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Homey G.
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Midwest Trip 2005

Brian Yarborough

Kris Allen

 

or "The Quest to go upside down smoothly on a coaster"

 

Part 1

 

Prologue :

 

8 AM couldn't get here quick enough. Heck, once this trip was planned 30 days prior, it seemed like it would never get here. It had been a relatively busy year for coasters, but thusfar, not much in the way of new parks. That would change. Debates raged between us about where Kris and I should go for our week excursion. The most obvious choice would have been a "Dells area trip", but $$ is a bitch, so we settled on a midwest trip. Actually it wasn't like it was that big of a deal. Neither of us had been out that way, so it was a worthy second choice. So once my flight out of GSP was booked, it was a moo point (thanks Joey) after that. Hotels soon followed and it was settled.

 

Sooo, the day finally came. Kinda. I work 3rd shift cause.. well I suck pretty bad, so my day before the trip actually started 8 hours earlier at about 10pm on Thursday night. Keep that in mind for future, non-sleep related moments.

 

 

Friday August 5th, 2005

Greenville, SC

 

After a rousing 8 hour shift hating life, I was free! Time to haul ass home to hop a 10:36 flight to Louisville (by way of Cincy). Yeah, I had a 30 minute drive home. God bless the '8bang Stang. So yeah, I make it with plenty of time, which makes total sense since the plane took off about 20 minutes late. Figures, right? We're taxi-ing out to the runway when the cap'n announces that Cincy's airport sucks and we've been put on a hold... yeah, I'm not gonna bore you with the details about air travel troubles. Let's just skip ahead to about 6:30 pm when Kris and I embark for Altoona, Iowa. Home of Adventureland!

 

[8 hour gap here where you can imagine what it's like to travel through God's desolate country between Louisville and Iowa]

 

[crickets chirping ad nauseum]

 

Yay, we made it and it's only 3 in the morning EST. Oh we lost an hour, that's right. So the trip only took 7 hours? This time travel thing is for physics majors. In any event, I drove a bit and then crashed out like a hoe on Kris. God bless him. Haha.

 

We pull into Des Moines where Priceline hooked us up with reasonable lodgings at the airport Hampton Inn for 33 bones. Not too shabby. You learn a lot about yourself sharing a king sized bed with your hetero buddy for the first time. But you'll be happy to know the enthusiast community still can boast two "breeders" in it's otherwise eclectic bunch.

 

 

Saturday August 6th, 2005

 

Some kinda of alarm startled the piss out of me jerking me out of a pretty dandy dream and I had Kris's 800$ cell phone to thank. Actually I think I'll just roll over and take a few more winks. It's Iowa, how great could a park be there? Ughhh, ok. We DID drive all this way for it. A nummy continental breakfast of a chocolate chip muffin and two bagels and we were off. Seriously, what is up with 35 amusement parks located off of Route 6?? IS this THE amusement park road of America?? Cedar Point, Conneaut, Lake Compounce, Adventureland all off of Route 6! There's probably more, but it's just funny. No matter what state you happen to be in, if there's a park, it's a likely Route 6 is lurking closeby. In any event, we find it tucked back behind a Super WallyWorld (aka Wal-Mart) and Tornado's lift hill and Dragon's lift hill greet you. It's really kinda cool driving up right by coasters. Reminded me a lot of the backway into SFNE going right by Riverside Cyclone. Fortunately, Tornado offered NO horrific rides like that.

 

 

ADVENTURELAND

Altoona, Iowa

 

Eric Griswold Rating scale in full effect here

-3 to +5 rating with 0 being positive, but only slightly

 

Pulling into the park, we knew we might be in a spot of trouble. There are 9 different zones in the parking lot that service patrons. We got there roughly at 11ish CST. It was about an hour after the park had opened and we were directed to lot 8. Oh boy. Oh well, you're on vacation. Enjoy it. 27 bucks lighter and we're entering a really neat looking park. It had an actual midway with stores on the sides and really put you at ease. Oddly enough, the first ride you see is the Carrousel (yes, it's spelled just like that) and it sported a decently sized line. We made our way to the Skyride which came highly recommended and gave us a chance to ride to the back of the park to hit the coasters, but also a very good opportunity to take video and pictures of a cool park. The Skyride goes literally through the treetops and several times your shoes kick branches, but it's cool. Hey footchoppers!

 

First up was the out-n-back Tornado.

