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Photo TR: TPR Behemoth/Flyer Mini-Trip

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^Or "economy sustainer". (So, so sorry.)


"Since the dawn of civilization, there HAVE. BEEN. DIVERS!" That's how the show started, and it just built up from there, complete with inspirational symphony music and a self-serious spiel that put Spaceship Earth to shame. Then three people jumped off the waterfall. And the show was over. Fifteen minutes of fanfare. Thirty seconds of diving.


LOL, I saw this show the day before and heard the epic spiel and everything. From what I remember, it actually went, "Ever since there have been rocks and cliffs, there have been DIVERS." I only remember that because they didn't mention the water; divers like that are how we clean the gene pool and receive many hours of viral videos!


"Market research. And then we called the roller coaster 'Behemoth' because it's big. And 'behemoth' means 'big.'"


"..In Canadian!"


This is a Canadian delicacy called poutine. Natalie told me about it months before the trip, and I'm not sure I entirely believed her until I saw it for myself: French fries, cheese curds and gravy, together at last! It's the "Three's Company" of heart-attack-inducing junk food!


I'm still amazed this hasn't found its way onto all American menus yet...


This photo TR has maximum kickassery built in. Great job!

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Of course, a morning in Philly just isn't complete without a traditional Philadelphia cheesesteak breakfast.


What's a cheesesteak?? - We don't have them in England. Is it exactly as it sounds - steak with cheese or is it something completely different?



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^^^That's kind of like when the Brits on the trip started extolling the virtues of beetroot, and we Americans were all "Wha.. um.. what?" I wonder if beetroot and chesesteaks would go well together. Allegedly it tastes wonderful on hamburgers.


^Yeah, those fries were pretty awesome, weren't they? Especially dipped in the plum sauce!


Thanks to all for the compliments. I hope to have the TR completed by the end of the weekend, so stay tuned!

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Day Four continued: Waldameer Park, Erie, PA.


Following a fairly painless border crossing back into the United States, Robb livened up the trip from Marineland to Waldameer by announcing the winners of Elissa Photo Bingo. Matt won a pair of track screws from the Silver Comet (I think it was Silver Comet--we were all running on about four hours' sleep at that point, so I could have been dreaming that part).


This lone shot I got during nighttime ERT on Ravine Flyer II doesn't even BEGIN to tell the whole story! Even during the first ride up the lift hill, we could all see lightning in the distance. The thunder grew louder and louder as the storm approached. After eight rides in a row, I headed back over to the picnic pavilion (the original Ravine Flyer I station, you know) to recuperate. That's where the real fun began.


A few moments later, Hanno ran in, just barely missing the first drops of rain. It was a downpour! About that same time, we heard the lift chain cranking up. Elissa yelled out, "Dear God, please let Dan be on that train!"


And he was!


The fiercer the storm got, the more adamant TPR members were about riding this amazing woodie (my current all-time favorite). They stood in the cue and braved the lift hill singing Garbage's "I'm Only Happy When it Rains."


Elissa, under the picnic pavilion, was more concerned with getting to the bus--on the other side of the park--dry and safe. As soon as the storm let up slightly, she rallied us to make a run for it. We weren't 10 feet away from the pavilion when it POURED! Niagara Falls didn't have anything on this.


We arrived at the bus soaking wet in anticipation of the two-hour ride to our next hotel. Robb got on the PA system and officially thanked us for being part of one of the most insane ERTs in the history of TPR! And then most of us fell asleep.


Idlewild Park and our final *sniff* day is next!


See? I'll bet you didn't believe me!


For those who want to know (you know you do!). Fun fact: We had dinner in the original station of Ravine Flyer I!


Much better!


...Rainbow Gardens! Actually, no. But while we're here, did anyone else happen to see the inside of this building? It reminded me of my high school cafeteria. Exactly where do the terms "rainbow" and "gardens" fit into that?


Guilty pleasure time. One of my all-time favorite movies is "That Thing You Do!" For those who haven't seen it (or don't want to admit to it), it's about a 1960s garage band from Erie, PA, that hits the semi-big time with a one-hit wonder, appropriately titled "That Thing You Do." The entire time I was in Erie, I was humming that song to myself. And lo and behold, as I was taking this picture, it came blaring out of the speakers on The Spider!


God, I loved this trip.


And now, the reason we spent half a day at Waldameer Park: ERT on...


