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Thanks for the comments guys!


The city visible from Keansburg is New York City. Keansburg is really the northernmost tip of the Jersey Shore (aside from North Beach and Sandy Hook). While it's over an hour drive since you have to drive all the way around the bay, lower Manhattan is only about 18 miles from Keansburg as the crow flies. I didn't realize it was that close and didn't expect that view but it's amazing. You get a great view of the Verrazano Bridge and World Trade Center.


My God, how did I just find this thread. Just finished all 36 pages of it and I'm laughing my a$$ off. You, my friend, have a gift of writing. Awesome reports, all of them!


Wow! Thanks so much! It takes a long time to write these things so it's always awesome to hear that people enjoy reading them so much. That's awesome that you read through 36 pages. Thanks!!!


Thanks for continuing this report Bill. Your trip reports are always so entertaining and fun!




Drinking and the Jersey Shore just seem to go hand in hand, don't they?


I can't wait to get back there, but thanks for the memories and awesome report in the meantime, Bill!


Yes, and thanks! I really never appreciated the Jersey Shore until last year but it's growing on me a lot. I think Wildwood is probably the best of the huge, super built-up beach towns on the East Coast (Atlantic City, Ocean City, MD, Virginia Beach... places like that).

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This is going to be a quick report, but since this park gets no attention ever I figured I'd pop in real quick to post a Trip Report from Adventureland on National Roller Coaster Day!



... no, not that Adventureland





... think crappier



There you go!


(My apologies for some of the lower quality images, we visited at night after work and my phone is definitely not the best at taking night shots).

We really didn't plan to do anything on National Roller Coaster Day but after having my Facebook feed flooded with updates from people riding coasters or news about awesome new rides being announced I got the itch to find a coaster to ride after work. Immediately we thought of going to Quassy to ride Wooden Warrior but I saw on Facebook that Adventureland Long Island was doing a promotion where coaster rides were free with the donation of school supplies to local kids in need with their Helping Hands foundation.


I was definitely torn because as close as this park (theoretically) is, we never go there because I absolutely HATE Long Island. Despite growing up just 75 miles away we had only been there once and that was only because they had announced Hurricane was closing and I wanted to ride it while I still had the chance. That being said, given the obscene prices this park generally charges for rides it was impossible to pass up the offer of free coaster rides on National Roller Coaster Day coupled with the opportunity to support such a great cause.


I should probably mention that when I say that I "hate Long Island", I don't really hate being on Long Island, I hate getting to Long Island. The Cross Island Expressway is the 7th layer of hell and I'm pretty sure the Long Island Expressway is the 8th. A drive that should take an hour and a half ROUTINELY takes between 2 and 4 hours. The last time we went to Adventureland we decided to go out to Montauk afterwards to see the point and lighthouse and it took us EIGHT F*CKING HOURS to get home. In that amount of time I could have driven to Cedar Point, but instead I found myself in my home state longingly staring across the sound to Connecticut and seriously considering leaving the car for dead and swimming for freedom.


That being said, I really wanted to go and check out Turbulence so I texted Brit to see if she was on board with the idea. She works for a local parenting magazine (which is hilarious because we have no desire to ever have kids since that would really cut into our boozing and road tripping time) and they have a ton of school supplies sent in from companies trying to push their latest and greatest innovations in composition notebook technologies (lol wtf?). She bagged a ton of it up and at 5:00 we were on our way to Long Island with our donations in the trunk along with enough food rations for 3 weeks in case we found ourselves stranded in Cross Island Parkway traffic with no possibility of escape (okay, I made that last part up but it wouldn't have been a bad idea).


Despite all of this and despite the fact that we were headed to Long Island at 7PM on a weeknight with the Yankees and Mets playing a Subway Series game at Citi Field we cruised over the bridge, cruised down the Cross Island and hit absolutely no traffic on the Long Island Expressway. I actually considered switching to AM News Radio to see if Long Island had been evacuated due to some kind of Zombie Apocalypse and I just hadn't heard about it. That was the only reasonable explanation I could come up with. WTF???



Turbulence really dominates what little "skyline" this park has.

Amazingly, In no time at all we were parallel parking the car (because they don't have enough room for head in parking on both sides of the parking area), grabbing our donations and heading for the gate ready for an Adventurous Adventureland Adventure.


For those unfamiliar with this place, it's sort of remarkable how much they managed to cram into this tiny location. Adventureland is located between the loading dock of a Target store and a row of manufacturing buildings on a long thin strip of land that can't be more than 150 feet wide. In the very back it forms and L (behind the Target) where they managed to find room for a Log Flume, tiny car ride and swinging ship.


