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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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While it's true the trims are set to keep the train at a specific speed, they have been changed vs. when the ride was new, the set on the camelback used to allow the teain to run faster. SF maintenence changed it to offset the aging of the ride.

 

What in the world "ages" on a steel coaster that wouldn't be fixed as a safety hazard? If the track is getting screwed up, wouldn't it seem dangerous to run trains over it? And it isn't like it is running with opening day wheels on it. Especially on a B&M with the wheels on the outside of the track, please describe how this aging works. I don't get it.

 

Also, you're claiming that the park adjusted the brakes to be harder on the ride. Remember, this is Great America - the park that didn't install trim brakes on either Superman or Shockwave even though both were made with spots for them. In particular, Shockwave was the only Arrow mega looper to not have the trims installed. I find it tough to believe that they just randomly decided to change their mind on Raging Bull.

 

Finally, I rode Raging Bull on opening day. The trim brakes were there. They were tugging just as hard as they do now. From how I've had it described, they are there so that you get exactly what B&M intended out of the ride - floater air over the hills, not ejector air. In fact, it would follow that you are actually getting a better ride when the trims engage harder, as the ride is clearly moving faster at that point in time.

 

Oh, and as for a lack of trims not saving the layout, I agree. The curvy hills really don't make for much in the way of any air, nor do they make for much in the way of laterals.

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I also believe that RB seems slower and worse now because there are just a lot better coasters now than there were when it was new. Those of you talking about a trimless RB not saving the layout are spot on, IMO. I still find a few other coasters at SFGAm better than Bull, but that's just me. To each their own.

 

DING! We have a winner!

 

I think this sums up, quite perfectly, why Raging Bull *seems* to rage a lot less now than it did when it first opened. It's a perfectly good ride, but personally I'd rather be on Batman, V2, Viper, X-Flight (seriously) or even Whizzer.

 

Cameron.

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Had a fun day at the park yesterday. It said it was suppose to storm but it never did so the lines were never long. The longest line was viper at the station. Which was running backwards (I thought it was suppose to run backwards in July).

 

Anyway backwards viper.. a whole lot of fun. I find it much better than backwards batman. I rode it in the front (technically the back). I thought I knew the layout by heart but some parts still surprised me. The ride was full of airtime and very intense. I would recommend it to any viper lovers. If you're visiting the park you should try it. I give it an 8 out of 10

 

Edit: I hate that I didn't get any pictures of it, sorry everyone.

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While it's true the trims are set to keep the train at a specific speed, they have been changed vs. when the ride was new, the set on the camelback used to allow the teain to run faster. SF maintenence changed it to offset the aging of the ride.

 

What in the world "ages" on a steel coaster that wouldn't be fixed as a safety hazard? If the track is getting screwed up, wouldn't it seem dangerous to run trains over it? And it isn't like it is running with opening day wheels on it. Especially on a B&M with the wheels on the outside of the track, please describe how this aging works. I don't get it.

 

Also, you're claiming that the park adjusted the brakes to be harder on the ride. Remember, this is Great America - the park that didn't install trim brakes on either Superman or Shockwave even though both were made with spots for them. In particular, Shockwave was the only Arrow mega looper to not have the trims installed. I find it tough to believe that they just randomly decided to change their mind on Raging Bull.

 

Finally, I rode Raging Bull on opening day. The trim brakes were there. They were tugging just as hard as they do now. From how I've had it described, they are there so that you get exactly what B&M intended out of the ride - floater air over the hills, not ejector air. In fact, it would follow that you are actually getting a better ride when the trims engage harder, as the ride is clearly moving faster at that point in time.

 

Oh, and as for a lack of trims not saving the layout, I agree. The curvy hills really don't make for much in the way of any air, nor do they make for much in the way of laterals.

