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Jim S.

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Everything posted by Jim S.

  1. That's funny, rumors on another site have the Log Jammer coming down. I wonder if somebody's mixing up the names or what. I can't see them getting rid of a flume with the number of riders it has. On the other hand, while Gold Rusher was nothing special, I hope they don't turn it into another Garfield ride like the Old Mill.
  2. The funky chain drive on SDL must be a Schwarzkopf thing. The other local Schwarzkopf, Laser at Dorney Park, has a weird lift arrangement that looks like nothing else I've seen other than the lift hill on the German wild mouse model I built last winter (except I hope Laser's cars are attached with chain dogs rather than magnets, and it has an anti-rollback system.) The funky supports on Great Bear are due to the state department of environmental protection's overzealous refusal to allow anyone to excavate in even the most insignificant watercourse on their own property.
  3. Monday was my girlfriend's company picnic at Hersheypark, so we got in for $23 each. This was also not just our first weekday trip to Hersheypark, but our first trip on a day when the public was paying the full admission price, so we were expecting smaller crowds than at Easter and Halloween, but from the length of the lines for the coasters it didn't seem like it. We certainly got our money's worth, but we're glad we didn't pay the full price. And now, the rides. Stormrunner: line down the stairs shortly after opening, later in the day a 1-hour wait for the front seat and 30-40 minutes for other seats. Both trains running, but the next-to-last row on the left side of the station was blocked off. It seemed to be running faster than during the off-season, judging by the forcefullness of the inversions. We rode the front seat for the first time and it's a whole different ride, with nothing blocking the airflow it seems twice as fast at launch time. The back seat gave more airtime than I thought possible for a ride with tight restraints. The only flaw with this ride, as always, is that it's over too fast for the amount of time you wait. Sidewinder: same snake, different day. Only rode it once even though it was only a station wait and sometimes even went out with half the train empty. Evidently its reputation is spreading. I actually didn't think it was as rough as before, but maybe I'm just getting used to it. Wildcat: to our surprise, the line was only slightly down the path from the station, and moved well. Dispatches seemed a little faster than last year. This was our first time with the new trains. The first thing we noticed was that they chirped terribly on the brakes. I thought that maybe they never got the whole track regauged, since they had trouble completing the course the first time they were tested, until I noticed that there seemed to be quite a number of new bolts through the track in that area. Our front seat ride in the morning was a lot smoother than last year, but also seemed a lot slower. The whole character of the coaster seemed changed, and not for the better. (We like wood coasters to feel like they're out of control, as long as they're not actually painful.) We gave it another try in the afternoon in the hopes that it had warmed up, and this time we rode the back seat. The sense of speed was better, and it was rougher than the front seat but not as intense as last year -- maybe similar to the front seat of Twister. The padding helped a lot with smoothing out the shaking. I just can't get over having to go to the back seat of a wooden twister on purpose to get a more intense ride. Lightning Racer: might be my new favorite of Hershey's wood coasters. Lots of laterals and airtime without being rough, the most bizarre and fun layout anywhere around here, and the best part, the line hardly gets out of the station due to running two trains per side. I noticed here, without the weird noises from the brakes, that they automatically pumped in very short bursts to bring the trains into the station very smoothly. Have they always done this, or did GCI reprogram them? One definite change from last year: the trains seemed evenly matched. Wild Mouse: consistently the best around, having a reasonable line due to no seatbelts and giving a very forceful ride due to minimal braking. I noticed more brakes firing this time than before, but it seemed as intense as ever if not more so. (Maybe I'm just getting old.) New for this year: it gives a great view of the Boardwalk to those who don't mind looking down from the hairpin turns. Comet: we had passed over it at opening to get a quick ride on Stormrunner, and by the time we worked our way back to the front of the park at lunchtime the entire queue area was full and multiple people were in the line selling drinks so it probably wasn't moving very well. So we passed over it again, and even at the end of the day half the queue area was still full. No Comet ride for us today. Sooperdooperlooper: This time it had the longest line we had ever seen (usually there isn't one). We took one