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Photo TR: Chuck Finally Visits Cedar Point


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If you sensed a mysterious tremor in the Force, felt an unseasonable chill in the air, or endured the Ten Plagues of Egypt, you might be able to attribute these unnatural happenings to one singular event . . .

 

Chuck has finally visited Cedar Point.

 

Yes, the unthinkable has at last happened!

 

OK, I exaggerated a bit. But it is a little odd that I've ridden coasters in Australia, China, Europe, and Japan with TPR while never venturing to Sandusky, Ohio, to visit the park that many consider to be the coaster-enthusiast version of Mecca. It hasn't been for lack of trying. Erik Johnson and I have been kicking around such a trip for a few years, but something would always come up and our (admittedly) tentative plans would die aborning. Well, we buckled down and finally did it this year.

 

But we didn't go directly to Ohio shores of Lake Erie. After picking up our rental car in Cleveland, we headed toward Pittsburgh to meet Daron Aldrich, Derek Ruth, and Cameron Silver for a great night at Kennywood.

 

So, let's start with . . .

 

A Night at Kennywood

This is my second visit to this classic park in West Mifflin, and I enjoyed myself immensely--what a great collection of eccentric rides. Phantom's Revenge remains as amazing as ever, Thunderbolt and Jack Rabbit are still completely insane, Exterminator is a great "Mouse in a Box," and Sky Rocket (new credit) is one excellent "little" launched coaster. Why, it's just the cutest little coaster ever when it throws you out of your seat as you crest that first hill. Premier Rides and Kennywood really did themselves proud with Sky Rocket.

 

Ghostwood Manor, the park's trackless shooting dark ride, was a lot of fun, too--although the blasters were a bit tricky to aim. It's a good replacement for the old mine-car ride that used to be in the building. It was great to ride a Bayern Kurve that was running at full speed, too.

 

Here's a look at a great night at Kennywood.

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Ah, Phantom's Revenge. Who would've thought that a Morgan reprofiling of a nasty, rough Arrow ride would yield something so great?

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Hello, Kennywood. It's been too long since my last visit.

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Presenting the cutest little dadburn launched coaster with inversions you've ever seen.

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It even goes "whe-e-e-e-e!" when it launches.

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At this point, you'll be grateful for those Premier lap-and-ankle restraints.

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I love this ride's layout, and it's very smooth.

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People come off this ride smiling and laughing; however, Flight of Fear makes you grimace a bit while you're laughing.

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It's been some time since I've ridden a Bayern Kurve--it's a flat ride I like (and I'm not a fan of flats).

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Are you ready to be fused to the side of your car, Erik?

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"Ah, welcome! The forces of the Bayern Kurve must've scrambled your brains severely for you to risk my vengeance again!"

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"Never disturb my operator, lest you invoke my wrath!"

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"By letting your friends ride first, you are only prolonging the inevitable, you cowardly swine!"

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Watch as your friends' fates foreshadow your own!"

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And your fate is airtime-filled darkness! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!"

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The best ride ever about a rat infestation in a sewer.

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I like how a ride that deals with giant rodents provides a number you can call to rat out line jumpers.

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What? Darn it!

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So, naturally, we let people wander in here.

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Lots of blinking lights = Something important going on.

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All TPR members must ride the Turtle. We may make it part of the site's Terms of Service one day.

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Ghostwood Manor looms eerily over the Potato Patch and Thunderbolt.

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I had no idea this ride had a preshow. Nice sideburns, ghost pal.

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Dear Kings Dominion: Notice the running lights on Thunderbolt. These would look really nice on Rebel Yell, too.

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All TPR members must also take a picture of the illuminated Turtle sign.

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Here is the real reason so many people visit Kennywood.

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Yep--it's tough beat the combination of French fries and Thunderbolt.

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"Holy Glowing Balls, Batman!"

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We didn't ride the Racer that evening, but it sure looks purty when it's all lit up.

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We did, however, experience the ejector air provided by a rabbit with a jet engine strapped to its butt.

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Yes, Kennywood looks great after dark.

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Good night, Bayern Kurve.

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Yes, it's time for the long haul to Erie, and our next two parks: Waldameer and Conneaut Lake. More to come later.

Edited by cfc
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Excellent start to your tour, Chuck!

 

Having never been to any of the parks you

visited - always a pleasure to read about it

with your take on all of it.

 

Looking forward to more. And night shots are

always cool with rides and themeing!

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Awesome report so far I'm excited to see more! Kennywood sure is a beautiful park with some amazing rides! I hope you have a wonderful time on the rest of your trip! now I shall sit here and wait for the next update so I can live vicariously through you!

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The world not ending was a good thing, getting back to Kennywood with everyone was even better. Really glad we got to experience the park at night, it's really a beautiful park made even nicer with the nostalgic feel of all the neon. Looking forward to the next segment.