 

TORNADO (wooden out-n-back) Rating 2

 

Most of their stations in this park aren't really easy for most folk to figure out. Many of them end up being like an RCT game with ops having to move people almost FOR them. Tornado is weird in that it loads from the back to the front and you can't choose your seat. Lucky us scored 1-1. I had heard some really positive reviews of this coaster and for the most part, I really enjoyed it. I didn't get any "rip you out of your seat" airtime pops, but it was a very fun and smooth coaster. Picture Hoosier Hurricane with just a lil' more pop over the hills. Again, nothing crazy, but still downright enjoyable. We waited about 20 minutes or so. We looked longlingly at the 2nd train sitting quietly on the transfer track. Oh well.

 

After this, we challenged

 

DRAGON (O.D. Hopkins steel looper) Rating -2

 

We lost terribly. Like it wasn't even close. I tried to pick up a sword and had my head bashed in. Dragon just ate Kris entirely. Dragon is one of 4, I believe, O.D. Hopkins coasters running. I can see why there's not 5. Seriously, it's just one of those coasters you look at from afar and worry about. Nothing about it looks all that fun, but the eternal optimists we were, we gave it a fighting chance. Funny side story about it. Right before our dispatch (last car, last row), we were told it would be a minute while they replaced a wheel. We were not asked to exit the train, but they did pop the restraints. While we sat there in disbelief, an unseen mechanic from underneath tink, tink, tinked at the undercarriage of the train. Anyway, 5 minutes pass and we're dispatched. It was a nightmare really. First drop into a double vertical loop and then something else happened. I'm not too sure. I think a figure 8 finale. Dunno.

 

The exit queue takes you through a "Mirror Maze" which consists of a small 15ishx15ish room with funhouse mirrors. Laughs were had as I snapped off a few digital cam pics and then we made out way out. One thing we did notice was that a LOT of the flat rides were down today. It was quite busy, but their Pirate ship, their "Musik Express" type ride, something weird called "The Mixer" and I think one more. Kinda sucked that I had heard of a few of them only to see them SBNO. Oh well, another day. Well, maybe. Iowa ain't exactly close to South Carolina.

 

After tackling Dragon (or after getting sacked for a 10 yard loss by Dragon I should say), we made our way back to..

 

OUTLAW (CCI wooden twister) Rating +2

 

Outlaw, their small-ish CCI in the back of the park. Well, we went the wrong way at first, so totally pulled out our park map like the tourons (tourist morons) we were and found it was back the way of the Dragon aka Laurence Taylor. They have a cool little themed area for it called Outlaw Gulch with a few rides like one of those spinning raft rides like SFA and Cypress have, and also what looked like a Huss Frisbee. It was in actuality just a smaller version of Delerium/MaxAir that face you out. I had never seen one, and would have liked to try it, but we were really feeling about a 7-8 ride cycle wait, so we headed on back and queued up for Outlaw. The turning drop is really reminiscent of GCI, which I'm reckoning (use only if you've heard a real southerner say it) makes sense cause Boodley helped build it.

 

Outlaw, is really a small coaster, but for exactly what it was, it was quite fun. I'm not sure if I had to pick which coaster I liked better between Outlaw and Tornado which I'd pick. On this coaster, we were allowed to pick our seat, so we took a 1-1 spin on it. Although it only has one train, the line moves fast cause Outlaw is quite short. Not a problem though. It packs a decent punch. I had heard relatively nothing about this coaster, so it was a nice little surprise. Nothing mindblowing though. Maybe that's why I hadn't heard much about it. That and the fact that unless you KNOW it's back there or have a park map, you could really just miss this coaster entirely.

 

3 credits down and 1 to go.

 

Now to find..

 

THE UNDERGROUND (CCI wooden/dark ride weird thing) Rating 0

 

Man, talk about ANOTHER one that really hides from you! This coaster reminds me so much of Chaos at Opryland. I had NO IDEA what the hell I was in for. Still don't really. Haha. Seriously, it's one of those coaster credits you almost feel bad counting. I mean, don't get me wrong, there's no doubt it's a credit, but only really in theory. It's themed to a mine shaft kinda deal. You're after this cat named BAD BOB (which name served for a few laughs later) who apparently was blown up in this mine by the good guy sheriff with a more forgettable name. Anyway, no one knows if Bad Bob faded or not. Actually, you're not really sure even afterwards. Anyway, a trainful of people at a time are brought in to the stationhouse and you hear the story from an animatronic cousin of the skeleton at Indiana Beach's Den O' Lost Theives. You dispatch and kinda roll a little while. I GUESS it has a slope, but I wouldn't bet more than 5 bucks on it. No kicker wheels. It's a coaster. You go up about 2 lifts, but again, no drop?? What the? So finally you see a skeleton sitting on a pile of gold I think. Maybe that's Bad Bob and he did the J.O.B. after all, who knows. We thought we were definitely in for a drop after that, but instead we pull into the station. Umm, ok. Again, it's NOT a bad experience at all! It's just like a combination of Blazing Fury and LoCoSuMo that never does anything drop-wise. Good for the kiddies I guess, if skeletons don't spook em.