ride. The brake before the helix didn't slam on like it sometimes does, but it was still on. Coal Cracker: This was our first time on Hershey's flume. It was a nice long meandering ride before the drop, and the jump at the bottom of the drop was fun, but then we were right back at the station. Like most flumes, too short for the amount of time you have to wait on a hot day, and it broke down once while we were in line too. But if this is the last Arrow flume with a jump, I'm glad I rode it. Great Bear: The Great Bear broke down just before we got to the station, and it seemed like they were emptying out the (very long) queue. We decided to wait at the entrance, and when it got running again a few minutes later, we went in and found out that not everybody had left the inner queue. It was still the shortest wait for a Great Bear ride we would have all day. Later it got to at least 40 minutes for a front seat and almost 30 minutes for other seats. We decided to go for a front seat ride at night and I'm glad we did, because the darkness and coolness added to the intensity. It had been so long since we rode Great Bear that I had ranked Talon much higher, but in the front seat I now rank them about the same. Talon has nice helixes but Great Bear seems to have better rolls, with so many apparent obstacles. Great Bear also has that stupendous roar that other parks muffle with sand in the supports. Trailblazer: we didn't even bother checking to see if the line was short enough to wait in. Sooperdooperlooper is like a mine train with a loop, so there's no reason to ride this. Roller Soaker: we had never seen this in operation, so we walked over that way to check it out. It was late enough in the day by the time that we did that we decided not to get soaked that day. There was one thing in the park that bothered me, other than the unexpected long lines. That was the condition of the men's bathrooms. I went in one as soon as I got into the park shortly after opening and it looked and smelled like it hadn't been cleaned from the day before. Others suffered from lesser degrees of odor, one from non-flushers and one from a big sweaty guy changing out of his water park clothes (I thought I saw locker rooms for that.) I don't know what happened -- Hershey used to have about the cleanest bathrooms I had ever seen in a public place. There are signs in all of them saying that if you're unhappy with the condition you should inform security, but there never seems to be security around when you want them. I could've stopped at the office on the way out, but I figured that I get to Hershey unfrequently enough that I'd just be wasting my time.
  4. I don't remember the "no snapping" sign being in a prominent place lately, usually it sits off to the side where you can barely see it and is only a suggestion, as is the "you must have 2 riders per car" sign. The best thing to do is to watch for a while and see if anybody else is snapping. (This can be a problem if there don't happen to actually be any experienced riders in the crowd.) Of course, it's always possible they've had someone force a change of policy since I was there last. I'm glad you gave the HSTC a try, everybody should do it once. I've seen other portable kiddie coasters with a similar layout of bunny hops, but not with operators so enthusiastic about ramming the train over them Hopefully you rode the front seat of Twister, it seems to usually keep the shaking to a tolerable level. BTW, your "death cage" ride used to be a regular feature at local carnivals (well, not that particular unit I hope), which is scary if you've seen the sort of operators who used to be a regular feature at local carnivals.
  5. That Wilde Maus is a commercial model (that one is discontinued, the current version is slightly different) from a German company called Faller. If put together carefully, yes they do work.
  6. The chain is on. As of last Sunday, they hadn't started either of the transfer switches yet. If anyone gets there this week, please check. They're going to be where the first lift meets the helix and where the bottom of the helix meets the second lift, and they're the only unfinished sections of track other than the transfer track itself.
  7. Better lighting angle this morning, definitely a structure in that corner. Also work going on on the 2nd lift hill, it looks like they're putting teflon or something in the bottom of the chain trough.
  8. Does anyone else think that on the webcam, at the back left corner of the station, it looks like there's a semicircular platform as if that's where the operator's console is going to be? Twister has it in the same place, and last week it looked as if there was a big electrical cable in this spot. (It's hard to tell what anything is on those cameras though.) I hope that having the station entrance in the front doesn't lead to the problem it does on El Toro: having the front-seat line blocking the entrance. I have a feeling the best seat is going to be at the back, but I'm sure there will be a line for the front. (I mean in normal operation; obviously at opening the station will be packed for every seat.)
