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Photo TR: Six Flags America Shenanigans


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In July, I hopped across the country to spend a few days and nights enjoying one of my favorite destinations.

 

New York City: easy to fall in love with. Easier still to fall out of love with. And quick to remind you that, all things considered, you really do love it after all.

 

Notes

Subway is amazing. I recommend the Spicy Italian. Also, the New York City subway system is awesome. It's surprisingly tourist-friendly, and overall pretty easy to figure out. It won't quite get you everywhere, but close enough. Just remember that the tunnels are almost as deep as Hell...and there's no air conditioning.

 

It is probably not possible to get hopelessly lost in Manhattan. However, it IS possible to get turned around and otherwise average-lost in Manhattan, and hopelessly lost elsewhere in the city. It's best to be a normal person and bring maps or a smartphone. Otherwise, you at least need cross-streets, detailed directions, or something else with enough precise info to get you where you're going.

 

I should probably be banned from New York, because I am a shameless tourist. Yes, I love NYC because the buildings are OMG tall. I actually really like Times Square, especially in the dead of night. I have eaten at the McDonald's in Times Square.

 

True, a lot of my reasons for loving New York are pretty superficial when I think about it. But I also love it because it has such a fascinating history, not to mention a polarizing personality that's a mixture of endearing and infuriating.

 

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Where to first? Let's walk the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. "Um, Laura? That might not be the most convenient. You're already in Manhattan." Relax, guys. I took this photo AFTER I crossed the bridge.

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Pesky crowds. Ugly weather. Renovations severely blocking the views. Three annoyances I had to deal with...on my second and third walks across the bridge. The morning of my first crossing, however, was perfect. Even according to discerning New Yorkers.

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You are treated to excellent views of portions of the skyline near and far as you walk. Here, the Empire State Building is the highlight. Or, as I proudly call it, "That tall one over there."

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Simple and elegant, the iconic towers are breathtaking. Seeing them in person is definitely a richer experience than film or photos can convey. Wow, that sounded corny.

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Be sure to wave to my secret lover, the oft-overlooked Manhattan Bridge. It may be viewed as more utilitarian and rough around the edges, but, yeah. It's beautiful. Or handsome, I guess, I mean, it is the MANhattan Bridge after all.

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The skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan loom even higher as you near the end of your journey. Though bizarre, the Beekman Tower (8 Spruce Street) really is quite a looker, and contrasts interestingly with the Woolworth Building and the Municipal Building, among others.

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Way uptown, I found myself facing the unfinished Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I popped in for a few moments, but sadly, high-wire artist in residence Philippe Petit (of "Man on Wire" fame) was nowhere to be found.

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This is meant to be a children's sculpture and, as such, is not even faintly creepy or disturbing.

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Let's head over to Central Park, a refreshing oasis of lush greenery in the, well, somewhere in the city, but I don't really know where. Oh, that's right, the center.

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There are also other types of greenery in Central Park that might be a little less appetizing.

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Manhattan Schist is the foundation of Manhattan. I don't know if one was named after the other or if it's just some crazy coincidence.

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Skyscraper camouflage.

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[insert bear-related pop culture reference of your choice here.]

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Oh, I can't think of ANY possible use for THAT. ;) Honestly, I'd rather just spend my time gawking at the erection of this massive tower. I'm such a nerd.

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I seem to be experiencing double vision, but only directly in front of me. What is going on?

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Oh, that is Time Warner Center, one of the most majestic buildings of this century. I love how I can see what inspired it.

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"You're Fired."

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One of the many beautiful and romantic bridges of Central Park.

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Underneath one of the many beautiful and romantic bridges of Central Park.

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When I said I can see what inspired Time Warner Center...I meant it. Here is the Century apartment building on Central Park West.

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Even better, here is the Majestic apartment building. See the resemblance now?

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Let's head down to Midtown, where the Bank of America Tower bacons at midnight.

