped on the free sunscreen (which, by the way, was a completely disorganized mess). We took a spin around the lazy river to cool off, but I can't sit still for long so Nick and I left Brian and J to do some slides.

The only significant line we encountered was for ZOOMbabwe, which took about ten minutes or so. It was fun, but disappointing in that it wasn't dark enough inside. All of the other slides were enjoyable enough, but nothing superb.

We tried out Bahari, but it seems like we waited forever for the waves to come, and they only stayed on for a few minutes. It looks nice, though. Bahari River was disappointing to me. It's billed as an "adventure river," but there's nothing adventurous about it. There might have been two places to get wet in the whole river. The rock work and waterfalls look great, but none of them tumble into the river. And the inside of the river is just a large, treeless slab of concrete. Hopefully they plan to address this next season.

This was the first time I actually went inside Splashin' Safari, and I was surprised by the lack of body slides. There were a few kiddie slides in the tipping bucket area, but that's really it. Perhaps this should be the next area of focus for the park. Something over near Bahari River would be nice.

Anyway, by this point I was tired of the waterpark and the lines were getting long, so we headed into the park to try some water rides. We walked on to both Frightful Falls and Raging Rapids. There used to be a lot of mist/fog in the tunnel of Frightful Falls, but that was disappointingly missing this year. Raging Rapids was as good as ever, especially when the "fake waterfall" in the flooded town was predictably timed incorrectly.

We took another ride on Voyage and one on the Legend, both of which had almost no line at this point. Everyone must have been in the waterpark. Figuring that Brian and J must have been ready to get out of the waterpark, we went searching for them but got sidetracked by the food stands in Splashin' Safari. I had a turkey BLT wrap, which was decent but unnecessarily enormous. We finally found Brian and J, who were going to head back to the hotel for a bit.

I was hot again by this point, and talked Nick into a couple more slides before going back there ourselves. This turned out to be a bad idea. We hit Jungle Racers first, where I managed to injure my foot somehow. I don't know how it happened, but I scraped my foot in at least three places. I have terrible luck on these multi-lane slides; I still have a scar on my arm from an incident in Green Bay last summer.

Zinga finally had a short wait, so we decided to end there. I ended up going down the slide backward, had insane pop of air the first time up the edge of the funnel, then was knocked completely off the tube the second time through. Those tubes hit the water in the bottom hard, and if you're not holding on, it's apparently easy to fly off. So I went sliding around in the funnel on my ass until landing in the pool below, where Nick ran me over with the tube. I was worried I was going to get yelled at despite the fact that this was NOT intentional, but the slide attendant seemed only concerned for my safety. Good for him.

I changed back into my shorts and drove us back to the hotel. Nick insisted on taking a nap, so we left him there and the rest of us headed back to Holiday World. We grabbed a ride or two on the Raven before deciding to close out the Voyage. I got three rides in a row on the Voyage while they wound down the queues for the front and back seats. This was almost too much, and I had a slight headache after getting off. Still, we had four hours of ERT left and I wasn't about to quit yet.

We met Nick in the picnic area for the buffet dinner. The hotdogs and Mac & cheese were good, but the burgers were kind of nasty. I didn't have any chicken because I filled up fast. Apparently some people enjoyed it (we'll get to that later).

I honestly have no idea where we went next or in what order we rode things. We ran into Beth once or twice again, which was cool, though I wasn't sure whether to laugh or feel bad for her Bumper Boats injury. I think I reacted with a little bit of both. I know we rode all three woodies several times throughout the night, and also grabbed a Gobbler Getaway ride where I blew away Nick, Brian, and J with my shooting skillz. Everyone but Jeremy and I quit early and went back to the hotel. We stuck around and got an amazing three rides in a row on The Voyage without ever leaving our seats. The crowds in general really cleared out after 10pm. It was almost surreal seeing Legend and Raven without a line on a night of ERT. You could have literally boarded the train and never had to go around the line again. That's definitely something I thought I'd never see. Yes, the Voyage really is that damn good.

Overall, Holiday World once again put on a fantastic event. The Legend and Raven were both running well. While I don't think they were running the best they ever have, they are still better than 90% of the wooden coasters out there. And I assume much of Holiday World's focus recently has been in getting the Voyage into working condition, so I think that's acceptable. It will be interesting to see how the maintenance on these three rides proceeds from now on.

The Voyage is more unbelievable than I ever imagined. The way it starts off big and never lets up for two entire minutes is something no other coaster besides S:ROS does. It's almost mind-blowing to think that the first three huge hills are actually the least intense of the entire ride. The design is nearly perfect. You don't even realize that you're going uphill for the entire first half of the ride until you start heading back and the train just keeps picking up an incredible amount of speed. Every time you think it can't possibly get any faster it does. The finale of the ride is quite possibly the most intense ending for any coaster in the world. I could barely keep my arms up from all of the positive G's at the bottom of the curves. Add some furious pops of air, insane pacing, and two tunnels and it's a wonder you can even remember anything else. I've never felt completely exhausted after riding a coaster until I experienced the Voyage.