  9. What bothers me is that Great Adventure hasn't bothered to note on its website that Chiller is down indefinitely.
  10. A little light comes downward from the lights, but not much.
  11. New month, new pics... Gate and queue: Brake hardware: Air compressors for brakes: Lift motor: Chain pulley: Half of a car (no seat or restraint): Third lift with runway lights:
  12. My favorite paint job is any mouse cars that are made to look like mice. Dorney's, for example. My least favorite that I've seen in person is Lakemont's Skyliner, in that it's all falling off. It's pretty sad when a 105-year-old coaster looks more solid. (Luckily, it rides much better than it looks.)
  13. If you don't get the front seat, go for seat 3. (In fact I think 3 is better than the front sometimes.) 12 has great airtime but you tend to bounce around a lot more than you do in the front. The only jerky spot in the front, if it happens, is when the train has to deal with the turnaround immediately after popping out of the double-down-double-up.
  14. We started out for our first visit to Six Flags Great Adventure knowing that El Toro had gone down for unknown reasons on Sunday, but hoping that they would have fixed it in the past two days. (Six Flags website was of no help -- they don't even note that Chiller is down, and that's been since what, mid-June?) When we arrived just after opening, it was still listed as down at the gate, and we had decided that Kingda Ka wouldn't be a priority, so we started at the other side of the park intending to get the smaller number of coasters out of the way first. We didn't even bother walking over to look at or take pictures of Chiller. When the park announced that the rolls would be replaced by "humps", little did they know that the ride would truly be, in the vernacular of Joss Whedon's Firefly, humped. I don't know what the problem is, but at some point they're going to have to either fix it for good or tear it down. When Chiller is down, do people even visit whatever else is in that corner of the park? There didn't seem to be a lot of traffic in or out. First up, then, was Batman: The Ride. This looked pretty similar to a mirror image of Dorney's Talon, but with a highly-themed station. I'm not a fan of themeing, and I would have hated to see how hot the fully enclosed station got later in the day. Since Talon is closer and cheaper, we only rode Batman once, in the front row. The landscaping, if you can call it that, was ugly, but it was nice hearing that B&M roar that Talon doesn't have and it was interesting turning to the left since both Talon and Great Bear turn to the right. It also seemed to be smoother than Talon. (It's slower, which I didn't know at the time, and shorter than I thought.) Next we went to Skull Mountain. This is the only dark coaster we've been on other than Kennywood's Exterminator. This is no Exterminator, but it seemed to be doing some pretty tight helixes at a pretty good speed for a small coaster. The big problem is that it was completely dark, there was no scenery whatsoever. Is there supposed to be? After a quick look in the direction of the Road Runner Railway, which required no time at all to decide that we weren't that desperate, it was time for Nitro. Even though we didn't hit it right at opening and it only had 2 out of 3 trains running, the line wasn't yet very long for one of the best coasters in the park. We had been on coasters this big before without OTSRs, but they had had conventional trains. These were sideless, and in the outside seats they might as well have been floorless. In addition I ended up in the left outside seat, which is the side that the first and seemingly the majority of the banked portions leaned toward. In the front row this was pretty effective. From the first drop I was as scared as I was the first time riding Stormrunner, but with the addition of only having the weird lap restraint to hold on to. Then came the bunny hops, which were also effective with no seatbelts under the weird restraints -- and I normally hate seatbelts. Heading across the back of the park, we thought we might as well up our coaster count with Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train -- we've been on worse. But we saw no train on the track for so long that we didn't even think it was running. When we passed the station, we saw the problem -- it looked like they were loading the ridiculously long train (seriously, is this a record?) one seat at a time, by individually measuring kids and then walking them back to their car! Since there was more than a trainload of people in line and we had better coasters ahead, we decided that we weren't desperate enough for this one either. The next coaster we came to was the Runaway Mine Train. There was no line so we rode it. This wasn't a bad mine train, it kept its speed up and the little turn over the water was a nice touch. It certainly beats Hershey's Trailblazer. Next up was Medusa. At first I thought this was just a bigger version of Dorney's Hydra, minus the JoJo Roll but plus the roar. Walking through the hammerhead was a nice touch. Then