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Photo TR: Andy's 2014 New Hotness / East Coast TPR Tour


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Excellent photos. Lightning Run is one of the most insane "little" coasters in the U.S. More parks should install this ride (along with Mega Lites).

 

How does Lightning Run compare with a Mega Lite? Conceptually, looks like the same idea, by a different company... which is great, as Mega Lites have sadly gotten no respect here in the US.

 

Also, Deep Water Dive: Unsubscribe. I'm crazy, but I'm not that crazy. Full respect for Kentucky Kingdom for building that, and it IS sad they haven't gotten more press about it, but not way am I getting on that thing.

 

I would give the edge to the Mega Lites, thanks to their somewhat more "refined" performance and design (they look much more "elegant"). But Lightning Run matches them in the airtime department.

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Day 2 Part 2 -- Beech Bend

Saturday, July 26, 2014

 

Scorecard:

 

Wild Mouse

Dragon Coaster

White Water Express

-- Dinner --

Haunted House

Zero G (x2)

Haunted House Tour

Kentucky Rumbler (x19)

 

The Report:

 

As our two-park trek through Kentucky continues...

 

The TPR bus pulled out of Louisville at about 4 PM, drove for two hours, and arrived in Bowling Green at about 5 PM -- all thanks to the magic of a conveniently-placed time change. That gave us several hours at Beech Bend, a down-home venue on the banks of the Barren River. One part amusement park, one part auto racing track, and one part campground, Beech Bend's decades of history are overshadowed to enthusiasts by one awesome GCI coaster.

 

Before we could get to Kentucky Rumbler, however, we had some other business to attend to. My group started off with a spin on the park's Wild Mouse, enduring some slow cycles for about a 30-minute wait. The Dragon Coaster had a shorter queue, but was easily the most frightening coaster at the park. The small log flume, White Water Express, was next on the agenda. It's a standard fair model, but still counts for those of us who keep track of such things.

 

At 630 PM, we found our way to the Shady Grove pavilion for dinner. There was an enormous anxiety within the group -- almost trepidation -- when the Roy's Bar-B-Que catering van came into view. Could the streak be over? Rest assured, Roy's company served up their best fried chicken, hot dogs, and whatever else we'd been eating for the last six months. To be fair, most TPR members thought that Roy's chicken was the best of the trip.

 

During dinner, we got to meet Paul Blick, the operations manager at Beech Bend. He gave us a history lesson about the park, discussing its past as a large campground, and noting that the park was formerly owned by Ronnie Milsap (of

fame). Several prizes were given to gleeful TPR members, and our itinerary for the rest of the night was revealed -- including a backstage walkthrough of the park's classic haunted house ride. Most of the TPR group rode through the haunted house right after dinner, then got to see the attraction with the lights on a little while later.

 

Darkness forced the cancellation of a planned Kentucky Rumbler photo tour, but the park made it up to us by extending our evening ERT to a full 80 minutes. This marathon ERT session -- 21 total cycles, of which I rode 19 -- was made all the better by the setting. During our stops in the station, Paul Blick rattled off trivia about the coaster, such as how many nails were used in its construction (a lot) and how many airtime moments could be found (a number the group couldn't quite come to an agreement on). As we crested the lift, the air was filled with the roar of dragsters, revving down the pavement on the nearby track. Challenges were issued to the TPR riders -- a "fat train" to attempt a speed record, and a "human chain" to attempt to dislocate a few shoulders. As the ERT continued, light rain began to fall, stinging slightly as the coaster hit its top speed. Distant thunderstorms lit up the sky with radiant flashes, much too far away to pose a threat, but close enough to further set the mood. This was a long and demanding ERT session, but virtually the entire group finished it out -- we were having way too much fun to turn in early!

 

What did I miss at Beech Bend? I'm sure I would have enjoyed the mini golf course, and the infamous Scat II might have been worth a ride if I were feeling brave. I also didn't take a seat on the Sea Dragon, a swinging pirate ship with one remarkable claim to fame: its former owner was Michael Jackson. There isn't much else for the average thrill-seeker, and it's clear that the local audience is the focus. On this hot summer day, the small water park was the busiest attraction at Beech Bend. The park is definitely less master-planned and set-in-stone than a large corporate park would appear to be laid out, and in some ways it feels like a county fair that just happens to have a few higher-end rides mixed in. With all that said, there's no doubt about it -- Kentucky Rumbler is the star attraction of this small park. Beech Bend may not be worth a big trip out of the way, but any coaster enthusiast passing through the area would be derelict in their duties to not stop in for a few hours and a handful of Rumbler rides.

 

We departed Beech Bend at 945 PM, en route to a stormy evening -- in more ways than one.

 

The Attractions:

 

Kentucky Rumbler:

What a fantastic ride! Rumbler was running fast -- it was greased up good for our visit, according to the park. It's a well-paced mix of airtime, quick turns, and combinations of the two. It's similar in style to American Thunder at Six Flags St. Louis, but I greatly preferred Kentucky Rumbler's mix of elements. Rumbler also has several station fly-bys, keeping things exciting for those watching from the platform. Of course, we didn't do much standing around -- I rode 19 of our 21 ERT cycles, and fought through an early headache in the ERT session to keep things going. It's not the smoothest coaster around -- it did shuffle and jackhammer in just a couple places -- but it's easily going to claim a spot on my top 10 wooden coaster list. Here's the

from our visit.

 

Wild Mouse: Opa! It's a spinning mouse, complete with Mickey-esque ears on the logo and that awful final airtime hump just before the turn into the brake run. The station-stacking loading procedures made this the longest wait at the park.

 

Dragon Coaster: The ride op was an engineer -- trust him on that -- so I'm sure our three cycles on the Dragon Coaster were taken with the utmost of safety. At least, that's what I'm going to tell myself. You haven't experienced fear until you've wondered if your train is actually going to make it up the tilted lift hill, or if gravity is going to take over and pull you out the side of the car. Easily the sketchiest ride of the entire trip.

 

Haunted House: This might be the first traditional haunted house ride I've ever been on, especially as I don't usually partake in haunted attractions. This wouldn't end up as my favorite of the trip (tough to beat Knoebels and Spook-a-Rama) but for a smaller operation like Beech Bend, I thought it was enjoyable. It's clearly a homemade labor of love for the park. It's a shame that the scenes were all hidden behind chicken wire for security purposes.

 

Zero G: Having enjoyed the identical FearFall at Kentucky Kingdom, Zero G was another chance to ride one of the most unexpectedly intense drop rides ever created. These are a great fit for small parks like Beech Bend.

 

White Water Express: Although it's just a standard fair-model log flume, I still found it enjoyable. It's going on the checklist, if I ever do start actually counting log flume credits the way I say I'm going to.

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Day 2 Part 2 -- Pictures

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A TPR-exclusive ticket to Beech Bend!

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A welcome banner, and an advertisement for the ubiquitous theme park souvenir bottle.

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The main entry gate to Beech Bend.

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A small go-kart track at the front of the park.

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Flying Bobs and go-karts.

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The back stretch of the go-kart track.

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#4 cuts ahead of #6. Serious business.

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A quick walk through Splash Lagoon, the small water park at Beech Bend.

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Splash Lagoon, sponsored by the cinnamon rolls at Holiday Inn Express.

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Most big water parks don't have regular pools, but I've seen several small parks that do.

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A play area behind the lazy river.

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The top of the slide tower at Splash Lagoon.

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For our first ride of the day, here's Wild Mouse, a Zamperla design.

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Closer view of the cheesy sign.

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Those ears look familiar...

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...and that mouse looks agitated.

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Guess what?

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A family rides the orange mouse.

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Up the lift hill.

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Stackin' in the station.

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Zach, Kristen, and Elissa enjoyed the ride -- or at least pretended to.

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Let's look at some other rides at Beech Bend, including the rather screwy-looking Scat 2. It only operated for a short time while we were there, and I don't think anyone with the TPR group was able to ride.