It's not without its faults, though. Many have complained that it's too intense, and that the re-rideability factor isn't there. I agree somewhat,although I did manage three re-rides on two different loccasions. I don't think that's any reason to not rate a ride #1 though. My complaints are with two very specific moments of the ride. First, I hate the "reverse banked bunny hop." I didn't like it on Hades, and I think it's even more offensive here. I find it awkward and distracting, and it really destroys the flow of that portion of the ride. It might be the placement of it; since it's placed between two left-hand curves, you just end up leaning to the left for a long period of time (almost like the kiddie coaster at Beech Bend!). It just feels awkward on an otherwise perfectly-paced ride. The second problem I had was a rough spot as the train is coming into the final 90-degree banked turn. I've heard it's significantly better than what it was opening weekend, and I trust Holiday World will continue to work on that.

It's difficult to pick a favorite part of the ride. I'm tempted to say "everything after the midcourse" is my favorite, as that's where the Voyage really shines IMO. Jeremy mentioned this earlier, but there's one spot halfway through the second half where there's a bit of trick-track down one of the hills. It's nothing crazy or major, but there's this cool side-to-side motion that I thought looked weird on the videos but I loved in person. It's little things like this that make the ride fantastic. I also loved the entire presentation of the ride. It really makes a bold and impressive statement when coming into the Thanksgiving area.

Operations have really changed at this park. Things are slightly less efficient - Voyage stacked frequently, especially with three trains - but there have been some major changes to their safety policies that I really appreciate. They no longer allow hand-slapping, which is unfortunate, but I think necessary. They make sure your seatbelt is tight and your lapbar is touching your lap. They never stapled anyone as far as I could see, but they did make sure the bar was down. They have also stopped crossing the tracks unless the coaster is only running one train. Watching employees leaping in front of moving trains in the past always made me nervous, so I'm happy about this change. Enthusiasts seemed very respectful of the new rules, and I didn't see anyone complaining. Excellent job, Holiday World.

We woke up Sunday morning with no idea what to do. Jeremy and Erin had decided to spend another day at Holiday World and Brian and J had decided to return to Cleveland instead of continuing on to Beech Bend. The original plan called for us to spend half the day at Beech Bend before driving to Indianapolis to spend the night at one of Nick's friend's. However, we hadn't heard from his friend by this point, and so things were really up in the air.

Nick wanted to buy a cheap Six Flags season pass at Kentucky Kingdom, so I caved in, ditched Beech Bend, and we started driving toward Louisville. About ten miles down the road, however, I changed my mind. Knowing I probably won't visit any other Six Flags park this year, and not wanting to pay to spend a day at a park I know I hate, I set out to try to convince Nick that SFKK was a bad idea. After explaining that I didn't want to pay for SFKK and *promising* that I could work the system and get him a cheap season pass from another park, he agreed to go to Beech Bend instead.

Because we had already started toward Louisville, we were forced to drive on miles and miles of scary Kentucky back roads. These were among the windiest roads I have ever driven, and I'm not really sure why, since there was *nothing* out there. We passed maybe ten houses in the hour we spent driving through the woods. Twice we passed signs that warned us of "congested areas" ahead, only to find that meant there were two houses across the street from each other. Have these people ever been to a city? My guess is no.

By the time we reached Bowling Green, it was around 2:00pm. Still, we somehow managed to confuse ourselves about what time it actually was because neither of us had a watch, and we weren't certain whether our cell phones had automatically adjusted for the time change or not. This was a constant challenge throughout the trip, and I wish I could just figure out how to turn that feature off on my phone.

Anyway, Beech Bend offers a half-price wristband after 4pm, so our goal was to not arrive at the park until then. We stopped at Hardees for lunch, which was fantastic as usual, then proceeded to drive aimlessly around Bowling Green for about 45 minutes. This just might be the most confusing city I've ever driven in! There are no signs pointing the way to anything, the layout makes no sense, and it seemed impossible to find a major road no matter which way we went. It's also the ugliest, most repulsive city I've ever driven around in. You couldn't pay me to live here.

We finally found our way to Beech Bend but unfortunately realized it was only 3:00. I didn't want to just sit around for an hour, so we decided to pay for the event, thinking we'd at least get a free meal out of it. What I didn't realize was that the price for the event had now climbed to $30 (!!) and we would have been better off buying a daily wristband for $24. We had also considered just buying individual tickets, but apparently it costs $5 to ride the Rumbler, so we passed on that.

We ran into Danny (+danny) while waiting in line for Rumblefest tickets. Neither of us are members of any coaster clubs, so there was a bit of concern that Beech Bend wouldn't let us register. I had borrowed Brian's tool membership card (I won't say which club ;-) ) in case we needed to use it and was happy to let Danny register with that card, but they ended up not asking for it. Oddly enough, they never asked at Holiday World either. We of course decided to try out the Rumbler first. We ran into Joe in line, who was just about to head back to Orlando that night, and Beth, who was leaving for Carowinds soon. I couldn't believe the amount of driving these people were going to try to pull off after an already crazy weekend. Little did I know...

We took two rides on the Rumbler right away - once in front, and once in back. This is a good ride, and one for Beech Bend to be proud of. There are a lot of little pops of air all over the place, one big pop on the first drop in the back seat, and a nice, long float over the second hill. There are a whole lot of twists and turns also. But this ride isn't anything intense or overly forceful, and so it didn't really blow me away. It's fun, and that's about it. I enjoyed the little pops of air here and there, but the turns did nothing for me after the insanity of the Voyage the night before.