I saw the vertical loop. It was a good ride, but it vibrated a little more than Hydra everywhere except in the loop, and I didn't experience the little spots of backseat airtime that Hydra has on a good run. A plus: the line wasn't bad. A minus: it's in an out-of-the-way corner of the park. Maybe there's some connection here. After getting out of that corner and walking around the end of the still not running El Toro, where we did spot some workers walking the track, we went to Rolling Thunder. At random we entered the right side. Earlier we had noticed the trains racing. By the time we got through the line for the front seat, they were no longer racing. In fact, they had two trains on the right side and one on the left side. Not only that, but they weren't even managing to dispatch the trains simultaneously when there did happen to be two in the station at roughly the same time. They were having huge difficulties, worse than anything else we'd ride all day, getting the trains locked and checked on a timely basis. Several times we saw one train stopped on the lift, but they sent it along either before or after the other one caught up. We were puzzled at the time, but now I realize that given the delays in the station they were probably waiting for the other train to clear the block. Still, I don't know why they couldn't have taken the opportunity to give them a race. As for the ride itself -- ugh. The right side, in the front seat, was very smooth. So smooth in fact that there was no airtime to speak of. It was less than the Hershey Comet on a bad day! So when we went to do the left side, we figured we'd try the back seat and see if that could salvage the experience. After a long wait, which included a kid in the Flash Pass line asking the attendant if it went upside down, we boarded. I left lots of space in my seat belt in hopes that something would happen. What happened was that the attendant pulled the belt tight. Evidently my PPP shirt wasn't going to get me any enthusiast treatment. (Joke.) So then we got out on the track, and this time there was airtime. Unfortunately there was also hammering. There was more hammering than the Flying Turns construction crew. There was so much hammering I don't know why they don't re-theme the ride to Woody Woodpecker, given their Looney Toons fetish. In fact at least half the ride was continuous hammering. It was very exciting, but if I was any older than I am it would've probably been very painful. We were to end up riding two fiascos back-to-back, but only after seeing El Toro testing. So we walked over to the entrance, and we were told that it would be opening later but they didn't know when. Rather than wait, we decided to go for one more credit. We didn't want to wait in Kingda Ka's line because it didn't seem to be pushing out trains very fast at the moment, and we weren't keen on the idea of a flying coaster, so that unfortunately left The Great American Scream Machine. Walking over to it, we saw a lot of people heading for El Toro but we figured we'd be smarter than them and not wait all afternoon. It took a while to get to GASM because there was a lot more stuff on the ground than there was on the map -- in fact we somehow completely missed Kingda Ka's station, where we wanted to check the line length! This park has taken the #1 spot from Hershey in the "how do I get to the station of this ride that's right in front of me" category. The map from their website, which I was carrying folded up on a letter-sized sheet in my pocket, shows the Plaza del Carnaval, Golden Kingdom, and Boardwalk as being far more open than they really are, and the map given to us at the park, while it shows a few more shops and whatnot, is far too big to carry around and also looks like it was drawn by a child. I can't imagine why Amusement Media Inc. has a monopoly on drawing park maps, because I've seen too many that don't work for me. Then while we were finally most of the way to the station in GASM's line we saw people riding the bull. We decided not to bail out but to just get in the shortest line in the station. Everybody says that this ride is rough, but we weren't worried because we've been on other rides that people say are rough and they didn't bother us too much. We probably should've worried that the loop supports shook while we were in line. We probably should've worried that the loops looked random. We probably should've worried that the train shook while travelling on the straight and level track in the station. But no, we rode. OK, you all win, this one is rough. Continuous headbanging. Not exactly painful, but it took all the enjoyment out of the ride. So we went back to El Toro. The line was up to the 90-minute sign, but we rode twice with an hour wait each time. This coaster really lives up to its reputation! Completely smooth, great negative G's (especially in the back seat of course) that made me not care about the extremely tight restraints, fast banking changes. The 76-degree drop went so fast that it seemed as if it was straight down. The only thing wrong was that large groups of Flash Pass