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the_rock401

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Everything posted by the_rock401

  1. Where do you get shorts like that nowadays? I had a pair like that from Old Navy, but I bought them at least 5 years ago and they're so faded and worn out that they aren't fit for wear anymore. Paul "Would love to get another pair or two fo those" Miller
  2. Actually, the record is currently held by Insano (41 meters, 134.5 feet) at Beach Park in Fortaleza, Brazil.
  3. A brief TR from tonight... It's been almost a year since I've been out to the Mall of America, so I almost didn't recognize the place with the new theming. Met up with Jerry and timberskara, got a POP wristband, and promptly set out to get some serious ride time in. Kara was spot on in the first post of this thread: Spongebob is blah the first time you ride it. But it grows on you, and by the third time I rode it, it was an absolute ball. Next was Avatar. For balance purposes, I was hoping that Jerry and I would end up opposite each other on the wheel, but this wasn't to be. It didn't matter, as we got some good spin action. Kara insisted on trying the Splat-o-Matic (or whatever it's called, I'm not exactly well-versed on the phraseology of Nicklelodeon), and since I'm not that much taller than her, the restraints shouldn't be a problem. Due to my tall upper body, I had quite a bit of play in the shoulder harness. And when that thing started bouncing up and down, it had more kick than it's much larger counterpart in Shakopee. I'm not kidding. Next was the Fairly Odd Coaster. As it had been almost a year since I'd ridden it last, I was a bit out of practice at how to get it to spin. Even with Jerry and I on one side, and Kara on the other, we still couldn't get it to keep spinning into the station. Jimmy Neutron's Acme Brand Atom Crusher was still it's old self. Kara and I in one car, and Jerry balancing us out in the other. Token ride on Orange Streak to say hi to Cameron on the deck, then it was time for a bunch of rides on Spongebob, I think the final count was 6 or 7 during this semi-power ride session, semi because it was about 10 minutes to wait in the short line, ride, and go around again. Kara left a little after 8, and Jerry and I left around 8:30. One unintended consequence of the lift hill placement was being able to see the drop in the skylight reflection. For the un-seasoned coaster rider, a bit unsettling. Overall it was a good time re-acclimating myself with a little piece of Minnesota. Nice to meet you, timberskara. Hope to see you again soon somewhere. Paul "The time difference is a pain in the butt right now" Miller
  4. Raging Bull is great fun. However, y'all were going away from Viper as it started to rain, when you should have been going towards it. If there was ever a coaster that liked the rain, it's SFGAm's Viper. I rode it in a downpour back in 2006 and it blew me away.
  5. From the Twin Cities, Great America, and it's not even close. Distancewise, you can get to Great America in 6.5-7 hours, while it's 10+ hours of the worst driving you'll ever do to St. Louis. I know this from several friends at the U from suburban St. Louis. If you don't mind staying in Racine, you can get a room mid-summer for $50/night. Plus you also have the stuff at Wisconsin Dells (Noah's Ark, Mt. Olympus, etc.) to ride on the way down or back. Paul "Iowa sucks to drive across" Miller
  6. Nice TR! Anyone up for going out there mid-week this upcoming week? I'll be back in Minnesota Wednesday-Sunday (my flight from Seattle gets in too late on Tuesday to go then). Wednesday and Thursday nights would be the best options Paul "Born and raised Minnesooooooooooootan, don't ya know?" Miller
  7. I'm back in Seattle, after taking the 6 AM sodbuster out of LAX on Alaska. I'll have more dtails once I get home, but thanks to everyone for making yesterday such a fantastic day out on the Mountain. Paul "This is a multiple cup of coffee day" Miller
  8. This will be the third one of these things I've been to (with the first coming on a cold, rainy Sunday in 2005), and Chris, Robb, and SFMM management keep making this event better and better. Heck, in 2005, all it consisted of was an 8 AM ERT on X, Goliath, and Riddler. Great job, and thank you. Plus I've been on coaster withdrawl since July, when I moved to Seattle...