Perhaps I'd feel differently about the Rumbler if I had ridden it at a different time. It's very re-rideable, and I'm sure people had fun marathoning it during ERT. But I like rides that kick my ass, and the Rumbler just doesn't do that. Like all GCI's, it's a really beautiful coaster to look at. One question, though. The event t-shirts claimed the ride has headlights, and I remember a discussion about that as the coaster was being built, but I didn't see them anywhere on the train. I saw them in use in someone's pictures, though. Where on the train are they?

After a few rides on the Rumbler, we began walking around the park clockwise. First up was the Looping Star, a portable Pinfari coaster with one vertical loop. This thing apparently got new trains this year, but they don't help the ride any. It's not necessarily rough, but the drops are too abrupt and banged me around a lot. The "new trains" are anything but roomy, so my knees were smashing into the seat in front of me. One ride was enough. As a side note, I thought the park was changing this ride's name to "Brief Encounter" but I saw no indication of that. Looping Star might not be an original name, but at least it's not stupid and nonsensical.

I talked Nick into the drop ride, which looked ridiculously tiny. I believe this is an ARM tower. Nick loved that it was sitting on a semi trailer. The lift up the tower is extremely slow, but you feel a lot higher when you're up there. The drop comes suddenly - without any pause at the top at all - and doesn't stop until a few feet above the platform below. This thing rocked! It amazes me how something like this can be more thrilling than Cedar Point's 300' tall towers. Forget that floaty nonsense, I like this intensity.We passed the park's dark ride, which had a rather lengthy line, and took a ride on the Wild Mouse. The wait for this wasn't short either, but we met some cool people in line from Kentucky and San Francisco, which made the time go by quickly. This is the fifth or sixth clone of this ride I've ridden, and was basically the worst. We came to a *dead* stop on one of the midcourse brakes, then slowly rolled through the rest of the course with little to no spinning. Apparently it only stops one car every once in awhile, so it figures that would happen to ours. Outside of Kennywood's, I'm not a huge fan of these rides anyway, so I didn't mind much. I did like the improvement to the restraints that Zamperlais now using, however.

We tried out the dark ride next, which was pretty lame. I realize it's probably to prevent against vandalism, but the creatures inside might be scarier if they weren't behind chicken wire fences. Just a thought.

Nick forced me into riding the Starship 2000, a Wisdom piece of junk that seemed surprisingly popular. I didn't get sick, but thought that operating this ride would be the absolute worst job ever.

We walked back over to the Rumbler and began discussing what we were going to do that night. We were basically finished with Beech Bend, and I had little desire to stay until midnight for ERT. It was then that the entire weekend got crazy. I think the conversation went something like this:

Nick: "You know, we're only about 20 miles from Tennessee."
Me: "Really?"
Nick: "Should we go to Dollywood?"
Me: "How long do you think that would take?"

We walked back to the car to check the atlas and realized that Dollywood was still about four hours away, and would mean a 12 hour drive back home Monday night. Still, it was *technically* feasible. I was totally surprised by Nick's suggestion of Dollywood; he is not an enthusiast, and on top of that, he'd been there several years before. I, on the other hand, had never been to Dollywood, and he knew I always wanted to go. Still, I couldn't help but think that maybe a little bit of the coaster tool bug had rubbed off on him over the weekend. :-)

We decided to at least stay for ERT on the buffet before making our decision. Heading back into the park, we passed the Power Surge, which was apparently having some sort of mechanical problems. I never saw it operate with passengers all day, which was really too bad. The Power Surge isn't the greatest ride ever made, but it might be the only Zamperla product I can stand and it's pretty enjoyable.

After a few more rides on the Rumbler and a couple more on the drop ride, it was time for dinner. The park catered in from some barbeque place that was advertising its name all over the place, as if any of us were actually from the area. Still, the food was excellent. For those ACErs wondering what food credits they missed out on, they had baked beans, corn on the cob, hot dogs, shredded pork sandwiches, barbequed chicken breasts, and delicious banana cream pudding. I wasn't starving so I only had a chicken breast and some pudding, but both were excellent.

We dropped by the Rumbler on the way out, but Beech Bend had already closed off the line by the time we arrived. For a split second I thought about ducking under the rope, but that would have been a rather toolish thing to do. Not getting a final ride was too bad, though. Before dinner it was clear that the ride was really warming up, and I'm sure it performed well during ERT. Still, I doubt it would have done anything to break into my top ten.

Nick and I arrived back at the car and started driving toward the freeway, still not having decided where to go. Approaching I-65 and seeing signs for "North" and "South" seemed almost poetic, telling both of us that we had to decide immediately. "You know," I said, "the responsible thing to do would be to drive to Indianapolis." Nick agreed. And that's when I steered the car toward Knoxville.

The drive through Tennessee actually went really quickly. We called our mutual best friend from home when we were in Nashville and played the "Guess where we are!" game. It began to rain lightly about halfway through Tennessee, and things got rather foggy. It was really pretty, though, and made for a nice change from the hot-as-hell weather from the previous two days.

It took about three and a half hours to get to Knoxville, which wasn't too bad. We stopped at a Motel 6 just on the other side of town, where we snagged a room for $42. Not too bad for being last minute. Then we called Nick's boyfriend to see if there was anywhere to go out in Knoxville. Surprisingly enough he found some places online, so with map in hand, we set off into downtown Knoxville.

I won't dwell on my experiences at the "club" (if you could call it that). It was certainly *ahem* interesting, and something I'm glad we did, but it made me really glad to be from the north. We had a few drinks and laughed at the locals before heading back to the hotel (with the third stop at McDonald's in as many days). I fell asleep still not believing we had actually just randomly driven to Dollywood. I'm glad I'm still young enough to be spontaneous.