users kept showing up, which made the line go slower than it should have. They were running two trains, but with a moderate number of delays to tighten someone's restraints or remove a loose object. (Not as long as the other wooden coaster though, which was just stupid.) They didn't get all the loose objects, because a hat and a pair of glasses came off while we were watching the excellent view of the second drop from outside the station. While we were waiting for our second ride, they announced that if anybody at the end of the line was interested there was only a 5-10 minute wait at Kingda Ka. So after we got through the line, we headed over there, again having trouble finding it. Although the line wasn't insane, it certainly wasn't a quick wait anymore, and we wanted to get as many more Nitro and El Toro rides as we could, so we backtracked all the way out of the Golden Kingdom, pausing to view the tigers, then headed across the park to the Panda Express to eat. After our meal, we went to Nitro. We rode the back row three times, with huge airtime. (As with El Toro, I'll make an exception to my rule that airtime has to involve actually getting clear of your seat.) I mostly got over my fear of the banking, but the first drop was still scary with its intensity. They had all three trains running now, and the operators were enthusiastic. The line started at at least the 60 minute mark, but the actual wait time, except for the front, averaged 30 minutes. I would've been interested in a nighttime Nitro ride, but we didn't want to cut into our El Toro time, so we headed back there after walking by the carousel. Not only did we think it was far too small for such a large park, the paint on the animals was in terrible condition. I know a lot of people must ride it (although there didn't seem to be too many at the moment), but for some reason nobody else's looks like that. Back at El Toro, people were still packing in continuously, but dispatches seemed a little faster and the line was down to the 60-minute mark. It took about that long for the front seat, which we hadn't rode before because we were happy to be able to ride at all, and then only about 30 minutes for front-of-the-back-car rides. The operators were super-enthusiastic, getting cheers from returning riders and beating anything I've ever seen by far except the Phoenix veterans (who have much easier jobs!) and the unbelievably maniacal Steel Force crew I saw a few weeks ago but didn't report on yet. (Who also have easier jobs.) They were trying to keep people moving by telling them to get rid of any loose objects, and telling them to move to the back rows if they weren't waiting for the front (you enter the station at the front row, which is stupid given how long the line for that row gets outside the railings) and saying that the ride was better in the back anyway. (The airtime certainly is, and when the drop is that steep you can still get a good view without being in the front, thanks to the high seats!) High points were having one of the crew, on seeing my PPP shirt, say that he had been there 8 years in a row, hearing another one later ask him if he had seen my shirt, hearing the guy at the microphone say that El Toro was better than Kingda Ka "because it works", and last but certainly not least, seeing two guys in the front row do a Homer Simpson and flash their chests at the camera. On the way out of the park, another staff member yelled "Love the shirt! Go Phoenix!" -- so it looks like it deserves its #4 spot in last year's Internet Wood Coaster Poll.
  15. I'm still confused as to how two seats are going to fit on each chassis -- they look too short to have any leg-room. But yes, it will definitely be individual seats, no sitting between someone's legs because with only 10 seats per train they want to be able to use all the seats. I think I read that there are going to be six wheels per car. At least some of them are going to be casters: Yes, they've installed stops to keep the casters from reversing themselves, after trying it without them. That out-of-place-looking bit of curved trough before the station is because they were afraid the cars wouldn't negotiate a 90-degree turn on an ordinary track. On another board someone said that lift testing is supposed to take place August 1st. That means they've only got a week to get three chains and two motors (one is in place) hooked up. I still don't know when the track is going to be finished. The storage track switches at the top and bottom of the helix are waiting on the final car design so they get the curvature right. I'm hoping it opens before PPP so I can get a ride before the crowd gets ridiculous. It would be ideal if it would open in August so I could go on a weekday, but I don't know if they can pull that off. Finally, am I the only one who doesn't think Twister is too rough? The only spot that really bothers me is the turn into the helix. The turn out of the helix didn't used to be great either, but they rebuilt it last winter and it seems OK now. I'm not sure whether there's enough room to reprofile the entrance turn though.
