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Everything posted by Invertalon

  1. Expedition GeForce was a top bucket list coaster for me... I still have flashbacks of TPR's original EGF video playing "Stay Together for the Kids" by Blink 182 completely hyping up the ride for me many years ago. When we finally made it to Holiday Park back in 2019, to say I was excited was an understatement! Having been on it's other siblings from that era (SROS @ SFNE and Millennium Force) I was excited to finally ride all three and see which came out on top. I was able to get 5 laps on it, mixed between front/back and middle. They only ran one train, otherwise I would have gotten a few more. Smooth, insane airtime, fantastic layout... Wish Intamin still produced layouts such as this! Between the three, I would throw SROS at the bottom believe it or not... But between EGF and MF, it's splitting hairs and completely different experiences. Intensity and airtime focus on one, the other with speed and an epic setting along the lake. Both are stunning. As far as in Europe, that we have been on, I think Taron just edged it out. EGF was a killer time, but Taron left me breathless which is a rarity that few rides have done after the first ride. It's just too bad Holiday Park itself is so forgettable IMO... Planning our return next Spring on a similar trip and planning on skipping the park this time (but making sure we get back to Europa and Phantasialand!). I'd consider Expedition GeForce in the top 10 of ultimate steel coasters somewhere, that's no question. It is still that good after all these years!
  2. Not to be biased, but my favorite pizza provider would be myself! Sometimes I do more traditional pizzas, and other times crazy flavor combinations... I love to play around with the styles/regions such as thin crust, NY style, Chicago Deep Dish, Detroit, Neapolitan, etc... I will make different doughs and sauces for the various pizza styles, as well as playing around with cooking methods (wood fired, oven or even one of my smokers) and ingredients to get the flavor I am after. We make pizzas every weekend, these were the most recent ones. Made a Margherita and Detroit style. Two different crusts, scratch made sauce of course. First up was a Margherita style pizza... Overnight fermented sourdough crust topped with sauce, whole fresh mozzarella cheese and a light shredding of parmesan reggiano. And of course, plenty of fresh Basil from the garden and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Was heavenly! Yeah, it's a lot of basil, but that is just how I like it! Yum. Next up was our Detroit-Style pizza...Whole different crust recipe of course, spread into a 9x13" pan coated in olive oil. Topped the crust directly with Provolone/Mozzarella mix, fresh Asiago and then topped with freshly cut pepperoni and green peppers. Crust was covered in fresh mozzarella cubes to crust/char around the edges and the three signature lines of sauce added on top. As well as some more fresh basil. This one was so good, we are remaking it again this weekend but subbing out the pepperoni for scratch made Italian sausage and likely some onion thrown in.
  3. So I was near Philly for work this past weekend... Finished up in the morning on Saturday and was driving back home to Ohio... Thought I'd stop in at Knoebels since I was passing right by at open (around noon). It's been a minute since I have been to the park, so it was a perfect time to go and grab a lap on Phoenix, maybe Flying Turns (last time I was there it was still under construction).... Or so I thought. Even if busy, I would just walk around as a pit stop along the way to stretch the legs. But by the time I got to the parking lot entrance, it was complete gridlock into the parking lot. Decided to give it a big fat "NOPE!" and just drove on by to head home (thankfully was traveling opposite direction of most people incoming) and the line stretched bumper-to-bumper a solid mile or two from the entrance with heavy traffic beyond that past Sheetz in Elysburg (about 3.5 miles away). I can't imagine how long it would have taken just to wait in line to park, or how busy it would have been inside the place. I had a ~6.5 hour drive back home (around 5 or so from Knoebels), so I just wanted to get home after making the drive out the day before. Oh well, maybe next time... I may be back through in September again, might try again then but I think I might stick to my "skip park visits in 2021" unless it's a park in Orlando
  4. We spent the weekend at Universal/IoA on Sat/Sun/Mon. In that time, we managed 15 rides on Velocicoaster. A handful of front and back seat rides, including a few at night (which is just epic!). I can say that this is a ride that can hardly get any better. From the theme, trains, layout, setting, etc... It's just stunning. I can't really say which part is my favorite, to be honest. It just has so many strong points that you're picking at straws. The paddock section is just great fun, especially with those raptors which are far more effective than I thought they would be (for being stationary). But the audio effects really amplifies them. Plenty of head/hand shoppers with the rock formations. That second element, the dive loop, is just crazy-go-nuts! Fun little "Easter Eggs" too, such as the dino chow and the paradactyl eggs on top of the tallest rock formation if you look closely. Airtime is everywhere. The first launch isn't too shabby strength wise, it does it's job. The second half is like a completely different coaster... "Turn it to 11!" is what comes