Despite all this, when you're in the park you really feel like you're in an expansive theme park and are completely immersed in the place. It absolutely blows my mind that they managed to make this place feel so large when it's so absurdly tiny. We walked along for awhile, checking out the park and admiring how cute it was until we finally reached the coasters and the donation table.


As it turns out, the coasters were actually free regardless of whether or not you had something to donate. There was no wristband or anything and most people in the park didn't even know the promotion existed and had no idea why the rides were free. Still, we were obviously more than happy to help out such a nice cause and after handing over our stacks of supplies we headed over to Turbulence to check out the new (for us) hotness.



Cool sign

Turbulence is the park's 2015 Mack Rides spinning coaster that they put in the old Hurricane spot. The only Mack Spinner we had ridden previously was Sierra Sidewinder at Knott's which was a solid little ride so we were pretty excited to ride another one. After a 15 to 20 minute wait we found ourselves in the front row (not that it really matters since it spins so much) and on our way up the lift.


We headed up the lift facing forwards, admiring the picturesque view of the Target parking lot but once we hit the top of the lift the time for "sightseeing" was over because this little motherf*cker started spinning like crazy and never stopped. Holy crap is this thing nuts! I tried riding hands up but quickly discovered that that was basically impossible. Despite it's size, Turbulence offered up a completely insane, out of control ride that never let up until we hit the brakes. Wow!!


I'll admit, I was sort of bummed when I heard they were removing Hurricane. I really like Windstorm coasters and thought they would have a tough time replacing it with something that good in such a small space but this thing is a giant upgrade. With such a reasonable price tag and such a tiny footprint it's insane to me that there aren't more of these things.


Up next was the park's Ladybug coaster which (despite it's name) is actually a pretty fun family ride and one that we had absolutely no shame in riding. The ride is pretty standard, but the park added a tunnel and some cool things near the track that really made it a fun little coaster. We got on in about 10 minutes and probably had way more fun on it than we had any right to.



Wheeeee!!!! (this ride is basically impossible to photograph, especially at night).

This was obviously going to be a quick trip since we had a long drive home, had worked that day and had to work again the next day so really we had just planned to hit the coasters a few times and then leave. They had a bunch of cool looking rides like that

, a train and a Huss Frisbee but given their ridiculously expensive prices we really planned to stick to the free coasters and then head out.


That plan was in jeopardy though when I finally got to the back of the park and took a look at that Log Flume. Initially given it's location I assumed it was a portable, off the shelf flume like the one at Coney Island. Despite my love of Flumes, I never really cared for those and find them skippable. This flume definitely didn't seem to be one of those though, it was compact but it had a pretty unique layout, some nice theming elements around it and overall looked really weird and cool so I found it really tempting. That being said, we had a plan and we were were on a budget (these random road trips don't come cheap even with our ridiculous amount of hotel rewards points and our fuel efficient cars). I wanted to ride, but paying 15 bucks to ride a Log Flume seemed really stupid and basically impossible to justify. As painful as it was, spending 15 bucks to ride a Log Flume wedged between a Target and a school bus parking lot was absolutely asinine even by my standards. So eventually I came to my senses








... and I realized I didn't really need that $15


Yes, I'm quite proud of myself in this picture. lol

To be fair, the ride is "only" $7.50 per person, but since riding the Flume at night immediately before a 2 hour car ride home was a really stupid f*cking idea I was ponying up the cash for both of us if we were going to do it. I'm also totally kidding about the sticker shock thing. It's steep, but with free parking, free admission and free coasters it was easy to justify. As soon as I saw it I knew damn well we weren't leaving without riding this flume. Brit unfortunately didn't find out about that plan until 5 minutes before we rode it.


The ride was obviously amazing (because it's a Log Flume, so of course it was) and after getting Brit a pretzel as a consolation prize for putting up with my bullsh*t we decided to spin dry on Turbulence before getting in the car.



So good... yes, I took this before our first ride because it's not dark out like in the flume picture. I just put it here to break things up nicely, you caught me... you get a sticker

Once again, Turbulence provided an absolutely crazy ride. By the end of the ride you seriously don't even know which way is up. If you don't like spinning coasters don't underestimate this one or you'll be miserable for the rest of the day. Lucky for us, we love them and we thought the insane amount of spinning was absolutely great.