  16. Arriving at the park just after opening, we headed to Exterminator first because we had heard the line gets ridiculous. There was hardly any line at all so far and we got two rides quickly. It was the best spinning mouse I've ever been on due to the darkness and the decorations. From reading old trip reports though, there were some scenes that either weren't working or had been removed. The second half of the ride was just a huge dark area, although spinning in the dark was nice. Next we went to Phantom's Revenge. This was a great ride whose only problem was that it was too short. The peak speed is higher than the one launched coaster I've been on, Stormrunner! The train came back surprisingly fast for the length of the track. This was also our largest drop so far, beating Steel Force because of the terrain. The station provides a great view of Thunderbolt, the river, and the steel plant across the river: On to Thunderbolt, which didn't live up to its hype for me. It wasn't a bad ride, but the airtime and laterals didn't seem at all to be as extreme as everyone says they are. While we were in the area, we rode the Gold Rusher, a mine-train-themed haunted house with cars that are almost like coaster cars. The decorations were well done but we didn't find it at all scary, and it wasn't totally dark. After a stop for Potato Patch fries, which were great but the extreme heat and humidity of the day kept us from having a big enough appetite to finish them, we started across the back of the park. The railroad was a nice long ride in the shade with narration of local and park history. Then it was time for the log flume. From the queue entrance we couldn't see how long the queue was (we should have guessed, due to the heat), but we waited it out. This was a nice flume that splashed a lot without soaking, and it was also the first flume we'd seen that has an uphill coasting section! The Racer was next. This wasn't a high-thrill coaster and the seat belts seemed unnecessary, as did the big "Do Not Stand Up" sign at the crest of the lift -- the first coaster we've ridden with one of those. But it was cool riding a Moebius track, and at least one person while we were there was surprised about coming back to the opposite side of the station. Completing the coaster circuit, we came to the Jackrabbit. This too has gained seat belts, although here at least there's one moment when you could argue for them. In the front seat we weren't too impressed with the fabled airtime on the double-down, but in the back seat it's a whole different story. Anyone who doesn't wait for the back of the train is missing the whole reason to ride this. Too bad it only has one hill like that. Underneath that hill, I noticed about a dozen lost hats that had been lined up on display on one of the supports, and recently-lost stuffed animals scattered around. Next we rode the carousel, which in addition to the unremarkable horses has a large lion saddled with an antelope hide: Then we rode the Kangaroo, a unique ride where individual cars are pulled around a track with a hill and a drop, giving a nice bounce: The historical sign calling it the last Norm Bartlett ride is wrong though since Knoebels resurrected a Looper. Since we were in that corner of the park we went to Garfield's Nightmare, which had an entrance that was hard to find until we realized that we were meant to follow the paw-prints on the ground. This is a dark boat ride built in the old days by PTC. The tape loop that plays in the queue gives the history of it. Unfortunately, all the previous themeings of it sounded a lot better than what it is now. You're given diffraction-grating glasses that make fluorescent orange elements of the cartoons that line the walls pop out, which is trippy and the only interesting part of the whole experience. After re-rides on Racer and Jackrabbit since we planned on spending the rest of our day on the good coasters on the opposite end of the park, I rode the Cosmic Chaos, their new Zamperla Disk'o with an oversized track and extensive alien themeing. A nice touch was that the tape loop was done in the voice of an alien, with sound effects and scrambled speech. While I was in line, someone took offense at the part that informed riders that the aliens aren't responsible for loose objects sucked into a wormhole, yelling "There are no wormholes!" This would be only the beginning of the oddball happenings for the afternoon. My girlfriend didn't ride, which was probably just as well because the alien restraint system doesn't seem to be designed for species with mammary glands: About the time that picture was taken, someone to the left of me screamed "Ow, my titties!" much to the amusement of that side of the ride. Heading back to Phantom's Revenge, we took a detour so I could ride Pitt Fall, my first full-size drop tower and quite a large one at that. This was a little scary even without the inevitable in-line conversation about Kentucky Kingdom. Phantom's Revenge by then had grown a long line, due to still only running one train. By the time we had got into the station and opted to ride the back seat because the front seat line was so long it was almost blockading the entrance, a thunderstorm was spotted and they shut the ride down. Thunderbolt continued to operate until it got closer, then it went down too. While we were waiting, the nearby Turtle, a Tumble Bug, continued to operate in the rain until apparently the track got too slick for the cars to pull themselves over, which led to comments over the PA system from the Phantom staff: "Way to go, Turtle! They valleyed the Turtle! Who's working over there?" Eventually the storm moved far enough away that they reopened Thunderbolt, so we headed over there. About the time we got there, the rain started again but they kept running, only loading half the train. After a long wait we got a wet-track ride, which seemed a lot more forceful than our ride earlier in the day. Finally after the rain quit again Phantom's Revenge opened. When we got into the station, heading for the back seat again, the people in front of us were talking about a previous rider losing a bag of marijuana out of his pocket while climbing out of the car. (The cars have a weird lap bar that makes it awkward to get in and out of the seats.) While they were debating whether he would have the guts to come back looking for it, the police showed up to collect the bag, leading to comments of "Great, now the cops are going to smoke all his weed." After two great back-seat rides, we decided that we weren't going to wait in that long line again (it was about half an hour, and it was getting late), so we went and rode Exterminator again twice, with still a short line but lots of line-jumping by families trying to get their kids organized, before leaving. In light of recent events at other parks, I should remark that Phantom's Revenge had the most safety-conscious operators I've ever seen. Even while the ride was shut down, the crew on the station floor wouldn't cross the track without clearance from the man at the controls, and they insisted that someone be present on the entrance and exit sides of the platform at all times.