I haven't been to the park in a couple years, but the last time went and rode Bull, there seemed to be a lot more B&M rattle than it used to have. I'm not saying there's anything about the ride structure that make it unsafe, but the freeze/thaw cycle every year for 13 years has to take its toll on the track a little bit. I didn't ride RB on opening day, but I did ride it about 6 weeks after. The trims came on then, too, but not as hard as they consistantly do now. Eagle's brakes come on HARD before the helix, not so much after they retracked it because it was adjusted, and V2's holding brake remains off to lessen the load on the rear spike. It's also a lot easier to reprogram existing trims than it is to install some that were never installed. Like I said at the end of my post, I think the biggest reason it feels much slower is that there are just faster coasters now than there were in '99. I don't find Nitro or even Diamondback really any faster than Raging Bull is. Comparing Raging Bull to, say, Skyrush, is like comparing a steel coaster to a wooden coaster, they were designed by different companies to do completely different things.

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I haven't been to the park in a couple years, but the last time went and rode Bull, there seemed to be a lot more B&M rattle than it used to have. I'm not saying there's anything about the ride structure that make it unsafe, but the freeze/thaw cycle every year for 13 years has to take its toll on the track a little bit.

 

I've definitely had rides on Bull with a lot of rattle, but my last ride on Sunday night, back row, yellow train was one of the smoothest and best rides I've had on it. Honestly, I couldn't care less about the trims at this point, it's whether the ride tries to shake me apart that makes or breaks it for me.

 

Great to hear that Viper is still good backwards. I was a little worried that running it backwards would kill its airtime, but it sounds like that's not the case. Can't wait to get down there and try it out.

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Is Batman still running backwards as well? I keep meaning to go this year, I just haven't had the time yet. I still need to get my first ride on X-Flight, too.

Batman continues to run backwards until July 7.

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I personally love Raging Bull and wouldnt mind a copy of it in my home park! (SFStL)

 

I would love to see it moved there. Then Great America can get a new giga. St. Louis is still close enough to go ride Raging Bull when we feel like it.

 

 

I'd totally be down! Lol!

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Was able to marathon Viper last night due to how dead the park was. Holy cow is that ride fun. I mean don't get me wrong its always fun but it was great to ride it with a new perspective. Its an intense little ride! Going backwards up the lift does make you realize how small the whole ride is. Much approved. Even all of the guests were talking about how much better they preferred this to Batman backwards.

 

Now I have to real quick mention the garbage that is Ignight Grand Finale. Wow is this show horrible! The singing was awful, the dancing was awful, the story is terrible (is it just me or does the use of the Chicago Fire in a cheesy amusement park show feel wrong?) and they couldn't even get half of the mics to work with out terrible feedback. I will say the club scene has a good use of lasers That was cool I must admit. No one in the crowd was impressed or even into it. It was soooo terrible.

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While it's true the trims are set to keep the train at a specific speed, they have been changed vs. when the ride was new, the set on the camelback used to allow the teain to run faster. SF maintenence changed it to offset the aging of the ride.

 

What in the world "ages" on a steel coaster that wouldn't be fixed as a safety hazard? If the track is getting screwed up, wouldn't it seem dangerous to run trains over it? And it isn't like it is running with opening day wheels on it. Especially on a B&M with the wheels on the outside of the track, please describe how this aging works. I don't get it.

 

 

I haven't been to the park in a couple years, but the last time went and rode Bull, there seemed to be a lot more B&M rattle than it used to have. I'm not saying there's anything about the ride structure that make it unsafe, but the freeze/thaw cycle every year for 13 years has to take its toll on the track a little bit. I didn't ride RB on opening day, but I did ride it about 6 weeks after. The trims came on then, too, but not as hard as they consistantly do now. Eagle's brakes come on HARD before the helix, not so much after they retracked it because it was adjusted, and V2's holding brake remains off to lessen the load on the rear spike. It's also a lot easier to reprogram existing trims than it is to install some that were never installed. Like I said at the end of my post, I think the biggest reason it feels much slower is that there are just faster coasters now than there were in '99. I don't find Nitro or even Diamondback really any faster than Raging Bull is. Comparing Raging Bull to, say, Skyrush, is like comparing a steel coaster to a wooden coaster, they were designed by different companies to do completely different things.