to mind. Top hat is fantastic of course, the view from the top makes it seem much higher than it is. It's beautiful to look around, especially at dusk/night. One of the best views on a coaster that I have been on, for sure. Plenty of ejector air in the back of the train, no question there. It's hella-intense. I absolutely love the following stall element, especially in the back (right side). It's different from the stall on say, Goliath at SFGam of course, but it's just as fun in it's own way. It's just, aggressive. The helix portion following is (another) highlight for me, actually. It's great fun and a perfect mix of forces with it's pops of airtime, the reverse banking (love that so much on this!) and of course the hop/roll finale. The final heartline is as crazy as you read about, being ejected out toward the water at such high speed is quite epic. That last S-bend hop as well is extremely intense and when you hit the brakes, you're kind of just like "wtf". I heard nothing but "this is the best coaster I ever been on!" or "wow, that's insane!" among many other things from everyone riding... Did not hear a single bad thing or criticism from anyone at any point. Everybody loves it! I enjoyed my final rides as much as my very first rides... If it wasn't for the bruises I developed on my thighs, probably would have snagged a few more rides... But it literally got to the point that it was becoming painful from all the airtime from riding too many times in a short duration. For example, the first night we managed 4 rides, which was fine with no issue. But the next day? After about 3 rides (7 total that day) the pain kicked in. I had to start bracing myself as best I could but there is no point... So yeah, it will leave it's mark with enough rides. I still can feel a bit of soreness a few days later! I find this ride extremely reridable, the thigh bruising aside... Many rides I can't really 'marathon' anymore (nor do I really care to), as I will begin to get queasy usually depending on the ride, but not this one. For as super intense as it is, it doesn't bother me one bit. Compare to say Steel Vengeance by the time you hit the brakes after two rides I'm done for (mainly because those horrible final bunny hops...). So that's a huge thumbs up from me. So yes, it did become one of my favorite coasters of all time, no doubt about that. I don't really have a "top 5" or anything, but it's certainly there if I did. It absolutely exceeded my high expectations. Big, big thumbs up to the team at Universal that made this ride a reality. On a side note, finally got on Hagrids after a few years of avoiding due to long lines or no luck with virtual-queue on the past trip... Waited about 30 minutes and it's a really fun ride, but.... but.... Dragon's was a FAR better ride in every way, sorry. One ride was good enough for me, unless the line is short I don't see myself going out of my way to go ride it again. Oh, and Bourne Stuntacular at Universal is quite insane... Had no expectation given what was there prior, but was really blown away by the technology going on there. Very cool stuff, don't miss out on that like we almost did (yet again!).
  5. Off the top of my head I can think of: 1.) Skipping Batman and Robin: The Chiller at SFGAdv and Mr. Freeze at SFoT. Both skipped due to long lines and such. Was in line for both and bailed. Mr. Freeze is not a big deal as I can still ride it somewhere, but missed out on B&R. Always a small regret I left the line that day. 2.) Wish I took another ride on Black Mamba at Phantasialand (front, ideally). Only rode it once while there and was a touch underwhelmed, but I think front would have made a huge difference. Given B&M inverts are my jam, wish I got another ride or two on it while there. Taron was just so good though... Priorities...!
  6. Ideal: Marchish - Domestic Trip of some sort... Cali/Texas combo trip? Also thought about a 10 day trip starting off in Hawaii for 3 days, then to LA/San Diego for a few days, then to Texas for Sea World and SFFT, then back home. May/June - Europe trip (had planned to go back to Germany this year, but that was axed of course). We really want to go to Ireland, so might default to that with a 2-3 day stop in Amsterdam prior to flying back home. September - Orlando for HHN Small chance, but we have also thought about a Dublin trip by itself a few days over a long weekend (4-5 days) and then going again back to Germany again later in the year for 10 days or so. Still have lots to see and do that we just ran out of time for last year when there. Realistic: March/April - Domestic trip to Orlando and/or New England area. Maybe Texas for Sea World and SFFT. May/June - Road trip to Hershey for a weekend? September - HHN if it happens. Maybe depending how Rona' does, a quicker trip just to/from Dublin mid to late year depending how things go. So hard to plan with all that is going on... Hopefully things get back to normal though soon!
  7. Sounds to be like RMC screwed the pooch on it, honestly. If the ride was too 'dynamic' for the topper track, it should never have been an option from RMC on this particular ride. They designed the thing, they surely understand the limits of the track, structure, trains, etc... Sounds like some mistakes were made and I'm sure RMC is working with Dollywood to correct said issues. There is no doubt in my mind that Dollywood is getting a nice deal on the rework package to fix the design flaws. Hope it does make it more reliable going forward! Kind of the forgotten RMC given it's terrible reliability, since, forever.
