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Posts posted by griffon

  1. I made it up to KD on Sunday morning knowing that the crowds would be light, and also heard that the giant refurbished wheel was supposed to be ready to roll.


    Here is some scenery:


    Last, a little bit of photoshop for an otherwise crappy picture. Thanks for checking out the photos.



    It's really hard to find things to say about this ride for every picture. But it photographs well




    Still amazes me that a ride this size could be relocated 400 miles and put back together perfectly in a few months


    I can't resist throwing in a few new shots of Dominator, even though most people have an idea of what it looks like by now


    Thank you Ohio


    A couple more area shots


    Dominator towers over the trees and tempts us with empty rows in the middle of the day. Even more reason to love the location


    You can really get a great view of Volcano from the wheel, although it's a little far away


    Some anaconda



    Yell was also running very fast and had some much needed track work before the turn around.


    The coolest view from Americana has to be Rebel Yell


    Another new look for Drop Tower


    Which lift hill would you rather be on?



    Take a ride on Americana, and suddenly you will be compelled to take pictures of a Togo that's painted purple green and orange


    A general overview of the midway in front of the wheel


    It's the only ride in the park with a ride cycle time longer than an Offspring album


    Wheels are pretty awesome and I had plenty of time for photos. Our ride cycle was about 25 minutes - seriously


    Americana looks great


    The main reason it doesn't stand out is because there is nothing but pavement around it. I hope they eventually do something with this area. A football field would fit nicely.


    I don't like El Dorado's location at all. It kind of hides behind the Skyflyer next to the tree line and doesn't stand out. On the plus side it was operational and has some cool views of the Grizzly


    First, El Dorado, which has a cool logo and some props near the restaurant but not much else going for it.

  2. Great TR! Maybe it's just your camera, but Carolina Cobra's paint job didn't look that bad. And Wow! Nighthawk is bright.

    I did my best to get the ride colors as close to what they looked like in person. Maybe the color saturation is a little overkill? but I've noticed that prints come out slightly darker, so I usually veer towards keeping them on the bright side. Thanks for the feedback!


    Carolina Cobra is smooth? Like smoother than Flashback at SFOT?

    Trust me, it was very smooth. I have never been to the state of Texas, so I don't know how it compares to Flashback. I'm hoping these new trains will show up on other boomerangs and hold onto their quality.


    On a side not: May I ask what camera you're using? Also, is there a way to see the pics in a higher resolution? A website or something?

    I use all Canon gear. Rebel XTi and a couple different lenses. I love it, but would strongly recommend something smaller at Theme Parks. I will only take my camera with me if I have somewhere to put the bag, and plenty of time for photos. Feel free to send a PM and with an Email and I'd be happy to send out some higher res versions if anyone is interested.


    you left out the part where "Ms. Garmin" tried to get us lost in Charlotte... and how she took us to the distribution center instead of the wal mart

    Haha, I actually left quite a few things out of the story but figured my rambling about insects and concrete blocks was long enough already. I'm not sure if I trust those GPS things any more. Glad you could come along.


    Thanks everyone for the comments

  3. Sad to hear that Afterburn was down while the sun was out...but at least you got to ride it in the rain! Did it drip 'oily-water' down on you, like other inverts (especially Great Bear) do?


    Haha, yea, my first ride on Afterburn I made the mistake of sitting on an end seat and had a constant stream of not-so-clear liquid right to the forehead. Alpengeist does that too, but it's been a while since I've ridden an invert in the rain and I guess I forgot. The middle seats were much better.

  4. It’s been about 5 years since my last visit to Carowinds so I decided to wrangle up a few friends and pay a visit to the recently Cedar Fair-ized park to kick off the season. When we arrived around 1PM on Saturday there were only 12 other cars in the parking lot, and with heavy rain coming down all day, we were sort of surprised that the park was even open.


    Not only was the park open, but almost everything was running. I give Cedar Fair a lot of credit for this because I know that some other parks would have closed for the day and sent everyone packing given the forecast for cold rain and storms. Kudos to CF for keeping the park open for most of the afternoon – that really made our trip worthwhile. Sure, it would have been nicer without the rain, but we drove 5 hours to get there and we weren’t going to let a little dihydrogen monoxide stop us from racking up our first credits of the year. The park closed a couple hours early at 4PM when they discovered that we were the only idiots left in the place and we weren’t spending any money on games or food. Still, we had plenty of time to get some rides on the main coasters except for Ricochet and Vortex, which were not operating.


