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Photo Trip Report: Crow Flies At Midnight


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I'm probably one of the biggest Indiana Beach fan-boys around, so don't expect these pictures to be bias or anything..

 

This was the best event I have ever attended! Indiana Beach has been doing their late-summer coaster weekend now for four years, and each year they manage to out-do themselves with creativity, fun, and of course ride-time. We had night and morning rides on all the coasters, as well as the wonderful Den Of Lost Thieves, and FREE Fascination!

 

The event this year was themed around detectives and looking for clues, etc. In the welcome packet we received some paper clues that would take us on a little treasure hunt all over the park, riding rides and going into stores. At the registration center they were playing appropriately themed music, like the Peter Gunn theme, as well as the themes from Bond and Pink Panther. This music was also played (throughout the whole park) during the Saturday morning ride time on Superstition Mountain, and Splash Battle.

 

I arrived at The Beach on Friday afternoon and went to register. The Ballroom was was all decked out for us, which is where we also had dinner. I'm always impressed with the diverse (and quality) of the food served by Indy Beach at these events. The dinner on Friday was themed to Chinese take-out .. I'm not sure how this connects to the theme of the event, but the food was great. Complete with Fortune Cookies that had custom fortunes!

 

Usually at Coaster events, the parks hand out wrist-bands that allow people to enter rides etc. Indiana Beach likes to go one better .. this year we received buttons to wear, and last year (which was themed to to going back in time) we were given working digital watches.

 

The first ride time (Cornball and Lost Thieves) didn't begin until 11:30pm on Friday night, which meant we had the whole evening free to enjoy the park. We were really able to ride a lot since there weren't a lot of people around. Indiana Beach looks amazing at night .. in fact if you've never been there at night, you've never really been there.

 

The location of rides along the boardwalk is pretty great, and many rides are enhanced by this location. The YoYo swings you out over the water, and we even got one ride while the free water-show was taking place right below our feet. It rocked!

 

An unofficial competition was run on Friday night for the highest score on Lost Thieves, I think the winner scored close to 900 points. Lost Thieves is a really great Sally dark ride, and somehow I still manage to notice new stuff each time I ride.

 

After ERT on Friday night, we went back to my friends camp-site and sat by a roaring fire drinking home made (and strong) margaritas. We were out there until almost 3am, when it started raining (good thing too, otherwise we'd stay out there all night!).

 

Saturday morning started out with ERT on Lost Coaster, and Splash battle. Lost Coaster is an interesting way to wake up after only 4 hours sleep!

 

During the afternoon on Saturday we rented an 8-person speed-boat and went out onto the lake. We had tubes and skis and even tried a wake-board (unsuccessfully). Lake Shafer is quite spectacular to both see from the park, and experience from a boat. In previous years we have rented Jet Skis (waverunners - whatever), and it's a terrific way to escape the heavy Saturday afternoon crowds. I didn't try the water-skis, but my friend Frank was able to get up after not skiing for many, many years. He stayed up for quite some time too!

 

Being on the lake is really fun, and even without the park it would be a wonderful location. Shafer is lined with houses, most of which have decks and docks. I need to win the lottery and pick one of these up .. I doubt they're even very pricy at the moment, but it would be a wonderful investment.

 

After three hours on the water on Saturday, we were all famished. Frank had spotted this BBQ joint down the road so we decided to try it out. The food was great, I had the Ribs and Sausage combo (I can't say no to a good sausage!). The beer selection however, was absolutely horrid..

 

Before ERT on Saturday night we all met for a free cruise on the Shafer Queen. To see the park, at night, from the lake is really spectacular. It's almost romantic! (However being around the unwashed coaster-geek masses does negate this romantic air!). It's a wonderful thing for the park to do for us because not only does it look cool, but the Shafer Queen is the largest regularly scheduled paddle-wheel boat in Indiana.

 

Saturday night ERT was on Cornball and Hurricane. Both of which were running well, in fact Cornball was running better than it has in years .. the air-time was genuinely scary in parts, it was impossible not to laugh your tits off. Cornball, like many rides at Indiana Beach, is built around and through others. Diving around Tiggr, and going *through* the Hurricane.

 

The ERT ran until 12:30am, and after that we retired to my friends campsite again for more margaritas and a lovely campfire. We were even joined by Kevin The Ride-Op, whom we befriended earlier in the day.

 

We had half an hour of free Fascination on Sunday morning. I don't understand why this fun game isn't present at more parks (actually I do understand, the "time per coin" is too long ..). By chance, my camera (which I'd sat down on self-timer), caught me winning a game.

 

And if all that wasn't enough, the park gave us all a discount in the Skyroom brunch .. were there was so much food (of surprisingly great quality), that we almost had to be rolled out of there. The view from the skyroom is really great, overlooking the northern end of the park, and the sparkling/shimmering lake.

 

Not only is Indiana Beach obscenely fun, but it's also obscenely photogenic. Both of these properties combine to make it probably my favorite park. The rides, the atmosphere, the staff, and the location are all spot on. I really appreciate the way Indy Beach makes use of the lake and beach .. unlike a certain other lake-side park which totally ignores the wonderful resource around it, yet for same reason that park gets never-ending praise and awards .. Unbelievable!