 

By this time, we had done all the coasters, and although our longest wait was Underground at about 20 minutes, we didn't feel ridiculously motivated to double any of the coasters up. If this park had been empty, and it wasn't easily in the 90s and smart boys Brian and Kris didn't wear black shirts that day, then sure. But as it was, it was decided to move onward towards Kansas City and Worlds of (maybe)Fun. The idea quickly became, let's see if we can maybe double up parks in one day. Heck, we drove this doggone far to do parks, and I don't expect much Fun out of Worlds of (maybe)Fun, so it could happen? Our hotel was literally right across the street. Could it happen? Time will tell, and we're 30 minutes outside of KC, I'm sitting in the direct sun and I can barely see the screen of my laptop, so I'm done for now.

 

So our quest so far??? So far, we're miserable failures.

 

See you for part 2 later and here are a few pictures :

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Ok that was fun.. how far is KC again? Can we make it today?

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Don't get much weirder than this ride.. or coaster.. what is THIS?

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Ok, while it's not "the lick", it's pretty solid

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Little CCIs usually are the lick

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I could be Jimmy Hoffa with Kris around. No one would know.

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Big line, I'll take your word if it's good.

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More credits to get, but look at my head!

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Worth the headbashing of Dragon

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Ok, maybe the fish idea ain't so bad

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This is bad news when people are more excited about feeding nasty carp than riding stuff

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This kid must have it going on, he's got his hoes on lock!

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I don't wanna ride that other thing :(

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Fun outtie and back.. uh backie

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Don't splash my camera, por favor

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Kinda neat, yet kinda strange ride through the park

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Woodies with 90 degree drops!

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Thanks everyone!

 

Shari, I actually didn't make it up. I'm known for having a weird vocab, but this phrase is actually from the 70's. My friend resurrected it, and it stuck with me. You don't have to learn it, but I can't promise that you won't hear it a few more times during the course of my TRs

 

8)

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Part 2... still August 6th, 2005

 

Soo, after a fun few hours at Adventureland, Kris and I decided that since we were already dealing with time travel, why not go ahead and try to completely screw with the space time continuum, and pick up Kansas City's Worlds of Fun in the same day and essentually BUY ourselves another day, creating a void that could destroy the world as we knew it. We must be doing ok because I haven't disappeared from my driver's license picture as of yet. (Note to self : don't watch Back to the Future before you go on trips). In any event, being out of Altoona Iowa at about 2:30ish, according to Mapquest, we could be in KC by 7. WoF wouldn't close until midnight, so realistically, 5 hours should be plenty of time for what Joe C. calls a 3 hour park. Fine by us, if we can double up Adventureland and WoF in one day, we've bought ourselves another day entirely. That makes a day at Holiday World much more feasible now.

 

Just for reference sake, here was the plan for our trip, and you'll be able to see how much a little bit of luck would change things :

 

Saturday : Adventureland

Sunday : Worlds of Fun

Monday : Silver Dollar City

Tuesday : Magic Springs, Arkansas/Celebration City

Wednesday :SFStL

Thursday : Fly home AM

 

So, we're looking very promising at this point. I was typing up the trip report for Adventureland, when I realized that Kris was actually obliterating Mapquest's 4 hour trek to KC. We made it in something like 3 tops. Not sure how. I was typing away. DIdn't look at spedometer. Sorry. But we did. Bonus.

 

Checking into our hotel right across the street from WoF at the Crossland Extended Stay (roughly 40 bones on priceline.com), we dropped our gear off, and changed shirts and took off across the interstate to...

 

WORLDS OF FUN (or according to Joe C, Worlds of not so much fun... so WONSMF?)

Kansas City, Missouri

 

Again, for continuity's sake I will be using the Eric Griswold scale for coasters

-3 to +5 with 0 being positive, but only slightly

 

 

It's strange. Someone like me, who's pretty tuned into the coaster enthusiast's take on parks I've never been to, was totally expecting Worlds of Fun to be filler. The meat of this trip, after all, was the Branson parks. Worlds of Fun couldn't be more literally ON THE WAY from Iowa to Branson. We both had CP passes. It made all the sense in the world. But you know the rub on this place, right? Only 5 coasters. Stupid Morgan hyper, rough piece of crap woodie Timberwolf, a freakin' boomerang, a spinning low capacity mouse, and for pete's sake, a kiddie Wacky Worm coaster. Plus we're a year early. Patriot and it's B&M goodness would come the following spring, and I'm not a weirdo who obsesses about the future. How in the world could THIS park be fun?