I totally intended on getting up by 9am and being at Dollywood by 10, but the time change screwed me up once again and we didn't actually wake up until 10. The drive to Dollywood from Knoxville sucks. It's miles upon miles of tourist crap even more offensive than the Dells, the traffic is terrible, and it was 90-something degrees already. We stopped at a Shoney's for the breakfast buffet on the way, which was a little pricey but decent. One of the waitresses could have been Dolly Parton's twin sister, and I couldn't help but feel bad for her hair.

We ended up getting stuck in Lot F when we finally got to Dollywood, which meant a loooong tram ride on to the gate on the slowest tram in history. I had called Dollywood that morning to ask about available discounts, and the best option the man who answered could mumble was something about Coke cans. So with the $5 discount, we got in foraround $40.

The South is really a scary place. I know I could never, ever live down there. For one thing, it's just too damn hot. But the people really, truly frighten me. I don't think I've ever seen so many confederate flags - shirts, hats, tattoos, and everything else you could imagine. I really think 90% of the people at Dollywood were wearing clothes with either the American flag or the confederate flag. There seems to be a contradiction here, but maybe that's just me. One man was wearing a huge confederate flag shirt with the words "It's a Southern Thang - you wouldn't understand." I didn't want to.

Of course, we hiked up to Thunderhead first. I was unfamiliar with the park's layout so I was searching for it on the map when a random employee came over and asked if I needed help. I thought that could be a bit annoying, but it was a nice touch and really impressed me.

The walk up to Thunderhead is ridiculously and unnecessarily long. The hill is not so steep that the path couldn't just go straight up there without winding back and forth for a mile. Then, once the ride finally comes into view, you still have to wind around another corner before you're actually in the Timber Canyon area. It's not a very nice path, either. In ten years it might look nicer once the trees grow back in, but for now it looks very out of place in such a heavily-wooded park.

We only waited about 15 minutes for the back seat. The crew here was not only efficient, but extremely enthusiastic and friendly. Cedar Point take note - this is how spieling should be done. They loaded us quickly, gave the all clear, and we were off.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Thunderhead. Enthusiasts far and wide have raved about this thing like a pack of salivating wolves, but I'd also heard from a few trustworthy people that it's wildly overrated. My thoughts fall somewhere in the middle. There is no doubt that this is a really great ride. It's beautiful, it's in a fantastic location, there are a few places of good airtime, and it's very smooth. But I really think it's becoming obvious that GCI just doesn't build the types of rides I like. Comparing the Gravity Group and GCI is like comparing Intamin and B&M. The two latter companies build very smooth, very graceful, and rather forceless rides. Meanwhile, the two former companies build insane, intense, balls-to-the-walls rides. I much prefer the GG/Intamin style of ride. Plus, I think Thunderhead was a little lacking in the airtime department. That would have been fine had the ride contained some intense positive G's in the turns like the Voyage, but it didn't do that either. The first drop is really great though.

The new Topple Tower was unfortunately closed, so we backtracked through the entrance plaza and into Rivertown & Craftsman's Valley. WOW! What a gorgeous park this is! I can honestly only think of a few parks that are prettier, and those are Busch and Disney parks. This whole area is very heavily wooded, and there are flowers, waterfalls, and fountains everywhere. I could have walked around for a long time just noticing all of the details. I figured Dollywood would be nice, but I was totally blown away. This area of the park was truly amazing.

I had always been told Dollywood was in the mountains, but I never really grasped what that meant until entering Craftsman's Valley. This park is truly *IN* the mountains. In fact, the park's layout is so bizarre simply because the paths follow along the bottoms of the valleys. It's all very pretty, but it does mean long, narrow stretches of path and not a whole lot of room for major rides without getting creative.

We stumbled upon Blazing Fury on our way back to Tennessee Tornado and decided to jump in line. The queue appeared to be full, but we only waited for about five minutes. Where is the rest of this ride's queue hiding? Certainly there must be more waiting space than this. Otherwise the area in front of the building must be a mob scene on busy days.

I don't really recall ever reading any other reviews of this ride, but I loved it. The dark ride portions were corny and outdated, and the building kind of looks like it's falling apart, but there are a few very good, very surprising drops. I heard there as a lynching in here, which is terrifying, but I didn't see it. The water splash was fun too. This is a really great family attraction, and it would be a shame to see it go anywhere. RCDB doesn't credit a manufacturer for this ride...was this done completely in-house?

While Blazing Fury seemed to have no queue, the queue for Tennessee Tornado never seemed to end. The line zig-zags up ramps into the station in a large, unventilated building. It was hot, humid, and the other people in line were not the type of people I'd want to smell. We ended up waiting about 20 minutes, which wasn't terrible, but it felt like much longer in the heat. They were only running one train, which I found frustrating until I saw the train pull into the brakes. Is it even possible to run more than one train on this ride? Yes, I realize there's a transfer track and the park owns a second train, but that doesn't mean the ride is actually blocked to run two. My guess is that adding a second train (if it is indeed possible) results in some *hard* braking, since the solo train was flying into the station.