After our last ride on Turbulence we decided it was finally time to head out. It was a short visit, but it really is a nice little park and we had a great time. While it's admittedly really out of the way, anyone who's in the area should really pay it a visit. Turbulence is REALLY good, the flume is great and the Ladybug coaster is a solid family coaster. Plus... you know you want to ride that weird a** Crocodile thing. Maybe next time for us



Goodnight Adventureland! It's been real.


Up next, Michigan's Adventure!

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Your comparison to VA Beach intrigues me. Is this a place you'd recommend spending an extended weekend at? I've done it many times at VA Beach, but never really any others.


Absolutely! I actually prefer it since I think there's a lot more to do in general and especially on the Boardwalk itself. I know Virginia Beach has a lot of cool stuff a block back from the ocean, but having it all on the actual boardwalk really makes for a better beach vibe.


The beach itself might be better in Virginia Beach, but I still found the beach in Wildwood to be quite clean and quite nice. I don't think you'll be disappointed with Wildwood.

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Your comparison to VA Beach intrigues me. Is this a place you'd recommend spending an extended weekend at? I've done it many times at VA Beach, but never really any others.


Absolutely! I actually prefer it since I think there's a lot more to do in general and especially on the Boardwalk itself. I know Virginia Beach has a lot of cool stuff a block back from the ocean, but having it all on the actual boardwalk really makes for a better beach vibe.


The beach itself might be better in Virginia Beach, but I still found the beach in Wildwood to be quite clean and quite nice. I don't think you'll be disappointed with Wildwood.


Thanks for the info, I mentioned the idea to my wife. She was pretty much convinced when she saw "Doo-Wop Museum." Why not? We'll probably make a long weekend out of this early next spring and maybe hit SFGAdv while we're up there.

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Usually by mid-May all three piers are open, but definitely check their calendar before planning a trip. Surfside definitely has the best collection of great rides, but you don't want to go when all three piers aren't open.

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Great pictures! Reminds me a little of one of my (previous) favorites, Indiana Beach. I really need to get out that way, luckily I have a friend who lives very close to the piers, so I'll have a tour guide. So many credits and awesomeness, from what I've heard and seen!

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(which is hilarious because we have no desire to ever have kids since that would really cut into our boozing and road tripping time)


That's why Michael and I hooked up!


Looking forward to your thoughts on Michigan's Adventure!

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Back when I had a job out on Long Island that required me to drive from one end of it to the other, I would pass by Adventureland a couple times per week. Somehow, I never stopped in... mainly because I saw it was about the size of a Dunkin Donuts. Who knew that they could stuff so many rides into that tiny little space? It's on my to-do list for... you know... sometime. I think I still have PTSD from driving the LIE and SSP on a daily basis that I really have no urge to get out there. Even going to Jones Beach for a concert gives me a bunch of nervous tics.


That unexpected log flume might actually do the trick to get me out there, though. Whenever I do work up the nerve to check it out, I think I can probably save some cash, because Groupon is spamming me literally every day with discounts for this park as well as for Quassy and Lake Compounce. EVERY. DAY. (Why haven't I just unsubscribed from their crap yet?)

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^ Yeah, I know nobody really wants to deal with driving to Long Island but it really is worth it if you're in the area. It's a much nicer park than you would think.



Anyway, on to our Michigan Adventure to Michigan's Adventure!


For Labor Day weekend, we found ourselves in a pretty similar situation to Memorial Day weekend. We had an extra day off from work and we didn't want to waste it but we were on a budget (though not quite as tight of a budget) so we were looking into road trips that would allow us to book most of our hotels with points and (preferably) visit some parks we already had season passes to.


We played around with some options, but many of them involved visiting parks in the Northeast where the remnants of Hurricane Harvey would make for a rainy weekend so we decided to head to the midwest and take advantage of a picture perfect forecast and visit some new places. Our plan was to visit Michigan's Adventure on Friday, Six Flags Great America on Saturday, spend some time sightseeing in Chicago on Sunday and drive home on Monday (with a "possible" pit stop in Northern Ohio because I can't help myself ).



The plan for 31 hours of driving. My poor f*cking car, lol (PS: I still don't work in Newburgh, Brit works there. Please don't think we live in Newburgh. lol

I wasn't exactly sure when we'd get out of work on Thursday, so I had spent some time playing around with the Choice app and found a few different potential hotels for Thursday night. We knew the further we got, the later we could wake up on Friday morning and luckily since it was a holiday weekend and completely dead at work for both of us, nobody really cared if we cut out of work a little early on Thursday and we were on the road by 2:00, headed to the Midwest.