  8. For me, it really doesn't take away anything from my enjoyment of said ride and doesn't bother me one bit to know what to expect. I just enjoy the rides for what they are. It's cool when things are unexpected and whatnot, but it won't make or break how much I enjoy a ride, especially beyond the first lap. Watching a POV ahead of time ruins nothing for me, but I absolutely get an idea of what to expect given the manufacturer, the elements used, trains utilized, etc...
  9. I never really have an issue watching a POV, having an expectation and the ride meeting said expectation. As in, it is rare a ride is vastly different than I expect from watching the POV. For example, Steel Vengeance was actually a bit "worse" than I expected, while a ride like Silverstar was better than expected. Was it Drastic? Absolutely not. They met the expectation plus or minus some small fun points. Being on enough rides, you kind of just know what B&M's, GCI's, RMC's and so on will feel like. It's rare that a ride does something totally unexpected from what I think a specific element or transition will 'feel' like. This is also the reason it's very rare for me to be 'blown away' by rides anymore, because of the great POV's and animations taking away any unknowns like in the past before the YouTube era. An exception for me as of late was Taron at Phantasialand. I knew it would be an epic ride, but in person with the theming, amazing trains, etc... It just made that 'experience' better. These days, the things that will catch me off guard will be theming and small details that make up the experience, not so much the ride itself per say. If that makes sense.
  10. It's been that way since the beginning, they are pretty consistent on their 'style'. Surely, they love their barrel rolls and outward banks. For that reason, it's hard for me to get excited for RMC's honestly. Once you been on a few, they all are pretty much similar in the elements utilized (much like people claim with B&M's for example) and the pacing/forces. Not much changes ride to ride in that regard. All fun rides though, don't get me wrong. I am also surprised for as 'extreme' as they are, they have not pushed into some more unique elements aside from 500 ways to enter or exit a barrel roll. I love the dive loop on SFGAm's Goliath for example, wish they did more larger element stuff. Or longer, sustained airtime moments like that first bunny hill on Storm Chaser (compared to the abrupt ejector hills). I personally think Iron Gwazi looks to be one of the stronger ones layout wise, as the elements are a bit more drawn out and not rapid-fire succession one after another. Steel Vengeance has such a strong first half, but the second half just ruins it for me. This doesn't look like it will have that issue, the ending sequence looks really solid.
  11. Thanks! I think if you go test drive both to see how you like them, you will be hooked with one of them. It was an easy choice for me once I drove both, but everybody has their own preferences of course. Unfortunately, I really worry that the V8's won't be around much longer. Seems like the Camaro may be done, or at least a long hiatus again after 2023. Strong rumors it goes EV when it comes back for Gen 7, if at all. Not sure on the Ford front though with the Mustang. I don't mind EV's and hybrids, but I really hope automakers keep some of the more 'fun' cars with ICE options, especially the V8's. It's no question EV's can outperform in terms of acceleration and their torque capability, but there is so much more to these cars than that. Put about 300 miles on the car thus far, yesterday taking it through some local park systems with some nice tight curves, hills/valleys and such. At one point, one road had a cool RMC "outward bank" turn! Scared the girlfriend a bit as she wasn't paying attention at the time, haha. The handling is next level with the Camaro, it's absolutely effortless in cornering and how planted it keeps to the road. The suspension, as far as I am concerned, is practically flawless for my tastes in the 2SS with magnetic ride control. I can't wait to get out of the break-in period and start being able to push it a bit more! Still nothing better than a burst of acceleration and hearing that engine come to life, then letting off at around 4,000 RPM and hearing that exhaust system crackle and pop. AND still be within the posted speed limits, too! Great to hear you dig the A/S 3+'s on your STI. Seems like the best option if after a more summer-focused tire that won't turn to hockey pucks in cooler temps. I don't plan to drive this in the snow, but I do want to be able to take it out when it's nice and dry in the middle of winter. I don't particularly have a ton of options available in the tire size it takes (245/40R20 front, 275/35R20 rear). But basically came down to the DWS-06 and the A/S 3+. I just like the feedback from users on the A/S 3+ being better in dry/wet, with the DWS having the advantage in snow and noise.
  12. LSM's when not powered to accelerate the train are effectively trims, no? I think what we might see here is the use of LSM's (vs. fixed alloy fins) as trims in this case, which remain unpowered acting as trims, unless the rare circumstance the train balances at the top of the crest. In which these LSM's can be powered to push it over, reducing the risk for evac provisions, such as platforms and such over the apex of the top hat. That's my guess, at least.
