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PTR: Southwest US parks and brisket

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August 13th, 2015 - Frontier City


I arrived in Oklahoma City on the night of the 12th, after stopping at some giant casino (Winstar, maybe) just over the Oklahoma border the night prior. Thanks for mentioning this place Chad you cost me $300


I arrived at Frontier City at opening and spent almost 3 hours there. I loved the consistent western theme throughout the park including a cast member putting on a skit with three random kids before the rope drop in which one kid was ordained mayor for the day. I knew it would be a big brisket day and I needed to stay on schedule.


This is the giant casino that took my money.


The front gate at Frontier City


These three kids are competing to be mayor for a day


and main street establish the frontier theme


Even though the park is not part of Six Flags any more they got one of these.


Themeing in the games area


Themed show area


Tumbleweed, a well themed rotor


I know this is a tribute to someone local but all I thought of was Jamal Mashburn


I dog Schwarzkopf coasters a lot, but I liked this one and rode it multiple times.



3....2...1 waiting for Dorney Park people to start bitching


Taken from the waterplay area, I was really hoping that I would have something nice to say about this coaster. At least I have nothing bad to say about it.


Oh wait something good, I love these signs in the queue. It's nice when parks recognize great coaster not in their chain.


I was very close to riding Renegade Rapids, knowing that I'd be leaving the park soon but skipped it.


It was breezy enough that my Winged Warrior was turned 90 degrees most of my flight, but it was unsnappable.


Amusing tombstone in the Boot Hill Cemetery


I really enjoy cheesy dark rides and this one delivered.


Even the photographers carry the theme, I took this as I was leaving the park without riding Diamondback. No big loss since I rode it over 30 years ago as Lightning Loops.


As soon as I sat down in my car, I saw it running so I went back to ride it for the sake of nostalgia. I should have stayed in my car.


In my next update I'll reveal the name and location of this phenomenal BBQ joint, along with two other BBQ joints and a bonus credit.

Edited by larrygator
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After leaving Frontier City I went to two BBQ places in Oklahoma City, then drove to Tulsa for two more BBQ places. When I planned the trip and a stopover in Tulsa, it was solely to break up the driving between parks. I need not realize a coaster had opened in Tulsa in 2015, so of course I had to stop since it was not out of the way.


Unfortunately, I missed dining at Burn Co. in Tulsa because the closed at 2:30.


This is the front of JT BBQ


and while the BBQ sandwich looks bland it was awesome and I understand why it was highly recommended


This is George's Happy Hog (also in OKC)


A lot of options but I stuck with the brisket.


They insisted that I take a side (it was included with the sandwich) so I asked them to hold the bread. The mac n cheese was very good moist, unfortunately the brisket was not moist.


Since I was not hungry when I arrived in Tulsa I went to Tulsa's Incredible Pizza Company. You can bypass the purchase of a pizza buffet if you put $10 on a game/ride card. The coaster is $6 so I played some games, then added more money for more games.


These Spinning Coasters are showing up in quite a few places, I have now ridden three in the past month.


The place also had trampolines


Laser Tag




a few kiddie rides


and mini golf


Time for more brisket at Elmers


I did like Elmer's decor.


Since sliced brisket was $1.50 more then chopped, I had chopped here. The brisket was tender but not as flavorful as other places, but their BBQ sauce was exceptional.


Last stop of the day was Leon's Smoke Shack, the smoke shack is on the left.


The signage confused me. Four sins said Open, two said closed. So I tried to open the door. It was 5 minutes til close so I got my order to go.


The lunch counter


Yea, it was real good!

Edited by larrygator
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Next up was Silver Dollar City, a park I last visited prior to Outrun Law being built. My goals for the day were to ride Outlaw Run multiple times do the Marvel Cave tour and get some cinnamon bread. To ensure the former, I purchased the Trailblazer and was willing to use all eight passes on Outlaw Run. I was pleasantly surprised that the line for Outlaw Run rarely ran more than 10 minutes and many times it was quicker to walk through the regular line.


In the end, I accomplished all three goals and had a great time at SDC.


Also, my wallet was getting a little worn down, so I saved myself a trip to the mall and purchased one at the park in a stress free environment.


I rode Outlaw Run at least a dozen times and really enjoyed it. My only complaint is that the ride fizzles out after the two inversions.


Head to the light Caroline! I love Powder Keg. I used the Trailblazer here a few times since it was the longest line (20 minutes) in the park.


Although I didn't need it I was glad I had it for piece of mind.


I do love the content of the signs around SDC, especially after learning that bat guano was a main ingredient in gun powder during the Marvel Cave tour.