 

Easy.

 

Go in with zero (or less than zero expectations), and have the stereotypes demolished for you.

 

Bonus that we bulldozed our way over the parking attendant and got free parking with our CP passes whether we were supposed to or not. We parked 60 miles away and walked. Even at 630 pm, there were 10 people leaving for every 2 going in. You know it's funny. Worlds of Fun is a lot prettier of a park than I expected. I was thinking it would be Dorney West with black asphalt and zero trees and hills for days. I couldn't be more wrong. Worlds of Fun is a VERY pretty park with some very unique settings for rides. We took a left upon entry and I got a park map and busted it out doing my best touron imitation. Moving to our left, the first coaster up would be the Boomer. Great. I was really surprised to see the level of theming for it's "Worlds". Boomerang at this point was looking like it was sporting the newer trains, which comforted me a bit, but not much. It was also, at this point, sporting what looked to be about a 30 minute wait, at best. Sorry, no dice. This would have to wait. At this point, it didn't look like we'd be able to get all the credits in. Which meant that we might have to swing back through in the AM and pick up a few credits. Not the end of the world, but if Boomerang was like this, what could everything else be.

 

Up the hill we went to Mamba. Yay. This part certainly looked the whole "Dorney West" part. Same color scheme as Steel Force with green trains to be the whole snake thing. Impressive? Not really, but hey, it's a hyper. It should be at least kinda fun. Mamba has 3 sections of switchbacks and the first and third were empty but the second was jammed up, but they WERE running 3 trains. Kinda nice of them. The ride attendant standing out front predicted about a 20 minute wait and also threw in the this was the busiest day he had seen all year. The line moved steadily, and soon enough we were in the station.

 

MAMBA (Morgan steel hyper) +3 rating (+4 at night)

 

I have every reason in the world to hate these coasters. The trains are just not very interactive and you sit waaay to far down in them. The layout never seems very inspired either. We took a 1-3 first ride. At this point, I found the FIRST surprise coaster of the trip. I really wasn't expecting any airtime. Joe had told me on the phone that Mamba was really quite good, but he likes Hurricane Cat. 5, and I'm also familiar with his penchant for Gerstlaur trains on woodies, so is opinion, while educated, is taken with a grain of salt. In this case though, he was right. Mamba's first drop was very good and the second camelback was floater's bliss. Nearly 4 full seconds of floating air. Then the helix of doom. Man, between the headchoppers and the g forces this helix pulls, I felt like someone had pulled the rug out from under me. What was I on?? Crazy. Airtime into the MCBR?? Wow. This coaster was a solid, solid effort and stomped the guts out of Steel Force. A SOLID +2 rating when I felt it wouldn't get anything more than a 0. Great way to start out the park.

 

Off of Mamba, we headed towards Timberwolf to it out of the way. We passed Detonator, their S&S double shot, but the line was still kinda ridick, so we moved on. WoF IS a confusing park to navigate, period. Walking by Camp Snoopy, we figured we'd try our luck with their Wacky Worm. It took a bit, but we finally found a couple of young gents who let us ride with them. Kid renting isn't for the faint of heart, and it nearly bested me, but we hung in there like the champs we were. Haha. After that 30 seconds of delight, it was time to go right after that crazy forest wild canine. Got lost, but we eventually found the entrance to Timberwolf, after running into a deadend down near Thunderhawk, their TopSpin with water geysers. No thanks, with KW's still fresh in my memory, I passed.

 

TIMBERWOLF (?? wooden double out-n-back)

 

When a coaster sign in front of the station basically says "This ride offers a severe jostling experience. If you're a big baby and can't take a whooping, do us a favor, don't ride" I started to worry. Joe actually said this was a lot of fun in the back, but I wasn't sure. Anyway, we made our way back to the back. Then, the magic happened. 2 trains from getting on, you hear the dreaded words "Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, your hopes of getting all the credits in tonight are dashed, as we're going down for an indeterminable amount of time for an unspecified reason. Sorry... kinda" So what do you do? You're 10,000 miles away from home at a park that, at this point, while pretty, have no desire to get back out here in the foreseeable future even though they ARE getting an invert next year. We decided to wait. 4 mechanics show up and there's a small pow-wow. I was able to pick up a bit of the conversation that apparently there was a problem with seat 7. However, they didn't know if it was ROW 7 or SEAT 7, which would be row 4, left side. While they were deciding that, they made a second announcement that they would PROBABLY be down a long time and everyone should basically roll out cause it would be a while. Everyone else did. Two dolts from back east didn't. A few minutes later, a ride op stopped in to talk to us and REALLY encouraged us to leave. I asked him what was up with seat 7. He volunteered that apparently someone had went to Guest Relations and complained that they had a really, REALLY bad ride in seat 7 causing them to leave the park in great discomfort. So naturally, WoF reacted by shutting down the ride, and apparently making maintenance come out. The ride op at THIS point told me something I had never heard. The carpenters would have to walk the ENTIRE track to look for any sign of delamination, or track failure of some kind. Amazing. We were then told that his ride supervisor ordered everyone must leave the station. Hmm.