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The Starship 4000 is a Gravitron-type centrifuge ride. I enjoyed those when I was younger, but I'm not sure I'd tolerate the sustained positive forces the same way now.

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A classic orange/blue/white Tilt-a-Whirl is one of many flat rides at Beech Bend.

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Zero G might be the best non-coaster ride in the park -- a Larson/ARM super shot.

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Going up...

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...going down.

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Next up is the Dragon Coaster, a ride made for families like these people...

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This ride was recently inspected. Trust me.

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...not for grinning coaster enthusiasts like Paul.

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How's the first lap, Paul? Not bad?

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How's the third lap, Paul? That great, eh?

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The White Water Express is a small log flume with two lifts, and no water (white or otherwise) running down the drops.

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Still, it's a traditional log flume, which I will always ride at any park, anywhere -- which caused me some difficulty in Mexico, for the three of you who will get that reference.

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Descending the double-down drop...

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...and the taller drop.

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This small flume makes a big splash, but it's mostly contained by the deflectors.

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The water just looks weird in this picture.

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Next up, the star attraction of Beech Bend -- Kentucky Rumbler!

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Rumbler has a curved first drop -- arguably more of a pre-drop.

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Kentucky Rumbler climbs in the hazy Kentucky sky.

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A look up at one of GCI's finest creations.

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Would "let's get ready to rumble" be an awful, too-obvious, un-funny caption for this photo? Would it?

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The top of Kentucky Rumbler is adorned with two flags.

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On the left: the state flag of Kentucky. On the right: you know that one.

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Hands up!

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Curving around for the first drop, which passes under the lift hill.

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Kentucky Rumbler is pretty compact, and makes several runs past the station.

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It also has several tight, banked corners like this one...

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...and this one.

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Every park needs a gift shop, and Beech Bend is no exception. Not sure every park needs that much tie-dye, though.

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A look at the pond area that fills the west half of the Beech Bend amusement park.

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The Flying Bobs reflect over the pond.

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A view from the same area, with Michael Jackson's Sea Dragon on the left, and White Water Express on the right. Kentucky Rumbler is just off-frame to the right.

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A few remote-control planes were flying around near the front of the park.

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Vortex is another one of Beech Bend's higher-end flat rides.

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Taking a walk to the north side of the park to see some of the other attractions.

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Beech Bend has two bumper car rides under the same roof.

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The kiddie bumper cars are on the left.

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The full-size bumper cars are on the right.

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An antique car ride also runs through that section of the park.

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Where's the Shady Grove pavilion?

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I found it!

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Roy's BBQ, serving ... fried chicken!

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My favorite attraction at Beech Bend: the door to nowhere.

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Paul Blick tells us about the history of the park.

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TPR members receive refined, classy prizes -- which end up on social media within minutes.

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The beginnings of a Kentucky sunset.

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Zero G looked great with the full LED package installed.

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The park doesn't have an abundance of walkway lighting, which made pictures like this one a little easier to get.

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Sort of a weather nerd sky picture. My apologies.

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The Starship 4000 is looking a little blurry.

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TPR prepares for a walk through the Haunted House!

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The portrait of a lady...

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Sorry for spoiling your dinner, Paul.

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The three skeleton stooges?

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What did you dig up now, Mark?

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Just a pile of skeletons in the corner.

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Here I thought it was Microsoft that had the market cornered on red rings of death.

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At least you get to listen to music when you're dead.

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That's a look of genuine concern. Hide from the evil giant mouse bat flying rodent things.

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All of a sudden I want a tamale. Preferably with red salsa.

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Hey, at least this guy isn't completely disfigured!

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The most sinister picture ever taken of a guy using a smart phone.

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Black lights (or purple lights) help set the mood.

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The skull and crossbones on the ride vehicle should give you a pretty good idea that this isn't Small World.

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As darkness falls, Zero G's lights look even nicer.

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The park had mostly emptied out, with rides beginning to shut down for the evening.

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One more cycle on Vortex...

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...and a final glance over the pond as we await the start of Kentucky Rumbler ERT.

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Applause was abundant during our 21-cycle ERT on Kentucky Rumbler!

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Waiting for the front row.

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Here's the infamous "human chain" train -- everybody linked up with the riders behind them and in front of them. It's a minor miracle that no one was injured, and though it was a painful and challenging feat, I'm pretty sure we all succeeded! // Photo credit: I actually don't know, but I couldn't not post this!

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Waiting through the light rain for a train to return to the station.

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How was your ride?

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Fantastic!

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Almost the whole TPR group stuck it out for the entire 80-minute ERT session.

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Light rain, a rumble from the drag strip, and lightning way off in the distance. An awesome way to end a very long day!

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 2 Part 3 -- A Dark and Stormy and Swanky Night

Saturday, July 26, 2014

 

We were on the road from Beech Bend in Bowling Green at about 945 PM, driving northwest into a heavy complex of thunderstorms on the Natcher Parkway. Struggling to stay awake, the thunder and lightning were unable to keep me conscious. The voice of Elissa on the loudspeaker, however, was a different story.

 

There had been a mix-up. A glitch. A mishap. A snafu, a problem, a snag, a malfunction. The big guy with the red coat and white beard had loaded up his sleigh full of the finest presents, then inexplicably threw the entire contents of a Kentucky coal mine at the TPR bus instead. If I'm being too oblique, let's put it more directly: Santa's Lodge dumped our entire slate of hotel rooms and subsequently sold them out to other customers. We had nowhere to spend the night.

 

Enter the swank -- Elissa located a hotel that would fit our entire group, albeit with a few rooms combined. Enter the Days Inn in Owensboro, Kentucky, which is exactly what you'd expect out of a Days Inn in Owensboro, Kentucky. For what little sleep we'd end up with, it worked out fine. For the lucky few who found themselves in the honeymoon suite, it was an experience to behold. Identical framed pictures of downtown Chicago. A clock that's shaped like a chef. A breakfast nook. Sixteen different lamps. If you've never been in a high-end suite at a low-end hotel, you don't know what you're missing out on.

 

For the rest of us, it was about four hours of swanky sleep in the swankiest place that ever did swank.

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Swank.

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Great update! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, glad to slowly keep this report moving!

 

you know, it also seems like my life is filled with doors to nowhere xD

I was going to say similar, but that's way too much philosophizing for a theme park website.

 

And that fried chicken was pretty fantastic.

Well, we were practically fried chicken critics / connoisseurs by that point!

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  • 4 months later...

Time to resurrect this thread -- I haven't forgotten about it!

 

Going to do something a little different with this post -- a combination trip report from the TPR 2014 tour visit to Holiday World, and a trip I made with a friend in 2015. That allowed for a wider variety of pictures to choose from, as well as a chance to ride Thunderbird!

 

Day 3 -- Holiday World

Sunday, July 27, 2014

---and---

Monday, July 13, 2015

 

Scorecard (2014):

 

Voyage

Gobbler Getaway

Howler

Holidog Express

Liberty Launch

Legend

-- Lunch --

Voyage / Thunderbird Tour

Raven

Frightful Falls

Raging Rapids

Watubee

Zoombabwe

Hyena Falls (1 / Laughs)

Hyena Falls (4 / Giggles)

-- Dinner --

Mammoth

Wildebeest (x4)

Mammoth

Voyage (x3)

Legend (x2)

Raven (x3)

 

Scorecard (2015):

 

Thunderbird

Gobbler Getaway

Mammoth

Wildebeest

Jungle Racer

Zoombabwe

Bakuli

Legend

Raven

-- Lunch --

Voyage

Thunderbird (x3)

Voyage

Liberty Launch

Legend

Raven

 

The Report (2014 aka #66minutesofsleeptour):

 

After a swanky night in Owensboro, Kentucky, the TPR crew awoke to a foggy morning as we drove north into Indiana. Our trip to Holiday World was punctuated by a crossing of the Ohio River, a scenic view of a large coal-fired power plant, and a bus full of fingers extended in the direction of a certain hotel near the park.

