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East Coast Photo TR: BGE and SFGAdv (8/25 & 8/27)


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For the third time in as many years, I used a trip to Baltimore (ostensibly to visit a friend) as an excuse to hit a few of my favorite East Coast parks: BGE and SFGAdv.


I had been to BGE in the fall of 2003 and was blown away by how beautiful the park was. Unfortunately, my return trip would be on a 100-degree day. WTF, Virginia? It hasn't even gotten that hot this year in San Antonio.


Anyway, we got to the park shortly after opening and headed straight for Griffon. A short 15-minute wait later, we were on board. Instant top-10 ride. I don't know if my butt was in the seat the entire ride. The first drop was magnificent, and the immelmans were just buttery smooth and full of hangtime. Easily the smoothest ride I've ever been on. Except for the brakes. They need to ease up on those.


We did head back to the hotel for a few hours to escape the heat, but we were back in the park by 5:30. We rode everything, and it seemed like all the rides were running a little more intensely than they were the last time I was there... maybe because of the heat. We had two terrific rides on Apollo's Chariot that pushed it back ahead of Nitro in my rankings. Overall, the park still looked beautiful, the rides were outstanding, and the ride crews were excellent. The park was crowded, but we never waited more than 15 minutes for a ride all day.


On Monday, I headed out to Joisey for a return trip to SFGAdv. I had gone on Memorial Day weekend 2005 (big mistake), and while I got to ride Kingda Ka, that was one of only two rides I rode that day. The lines were beyond miserable. I had vowed to return and ride everything else someday, and I did just that. Except for The Chiller, which was still busted. Damn you, Chiller. Damn you straight to hell.


After the park opened, I followed the slightly smaller contingent of folks rushing to ride El Toro... which wasn't even testing at that point. One quick ride on Medusa later, I joined the informal line waiting for El Toro to open. After a 20-minute wait, the line was opened and the rush was on. I made it on the second to last row of the second train out that day. Reports of El Toro's ejector air have not been exaggerated. HOLY. CRAP. There really needs to be a new term for the air experienced on El Toro. Perhaps "WTF?!? Who broke teh gravity?" air. Yes, it's LOLcat good.


Maybe I was looking for it, but it did seem like the park had improved a little since 2005. It was definitely cleaner, and I saw lots of little kids and families. I know Shapiro has no control over it, but even the punk kids seemed to be better behaved. The park still has a serious problem with crowds. If any park needs 17+ coasters, it's this one. I mean, I waited 50 minutes to ride Rotting Lumber. And now I feel so dirty.


I will say this: El Toro's crew kicked ass. They were churning out riders all day. Twice I entered the line past the "60-minute wait" sign, and each time it was only a 20-minute wait. Inside the station, the crew leaders barked out orders and kept everyone on task. It seemed tense, but it got the job done.


Overall, I had a great time at both parks, and Griffon and El Toro vaulted way up into my overall Top 10. Not bad for a weekend vacation. Not bad at all.



Not to be outdone, Alpengeist strikes a romantic evening pose for the camera. Work it!


Griffon looking all artsy in the sunset.






Cliched shot of the interlocking loops #2,487.


A great picture ruined by the sky ride's cable. Just pretend it's not there. Photoshop it out with your mind.


I could've had a cooler picture right here, but Loch Ness was broken down. Thanks, Nessie. You jerk.


Through the woody perennial plant having a single, usually elongated, main stem, generally with few or no branches on its lower part!



"AHHH... hey, why is this the only invert with a zero-car? AHHH!"



All sorts of twisted metal goodness here.


Alpengeist wasn't hitting the MCBR too hard that day. Dare I say it was slightly intense.



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And now for Part Two. More to come.


Since his brief flirtation with internet fame, Dramatic Chipmunk has fallen on hard times. He now works with a landscaping crew at a Six Flags in New Jersey.




My humps.



From this vantage point, you can hear hundreds of people point to Batman and say, "Is that Nitro?" And vice versa.




Over the trees?




A sign of an efficient crew. Sadly, this would end by midday.


Weird, twisty-floaty airtime.


Nitro's all, "Yeah, I've got pink trim. You gotta problem with that?"





And now for some aerial shots.


The perfect ratio of airtime hills to garbage cans. Got that, Cedar Fair?


Now that's a skyline.


Nobody has EVER taken this picture before. Ever.


Tasty sideways air.


El Toro doing what it does best... launching you out of your seat.

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Part three.


That guy in the first row of the second car? He gets it. Thanks for reading!


Unrelated segue!


So close...


Timing... just a bit off...



Back to a much smoother ride.


Fixed the sign.


Sadly, the Scream Machine has rendered the front-seat rider fully retarded by this point in the ride.


What does that sign say?




Come on, Derek. Where are you?





Duly noted.


Yo mama's first drop is so steep...


A flagrant violation of the policy. How dare you have fun, sir!




The guy in the front is cold chillin'.



Medusa's like, "How do you like this?" And the people are all like, "Oh, no you di-int!"


0 G's, but around 30 happy people.


Nobody has EVER taken this pic... oh, wait. Never mind.



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I will say this: El Toro's crew kicked a$$. They were churning out riders all day. Twice I entered the line past the "60-minute wait" sign, and each time it was only a 20-minute wait. Inside the station, the crew leaders barked out orders and kept everyone on task. It seemed tense, but it got the job done.


I'm not doubting that the crew was fast, but I can tell you those timed wait signs are horrible estimates. They are far off at the six flags parks I have been to this year. (KK,SFNE,SFGA). The times are overinflated and just another way to sell the flash pass.

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Wow, those are some really, REALLY nice pics. I especially love the GASM and Griffion loop pics. One of them was timed perfectly upside down. Thats awesome photo-taking skills you got.


And I also agree with RIP Psyclone comment about the Aplengeist. I never realized that the drop was THAT big! No wonder they have a zero-car in the front, you damn near riding a hyper invert..

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Yo mama's first drop is so steep...

HAHAHAHA! Best caption of the TR!


Hey! is Scream Machine the same arrow model as the demolished Shockwave at SFGAm? The layout looks awfully close.


One of the great things about BGE is that they build in places to take great pics/vids of the coasters. Very pretty park!


When I rode Roman Rapids, Apollo went ripping over head and the girl across from me cracked up the whole boat with "Now THAT's how you air dry!"


Back on topic, you do have a great photo eye. Well done sir!

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