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After finding out that you haven't been to CP yet I was looking forward to your reports from this neck of the woods as I enjoy reading your TRs. I've never been at Kennywood at night and it looks great. I'm going to have to experience it sometime. Phantom at night has to be pretty incredible.

 

Love the night shot of the Bayern Kurve. I wish someone would bring an updated version of that ride back.

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It'll be a while before I finish this one, as I'm leaving on vacation next Sunday--but I hope to post one more installment before I go.

 

Glad everyone is enjoying it so far.

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It was a somewhat longer haul from Pittsburgh to Erie than we'd anticipated, thanks to 1) a closed on ramp and 2) a rather lengthy detour that gave us a closer look at the city then we'd planned for. But being that the Wingate was less than 15 minutes away from Waldameer, we did get a chance to sleep in.

 

Waldameer opens at noon. Yes, indeed, it does, but most of the rides don't open until 1:00--or thereabouts (you have been warned). But there are worse places to hang out for an extra hour than Waldameer. Its location on the shores of Lake Erie is beautiful, and the park grounds themselves are nice and well maintained. With its old-school vibe, Waldameer is an excellent example of a good, old-fashioned amusement park that hasn't gone "corporate" and dull--it's nearly as eccentric as Kennywood.

 

The place is especially eccentric when it comes to cash; that is, it doesn't take it (except at the ticket booths and in the arcade). I had no idea that Waldameer was a cashless park. They'll take credit, debit, or gift cards, but no greenbacks, for food and merchandise. You can also purchase a "Wally Card" and charge it up with "points" (either online or at the park). This isn't a complaint, by the way--I"m just letting you know.

 

As for the rides, Ravine Flyer II definitely lives up to the hype--what an insane coaster! It whips you around, ejects you from your seat, and keeps you completely off kilter from beginning to end--all while giving you a great view of the lake and crossing a highway twice. This ride is top-ten material and shouldn't be missed. The old Bill Tracy-designed Wacky Shack is a kick, as is the Pirates Cove walk through. And be sure to ride the Music Express--they run it at "Ludicrous Speed"!

 

The old Comet junior woodie is fun ride, too--a cut above the Woostock's Express/Ghoster Coaster rides you find at some Cedar Fair parks. If you're into spinning mouse coasters, Steel Dragon will most likely please you. They also have a particularly terrifying drop tower (XScream); it may not be the tallest one out there, but it's among the scariest.

 

Here's a look at Waldameer.

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But first, a little culture. Well, we had some time to kill.

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This is Lake Erie. Now you know.

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Lighthouse nerd!

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Aye, tis a fine, seaworthy craft--will ye make me an offer, mate?

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If it's noon, it must be Waldameer.

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I'm looking at you, Erik Johnson!

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Memorize this map--then destroy it!

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You can use cash here.

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"You know, Dad, this was a great place until those out-of-town coaster weirdos showed up."

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No, I've never been afraid of clowns . . . OH MERCIFUL GOD!

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"Darn! I wish I were old enough to appreciate what I'm looking at."

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"We're just testing. Come back at 12:50."

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You know, everyone needs a minimum level of "wackiness" each day.

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I think Daron has reached it.

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Yay! Comet is open!

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May as well see the park from the air while we're waiting for Ravine Flyer II to open.

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Hello, Comet.

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Watch--it just might "go plaid" and open a space-time vortex!

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Look--there's Cameron! Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

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Ravine Flyer II dead ahead.

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If there's a turtle involved, you must take a picture.

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The horde gathers.

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The backstory of Ravine Flyer II.

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Arm yourself with knowledge before riding.

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Noted--I will not be carried.

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Don't disturb the operator because . . . he's Batman!

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Enjoy the view while you can . . .

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. . . before Ravine Flyer II has its fiendish way with you!

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And I thought the clown was horrifying.

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"You're kidding! Waldo is on our train?"

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Waldo assumes riding position.

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"Yay! Waldo made this coaster all the more amazing!"

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"Durn! That's way too long to fit on the sign!"

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"Yeah. Let's just call it 'Steel, er, something.'"

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"Eh. Works for me."

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I'm glad the Care Bears found a new job.

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For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen.

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Arr! That's all need be said, sez I!

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Avast! What scurvy, rum-addled swab designed this ship?

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Hey, Disney--Waldameer's yeti works!

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This be Dave Thomas approved, mates!

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Quicksand, sez you? A scurvy trick, sez I.

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Belay that activity, swabs! Ger yerselves a room!

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Rehearse, ye scabrous dogs! Ye opens fer Alice Cooper in two weeks!

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Yes, Waldameer is both cashless and lidless. The park also has grammar issues.

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Shortest stick I've ever seen on any corn dog.