 

Although I've lived just a few hours away for 8 years, I'd never made the trip to Santa Claus, Indiana. My first visit to Holiday World certainly did not disappoint! We met Paula (Raven Maven) at the front gate and received our itinerary, which would prove to keep us busy for much of the day. We headed into the park for a back-woods walk past Raven, ending up at Plymouth Rock Cafe for an awesome breakfast spread. We were also granted front-of-the-line access to Voyage as soon as it opened, getting the park's biggest coaster out of the way early.

 

The group split up after riding Voyage, as a few of us went onward to hit some of the other items of interest on the dry side of the park, including the kiddie credit and train ride. At lunch -- which may or may not have included fried chicken -- we had a Q&A session with Paula and a few other Holiday World staff members (Eric, James, and Chris). With the Thunderbird announcement having come just a few nights before, it was obviously going to be the #1 topic of discussion. We learned about how Thunderbird had initially been conceptualized by Will Koch and B&M as an inverted coaster in the late 00s, but the passage of time and development of new technology allowed these plans to change. The launch was the unique element that Holiday World was proud to introduce -- something to set Thunderbird apart from the other North American wing coasters, all of which are within a half day's drive from southern Indiana. Those on staff with Holiday World who knew about Thunderbird in advance were few, and they kept it a close secret! The TPR group asked a few pointed questions, and the Holiday World team answered them skillfully. The crew was coy about the Timberliner experiment on Voyage, which didn't ultimately work out, but offered a hilarious response in confirmation of their choice of manufacturer for Thunderbird.

 

After lunch, we embarked on a guided tour at the northeast end of the park. The tour served two purposes -- a backstage look at Voyage, and a walk through the Thunderbird construction site. We learned that track delivery was set to begin the very next day, a milestone we all promised to check social media for as we continued north on the trip.

 

The hike through the woods on a very warm day provided plenty of motivation to check out Holiday World's legendary water park once the tour was over. Splashin' Safari is practically a show room for ProSlide, containing both quality and quantity of that company's water attraction designs. Splashin' Safari was very busy, but I got on several slides during the mid-afternoon hours. However, my run of injuries on the trip continued, after a particularly rough ride on Hyena Falls #4 -- a solo-tube slide with a half pipe wall (pipeline wave) coming off a big drop. I did meet the safety requirements, but I wonder if I was a little too light anyway! Coming off the wall, I hit a lip of water at full speed, bouncing my tube in the air and causing me to lose my grip. The tube flew out from under me, and I landed hard on my shoulder, conveniently in a spot on the slide where nobody on the platform (or in the pool) could see. I slid my way out, just in time to not get run over by Paul, who had successfully navigated the rapids I was unable to tame.

 

We took it easy until our evening ERT was set to begin, then headed back to the water park for some extremely valuable time on Mammoth and Wildebeest. Several trip participants thought this was the best ERT of the entire Mini New Hotness trip, and though the previous night on Kentucky Rumbler was pretty epic, I'm not sure I can disagree with the consensus. The only problem? The hot and humid conditions from earlier in the day had disappeared (a cold front went through, because of course I have to mention that). By the time our ERT was done, things were a little shivery.

 

What better way to not warm up than to finish things out with ERT on the park's wooden coasters? I got several rides in on all three, ending things with a pitch black night ride on Raven, before TPR packed up for another late night of driving.

 

The Report (2015):

 

Making just my second trip to the park, it was my first time driving in from the north, and taking in the view of Voyage and the water park would have been impressive enough. Imagine the awe, though, to see the bright orange Thunderbird rising high at the eastern edge of the property -- perhaps not the phoenix from the ashes, but maybe a hawk out of the cornfield.

 

Thunderbird was the first item on the agenda, and it did not disappoint. Expecting things to get busy during the afternoon, visiting Splashin' Safari as soon as it opened allowed for rides on Mammoth and Wildebeest with minimal waits. The water park got very, very crowded shortly thereafter! Thankfully, things on the dry side of the park stayed manageable, and there was time to cut out a couple hours for photography. There was plenty of opportunity for a few more rides on the coasters -- including several cycles on Thunderbird with only station waits -- before leaving in the early evening.

 

Overall Thoughts:

 

Holiday World is a really cute park, and I don't think anyone would argue that point. If the park's primary reputation is that of a family park, though, I think that sells it a little short. It is an outstanding family park, but it hits all the park-going demographics, and is definitely somewhere that young adults and coaster fans could spend an entire day -- not just on the big rides.

 

Holiday World is well known for its awesome staff and friendly setting. That was easily on display during our visit in 2014. I admit that it's tough to go to a park for a second visit when the first visit was a VIP-level experience with TPR. There was no shortage of friendliness among the people I met in 2015, but the overall operations seemed a half step down. Coaster crews were stapling seatbelts, which was a little uncomfortable, and made loads/unloads take some extra time. Water park operations were fantastic on both visits, which is a crucial thing given the crowds Splashin' Safari attracts! I thought the wooden coasters were all running better in 2015 than in 2014, including Voyage, and Thunderbird is a hit -- it definitely exceeded my expectations.

 

Another word of thanks to Paula -- Holiday World is quite fortunate to have one of the best in the PR business on their side!

 

Until I experienced the finished product in 2015, I couldn't place just how far back Thunderbird is in the park. Now that I've been there to see it, it's clear that there's even more room in that section of the property (Thunderbird / Crow's Nest / Hyena Falls) for more big plans and big additions. I can't wait to see what comes next!

 

The Attractions:

 

Thunderbird: Thunderbird was my third wing coaster, and instantly became my favorite over X-Flight and Gatekeeper. I rode Wild Eagle later in 2015, and it came close, but Thunderbird definitely stays at the #1 position. It's surprisingly intense in spots, and the transitions are all a lot of fun. It feels fast (something X-Flight lacks) and doesn't end its course as a kiddie coaster (a la Gatekeeper). The TPR group clearly understood what Holiday World was going for with Thunderbird when the announcement was made, but I think everyone was a little cautious based on the chosen type of coaster. Well, Thunderbird took those concerns and threw them out into the cornfield across Route 162. It's a load of fun, and I'd encourage people to give it the fair shot it's due. Oh, and the theming is spectacular -- one of the best parts of the experience.

 

Voyage: I loved Voyage. I get the complaints -- it's among the more aggressive wooden coasters I've been on. I just can't put it in the same class as Son of Beast and Hades 360. Those rides hurt my head in ways that roller coasters simply shouldn't do. Voyage banged me around, but I never felt like I couldn't get back in line and give it another spin. My roughest ride on Voyage may have been the very first one with TPR on the 2014 trip, but my night ERT rides were all spectacular -- including one "eh, let's give it a shot" ride in the far back row that ended up being the smoothest of them all! Voyage is long and doesn't let up, and though the first few hills are the best part of the ride, the section that crosses through those same hills on the return leg is quite exciting as well. Voyage will probably sneak into my top 5 wooden coaster list, even if I admit it's not something I could marathon for an hour.

 

Legend: Legend is full of laterals and transitions, which aren't among my favorite coaster elements. However, after hearing that this was considered the lesser of the three wooden coasters at Holiday World, I have to say that it slightly exceeded my expectations. I don't think it's an outstanding coaster, but it's a fun and varied journey that features a few white knuckle moments to make sure you're paying attention.

 

Raven: Riding Raven at night is something that every coaster enthusiast must find a way to do. No wooden coaster is more famous for its night rides than The Beast, which earns credit for its lengthy jaunt through the woods. Raven must be credited for finding a way to be a darker night ride than The Beast -- its second half is so deep within tree cover that virtually nothing is visible at all. It's quite the experience! That's where my praise for Raven will have to stop -- this may be blasphemy, but it was my least favorite of the wooden coasters at the park. That's not to say I didn't like it! It's just a little too short for my preference, and aside from the turn over the lake, it doesn't really do anything else that Legend and Voyage don't do better. Still, go ride it at night, and be amazed!