This is one coaster I have always wanted to ride - not because I thought it looked particularly good, but because I'm a notorious Arrow hater and people have sworn up and down this thing would change my mind. I'm happy to report that it didn't. This is indeed a very good coaster, and I would have happily taken another ride if the line hadn't been so long. The first drop through the tunnel is surprisingly long, the huge vertical loop is great, and the entire thing is very forceful. But it's not the B&M/glass-smooth coaster that many have claimed it is. The transitions are definitely better, and the trackwork is smoother, but it still feels like an Arrow. It's a difficult feeling to describe, but the trains feel very rigid and they jerk/shake around the turns like every other Arrow coaster. This ride isn't *rough* like other Arrow coasters, but it didn't change my mind about the company in general.

We stopped by the eagle sanctuary for a moment until I remembered I hate birds. They do have a ton of eagles in here though.

The wait for Daredevil Falls was 45 minutes. It's a very impressive looking ride, but I wasn't about to wait that long.

I've always said that if I ever got to Dollywood, I would not miss out on the Mountain Sidewinder. It's one of only two rides of its kind in the country, and it looks totally funky and unique. We couldn't see a line from the landing area, so we started the long climb to the top. Of course, we ran into a line somewhere near the top, which stretched back to a "Wait time from this point is 45 minutes" sign. But we had already hiked so far up the hill that neither of us really wanted to walk back, so we resolved to wait it out. We chose wisely. After about ten minutes, one of the attendants at the top called for groups of two, so Nick and I got to bypass a large portion of the line. He asked if we were willing to split up, which was fine since it meant we got to get on the ride sooner. They get very intense about passenger weight for this attraction, and even weigh your party before sending you into the lower queue. After another ten minutes or so of waiting in the station, it was our turn to board. Nick was in the right chute and I was on the left.

The ride itself was really quite fun, albeit really quite wet. I imagine you could really get the rafts flying down the hill if they were weighted correctly. I somehow managed to stay completely dry on one side of my body while the other was completely drenched. The second best part was the rather large drop at the end. The best part was overhearing some kid talking about his ride and raving about going through the tunnel, referring to it as "the sewer pipe." Must be a Tennessee thing.

Nick was excited about riding the train, since Dollywood operates a gorgeous full-scale steam engine (actually, I believe they have three of them). I got sidetracked on the way, however, by the smell of peppers cooking on an open-flame skillet and realized how hungry I was. Since Nick would sooner die than eat a vegetable, he went off in search of some pizza while I stood in line for PaPaw's Flatbread Sandwiches. Somebody should tell the folks at Dollywood that when you press flour really, really thin it's called a "tortilla", not flatbread, and when you wrap it around peppers, onions, and chicken it's called a "fajita", not a sandwich. Nevertheless, they were fantastic. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it: http://www.dollywood.com/food%2Ddining/detail.aspx?AttractionID=345

Nick wasn't thrilled by his pizza, so I ended up eating half of that too while waiting for the train. I thought it was good. I was slightly annoyed that we were forced to wait on the train for about fifteen minutes while they tried to sell us drinks and kettle corn. I hate kettle corn. But I suppose the train needs to be "refueled."

The train ride itself was okay. The parts that circled the park were the nicest, but there wasn't a whole lot to look at once we got up into the mountains. Maybe it's just that I've seen woods before, but you'd think the hillbillies at this park have too. Open passenger cars don't work so well with a coal-fired engine; about halfway through I noticed that I was covered in little flecks of coal. I guess you should plan for this if you sit on the outside. Even though the route wasn't the coolest, and the spiel is just too southern/religious/"proud to be an American" for me, I'm glad they're running these engines. They really are amazing machines.

By the time we finished with the train it was around 4:00 and almost time to go. I wanted to make sure I'd seen the whole park before we left, though, so we wandered around the Country Fair area. Again, maybe this will look nice in ten years, but for now it's very wide open, very loud, and very hot. The theming is minimal, but nice. The problem is the lack of landscaping and trees, especially in comparison to the rest of the park. It's very Cedar Fair, which just doesn't fit in this park, despite the theme. Also, what is up with the cages on the kiddie coaster? I didn't know whether to laugh or scowl. I was humored and disgusted at the same time.

We grabbed some rootbeer floats made with Dollywood’s homemade ice cream on the way out of this section of the park. Delicious.

I wanted one more ride on Thunderhead before we left the park, so we walked through Jukebox Junction and Adventures into Imagination on the way. These areas felt totally different from the rest of the park, with the emphasis on shows and Dolly herself with lots of newer buildings. It reminded me a bit of Universal Studios. It's interesting how different areas of this park feel so different from each other. It's almost like it has split personalities.

For the last ride on Thunderhead we sat near the front and had a slightly better ride than before. As on other GCI rides, though, I don't really notice a big difference between front and back seat rides. Afterward we wandered around the new Timber Canyon area for a few minutes. This area looks really nice, with some great theming and landscaping. It'll be great once the trees grow in. The new Lumberjack Lifts looks like a really stupid attraction, as does the Beaver Creek Boat Float, in which the main attraction is watching plastic disks float down a small river. But the theming is nice. :)

Satisfied with the few hours we had at Dollywood, we decided it was time to start the loooong drive home. We had to wait about 20 minutes for a tram to take us back to the car, which was frustrating because it was about 97 degrees out. We also got dumped onto some country back roads on the way out of Dollywood, which was actually faster than taking the main strip. I wish I would have known about that route in the morning.