 

Well, where do you go next? The capacity monster known as...

 

SPINNING DRAGONS (Gerstlaur steel spinning mouse) 0 rating

 

It was about 8:30PM, and the line was immense like we figured it would be. But we passed the time chitting with a guy and his girlfriend who actually started talking to me because I was taking pictures. Good people these Kansans. We easily waited 45 minutes or so, but it was ok. At this point, the sun was fading and the temps became MUCH more doable. This coaster ran maybe 6 trains, but it constantly stacked 4. Not really the attendants fault. It is a rather short coaster, and getting people buckled in wasn't an easy feat. In any event, we were on finally. We didn't spin a whole lot, and that was just fine by me. Odd little coaster. Certainly not anything a Cedar Point could ever pull off, but neat anyway. Time to go get that Boomerang since it didn't seem Timberwolf was feeling froggy yet.

 

BOOMERANG (Vekoma steel shuttle) 0 rating

 

Yep, I said it. A positive rating of Boomerang. Here's why. It's quite simple really. See, there was still a line for it, and we resigned ourselves to waiting in it. Oh well. But the line flew. They cranked people through that thing. That's a positive. The trains were the new style, so they had little grooves molded into the back of the seats for my long ass legs and my knees usually are jammed all up in the back of the seat in front of me. Also positive. No headbanging. Another positive, and quite possibly the most impressive part about it. It's still a boomerang, and it'll never be great. No desire to re-ride even if completely empty, but even so, the fact that I'm not dying of a brain hemmhorage, garners it a 0.. which is slightly positive. Good enough for me.

 

Since we were only missing Timberwolf, no point passing up the surprise coaster of the trip. Mamba was only maybe a 5 minute wait to get into the station, so it was a no brainer. We chose a second to last seat ride, and wow, as nightfall came, so did more speed and more airtime. This coaster really really surprised me. As we flew down the second drop, Kris screams out "TIMBERWOLF IS RUNNING!!!" No time for that as of yet. Mamba was whipping the piss out of me!

 

After disembarking, we scooted down to Timberwolf for another crack at it.

 

TIMBERWOLF (?? wooden double out-n-back) +2

 

This was a coaster that I had seen POV of long ago, but I really had no idea what to expect. I still don't have much of a clue about the layout. Don't have much of a clue about anything, really. Let me tell you the best way to describe this coaster.

 

This the FUNNEST, rough piece of crap coaster I have ever ridden in my entire life!! Seriously, it shuffles and bumps and kicks your butt, and I've NEVER seen a woodie with sprinklers stationed at least 4 places along turnarounds, but it had them! So, basically you're trying to ride defensively cause it's bashing you left and right and up and down, and at the same time you're trying to shield yourself from a water bombardment. This wasn't like misters here, it was like a LOT more water! Crazy! So it's dark, I can't see, and I'm getting random ejector airtime moments and screaming "Ow!" and yet laughing my ass off! Totally tons of fun. Kris mentioned that if this coaster were smooth, could be top 5 material. How do I argue?? A SECOND surprise coaster of the trip in the SAME park! Crazy fun. It's the best way to describe it.

 

Time for more Mamba!

 

At this point it's about 10:10 PM. We were looking at nearly 2 hours of night rides on a really surprising hyper! Bonus! All told, we picked up another 4 rides. We waited it out for 1-1, and the very last car, 1-2 and 2-1. By nights end, I had a new top 5 coaster and Kris had a new #2 which considering both of us have been on over 200 coasters should feel embarrassing, but it doesn't. Mamba is probably THE most underrated steelie in the continental United States.

 

We left just before midnight and called it a day. Although Boomerang didn't help up acheive our quest, we didn't expect it to. Hopefully Wildfire will help us out a bit tomorrow! A heck of a day, but we felt very happy that we'd done the unlikely and created another day for us to cram in another park! Next up? BAD BOB!! Err, I mean, Branson, Missouri! See you tomorrow! Picture TIME!