  13. Took delivery of my Camaro yesterday! It was actually built on Tuesday (finished), shipped and arrived at the dealer the very next day. I didn't expect it so soon, figured it would take another 2 weeks or so. But I'm not complaining! Still needs to get the front splitter installed and black lug nuts (dealer installed options), but otherwise it's all set to go. Took for an hour long drive along a scenic canal here and it was just glorious. Unfortunately, break-in is recommended to keep under about 4,000 RPM for the first 1,500 miles... Which, still has plenty of power in that range of course. But I can't wait to be able to open that engine up!
  14. I can't wait to see this in person! The theming is again, top notch. Not to mention a fun, well rounded attraction for an already epic park. It's insane to think this park contains this along with Black Mamba and Taron... Plus others. Hoping we can make it back in 2021 for another Euro trip.
  15. First up, really nice car! I'm sure that's a blast to drive. Secondly, 10000% agree with your comment on engagement/feel being a primary focus in a car. When I began my search, while of course HP/Torque was on my radar... One of the biggest attributes that I go for in a vehicle is the suspension. I'm so picky with how a car must handle/feel among some other things. Can't stand a 'smooth' ride as weird as that sounds. When the vehicle 'floats' down the road and rolls around with any input from the steering wheel, I hate that so much. Worst characteristic. I want to feel the road and the car to feel planted to it, even if the ride is harsher and anytime you hit a pothole you think you almost died. My old xB was lowered with added sway and strut bars and low profile tiles, I loved that it felt like you were driving a Go-Kart... People always commented how rough the ride was, but that was my favorite thing about it. That being said, when I started my search for my new car, power was indeed on my list of 'wants'. But again, I wanted the right interior, styling and of course the suspension/handling and overall 'experience' had to feel right. Obviously the Camaro hit those marks for me, which was a bit unexpected honestly. Going into my search, I thought it would actually prefer other options but that quickly changed when I drove the SS and 2SS variants. That Alpha platform is just nuts, to say the least. No contest against the Mustang platform. In related news, my Camaro will be built within the next few days according to the tracking status. So I may see it soon here, right around the end of the month if all goes well. First up though will be getting the tires swapped out immediately from the summer run-flats to something a bit more "Cleveland friendly". Likely the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ so I can at least drive the thing when temps are below 40. But when snow starts to fly and the salt starts to be applied everywhere, it will be garaged for the most part. But if anything like the past two winters, we were in the 70's in December at times and had one, maybe two snow storms at best. So hoping for a repeat!
  16. Interesting that they are so plentiful in Texas! Not that common at all here in Ohio... I mean, I see them, but probably 1/5 of the Mustang's or Challengers I see, easy. And usually, they are not the V8's, but the 4 or 6 cylinder variants. I mean, if you are going to get a Mustang/Camaro/Challenger, you better get the V8... Just my opinion, though. But to come across a SS/2SS is far more rare, I have only seen one or two in the past month probably. But I routinely see 3-4 Mustang's on my 10 minute commute to work... That aside, there is no doubt people like to be super annoying in any muscle/sport car. One reason I am immediately getting my my windows tinted so when some idiot decides to pull up next to me trying to race, they won't see me not caring! haha Back to the infotainment centers... Toyota re-launched the Venza as a Hybrid only... And look at that huge laptop in the center dash!
  17. Not sure on hours, but Small City Taphouse in Sandusky (as well as CLAG brewing, attached) are not far from the park. Basically, one of the best beer bars in the state. Also have Asian food (sushi and all that). Worth checking out.
  18. Yeah, that is pretty bad. They jacked up the front grill on some trim levels of the Silverado as well. Sadly, poor styling is a common trend with most automakers these days... Giant "fish mouth" front grills, excessive use of plastic on the exterior, headlight/taillight design, etc... I think the absolute worst 'trend' is the tablet infotainment centers popping up everywhere. Where they are not integrated, but kind of stand-alone above the dash. Looks terrible and so tacky. Here is a perfect example.. A 2018 vs. 2021 Toyota Camry interior. The exterior and other things didn't change, same gen. But the pop out infotainment is a new "feature". This one isn't as bad as many are with this same tablet design. Some look way worse (*cough* TESLA *cough*).