 

Howler: Oh no, here it begins -- the first of many awful Zamperla kiddie coasters on the TPR 2014 US trip (though the rest were all on the second half of the tour). Miler and Vekoma make much better rides than these. OK, I'll give it some credit -- it's got Holidog on the lead car!

 

Gobbler Getaway: The concept is hilarious -- a bowdlerization of the classic shooting game into "calling" turkeys for Thanksgiving. The execution earns a little more of a mixed review. The scenes on the ride are awesome, and who doesn't love the talking granny in the queue? The guns were tough to use, though, and the lack of a lighted targeting system made it a challenge to hit the targets. Definitely worth a ride on every visit, even if just to take in the theme and the scenery.

 

Frightful Falls: The "RMC Log Flume" (nicknamed due to the colors of the rails) was decent. It's not too long and not among my favorites, but I'll never discredit a park for keeping a classic flume around! It offers some nice views of Legend in a few spots.

 

Raging Rapids: Not a ton happening on this rapids ride -- again, the theming is outstanding, but it's pretty short and we had several people walk off bone dry. Tough to argue for a ride on this with such an awesome water park located steps away.

 

Mammoth: Despite all the hype, there's no way I could prepare myself for the experience on Mammoth! It was not my first time on a magnetic water coaster -- I rode Deluge at Kentucky Kingdom the day before and enjoyed it greatly -- but Mammoth was clearly in another class. If you're on the going-backwards side of the raft, you're getting drenched at every change in elevation. If you're on the top of the raft going around a corner, you're holding on for dear life, feeling like you're about to flip over! The whole thing is a remarkably out-of-control feeling, guaranteed to have every person in the raft laughing through the entire ride -- and possibly ingesting some of the chlorinated water on the way. The only break you'll get is at the end, when you may get stuck in an eddy in the pool before the station, finding yourself with a few spare minutes to contemplate the experience.

 

Wildebeest: I might heap a ton of praise on Mammoth, but I'll give Wildebeest the slight edge as my favorite of the two. It's not quite as out-of-control as Mammoth (perhaps since it uses one-row rafts instead of circular rafts), but it nails the coaster experience to perfection, in a way I never thought a water ride could manage. There's one hill about a third of the way through the circuit -- if you've been on the ride, you know the one -- that offers legitimate ejector air on a ride with no restraints. Better grip those handles with everything you've got. Honestly, it's fair to say that Wildebeest and Mammoth are my two favorite water park attractions on the planet, with only a few other attractions (Deep Water Dive, Deluge, Summit Plummet, The Falls) even worthy of being in the conversation.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 3 -- The Pictures (Part 1)

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Waking up in a fog on the 2014 trip -- or at least, what happens when your camera lens wakes up in a fog.

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Hey, it's Paula!

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Okay, about a mile up, there's a little detour. We're gonna take a walk in the woods.

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...and we're gonna take nerdy pictures of early-morning dormant roller coasters.

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A view of Raven that few get to see!

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On the shores of Lake Rudolph.

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The turn over the lake is one of Raven's signature elements.

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The grand TPR tour of ... Raven's back-door maintenance shed.

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Has anyone ever seen "The Seventh Seal?" That old Swedish Ingmar Bergman movie? Where they're all up on the top of that hill and... yeah, I didn't think so.

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What do you do with fresh wood?

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It's not there for show. Look closely at the top left of the picture!

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Our little tour took us past some interesting views of Holiday World's first two wooden coasters.

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Maybe a view or two of Frightful Falls, also.

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Legend's first drop is big, but this picture makes it clear how much it takes advantage of the terrain.

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After our wooded adventure, we headed to Thanksgiving for...

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...donuts! That was followed by our first rides on Voyage.

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Next up was a trip next door to Gobbler Getaway, for some turkey "calling" action.

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Then, the nursery rhyme kiddie train. Oh, the kiddie train.

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I just ... can't come up with a caption for this. I tried, and I'm at a loss.

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This little piggy was probably safe since they only served fried chicken on the TPR trip.

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Little Bo Peep is crying because it's a Zamperla kiddie coaster.

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Time to check out the rest of the dry side of the park. This sign was put up in 2015 to celebrate The Raven's 20th anniversary.

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The station is simple, yet effective. The archway at the start of the queue (no picture, unfortunately) is a nice effect also.

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You think Edgar Allan Poe, I think The Alan Parsons Project.

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Raven's got a great spot right at the front of the park -- can't miss it!

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Just down the hill, Raven's younger sibling also hit an anniversary in 2015.

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The headless horseman rides on (if you're 10 minutes early for the "Boo To You" parade...)

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JJ Abrams took this photo of the Legend queue entrance.

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For those who want the stats.

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TPR has the front car filled up. Have fun!

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Back to the front of the park, this guy's got his name all over the town.

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So does this guy -- a legendary figure in his own right.

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Holiday World is awesome, according to Liseberg!

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A round of applause.

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New at the front of the park for 2015 -- a Thunderbird flag.

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Holidog wants a hug. Who are we to say no?

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Now I get to applaud the park -- thanks for the clearly marked severe weather shelters! Kind of a thing for me.

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Oh, did we mention the free drinks? Both my 2014 and 2015 trips were on very hot days, so a half-gatorade half-water mix was my beverage of choice.

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Celebrate the 4th of July with more bacon.

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Time for lunch -- I guess this is our spot!

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Guess what we ate!

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Here are -- in order from left to right -- Eric, Paula, Chris, and James. Ask them about the Beef Jerky room!

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Here's us!

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The view of Voyage from our pavilion was pretty nice. So, why not head over there next?

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It's time for another backstage tour! This one was a little more strenuous, but we made it through.

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Wooden coaster, steel supports...

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...attached to concrete. Do I get some sort of coaster nerd credit for these?

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I'd rather enjoy the views of the coaster like this one!

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We were pretty much right next to the first drop, giving us a great angle to watch people fly by...

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...and then fly up the next hill for some nutso airtime.

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Yeah, we see you.

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Just to give an idea of our pathway through the woods next to Voyage.

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Something new happening a little further north on the path. Here's the first Voyage/Thunderbird crossover point!

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Here's the second crossover, located just a bit to the north of the first. Thunderbird cuts east-west twice across Voyage's north-south path.

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Chris and James described the path Thunderbird would take. Though it was hard to picture at the time, it all makes sense now.

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Meanwhile, coaster nerds take pictures of coasters, and I take pictures of coaster nerds.

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Just to drive the point home.

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As if I'm not taking pictures of the coaster also.

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Into the clouds, and into...

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...the epic turnaround at the north end of The Voyage.

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Yeah, this part was a little rough, but I didn't think it was bad enough to keep me off the ride.

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Eh, I don't know. Maybe someone will like this picture?

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Anyone want some old rusted Voyage track?

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Here's where the group exits the woods into the cornfields of southern Indiana, and the construction site of the park's first full-size steel coaster. Before we look at the construction site, though, let's get an overview of the finished product.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 3 -- The Pictures (Part 2)

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Jumping ahead to 2015, here's that dramatic view from the north -- Voyage and Thunderbird make quite a pair!

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No question it's an impressive sight, likely even more so for those who have been going to the park for years.

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To say the first inversion dwarfs those nearby water slides is an understatement.

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Didn't forget about you, Voyage!

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A wide look over the whole northeast edge of the park. Yup, the Thunderbird station is quite a hike to get to!

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Speaking of that station, let's jump back to 2014 for a look at where it was built. Here's our group coming into the construction zone from the north.

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We visited on a Sunday, so the construction site wasn't active -- that allowed us the chance to tour it!