We stopped at the original KFC location on the way home, located in Nowhere, Kentucky. It was an interesting experience to say the least. Basically, it was a regular KFC attached to an old restaurant and dining area. There was also a rather elaborate museum. Yay for KFC.

The drive back through Tennessee and Kentucky was really pretty, and it made me sad that we didn't have any time to explore the mountains and such. One of my life goals is to visit every National Park, so it was aggravating driving by signs for the Great Smoky Mountains NP and not being able to stop. We wouldn't have had nearly enough time to enjoy it anyway, but what we saw from the car was pretty.

I drove until we were a few miles outside of Cincinnati before Nick took over. The plan was to switch off every three hours or so because we both had to work in the morning. At some point - probably after his fourth or fifth Mountain Dew - Nick randomly decided he was just going to drive the whole way. I wasn't about to argue, so I slept intermittently.

We rolled into Madison at around 5am. I dropped Nick off and made it to my apartment at 5:30. It was at least 95 degrees upstairs, but I still had no problem falling asleep. Three hours later I was at work. Apparently Nick called in sick. :-)

All in all, this was a crazy, fantastic weekend. Both the Voyage and Thunderhead made my top ten wooden coaster list (Voyage at #1, bumping Raven to #2 and Thunderhead at #7, between Hades and the Legend). Neither the Tennessee Tornado nor the Beech Bend Looping Star made my top ten steel list ;). I was surprised by how few people I knew at Holiday World only to learn later that I just must have missed running into a lot of people who were there. It was nice to see those I did see, though - Brian, J, Jeremy, Erin, Beth, Cameron, Joe, Greg, Danny, and I'm sure I've forgotten some. My time at Holiday World was such a blur, and it's too bad I didn't have more time to spend with some of you.

There are certainly things I'll never forget about this trip, including:

-Making turkey calls all night and annoying everyone at Holiday World

-Beating everyone on Gobbler Getaway...twice

-The triplets (http://www.hansonbrothers.net/)

-Coaster Bob (of course!)

-Ride attendant at The Legend: "Sir, you'll need to close your lap bar."
Man behind us: "I can't, my hands are still covered in grease from the fried chicken. Could you take my glasses too?"

-Nick: "It's so hot out here we could just cook hotdogs on the pavement."
Nate: "Oh, where are we going to find ketchup at a time like this?"

-Man on the Voyage: "Turn out the lights!"
Man's daughter, repeating: "Turn out the lights!"
Jeremy: "And I say follow me, follow me, follow me, down, down, down, down!"

-Random quote while walking into the buffet: "Look at all the tools; it's just like walking into Home Depot" (okay, that was me)

-Brian's baby joke, which Nick LOVED

-Will Koch in the picnic area: "Now, we're not quite ready to release you into the park quite yet."
Jeremy: "They're still hiding the packs of meat."

...and I'm sure there are more. Thanks for a great trip, guys (and thanks to Holiday World and Beech Bend too).

-Nate
*** Edited 6/9/2006 9:34:46 PM UTC by coasterdude318***

+0
Friday, June 9, 2006 8:26 PM
"The event t-shirts claimed the ride has headlights, and I remember a discussion about that as the coaster was being built, but I didn't see them anywhere on the train. I saw them in use in someone's pictures, though. Where on the train are they? "

You can't really see them until they're on. They're in the "bumper" and are either LED or small halogen lights that are recessed. They're not overly bright but it's a neat effect.

Nice trip report...You guys were brave enough to do what I didn't and went to Dollywood. I wish I had but I didn't want to kill myself trying to get back home. There's always next time.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 8:47 PM
Dude, you totally crapped on the epic length I thought my report was!! :) It was nice seeing you Nate and thanks for offering use of the card. I'm glad they were so easy going anyways. The quotes were hilarious. That's what good friends are for on these trips. Dollywood's food is so freaking amazing. I love love love the park and I'd have no problem going there in the winter to find the coasters down. I'd still have a blast. I'll have to hang out with you more sometime.

Your report was a great read. I was looking for something to do on a Friday night and I found something to take up a bit of my time. ;)

Danny

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Saturday, June 10, 2006 1:17 AM
I've always wanted to visit the first KFC. Original or crispy?

*** Edited 6/10/2006 5:18:13 AM UTC by thrillerman1***

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Saturday, June 10, 2006 1:58 AM
Great trip report! I actually agree with you on the pizza, I remember it being somewhat better last October and at SRM '03.

It's a shame your comments on the South (and the people living there) are nowhere near as thought-out or articulate as your comments on Holiday World, Beech Bend, Dollywood and the coasters therein.

I'd go further, but being a born-and-bred Southerner, I guess I need to be careful. I mean, I don't want to frighten you or anything.

Love the detail of the non-South-bashing part of the report, though! These are great parks that no one should ever miss. It's worth falling off the beaten path to get to 'em, that's for sure.

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Monday, June 12, 2006 12:03 PM
We understand. The thing that makes the South so scary is that you can actually understand what people are saying. They actually pronounce their vowels and consonants. It's like going to a nudist camp for the first time and actually seeing what people look like. "oh, that's what that word is supposed to sound like."

If you think coming down South is scary, imagine how Southerners feel going up North where they can spend two weeks and never have any idea what anybody's saying.

As far as all the American flags, yeah, we do that. We even have Fourth of July parades. We even send school classes up to Boston and visit Paul Revere's House, the Old North Church and the Beaver (the boat where they held the Boston Tea Party). We're real quaint down here. We still think stuff like that's important. We wear American flags and up North everybody wears tattoos and piercings in their noses and their nipples. There's just no accounting for taste.