  17. I could possibly see that, if they can do both of the storage track switches as side friction track instead of trough. I'm not sure about the one at the bottom of the helix, because so far I haven't seen how they're going to smooth out any of the trough-to-track transitions.
  18. I heard someone in line for the Flyers behind me (the Flyers give an excellent view of the construction) say that one of the workers told them it should be done by the end of this month. I'm a little skeptical.
  19. Wow, I never had any pain at all on Stormrunner. I thought it was pretty smooth for something so fast. I'm 5'10" but skinny.
  20. All sorts of things happened last week at Kennywood. (Full trip report later.) First, I was riding the Cosmic Chaos, their Zamperla Disk'o, and when it got up to speed a girl a few seats away from me yelled "Ow, my titties!". About half the passengers heard her and laughed. (In fairness, it really doesn't look like the restraints were designed with girls in mind.) Second, I was in line for Phantom's Revenge when it was shut down due to lightning. I decided to wait it out in the station and I was watching the storm go by when I heard one of the ops say, within range of the microphone, "Way to go, Turtle! Who's over there anyway? Anthony?" And when somebody asked him what he was talking about, "They valleyed the Turtle!" The Turtle is a Tumble Bug, and since it was low to the ground they had kept it running despite the rain until the track apparently got too slick for the cars to pull themselves over. I got tired of waiting for Phantom's Revenge and went to ride Thunderbolt, which restarted while it was still raining, then when I came back to PR the guy in front of me in line for the back seat was talking about a previous rider dropping a bag of weed on the way out of the car, and whether he would have the guts to come back looking for it. Then the cops showed up to pick up the bag, and the guy said "Great, now the cops are gonna smoke all his weed!"
  21. The first time I rode Sooperdooperlooper, I thought there was no way it was going to even do the loop going as slow as it was. The trimming is more than annoying, it transforms the ride into nothing more than a mine train. You might as well ride Trailblazer. (No, don't bother riding Trailblazer.) On the other hand, if you ever do get a SDL ride with no trimming, the helix at the end is actually pretty strong for an old coaster. (But then the main brake will remind you of Sidewinder.) Any idea what was wrong with LR or how long it was down? Earlier this year there seemed to be a lot of trip reports mentioning breakdowns on their GCI coasters, but then it seemed to settle down.
  22. I was just there tonight (Friday, 5/15/07). In one day they put up all the supports for the track from the top of the third lift to the bottom of the first lift. There has also been huge amounts of conduit put in everywhere since my last visit. I've put up a few more pictures at http://www.pbase.com/jim_shaffer/ftc The pics aren't in chronological order, but rather in roughly the order the elements of the ride will be encountered. I've tried to update the captions somewhat to reflect what views are out of date.
  23. Lots of activity on the webcams today. The station footers are finally uncovered after two days of severe thunderstorms and there are lots of workers in the area, and there's something being done on the lift hills but I can't tell what yet. Update: It looks like they've poured a large concrete slab around all of the station footers (part of it was done before). I'm not sure what that's about because I thought the station was going to be above ground level. Maybe it's for maintenance work on the station. There's now a piece of conduit or something going all the way up the 2nd lift. I'm not sure what's going on at the first lift, but hopefully it's preparations for track.
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