Ideally I was hoping to make it to Lansing since it was only about an hour from the park and there was a Comfort Suites for an absurdly low amount of points. Comfort Suites is definitely splurging for us, and I generally don't like to stay there on points since they cost a ton of points and I'd rather just pay for them, earn 15 points per dollar on them and stretch those points I accumulate on tons of sh*tty 7,000 point Econo Lodges for our cheap ass road trips. This one was absurdly cheap though and I couldn't help myself.


Lucky for us, we did make it to Lansing (despite the fact that the Ohio Turnpike had it's customary 37 road construction zones and lane closures and ended up at one of the nicest hotel suites I've ever stayed in with 3 separate rooms, a wet bar and a great view for only 10,000 points... what the hell? I'm not complaining, but I'm confused. I guess nobody wants to stay in Lansing for some reason. Poor Lansing...



Brit snapped this impressive picture of the sunset on the Ohio turnpike. The most impressive part about it isn't the sunset, it's that she managed to get a picture of a portion of the Ohio Turnpike that wasn't under construction! What are the chances?

After getting a great nights sleep I woke up with the realization that being so far north, there was a possibility that we might have found ourselves in Timmie's territory. While I hate to turn down a good continental breakfast, a quick check of the Tim Horton's website confirmed that there was no way in hell I'd be dicking around with that dumb waffle maker downstairs because that glorious, glorious French Vanilla coffee was waiting for us right off the highway just a few minutes away in Grand Rapids. We hadn't even left the hotel room and this vacation was off to an amazing start.


I got up way before Brit (as I generally do), so after watching a little TV and getting up to speed on all the latest exciting news in Lansing Michigan (spoiler alert: nothing, literally jack sh*t going on in Lansing... you know, incase you were wondering) I got her up and we were on the road around 10:00 on our Michigan Adventure to Michigan's Adventure.



Oh yeah, that's the stuff (PS: Wow, I'm wearing the same shirt in my Adventureland Report... maybe that's my unofficial trip report day shirt).

After getting our fill of that French Vanilla goodness, we were on our way to the bastard child of the Cedar Fair chain, Michigan's Adventure! I didn't really know what to expect from this place, I know it gets a lot of hate but Shivering Timbers definitely looked intriguing and I've never had a bad experience at a Cedar Fair park so I was actually pretty optimistic on our way to the park. I didn't expect Cedar Point or anything, but I was still excited to check this place out.


When we got off the highway we had a pretty long drive down some unassuming backroads. It definitely didn't feel like we were on the way to a major theme park, I was actually feeling pretty skeptical that there would be a theme park there at all. This place is absolutely in the middle of nowhere. After driving through the woods for a few more miles on a tiny 2 lane road, the trees broke and seemingly out of nowhere we were face to face with a gargantuan wooden beast.



Damn! Shivering Timbers is one of the most visually impressive coasters I've ever seen.

Pictures do not do this thing justice, Shivering Timbers makes an amazing visual statement from the parking lot. The ride is absolutely huge and it seems to go on forever. I tried, but I was actually unable to fit the entire thing into one photo. After finally seeing it in person I was infinitely more hyped up about riding it than I had been before.


After being directed to our parking spot we made our way over to the gate, got through security in seconds (Cedar Fair is so much better at this than Six Flags), scanned our passes and were inside the gates of Cedar Fair's most bitched-about theme park!



Good Morning!

After seeing Shivering Timber's from the parking lot, there was absolutely no question about where we were heading first. Strategically going there first was kind of stupid, but we hardly cared. We made a B Line for Michigan's coaster king and were greeted with a 2 train wait for the front row. I thought of heading for the middle of the train with no wait, but this was our first ride and we wanted to do it right.


To be honest, I didn't know what to expect from this ride. It looked amazing, and when it opened it was all the rage and found itself on TV coaster specials on an almost daily basis but because it's at Michigans Adventure it's rarely talked about any more. It's running PTC trains so I wouldn't have been at all surprised if it had gotten rough and beat itself to death. It's an out and back, and less turning is always good news for a coaster running PTCs so I was optimistic but as we ascended the lift I was really prepared for anything between "OMFG AMAZING" and "Wow, what a complete piece of sh*t. f*ck this ride, f*ck this state, f*ck Wolverines, f*ck Eminem, F*ck Kid Rock, let's go to Cedar Point".