It's true us hillbillies have seen woods before and yet we still ride trains and look at the woods again. The thing is, see, we like woods. We even like the stuff that lives in them. And we can walk around them at night without getting mugged. I guess inner city streets and dark alleys are prettier, but if you want to talk scary, take a look at the people who live in those places. And notice how you can't walk around there in the middle of the night. There's just no accounting for taste.

And as for the funny food : We wuz bakin flat bread and puttin them fixins in rolls of it back around 1790, before anybody started importing Mexican food. So we figger we got a right to use our names for our food. If Pedro wants to fix the same stuff and call it somethin different, we're fine with that.

All that said, we enjoyed your trip report. Come back and we'll take you up to LeConte Lodge on top the Smokies and give you a week in the wilderness. We got some more coasters on the other side of them mountains, too. Over at Carowinds. Y'all come back now, hear?

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Monday, June 12, 2006 2:16 PM
I'm from northwestern Wisconsin - you know, right near that land of 10,000 lakes - so I don't think you need to lecture me on living in rural areas. My parents house is on a lake and surrounded by woods. There's a difference between rural and the south. You seem to be having a difficult time understanding that. Much of the north is not urban. Rural is fine. The south is scary.

Wearing confedarate flags is not patriotic, it's frightening and sad. The war ended almost 150 years ago. It's time to let it go. As for piercings, I don't think I've ever seen so many trashy do-it-yourself piercings in my life.

I don't know what you're talking about with the southern accent. To me it's all about NOT pronouncing every letter and instead just draaaaaaaawwwwwliiiiiinggggggggg it all together. It's no coincidence that most people in the mainstream media don't have southern accents - because that's not how you speak American English.

None of what I wrote about the south was a fabrication, nor was it exaggerated. If that bothers you, then why the hell are you living down there?

And I'm pretty sure fajitas were around well before 1790.


+Danny said:
Dude, you totally crapped on the epic length I thought my report was!!

That's why I don't do trip reports very often. I have a tendancy to just write too damn much. But I'm glad you enjoyed it. If you're ever up in the area, shoot me an e-mail and we can hit a few parks. I don't think I'm going to be doing much more travel this summer.

Everyone should visit the original KFC once. It's like a pilgrimage, with a nice unhealthy meal to top it off. Definitely go crispy.

-Nate

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Monday, June 12, 2006 7:24 PM
Well, as a parting shot, fajitas might have been around someplace by 1790 but they sure weren't anywhere near Cades Cove, Tenn.

However, surely you realize I'm kidding about all this. More seriously, next time you can clear a week or so, let us know and we'll be honored to invite you down and take you up to leConte Lodge for a week. It's a five mile hike off the road, but it's a beautiful mountaintop resort as long as you can handle 21st Century Rustic. You can check out their website for some photos. Then we can drop down the Carolina side and visit Carowinds.

I've been to the Wisconsin Lake Country. Beautiful. So are the Apostle Islands. We like Green Bay a lot, too, it being the home of the Packers.

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Friday, June 16, 2006 10:59 AM
Yeah, the South is so scary that every other person in the South today is originally from some place other than the South. How do you explain places such as Atlanta, Birmingham and Charlotte's growth rates through the roof? It's our crappy weather right? Yeah, I just can't stand playing golf 12 months a year!

Also, very open minded of you to judge an entire section of the country by visiting .001% of a place. And also judging those people simply by observing what they are wearing and their accent. Oh, I don't know. Kind of like judging someone on, oh say, the color of their skin. But that's only what scary Southerners do right?

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Friday, June 16, 2006 1:56 PM
Really? Last time I checked you could change the clothing you're wearing. Doing that with your skin color is a bit more difficult. And how perfect you would compare my actions to racism while defending people who are wearing shirts with Confederate flags on them - you know, that place where it took a civil war to end slaverly. How honorable on your part.

Population growth has nothing to do with how scary a place is. Sorry if I offended you by calling a place where racism, conservative christian fundamentalism, and homophobia run rampant and people have at least 30% less teeth than the average US citizen. You really think this was my first visit to the south?

-Nate
*** Edited 6/16/2006 5:57:05 PM UTC by coasterdude318***

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Friday, June 16, 2006 3:17 PM
No, I'm comparing your WORDS to bigotry. Apparently, you don't know the definition of the word. Racism is the belief in the inherent superiority of one race over the other. You were being bigoted. Your 1st point is a non-sequitur. My missed point was that you judged an entire segment of the country purely based on an extremely small sample of southern people's clothing and dialect. Whether it be skin color or bad taste in clothing, you failed to take into consideration the people's character when making a character assessment.

Your second paragraph I will not address as it is quite indicative of your character and,to use an old southern phrase, makes you look just plain foolish.

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Friday, June 16, 2006 3:36 PM
In other words, you've got nothing to come back with so you're not going to try.

I said "The south is a scary place" and then went on to describe why I thought so. Nothing was said was untrue. So once again, excuse me for finding it scary that people still wear the flag of something that had a long history of racism. To say I'm being bigoted because I thought inherently racist shirts were scary is ridiculous. Try again please.

And yes, I do feel superior to people who still stand behind a tradition of racism and slavery. If that offends you, GOOD.