Isn't it pretty?


TPR bench takeover!


What goes up....


Robb and Jahan led a mini-takeover of the drop tower.


Unlike the Crazy Mouse at Martin's Fantasy Island, the "everyone to the left" methodology didn't work that well on the Frog Hopper....


This photo should go over like a lead balloon....


This park had lots of great statues, including these random bronze children.


"I wasn't sure if Terrance would be on this trip, so I brought my emergency safety whistle... just in case."


This clown didn't know that in .0000002 seconds, a whole gang of TPR members would come out of nowhere to attack!


While some of us spent time enjoying the attractions, others just hung around....


I love that they turned their old carousel building into a picnic pavilion.


This miniature boat ride is exactly like the ones at Trimpers Rides--one of my favorites a about a quarter century ago.




These Pachinko-like games were awesome! The object was to catch at least two of the steel balls in the little cup at the bottom. I won a six-inch neon green bear!


...and Oasis.


We had some fun on the flats like Wipeout...


It's never been to a World's Fair, but hey, it's still a Ferris wheel.


This coaster was there, too. But I'd had enough of spinning coasters by this point. No love for Steel Dragon.


TPR: Behind the scenes.




Raise your hand if you're a credit whore!


Next up: a whole different Ravine Flyer.


And back in the station.


Between the trees!


Through the trees!


Going up!


They're kind enough to stage a train from this classic ride in the station for photos.


We took over a lot of rides at this little park, starting with the Comet!


This was the only clean picture I was able to get inside the ride. To be honest, after the hype I've heard over this particular attraction throughout the years, I was a little disappointed. I still consider Ocean City's Haunted House to be the penultimate Tracy attraction still standing (granted, it IS comprised of two Tracy attractions, including props from a former Ghost Ship, so maybe that's what gives it its edge).


A close-up of the outside scenery for my fellow dark ride enthusiasts.


Waldameer is home to not one but TWO classic Bill Tracy attractions, the second being the Whacky Shack. I confess that as a huge Tracy fan, I was looking forward to this more than almost anything else on the trip.


Nothing says "classic dark ride ending" like a head in a toilet!


Quicksand or Astroturf... you decide!


Come on in!


I was really looking forward to comparing this Bill Tracy classic walk-through dark attraction (one of only three of his left in the United States) with the one in my home park of Trimpers Rides in Ocean City, Maryland. Besides the facade, nearly everything was different, right down to these jaw-motion skulls (the ones in Ocean City are stationary).


But we had a LOT more ground to cover before we got to ERT. First up: Pirate's Cove!


But once again, Trevor stole the show. We caught his final Retro Active set of the evening, as well. So much better than Ravine Flyer II (OK, maybe not... but it was much closer than it should have been considering how awesome Ravine Flyer II was).


These performers were multi-talented, changing up the music to country for their next show about 90 minutes later.


This, ladies and gentlemen, is Trevor. Remember his face, for among us, he is a GOD!


Especially when certain members of our group got their own personal serenade....


Robb had suggested we all take it easy in preparation for ERT on Ravine Flyer II, so most of us immediately went over to check out this show. It. Was. Awesome!


Of all the marquees we received on this trip, this one was by far the most ghetto... yet it had sort of a ghetto charm, so that was OK.


Most parks stamped our hands with ink. Waldameer used house paint!


Finally, we reached Waldameer!


My prize was a three-pack of "Star Wars" flying discs and this painstakingly hand-crafted CD from Dave... which ultimately found its way to a place of honor right next to my Baltimore Orioles hat... which happened to be hung right next to the bus' garbage bag!


And this was my Elissa Eats McDonald's Food square. Now, you may notice that it's not exactly a photo. According to Robb's official rules, sketch drawings count. This is what I saw as I was walking into McDonald's in the "barely missed bingo square" I alluded to in the very first part of this marathon TR. More or less. I mean, all the elements are there. It's not to scale. So sue me!


This was my Dark Ride square, Scooby Doo and the Haunted Mansion from Canada's Wonderland.


I got the diagonal with two free spaces ("Cora Draws Something" was "free" for the mini-trippers because Cora wasn't signing on until the East Coast Trip). This was my Statue Credit, an emergency workers' memorial outside Seabreeze on the first night.


I'm proud to say that I, too, was an Elissa Photo Bingo winner! Check out my card....


He shared the rusty one with James in a difficult tie-breaking decision.

