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I'm a little late to the party, but this was another stellar TR, as completely expected. It's great that your 60 year old mother is tagging along, but being a huge hotel snob, I think you're crazy for not taking your mom up on her offers for you guys to stay with her.

 

Your outlook on coasters is exactly how it needs to be. A fun roller coaster is a fun roller coaster, period. I don't understand why people over analyze every roller coaster they ride and feel the need to rate and rank them so meticulously. Granted there are some roller coasters I don't enjoy and other roller coasters I enjoy less than others. However, your main objective seems to be relaxing and having a great time, while appreciating each ride for what it offers. I share that philosophy. I think it's shared among a lot of people who share this interest long term. Tastes begin to mature and objectives change from needing to marathon the biggest and baddest coasters to trying to make the best out of every moment in the park. I chalk my the new appreciation for Screamin' Eagle that Emily and I share up to our evolution and changed expectations for this hobby.

 

Sounds like you had a hell of a bath on the flume. We loaded four people into the flume at KI for the first time, since we never have guests, and got soaked. It was a hell of a learning curve for a cold October day... Wrapping up with Dominator was a good move. You don't hear many people, even the people who over analyze, who give much negative criticism to Dominator. It's a solid ride.

 

Great TR.

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^ Thanks!

 

Your outlook on coasters is exactly how it needs to be. A fun roller coaster is a fun roller coaster, period. I don't understand why people over analyze every roller coaster they ride and feel the need to rate and rank them so meticulously. Granted there are some roller coasters I don't enjoy and other roller coasters I enjoy less than others. However, your main objective seems to be relaxing and having a great time, while appreciating each ride for what it offers. I share that philosophy. I think it's shared among a lot of people who share this interest long term. Tastes begin to mature and objectives change from needing to marathon the biggest and baddest coasters to trying to make the best out of every moment in the park. I chalk my the new appreciation for Screamin' Eagle that Emily and I share up to our evolution and changed expectations for this hobby.

Absolutely! Like you said, there are plenty of people who insist on bitching about every problem with every coaster or ranking them on the spot and I never got that. I've met people who rode a coaster and then started a discussion about where it should be on their rankings while they were on the brake run, I've seen people (some of them actually made their way onto my Facebook page but they're gone now) correcting me when I made a post that we enjoyed a ride when we just rode it on our vacation (I think it was Mine Blower) where they felt the need to explain that the turns were "poorly engineered".

 

What? Who cares? Shut up.

 

We loaded four people into the flume at KI for the first time, since we never have guests, and got soaked. It was a hell of a learning curve for a cold October day

Oh god. I always get soaked on that flume even with 2 people in the log. I couldn't imagine putting 4 people in it.

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I agree 100% with the logic of roller coasters should be "just fun." There's no need to compare them all constantly. Maybe if you're bored one day and have a ton of free time it can be kinda interesting to think about but there's no need to be thinking about how much better you think Afterburn is than Alpengeist when you're at Busch Gardens. Just ride Alpengiest and have fun.

 

I had one person say when I listed off Kings Dominions 5 best coasters next year that "Flight of Fear was a weak fifth coaster." How? Why would you consider a fun indoor launched coaster that's intense and claustrophobic "weak?" I just think it's really fun.

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I completely agree with both of the posters above. When I was at Kings Dominion last summer, this coaster enthusiast in line behind me at Intimidator 305 was trying to convince me that Skyrush was so much better (and I will admit that I prefer Skyrush), but I was just like, dude, you’re about to ride one of the greatest roller coasters in the country, just enjoy it.

 

And don’t even get me started on these 12-year-old roller coaster Instagrammers who constantly rate everything and take the hobby so seriously.

 

Back on topic, awesome report(s) Bill! So entertaining to read.