  9. With three trains aboard, Raging Bull is one of the biggest line-eaters I know. Even with half of the first queue mazes full, the longest it has taken me to get on the train is 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Nice photo TR. I just moved out here from Minneapolis, and I'm gradually getting to know the ins and outs of the city from my place over here in Bellevue. Paul "Seattle sure is a beautiful city" Miller
  11. The fair is indeed huge and has a great midway. The whole Minnesota State Fair experience is really something to behold. Basically, the whole state shuts down for a week and revolves around 300 acres in the Midway area of St. Paul. http://www.jerryd.net/mnsf/ Jerry Dorf, another coaster guy, took this great batch of photos from the 2006 MNSF. Paul
  12. SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2007 VALLEYFAIR FAMILY AMUSEMENT PARK SHAKOPEE, MINNESOTA Today, Saturday, the 12th day of May, A.D. 2007 was a big day for me. Not only does Renegade open at Valleyfair (I'll get to that in a minute), this morning I took my last final of my undergrad career. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am now in posession of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota. (insert token applause here). But enough with the semantics. This is a coaster forum, isn't it? This is the first Opening Day at VF since 2004 where the weather has vaugely resembled nice. And we had a new coaster opening. Guess what? Time to go to VF. I had processed my season pass, but I was stretched too thin to be buying a parking pass. So, I was relieved of $9 at the toll plaza upon arrival at the park this morning. The pass processing line was an hour long all day (I stood in it later for my parking pass). After I put on sunscreen, locked the car, and closed the door behind me, it occured to me that my keys were still in the starter. A call to AAA got me a break-in artist to get my keys out, and I'm finally into the park. As soon as I got into the park, I headed straight to Renegade. Waited about 25 minutes for the very back seat. It was AWESOME. Wasn't much kick airtime, some floaters, but it carried a lot of speed through. It was just a really fun ride. GCI has a winner here, folks. Operations were not great, but I write that one off as opening day jitters. Still, with the line back to just about the entrance, it only took half an hour to get into the train. Give this crew some work, and they'll be just fine. The crowds at Renegade weren't helping Excalibur, despite it's proximity. In actuality, Renegade is very well hidden from the rest of the park. The rest of the day consisted of riding the rest of the stuff at VF, and waiting out the line to get my parking sticker. Here's the photo TR. Something BIG happened in Xtreme Swing over the winter. No VF Opening Day is without rain... Very nice setting for Renegade. Another train of happy customers go out. It's RENEGADE! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a random dude with a camera! Is that what I think it is? The first nice weather on Opening Day since 2004.
  13. Up until now, Excalibur was the best coaster in Valleyfair. Not anymore. Renegade is AWESOME. Working on an Photo TR of Opening Day. Paul
  14. Dispatch times at SF Chicago are no better on Superman: Ultimate Flight.
  15. The TR from my visits to The Price is Right on Wednesday and Thursday, March 7 and 8, can be found here. FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2007 KNOTT’S BERRY FARM BUENA PARK, CALIFORNIA By the time I rolled into the Holiday Inn Buena Park on Thursday night, I was wiped out. It certainly did feel good to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after being at the mercy of Los Angeles County Transit for the previous two days. A hot shower and the bed felt good after two cold nights out on Fairfax. Jerry and Tim, two fellow enthusiasts from Minnesota, flew into town on Thursday and were greeted by near-deserted conditions at Knott’s. Thanks to our 2006 Valleyfair passes (mind you, they work until March 31), it cost us nothing to get in there. They had thoroughly abused everything at Knott’s yesterday, so by the time I got into the park at 10 AM that Friday morning with my Valleyfair pass, they had thoroughly abused everything there. We had breakfast at Denny’s across Beach Blvd. from the Holiday Inn, and then went down and entered the park. The park was had many school groups from the area present today. Tim pointed out that for the kids, this must be the field trip from hell, staring at the blacksmiths and the craft shops while millions of dollars in coaster firepower flex their muscles a few hundred feet away. First stop was Ghostrider, which was definitely not running like it was on the Friday of Solace 2005. It was ROUGH. The train was shuffling big time, and the trains were riding on the upstops over the top of the hills, a lot like Zeus at Mt. Olympus at Wisky Dells. I’m not sure where to start when it comes to working on Ghostrider. Another problem with how they were running Ghostrider is that at the open, the crowd was almost back to the stairs, but only one train stayed on. For that matter, one train stayed on for the entire day. I’m not sure if that changed during the evening Solace ERT, but it was 1 train all day. Lines in the station did improve later in the afternoon, but it never shrank below 15-20 minutes for a middle-row seat. Having had the stuffing beaten out of us on Ghostie, we opted to head back to get on Xcelerator when the time came for it to open. While waiting by the log flume, we talked with a big gentleman and kids from Arizona. They were in town with a church group, and they just so happened to be coaster fans as well. We would see this gentleman again at Magic Mountain on Sunday afternoon. The clock struck 11, and we proceeded directly to the X, as I would simply proceed to call it. Since we were ready when the rope dropped, we went straight to the front row of the train. Jerry didn’t even try to go with us, as he found out yesterday that he wasn’t going to get on the Xcel. After a couple of rides on the Xcel, we got our Vekoma ride on Boomerang, then wandered back to Silver Bullet to see if the line had died down any (they were to the bottom of the stairs at park open). Sure enough it had, and we hopped on Row 6. I still don’t understand why all the SoCalers are so down on Bullet. Ride was similar to two years ago. If anything, it was more forceful than it was the last time I was here. Over the course