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That last caption was perhaps my favorite happening on the trip!

From finding out Dan was on that ride, to the run through a closed, pitch black park, in a thunderstorm, having no idea where to go, is something that only happens once in a lifetime!

While, at least until the next trip!

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Day Five: Idlewild Park, Ligonier, PA


The eggs at the free hotel breakfast the next morning were so fake, their yolks were actually painted on!


And the Idlewild piece de resistance: Potato Patch French fries! These things are like little bites of Heaven.


From there, we loaded up the bus for Lakemont.


Hey, I think we finally figured out where that shoe from the Martin's Fantasy Island Star Flyer landed!


Patchwork hill of blankets. Just because.


Why? Because it's the only Caterpillar left in the United States with a working canopy (POV shot)! Seriously, these things used to freak people out in the '30s!


And then there was the Caterpillar, quite possibly the most historic flat ride still operating in the United States.


Some parks had museums dedicated to their old rides. This one had a plaque commemorating all the significant American events that have taken place during the lifetime of its oldest oak tree.


Boy, this park spoils all the fun!




It's an historic landmark.


Idlewild had an amazing antique carousel, built in 1931 and operated at Idlewild continuously following a one-year stint in Atlantic City.


Word must have spread quickly to the Flyers about these maniacs in the park because they were quick to yell at us about filming. They probably would have yelled at us about snapping, too. If it had been possible in any way, shape or form to snap these things.


I wasn't around for the "time trials" later in the day, but I understand there was something about a TPR member-induced collision....


Adult handcar takeover! These things really worked your biceps!


...and experience the sensation of biting into a York Peppermint Pattie.


...sit in a slanty chair nailed to the wall...


...roll marbles, a skeeball and a "returnable" glass Pepsi bottle up a table...


...then we got to see Bett-E-Jo pour water uphill (through a "winder," no less)...


We started with some rope tricks...


Our tour guides, Willie and Bett-E-Jo, were definitely confused as to why so many people were suddenly in line for their attraction!


OK, so maybe "Castle Hug 'n' Song" was a misnomer. It kind of seemed more like a "Picnic Pavilion Hug 'n' Song" to me.


So if Prince Tuesday and Anna Platypus were to ever, you know, get together, would that be considered bestiality?


"The hands fell off my clock--meow meow meow."


Dr. and Mrs. Platypus, on the other hand, were delighted to be invited. And then he charged our HMO $1,200 for a referral.


First she's all, "Well, aren't you going to invite me to the Hug 'n' Song?" Then she says she has more important things to do, so she might not make it. Then, when we finally get there, she decides to show up fashionably late and make a scene.


So yeah, Lady Elaine is basically the Paris Hilton of the Land of Makebelieve.


We invited Cousin Steve Owl and his friend (can't remember what her name is) to "Come along, come along to the castle "Hug 'n' Song!"


Cornflake S. Pecially rocks!


OK, so the Mr. Rogers ride (Fred Rogers was actually from this part of Pennsylvania, hence the significance) actually had a storyline... kind of. King Friday XIII (get it?) asked the trolly full of TPR members to pass along to everyone in the Land of Makebelieve that he was throwing a "Hug 'n' Song" party at the castle. Apparently he thought we worked for him or something.


Thankfully, this was NOT a TPR Trivia question!


Next: ERT on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. We Americans were shocked, simply shocked, to learn that "Mr. Rogers" doesn't air in Australia or the U.K., so Robb had to give a quick synopsis of the show for our TPRers from abroad: "It's like Sesame Street for kids on acid."


But not as confusing as this one! I rode Ravine Flyer II with lightning bolts flashing all around me, and I didn't fear for my life nearly as much as I did on the Vekoma Mouse!


This apparently was a very confusing coaster....


But really, the danishes were just there to distract us from noticing that our ERT on Rollo Coaster was about to begin!


Little did we know the REAL breakfast was waiting for us at Idlewild! This park treated us like royalty, handing out freebies like it was their job (which, I guess for at least a couple of them, it was). We each scored a light-up lei, paperweight and drink cozy, along with all the danishes we could carry out of the carousel pavilion.

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Elissa, under the picnic pavilion, was more concerned with getting to the bus--on the other side of the park--dry and safe. As soon as the storm let up slightly, she rallied us to make a run for it. We weren't 10 feet away from the pavilion when it POURED! Niagara Falls didn't have anything on this.


