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Photo TR: Upper New England


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Wanting to broaden my park and coaster credits, but not wanting to have to fly again, I teamed up with Coaster Team members Adam and Ellen to head up to Maine for Funtown Fest, a supposedly lightly attended but loads of fun event. Taking the day off on Friday to make the trip seemed like a good idea, even though the event wasn’t starting until Saturday evening. Leaving Thursday right after work, I met up with Adam in Newark, who would drive us to Norwalk, Connecticut. After switching cars at Ellen’s, she drove the rest of the way that night to our hotel in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Our hotel was straight out of Friday the 13th, a little family run motel in the middle of the woods turned into a Days Inn. Ellen liked the bathroom, and they had cable with plenty of channels, so all would be ok.


Friday morning we woke up and continued our drive, stopping off at Canobie Lake Park for the day. We got there shortly after opening and found the parking lot full. We were parked in an overflow grass lot next to someone’s house. It was not looking good, and none of us were happy. Luckily once inside the park, we found most people at the new waterpark area, consisting only of a tipping bucket play area. Our first mission was to get me on all the coasters, seeing how I was never at the park before. We made our way to the Yankee Cannonball, which had a completely filled queue and was only running one train (because they’re still afraid, some 3 or 4 years after 2 trains bumped). Our wait was about 40 minutes, and then I was off towards the front of Yankee Cannonball. The ride was a normal older PTC coaster, not airtime laden like the current Gravity Group, S&S, or Intamin woodies, but also not a snore fest like Dinn coasters of a few decades ago. The ride was actually a lot of fun, even though the wait was too long to have any of us desiring a second ride.


After riding the Cannonball, we decided it was a safe bet that we could take a break from crediting to stop for some food. We were going to eat at a restaurant by the Boston Tea Party Shoot the Chute, but we couldn’t figure out how we got a table. So instead we stopped off at the Italian restaurant nearby. This restaurant must read TPR and knows everything about Elissa, because this place actually had prices on the menu for plain pasta with no sauce AND a side of garlic bread. I decided to get spaghetti with meatballs and a garlic bread stick, Adam and Ellen each had pizza. Afterwards, we were still hungry, so Adam got some Mexican food and I got some fried dough. Then it was off to fulfill my blood/alcohol deprivation by swinging by the pub for a Harpoon IPA.


Food and beer levels rebalanced, it was time to return to credit whoring. The park only had 1 credit left to achieve, as the Galaxy was removed earlier this year, so we headed over to the Canobie Corkscrew, a standard Arrow corkscrew (hooray!). About 20 minutes later, I had my ears boxed good and we were free of riding bad coasters. We stopped to look at the tipping bucket for a bit, then made our way over to the park’s dark ride, the Mine of Lost Souls. Apparently it was Sally’s first ride or something, and didn’t have guns to shoot stuff. It started off a really cool mine ride, similar to Calico Mine at Knott’s or Flooded Mine at SDC. Then the Grim Reaper shows up, tells you your soul belongs to him, and he sends you to Egypt to see Imhotep. Definitely a strange storyline.


We then walked back to ride some flats on the other side of the park, such as the Cuddle Up (where we got line jumped by like 10 teenagers, told them they were morons, watched one hit his head on the handrails, laughed at him, and then proceeded to line jump them to take the last opened car on the ride). We also hit my last operational Caterpillar credit in the country. Funny how 4 months ago I was never on one, and now I’ve seen them all. It didn’t run as fast as Idlewild’s, nor did it have the blower, but the canopy at Canobie was pristine.


Then New England Coaster Team member Ed “Grampy” Nelson and his son Brian showed up. We decided to get some ice cream and stopped off at the ice cream stand. I got the Fat Man on a Dirty Sofa, which was Vanilla ice cream served over a whoopy pie, covered in hot fudge and whipped cream. It was delicious, and I felt like an ACEr. We then decided to ride Yankee Cannonball again, this time Brian and I managed to get a front seat ride. Still a little bit of air, still not rough, still fun, still a long wait. Then we had managed to time it right that the Vertigo Cinema 180 show was about to start, so we mad our way over there for some retro riding. It was great seeing the newest and greatest things ever, such as the Santa Cruz Giant Dipper, Dune Buggies, helicopters, and the newest innovation in roller coaster technology, the Python at Busch Gardens Tampa! The ride is still affective, and some people had to sit down and close their eyes. We then took the cruise around Canobie Lake at dusk. It was nice to see the park from the water, as well as the rich yuppie houses surrounding the lake.