of the afternoon, I greyed out a couple of times in the helix. The afternoon would progress much like this. Ride Bullet a couple of times, back to the X, then Montezooma’s Revenge once or twice. Stop to use the bathroom, repeat. One particular ride on Ghostie really stuck in my craw. Towards the latter part of the afternoon, I was riding in the second row of the train. About 2/3 of the way up the lift hill, I look at the fella in front of me and see that he has whipped out his digicam for a POV video. Suddenly I get very nervous, because if anything happens to that camera, guess whose noggin is the first target of said camera? Yup, me. I spend most of the time focused on making sure that camera doesn’t come out of his hand, swearing that if it does, it will lead to public humiliation back at the loading platform. While the ride ended uneventfully, and he had the camera stashed away by the time the train got back to the platform, I stopped at the on-ride photo booth and saw that his POV run was caught on on-ride photography. If Knott’s does go after this guy, they’ll have the evidence to do it. It came to be around 5:00, and we ended the day with as many rides on Silver Bullet as we could physically handle. The crowd had thinned out noticeably, and towards the end of the hour, we were getting off the train, going down the exit stars, going back up the loading stairs, and getting on the train after it came back to the station 3 minutes later. I think we had about 12 rides over the last hour of operations, during which time it got mighty brisk in the LA basin. After the last train went out with us on it, we finally staggered back up to the front gate. We see the line of out-of-towners who had checked into the hotel and were ready to get into the evening session of ERT. We make our way out to the car, and then go over to the In-n-Out Burger of Buena Park. If you are a fan of hamburgers, and do not stop by an In-n-Out while visiting southern California, you deserve to have the full weight of the California Penal Code thrown at you. A double-double with fried onions is one of life’s simple pleasures, IMHO.  Throw in some French fries and you’re set. The only thing that wasn’t mentioned until later is that I forgot to get some fried onions and dressing put on the fries. But otherwise, I had nothing to complain about. After supper at In-n-Out, it’s back to the hotel to pick up my car for the drive to Valencia. Jerry and Tim opt to go up the I-5 through downtown Los Angeles while I decide to try out the bypass around downtown by way of the 91, 57, and 210 freeways. I must say, driving across the Los Angeles basin was exciting in a hair-raising sort of way. One minute the pack is going 50 across all four lanes plus the diamond lane. A few minutes later, you’re wound up to 80+ in the slow lane with cars blowing by you like you’re standing still. Anyhow, I missed the Magic Mountain Parkway exit (stupid lane swaps), and I pulled into the Hilton Garden Inn Valencia to find the other vehicle had just pulled in. I had traveled 25 miles further than they had, and the only reason why they beat me to the hotel was that I missed the Magic Mountain Parkway exit. The hell-on-wheels drive across Los Angeles wore out what little energy I had left from the park, and I was also glad to see the hot shower and a bed again. Zonked out hard, getting ready for a tourist run through Los Angeles tomorrow morning, then up onto the Mountain come afternoon. Paul
  16. Thanks for the tips everyone. I got on the 91 east after the I-5 junction and followed the recommendation of going to the 57, then up to the 210. Had no problems anywhere along the way. I must say that driving across L.A. was exciting in a hair-raising sort of way. One minute everyone across 4 lanes is doing 55, then a few minutes later you're wound up to 80+ in the slow lane with cars blowing your doors off. Like I said, I found it sort of fun, but I wouldn't want to do that every day. Paul "I can't drive 55" Miller
  17. Question for those of you who know the LA rush hour. How long is it going to take me to go northbound I-5 from Beach Blvd (Knott's) out to the Santa Clarita Valley? After Knott's on Friday afternoon (4-5 PM), I'm contemplating heading north from KBF, and I was wondering how long it's going to take to slog through the LA basin during prime rush hour. Also, does the traffic usually thin out by the time you start climbing the mountains past Santa Clarita? Paul "Trip planning mode" Miller
  18. Well, here it is. My fourth coaster trip since I started doing them this weekend two years ago, to Solace VI. Not doing Solace this year, but here are the plans: Tuesday night, appx 2300 PST: Arrive LAX Wednesday and Thursday: Attend tapings of "The Price is Right" at CBS Television City Friday: Knott's Berry Farm, other stuff Saturday: SFMM Sunday: West Coast Bash Any comments, complaints, concerns? Paul
  19. I'm going to Price on Wednesday and Thursday. I get into LAX on Tuesday night around 11, and plan to go straight to CBS Television City. I've been following things recently, and the lines have been insane. Reports are that those arriving after 4 AM have been turned away. With spring breaks starting, expect that cutoff time to get earlier and earlier. Paul
  20. Soren, congratulations! When do you go back to Germany? Paul "Will be at West Coast Bash as well" Miller
  21. All the credits at SFGAm can be done in one day WITHOUT any FlashPasses. In fact, if you do them in the right order and are there at the open, you can get them done by 2 PM.
  22. Not sure if this deserves it's own thread, so I'll put it in the SFMM discussion thread. Is the parking situation at SFMM similar to that of SFGAm? By this I mean do you need to pay $15 each trip through the toll plaza? Also, is there a 15-minute parking area where a season pass can be processed? I ask this because I'm coming out on Solace/WCB weekend, and I may be going through the gate a couple of times. Paul
  23. The week before, actually. Coaster Craze has been an event that has drawn a nice-sized crowd. Heck, the lunch itself was worth the price of admission. The addition of Renegade might be the thing that blows Coaster Craze wide open as far as popularity goes. Paul
  24. Minnesotans would call that an annoyance. We got 4 inches of snow here in Minneapolis on Sunday night, and the previous evening Iowa City was iced in. But I can tell it was a real productive day at the elementary school
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