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Everyone remember the "almond" discussion? Anyone want to try to forget it?

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This view is looking east at the future site of the station building.

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Here's another view east from a little further south, near the edge of the building and the start of the launch track. I'll note a comparison for this shot about 10-15 pictures down. ***

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Looking southeast from the same spot, the launch track passes just to the right of the wooden building (the Will Power building) and toward Hyena Falls.

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Here's a closer look at the Will Power building, with the unmistakable chimney. The train engine would be just about front and center in this shot.

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Looking the other way, here's the first crossover, at the south end of the current Thunderbird plaza area.

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This may be the most important bolt installed on Thunderbird. It probably isn't.

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Here's a view from the launch area, looking down toward the restrooms near Hyena Falls.

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The first inversion occurs right around here, turning to the right side of the picture as Thunderbird heads toward Voyage.

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Thunderbird wasn't the only thing under construction -- Crow's Nest and a long new pathway were slated for this area, behind Hyena Falls.

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Here's my last picture of the construction site. This is near Thunderbird's far south end, looking north at the Will Power building.

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Awesome PR move -- right after the announcement, get a sign up to make sure everyone in the park knows exactly what's coming! So, how did Thunderbird turn out?

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Fantastic! This is at least a similar view to the one two shots up, and while I failed at getting very many good A/B comparisons from 2014 to 2015 (mainly because I forgot to pay attention to exactly what I was shooting), it's easy to get the idea of how much the area changed.

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There's the Will Power building, located adjacent to the launch track.

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I'm going to assume these are important.

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Now for a slightly less-technologically-advanced form of propulsion.

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Our construction tour walked right through this area -- it's now a wide open plaza, complete with a gift shop, restrooms, and a Pepsi oasis.

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Let's take a closer look at the station, which is simply one of the best coaster stations I've ever seen.

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This shot is a very close approximation to the image I marked with *** about 10-15 pictures up. This is the south end of the station, looking east.

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Here's the launch track, passing the Will Power building just to the right, with Hyena Falls in the background.

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Thunderbird loops around and turns into the forest, with the relocated Crow's Nest just to the south.

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Oh, well that's interesting. Has anyone seen Thunderbird roll back?

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More back-story and theming in the station. Anyone who'd been paying attention to #66minutesofsleep ... I mean, #66daysatsea will appreciate this!

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Were you born in a barn?

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The lighting in the barn flickered every now and then. Theming, or excessive power consumption by the launch? You be the judge.

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Station waits for Thunderbird for most of the afternoon!

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Here's a view from the back of the station, with the themed launch room straight ahead.

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Looking out on the launch track -- B&M's first-ever in-house launch! Yes, this picture was taken legally from the station, not from the ride -- just had to put on some zoom.

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The vest restraints are the worst part about a newer B&M brake run, but Thunderbird's didn't give me as much trouble as Gatekeeper or Wild Eagle.

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Sliding back into the station.

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Here's a view of the launch from the ramp on the east side of the station.

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Looking down at Hyena Falls and Splashin' Safari's rather odd extension on the east side of Voyage. Do you think Holiday World might have some plans for all that land nearby?

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Oh, and what makes Thunderbird fly? Start with about 100 heavy-duty cables...

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...run them down the hill...

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...and into these trailers, which do, uh, something...

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...and belch some smoke as the bird screams off! Cool cloud in the background, too.

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How about some views of the coaster? Launch away!

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A closeup of the logo, which is pretty awesome.

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If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.

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I swear, that Thunderbird was this big!

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Invert it.

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Twist it around.

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Straighten it out.

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That's how you do a good wing coaster.

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More theming! This area looks awesome already, and still, you can tell it's just the start of Holiday World's vision for this end of the park.

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Not sure which way is up here.

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Safety netting makes this one interesting.

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Wasn't there something about the sun shining down at the end of that #66days thing?

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Heading down the new path, there are some good views of Thunderbird above the tree tops.

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Two rides in motion!

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A look at the new pathway -- it's long and gains some elevation, but Thunderbird is worth the walk.

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A view from a little further away, with Hyena Falls on the right.

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Immelmann on high.

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A view from near the start of the new pathway.

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Looking the other direction, some different angles of Voyage are now available as well. This view would be great early in the morning with the sun shining from the east.

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Voyage has the best drop in the park.

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Hope you're all ready for the ride.

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Holiday World's lift-top flags are iconic.

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Zooming past the station on the return run.

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A final turn into the brake run.

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In case you forgot the name of the coaster.

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A zoomed view from the other side of The Voyage.

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The kid in row 4 is leaning back, either because he's sleeping, or because he knows he's about to get a face full of hair.

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This is the part of the ride where the train feels like it's trying to violently rip itself off the track. In other words, the good part!

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 3 -- The Pictures (Part 3)

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Oh, hey, did there used to be something here?

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There's these two giraffes, and I, uh...

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Anyway, here's the Mayflower, for those of you with stronger stomachs than the rest of us.

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Venturing into the water park, there's a neat observation deck above Bakuli.

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You can get some pretty good views of most of the rest of the water park, including Jungle Racer.

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Here's one of the two large pools, but you're probably all looking off to the right.

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Mammoth's conveyor lift, followed by that spray at the top, just in case you don't think you'll get wet.

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Looking the other way, you'll get another interesting angle of Voyage -- almost perfectly perpendicular to the lift.

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Up...

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...on top...

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...and down.

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Wildebeest. It's awesome. Go ride it. If you don't live in the midwest, or in the USA, or even on this continent -- find a way to go ride it anyway.

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Ride Mammoth also, which is pretty great.

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Here's the ending pool, where an unlucky raft (i.e. one with me in it) might get stuck for a few minutes.

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Airtime on an open-air handle-restraint water ride? You better believe it.

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Holiday World doesn't just have a mat-racer -- it has a 10-lane mat-racer.

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I'll give the win to lane 5.

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Oh, here's Hyena Falls #4, which my shoulder regrets. I'll think twice about solo-rides on pipeline wave slides in the future.

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Shifting back to 2014, as evening fell, we prepared for our night-time coaster ERT.

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Voyage at night was quite the experience!

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Turkey Whirl? Possibly the most awesome Tilt-a-Whirl ever made.

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Think there's room for all of us on this Legend train?

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We closed the night with some pitch-black night rides on Raven!

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My first two visits to Holiday World were a ton of fun. Special thanks to Paula, Eric, James, Chris, and everyone else who took care of our group in 2014.

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Can't wait to see what else is planned for the future!

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Andy, as always - wonderful photos. I also have to tell you that I really love your subtle sense of humor!

 

I think I'm going to try to get to Holiwood Nights next year if at all possible. I love Holiday world and haven't been in entirely too long!

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Voyage is such an incredible looking coaster - I really wanted to like it, but it was just so bone-jarring. But I am honestly disappointed with myself that we didn't wait for it in the front seat though as I bet that it would probably be like riding Shivering Timbers or Boulder Dash (which I loved).

 

I have to get back to this park to ride Thunderbird...and of course, Mammoth & Wildbeest. I agree that they are the two best water rides ever made.

 

And of course, I would wait it out to try the front seat on Voyage.

 

 

Great report!

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^ No one knows if there was ever a problem with the flywheel setup (seemed to work fine on Media Day and opening weekend) or whether or not they decided to use the generators since they were paying to have them on site (plus diesel was really cheap over the summer). There was several times this past season where the ride was down because the generators were down, but I imagine it isn't as easy as flipping a switch to go back to the flywheel setup in a day, so who knows. I guess we'll find out in April.

 

Great Trip Report! I really like being able to compare shots of TB plaza while it was under construction and then be able to see the finished product in the same report. It really puts things into perspective.

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Voyage is such an incredible looking coaster - I really wanted to like it, but it was just so bone-jarring.

 

I totally understand. It's very close to the edge of what I can handle on a wooden coaster, but it's a rare case for me where I think the awesome layout is worth a little discomfort.