The details that go into the themeing are wonderful, such as the use of old fire hoses within the Fire in the Hole queue.


I know that I lot of people love the skillets, but I'm not a fan.


Besides the cinnamon bread I got this. Potato Chips with bacon and ranch.


and some jerky, but I don't remember the flavor of jerky I bought.


I wasn't planning on riding this or Firefall, but since I had the Trailblazer and it wasn't saving times on the coasters I used it for some flats.


Does anybody know where I can find Buzzsaw Falls?


I love the ride operators uniforms at SDC, especially the Flooded Mine. Although on both my visits I had trouble finding the ride.


I got 3 or 4 laps in on Wildfire, thanks to the lack of a queue.


and the educational aspects of the visit continued thanks to reading all the signs,


The longest line of the day was for the bus back to my parking lot, Trailblazer Pass was not accepted.


Next up will be my longest day of the trip and includes Joyland and Wonderland and more brisket.

Edited by larrygator
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Ah, the ever elusive brisket! I've found that with brisket, like most barbeque (and pizza for that matter), there's no such thing as bad briskett since you can always sauce it up to compensate for dryness or lack of flavor, but good brisket is really REALLY good. Good like's there's nothing better in the world kind of good. There's a bbq chain here in Jacksonville that does pretty good brisket, about the best I've ever had, called 4 Rivers Smokehouse.The orignal is in Orlando and I think they've got a few locations around central Flroida but it's deinfalty worth the time on you next Orlandio trip.


great TR so far, always enjoys these food/coaster reports.

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I need to get to some of these places to experience "real BBQ".


While I enjoy it if it's done right, the number of times that I have gotten overcooked, dry or BBQ where you have to drown it in sauce to make it taste good far outweighs the places where it has been exceptional.

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August 13th, 2015 - Frontier City


I arrived in Oklahoma City on the night of the 12th, after stopping at some giant casino (Winstar, maybe) just over the Oklahoma border the night prior. Thanks for mentioning this place Chad you cost for $300


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, don't play at the Indian Casino!

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there's no such thing as bad briskett since you can always sauce it up to compensate for dryness or lack of flavor, but good brisket is really REALLY good.


Agreed, that's why I attempted to get all the brisket on this trip with sauce on the side.

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Didn't realize that Elitch Gardens wasn't the only US park left with an operating Fire Escape: The Ride. I visited (Elitch's) earlier in the month, and my reaction to their Fire Escape was much the same as yours to the one at Frontier City. This one looks slightly more picturesque.

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I was initially very concerned about this day between the driving and the heat.


I had to get up early for the drive from Tulsa to Amarillo to Lubbock and then continue driving to Clovis, New Mexico for the night. it helped that the Comfort Inn I stayed in in Tulsa had a superb breakfast spread. I was extremely tired in the AM but luckily planned a "culture" stop to break up the drive a little and refresh myself.


Just before passing through Oklahoma City I detoured off the road to POPS a pilgrimage for soda lovers, before visiting Wonderland in Amarillo and Joyland in Lubbock. Of course, I had brisket in Amarillo and Lubbock.


I stopped at POPS for some pop. Over 600 types of soda, here are a few.


These are my selections for the drive to Amarillo


I made great time on the drive so I made my Amarillo brisket stop prior to Wonderland. This is Tyler's BBQ.


A welcoming decor


Texas toast, yeah. Meat was juicy and tender, I didn't even try their BBQ sauce. However, the beans were watery.


I wouldn't be a trip to Wonderland without photos of the Hopkins' loops.


Loops, mean plural


I still approach these Miler mouse coasters with trepidation.


I have ridden too many of these Galaxi coasters this month.


Texas Intimidator was the one unique flat at the park


Drop of Fear was down for the day.


Sky Rider is NOT a coaster


Hornet - a unique Vekoma in its third home


I mentioned earlier that Drop of Fear was down. Fiesta Swing is really down.


The park is pretty much one long straightaway with rides on each side. Very difficult to get lost.


Wonderful dark ride



Two levels


Most people obeyed Porky, the park was very clean.


Next up will be Joyland and Lubbock, but i leave you with this artsy shot.

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I might as well knock out one more update while I have the time. After Wonderland I made the two hour drive to Joyland with the intent of enjoying the 7-10PM discount admission. By the way, at Joyland I scoped out to perfect placement for America's first Intamin Mega-Lite.


For the day, I was ahead of schedule and headed straight for brisket before the park. I had been warned ahead of time that Wiley's was in a rough neighborhood and it was. I decided that this might be a good place to do takeout. However, now I needed to find a good place to eat my brisket.