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I'm thrilled to hear how much your mom loved Volcano!! It's one of my favorites and never gets old for me. It's fast, smooth, you shoot out a freaking volcano, and the short length doesn't bother me. The ride is a blast! (Sorry, couldn't resist) Does Outer Limits have the exact same layout as Joker's Jinx? Or is it mostly the same but kinda different? I've always had great rides on Jinx but for some reason my rides on FoF never seem as good. Perhaps it's the darkness wreaking havoc on my stupid brain making me sick? Not sure. Drop Zone is a kick ass drop tower and has been down on my last few visits so I'm happy it was working for you guys!

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I agree 100% with the logic of roller coasters should be "just fun." There's no need to compare them all constantly. Maybe if you're bored one day and have a ton of free time it can be kinda interesting to think about but there's no need to be thinking about how much better you think Afterburn is than Alpengeist when you're at Busch Gardens. Just ride Alpengiest and have fun.

 

I had one person say when I listed off Kings Dominions 5 best coasters next year that "Flight of Fear was a weak fifth coaster." How? Why would you consider a fun indoor launched coaster that's intense and claustrophobic "weak?" I just think it's really fun.

 

Thanks! And yeah... that's crazy. Not only is it stupid to talk about a coaster collection like a major league baseball lineup, but Flight of Fear is awesome so that guy (because we all know it was a guy) is a dumbass.

 

Back on topic, awesome report(s) Bill! So entertaining to read.

Thanks! And yeah, that I305 story is ridiculous.

 

Does Outer Limits have the exact same layout as Joker's Jinx? Or is it mostly the same but kinda different? I've always had great rides on Jinx but for some reason my rides on FoF never seem as good. Perhaps it's the darkness wreaking havoc on my stupid brain making me sick? Not sure. Drop Zone is a kick A$$ drop tower and has been down on my last few visits so I'm happy it was working for you guys!

 

I *think* so, personally I'm the exact opposite though. I think Flight of Fear's setting makes it far more enjoyable (though I like Joker's Jinx too!).

 

======================================================================

 

Alright everyone! After a bit of an internal struggle, it's time for another report.

 

Why the internal struggle? Well... there's a few things at play here and I wasn't exactly sure what park to actually write about. Generally I don't write trip reports for local parks unless there are some special events going on since we go there more often than others and there's less to write about. I was considering making an exception for Dorney though since we only go there once a year at this point since it's... well...

 

...since it's Dorney.

 

We actually go to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Tampa much more often than Dorney and I write reports for those, so I was leaning towards writing a Dorney Haunt report just because we pretty much never go there. That said... it's now December and writing a report about a seasonal event after it's ended seems sort of questionable so I almost skipped it and started our Arizona and Vegas trip report.

 

In the end though, we actually had a really good time at Dorney's haunt and the event will probably have all the same houses next year anyway, so I figured... what the hell? Let's give Dorney a courtesy report and do our part to remind the world that this place exists.

 

People talk boatloads of sh*t about Dorney (and I've definitely contributed some sh*tbuckets myself), but I actually love their haunt event. Most haunt events are an absolute sea of humanity. Ride and food lines reach biblical levels, understaffing runs rampant, the parks are flooded with unruly teens who occasionally bring tasers and in some cases the major draws to these events are upcharge haunted houses that are understaffed and have ridiculous wait times.

 

Well...

 

Let me tell you a tale of a land where crowds, lines and other humans don't exist. A magical land of concrete where all of your troubles melt away. Massive crowds are replaced with nothing but empty pathways, empty coaster trains and the most trash cans per capita of any place on earth.

 

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Greetings from Pennsylvania's Dorney-ist Amusement Park!

Our visit was a quick one... a Friday night in mid October where we went straight from work, got there around 8:00 and stayed until the midnight close. At most parks that's no time at all (especially during haunt), but since it's Dorney we managed to get a ton of rides and houses in.

 

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Are you giving us the stink eye?

Hopefully by the end of this report, I'll have satisfied your brain's annual quota for acknowledging Dorney's existence and you won't have to think about it until next year when the news from the media day for their new chicken tender restaurant inevitably takes the nation by storm.