 

Andy, as always - wonderful photos. I also have to tell you that I really love your subtle sense of humor!

 

Thanks David, and sooner or later I'll get to a part of the trip report you're in!

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This report was a lot of fun to read and to look through the pictures, thanks for the post! Especially fun to read it in the winter and look back on my first ever visit earlier this year in late May. Hopefully I'll make it out there again next year.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From southern Indiana to northern Indiana -- the 2014 TPR tour marches on.

 

Surgeon general's warning: this trip report contains numerous pictures of TPR members! If you were on the trip, you'll probably find yourself in here somewhere.

 

Day 4 -- Indiana Beach

Monday, July 28, 2014

 

Scorecard:

 

Steel Hawg

Cornball Express

Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain

Tig'rr

Den of Lost Thieves

Skyride (to South)

Skyride (to North)

Double Shot

Dr. Frankenstein's Haunted Castle

-- Lunch --

-- Fascination --

Rocky's Rapids

Antique Autos

Giant Gondola Wheel

Rock Climbing Wall

 

The Report:

 

There's more than corn in Indiana. There's also carp. There's also Fascination. But more about that later.

 

The fast-paced Mini New Hotness trip continued ahead, with a 2:30 AM arrival at our hotel in Lebanon, Indiana, and an 8:30 AM departure. Who needs sleep when we have roller coasters?

 

Navigating our way through the cornfields of the northwest part of the state, we made our way to Indiana Beach on a very chilly morning for late July, requiring a sweatshirt for the first half of the day. We arrived at the park just before 10 AM, having voted to arrive a little later than originally scheduled, on account of our lack of sleep (and a very late but very awesome evening at Holiday World the previous night). We headed into the park office to get our wristbands and materials for the day, and set off for morning ERT before the park opened to the public. The big disappointment of the day was that Hoosier Hurricane (the park's largest coaster) was unable to be opened. As a replacement, all four other coasters were operated early for us instead!

 

After learning that Lost Coaster would open a little later than the others, I started on Steel Hawg, knowing its capacity could become an issue later on. Cornball Express was next, followed by the infamous Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain. Most of the TPR group got in line for Lost Coaster by 1030 AM, as we waited for the ride to pass the morning checks and open up. We all got on in about 20-30 minutes, which was not bad at all, especially as Lost Coaster was one of the few attractions with a consistent line throughout the day.

 

After traversing the sky ride, and checking out a few of the park's other attractions, it was time for the best lunch of the Mini New Hotness trip. We were served a full buffet in the Skyroom Restaurant, which was a large and refreshing mix of options we hadn't yet seen on the "fried chicken and hot dogs" tour. After getting to meet the famous I.B. Crow, we headed off to finish out the park's attractions -- or at least the ones we had time for! First on the list, of course, was a TPR takeover of Fascination -- probably the busiest that parlor had been in a long time!

 

We took a group shot before departing Indiana Beach at around 3:30 PM, and headed north to our final stop of the first-leg trip in greater Chicago.

 

Overall Impressions:

 

Indiana Beach is a really strange park, unlike any other park I've been to. Large parts of the property appear to be suspended in time -- some of which is good, and some of which is not. There were some clear signs of a lack of upkeep -- some simple maintenance issues that could be addressed, a need for a little selective modernization here or there, and perhaps a fresh coat of paint across the board. The overall atmosphere, however, doesn't need a big change. What an interesting place, with rides and attractions built on top of each other, utilizing every ounce of space on the park's tiny footprint. The relaxed atmosphere and hand-painted signs might recall seaside parks in other locations, and at the very least, it's quickly clear that Indiana Beach is a very different experience than the standard North American corporate park. The lakeside setting -- in Indiana, of all places -- is a major strength of the park. I was impressed with how well the water was used, with numerous rides built right over the lake, and others offering great views of the pleasant setting. The park is built on the west bank of Lake Shafer, a dammed lake on the Tippecanoe River. The lake is surrounded by an array of very nice homes, while the park is surrounded by vacation housing -- apartments, trailers, cabins, and smaller developments.

 

One challenge of doing a trip report a year late is the possibility that conditions have changed, and that pictures or stories may no longer be representative. I don't think that's the case here. While the management staff our group spoke to was very optimistic about the future, and looking forward to making positive changes, it's clear that it won't be a quick process -- especially with the recent change in ownership.

 

I don't want to make a big deal out of the missed credits, but just want to note it here. Hoosier Hurricane was closed -- I heard a few reasons for why that may have been the case, and it's probably for the best that we didn't get to ride at the time. The park had recently removed a S.D.C. Galaxi, and their new kiddie coaster (Dragon Wagon) was built, but not yet operational. The park's train was also not operating on the day of our visit.

 

Overall -- and I'll try to phrase this carefully -- the fun I had at Indiana Beach greatly exceeded my overall objective opinion about the park. I truly had an enjoyable morning and early afternoon, even as I recognize that the park's got some issues to work through. I had mixed experiences with the operational staff -- some were fantastic, and others were disinterested. I didn't re-ride anything, even though several of the rides were good or interesting in some way. Perhaps that wasn't my primary focus for this stop on the trip? One of the best parts about visiting a small park (like this one) on a TPR tour is the increased interaction with the other tour participants. It's impossible to not run into people all over the place -- on coasters, across the sky ride, or scaling a climbing wall. It was a legitimately fun visit, and I'm glad we made room for it in the itinerary.

 

Indiana Beach is such an interesting place that I'd recommend a visit for serious park and coaster enthusiasts, based on the strengths of the overall setting and a few quirky stand-out attractions. I plan to return at some point -- it's an easy stop for the next time I head on a trip to Chicago, and I still need to get a ride on Hoosier Hurricane, which looked like it would be a lot of fun.

 

The Attractions:

 

Steel Hawg: I was expecting a little more out of Steel Hawg. The "wild mouse on hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals," with promises of strange and intense forces, simply wasn't as interesting (or intense) as I'd hoped. I'll give S&S a pass on the restraints -- they've improved them significantly on their later El Loco models.

 

Cornball Express: Several people in the group had very good impressions of Cornball Express. Perhaps it was because I'd just been on two good CCI coasters the day before at Holiday World, but I wasn't willing to join the hype. It's not a bad coaster. It doesn't do anything wrong. It just didn't make much of an impression on me.

 

Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain: This is a truly bizarre experience. I'm not sure it's even fair to review it after just one ride, but the line was prohibitively long for a second spin. The story is that Lost Coaster was originally a powered dark ride, but was converted into a wooden coaster (with an elevator lift) by CCI. The trains are remarkably strange -- two enclosed mine cars with front-and-back seating, with the enclosures necessary due to the ride's extremely small clearance envelope. The ride's slow motion allows for some incredibly tight turns, despite being built on traditional wood track, which just looks and feels strange. I won't say that Lost Coaster was exactly a comfortable experience, but we laughed straight through the whole thing. It's something any coaster fan should try out, and perhaps sooner rather than later. Sadly, I'd heard that the ride used to have several effects and props which were no longer present. An interesting fact: part of the slow loading process is an attempt to get things balanced. All eight seats on the train must be filled, with the heaviest riders in the front car.

 

Tig'rr: I understand the Schwarzkopf love for several rides I've been on -- Bullet, Whizzer, Cascabel, Scorpion -- but let's not get carried away on this one. It's a little carnival-size coaster, with some tight curves and abrupt drops. It's fine for a family attraction, but I'm not going to gush about it just because of the manufacturer.

 

Den of Lost Thieves: The Den is a vintage dark ride that was later converted into a shooting ride. I don't remember much about it, but it was fun, and I liked the two-tier scoring system.

 

Double Shot: Not all S&S towers are created equal, and pretty much anyone who rode this one agreed it was one of the most extreme they'd been on. The two pops at the top were shoulder-smashingly intense, and can legitimately be described as ejector air. This is a must-ride at Indiana Beach.