Shivering Timbers absolutely dominates the skyline. It almost feels as if this is Michigan's Adventure's hypercoaster. It's definitely the closest they'll ever get. lol

Lucky for us, Shivering Timbers was actually pretty damn awesome. It's a great hands up ride that delivers plenty of airtime. It's been surpassed by Intamin and RMC, but I could see how this thing absolutely blew peoples minds when it opened as it must have been the best airtime on a wood coaster this side Elysburg, PA. Even now, it's a complete blast. It's highly re-rideable, it has tons of floater air with a few stronger moments mixed in and it delivers a really smooth ride. I don't think it'll make many top 10 lists, but this ride could hold it's own in any park's coaster lineup and we absolutely loved the thing.



This ride has the goods.

We were tempted to ride again, but we decided it would be best to ride everything we wanted to ride first and then re-ride it later. Up next was Wolverine Wildcat, a coaster that you never hear anything about. Generally when that happens it means you're in for a pretty forgettable ride but we were open minded. Wolverine Wildcat only runs one train so it had a bit of a line built up. We waited about 20 minutes before finally boarding the middle row of the back car, ready for our Wolverine experience... or Wildcat experience... just pick one. Wolverine Wildcat is a terrible name. Alright, sorry... I got off on a tangent there.


A few minutes later we were given the all clear, rolled out of the station and made a right turn into a dark tunnel. As the tunnel went on, I couldn't help but notice that there was something... familiar about this experience. At the end of the tunnel we made a 180 degree turn and headed up the lift with the station immediately to our left. Strangely, I had a desire to reach out and slap someone's hand but it seems like this bizarro world ride didn't have the same time honored traditions as the ride it bears such strong resemblance to. As we ascended the lift some more, I noticed that we were about to drop down, then head back up into a 180 degree turn way up in the air and I came to the realization that I must be on some type of f*cked up, Bizarro world Phoenix.



Sorry, this thing only runs one train and there was no way I was waiting for it to show up. The fact that it never sends trains is just one more reason this ride's Phoenix impression sucks.

Seriously... what is this thing? It feels like Michigan's Adventure wanted Phoenix but since they couldn't have it so they hired the Dinn Corporation to copy Knoebel's homework. Dinn? Seriously? That would be like if I went to New York and ordered a slice of pizza from Lombardi's, decided I wanted to offer that same pizza to the people of my hometown and got everyone at the Ellio's Pizza corporation to try to duplicate it. I see what you were going for, but you f*cked it up royally because you suck and everything you make sucks (except Mean Streak of course, Mean Streak was pure brilliance, RIP).


As for the ride, it was fine. I had fun, but most of the time I was riding it wondering if I had somehow entered the Twilight Zone and waiting for it to do Phoenix-y things that it was never going to do because Dinn built it. It provided no real airtime, and it was almost frustrating because they successfully copied so many elements of Phoenix but not a single one of it's killer airtime hills. I'm so confused... I don't know, just... back away slowly. Let's never speak of this again.



Say what you want about the ride, but the views from the station are great!

After that... whatever it was... we decided to hit the Mouse. Unfortunately for us the mouse was down and would be all day so we'd never get to ride it. No big loss there. As a consolation prize, we came across a cool little petting zoo area near the ride and Brit got to pet some some animals (which is always a major plus for her on any theme park trip ).



Happier than a pig in sh*t... or an Alpaca (I think?!?!?!) in Michigan. lol


Hey look, it's the GOAT. Also pictured: some farm animal. (I'm kidding, chill. lol)

Once Brit got her animal fix we decided to wander around a bit more and see what else the park had to offer. One thing I noticed was that it was actually a really pretty park. The central lake is very nice, and in true Cedar Fair fashion everything in the park itself was vibrant, colorful and looked like it was just painted that morning.


They also had a solid collection of old school flat rides and all of them seemed to be quite popular. While it's no Busch Gardens Williamsburg, this is actually a much nicer, prettier park than people give it credit for.



Is that a flume I see?

After walking around a little bit more, taking advantage of Cedar Fair's awesome soda plan and waiting to see if the Mouse would open (spoiler alert: lol no), we decided it was time for a good screwing and reluctantly made our way over to the Arrow.



These Michiganders sure seem to love screwing in large groups. Not wanting to be party poopers, we decided to join them!

