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Photo TR: Culture and Credits in OK-TX-LA!


milst1
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We were unable to do the TPR Midwest Trip this year (which would have been our third TPR trip in 2013!), but I've been talking about a "Deep in the Heart of Texas" trip for a couple of years, and we finally got to do it. Texas in August, you say? Actually, it wasn't too bad this year, and we tacked Oklahoma on to the beginning and Louisiana to the end. Hope you enjoy.

 

Our trip began with an evening flight to Oklahoma City.

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First thing in the morning, we visited the most excellent Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. You should definitely make time for this if you are ever in this area. It's quite moving.

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Oklahoma City is also home to Frontier City!

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First credit was Wild Kitty!

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First, a big shout out to TPR's very own TheSchwitek for giving us a nice little tour of the credits. We could see that he's giving the park a lot of TLC. And he was a great host.

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Wild Kitty! I really like that name.

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Other credits we hit included Wildcat, the very fun woodie...

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...Steel Lasso, the Vekoma Suspended Family...

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...and Silver Bullet, the Scharzkopf Looping Star.

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We actually skipped Diamond Back, the Arrow Shuttle Loop that used to be half of Lightnin' Loops at our home park, Six Flags Great Adventure.

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It was a very quiet day at the park. In fact it was the last day of daily operations. Animals come out when there are no people, like this beaver.

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And this turtle.

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Here is the new water play structure. They are building out the waterpark section nicely.

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TheSchwitek gave us a backstage tour of his office. He has a lot of souvenir drink cups!

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We enjoyed our visit to this pleasant park. Then we drove 4 hours to Texas.

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Four hours later, we reached Wonderland in Amarillo! The park opened at 7pm, and we happened on a special: Free soda with admission!

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First credit was Mouse Trap, a 1975 Pinfari Zyklon.

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Here's another look. I asked the operator a question and the people in front of us turned around and said "You're not from around here, are you!"

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Don't confuse Mouse Trap, the Pinfari Zyklon, with Cyclone, the Miler Wild Mouse. Besides Wild Chipmunk at Lakeside, this Miler Wild Mouse is the only other one still operating. Tree Top Racers at Adventure City is SBNO, and Mighty Mouse at Funtown Pier was a victim of Hurricane Sandy.

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Texas Tornado was quite bizarre.

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Weirdest loops we've ever seen. It's a Hopkins.

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Hornet is a Vekoma that came to Wonderland via Boblo Island and Astroworld.

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Fantastic Journey was a fun dark ride.

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See what I mean?

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You've been warned.

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What else? Pirate ship, a Sizzler, carousel, lots of kiddie flats, Skee Ball, sky ride...

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Ferris wheel, rainbow, oh, and that killer looking storm coming in! Amarillo is definitely inside Tornado Alley.

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That just did not look good.

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But first we stopped for lunch at this Mongolian Barbecue place. Meh. Not as good as the one I used to go to in Minneapolis. I'm sure there are better ones out there.

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I did get this beautiful shot as we ran for our lives. We found shelter at a theater and saw Elysium.

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The next day we had some time to kill and visited this very cool RV museum in Amarillo.

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Yup, that's Jeff Daniels' RV from the movie RV.

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Mr. Sisemore was really nice. He started with a gas station and now he's one of the biggest manufacturers and retailers of RVs in the world.

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We then picked Lauren up at the airport (she was supposed to fly into OKC but was re-routed after multiple flight cancellations) and headed to the Cadillac Ranch, which I've always wanted to see. It was a bit of a let-down, due to a lake left by the previous night's storms, and all of the empty spray cans that people leave all over the place. But still fun.

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We then had a decent lunch at a place called Dyer's Bar-B-Que and they had a sink like this.

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Then we checked out Route 66 in Amarillo. There are a lot of antique places there. There was also a very cool haunted house place called 6th Street Massacre that's only open around Halloween, so check it out if you're there this month.

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Then it was on to Lubbock, Texas, and Joyland, "Where the Fun Is!"

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Of course there's still something very cool about 10 Cadillacs buried in a row with their tail fins sticking up. I would have loved to have seen it when it was new.

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Joyland was fun. I did my first rock-o-plane.