This is Wiley's BBQ


I was happy they had a drive-up window because their building was one of the better looking ones in the neighborhood.


After speeding out of the parking lot I needed to find a good place to eat my brisket. Hmm this looks like a good spot.


Buddy and Maria Elena Holly Plaza looked peaceful and it's not everyday you get to eat lunch with Buddy Holly.


Oh boy, this sandwich was awesome. I prefer my brisket lean (I know sacrilege) but this was fatty in a good way. And wonderful sauce.


Right across the street is the Buddy Holly Center and since I didn't have a selfie stick I took a picture of someone else in front of giant Buddy Holly glasses. Selfie stick, that'll be the day that I die.


I could rave on about Buddy Holly but you all would rather see Joyland


The park is pretty much a long straightaway. Plenty of traditional flats and a few coasters.


However, there is this huge strip of open land (top of the map) that could hold the first American mega-lite. It would be perfect for this park. Then again, this might have been the proposed located for the Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop they sent to Cliff's.


Unfortunately the park may be installing a water structure in the future. Seriously, who needs that in west Texas. I think this is the water play structure that Joyland got in exchange for trading Greezed Lightning to Cliff's.


I grew accustomed to taking a picture like this on my trip.


Herschell Mad Mouse, just as scary as a Miler Mad Mouse


A pretty good drop tower.


Old school flat


New School, if it was along the Jersey Shore it would be named Moby Dick.


Plenty of room for a mega-lite


I love these rides.


Besides the Spider the park has a Tilt-a-Whirl, Scrambler, Trabant and Music Express for classic ride fans.


Life after people


I was close to riding Big Splash but people were coming off the ride with drenched sneakers


The Dipsy Doodle was really hauling ass in the hot humid weather.

Edited by larrygator
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I have to admit I'm a huge TexMex fan and actually prefer good TexMex over brisket so I decided to skip brisket for the day. In the end, this was not a good decision in Albuquerque. I started to day at Cliffs and then also wanted to sample a few highly rated and/or popular TexMex places. The stop at Cliffs went great. I really enjoyed New Mexico Rattler once it warmed up a little, I can certainly see why this was once considered on the the premier wooden coasters. What I really liked about the park layout was how they placed a couple of rides in NM Rattler's turnaround to maximize space. The crowds were mild (afternoons in August will do that in the Southwest) and well behaved.


I was planning to meet Brad Roach at the park, but he just happened to plan a trip to my neighborhood while I was in his hood, but this guy reminded me of him.


The main reason I'm here. At one point in time there were only 7 or 8 wooden coasters in the US left for me to ride, after this trip I still need to ride about 10.


This pathway leads you over one of the coaster's tunnels.


To maximize space, the Sky Flyer is housed in one of the turnarounds.


The drop tower is within another turnaround


Sidewinder is on a pad near this water, I didn't ride because I was in a hurry.


The other coaster at Cliff's is Galaxi


mmmmmm! Turkeys Legs. Oh yea, there's a log flume and small water park also.


Kid on a leash, Elissa loves this invention.


Fireball about to be destroy by a rogue fireball


Pirate ship


The Falling Star was not operating


Tilt-a-Whirl is a great location


I don't recall seeing Oreo Churros before, but this provides a good segue for my food stops.


I first attempted to go to Papa Nachos, but like Chick-Fil-A they are closed on Sunday. So I headed to southern Albuquerque (through a congested construction scene) for my next stop


The highly rated, take out only El Modelo.


I should have kept it simple and stuck with the tacos, but no I had to try the Chorizo Chile Sauce.


I expected chorizo bits covered in chile sauce, but it was chile made with ground chorizo, quite different.


and with a 20 minute wait it left a bad taste in my mouth so I decided to head back north to a sit down place that gets places values.


This is Pinto's a long time institution that is much more formal than the hole in the wall places I prefer. The service here was absolutely horrible (waiting for a menu, waiting for my drink and refill, waiting for my check). As soon as I sat down I heard the couple near me complaining about waiting forever for there check. Noe I have compassion for servers but the place was empty and I only saw my server waiting on one other table.


This nacho dish was supposed served at the White House for dignitaries and it was real good. However, the enchiladas I ordered were good but overpriced.


Unfortunately all the driving in Albuquerque and waiting for food set me back 90 minutes behind schedule. Now I was concerned whether I would make it to Western Playland in time. I realize parks sometimes close the whole park (or ticket booth early) and knowing how hot it was in the El Paso area I was kicking myself for wasting so much time. Stay tuned to see what happens next.


Here's Brad at SFNE while I'm in Albuquerque. Similar, right?

Edited by larrygator
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