 

Overall it was one of the most packed and fun weekends I can remember. I think I totaled about 6 or 7 hours sleep, laughed more than I have for a long time, and when I returned home on Sunday it felt as if I'd been away for weeks. I strongly encourage others to visit this unique and special park (PM/e-mail me if you want company!). The park really supports the enthusiast community (50% off P.O.P wrist-band for ACE members), so we should support them in return.

 

Cameron.

 

ps: This is about half of the photos I took, if you're interested in the rest you can check them out here.

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The amazing view from the Skyroom restaurant, on the northern end of the boardwalk.

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The half an hour of free Fascination on Sunday Morning was yet another "best part of the trip". Here I am winning! (Sorry to my friend Beth for the photo!)

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After a day of coasters and fun on the lake, we were *hungry*! This BBQ place really delivered.

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Look how pretty! Indy Beach could not be more of a "classic boardwalk amusement park".

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Sneaky little Cornball express dives up and into the lift-hill structure for Hurricane. (Is it even possible to dive UP?!)

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The Hurricane does this wonderful Ferris Wheel fly-by, at night (when the ferris wheel is lit up) the riders are treated to a blaze of colour.

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I wonder if this is an official licensed and sanctioned McDonalds product? Also notice the Slide Of Doom that ends about 20 feet above the water.

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And then charges through the turn-around next to the ferris wheel, on the southern end of the boardwalk.

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My favorite drop on the Hurricane dives under the suspension bridge. It's an excellent head-chopper!

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The Hurricane looks awesome from any angle. You can see how the first drop reaches right to the water (several others do too).

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And it goes along with the largest suspension bridge in Indiana!

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The beautiful Shafer Queen out on the lake. This is the biggest regularly scheduled paddle-wheel boat in Indiana.

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Frank demonstrates his gnarly and gnifty Waterskiing skills.

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Me tubing behind the boat. Yes I am that flexible ladies, and single! Please form an orderly line...

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A trade-mark Cameron Photo Into The Sun. The Ferris Wheel sits on the very southern tip of the Boardwalk.

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Julie is here on Splash Battle, she's saying "no thank-you, I don't want to be sprayed with the gun right now."

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Saturday morning ERT on Lost Coaster. An "interesting" way to wake up after only a few hours sleep!

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Campsite fire, on Friday night after ERT.

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AAArrrrr, you scurvy rats! This guy keeps people company while waiting for Den Of Lost Thieves.

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The YoYo swings you out over the water. When we rode on Saturday the (free) ski/water show was taking place right below our feet, which rocked.

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If you've never been there at night, you've never really been there.

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We got these cool buttons instead of the typical wrist-bands.

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The Ballroom was was all decked out for us, which is where we registered and then had dinner.

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I arrived at The Beach on Friday afternoon.

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Nice job and great pics!! Is it a somewhat fair comparison to call IB America's Blackpool? The two parks always remind me of each other when I see pics of 'em. Besides Knoebels, IB is my most anticipated park for next year. Maybe we'll try to plan for that event next year!

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Even though I had made seven consecutive trips to the beach I have still never been at night. I believe next summer I will stay at the motel and make an evening of it. Great photos.

 

Rich "Fellow UK'r and Midwesterner" Bitner

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Great TR Cameron! Now my lust for IB is greater than ever. You gave me some advice about the park earlier in the year, and I said I was going to get there...guess what?

 

End of the season, and another year without IB!

 

And I could really kick myself because I talked to my wife for weeks about the coaster weekend, then got busy and forgot all about it! So what did I do this weekend? Spent another Saturday at PKI, (about the 10th one this season already). Aaaaaughhh!

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I really have to make it out to IB sometime soon. I think that and the Dells are the top domestic parks I want to go to, that I have not had the pleasure of visiting.

Hopefully next year.

 

Hey Cameron, are you up for ditching work for a couple of days next summer?

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I really have to make it out to IB sometime soon. I think that and the Dells are the top domestic parks I want to go to, that I have not had the pleasure of visiting.

Hopefully next year.

 

Hey Cameron, are you up for ditching work for a couple of days next summer?

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Thanks for all the great comments, everyone!

 

BeemerBoy: Indy Beach and Blackpool do have a lot in common, but I don't think it's fair to compare them outright .. simply because Blackpool is about 10 times the size, and is by the sea (and as much as I love Lake Shafer, it certainly can't compete with the sea!).

 

I will say that Indy Beach is probably the closest you can get to Blackpool within the US.

 

John: I'm always up for skipping work - especially in Summer! I won't be able to take two weeks off next year since I'll be busy on The Game, but some extended weekends will certainly be on the books.

 

Cameron.

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Hey Cameron,

 

Any chance you can edit the TR and upload your photos to the TPR server? I'd love to link to your awesome TR's in our IB park Index, but right now the pics are all showing up as little red X's.

 

Thanks!

 

--Robb

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Cameron - Great TR

 

Although I've only made it to IB once, I loved that place. Still one of my favorite parks. The flats are just incredible as is Frankenstein's Castle and the three woodies. Yes I enjoyed LoCoSuMo.

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Any chance you can edit the TR and upload your photos to the TPR server?

 

Done!

 

The reason I initially did it the other way was to sprinkle the photos in with the text. You must have looked at the thread on Friday night when I had to (briefly) take Buzzneon off-line to research another network problem I was having.

 

Cameron.

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