OK, while many of you were frolicking in Florida last week, I took a little "sad and pathetic" trip to the Ozarks during my respite... I am a caregiver for my dad who has Alzheimer's Disease. It was my first time to visit a park solo so I was not sure how I would feel about that. As it turned out, I had a great time! There was only one time when I wished I had had some company, but I will get to that.
I headed out from St. Louis about 10 am Tuesday and counted 9 construction zones between here and Branson... sheesh! I also passed a highway worker fatality near Springfield. We have had a horrible year here in Missouri for that and this one was especially awful. The worker that was hit by a semi on the outer road alongside Highway 44 was putting up a memorial sign for another highway worker who was killed in that vicinity about a year ago. They passed a new law here... if you kill a highway worker, the fine is $10,000 and you lose your license. OK, enough of the gruesome stuff.
I stayed in a cabin at The Wilderness at Silver Dollar City. The cabin was nice but it lacked some comfortable seating. (I'm showing my age here. ) They have a shuttle to the park, so I caught the 8:30 am trip and arrived at the park at 8:50 am. The front part of the park opens at 8 am because they are serving breakfast at Molly's Mill Restaurant, but the rest of the park does not open until 10 am. The weather was low 60's with heavy fog, so much so the trees were dripping and everything was wet. Later in the morning the sun came out and it got up to 76. At 3 pm a cold front came through and the temperature dropped 26 degrees in one hour. It was a smörgåsbord of weather to be sure.
At 10 am they raise the flag and everyone sings the National Anthem. Then the chains are dropped and the entire park comes alive. I went straight to Wildfire. There were two young whipper-snappers that passed me by and got on the first train out. When I walked into the station, there was NO ONE in there. The ride op waved me in so I walked up to the front row and sat in the middle, thinking they would wait for more riders. WRONG! Talk about ERT, they sent me out on the second train of the day all by myself... YIKES! I have never been so terrified in my life. I am not much for prayer, but I was praying all the way up that lift hill, as well as questioning my sanity. It was a fantastic ride in spite of my fears. When I came back into the station the ride op asked me if I wanted to go again. Ha! I had to go clean out my pants! It took me quite a while to stop shaking and of course, I bought the on ride photo. I now know I prefer to ride with other passengers.
Next up was Powder Keg, my first experience on a fast start coaster. (I have yet to ride Mr. Freeze at SFStL.) At the beginning of this ride, before it takes off, there is some water that shoots out at some of the passengers. As I was standing there watching, it malfunctioned and shot out some black looking liquid that just happened to hit a rider wearing a white T-shirt... bummer! Anyway, I waited until there were other passengers in line and the water feature was turned off. I really enjoyed the fast start but the ride itself is not near as smooth as Wildfire. It does, however, have some great air time.
One more ride I want to comment on and then on with the pictures. I was really looking forward to riding Electro Spin, my first disc ride. When I made it to that part of the park the ride was closed. Turns out someone had puked so they were cleaning it up. Lovely. I was glad I waited because this ride surprised me. I found the seating quite comfortable and the ride was very enjoyable.
When I went back to the park on Friday morning it was sunny and in the upper 40's, so it was a great morning in the park for me before I headed home that afternoon. As I left at noon the traffic was backed up for miles trying to get into the park. OK, on to the pictures now. Enjoy!
and a gorgeous waterfall. I would like one of these in my back yard, please. Thanks for looking at my TR!
a nice stream...
A pretty fountain...
They had some real good bluegrass music.
This potter seemed to be fixated on one shape... hmmm. Love the look on the little girl's face.
The basket weaver.
And you can't have Silver Dollar City without a blacksmith.
It was fun to see how fast this guy could put a wooden basket together.
with a swaying bridge... cool!
More play area...
Nice play area for the kids.
Of course, it was robbed along the way... lame.
The Steam Train.
This ride is kinda stuck in the middle of nowhere all by itself.
and lady bugs.
Cute bug section for the kids...
It was a bit nippy on the swings.
Electro Spin through the trees... wee!
Alright... now we're talkin'!
And it looks so shiny clean, too! Waaa!
Oh no... Electro Spin is closed!
The ship is always fun.
This ride was surprisingly fast.
The mad spinning teacups.
They had lots of cute rides for the kids.
For those of you interested in credits...
The Great Exposition is a nice section of the park.
This is the only shot of the ride I could find and I even asked two park employees.
Surprised to learn you cannot see this ride from anywhere in the park, unless you are on a VIP tour with TPR, I suppose.
Powder Keg through the trees from the Steam Train.
Heading for the last drop.
This is the best part of the ride.
"... yer gettin' too close to the nitro, Jethro!"
Love how the track moves sideways here... nice touch.
Powder Keg has some very nice theming.
My ride of a lifetime! Next time I shall wear Depends!
Ok, I know this is crooked but I really like this shot!
Loopin' in the fog.
There they go! Where were "they" when I needed them?
More Wildfire through the fog.
Wildfire lift hill in the fog.
"The Steamer: We'll ever adore you; In praising you we never tire; Hand engines were nothing before you; Nor compared with you when at a fire... "
The Festival of American Music and Crafts with a salute to the American Cowboy.
The cars that take you to the entrance to Marvel Cave in the park.
See how foggy it was.
The water clock... very interesting.
They have wonderful landscaping and theming in this park.
Ahhhh... I made it.
The entrance to SDC from the parking lot... $5 with season pass got you pretty close.
and a nice balcony. I could hear the concert at the amphitheater from here.
a small kitchen...
uncomfortable chairs and a table...
Two beds and a fireplace...
My cabin at The Wilderness. The park is right behind this cabin across the gulley.
The scenic overlook in Branson on the way to the park.