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Photo TR: Chuck's March Thru Ga. via Lake Winnie and SFOG


cfc
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I've been to the Atlanta area a number of times, but never during the operating season of Six Flags Over Georgia. So, when the opportunity came to visit the park over Memorial Day Weekend, after swinging north to Laek Winnepesaukah, I jumped at the chance: Cannonball, Goliath, Mind Bender--what's not to like (except Ninja)? Unfortunately, one of our little crew had to bow out (we missed you, Erik), so I carried on with Will, who picked me up at the Atlanta airport around 1:00 pm Saturday for the the two-hour drive to Lake Winnie. Guy drove down from Nashville to meet up with us.

 

Lake Winnie was new to all three of us, which was a bit surprising because Guy lived fairly close to the park (a mere two hours). But we were all happy we made the trip. Lake Winnie is a very nice, traditional park along the lines of Knoebels in Pennsylvania. And while Lake Winnie isn't quite at Knoebels's level, their classic woodie, Cannonball, and unusual homemade "shoot the chutes" from the late 1920s made the trip worthwhile.

 

Cannonball isn't the tallest or fastest ride in the world, but it delivers the airtime where it counts, as a classic out-and-back woodie should. (It stomps all over Kings Dominion's Rebel Yell, for example.) The park's other two coasters--a Wacky Worm and Wild Lightnin', a wild mouse--aren't as impressive. But everyone needs to experience the Boat Chute at least once. This is sort of a "proto" flume ride and was designed and built by Lake Winnie's original owner in 1927. It was the park's very first ride--and most likely the last of its kind, too.

 

The rest of the park is a nice collection of flats, some family attractions (such as an antique car ride and mini-golf), and a chairlift to nowhere over the lake.

 

Here's a look at a fun day at Lake Winnie.

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This is one of two entrances to Lake Winnie. So, if upon arrival at the park, your gate doesn't match this one, don't panic!

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Rules to live by.

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Unless I miss my guess, we're in a park somewhere in the South.

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There's a nice oldtime vibe about Lake Winnie.

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Or maybe I was getting that from this poratable calliope. There were a number of them spread around the park.

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Proof that I was actually there. Are you satisfied now?

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There were dueling calliopes blasting away as we waited for Guy.

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Hmm--what attraction from a major theme-park chain does this remind me of?

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I just can't quite place it . . .

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. . . maybe the creepy ringmaster guy is distracting me.

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Here's a quarter, little monkey. Please don't bite off my face!

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"Aw, that was nice of you to give that sweet little monkey a quarter, Chuck."

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"I don't waste my time giving money to monkeys when there are Wacky Worms to ride."

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The worm . . . he mocks us!

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OK, would even trust your trash to a clown named "Sneaky"?

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This is one brutal mouse. It could beat the crap out of Mighty Mouse and Atom Ant.

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The cars look like one of Jules Verne's nightmares.

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"Oh, lord this hurts so bad!"

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Such an ominous picture--perhaps some foreshadowing of Ninja at SFOG?

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Doesn't matter what level you're on, you're screwed!

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Yay! Cannonball makes up for everything!

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Yeah, gotta love that "retro" train. The chainlink is for its protection--not yours.

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Up they go.

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Almost there . . .

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Air, air, everywhere!

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A true classic.

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And look--theming!

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Two nerds and a train in one shot! I rule!

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Lake Winnie's drop tower, Oh Zone, doesn't fool around. You reach the top . . .

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. . . and down you go! They even sell t-shirts for this sucker.

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Yay! Guy is no longer a Paratrooper virgin!

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There are a few rides tucked behind the Cannonball. This one, some bumper cars, . . .

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. . . and the Fly-o-Planes, which were grounded that day. More to come from Lake Winnie.

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Let's take a look at Lake Winnie from up above, shall we?

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Time for a chairlift to nowhere--although none of us realized that when we got on.

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Easy there, Guy. It's OK.

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Off I go. To come back. Again.

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Nice view, though.

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The park is in a beautiful area.

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Another look at the skyline of one side of Lake Winnie.

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Not a problem from all the way up here.