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I don't care, say what you will. A park that's open til MIDNIGHT... yep, it's the lick. :)

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More generic on ride photos.. zz

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More Mamba photo silliness abounds!

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What a shocker! WoF is FRO awesome! :D

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Only an hour wait?? What a bargain!

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Ok, seriously... last chance to bail!

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Doesn't look TOOO bad?!

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Your first clue to run away screaming into the night

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Yay. Two morons queing up for Timberwolf. One looks retarded, one just is. :)

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It doesn't look that great, so HOW is it THAT great??

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Wait, what's MF and Raptor doing here? And when did CP change their logo... and name???

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Top 5. I know, crazy right?

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Does it being the smoothest Boomer make it any better? What about with vibrant colors?

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Nice trip report! WOF was really fun when they had Orient Express (My fav. Arrow. It was NOT rough when I went on it! ) The Zambizi Zinger (That was awsome! ). Oh yeah, did you go on a ride called Cyclone Sam's? That is a indoor wipeout that is the best ride in the park hands down.

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Getting sprayed by sprinklers on Timberwolf- that's freaking ace! (not the club, of course) I went to college in Lawrence, KS (go Hawks) and got plenty of milage from my WoF pass. NEVER did I get a ride with sprinklers. You bastrads! I'm green as hell.

 

Not hitting Bell's I see; what's up with no love for Zingo?

 

Good to hear you gents are having a time. Enjoy the hell out of the trip! Thanks for the pics. I actually miss my Midwest.

 

-Scott

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Thanks!

 

Didn't do Cyclone Sams cause I didn't know what it was, and I have somewhat of an aversion to spinning rides.

 

Ozcatter, the trip is over, I'm just in the process of resizing pics and posting trip reports!

 

There's 6 so far, and I'm not done!

 

--Brian

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Part 3

 

Sunday, August 7, 2005

 

Another day, another dollar in the hole, and another long trip report to write. Lets see here, last time I was a' typin' we had just had a pretty busy, but killer day at two parks. Ah yes, WoF was quite a way to end an evening. After some reflection, Kris and I surmised that we were actually glad that had the 5 hours we had at WoF, but perhaps we had JUST the perfect amount of time there. Everything we wanted to do we did, and then some, however, if we had been there all day it might have been a little too much, so we were just pleasantly content with our visit, but not zombified after a hot day.

 

So a quick jaunt across the Interstate and we had our lodgings for the evening. Meager lodgings. ONE double bed. Now I was ok with sharing a king sized bed, but I'm 6-2 about 200 lbs and Kris is 5-10 about 200, so this would really test us. Fortunately, Kris powdered out and slept on the floor citing reasons of liking to "sprawl" out, which was fine by me. God bless him. The kid is a blast at a park to hang out with, doesn't mind sleeping on floors when the ratios to male anatomy and square footage on a bed doesn't match up, and he LOVES to drive. Seriously, as I sit here and peck away going down the highway towards Hot Springs, Arkansas, I've logged a grand total of 2 hours driving, and that was the first doggone night. In any event, here we are. Let me catch you up...

 

NOT so early Sunday morning, well about 1045 our time, we headed out towards Branson, Missouri and Silver Dollar City. Mapquest had KC to Branson about 4ish hours and with a total of about FIVE of those miles to be taken by way of Interstate, this could be every bit of that. We figured that we'd get there about maybe 2 and have all the time we needed. Unbeknownst to us at the time was SDC closed at 7!! Can't really blame us, as we HAD just been at a park the night before that was open til midnight. Bahh. Oh well, with my experience at Dollyfood, it could be jam up, but the lines for coasters would be minimal. I worried a bit with Powderkeg, but I figured Wildfire wouldn't be bad eating folks 4 across.

 

We didn't end up getting to SDC until 3ish leaving us just about 3 hours to do this park.. Here's why. For those of you who have never been to Branson or Pigeon Forge, it's like country music shows and assorted tourist junk that belongs on a 8 lane road for all the traffic that clogs it. Sadly, the road that services these towns is lucky to have 2 lanes. Traffic, traffic, traffic. What's worse is it's just traffic for stuff that I have little to no interest in. And THIS from guy who likes country music. But this is just overkill with cheap entertainers making a living recreating Elvis, Red Skelton, and any other entertainer who once made their own living, you have these leeches making money doing someone else's schtick. I'm jaded I guess, I grew up in Myrtle Beach and tourist traps are tourist traps.