And when it started pouring, the cool people on the train were enjoying their second-to-last ride of the night I think. And this ride was easily the most insane coaster ride of my life........can't even try to describe it.


And the Idlewild piece de resistance: Potato Patch French fries! These things are like little bites of Heaven.


The longest queue I saw at Idlewild was for these fries. I was going to wait for them, but feared I would miss the bus. Oh well, Idlewild was easily my favorite park of the trip.

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Day Five (and trip) concluded: Lakemont Park, Altoona, PA, and DelGrosso's Amusement Park, Tipton, PA.


Finally, it was back to our hotel in Philadelphia, where our arch rivals, TPP, were waiting to rumble! (Photo stolen from Luko since I forgot to take this one.)


After about an hour of lobby time, most of us were ready to crash. A few goodbyes that evening and the next morning over breakfast, and most of us went our separate ways. Thank you, TPR, for an unforgettable experience!


That was where we learned a very important lesson: Just as you aren't supposed to feed Gremlins after midnight, you absolutely cannot let Tyler drink Red Bull! Back on the bus, he entertained us for the next hour with X-rated puppet show parodies of Idlewild's Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Confusion Hill attractions featuring this formerly stuffed Winnie the Pooh knock-off. Robb got the second half on camera. Look for it on the upcoming "TPR: Too Hot for Television" DVD!


Which was just as well because three hours later, we staged a takeover of Sbarro at a Pennsylvania Turnpike rest area.


I did hear good things about the pizza, but between Potato Patch French fries at Idlewild, the buffet lunch at Lakemont, Murf's potato salad and Spaghetti Wednesday eggplant Parmesan, I was more than willing to take their word for it and move on.


"Must... have... sauce!"


The eggplant was... good. Not "I know you came here to ride rides, but screw that and try the sauce instead" good... but OK.


Besides, 20 billion Pennsylvanians (my rough estimate of how many people were packed under this pavilion) can't be wrong!


I decided to break down and see what all the fuss was about. After all, it was Spaghetti Wednesday, featuring eggplant Parmesan. And more importantly, I had vouchers.


Buddy Bear was sad because none of us had tried the sauce yet.


DelGrosso's even had a milk machine. I confess, I had never seen one before... nor have I seen one since.


I tried some of Murf's world-renowned potato salad... and I was shocked to find out that it tasted just like mine (only mine also has the extra artery-clogging goodness of cheese and bacon mixed in)! All these years I've been making world-famous potato salad, and I had no clue!


The park's main restaurant, named in honor of Mrs. DelGrosso ("Murf" was her nickname), has been featured on countless amusement park-related TV shows. I went there because the Food Network told me to.


Though we didn't have much time to spend at DelGrosso's, I took a moment to pay my respects to the park's founders, without whom so many tomatoes would have gone uncrushed.




...and the train.


...the Flying Bobs...


...the bumper cars...


...the Casino...


...the Super Spiral...


...the carousel...


...the fish...


With only a Crazy Mouse and a handful of flats and kiddie rides to choose from, I decided I wanted our special Space Odessey ride to be my last of the trip. I spent the next 15 minutes or so taking pictures of most of the rest of what DelGrosso's had to offer--like the Sea Dragon...


Once we were all seated, the best ride op EVER began scrolling through a series of songs, trying to find the one she thought we would like best, I guess. Five minutes later, she finally settled on Soft Cell's "Tainted Love."


Everyone started singing and clapping along, when the op started the safety spiel. She actually STOPPED in the middle and yelled, "HEY! I need everyone to be quiet NOW!" Once she was able to give the spiel to her satisfaction, our decent into the most awesomely lame multi-senory light show in the history of amusement parks began!


For those who were there, note the infamous "Ninja Kitty" black light poster in the upper right-hand corner.


One of only three Caterpillars still operating in the world, Space Odessey doesn't have a canopy like Idlewild's Caterpillar. Instead, it's housed in a dome-shaped building. With disco lights. This is where things really got surreal....


So naturally, we all went to Space Odessey instead.