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"Hey, Boat Chute! Am I bugging you? I'm not touching you. Am I bugging you?"

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"Naw, you're not buggin . . ." sp-la-s-s-sh!

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A look at the park on the way back.

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The park has a nice Wave Swinger.

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It swings you right over the lake.

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Time for our next objective--Castle!

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Yep--it's pretty dark in there. I can vouch for that.

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Hmm--a castle with outer-space theming? Er, OK . . .

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"Beware the wrath of Planet Fang!"

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"Aghh! Someone save me from Planet Fang!"

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"Hello! I am the concierge of Planet Fang. Please let me know how I can make your stay as uncomfortable as possible."

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"Oh, god, is there no privacy on Planet Fang? A girl can't change her skin in peace!"

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"This way to the Planet Fang fitness center."

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"What the hell was that?"

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"That's it . . . enjoy your drink of water . . . CHOMP!"

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The park has a little museum, too.

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I regret to inform you that you can't get fried eggs and ham at Lake Winnie for any price--as near as I can tell. One more set from Lake Winnie to come.

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One last look at Lake Winnie.

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Time for the legendary Boat Chute.

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A little background for your edification. Thank you.

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Hmm--I guess "queue" was a little too long to fit on the sign.

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You start out here.

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At this point, a little clown doll on a tricycle says, "I wanna play a game!"

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And this is the game.

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And this is how the game always ends.

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Lake Winnie has a nice train ride, too.

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It goes all the way around the park . . .

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. . . and under Cannonball.

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The view from the other side of the lake.

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OK, I shudder to think what some of our members might do when they reach the "toot" sign.

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Don't forget the good old carrousel. And how do we know this?

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Because the sign says so.

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"Reflections of a Carrousel." They will, no doubt, talk about this photo for hours on end on National Public Radio.

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Lake Winnie's car ride is actually better than SFOG's.

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More theming!

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Hmm--better call my insurance agent.

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This is the Swinging Ship ride that you think will never stop. It's just keeps swinging and swinging and swinging . . .

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"Ahoy! I be overstimulated and di-phallic! This be a side effect they don't mention in them 'Ex-tenze' commercials!"

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"My, that's a big one. Well, two big ones."

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A coin-operated, handicapped-accessible kiddie ride? What will they think of next?

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Now this is dedication: playing a concert with a calliope during a rainstorm.

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This guy was getting soaked, but, dammit, he's going to finish that tune!

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Thanks for a great day, Lake Winnie. I appreciate the air conditioning, too. Six Flags Over Georgia is next.

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I think Six Flags Over Georgia may be the prettiest of the Six Flags chain. Of course, I don't have much experience to go on here, but it is more attractive than Great Adventure, Magic Mountain, and Six Flags America. That I can say with some certainty. SFOG is the most "BGW-esque" park I've ever seen (well, outside of BGW), thanks to its thick wooded areas, attractive landscaping, and sweltering heat and humidity. And even though we were there on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the crowd was quite manageable, and waits weren't bad at all--Goliath, Batman, Monster Mansion, and Thunder River (which we didn't ride) had the longest queues.

 

The park is arranged into a number of different sections, but it feels more like a large traditional park with a few themed areas and attractions--and a strange mixture of adjectives and nouns for names (for example, "British," which seems about as British as a corn dog, and "Lickskillet," which is country as all get out). But that's a small quibble when the park is so attractive to begin with and has such a nice variety of coasters.

 

And the best the best ride here, for my money, is . . . rolling tympani please . . .

 

Mind Bender--OK, so this big green machine dates back to 1978, and it thuds and clunks going up the lifthill. This is my favorite Schwarzkopf ride. Two wonderfully forceful loops, ejector air in the front and back seat, and a unique layout, all in a beautiful setting complete with waterfalls. It may not be the tallest or fastest ride at SFOG, but it is definitely the best.

 

Here's how the rest of the coasters stack up.

 

Goliath--Having a coaster named for a biblical giant, who gets clobbered by a teenager with a sling and rock, located in an area with a 1950s USA theme is a bit odd, but no matter. Goliath is an excellent B&M with plenty of that nice, floaty air and a very forceful helix. I'd say this one is a cut above Diamondback at KI.