  19. So my car history... At 16 got a Pontiac Sunfire which I drove for two or three years until I was in college. Bought a new 2008 Scion xB at the time in 2007, which I drove for 10 years basically (at 145K) when I got rear-ended and it was totaled. Super bummed, absolutely loved that car. No intention ever to get rid of it. Due to me needing a car, ended up with a 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE. Brother works at Toyota so it was easy enough, leased it for 3-year. Really nice, but not exactly what I would have gone with had I had time to really look and drive a ton of stuff. Thing is, not a fan of most cars the past few years. Styling (exterior or interior) or the suspensions/handling, among other things, often push me away from most. I'm a car guy of sorts, absolutely love to drive just for the enjoyment with nowhere to go. So while the Camry is super nice, it doesn't exactly get me excited to drive it. Granted, I actually went with the hybrid variant as it has more power/pep than the standard 4 cylinder or V6 due to the instantaneous torque by the electric motor. Not really to save on gas... Start looking around a few months ago to see what was out there that I'd potentially get, and well... Don't have it quite yet, but placed an order with my dealer for my new 2021 Camaro 2SS, 10-Speed AT. Black on black. Dual mode exhaust, magnetic ride control, front fascia extension and some other little things. I also checked out the Mustang GT and Challenger, but the Camaro just dominated on a few fronts for me. Handling was a huge thing, but the exhaust note and the "cockpit" cabin of the Camaro won me over. The 455HP just rips! Just absolutely fell in love with it. I originally planned on buying used, but literally not a single one in the country with the features I need (or did not want)... I didn't want a sunroof (I'm 6'6", so that takes up valuable head room, plus, I don't care for them anyway), and any of the Camaro's available with the options I was after all had sunroofs. So I basically was left to order one in to my spec. Will look like this at delivery in a few weeks!
  20. I know who you are talking about, and I'll be honest, the dude is quite clueless on many things I've heard him say. Grasping at straws, at best. This is why the structural/civil firms who install the foundations for these rides take samples of the soil, in order to figure out the size of the footers required, pylon depth, etc... The civil engineering 'guidelines' are quite mature, like many areas of engineering. It's not really complicated once they have the appropriate information. I'm thinking install more than anything. Shimming, support adjustment before grouting, sanding of the rail joints after install and whatever else. I'm not a civil engineer (mechanical here), but I think they got the techniques/processes down for the design and install requirements. If KI has the same install contractor do the rigging for all the B&M's, it could be more on them versus anything else. I believe most parks use regional steelworkers and other subcontractors to do this work, so it will vary park to park for the most part. Lately for my job, I have been talking to various steel fabricators around Ohio (including Clermont). While discussion my particular project with them, on the side I have asked them about the fabrication techniques and such for rolling such pipe for coaster track... As expected, it's highly precise with dimensions are highly controlled. Except in the case when doing replacement track work on some older steel coasters, in which they literally get a chunk of rail or whatnot cut out and they basically just template and roll some pipe to match for re-install, at least with one particular vendor I spoke with who has done quite a bit of 'retracking' for some parks (not Clermont).
  21. I don't know if it will be a "go" or "no go" for the rest of the season, it was just my guess. I was just advised there would be an announcement today in which we will find out on way or another. So we shall see!
  22. Rumor has it there will be an announcement today of sort from the park... News on the end of the season. My guess is the park will conclude the season after Labor Day. But we shall see!
  23. My "order of preference" at CP would look something like the following: 1.) Raptor 2.) Millennium Force 3.) Dragster (sucker for it's launch, what can I say?) 4.) Gatekeeper 5.) Maverick (Maverick would probably be in the #4 or #3 spot if not for the trains (the seat itself jams into my, uh, 'area', and the awkward first drop, which I very much dislike). 6.) Steel Vengeance 7.) Blue Streak (Unfortunately as the only wood coaster in the park, it gets a small boost from that alone). 8.) Magnum 9.) Valravn 10.) CCMR 11.) Iron Dragon 12.) Gemini 13.) Corkscrew 14.) Wicked Twister 15.) Wilderness Run
  24. Banshee is for sure intense, I just wish it was more 'snappy' like any of B&M's other inverts. Even Silver Bullet is far better in that regard. The transitions in/out of the elements are just terrible, IMO. The same layout, designed 10 years prior with the standard trains would have been a huge improvement. Still dig the ride, but man, I just don't like what they did with the dynamic design of it. It's a bummer!
  25. This 10000% Personally, I'd take a GCI over RMC anyday, but I know that is unpopular opinion. I'd much prefer Hershey just build a ground-up RMC to make those RMC fan boys happy. Wildcat has always been a top wood coaster for me, I love the layout. Today, a full retrack with Ipe wood would be stellar. Not just patch repairs. They made improvement switching to the MF trains from the PTC's, but they should have done a full re-track then to fix all the damage caused by those PTC's over the years. Not just isolated sections of retracking. Here's hoping RMC stays the hell away from Wildcat...
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