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Cheryl is always amazed any time I do a new flat.

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Dipsy Doodle was this Miler kiddie oval.

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They had a nice old carousel.

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They had this Allan Herschell Mad Mouse, which is exactly the style preferred by the Chinese ripoffs.

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They had a Sizzler, Tilt-a-Whirl, and this Spider.

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They also had this Trabant.

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A Musik Express and a Skyride.

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Joyland Garbage Can for the collection!

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Cool merch.

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Good times.

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Onto another plane! Texas is just too big.

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To the Six Flags Mother Ship.

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Since we had these from the TPR Mexico Trip...

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Cheryl was able to get the Pandemonium credit. I had the credit from its Tony Hawk days.

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Cheryl still doesn't have Shock Wave, but it was down.

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And none of us were going to get this credit on this trip.

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Wonder Woman Photo-Op

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And the new Texas Sky Screamer was fun.

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Then an incredibly long drive across Eastern Texas. If you drive across Texas, you will see Buc-ee's.

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We made it to our next destination.

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Fortunately we managed a ride on Iron Shark before it started to rain and things started shutting down.

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It's a cute little park.

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I surprised Cheryl by going on another flat ride.

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When on Galveston Island, our advice is to skip the long waits at Bubba Gump's and Fish Tales. Landry's gets enough of your money when you go on the pier. Go down the beach to Gaido's. Really good.

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Then another ridiculously long drive to San Antonio's very own Six Flags!

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Look who's meeting us here! It's Jolie! We have so many good TPR friends all over!!!

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And look what we're riding today! Just reopened with the seat belts.

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They're happy!

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This is a super fun ride! I thought it would be more intense, but it's incredibly fun.

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Then a quick run over to SeaWorld!

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So I can get my Steel Eel fix!

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And my Azul fix. I always send the silks photos to Elissa!

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We close down SeaWorld, and we bid adieu to Jolie, and we drive Lauren back to Austin. Cheryl and I have one more stop before heading home.

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Welcome to Baton Rouge, Louisiana!

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You park here, give your tickets at the gate and walk the bridge to park.

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They were very concerned about undergarments.

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Bridge over the highway.

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The park was completely deserted, and we found out that the dry rides didn't get going until 2pm, so we left for lunch and came back.

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The park has 4 credits: Loco Loco, a Miler Family;

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Gilbeau's Galaxi, an SDC Galaxi;

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Ragin' Cajun, a Vekoma Boomerang; and

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Xtreme, a Maurer Sohne Xtended SC2000. A young woman was killed on this in 2010, you may recall. The family and the park happened to reach a settlement while we were in Baton Rouge. Now they only fill 2 seats per car and the ops have to be 18+. It really kills the already-limited capacity. UPDATE: I don't know if this is news, but according to an ad in the October issue of Amusement Today, Dixie Landin' has put this up for sale. Asking price is $2 million. Ironically, the ad photo shows four riders in a car, having lots of fun.

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There are a few flats and such. We rode the train. We were turned away from the antique cars because we didn't have a kid!

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Twas the end of the season, and the gift shops were bare.

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Every time Cheryl tried to take her pants off, I was able to point to one of these conveniently available signs.

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A couple of tiny culture credits before the end of our trip: We visited the Louisiana State Capitol, the tallest state capitol building in the USA.

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It was built by then-Governor Huey Long, who did a lot to bring Louisiana into the modern era (e.g electrification, roads, bridges, education). He was a great populist, but became corrupted by his unmatched power. The rich hated his plan to cap wealth. He could have gone on to challenge FDR for the presidency.

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But he was assassinated inside the lobby of his own statehouse. One of the bullets missed him and left this hole in the marble. He was shot by the son-in-law of a judge he had fired.

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Both legislative chambers and the governor's office are in this building.

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There are great views from the observation deck.

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The building was named a National Historic Landmark in 1983.

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That's it for this trip report...Thanks for joining us!!!

Edited by milst1
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Fantastic trip report as always, Martin! Question - did you use the new multi-uploader for all those photos?

Means a lot to me, coming from you, Robb!