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It seems the W.R. Grace Building does not do so well in hot temperatures.

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This doesn't look anything like any of their cars! No wonder it's the building that everyone knows about, but no one can name. AKA the Chrysler Building.

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Now bring your eyes back down to street level for once, and you'll see the iconic Grand Central Terminal.

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It must be haunted, 'cause I see ORBS. In other news, you can stop wiping off your screen now.

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Overcome by a near-insatiable thirst for knowledge and enlightenment, I had no choice but to avail myself of the NYPL.

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The library is guarded by twin lions, or perhaps an unusually small gay pride. You can call them Patience and Fortitude (two qualities most New Yorkers do not possess), or Astor and Lenox. I guess since they have to spend all their time just lion there, they MUST have a lot of patience.

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"Say...do you play basketball?"

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What's this about a Rainbow Room? Must investigate on behalf of TPR.

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I did not make it to the Rainbow Room, but at least I found a cool place to look at some buildings and stuff. While perhaps a touch overrated, the Empire State Building is a masterpiece. And I love how tall One World Trade Center appears already, even from halfway or so across the island.

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I used to kind of think Top of the Rock was a rock...that you stand on top of. Like you would in a game of King of the Hill or something. But it's actually the top of Rockefeller Center, because the word Rock is in "Rockefeller." It's neat how you can see all of nearby Central Park from your lofty vantage point.

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The Sony Building amuses me with its Chip 'n' Dale top...Chippendales top...um, CHIPPENDALE top. Sorry, my mind was on other things.

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And then there's the Stilts Building, or rather, Citigroup Center, which is perched precariously on four alarmingly narrow legs (not shown).

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Look up the sunset time for your visit and buy a ticket that'll get you in a little before then, so you can admire the city during daylight, dusk, and nighttime. Beware, it gets PACKED as the sun sets. (If you're like me, your camera won't take night photos anyway.)

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Top of the Rock boasts three levels. The very top is "open-air" (beware of bottlenecks and overall crowding). Otherwise you have to work with (or between) clear panels that allow for pictures of varying quality levels. And made this hipster photo possible, no Instagram required.

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Why is Top of the Rock so popular? Don't people just want to go to the Empire State Building? Well, when you're on top of the Empire State Building...you can't see the Empire State Building. True story.

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I enjoyed my time up there, because height makes me feel secure. (This does NOT mean I jump up onto the countertop upon hearing a strange noise. No, never.)

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In Brooklyn, I decided to get up close and personal with the Manhattan Bridge, because that makes sense to do in BROOKLYN.

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While attractive in its own way, the Manhattan Bridge is not a pleasant experience like the Brooklyn Bridge. Attempting to cross it is a terrifying ordeal I wish not to repeat. Unless someone will hold hands with me. Maybe.

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Surprisingly, work has already started on the Staten Island Ferris Wheel. I made sure to get a sign photo for you, Larry, because I'm sure you've never seen it before.

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In case you ever want to go to Staten Island. (Trust me. You don't.)

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Actually, the Staten Island Ferry is a surprisingly charming and laid-back experience for something that draws such heavy crowds. And it's FREE! Couldn't be easier.

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The views of Lower Manhattan are famously stunning. Here, the spotlight is on the new One World Trade Center and Four World Trade Center buildings.

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It also may well be the best free vantage point for the Statue of Liberty. You've probably known about her all your life, but seeing her in person is really something else.

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...and then there's dumb old New Jersey. :)

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Coming back in to Manhattan was a HUGE relief. Many tourists take a boomerang ride (not the Vekoma kind, though there's probably an apt comparison in there somewhere), simply deboarding one ferry in Staten Island and hopping right back onto the next one.

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One NYPL is simply not enough. You need two. Accordingly, while in Greenwich Village I spent my fair share of time fawning over the Victorian-Gothic architecture of the Jefferson Market Library.

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Museums are a must when visiting NYC. I set my sights on the iconic Guggenheim, on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park.