 

We walked up to the front gate and got through in about 30 seconds. I didn't realize at the time since I had so many layers on, but apparently our phones and keys got through the metal detectors just fine. Cedar Fair's metal detectors are a joke. I'm pretty sure you could get a grenade launcher through one of those things and they seem to exist for no other reason than to create an illusion of security. Then again, I guess if someone had bad intentions they would probably go somewhere where there were actual people around so I guess Dorney's probably fine.

 

The people scanning tickets were all in full costume (which was a nice touch) and they set a fun tone for the evening. After a quick pit stop at the restrooms, we decided to start the night on a high note and make our way over to the best coaster in the park by default... Talon!

 

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Talon! Keeping Dorney semi-relevant since 2001!

We quickly made our way through path and towards the empty station (per usual), hyped up for our ride. We entered the queue, made a right, made our way down the walkway and...

 

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WHAT THE F*CK THIS THAT????? IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?

That's it everyone. We've reached the end times. Great Adventure paved the parking lot, North Korea has nukes and Talon has a line. I guess I need to get right with god... and that could f*cking take awhile so I'm pretty sure I'm screwed.

 

Alright, alright... so it was only about 10-15 minutes. But it still made us question everything we thought we knew about the universe. It was a straight shot to the station obviously (why does that giant queue area even exist? I feel like some poor hopeless dreamer puts up those shade canopies every year dreaming of a day where anyone might actually stand under one of them) but it was still insane. Luckily though, by the time we finally got over the shock it was time to ride.

 

The ride was awesome as always! It's hard not to love Talon, especially that low to the ground section at the end and pop of air into the brakes. Despite the line, we were still in the front row within 20 minutes so all in all that was a pretty great way to start our night.

 

After leaving Talon, we walked by the "Chamber of Horrors" wax museum. They've had this maze for years, and it's always set up in the arcade building. Generally it's pretty weak, but we noticed there were only about 10 people in line so we decided to check it out anyway. We didn't expect that after seeing an actual line for Talon, but we figured maybe it was a fluke.

 

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This house must be easy to budget cut since you can just replace scare actors with wax figures of scare actors and have the same effect. lol

The premise of this house is simple. It's a wax museum that lures you into a false sense of security by having a ton of fake figures with real people occasionally mixed in. They have some cool sets and unrelated things to mix it up a bit and it's a simple but effective house. If I had waited more than a few minutes for it I might have felt differently, but it's Dorney so that's pretty much never going to be an issue. One strange thing is that the exit takes place through an emergency exit for the arcade that has a sign on it saying "Emergency Exit - Alarm will Sound" so when we reached the exit there was a huge backup of people who didn't want to open the door and eventually a scare actor had to come over and tell them to open it. I wasn't about to open it otherwise since last year one of the actors in Trick or Treat went on a smoke break and left a door open so we ended up exiting into a backstage area under the Steel Force lift hill.

 

Up next was Blood on the Bayou, a returning favorite from the previous year. Pro tip: Putting the word "Bayou" in the name of your house automatically makes me love it. True story...

 

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This house has a pretty cool facade too...

Over the last few years, Dorney has started to build permanent buildings to house some of their haunt mazes. Leaving them up all year allows them to leave the mazes in place full time, limiting the amount they need to spend on setup and tear-down and allowing them to build some cooler sets (though "Trick or Treat" is in one of those buildings and it sucks). Generally though, I love that idea and fully approve. Blood on the Bayou takes place in one such building and they took full advantage of it.

 

The wait for this one was only about 10 minutes, so in no time we found ourselves in front of the house receiving the spiel / backstory. Luckily they seemed to have fixed some of their staffing issues this year and no longer had to have a dude playing the stereotypical cajun woman in the front of the house so that was a nice bonus.

 

As for the house, it was awesome. They actually have some legitimate animatronics in there! It's well beyond the scope of what I would expect at Cedar Fair and especially Dorney. This is a great house, if this house were at HHN or Howl O Scream it would fit right in and that's the highest praise I can dish out for a regional park house. Major Kudos to Dorney on this one.