 

Batman: The Ride--The cloned caped crusader strikes again--and he's as forceful as ever. This was our single longest wait of the day, which I think is testimony to the durability of this design. Years later and people still love it.

 

Georgia Scorcher--I'm not a fan of standups, but this one is pretty good. Not horribly rough, although the restraints are as uncomfortable as you'd expect. A fun ride, just one place below Riddler's Revenge at SFMM. I think this is the only ride sponsored by a gas company (yes, advertising is rampant throughout SFOG).

 

Superman: Ultimate Flight--We were lucky enough to get bumped up to the front seat, thanks to Will knowing the answer to a trivia question. This is the definitely the best seat from which to ride a flying coaster. I'd rate this one a bit better than its cousin at SF Great Adventure (being up on a hill, rather than tucked away in a corner, helps).

 

Georgia Cyclone--OK, I'm of two minds about this ride. Yes, the train shuffles and shakes like a wino with the DTs. However, the ride has insane airtime, and if you sit in what Erik Johnson calls the "magic seat" (second from the back), the ride will not kill you. The more I think about this sucker, the more I like it. If they could do something about that shuffling, this could be the best ride in the park (a little paint wouldn't hurt, either).

 

Great American Scream Machine--This is a solid, old-fashioned woodie (sort of a Rebel Yell on steroids). There's plenty of air to be had--just remember to stay off the wheel seat.

 

Dahlonega Mine Train--A clunky old Arrow with three lifts. OK for what it is.

 

Wile E. Coyote's Canyon Blaster--I think this is the best of the Six Flags' "Canyon Blaster" series. It has an interesting layout for a kiddie coaster, and it's pretty well themed. Besides, it craps all over . . .

 

Ninja--To call this twisted piece of Vekoma evil the worst ride at SFOG is to do it an injustice. It is one of the worst things ever built by man. The only way to improve it would be to dismantle the structure; melt it down; have a priest, rabbi, and an iman exorcise the demons from the resulting hot slag; then turn what's left into something useful, like toggle bolts or lawn jockeys. I(One odd event--they weren't letting anyone sit in the last two cars of either train.)

 

The other ride at this park that stands out is Monster Mansion, a dark ride that seems to be the twisted love child of the Haunted Mansion and Knott's Berry Tales. You can even buy a CD of the soundtrack in the ride's gift shop (I bought the official kitchen magnet). This is an enjoyable, excellent family ride, and Six Flags should have more like it.

 

Here's a look at a great day at a great park.

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I was hoping that some bald freak in a bowtie would be driving the parking-lot tram, but I was disappointed. We hoofed it instead.

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At SFMM, you can also get "Peligro Extremo."

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I love how Goliath swoops over the park's driveway. Much better than a coaster built over a piece of parking lot.

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And welcome to Six Flags Over Georgia. By the way, a one-day ticket with a Club TPR discount is cheaper than a kid's ticket.

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Shall we go "promenading"? This is the "Promenade," after all. I suppose one could "sashay," but that might be inappropriate.

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"Yo, Angus! I'm at Six Flags with Chuck! You havin' a good time at home?"

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"Bah! Who needs stupid Chuck when I have this cool box?"

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OK, this is the gayest Bugs Bunny I've ever seen.

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At Six Flags, even the trash cans have sponsors.

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Here's another appropriate sponsor--"Gas Guy."

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"Yep, I'm gonna push the hell outta this water until 10:30."

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Goliath taunted us with testing.

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Release the bulls!

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First stop, the park's old mine train with the hard-to-pronounce name.

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Yep, manually released lapbars. Very "old Arrowish."

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Hmm--it's a "train" . . .

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. . . but it never actually enters a "mine."

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"Great horny toads!" (What is Yosemite Sam's fixation on copulating amphibians all about, anyway?)

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ACME--the sign of quality. Like Chance and Zamperla.

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Yep--it went thataway, alright.

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Well, at least we felt less dirty on this one than we did on Lake Winnie's Wacky Worm.