Finishing our day at Canobie Lake Park, we stopped to ride the replacement for the Galaxy, the Zamperla Skater. Its like a giant sized Rockin Tug that seemed very popular with the patrons to the park, as the ride always had at least a 4 cycle wait. It was a lot of fun, not too disorienting, and somewhat thrilling. Best of all, the restraints didn’t hurt like those found on the Disk-O. Riding everything we wanted, we decided to grab some German sausages (which really ended up being giant hot dogs) at the Dancing Bear Saloon. Afterwards, we said goodnight to Grampy and son and headed to our hotel for the night, the Staybridge Suites back in Massachusetts. This would be the nicest hotel of not only the night, but also the entire season thus far. Two bedrooms, kitchen, living area, two full bathrooms, and free internet. I was happy. The living room came equipped with a DVD player, so I put the Fantastic Four in for our evening entertainment. Then it was off to bed, the following day we had to prepare for bad traffic getting into Maine.


Now for some pictures. Days 2 and 3 will be updated later this week, as my picture cd won't cooperate.


Canobie Lake at dusk, oooh how pretty


The Zamperla Skater, another very popular new ride for this year at Canobie Lake Park. Better than a Rockin Tug or a Disk-o


The park also has a inground pool, though most people now prefer a bucket dumping water on their heads


The Caterpillar with the best kept cover ever!


Mmmmm, Fat Guy on a Dirty Sofa, 100% fat-free


The log flume relies on the terrain for a good portion of it


The park's dark ride was pretty cool, although very random


Wow, look how crowded this area of the park is! My Garden Hose Kingdom would make big bucks up here


The new "waterpark" was a big hit. Look, SharkTums even showed up!


Ooooh, the Canobie Corkscrew. Can you feel the pain?


Derek likes beer and fried dough


Ellen likes beavers


Today's secret word is....whatever! This here is the Boston Tea Party. Please keep the screaming to a minimum, the rich neighbors will be angry.


We survived the wait. Everyone is happy again!


A front seat ride on the Cannonball reveils its dogleg outnback layout


Brian (Bri-YON!) is so excited about riding the YC, he gets his head stuck in the station


The Yankee Cannonball, with its sole running train

Edited by DerekRx
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Cannonball CANT run 2 trains anymore. Its not that they dont want to... Its the system was made to run 1 train (after the bump they made it all comp-controlled)


I know it can't because after the accident they wanted it up as soon as possible while still being safe. (Its kinda hard now to have 2 trains bump if there is only one). Still, how many years ago was that accident, and why can't they finish the system so that it can run more than 1 train. If Vekoma can get it right, other companies have to be able to also. I just find it poor that after so long and with the lines being as long as they are (and apparently usually are like that) that the park can't finish the system in the offseason or something. The Cannonball was a fun coaster, and was very popular with the GP. If it had better capacity, people would probably ride it more, I know I would have. If people are standing in a line for 40 minutes, they aren't out buying food and spending money.

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We woke up the next morning and were on the road by 11, having lunch plans in Portland set for 1pm. Luckily for me, Adam and Ellen’s warnings about bad traffic were false, thanks to Maine finally installing EZ-Pass lanes at their tolls. We were through the tolls and in Portland chowing down on some “Chowdah” at Gilbert’s with fellow Coaster Team members Mark “Rosenkrantz” and his wife Amanda, as well as Adam Sandy and Mark’s friend Billy. Enjoying our chowder in this seaport town was really neat, even though the weather was dreary and the air stank of fish or b.p. To go along with our chowder was Shipyard IPA and then a stop at Gritty McDuff’s for more beer. Taking the town at a leisurely pace, we stopped at the Shipyard Brewing Co. gift shop for some 6-packs, shirts, and other goodies before checking into our hotel in Scarborough. Finding the hotel was an effort with lots of phone calls, but we finally made it there, checked in, and then headed to Funtown/Splashtown USA in Saco.


The dreary weather and cooler temperatures had kept the park fairly empty, which meant lack of lines, much better than the previous day at Canobie. The first stop of the day was the Galaxi coaster for my credit. There was no wait, and the coaster was pretty smooth and brakeless for being as old as it is. The next coaster up to ride was Excalibur, also with no line. For my first ride and 500th coaster, I selected the backseat. The ride did not disappoint. The first half was really good, with airtime, speed, and laterals. The second half lacked the speed and airtime, but delivered great laterals and direction changes. I think it’s a solid wood coaster that the parks maintains well. It doesn’t have the CCIness of other coasters (such as Villain or Ghostrider). After riding Excalibur, we rode other rides in the park, like the S&S tower, antique cars, sea dragon, tea cups, and the greatest flat ride ever….the ASTROSPHERE!! Picture if you will, a scrambler, put inside a dome, painted neon yellow. Then, mix black lighting, fog machines, lasers, strobes, a disco ball, and random pictures of a giant fly, a horse’s x-ray, a turtle eating, a snakes eye, a mummy, a skeleton, Isaac Newton, and the Loch Ness Monster. But wait, there’s more! Make it last for 5 and a half minutes, and play Electric Light Orchestra’s “Fire on High” the whole time. And that, my friends, is the great ride known as the Astrosphere. So great, in fact, that we had to ride it twice before ERT on Excalibur.