 

I did not use the Multi-uploader. I'm still picking my photos out and uploading them one at a time, but I do plan to try it out on a report in the near future, and I'll let you know!

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Great update! It's always fun to see parks that aren't shown very often on TPR. It's nice to see Wonderland has gotten some love since I visited in 2007. The new paint on the rides looks a lot better than rust when I was there. Bummer about the Cadillac graveyard being kind of a bust but aren't most of the tourist traps on Route 66 a bust anyway? Did you see any tornados or hear any tornado warnings? We heard a siren when we were in Amarillo and it was pretty crazy!

 

Jimmy "That's a lot of parks in so little time" Bo

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This Photo TR just makes me upset that I couldn't join you all on this trip, but I appreciate the invite. Glad you have a blast getting to some parks that still evade me.

 

We'll get together on a trip someday. Need any mop up credits in Hong Kong/Guangzhou?

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"But first we stopped for lunch at this Mongolian Barbecue place. Meh. Not as good as the one I used to go to in Minneapolis."

 

Kahn's Mongolian by any chance?

 

That's the one! Boy, that seems like a million years ago. I lived in DInkytown and St. Louis Park between 1988 and 1991.

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"But first we stopped for lunch at this Mongolian Barbecue place. Meh. Not as good as the one I used to go to in Minneapolis."

 

Kahn's Mongolian by any chance?

 

That's the one! Boy, that seems like a million years ago. I lived in DInkytown and St. Louis Park between 1988 and 1991.

 

Unfortunately is was a million years ago, when did I get old? Since you were here for four years and lived in Dinkytown my guess is you are a University of Minnesota graduate? And if you ever come back you can still go to Kahn's. They have added two more restaurants in the suburbs since you went to the one in Roseville. Still locally owned and not a chain so the food is still good. Were you here during the 1991 Halloween blizzard?

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"But first we stopped for lunch at this Mongolian Barbecue place. Meh. Not as good as the one I used to go to in Minneapolis."

 

Kahn's Mongolian by any chance?

 

That's the one! Boy, that seems like a million years ago. I lived in DInkytown and St. Louis Park between 1988 and 1991.

 

Unfortunately is was a million years ago, when did I get old? Since you were here for four years and lived in Dinkytown my guess is you are a University of Minnesota graduate? And if you ever come back you can still go to Kahn's. They have added two more restaurants in the suburbs since you went to the one in Roseville. Still locally owned and not a chain so the food is still good. Were you here during the 1991 Halloween blizzard?

 

Yes, I was a graduate student at the U in the Department of Economics. I arrived in August 1988 right after finishing college and left the Minneapple in May 1991, so I missed that blizzard.

 

I don't remember a lot about food in the Twin Cities. I remember some great Sunday breakfast place in downtown St. Paul. And I remember a restaurant with a wood-burning stove that I loved. I have a coaster from there in a photo album so I'll have to dig it out. I also remember Max & Erma's, Grandma's, hotdish, and peppermint bon-bon ice cream.

 

Fortunately I was able to salvage my academic career at the University of Pittsburgh, where I also discovered Kennywood. I never visited Valleyfair while living in MN, just Canterbury Downs in Shakopee.

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Great report! Wonderland and Dixie Landin' look pretty good! I'll definitely have to hit those up sometime.

 

The food in Baton Rouge is much more exciting than the amusement park.

 

We had two really good hits, and one miss.

 

First day lunch was at Mason's Grill, which we enjoyed, but I would advise people to avoid the busiest periods, like Sunday brunch. We were lucky to find seats, but we had to wait over an hour for a table.

 

Dinner was even better, at The Chimes. The atmosphere is similar to some other brewpub/sports bar kinds of places, but it was pleasant enough. The food was great and the beer selection extensive.

 

Heading to the airport the next day, we took a swing and missed. I wanted to find some gumbo and we ended up at Boutin's Cajun Restaurant at Howell Place. Apparently this is their second location, and it's only saving grace was it's proximity to the airport, if that's what you care about. The service was slow, although they were apologetic about it. Other than that, I have to say mediocre food at surprisingly high prices in a depressing atmosphere. I suppose I would be willing to try the original location, which seems to have a much better ambience and live music. Hopefully the food is better there too.

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