Welcome to Shed 7, where the REAL fun began! Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to get a picture of the DelGrosso family member waiting there to give us his presentation, but for those who missed it, it went something like this:


"Welcome to DelGrosso's. We bought this amusement park for one reason--to sell our spaghetti sauce. You'll find our sauce on the park's pizza, on spaghetti--even on the funnel cakes. Coincidentally, tonight is spaghetti night, featuring our sauce. I know you roller coaster people came here to ride the rides, but that can wait. Here, take these vouchers. They're good for eggplant Parmesan, which is covered in our sauce. And don't forget to stop by the gift shop and buy some sauce. Some grocery stores also sell our sauce. In fact, here are some brochures in case you want to buy our sauce online. Has anyone here tried our sauce? Isn't it the best sauce you've ever tasted? I'll tell you what--why don't you go get in the spaghetti line over there, and when you get back here, I'll tell you more about our sauce. I have some fun sauce facts that will blow your mind! Anyway, go have some spaghetti and enjoy our sauce. Be sure to try the sauce! SAUUUUUCE!"


"Welcome to DelGrosso's. Now turn that bus around in this three-foot-square patch of parking lot and go park at the water park!" Honestly, our bus driver was amazing. I've never seen anyone more gracefully execute a 25-point turn in such a ridiculously small space--with moronic drivers still pulling their cars in alongside him.


Robb over the bus PA: "So do we want to go to the park, or do we want to go to the sauce factory?"


Entire Bus in Unison: "Sauce factory!"


Robb: "I love you guys."


Then there was this antique kiddie Ferris wheel. It probably did more than most of the kiddie rides at the park, and it cost only a quarter!


From there, we made the ridiculously short drive to DelGrosso's.


They also had this funky bowling machine. Not exactly a pinball machine, per se, the goal was to use the flippers to send steel balls, dropped one at a time, into the "pins" at the other end.


The arcade, however, had the best collection of coin-operated oddities of the entire trip, including this rare "Hercules" machine. The largest pinball machine ever manufactured, the "ball" is actually a billiard ball! It's only the second one I've ever played.


Oh yeah... hi, Cameron!


...and railroad men.


...kiddie flats...


The rest of the park was comprised mainly of carnival rides...


The Skydiver didn't send anyone hurtling to the ground... but it did send them running for the bus! This was the last credit a number of people got--with seconds to spare!


The other Lakemont credit of note was the Toboggan, seen here at the far right. Because I have one in my home park, it wasn't a big deal to me. Rode it once. Moved on with my life.


"Hey ladies, I know Matt Damon!"


Now those crazy Hollywood people are filming a movie on the Skyliner!


For those who were wondering, this is what the turnaround looked like. Yep.


Go Curve!


From this portion of the ride, you could look down and watch the local minor league baseball team, the Altoona Curve, take practice.


Speaking of the Skyliner... there it is! In preparation for my second ride I found myself standing in line behind a woman with a "Go f--- yourself" tattoo on her arm, carrying a 2-year-old. And suddenly I had a craving for chewing tobacco.


From this innocuous little sign large rumors grew. It started when I heard the Lakemont security guard telling people that they couldn't ride because "They're filming for a TV show." It reached full tilt when I overheard one guest say to another in line for the Skyliner, "Did you hear there are some people from Hollywood filming a movie on Leap the Dips today?"


Had they been cute, I would have offered to introduce them to Matt Damon.


This is the burial you get when you spend all your money on TPR trips instead of investing in quality term life insurance.


"Please don't make us ride again!"


"What just happened?"


"Oh, s---!"


The ascent into spine-mangling, a$$-busting terror begins!


They have no clue what they're in for.


It looks so innocent from this angle....


Oddly enough, there was also a plaque like this commemorating the buffet line....


I waited with anticipation for the entirety of this trip to ride this--the oldest still-operating roller coaster in the world!


But screw that! This is what we really came here for!


This is what the food looked like, more or less.


The three exclamation points made me want to enjoy my meal even more!!!


Hey! Someone apparently told them we were coming....


From Idlewild, it was on to Lakemont Park. Sadly, we missed the wing-off.

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The Space Odessey certainly was a highlight on the trip. I could not believe that the ride's cycle was a full song...and can you think of a better song to ride to than "Tainted Love?"


Tyler's, "Winnie the Crap Puppet Show" was certainly.....interesting.

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^I don't think you could have picked a worse one than the one I had to endure.


John, Tony, me, and a few others got to the ride one cycle too early


LOL, what song did you ride to?


I think John called it the "unknown rap song."


I couldn't think of anything better to call it.


Between that and having to pose for Tony's camera a few times, that ride was a little strange!

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