I don't know if it's because I'm so used to Six Flags parks, but the first thing I noticed about this ride was how nice it looked. I mean sure, they probably hired these guys to do it but Cedar Fair doesn't mess around when it comes to making sure all of their rides look pristine. Between the brilliant paint job, great colors and Yankee Stadium style striped mowing job under the ride this was definitely the nicest presentation I had ever seen for a ride that was almost guaranteed to be a sh*t show.


The ride had a bit of a line, but it was kind of a cool queue setup since it went right by the lift and offered some brilliant chain lift porn for the eight people who are nerdy enough to care.



Going up! All aboard the pain train to destination suck.

Once we entered the strangest looking station of all time, we were greeted with some ridiculously long lines for each row but noticed that the waits further back were totally manageable so we cut to the back and hopped in the line for the second to last row which was only about a 3 train wait. It was still about 15 minutes with one train operations, but we weren't in a hurry and the back of the station actually offers some nice views of the park and the lake so we didn't mind one bit.



See? And whoever mows the lawns around here really needs a raise. Good lord. Detroit Tigers, if you're watching... hire this man (or woman, or precision lawn mowing robot from the planet Uranus, whatever...).

As for the ride, yeah it was terrible. It beat the living sh*t out of us and (aside from it's appearance) had no redeeming qualities whatsoever but the locals seemed to love the thing as the train returned to cheers (and we joined in, because we weren't about to rain on these screw-happy people's parade).


Initially we had considered hitting the SLC after the Arrow, but after that rough screwing we were in no hurry to keep the pain party going so we decided to slow down a bit and hit Zach's Zoomer instead. I don't really make a habit or riding kids coasters, but I don't mind family coasters that seem semi-respectable and both family coasters at this park had ton of older teens and adults riding with no kids in sight so we figured we'd join in and ride them too. We found Big Dipper to be rough as sh*t and easily the worst ride in the entire park. Imagine that , but we found Zach's Zoomer to be a nice little ride (we may have enjoyed it more than Wolverine Wildcat actually). I really enjoy smaller wood coasters and I really wonder why they're so rare.


Upon exiting Zach's Zoomer, we decided it was time to cave in and head back to the SLC. On the way we got a good look at the Water Park which was actually pretty busy despite the unseasonably cold 65 degree temperatures (on Labor Day weekend! WTF Michigan?). As you know, I'm all about riding theme park rides in the cold but the thought of going to a water park when it's in the mid 60's doesn't appeal to me at all. These people are hearty souls...



Weather Channel: "It's the coldest Labor Day weekend in years"

Michiganders: "b*tch please, hold my beer and hand me my tube".


Thunderhawk is definitely in a weird spot. The pathway around the lake doesn't really have much of anything on it unless you go back to the water park so I'd assume that on days when the water park is closed it's an absolute ghost town back there. Once you make your way around the lake (taking in the great views of the park along the way), you come across a few more rides in the back including a rapids ride (named Grand Rapids which is awesome), a splash boat ride, a train station, a SkyCoaster and of course, Thunderhawk.



The walk back to Thunderhawk offers some great views of the ride, as well as some od the park's other coasters.

I guess if you want to get technical, this isn't really my first time on this ride. When we were kids and I was just starting to get into coasters, my mom bought me and my brother 2 day tickets to Cedar Point for Christmas one year. On the way there we saw a sign for Six Flags off of some random exit in Ohio. We didn't even know the place existed, but since we couldn't go to Cedar Point until the next day anyway, we had Season Passes to Great Adventure and we had time to kill, we stopped to check out "Six Flags Worlds of Adventure", a park none of us had ever heard of.


The park was amazing (that was back in the "Wild Rides" and "Wild Life" days) and we absolutely loved it, but one of the craziest things about it was that their SLC "Serial Thriller" was actually really good. Once I got more and more into coasters I noticed that there were a lot of other people who took notice of the fact that Serial Thriller was a really good ride. It wasn't rough in any way and nobody really understood how it wasn't a piece of sh*t like all of it's counterparts.


Fast forward to now, the ride has since gone through a major relocation and over 15 more years of operation. Other SLCs have been retrofitted with new trains to try to alleviate headbanging and others have been entirely re-tracked but Serial Thriller (or Thunderhawk) is still rocking it's old train with no major modifications to speak of. The last SLC I had ridden was the Great Nor Easter, which is now probably the best out there and I was really curious (and a bit nervous) to see how Thunderhawk was riding these days.



Hi Thunderhawk! Please don't kill us.