 

Bull started rattling in about 2007. It was glass smooth before that. I rode red train last weekend, fresh off it's rebuild, with all it's new wheels. It's the smoothest ride I have had in a couple of years, but still rattled a bit.

When Voyage got it's turn around rebuilt last year, Park management said the footings sank 1/4". That's all it takes. Just that little bit.

It's also possible the track has worn a bit over the years too and there are bigger gaps now. Diamondback had it's rattle in it's first year of operation when I rode it at Kings Island.

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Is Viper backwards better than or worse than Viper forwards? I'm in debate whether I should go this year and check it out.

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^ Personally, I still prefer forwards, riding it backwards kind of kills the airtime in spots except on the first drop (probably the best spot on the ride). I still think that repiV is worth checking out because it does feel like a different ride, and a much more intense experience.

 

I would also have to agree that repiV is much, much better than namtaB.

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I haven't been to the park in a couple years, but the last time went and rode Bull, there seemed to be a lot more B&M rattle than it used to have. I'm not saying there's anything about the ride structure that make it unsafe, but the freeze/thaw cycle every year for 13 years has to take its toll on the track a little bit. I didn't ride RB on opening day, but I did ride it about 6 weeks after. The trims came on then, too, but not as hard as they consistantly do now.

 

If you haven't been to the park in the last couple years, how do you know how consistently the trims are or are not coming on? I've probably managed to ride Raging Bull at least 100 times, and the trims have worked consistently in the same way every time. Without going into a bunch of details, if the train is moving slower, the trims will tug at you less or not at all... but you're actually getting a slower overall ride.

 

And again, if the freeze / thaw cycle would be so bad for steel coasters, wouldn't Batman beat the ever-living crap out of you by now? Wouldn't Whizzer be un-rideable?

 

Eagle's brakes come on HARD before the helix, not so much after they retracked it because it was adjusted,

 

A wooden coaster's trims are completely different then a steel coaster's trims.

 

V2's holding brake remains off to lessen the load on the rear spike.

 

Says who?

 

It's also a lot easier to reprogram existing trims than it is to install some that were never installed.

 

If the ride was tearing itself apart, don't you think they could put some in? Also, in both of those cases, the rides were built so installation of trims would be a breeze. If installing trims really saved the parks so much money, do you really think that the accounting department would let maintenance get away with *not* installing them?

 

I'll just leave it at this because I have no insider knowledge, and I don't want to come off like I do, but... I think that the 'enthusiast' community often misunderstands exactly what trim brakes are used for, applying what they know from wooden rides with trim brakes (cost savings, helps to make the ride last longer / smoother) to all rides with trim brakes, although they are generally used for completely different purposes.

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^ Where did you sit when you rode it? I've heard from a few people that sitting in the front row, as in the first row to leave the station, has ridiculous airtime.

 

I don't know, but it would make scientific sense that the first row has ridiculous airtime. Roller coaster trains use the "whip" effect, meaning that the farthest end moves more distance than the the closest end at exactly the same speed. The back of the train on a roller coaster, or in this case the front row on Viper cuz its backwards, gets better airtime than the front car (or in this case, the back since it's reversed). That's why a lot of people (and me ) wait in line for the back seat on crazy-airtime roller coasters. Does this makes sense?

 

And I'll try to get on Viper backwards, but it's not etched in stone.

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If you haven't been to the park in the last couple years, how do you know how consistently the trims are or are not coming on? I've probably managed to ride Raging Bull at least 100 times, and the trims have worked consistently in the same way every time. Without going into a bunch of details, if the train is moving slower, the trims will tug at you less or not at all... but you're actually getting a slower overall ride.