 

Dr. Frankenstein's Haunted Castle: I'm no big fan of haunt-event haunted houses, but based on what I'd heard about Frankenstein's Castle, I couldn't pass it up. It's a classic walk-through attraction, focusing more on atmosphere and curiosity than jump scares. The first thing that needs to be said is that it's very dark -- hands-on-the-walls required to find your way forward. There are some false paths, some moving floors, and that "rat effect" some people hate. My favorite part was the rock'n'roll band in the middle rotunda, and the awesome scare on the ledge that overlooks it. The castle uses three stories to full effect, including a quick exit to a 3rd-floor balcony that overlooks the rest of the park. Frankenstein's Castle is a negligible upcharge, which shouldn't stop anyone from visiting one of the park's best attractions.

 

Rocky's Rapids: There's nothing particularly special about this log flume, but it's a traditional log flume! Any park keeping one of these around deserves a round of applause. Outside of coasters, traditional flumes are probably my favorite park attractions.

 

Antique Autos: I usually don't care much for antique cars, but this one is a must-ride. The track for the antique cars is built on bridges over the water, passing through and under the track of Lost Coaster, and right alongside the lengthy Hoosier Hurricane. It's worth it for the photo opportunities alone -- as long as you have someone else nice enough to drive -- and it's definitely one of the best courses for a classic car ride I've ever seen. Outside of Lost Coaster, the wait for the car ride (15-20 minutes) was the longest we had all day.

 

Fascination: The pictures will tell the story. The concentration. The drama. The elation. The heartbreak. The harmonicas and tool sets. Where else can you find all of that? Oh, at Knoebels? Well, I might have some pictures of that to share some day down the road.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 4 -- The Pictures (Part 1)

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Welcome to Indiana Beach, home of the Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain. The sign's a little worn -- let's just call it advanced theming with age, 'cause older photographs show it didn't look like this before.

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Here's roughly half of TPR waiting for Lost Coaster to open for the morning. It was a challenge for the ride crew to get the balance right on this temperamental coaster.

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Meanwhile, early this chilly morning, the main midway remains mostly barren -- the park had not yet opened.

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Heading over to Cornball Express gives a great idea of how things are built at Indiana Beach -- quite vertically. The station platform is way up at the top of the picture.

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Here's a look up at the ride -- a pretty good CCI coaster, but not one of my favorites.

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ERT is awesome.

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By late morning, the Den of Lost Thieves was open -- a classic dark ride re-imagined as an interactive shooter.

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I guess it went well.

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The rules of the game. Vandals will be prosecuted and keelhauled.

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Don't turn. Don't turn what? Help!

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Let's scan in for a lap on the sky ride.

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It's a classic chair lift -- very open-air and great for photography!

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Coming up over the buildings, and heading south above this densely-packed park.

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The sky ride provides some good views of Steel Hawg, which is a little hard to find, as it's offset quite a ways from the main midway.

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Sadly, the trains for Hoosier Hurricane remained dormant.

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The two wooden coaster lifts make a nice criss-cross. Cornball Express winds around near the north end of the park, while Hoosier Hurricane rides the length of the midway to the south.

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Here's a view over the main midway. Several attractions are built over the water of Lake Shafer.

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I am pretty sure that this Sea Dragon didn't once belong to Michael Jackson.

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Frankenstein's Castle is awesome. If you don't like haunted attractions, suck it up and go through anyway.

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The sky ride passes very close to Lost Coaster, and if you're lucky, you might time out some shots of the ride in action.

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Hoosier Hurricane, Lost Coaster, the antique cars, and I believe the park's train all cross through this tiny area -- built entirely over the water.

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To say those trains are interesting would be an understatement.

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Looking back across three layers of antique car track, along with the sharply-banking track of Lost Coaster.

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TPR doing TPR things at the taco shack.

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A Lost Coaster train pulls back into the station.

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The two cars are connected by hitch, allowing for some interesting changes in direction.

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Here's the bottom of the elevator lift, along with several layers of Lost Coaster track.

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This just doesn't look normal, but if you've made it this far in the trip report, you've figured that out by now.

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A look back into the Lost Coaster station, as we turn around and head back to the north.

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Crazy, the people you find 40 feet off the ground on a chair lift. Nathan's doing it with style.

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Caroline traveled a very long way to come to the middle of nowhere in Indiana.

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The rides over the water are awesome, and the swings may be the best of the batch.

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Here's the view heading north along the western shore of Lake Shafer.

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The Paratrooper is another ride that makes good use of its aquatic location.

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Viper looked interesting -- sort of an inverted, elevated scrambler.

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I think if you lose at the Den of Lost Thieves, you get the business end of this guy's cannon. He can't kick you, because he has no legs.

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The north end of the park has more permanent buildings, all with several stories. A lot of the vacation housing can be seen off to the left. In the far back you'll notice the S&S Double Shot -- the northernmost ride at Indiana Beach.

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At the bottom of the picture is the Shafer Queen, one of the park's main pleasure boats. Behind it, you'll find one of Ideal Beach's main slide complexes, an ice cream shack, and the former location of the park's Galaxi coaster.

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Goodbye Galaxi. (there must be at least one Commander Keen fan here, right?)

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Yeah, this pretty much tells the story on the crowds at the water park.

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The beach at Ideal Beach isn't very large. On this chilly late-July morning, I was surprised to see even a few people swimming.

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The lazy river is built on a lake. This is all kinds of bizarre. Also, hello to another totally bored lifeguard.

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If speed slides are more your thing, you'll find a bright yellow one here.

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Quiet day at the beach, to say the least.

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Coming back into the northern sky ride station. Note the slide tower behind it -- I'd head up there for some pictures later in the day.

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Here's the station, located right next to the Skyroom Restaurant, and right above the Beach Bar, which I'm sure no one from TPR noticed.

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One look back up at the sky ride, and I found a Russ, in case anybody is missing one.

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Just about time for lunch in the Skyroom -- that's the big second-floor glass-enclosed area at the center of the picture.

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A view down from the Skyroom, roughly an opposite view from the last photograph. Cocktails and dancing -- this place is old-school.

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No mistake about it, though -- this was the best meal of the Mini New Hotness trip! While we were up there, we met park mascot I.B. Crow, and got a history lesson from the park's management. Since I didn't think to take notes, you're going to get the "framed on the wall" version instead.

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Indiana Beach Chronology from 1926-1944. The original name of "Ideal Beach" is still used for the water park. This place used to have a bowling alley, a skating rink, and archery!

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Indiana Beach Chronology from 1947-1969. We were only 58 years too late to see the great Man Shot from Cannon. Little did we know that we were visiting in the 47th year of the World Famous Indiana Beach "TACO" (complete with quotes).

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Indiana Beach Chronology from 1970-2005. In addition to what's listed here, we heard stories about famous bands playing at the ballroom on their way between Indianapolis and Chicago -- Glenn Miller, The Yardbirds, The Who, among others. Legend has it that the Beatles almost played there in 1964, but the park owner didn't feel like paying the $10,000 fee. Talk about your missed opportunities.

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Here's one opportunity we won't miss -- it's time for the TPR Fascination takeover!

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I may or may not call Skyline Signs for all my Fascination signage needs.

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We took just about every seat in the Fascination parlor, threw down some money, and got on with the competition. I think we've got a winner here!

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Pro tip: wearing as many wristbands as possible increases your chances of victory.

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Joy and elation -- another bottom-line winner!

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Running with the pre-game routine. Whatever it takes to get ready to play. Perhaps a dose of The Human League, which was generously piped through the in-house sound system.

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The race is on. The challenge: light up a full line before anyone else in the room. That's not easy to do with at least 30 people in the contest!

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This is true focus. Everyone wants some of Fascination's incredible prizes. What kind of stuff are we talking about?