-Nate

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Friday, June 16, 2006 4:06 PM
First, you said the South is scary. Now, you are saying that the clothing of those people you saw are scary. Please get your story straight. Let me help you make a distinction. Those people you saw in Pigeon Forge, TN versus the entire population of the South. Please let me know if I'm going too fast. Once again, you are basing your entire opinion of a huge geographical and cultural region on an extremely small part of that population. Kind of like saying Black Americans are scary because I was once mugged by a Black American. Except that it is open season on Southerners, so in your mind, it makes it ok to do so.

Dude.....you have issues.

+0
Friday, June 16, 2006 4:49 PM
The only person having issues and throwing cry baby tantrums is you. This is exactly what I said originally:


The South is really a scary place. I know I could never, ever live down there. For one thing, it's just too damn hot. But the people really, truly frighten me. I don't think I've ever seen so many confederate flags - shirts, hats, tattoos, and everything else you could imagine. I really think 90% of the people at Dollywood were wearing clothes with either the American flag or the confederate flag. There seems to be a contradiction here, but maybe that's just me. One man was wearing a huge confederate flag shirt with the words "It's a Southern Thang - you wouldn't understand." I didn't want to.

So yes, the South is scary simply because you see tons of people wearing that type of clothing down there. You don't see that in the North. And as I said before, this wasn't my first experience in the South. My opinions on that area of the country are not based solely on this one visit. You're throwing a fit over one tiny paragraph that wasn't even offensive to begin with! And I have issues??

Your analogies are completely ridiculous and off-base - so much so, in fact, that they don't even warrant a rebuttal. But maybe you're too slow to understand that. Oops, there I go again...

-Nate
*** Edited 6/16/2006 8:51:02 PM UTC by coasterdude318***

+0
Friday, June 16, 2006 4:58 PM
Oh here we go! Might as well jump in.

Only you media brainwashed jessie jackson lover people believe the confederate flag stands for slavery. There were slaves in the north, White slaves ect.

In a southerners view the flag means southern pride. A time when states made their own decisions and not dictated by the federal govt..

Honestly, It's only been the last five years or so that I've heard the conferate flag used as a racist symbol. I guess if you say something long enough it becomes fact.

Sheesh.

Chuck, who liked your TR but thinks your too confused to judge for yourself if someone is racist or not.

+0
Friday, June 16, 2006 5:09 PM
Nah, not offended. Just an assumption you just made. I'm just having a little fun battin' you around like a little kitten bats around a cockroach. You'd have to do much more than this to offend me. You could shove your knowledge of this topic up an ants a*# and it would roll around in there like a golf ball in a boxcar. There is something people who debate, know about their opponent and it is when they are hanging themselves. Would you care for some more rope?
+0
Friday, June 16, 2006 5:27 PM
Hopefully people who know how to debate properly also know how to spell and use proper punctuation. Please enlighten me and explain how I'm hanging myself. I'm not the one calling someone a bigot while simultaneously defending racism. Talk about being hypocritical!


In a southerners view the flag means southern pride. A time when states made their own decisions and not dictated by the federal govt..

And when was that? When they were fighting against the Federal government for their supposed "right" to own slaves. Yeah, that's really something to take pride in.

-Nate
*** Edited 6/16/2006 9:27:44 PM UTC by coasterdude318***

+0
Friday, June 16, 2006 5:27 PM

Charles Nungester said:
Oh here we go! Might as well jump in.

Only you media brainwashed jessie jackson lover people believe the confederate flag stands for slavery. There were slaves in the north, White slaves ect.

In a southerners view the flag means southern pride. A time when states made their own decisions and not dictated by the federal govt..

Honestly, It's only been the last five years or so that I've heard the conferate flag used as a racist symbol. I guess if you say something long enough it becomes fact.

Sheesh.

Chuck, who liked your TR but thinks your too confused to judge for yourself if someone is racist or not.


I guess I have to join the fray too, but I believe that the confederate flag began being associated with racism when the white power groups (begining with the KKK) began using it as a prominent symbol. Irregardless of your beliefs you have to know that anyone who isnt a white southerner views the thing as racist.

But besides that fact, I really have to ask, how do you take pride in a symbol of a country that was paralized at the national level, couldnt govern at all and engaged in a costly war (that it started at Ft. Sumpter) that ended up bankrupting the south and taking a majority of a geneneration lives (or to sum it up in one word: loser.) While I love reading up on the civil war, I really dont understand why southerners are so intent with reliving what truely was the saddest moment in our nation's history, over and over and over again.

+0
Friday, June 16, 2006 6:10 PM
Funny how all the negative things that you said about the people you observed there had nothing to do with their character or attitude. But, when you actually came into contact with them and interacted with the employees for example, you had only positive things to say about them. The negative things were things like clothing, etc..

Also, please post all of my quotes where I defended racism. Thank you.

+0
Friday, June 16, 2006 6:49 PM
What's your point? You're trying to argue against something I never said. You came in here acting as though I slammed people in the south based on their (as you said above) character or attitude. But what I really said was that the South was scary because of the abundance of Confederate clothing. Hence the reason we're going in circles here. You're simply trying to argue against a point that nobody ever made.

Now then, I'd be happy to post all of the places where your words acted to defend racism, but I'd be forced to re-post nearly everything you've said in this topic. You're calling me a bigot for judging people for wearing the Confederate flag - something that can be understood to stand for racist ideals. Do we really need to go over this again?

-Nate

+0

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