I can't speak for how it has been running in 2013 and 2012, but from 2000 until 2011 I went to the park about 5 times a year, riding Bull at least 2 or 3 times each visit. I'd say we have an equal number of rides (100+), and at least it appears that I consistantly have had harder trims in the later years most of the time. I agree 100% that no matter how hard the trims go on, every ride equals out to be the same average speed, it's just my opinion that the average speed is now slower than it used to be.

 

And again, if the freeze / thaw cycle would be so bad for steel coasters, wouldn't Batman beat the ever-living crap out of you by now? Wouldn't Whizzer be un-rideable?

I don't know about unrideable. I can name plenty of steel coasters that are rougher now than when they were newer. I'm not trying to attack SF either- plenty of other park's coasters have had trim adjustments to them as well, both wood and steel. Maybe the height and speed difference between them have a different effect?

 

A wooden coaster's trims are completely different then a steel coaster's trims.

True, but they adjusted Eagle's as needed, so what's to say they didn't do the same for Bull, if they saw a need to do it?

 

Says who?

Maintenence personnel. I worked in the park for a season when I was laid off from my regular job. I never worked Bull, so I have no more knowledge of it than anyone else does. I did work Batman, and asked a maintenence worker one day when they came to work on Batman what V2's holding brake's story was, and I was told it was disabled because it was putting a lot of stress on the rear spike. They previously added additional supports to both spikes after V2's first couple seasons due to the stress placed on them.

 

Note- V2 is VERY safe. Don't read into this as me saying the structure was in any way weakened. From what I know, turning the holding brake off was just to prevent a need for constant track work later in its life, work that Shockwave's first loop constantly needed towards the end- which, ironically, was needed to prevent damage because trims were never installed.

 

If the ride was tearing itself apart, don't you think they could put some in? Also, in both of those cases, the rides were built so installation of trims would be a breeze. If installing trims really saved the parks so much money, do you really think that the accounting department would let maintenance get away with *not* installing them?

 

I'll just leave it at this because I have no insider knowledge, and I don't want to come off like I do, but... I think that the 'enthusiast' community often misunderstands exactly what trim brakes are used for, applying what they know from wooden rides with trim brakes (cost savings, helps to make the ride last longer / smoother) to all rides with trim brakes, although they are generally used for completely different purposes.

Yes, they would ABSOLUTELY install trims if it was determined they were needed. For whatever reason, Batman and Superman haven't developed the rattle Bull has. IMO, they learned a lot from Shockwave. From what I have heard, that ride got constant structural attention in the later years of its life, which was all a direct result of it not having trims going into the first loop. The amount of money they were putting into it had just as much to do with its demise as anything else did.

 

I don't see you coming across as arrogant or anything, and I hope you don't think I have, either. I'm simply stating my opinion, as well as a few things I have been told and believe to be fact. You have a lot of valid points, and discussions like this are what forums exist for in the first place.

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I don't know about unrideable. I can name plenty of steel coasters that are rougher now than when they were newer. I'm not trying to attack SF either- plenty of other park's coasters have had trim adjustments to them as well, both wood and steel. Maybe the height and speed difference between them have a different effect?

 

Or... could it just be that like Raging Bull which seemed faster when it was built because it was one of the fastest rides, do those rides seem rougher now when compared to newly constructed rides? Not saying either is right, but it's an interesting question at the least.

 

Says who?

Maintenence personnel. I worked in the park for a season when I was laid off from my regular job. I never worked Bull, so I have no more knowledge of it than anyone else does. I did work Batman, and asked a maintenence worker one day when they came to work on Batman what V2's holding brake's story was, and I was told it was disabled because it was putting a lot of stress on the rear spike. They previously added additional supports to both spikes after V2's first couple seasons due to the stress placed on them.