 

Riding our Blood on the Bayou high, we decided to make our way a little deeper into the park and had the good fortune of walking up to the skeleton crew stage right as a show was beginning. Skeleton Crew can be found at a lot of Cedar Fair parks, but it's always a "must watch" for us. We're not really into theme park dance shows (since dancing sucks), singing shows (since if you could sing, you wouldn't be working at a regional theme park), or any shows where any real acting is required but we're always suckers for animal shows or acrobatic shows. This show is loaded with cool acrobatics., so we approve.

 

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Skeleton Crew always draws a crowd... which is saying a lot when you're at Dorney.

After a few opening acrobatic acts that generally change from year to year, the show ends with the classic trampoline bit. This part of the show never really changes, but it doesn't really have to. It's always fun to watch and incredibly impressive.

 

As the show came to an end, we quickly made our way over to the Hydra side of the crowd, assuming that everyone would have the same idea we did and dump into the Hydra queue at the end of the show. It turned out we were correct, but we managed to beat the crowd and walk right into the station per usual.

 

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Now THIS is the kind of thing we've come to expect from Dorney. Station waits for everybody!

I've said this before... but Hydra is a strange coaster. As everyone knows, people complain all the time about B&M loopers from the early 2000s on being dull and uninspired, forceless, uninteresting and repetitive. People complain that they all come from the same mold, that the B&Ms of the 90's were better and rarely do anything different or interesting.

 

Then Hydra came along, took that mold and blew it completely to hell. I'm sure this isn't what actually happened because nobody really cares what whiny enthusiasts want, but on paper it SEEMED like B&M took all the criticism to heart with this ride, threw out all the rules and built a crazy, insane, one of a kind coaster that would put all of that criticism to bed.

 

A barrel roll BEFORE the lift hill, no vertical loop at all, the first element after the drop isn't even an inversion, the ride starts out with THREE barrel rolls (generally the best element on a floorless coaster), no midcourse, no trims, just a super weird and one of a kind floorless coaster. On paper, it was a dream come true. In practice...

 

well... it's Hydra.

 

Hydra is the Guinness of coasters. It seems totally unique, it seems awesome, your douchebag friends love it, you hype it up, you finally try it, you're supremely disappointed and downright disgusted by to the point of being slightly nauseous just thinking about it, then eventually over time you acquire a taste for it and in a f*cked up way sort of start to like it... but possibly because you had to force yourself to like it.

 

That's me with Hydra. The criticism is totally valid, it looks super weird and cool and doesn't live up to the hype that the cool layout and visuals create at all but still... I have a blast every time I ride this thing. Yes, it's the bastard child of B&M floorless coasters just like how Dorney is the bastard child of the Cedar Fair chain but it's still a fun ride. It's unique, it's cool, the jojo roll is great and the stupid thing has character. I approve.

 

After Hydra we were deprived long enough, so we made our way down the hill to the two best rides in the park. Along the way, we walked through a cool clown area that was so loaded it fog machines that you'd swear park executives robbed a local Spirit Halloween store in the middle of the night and stole their entire inventory just for this path. In general... this park LOVES their fog. Six Flags has an absurd amount of fog machines, but they could only dream of reaching this level of insanity. It looks like Snoop Dogg's house on New Year's Eve.

 

After navigating the sea of fog, we finally made our way to the lower section of the park. Thunder Creek Mountain seemed to be closed for the season (as predicted), so we continued moving down the hill to the park's other star attraction... Demon Drop.

 

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Ominous...

To this day, I still don't understand how this park ended up with Demon Drop. When they failed to sell the ride I was sure it was headed for the scrap heap. It was old, loud, unreliable and basically ever park in the chain already had a much larger, much more reliable and much more impressive looking drop tower. When I heard the rumors of it coming to Dorney I honestly didn't believe them, but when I saw those parts actually starting to show up I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

 

Demon Drop (in my mind) is the best drop ride in America. Sure there are some awesome ones out there (like Falcon's Fury, Zumanjaro, Lex Luthor and those Larson towers) but no drop tower convinces you that you're literally about to die like Demon Drop does. It's so wonderfully sketchy and loud that it's a f*cking masterpiece of a ride. There's nothing like walking up to the ride and hearing the cars crash, slam and bang around the track knowing that a few minutes later, that's going to be you.