    On Saturday night we decided to brave the elements by staying in one of the wilderness cabins at the campground. Situated in the remote backcountry (i.e. behind the park’s scrap metal and wood salvage area), the rustic cabins had only the bare necessities: a roof, running water, electricity, heat, full-size fridge, microwave, stove, internet access, and a flat panel television with satellite HD. I mean, we were really roughing it out in the wilderness. I thought we would have to sharpen some spears and go hunting for food until we discovered that we were still close enough to civilization for Domino’s pizza delivery, which was quite convenient. Other highlights from the “Wilderness Experience” included an epic battle with 2 large hornets who found their way inside one of the bedrooms. Armed with only wet shoes and empty pizza boxes, we geared up to valiantly defend our rented territory and initiated combat. The battle proceeded from room to room for several hours, where, in the final moments, the bumbling insects cornered themselves near the ceiling and were beheaded for trespassing.


    Later at night the rain stopped and we ventured outside to explore the campground area where we stumbled upon a giant concrete block with a humongous cable coming out of it. It was about the size of a small car and had a steel shell around it. I’m guessing this is the counter-weight that was used to launch the Schwarzkopf shuttle loop coaster the park had in the 80s – I believe it was called White Lightning. Has anyone else seen this giant block? It’s right behind one of the pull-up camp sites that backs up to a fenced maintenance area. We tried to carry it back to our cabin, but it wouldn’t fit through the door.


    On Sunday we woke to sunshine and a bright dusting of Carolina pollen. The cabin was returned to its original state, and we headed back to the park for some more coasters. Carowinds has a pretty decent collection of rides, and several things worth noting for 2009:


    Carolina Cobra – I have nothing but good things to say about this ride, and I never thought I would say that about a Vekoma OR a boomerang. It fits nicely in that area of the park, looks great, rides smooth as glass, and the trains give you a much more open feel and better sight lines. The shoulder “vest” put a good deal of pressure on the top of my shoulders, but other than that it was very comfortable. I’ll be interested to see if the ride quality holds up over time with the new trains, but at the moment I’d say this is easily the most enjoyable and re-rideable boomerang I’ve ever been on.


    Hurler – I guess I was expecting very little of this one considering its twin at KD has gone to crap. Out of instinct, I strapped in and braced myself for 2 minutes of solid jack-hammering, but was pleasantly surprised at the smoothness and overall condition of this ride. I actually rode more than once to see if it was some sort of fluke, but no- it’s a pretty darn enjoyable coaster – especially towards the front of the train.


    Top Flight Afterburner – or whatever it’s called now – was running one mostly empty train on Saturday in the rain. It was closed on Sunday because the red train valleyed after the batwing (I guess during testing in the AM). Again, thank you Cedar Fair for staying open during Saturday’s monsoon, otherwise we would have missed out completely on the best coaster there.


    Vortex – Was closed the whole weekend with both trains parked. Not sure what’s going on here, but it wasn’t a big loss in my book. I loved this ride as a kid, and the layout is great, but my days of tolerating B&M standups are numbered.


    StealthHawk Assimilator – or whatever it’s called now – has one of the most impressive paint jobs I have seen in a while. I love the orange and dark blue. I guess it’s running the same as usual, but for some reason I had no desire to ride it more than once. Something about being chucked around in a prone position just isn’t fun any more. Maybe I’m getting old.


    Sunday afternoon we hit the road and drove back in much better conditions. Not a bad way to start out the season, and I’m looking forward to more trips with hopefully more pictures in the next few months.


    Poor Afterburn must have had a hangover and couldn't make it on Sunday. They had the area blocked off pretty good, but the train was sitting there all day



    Landscape shot


    It did have some issues throughout the day and we saw empty trains a lot


    Nighthawk is just a very photogenic ride, and looks great


    People all over the park were talking about the "new" coaster. It really seemed to be a hit and should do well for the park


    Trains were comfortable


    I'm telling you. Smooth as glass. No lie


    The placement and setup were great


    The new attraction. I can't tell if that "o" is supposed to be white in the middle or if they just didn't finish painting


    Mine train was also fun in the rain, but maybe a little more comfortable in the sun


    Vortex again was closed and lifeless all weekend. Both trains were on the track, so I'm not sure what was going on


    Towers are always fun


    The unexpectedly awesome Hurler with two train operation which is always nice.