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Needless to say, it was very easy to navigate. I'm easily lost, so I'm a fan.

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Even though I'd made a grueling three-quarters-and-more perimeter tour of it a few days previously (and subsequently died), a return to Central Park was in order.

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The Dakota is most famous and infamous for first being the home of John Lennon, and then the site of his murder.

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The juxtaposition of nature and surrounding cityscape may be one of the most impressive features of Central Park.

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Alternatively, walk deeper in (or just turn your head the right way) and you'll feel like you're on a remote and rustic camping trip.

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But enough of that nature stuff. I leave you with this. Who says true love isn't real?

Coming soon: Six Flags America, where dreams and assorted small animals go to die.

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Whoa! I totally forgot! Thanks for the virtual cookie, I'll (um) try to enjoy it.

 

Those photos of statues make me have flashbacks to a certain science fiction program. New York City is always an awesome "culture credit" for those of us who don't live there because there's always something new to see.

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Great Photos Laura, I love the variation of architecture in New York. I'm not particularly well versed but I find some of the buildings so interesting. Shame you missed the Hearst tower, probably one of my favourites

 

How long were you there for?

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I was only in New York for a weekend, but this is exactly why I enjoyed it: the city has a personality. This TR made me bummed I didn't get to explore nearly as much as I wanted to.

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It's cool riding the train into Manhattan. You get not only a beautiful view of the city, but also a look at the glowing green swamp water of Jersey, which I'm convinced is the source of Mountain Dew.

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  • 2 months later...

One fine day, while trip planning, I realized that two major centers of US and global importance were quite a bit closer to each other than I had previously realized. Right there on my coaster map, the Coney Island Cyclone called out to its old friend...Wild One at Six Flags America.

 

And so it was settled...or was it?

 

Fast forward a couple weeks. It seemed I would be making the bold trek south to the DC area...alone. (By the way, sorry to the few of you I missed connections with. I would say "next time," but this is Six Flags America we're talking about...) Needless to say, my mind was clouded with misgivings about my plans. Eventually, pre-paid expenses be damned, the trip hinged simply on whether I woke up in time to leave.

 

It was close, but eventually the thundering of the above-ground D train in Brooklyn roused me for the final time. Just early enough to get ready and go.

 

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I had been wondering why the temperature kept rising up to such unholy degrees. Then I looked up and saw this sign marking the fateful gates. What had I done to deserve this? Alas, I knew it was all my own fault for the choices I had made leading up to this point.

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A sign promoting the latest comedy entertaining visitors to the park.

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Let us pause to respect this valiant attempt at theming the main entrance.

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...And now a moment of silence for how quickly it dies off as you walk further into the park. At least they incorporated some local historical flavor.

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All area politicians are required to ride this before being sworn in.

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Not having much of a mind to begin with, I naturally opted for the back row. And now I would like to take the time to apologize for the quality of the rest of this report.

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I stopped in to visit some friends who once designed roller coasters for Vekoma.

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Next up, Roar.

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Personally, I would've named it "Moo," not "Roar." But that's just me.

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Oh...never mind. This pathetic structure was ironically named after the bravery, courage and power of a lion. I boarded the back row expecting to be slaughtered, but there just wasn't a lot to this ride.

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Mew! This didn't have as much airtime as its California sibling. Wait, less airtime than a coaster in California? What?!

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Oh no. Oh no. OH NO.

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Theming at a Six Flags? Yes, definitely a sign of the Apocalypse.

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A youthful gentleman asked me to ride the coaster with him. At one point, I thought he said "I like your ass." But he didn't. (Sorry, it was an automatic assumption...) What he DID do was call me "Shawty." Shawty?! In this case, "cougar" would've worked. (Um. Not really though.)

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Apocalypse was...not very good. While I appreciate the attempts at theming, I thought the overall ride experience was better as Iron Wolf.