 

So anyway, we got lost searching for our hotel. We should have just went straight to the park, but it was 95 degrees and I had already left my laptop in the scorching sun one day and I wasn't really thrilled about the idea of doing it again. So we trekked to our hotel, or rather, towards where we thought our hotel was. I was wrong, cost us an hour, but luck was smiling on us YET again. You'll see in a minute. I'm not sure I'm through ranting about stupid Branson traffic. Wait, ok yeah I am.

 

The lady at the hotel told us a backroad around gay Branson traffic, and on the way up there we passed a billboard advertising something dumb. But on the sign was a little girl hugging a plastic hippopotamous. This conversation followed :

 

Brian : Dood, that girl better be happy that's not a real hippo or that thing would bite her in half!

Kris : Whatever, hippos teeth aren't sharp. They don't even eat meat.

Brian : True, they eat cabbage and vegetation, but have you seen them? They're teeth are like huge dull tusks, and they could snap her like a twig.

Kris : No they wouldn't. Hippos don't do that.

Brian : Have you never heard of hippo attacks???

Kris : You're wrong. Hippos are nice. They eat marbles.

 

So pulling in the lot to SDC, Kris is panicking just a bit worrying we wouldn't get all the credits. I wasn't. But that doesn't mean I'm the coolest guy in the world, it more means that I just wasn't too worried about it. Worse came to worse, we'd miss something like Fire in the Hole, which some don't call a credit anyway. So, at the ticket counter, I busted out the Gold Dollyfood pass and got my ticket, and Kris flashed his regular pass which got him half price admission and a special bonus! The lady told him since he purchased his ticket after 3PM, he could come back the next day for free! I knew this worked at th' Food in Pigeon Forge, but had no idea it would work here. At this point Kris relaxed, which was good. NOW, worse came to worse, we could come back the next night, as it was our home base for the next two nights. So anyway, we finally entered...

 

SILVER DOLLAR CITY

BRANSON, MISSOURI

 

Again.. Eric Griswold scale (-3 to +5) with 0 being positive but only slightly

 

 

This all seemed VERY familiar. It's seriously like Dollywood redeux, but somehow better. I can't really explain it. I mean, we only spent 3 and a half hours there, and I didn't end up doing much other than the basic credits but everything seems just a hair better than Dollywood in most every aspect. However, I could spend all day at Dollywood and the time I spent here was plenty. No real reason why. Anyway, we headed to the left after watching a bit of a country music show. Ok that was fun. So down this huge hill towards the BIG RIDES! YAY! So yeah, this enormous hill could double as the most suicidal sledding hill ever in the winter time. Not so sure it ever gets that cold in Branson, but if it did, this could rival any coaster in the park It wasn't long til we found our way to the very unique queue house for...

 

WILDFIRE (B&M Steel Sitdown) +2 rating

 

This coaster's theme was very neat for this park. I enjoyed it for the 3 minutes we had to wait to get to the loading station. Haha. So yeah, we figured first ride, we'd wait out the front. We probably waited 10 minutes queued for the front. Kris noticed that everyone in front of us was a group of 3 costing us precious time!! Not really, but we DID notice this anomaly. SDC does a pretty good job of allowing mucho photo ops for this coaster, so there was plenty of opportunities, and we took em, but not just yet. One disappointing side note is that the misters of "Wildfire" were not working this day. The op said they had been down a few days but MIGHT be back up tomorrow. The coaster does one of those cool dip-n-ups to the right and enters the lift. I won't go into crazy detail about the layout, but I will say that this coaster has a great drop and any non-invert with an immelman is a-ok in my book. It was interesting to note that there were two trims in use on the ride. One at the bottom of the first hill, and one entering the cobra roll. Odd, since they both hit and the coaster still cooks the entire way around the circuit. I loved it. A solid +2 and I'm betting it's even better at night, but no time for that now. Credits to score. We did stop long enough to pick up video footage and stills of the ride. We took a total of 3 rides on it today. One train waits the last two.

 

MORE importantly, our QUEST was complete! Thanks to the Swiss engineering, we had finally gone upside down smoothly! But we couldn't turn back now.. oh no. It was time to launch from zero to breathless (as the marketing claimed!)

 

Continuing on up the hill past like 35,000 food stalls which smelled good as heckfire. Another hill and we fell upon the newest SDC creation. The coaster formerly known as Buzzsaw Falls, but now...