As the ERT began on the coaster, it was performing great, a nice fog had rolled in, and combined with the lack of lights, it was really dark and hard to see. With light turnout to the event itself, we managed to rack up 40 rides that day on Excalibur, each cycle a double ride. Bruised and worn out, we retreated at the end of the night (after making sure there were no more cookies left to make cookie balls or cookie stacks) to the hotel.


Dragon's Descent at night. Dragon says "Grrrrr, people give me gas and red eyes. You got anything for that, pharmacy guy?"


BEHOLD! The AstroSphere, the most F'd up ride experience ever! AstroSphere says "yo dude, pass the doobie"


Pretty cool station idea, a castle! You see, Excalbur is a mythical sword of King Arthur, some feudal guy who United some Kingdom by doing many random tasks like finding a shrubbery


Hooray, we finally found our way to Excalibur!


The parks log flume, which you don't get too wet on.....unless someone gets you with a water cannon


The parks Galaxi coaster. Fun little ride, especially with no line!


I used to build smaller versions of these as a kid. The T-Rex bones says "Hi Jeff, why don't you call me anymore?"


Dragon's Descent is the parks S&S Turbo Drop. Dragon says "mmmm, food!"


Here's a map of Funtown. Plan your path to Excalibur at your leisure


Pulling into Funtown USA, you're greeted by Excalibur, who says "hey, how's it going?"


because we found Shipyard Brewing Co, thats why!


Why are these two so happy?....


Everyone enjoys their food at Gilbert's, especially Amanda


Chicken corn chowder and a Shipyard Fuggle's IPA. What more could you ask for?


Known for its famous chowders, Gilbert's was our main reason for driving up to Portland

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The following morning we returned to the park for morning ERT and a photo walk back. We were still really sore and worn out from the ample rides the night before, but we knew we wouldn't be back for a while so we went. The same ride ops from the night before were there and were still just as energetic and enthusiastic as on the previous day. Screaming, handslapping, double rides, and breakfast were all there waiting for us. Two days admission to the park, 3 hours of ERT, waterpark admission, food, and a walk back all for $25, can’t beat that!


After a final ride on the Astrosphere, we made our way out of the park and down to Old Orchard Beach and Palace Playland for the final 2 credits I needed in Maine. The beach area was pretty full, even though there is hardly a beach there at all. The amusement center was fairly empty still, and we managed to get on the Galaxi and Orient Express rather quickly. After a tromp through a really good and cheap funhouse with lots of effects, we went out onto the pier for some food and beer. After some lobster bisque, lobster rolls, and Shipyard Export Ale, it was time to get in the car and do 3 days worth of driving in 1. 9 hours later I arrived back home, a little sore, a lotta tired, and really glad I made the trip to Maine finally


Old Orchard Beach looks pretty old, but seems to be lacking in orchards and beach


Adam gives a salute as he crosses the final funhouse gag


Adam looks on with enjoyment as Ellen pretends to be a hamster


Ellen skeptically walks through the rubber band forest


The cheapest thing in the park and probably the best, the funhouse


Adam says "cha-ching!"


The United States easternmost roller coaster, the Orient Express!


Maine's other Galaxi, not more than 10 miles away


Today the Breakdance was doing a little more breaking and a little less dancing


Then it was off to Old Orchard Beach. Here's the map for Palace Playland. Pretty small, huh?


After ERT it was time for the walkback. Here you see the first drop, with an empty train because there was no one back at Excalibur to ride yet for the day!


The ops get ready for round 2 while the ACErs are starting to look a little worn. ACE girl says "hey baby, wanna ride"


Still energetic, the ride ops gave double rides and handslapping the whole time

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Cannonball CANT run 2 trains anymore. Its not that they dont want to... Its the system was made to run 1 train (after the bump they made it all comp-controlled)


I may be silly, but why would you need to add a computer to control 1 train?

Dont know.. Something about the system only being able to handdle 1 train on the track. And that it wasnt made to run 2.

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