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Dy--o--er--wha--I like muffins.

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Our shameless whoring was finished, so it was time for the "big guys."

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Front seat is definitely the way to go on a flyer.

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SFOG has a nice setting for this ride, too.

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"What? You say that Bizarro has changed all the park's churros into carrot sticks? This looks like a job for TPR Man!"

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Or just "GASM" to its friends.

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This is one ginormous woodie.

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And there are people riding it.

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Ergo, they are riding a ginormous woodie.

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Ninja--the ride that dishonors its venerable ancestors.

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Nothing good can come of this.

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You know, for two years, I've been wondering if a ride could take the place of DLP's Space Mountain at the bottom of my list.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a contender. More to come tomorrow--it's late.

Edited by cfc
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And now, after a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, part 2 of SFOG.

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Will wanted to relive his childhood for a few moments, so we rode the rails in Thomas Town. Little did we know that horror that awaited us!

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The locked doors, the eerie silence . . . what did it all mean?

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Beware, lest Cranky drop an enormous box full of rabid badgers on you!

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"I say, could you slow down a bit to allow me to spray you with this oil, then strike a match to it? That's a good chap."

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Yes, we both breathed a bit easier after leaving this place of evil and depravity!

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But had we only traded one hell for another?

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I'll not bow to your perverted wishes! I am not a monster! I am a human being!

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The portal through which they will extract your soul!

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"I'm Miss Scarlet--as in soon the water will be scarlet with YOUR BLOOD!"

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Ozzy Osbourne once had a horrible nightmare--he'd died and gone to Disneyland!

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"They call me Soul Sucker, honey! I suck your soul out good!"

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"Ugh! I'll never power eat rib cages again!"

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"Yep--the best shine anywhere comes from a Confederate graveyard. The old bile gives it a little kick."

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SFOG really needs to do something about their infestation of demon hell rats.

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"Hope to see y'all again real soon . . .

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. . . IN HELL!"

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This so belongs in Monster Mansion.

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After the horrors of Thomas Town and Monster Mansion, Goliath seemed downright relaxing.

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"Me Goliath! Stomp you good! Ow! He hit me with rock!"

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"Goliath all mixed up now! Stupid punk with sling!"

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"O-o-o-o-o-h . . . Goliath not feel so good . . ."

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"Goliath's world go spin now!"

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"No one tell me Israelites had kid with rock!"

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"Goliath mad 'cause he lose fight!"

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"Stupid clock! Goliath kill you good!"

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You know, if a gas compnay is going to sponsor a ride, they should provide some fire.

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How about a few gas jets here?

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A wall of flames here, perhaps?

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Maybe shoot some flames out of the back of the train?

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I provide these ideas gratis. All I ask is for proper credit.

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OK, I took this picture before 10:30 am. The line was not this long for Cyclone later in the day.

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This ride actually scared the hell out of me.

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Particularly this first drop. We were sitting toward the back, and I had no idea it jogged off to the left like this. Well, to the left as you're riding. In this shot, it jogs off to the right.

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I'd like to know how this t-shirt got there. More to come.

Edited by cfc
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Mind Bender is so special that it gets a whole post all to itself.

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Meanwhile, back in Gotham City, . . .

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. . . that master of cagey conundrums, the Riddler, was up to some warped business!

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"Riddle me this, Batman! What sort of 'plaque' is actually good for you?'

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If this was the old Batman TV series, there would be a sign here, reading "Criminal Lair No. 1," and Batman would "suspect" a trap.

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"Batman! Riddler has wrapped one of Mind Bender's trains in advertising! That fiendish devil!"

 

"Yes, Robin--it's how he finances his criminal capers!"

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"Don't worry, Batman! I've saved a special train for you and the Boy Wonder!"

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OK, no more corny Batman schtick. Anton deserves better.

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After clanking up the lifthill, down you go!

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Yep--Schwarzkopf knew what he was about.

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The layout is unique--not to mention awesome.

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Blink and you'll miss it!

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Hey, it's a Schwarzkopf with lapbars, loops, waterfalls, and barbed wire--what's not to love?