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Tool sets. Harmonicas. Cappuccino frothers. Probably toasters and hand-vacuums. You'll gladly pay the excess weight fee to put one of those on your flight home!

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The game would be so much easier if you could just control which hole the ball fell into.

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Onlookers, please stand back. You may get injured if you're behind someone who forcefully celebrates a win.

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I'm almost certain that the employee in the yellow shirt was also in a picture I saw from the 2007 TPR trip to Indiana Beach.

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When that realization of "I came all the way to Indiana for this" strikes.

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We all know the first rule of Fascination: no matter who lights up a line first, Kristen always wins.

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Paul thoughtfully prepares to throw down some more money in the losing effort.

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Mark, on the other hand, wins an extremely quick game and makes the rest of us look stupid.

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So, after Fascination, we all headed next door to the Quackerz parlor for another takeover!

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Wait, where is everybody? Oh come on. Don't tell me I'm the only one who likes Quackerz.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 4 -- The Pictures (Part 2)

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Heading out from Fascination, it was time to get on a few more rides, including Rocky's Rapids.

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Rocky's Rapids is a pretty standard log flume -- an elevated trough with a few turns, and a single lift and drop.

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Paul and Mark are on their way down.

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Did I mention that this wasn't exactly the best day for water rides?

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Well, that's never stopped this group.

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How was that? A little chilly?

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Speaking of water, let's go meet the Indiana Beach carp. Yes, the carp. Yes, this is a legitimate attraction -- it's even listed as "carp area" on the park map.

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Here's how it works. Throw an ice cream cone (sans ice cream) into the water, and the fish fight and swarm for it.

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I really mean it -- they fight, and they swarm, and they'll stop at nothing to get a piece of it.

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They'll even jump over each other, almost completely out of the water.

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I should probably mention that the carp have their own Twitter account (@IBCarp), though it hasn't been updated in over two years.

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These are not particularly attractive fish.

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It's like a black hole. A big, fishy black hole.

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OK, time for a spin on the Antique Autos. Had I thought of it sooner, I might have done a full POV of the ride, but I'm more into still photos than videos anyway.

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The multi-level car ride passes underneath the track of Lost Coaster on a few occasions.

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It also provides a great view of the World Famous Indiana Beach "TACO" stand, which I sadly did not get to try. They gave us too much for lunch!

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Passing the main structure for Lost Coaster on an inclined curve.

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Danger. Keep out. Or else you'll be run over by the Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain.

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Wooden coaster track probably shouldn't do things like this. It's also a little strange how the width of the rails changes around the corner.

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Moving along the antique car circuit, we come alongside Hoosier Hurricane on the left -- built on supports over the water.

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The cars provide some great views of the only lengthy outdoor section of Lost Coaster.

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Close encounters like this one are commonplace at this park -- everything is built on top of everything else.

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One of my favorite shots of the antique car ride, traversing over the water and under the Lost Coaster.

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A look at one of the antique cars, as we pass near the station for the ride.

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That's the bottom of Hoosier Hurricane's first drop -- coming just a few feet from the surface of Lake Shafer.

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Thus ends the Antique Autos, as we pull back into the station.

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This sign is great. Riders of the Lost Coaster know that no amount of bracing is going to do a bit of good.

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That flagpole is visible from just about anywhere in the park.

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Here's a spot for some elevated views from the south end of the park -- the old Chance giant wheel.

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As of late 2015, the wheel has been disassembled for refurbishment.

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The vast majority of the park fits in this overview shot, including the entire length of the main midway and all of the major coasters.

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A different perspective also adds in the ropes course at the bottom of the wheel's platform.

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It was a little busier by early afternoon, but the park definitely wasn't crowded.

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Plenty of good views from the top of the wheel.

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There's Hoosier Hurricane and Cornball Express...

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...and just to their left, Tig'rr and Steel Hawg.

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Lost Coaster is down there as well. The wheel provides the best view of the first track section after the elevator lift.

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Just west of the wheel is the suspension bridge that leads to the park's southern entrance and parking lot. A zip line platform can also be seen on the hillside across the water.

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This picture perfectly sums up the location of Indiana Beach -- a lake, one row of nice houses, and farm fields as far as the eye can see.

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Here's a view of the south end of Lake Shafer.

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Looking down at Hoosier Hurricane's big turnaround.

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The swings over the water were getting a little busier.

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Finally, here's a nearly-straight-down view at the Adventure Point ropes course.

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I didn't try the ropes course, but I did climb the wall behind it! Somewhere out there on the internet, there's a picture of me at the top.

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The south end of the main midway has a quiet area near the water...

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...where you can get views of some stinkin' nice houses like this...

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...and Norway Dam, which -- if you think about it -- makes the whole thing possible.

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This is also a good spot to watch the swings in action, as they really do extend out over edge of the platform.

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No shame in having fun.

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I give the park a lot of credit for keeping this old sky ride going -- it's one of my favorite things at Indiana Beach.

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They also have a skycoaster, which -- like just about everything else -- goes over the water.

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If you're looking for games, you'll find several, including this ball-cannon skee-ball-esque thing.

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Want a no-frills Whac-a-Mole? They've got it.

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Want a horror-themed shooting gallery? They've got it.

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Didn't get on the Shafer Queen, but a ride around the lake would provide an opportunity for some more interesting views of the rides at Indiana Beach.

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Oh, and here's that third-floor balcony at Frankenstein's Castle. A whole parade of TPR people were coming through at the same time.

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This picture from near the north end of the park encapsulates so much about Indiana Beach. Pizza, ice cream, random buildings with different decorative styles, and things on top of things on top of things.

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This picture is kind of important as well -- it lets you know all the ways you can overeat.

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So, I climbed that slide tower at the north end of the park, and got a few zoom shots of some of the rides in action. Here's Steel Hawg.

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Yes, the restraints are kind of uncomfortable.

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It really is like a screwed-up wild mouse with inversions. It was my first El Loco, but with our limited time at the park, I just didn't think it was quite interesting enough for a second ride.

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I think this marks the halfway point of the ride.

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Here's the first drop on Cornball Express.

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Admittedly, I'm not exactly sure where the name "Cornball Express" comes from, outside of the whole Indiana farmland thing. Apparently that was one of the original options for the name of Hoosier Hurricane, and the name was re-used for the next big coaster at the park.

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Here's a distant view of Tig'rr. It's alright, I suppose.

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Quintuple hairtime!

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This slide tower provided some remarkable views of the right-next-door Double Shot.

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I guess you can probably rent some of these cabins and apartments at the north end of Indiana Beach.

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Not a bad setting overall, especially once the sun started to come out during the middle of the afternoon.

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Oops, half of TPR is at the bar -- guess that means it's about time to go!

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So, we made our way to the south exit, walking the length of the midway one final time.

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The suspension bridge is a pretty neat feature too.

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Just south of the bridge is a zip line, which crosses Lake Shafer.

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The zip line ends near Hoosier Hurricane's turnaround. If we'd had a little more time, this was probably the next thing I would have done.

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I'll have to come back and give Hoosier Hurricane a ride. I've heard mixed reviews on the quality of the coaster, but it looks like something I'd probably enjoy, and the setting is fantastic.

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Crossing to the other side of the bridge on the way out of the park.

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That's all from Indiana Beach!

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 4 Part 2 -- Onward to Gurnee

Monday, July 28, 2014

 

A three-hour trip north of Chicago ended at about 6:30 PM, as we arrived at a suburban Uno restaurant in Gurnee for dinner. After that, we settled into our hotel, which did not feature any unexpected fire alarms this time around.

 

Some members of our group with Six Flags passes headed over to Great America for a couple hours. Others headed across the street for a less-stressful evening at Timothy O'Toole's. One of the groups ended up adopting a six-foot-tall teddy bear, but it's more fun if you draw your own conclusions on that story.

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The best shot I could get of downtown Chicago from the TPR bus, from about 15 miles away on I-294.

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