    Sunday was better for pictures in the park. Cyclone seemed faster and smoother than what I remember. A decent little ride


    The entire area was foggy which added to the orange glow. It was pretty unreal


    Yea, the lighting was pretty sweet. About the only good shot I could get outside of the park was of Afterburn


    After the storm passed we were treated to some spectacular lighting conditions. Time to break out the camera


    Our rustic accommodations complete with a driveway, 3 trees, and our very own Cedar Fair signature trash can


    After hours of listening to "Holiday Road" on repeat the entire way, we arrive at Carowinds. Wait, what state are we in?

  5. Thanks for the comments, it's really cool to have this many photos to look back on, especially since it's been a few months now.


    Even though we stayed busy most of the time, a lot of people were taking this as a very relaxing vacation and sort of did the whole thing at a slow pace which is why I say it is a different kind of cruise. I think if I go on another one it will be to somewhere warm and with a small group of friends.


    And again, I really thought Seattle was awesome. Looks like a really cool place to live.

  6. That's cool, I knew some of the ships were similar but your picture looks more similar than I thought.


    The big glacier we went to was the Dawes - which we didn't even realize until after the fact because the water leading to the one we were supposed to see was iced over, and our ship changed course to go to this one instead.

  7. For the rest of the trip we stopped in Prince Rupert, British Columbia for a day, and then headed back to Seattle for a couple days before flying home.


    Our last day in Seattle was mostly sunny and clear, so we visited the Space Needle and spent some time on the waterfront and in some of the local parks. The next morning we flew back to VA and that was about it.


    It was a great trip overall, and last year was very busy for us, so we didn't get a chance to do many theme parks. This year we have plans to hit some new parks, so hopefully I will have more coaster photos in 09. Thanks for checking out the photos.


    Hope you enjoyed the photos




    And finally, we spent some time at Kerry park which had my favorite views


    The iconic Space Needle, which was actually very nice at the top


    Mt. Rainier is awesome. I want one of these on the East Coast



    We visited the aquarium to kill some time


    Back in Seattle on a very nice day


    The following day we spent at sea navigating through narrow passages. The weather in this area was mostly cloudy and rainy


    This would be a cool place to live



    More mountains


    In Prince Rupert we took a flight tour in one of these sweet planes and landed in the middle of nowhere



    Scenery around Prince Rupert


    lets go fishin


    Welcome to Canada, again


    I'm not sure what this thing is called, but it seems to have a personality


    Favorite shot of the boat




  8. The next couple days we spent on the ship sailing along the coast of Alaska and British Columbia.


    I chose to hang out with the icebergs in shorts, which was even more awesome


    Scenery around Dawes Glacier


    I wish we had the option to do this, it looked like a lot of fun



    Close up of texture of the glacier


    This was the largest chunk of ice that fell off, as we were leaving


    More global warming


    Global Warming in action. It was awesome to watch the glaciers calving, but the sound it made was the coolest part.


    Considering the glacier was fairly active, we got pretty close to it.


    Some of the cruise staff ventured out into the water to get some chunks of ice to make a sculpture.


    Approaching Dawes glacier in Southeast Alaska. It was cold


    There were other glaciers within the mountains that surrounded the whole area




    This is where the small cruise ship worked to our advantage. We were able to navigate around icebergs and rock formations en route to an awesome glacier



    Finally, some light to work with


    Sunrise at 4AM.

  9. The next couple days we spent in Juneau and Skagway, Alaska which were really awesome towns - especially Skagway. The small scale and local atmosphere were really unique.


    We went up to the top of Mt. Roberts in Juneau where there was still snow on the ground and people were skiing. The next day in Skagway we went to see the first glacier of the trip.


    Some local scenery around Skagway, which, again was the coolest town I've ever been to


    This is the train they use to clear the snow drifts from the railroad in the spring


    Hello, Canada


    Later in the day we took a side trip to the Canadian Yukon, which was also spectacular.