 

Interesting factoid that I do know... a lot of the time, people are left uninformed about the real decisions that are made, which leads to people coming up with their own hypothesises that are then shared. Other times, upper management will purposely tell people things to see what shows up on the internet, often coming up with things that are not exactly right so they can track to see who they are talking with. Not saying this was necessarily done to you, but at the same time unless I'm incorrect, the two other impulses that weren't modified (Possessed and Steel Venom) both have their holding brakes working, and Possessed is a year older than V2 is. Just a thing that makes you go "hmmm"

 

Note- V2 is VERY safe. Don't read into this as me saying the structure was in any way weakened. From what I know, turning the holding brake off was just to prevent a need for constant track work later in its life, work that Shockwave's first loop constantly needed towards the end- which, ironically, was needed to prevent damage because trims were never installed.

 

Again, I wouldn't necessarily believe that. Shockwave had the mounting spot for the trims on it from day one. If you look at the lead in to the first loop on it in pictures, you can see it. There is a thread with a good picture in this thread here:

 

http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64505

 

You can see the trim spot to the lower right of the loop.

 

If they had seen this great expense of steel track work that was necessary because they didn't install a relatively minor braking piece to a track system that was already ready for it, why wouldn't they have installed the trim brakes to the already-existing trim brake spot to save tons of money and potentially the ride itself?

 

Yes, they would ABSOLUTELY install trims if it was determined they were needed. For whatever reason, Batman and Superman haven't developed the rattle Bull has. IMO, they learned a lot from Shockwave. From what I have heard, that ride got constant structural attention in the later years of its life, which was all a direct result of it not having trims going into the first loop. The amount of money they were putting into it had just as much to do with its demise as anything else did.

 

See above. I have a very strong hunch that other outside factors contributed more to Shockwave's demise than anything else.

 

I don't see you coming across as arrogant or anything, and I hope you don't think I have, either. I'm simply stating my opinion, as well as a few things I have been told and believe to be fact. You have a lot of valid points, and discussions like this are what forums exist for in the first place.

 

Cool, thanks. As I said somewhere around here (maybe a few pages back?) I've studied the industry from less of an enthusiast perspective and more of a "how does it work" perspective since I was little, and I've discovered that a lot of the things that enthusiasts take as facts are either wrong or things that are perpetuated by the parks themselves because the industry has become a highly secretive one, and they are looking to protect that.

 

Since though there really aren't that many 'business of rides' enthusiasts out there, I tend to like hanging around the more fun enthusiast sites, but I worry often that if I am pointing out things that I've discovered, I sound like some insider-know-it-all, when instead I'm just trying to share interesting tidbits that I know. Thanks

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^ Where did you sit when you rode it? I've heard from a few people that sitting in the front row, as in the first row to leave the station, has ridiculous airtime.

 

Viper has always been significantly better at the front of the train - more air, more laterals. My one backwards ride yesterday, in the back row, was a snooze-fest.

 

I never really cared for Eagle backwards either - so maybe backwards wooden coasters just aren't for me; which is fine. I got my backwards rocks off on Batman many times, which was awesome.

 

I'm still sorry I never got a chance to try Mr. Freeze backwards.

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Or... could it just be that like Raging Bull which seemed faster when it was built because it was one of the fastest rides, do those rides seem rougher now when compared to newly constructed rides? Not saying either is right, but it's an interesting question at the least.

I agree completely there!! All of the newer B&M hypers haven't been "twisters" like RB is, so by design probably are smoother. I actually don't find RB rough at all, just a little rattle-y. Nothing uncomfortable. I've always found the layout to be sort of dull (even if the trims didn't exist) but that's another story.

 

Interesting factoid that I do know... a lot of the time, people are left uninformed about the real decisions that are made, which leads to people coming up with their own hypothesises that are then shared. Other times, upper management will purposely tell people things to see what shows up on the internet, often coming up with things that are not exactly right so they can track to see who they are talking with. Not saying this was necessarily done to you, but at the same time unless I'm incorrect, the two other impulses that weren't modified (Possessed and Steel Venom) both have their holding brakes working, and Possessed is a year older than V2 is. Just a thing that makes you go "hmmm"

The only reason I tend to believe the fact that the holding brake being disabled on our V2 was true is because the Vertical Velocity at SFDK also runs with its holding brake turned off. The question as to why Possessed and Steel Venom both still use theirs is one I have been wondering for a long time.