Unfortunately, we'd have to wait a little longer than expected to find out since as soon as we got in line the ride went down for mechanical issues. A train had just cycled so we assumed it was nothing major and decided to wait it out. Luckily our assumptions were correct and a few minutes later (after a few test cycles) we hopped into a middle row.


The train started up the lift, offering some nice views of the lake, we said a few quick hail mary's to the SLC gods and a few seconds later we found ourselves dropping, flipping, twisting, thundering and hawking through the course. As the ride flew into the brakes, I realized that against all odds... this thing was still really, really good for some reason. I looked over at Brit and she completely agreed. After all these years, this statistical anomaly of a coaster was STILL delivering great rides. I don't get it. I really, really don't get it.


Still in a state of disbelief, we exited the ride and decided to walk over to the nearby train station. We had ridden all of the coasters at that point and it was getting late but we still wanted to hit a few more rides on the way out, mainly the Log Flume (surprise), the SeaDragon and Shivering Timbers and the train would be the perfect way to get over to all of those rides.


After waiting for a few minutes, talking to the ride operator who looked to be about 12 years old (who was ridiculously nice and doing an awesome job by the way... good for this kid) our train pulled up to take us back to the other side of the park.


I didn't expect much from this ride. The area between train stations seems to be a giant overgrown field with nothing noteworthy to look at so at most I expected a leisurely ride back to the other side of the park and maybe a nice of view of Wolverine Sh*tphoenix but the train route is actually pretty cool. They've planted a lot of tall bushes and trees right along the tracks that really do make the ride feel a lot more secluded and interesting and at one point the train even goes through a tunnel. While not the best train ride in the world, it's a lot better than it looks and definitely better than a lot of the train rides out there.



Holy crap! A tunnel!


Shivering Timbers peeking out from behind the trees on the train ride.

I felt as if I had been deprived long enough by the time we reached the other station so we decided to make the Log Flume our next stop. Unfortunately as we walked over we noticed a distinct lack of activity in the area and a sign out front saying that the ride was closed from 3:00 to 4:00. It's a pretty permanent looking sign, so apparently the park routinely closes their Log Flume for an hour during the hottest portion of the day. That's super weird for sure, and not something we expected from a Cedar Fair park but okay... whatever.



LOL What?

Up next on our hit list (while we awaited the triumphant return of the log flume) was the SeaDragon. I'm not normally someone who would make a swinging ship ride a priority but I make an exception for Chance Ships, and this one in particular has the best location for a swinging ship ride I've ever seen in my life. I'd also be lying if I didn't acknowledge the fact that growing up visiting Funland in Rehoboth Beach has made me love SeaDragon rides in particular so there was no way I was passing one up that was in this cool of a location.



Come on, it's tough to beat that...

We weren't sure what the park's policy was on waiting for the end seats so we waited for them to load the boat and close the gate before jumping into the queue and ensuring we were next to ride. While in line we watched it cycle a bit and were pleased to see that it was running a long cycle that delivered an impressive amount of floater air on the ends (as all good SeaDragons should). When the gates opened we bolted for the end seat on the right side and were treated to a great ride with a really cool view of the lake from the top and floater airtime all around. SeaDragon rides are the best.



No! Bad Dragon! Do not do that fire breathing thing you Dragons always like to do and burn down Shivering Timbers.


... if you need to burn something, burn Wolverine Wildcat. Nobody will care.

By the time we got off of SeaDragon, the flume was testing so we hopped in line. It's a good thing we got there when we did as a few minutes later there were hundreds of people lined up behind us stretching all the way down the midway. As it was, we were on in about 5 minutes. Score!


As it turns out, this is a really nice flume. There's nothing terribly unique about it except for the fact that it spends the vast majority of the ride floating around way up in the air and the view from up there is honestly really great. The splash itself is perfect as it gets you wet but doesn't soak you. It's definately the perfect amount of wetness for a cool, fall-like day. I give it a thumbs up (though to be fair, I do that for every flume).




Unfortunately after the flume it was just about time to leave. We planned on heading up to Mears, Mi (at the recommendation of Dirk Funk) to check out Mack Woods Dune Rides but we wanted to end the day right with one final ride on the Timbers.


Once again, the ride was a walk-on and this time we decided to go for the back car. It was obvious that the ride had really sped up from earlier in the day and this time it delivered some seriously impressive airtime on the first few hills. Again, it's no El Toro or anything but this ride is really, really solid and it would be a tremendous addition to any park's lineup. Even if it delivered no airtime at all it would be pretty amazing just because of the imposing structure and unique ride experience of going out seemingly forever before finally heading back to the station (while still maintaining an impressive amount of speed) but when you factor in the impressive amount of airtime moments it really makes this a top notch coaster.