    More scenery around Skagway


    And we saw some huge whales off in the distance, but this is as close as we got to them. It was cool because the wildlife wasn't even supposed to be part of the excursion


    On the way back we stopped to check out the sealion orgy


    There were many seagulls around all the glaciers that we visited


    Davidson glacier in the distance


    The canoe was a little more work than I expected, but the glacier was awesome, and we got pretty close to it


    For the glacier tour we arrived in this little inlet where we then had to ride a bus, hike a mile through the woods, and then paddle a canoe over a mile to get to the glacier



    I thought the trees were very interesting




    Scenery around Juneau. Unfortunately we didn't see much sun the entire time



  10. My wife and I are both theme park enthusiasts, but after getting married last year we decided to do something different and go on a cruise to Alaska for our honeymoon. It was sort of a compromise for us because I wanted to go somewhere scenic, and she was more interested in the whole concept of floating hotels, so we eventually came to the agreement that taking a cruise into near freezing temperatures right at the start of summer was a great idea. Neither of us had been to any part of the West Coast (ever), so we also spent a couple days in Seattle before and after the cruise and really loved that area, despite the lack of coasters.


    I'm still learning a lot about photography and took a few thousand pictures on the trip. I've had some time recently to go through all of them and do a little editing with the better ones, so I figured I would share a few since I have not seen an Alaska trip report on here.



    We spent the first day cruising and getting used to life on the boat, which I thought was cool for the most part. From what I understand, a cruise to Alaska is very different from a warm-weather cruise. It's very quiet and low key, and there was definitely not a party-like atmosphere like many people would expect on a cruise. It worked out very nice for a honeymoon, but I talked with several other people who expected something different and were disappointed. For our situation, it was great.


    The second day we arrived in Juneau, Alaska where we went straight for the closest thing to a theme park we could find: the zip line tour, which is promoted as "Alaska's biggest thrill adventure." To say it was thrilling would be an understatement, but it was a really awesome and scenic area.


    Zip line POV.


    Scenery was awesome. Now if only they would build a 300 foot version of Boulderdash in this area, everyone would visit Alaska


    We also hiked across some makeshift bridges


    It was a pretty cool feeling to go flying through the trees just dangling by a harness


    They taught us several techniques for how to control your speed. This one is for slowing down, which I never used because I never got going very fast


    No coasters in Alaska - only ziplines in the rainforest


    This was the scenery outside for the entire first day so needless to say we stayed inside most of the time. That would change once we got to Alaska



    But the interior had some nice details


    The outside pools and rock climbing walls were closed almost the entire time because it was 40 degrees and windy. At times I was the only one on the deck taking pictures.


    Our ship was one of the smallest that Royal Caribbean operates, so that means no flow riders or golf courses.


    Seattle was cloudy and cold when we left, but still scenic

  11. Ouch, that is really depressing that two face is coming out. I was hoping they would be able to get some sort of better evacuation system in place so it wouldn't have such a bad reputation with the news media. Two face gave some really great rides on the end seats, and I'll definitely miss it. Wasn't it in the same general area as Python, the other shuttle loop coaster that came down? If they do build another coaster in the future, maybe they should put it somewhere else.


    What's even more depressing is that my defunct coaster list is growing about 10 times faster than my new coaster list right now

  12. ^ They re-designed the trains 3 or 4 times for Hypersonic but never got away from an air filled tire of some sort. I guess it couldn't be retro-fitted any other way.


    When a tire went flat, it didn't stop the train from completing the circuit. It would go around and make a horrible scraping noise. Also since it rode lower, the train would take out other parts of the track like limit switches and sensors.

  13. ^ Yea, S&S used pneumatic aircraft tires on Hypersonic and Dodonpa and actually marketed them as creating a "smoother" ride. Not only did it not work to make the ride smooth, but the tires also went flat frequently which caused the frame to drag and damage the trains even more.


    I believe that most PTC trains have small leaf springs on the rear road wheels for each car. I don't know if the purpose is strictly for dampening vibration, because the rear seats tend to be the most jarring, especially on the 3-bench cars.

  14. Nice report on the trip to CW Chuck... it was definitely a rare day in Virginia. I got about 9" or so at my house southwest of Richmond - but also lost power for 8 hours last night (not fun). Hope to be in Williamsburg in a few weeks for the start of the season and by then I'll be ready for some warmer weather.


    The scene at 6:30am. It snowed in RIC until mid afternoon.

  15. This is good news, I'm glad to hear there is still a chance the park will open this year. I still have a hard time believing that a new management group can come in and get the park ready for opening in just 3 months. Hopefully they can, but there are a lot of logistics to work out with staffing, licensing, marketing, operations, setting up vendors, troubleshooting max RPM, and probably a million other things that most people wouldn't think of... Memorial Day sounds like an ambitious time frame. I'm keeping my eye on this, and would love to get down there as soon they get things going.

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