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Wait--there's no treasure in here! The clown lied--aghh!

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Another flat ride I like, mainly because 1) it's fun, and 2) it didn't make me want to toss my corn dog.

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Guilty as charged.

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Find the Hidden Mickey.

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We needed a recharge of wackiness.

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You need a Wally Card to get balls. That's all for Waldameer--next stop, Conneaut Lake.

Edited by cfc
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Erik and I rolled about an hour south to Conneaut Lake Park, while Derek and Daron headed on to Cedar Point, and Cameron headed for home. Conneaut is one of those parks that's always on the verge of going under. Erik kept checking their Web site to see if they'd posted operating hours for 2013. New owners are trying to make a go of the place, and seem to have made progress fixing it up. (They were actually painting fences while we were there.)

 

We enjoyed the park more than we expected and managed to get our $20 worth from the wristbands we'd purchased. The classic Blue Streak wooden coaster was saved by a fundraising drive and fixed up for the season. While the ride is rough in spots, the first drop is insane, and we rode it multiple times; it's good, old-school fun, and you have to love the look of the cool old trains. Airtime in the backseat is crazy, but will give you a spine adjustment (and possibly a slight headache). The Devil's Den gravity-operated dark ride is pretty beat up, but fun; most of its gags work, and it sports a little drop that's nearly as crazy as Blue Streak. The park also sports a beautiful old Carousel with a working organ, not just a recording (you hardly see, or hear, that anymore).

 

The park wasn't busy at all on a Sunday, but there was a "biker fest" of some kind going on down by the lake, complete with a band playing Meat Loaf and Billy Idol tunes. And if you want some Geauga Lake kitchen magnets, just hit the main gift shop.

 

Yes, they have a ways to go yet; much of the park is still pretty rundown (you can see one particularly bad deck by Blue Streak that looks like it could collapse any second). But they're making progress, and I wish the new operators well. We really enjoyed ourselves there.

 

Let's have a look around.

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The sign looks nice and spiffy now.

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Proof that I was actually there--take that, skeptics!

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Er, where do you buy wristbands and such?

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At least we found the Christmas lights.

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Yes, the Flying Scooters are operating.

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But what about the Tumble Bug?

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Guess not.

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It's the 75th anniversary of one of the main reasons we came to this park.

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See that little building way down there? That's where you buy tickets and wristbands.

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Hmm--easy to see why it's called the "Blue Streak."

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Bathtubs on rails.

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I love the look of those old trains.

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Satan lies a' waitin' within.

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But Satan has never contended with Erik! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

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The operator has to push your car to the chain lift. I experienced a rollback.

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Erik made it on the first push, though.

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Yes, I did make it on the second push. Phew!

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I love the smell of old Double Mint and Juicy Fruit in the morning! Smells like . . . victory! (Well, maybe not.)

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"Hi, pal! I hope you enjoy consorting with the Prince of Darkness."

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"What? I wasn't supposed to smoke in there?"

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All you beer drinkers who have dreamed of owning a Geauga Lake bottle opener are in luck.

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They do have Conneaut Lake stuff.

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You can catch up on your ACE newsletters, too.

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The park has a really nice Carousel.

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It's been at the park since 1914.

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I wonder if they'll get this working again someday?

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Erik chose a fine black charger . . .

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. . . while I rode an adorable kitty cat.

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The Carousel sports scenes of other classic attractions from Conneaut's past, such as the Temple of Music, . . .

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. . . the Fun House, and . . .

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. . . the filling station?

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Nice to see one of those old carousel organs in operation. You can buy a CD of the music in the gift shop, too.

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So, we won't be riding the Yo-Yo today?

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Hmm--where is all that Meat Loaf music coming from?

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Aha! They were covering "All Revved Up with No Place to Go," as I recall.

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Big coaster enthusiasts need not apply.

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The park has a very nice train ride that gets close to Blue Streak. We saw baby ducks, too.

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They didn't snap, but they worked.

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Thanks for nice afternoon stop, Conneaut. Good luck!

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^Around two bucks a pop.

 

It'll be a while before I get to the Cedar Point stuff (about three weeks or so).

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Even by ACE standards, this is a back issue. ;)

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hopefully this park can make it. We had a lot of fun when we were there. Love how Blue Streak runs through the trees!

 

I thought Blue Streak was fun, but it gave me a bit of a headache.

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Great photos and captions so far! I haven't had this much fun across four days in a very long time. Glad I met up with everyone!

I'll add Derek's picture of the kiddie coaster.

 

-daron

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Shameless whores. Photo credit: Derek Ruth

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Awesome updates!

 

Blue Streak is such an awesome coaster. I really hope they can pull that park back to where it belongs. It is so beautiful there and its hard to find a park with so many trees and shade.

 

The park does have a pretty setting. I hope they can make a go of it, too.

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