Shivering Timbers was the perfect way to end a great day at Michigan's Adventure!

As I mentioned earlier, DirkFunk was definitely a big help in planning this trip. One thing he mentioned to me and has mentioned elsewhere on the site is that anyone visiting Michigans Adventure needs to go to Mears and check out Mac Woods Dune Rides. As I live nowhere near the Great Lakes, I didn't even know you could have Dunes on a lake, let alone some of the largest and most visually impressive dunes anywhere in America. I had checked the website a few days prior and they said that they had special Labor Day weekend hours until 7 PM and while I normally plan everything really carefully when we pulled up we saw that Friday night was not included in those hours and we had missed it by about 30 minutes. That's disappointing for sure, and it's a brain fart that's totally on me but I guess it gives us a reason to come back. You don't have to twist my arm, Michigan is awesome and I'd love to come back, ride Timbers again, go on the Dune rides and then head north to Mackinak island (which is also on my to-do list). Oh... and I'd hit that dumb Wild Mouse too. lol


Luckily, even without the Dune Rides it was still worth the trip up to Mears. Just seeing the dunes is amazing. At first glance, you swear that your eyes are playing tricks on you because they're so unbelievably massive. We knew we wanted to get on the dunes, and while vehicle rentals were prohibitively expensive we quickly found a park with access steps that would let you hike to the top.



So cool!

We hike all the time, but hiking up these sand dunes (even with steps on the first half of the walk) was no easy feat. Without beachgrass, the dunes slide down almost as quickly as you can climb up so I don't recommend this to anyone that doesn't like strenuous exercise. Luckily once you reach the top you're treated to an amazing, almost alien landscape that's unlike anything I've ever seen before and is so incredibly massive that you no longer have any sense of spacial awareness whatsoever.



Breathtaking... note the size of the people

After about 45 minutes of walking around, sitting on the dunes and taking it all in we finally decided to head out. We screwed up on the Dune Ride thing, but we'll be back and even just hiking up those things was one of the cooler things I've ever done. Pictures don't do it justice, if you're at Michigan's Adventure, don't miss the dunes of Lake Michigan. They're absolutely stunning.



Lake Michigan in the background

After a full (and great day), we got in the car and made the 3(ish) hour drive to our hotel in Hammond, IN. While Chicago (and the surrounding area) was the focal point of this trip, I couldn't help but feel like we underestimated how cool Western Michigan actually was. We'll absolutely be back (and next time I'll be more careful with the Mac Woods schedule), what an awesome day!


Up next: Six Flags Great America!

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Awesome report! It's funny how everyone gives the park so much crap but it looks really nice! The Dorney of the north! Yeah, maybe they haven't gotten a new ride in 87 years, but it's looking good for what it is. We almost made a stop this year but in weighing my options and hearing all the negativity and looking over their "thrill" offerings on the website I was 50/50 and decided we'll have to go another time. I wish I had looked into it more closely and looked at everything they have to offer... then again there isn't a whole lot of info out there... (then again I don't subscribe to the TPR thread either... for all I know the last post was 87 years ago when they got that last new ride )


Hilarious as usual.

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Great report - glad to see my home state get some positive reviews. Having done those exact dune rides (I have a pennant from there in my room) I can say for a fact that they are very cool and one should definitely check them out when one goes to Michigan's Adventure and they have some free time.


Also, I should add that Michigan's Adventure's water park is actually quite large for the size of the dry park. There are three wave pools and a bunch of slides. Nice to see. I just hope that dry park gets some love soon.

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Awesome report, as usual. I'm glad you enjoyed Shivering Timbers--that thing's awesome. Zach's Zoomer is a legitimately good coaster, and though I enjoyed Wolverine Wildcat, it was admittedly before I rode Phoenix, so I totally get your assessment of it. Great Nor'Easter is the absolute best SLC, but Thunderhawk was actually really good, and the only other SLC I actually enjoyed.


Michigan's Adventure is definitely not a super great park, but it's a lot better than a lot of people give it credit for. I'm not in a huge hurry to get back to it, but it was a really good time, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to your Chicago adventures!

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The foliage around the train has certainly grown in since I remember it from over 10 years ago.


Nice to hear that Shivering Timbers is holding up well. I wanted to include the park (just for Shivering Timbers) during one of my 2017 trips, but couldn't squeeze it in.

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