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Yes, this is now my favorite of the old Schwarzkopfs.

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The unwrapped train in all its glory.

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Anton! Anton! Anton!

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Remember, if the paint makes you say "dayum," it was painted by Baynum! One more set of pics to come.

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Here's one last look at Six Flags Over Georgia--an excellent park.

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The Batman clones are always good. Even when there are sumo wrestlers sitting next to them.

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Thank you, Mr. Wayne, you millionaire philantrophist and playboy, you!

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You know, that Batman series, both on the screen and in print, seems to have an unnatural affinity for musclemen--especially if they wear tights.

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If you're shopping for a home and notice there's a "toxic accumulator" in the neighborhood, move on.

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Or, if you're at Magic Mountain, "Peligro Extremo!"

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Er, I sure hope this is just "theming."

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At last, the legendary Bat Cave!

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Move along. Nothing new to see here.

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If you've ridden this anywhere, you've ridden it here, too.

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Even so, it's still a damn good ride.

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Plus, this Batman has actually killed people!

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"Are you done riding? Then GET OUT!"

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Why does Robin have such skinny legs? The Joker could snap them like twigs!

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"Two choices, punk: 1) you move that hand, or 2) I rip your arm off, shove your hand down your throat, and use it to tear out your heart. Your call."

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Attention, Larry--here's a sign pic for ya!

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It's just an average log ride. The ones at Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg are actually better.

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But it does get you fairly damp.

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Nice to see that the park still has a train ride. They're always nice and relaxing. Too bad they were running only one train that day (wait was a bit long).

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Anything you say, you degrading little stereotype, you!

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Like Lake Winnie, SFOG has a beautiful old carousel. But they spell it with one "r." Either spelling is acceptable.

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Noted.

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Even by the standards of car rides, this one is pretty lame, but at least much of it is in the shade.

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It just makes a loop around the hill the carousel sits on.

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SFOG's Gotham City is pretty good--especially after the sun goes down.

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Here's one last look at Goliath at twilight. Thanks for reading.

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Chuck - glad you got to experience these two parks. I love them both. I agree with you about SFoG - it really is a pretty park, and the Mindbender always ends up in my personal top 10. It has since 1978!

 

David

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wow this is an awesome report thanks a lot for it! I'll be there in mid-July I've been to so many Six Flags parks and so far the most gorgeous and personal favorite of mine is SFGAm, so your review makes me wonder if that's going to change! How far is Lake Winnie from SFoG by the way?

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Great report Chuck! Looks like you guys had a great time. While Mindbender has a more unique layout and setting, I prefered Shockwave over Mindbender. Batman looks great! Agreed Goliath is much better than Diamondback...that helix is insane! It's got that nice pop coming up off the hill, then rips you down into that downward spiral...wow. Loved Georgia Cyclone...another insane ride! That magic seat works like a charm.

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I'm like you, of all the Six Flags parks I've been to SFoG has always stood out as the one that I've liked the best. Great America and Great Adventure have their moments... butI really do like the look of SFoG the best.

 

Couldn't agree with you more on the rides. I've not been there since Superman or Goliath opened, but Mindbender was one of my favorites there too. Sad to see the Cyclone looking so run-down though...

 

As for Ninja, maybe it was just that I was young (20) and stupid and thought that rides were supposed to kill you when I went there, but I kind of liked its twisted mess of steel.

 

Great TR.

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Nice pics and report as usual, Chuck!

I had a smilar response to SFoG and really enjoyed how the park looked. My only issue (at least on the day I went) was how crowded the park was. I had a Flash Pass and was only able to ride each of the major coasters once. Still, I'd love to get back there. After riding Shockwave last summer I want to compare it Mindbender a little more closely. Shockwave gave me more air but I love the surroundings of MB.

Would love to also visit Lake Winnie as it looks like a winner!

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Totally agree about Mindbender, that ride is awesome. I was pleasantly surprised by Cyclone. I loved riding in the back if only for the absolutely terrifying ejector air and head choppers you get while dropping off the second turn around down into the lift structure. First time I rode that was one of the craziest moments I recall on a coaster.

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