 

POWDERKEG (S&S Power steel launched) +2 rating

 

I dunno. I really thought this would be the coaster of the trip. It was really a lot of fun. Had some pretty good forces. Some airtime, but for some reason, I missed the boat entirely on this ride. The station and queing area was themed to the 9's. They couldn't have done better theming, actually, but as far as ride goes, it was just ok. I mean, a +2 from me is a very good rating. This ride is really popular with a line that was always at least 20 minutes. It serves SDC great, but give me Thunderhead any day. The only thing I can think about Powderkeg that really didn't sit so great was the restraint system. It's identical to the Screaming Swings and they really do a good job of keeping you locked in, which is comforting if you're going upside down, I guess. But kinda more restricting for this type of coaster, and a bit unnecessary, IMO. The ride launches well and takes good speed over a few of the camelbacks, but the launch was pedestrian by thrill seekers standards, but PERFECT for families. The coaster is smooth as glass, and there ARE some decent airtime moments. The second hill, for me, killed the pacing of the ride. I can appreciate the preservation of one of the elements of Buzzsaw Falls, but all in all, I think the coaster is lesser for keeping it. The final drop is very steep and fun, but the 15 seconds it takes to scale the hill is too anti-climactic. Overall, a great ride. I was just expecting/hoping it would deliver more for this selfish coaster whore. We got 2 total rides. Front row, and very back. Waited 35 minutes the first time, and maybe 20ish the second time.

 

Another great opportunity for some video or pictures of the launch. A funny incident came when Kris pulled the video camera out to get our rather bland onride picture shot on video. The attendant saw him and flipped his wig and like literally DOVE to hit a button to wipe the pictures. They're apparently not too keen on cheapos taking NON-SDC sanctioned pictures. Not that we cared, but it came off kinda chincy on their part. I mean, the park clearly makes cash hand-over-fist and we weren't gonna buy a horribly posed onride photo anyway. Whatever, I see their point. But the look that guy gave Kris was a little unnecessary. Haha.

 

Onward to Blazing Fury's twin... or so we thought...

 

FIRE IN THE HOLE (some weird steel partially powered coaster) 0 rating

 

They do a better job theming here and also a better job of backstory. Dollywoods version makes little to no sense. Not to say that this one does either, but it tries. There's apparently some baddies here called the Baldknobbers who start fires. I will say also, that while the coaster layout maybe identical, the scenes are, I believe, completely different. FitH also has a much shorter train with individual lapbars as opposed to Dolly's version. FitH gets you MUCH wetter on the finale, which didn't tickle Kris's fancy none too much. Either way, fun for the family, which is the prevailing idea at this park.

 

After putting out fires, I guess, we decided to take the long way around SDC. They have an awesome kiddie area. I mean, borderline spectacular really. They have a version of Mountain Slidewinder, but I can't say for sure how it matches up, cause the line was too doggone long to ride. So we passed and eventually happened upon...

 

Thunderation (steel mine train with option to ride backwards) +2

 

I didn't really take in a whole lot of it, cause the one lap I took was backwards, but from what I could gather, this might be the best mine train I have ever ridden. It'd be tough to argue based on the pacing and forces it exerts. I liked it a lot, and Kris did too. He rode forwards and said it indeed WAS the best. One train operation so we waited maybe 10 minutes. Still, tons o' fun.

 

At this time, we went back around and picked up the other two rides on Wildfire and then back up for the final lap on Powderkeg. We left a few minutes before closing, but were satisfied. Top to bottom, the rides here have Dollywood beat rather solidly, yet I'll take Thunderhead over any of the individual attractions here. Maybe I just enjoy powerriding, I really have no conclusive reasoning behind it. Bottom line is, AS expected, I love this park.

 

 

After taking the tram back to lot F where our car awaited us, we drove back to sample some of Branson's finest cuisine. Taco Bell.

 

I ordered something simple. Kris wanted 8 soft tacos, and the lovely Taco Bell temptress sweet talked him into ordering 10. Silly man. We tackled our din din, with Kris finishing 8 of 10, and headed back for an early evening. We had a long day in store for us tomorrow. Early AM drive through Arkansas, and then BACK to pick up Celebration City, where hopefully we'll meet our first VERY rerideable woodie!

 

On with the pics!

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3 parks down, and the shoes are still maintaining! Hell to the yeah!

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Oh to get to play in this area, but alas... too big :(

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Yes, it's still us and we're not any hotter. Just a tad hairier.

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Not sure, but it might be the coolest mine train ev

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This little girl was so adorable! Sadly, I pushed her out of the way so I wouldn't have to wait behind her family of 34

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Yes, yes. Just press and hold lady. no NO!! You just turned it off.. wait, no.. ok now. Wait, you took it already?

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Fairly efficient. Loads faster than their S&S towers. :p

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Will it be the best ev?? Read up there to find out! :D

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Ok, maybe overkill on the Cobra.. sorry

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Talk about a shot of things to come!!

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This logo always seems like it should be for a park themed after "The Shining".

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