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After that ordeal, it was only fair to award myself a new coaster credit. Standing here, I'm much more interested by what's in back. ;)

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Someone is on a boat. Not I. I have more important things to do here.

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I heard this is the finest Gotham City of them all.

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm CLOSED!

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Riddle me this: Why did I decide to go to Six Flags America today?

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Well, mostly to ride Joker's Jinx, unfortunately.

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Here to save the day is resident tall coaster Superman: Ride of Steel. Singlehandedly keeping SFA in business since the year 2000.

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Plenty of muscle in those helices, and some good flying over the bunny hops. I'd say this coaster lives up to its name, and not just by being a ride made out of steel.

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Would ride again. Especially if they move it to my backyard.

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Oh, Batwing. How picturesque and photogenic you are. (In Bizarro World. Maybe.)

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Batwing is at least as good as any other Vekoma flyer, of which there are, understandably, very few. I've always enjoyed the forces they offer up.

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And the jinx is lifted. Joker's Jinx is back in town and ready to roll!

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Unlike some, I've never been able to tell much of a difference between these rides, except that some of them have a box over them. I just daydream of spaghetti while referring to this beauty as "Poltergeist."

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Major props to Premier for these powerful works of pasta. The launch has a good punch to it, the layout is disorienting and deliciously twisted, and the headchoppers can't be beat.

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Let's go ride that big white one over there! I didn't think they made those anymore.

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Looking for a wild time? 'Cause you'll find one here! This classic is quite the airtime machine, especially in the front seat. Wild One, I think I love you.

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THROUGH THE COASTER!!!

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This was a fun tower. I like the way they drop it down low.

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What you know about that? Hey I know all about that.

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You don't know what we can find...like an actual working flat ride at Six Flags America!

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This way lies the path of shame and embarrassment. Even more of it, I mean.

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And here we have it. The coaster I've slowly been working my way up to, hoping that by some miracle I could manage to avoid it. But there are no miracles in Hell.

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It turned out to be Great! Great Chase, that is, in case you already forgot the name.

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Not the first time I have ended a trip report in this very exclusive and original way.

After four hours, I was like so done with the park. Especially the heat. So I hightailed it on out of there at last. Finally, in the dead of night, I found myself back in good old NYC. Unfortunately, my chariot had turned back into a pumpkin. I had to walk some ways downtown for a train, as the D line was down for service. By some now-forgotten (and possibly unnecessary) combo of trains with connections in sketchy areas, I finally arrived at my bed.

 

You needed to have a sense of humor in order to read my report, because if you thought I hated Six Flags America...well...I didn't. Sorry to disappoint. With the minimal crowds, it just seemed like an average smaller-to-midsized chain park, like a more spread-out Elitch Gardens, which I also didn't hate. I enjoyed the ride collection about as much as I expected to, with Wild One, Superman, Joker's Jinx, and kinda-sorta-Batwing as the highlights. Sure, they're not all unique, but they're not everywhere, either. If you go, just remember to pack a good luck charm and maybe you'll be fine, too!

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I haven't been to SFA in a few years, but I've had both good and bad visits there. Wild One is still their best ride, although Superman and Joker's Jinx are both fun.

 

And in the park's defense, it can be a friendly place in the spring--before the summertime hordes descend.

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This!

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I burst out laughing when I saw this when I went there back in August! Especially when I just visited the cleanest park in America the day before!

Good Trip Report, it brought back some memories from my visit. Loved Wild One.

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And in the park's defense, it can be a friendly place in the spring--before the summertime hordes descend.

 

I agree! When I visited with Robb and Elissa and yourself early in the season a few years ago, it was a completely hassle free visit. I also agree Wild One is a great ride---very underrated IMO.

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Thanks for the comments, all!

 

A lot of people mention spring visits--perhaps I lucked out with this July 26 trip. The sweltering temperatures must've kept people away, and thankfully didn't make the remaining folks too cranky. I'm sure it helped it was a Thursday, too.

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