 

 

Again, I wouldn't necessarily believe that. Shockwave had the mounting spot for the trims on it from day one. If you look at the lead in to the first loop on it in pictures, you can see it. There is a thread with a good picture in this thread here:

 

http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64505

 

You can see the trim spot to the lower right of the loop.

 

If they had seen this great expense of steel track work that was necessary because they didn't install a relatively minor braking piece to a track system that was already ready for it, why wouldn't they have installed the trim brakes to the already-existing trim brake spot to save tons of money and potentially the ride itself?

I would think it would've made much more sense to just add the trims- after seeing that I don't knkw why they didn't. Thanks for the pic! I remember seeing cranes on the first loop a few times before the park would open, and some type of work being done. If you look closely at pics of Great American Scream Machine and Viper you can see the vertical loops had additional crossmembers which Shockwave's did not have. This leads me to believe that there was something going on with it. Why they didn't ever add trims or add the additional bracing does leave me guessing, though.

Cool, thanks. As I said somewhere around here (maybe a few pages back?) I've studied the industry from less of an enthusiast perspective and more of a "how does it work" perspective since I was little, and I've discovered that a lot of the things that enthusiasts take as facts are either wrong or things that are perpetuated by the parks themselves because the industry has become a highly secretive one, and they are looking to protect that.

 

Since though there really aren't that many 'business of rides' enthusiasts out there, I tend to like hanging around the more fun enthusiast sites, but I worry often that if I am pointing out things that I've discovered, I sound like some insider-know-it-all, when instead I'm just trying to share interesting tidbits that I know. Thanks

You have a lot of interesting knowledge which I hope you continue to share. Thanks!

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Freeze is unfortunately still running backwards in Texas. Not sure about STL

 

Likewise. Agree about it being unfortunate- the crescendo of the ride was climbing into the sky on the spike and then falling backwards. Having the train face the other way greatly minimizes that.

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The only reason I tend to believe the fact that the holding brake being disabled on our V2 was true is because the Vertical Velocity at SFDK also runs with its holding brake turned off. The question as to why Possessed and Steel Venom both still use theirs is one I have been wondering for a long time.

 

I believe that SFDK's holding brake got "turned off" about the same time the back tower got chopped in half to meet the height requirements Six Flags somehow "forgot" about or whatever it was. That would have been 2002. Great America's holding brake worked for years after that point.

 

I would think it would've made much more sense to just add the trims- after seeing that I don't knkw why they didn't. Thanks for the pic! I remember seeing cranes on the first loop a few times before the park would open, and some type of work being done. If you look closely at pics of Great American Scream Machine and Viper you can see the vertical loops had additional crossmembers which Shockwave's did not have. This leads me to believe that there was something going on with it. Why they didn't ever add trims or add the additional bracing does leave me guessing, though.

 

Again though, they didn't add the trims, which makes one wonder (or at least me wonder ) if the trims have little or nothing to do with the ride's maintenance. I alluded to this before, but in every case I've found it to be true - Trims that are put on wooden rides are most often added to decrease maintenance costs on the ride and / or extend it's life. But on steel rides, where you don't have the same sorts of issues like retracking and whatnot, they are often put on for a different reason, which I strongly suspect is to try to make the ride give out the same sorts of rides every time. It makes even more sense when thinking about how this is B&M we're talking about - they are extremely controlling of what their ride experience is, and many many of their coasters open with trims already installed. I also remember whatever the Dark Knight floorless was at Six Flags Ohio having a trim opening year.

 

I've heard this directly from them in interviews - B&M prides themselves on being the most safe, reliable, and cost-effective rides once built that you can get. I'm all but certain they put the trims there to ensure the ride operates exactly as it was intended to by them at all times, regardless of weather, regardless of "wheel hardness", etc.

 

You have a lot of interesting knowledge which I hope you continue to share. Thanks!

 

Glad someone thinks so

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