 

Brit has no fear of any other drop tower but she's terrified of Demon Drop. She almost sat it out, but eventually I convinced her to come along because it would be super romantic if we both died together holding hands or some bullsh*t.

 

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Our chariot of death awaits...

Brit was definitely freaking out a bit as we slammed our way into the lift area and watched a car of terrified riders rocket down the drop above us (this ride does nothing gracefully and I love that about it). After ascending the lift and being pushed forward by that shady looking tire we found ourselves way up in the air staring face to face with that sh*tty S&S abortion of a drop ride that should be ashamed to be seen in the same park as Demon Drop. Even I started to question my own sanity (this ride will do that), but I didn't have long to think about it because a few seconds later we were barrelling towards earth in one of the most insane freefall drops of any ride on the planet.

 

Both of us were laughing uncontrollably once we stopped moving and started reversing, aggressively slamming into sh*t as the car righted itself and backed towards the station. This ride looks like a death trap, is aggressive and unrefined in everything it does, is a noisy, unreliable, aggressive piece of sh*t and all of those things come together to make it one of the most awesome and terrifying rides in America.

 

I have no idea why this ride exists or why they moved it here, but thank god they did. A lot of times it's sort of a shame that Dorney Park has become a dumping ground for crappy recycled rides, but it might all be worth it since it means they have Demon f*cking Drop now.

 

After the demonic dropiness, we made our way to our next house. Cornstalkers is located right behind Demon Drop on the old Go Kart tracks. As you may remember from my Busch Gardens report, I'm a sucker for any maze involving maize (I can practically hear you groaning at that one from here).

 

In true Dorney fashion, Cornstalkers had basically no wait. At that point it really did seem like the Talon thing was a fluke, and we certainly weren't complaining.

 

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The main Cornstalkers facade.

The maze starts out in a shed before exiting into the corn maze. Throughout the maze there are other random sheds with indoor sections, cool "redneck" props, tractors, animatronics and other cool surprises... it's really the same plot line that every single "corn" haunt on earth uses but for whatever reason it really never gets old.

 

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I f*cking love corn

Blood on the Bayou is probably this park's star haunt maze, but this one might be my second favorite, though it's really a toss up between that, Tourist Trap (their new house) and whatever the politically correct name of their asylum house is now. Personally I just like the crazy, f*cked up farm gag with corn everywhere so I'm leaning towards that one.

 

At that point we only had about 2 hours before close, so we decided to focus mostly on coasters and throw in a house whenever possible. The houses we still hadn't managed to do were Tourist Trap (the new house which we were saving for last), the Blackout house (but "Total Darkness" at Six Flags was so stupid that it ruined those for us forever), Trick or Treat (which blows), Grave Walkers (which isn't "really" a house but it has a queue line so it sort of is and the politically correct insane asylum thing.

 

More importantly, we had some coasters left to ride.

 

Up next for us was Possessed which was sporting absolutely no line whatsoever. We actually arrived as soon as the gates opened (well... "unlocked", you have to open the gates yourself at Dorney. Yeah... I don't get it either). We considered waiting one extra cycle for the front, but instead decided to hop into the next available row a few rows back.

 

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Like 6 riders and like 20 empty seats in the process of being Possessed. They should call this sh*t the rapture and pretend most of the riders just disappeared. There would have to be riders on the train in order for them to be possessed. Use your terrible attendance as theming. It's brilliant. lol

The ride started out a little strange as it blasted out of the station, then slowed way down for a second and finally blasted forward again, but the rest of the ride was uneventful. Apparently they turned the holding brake off, which is kind of a bummer but it doesn't make a huge difference to me as the ride is still awesome and now it's a much friendlier experience for male riders. That holding brake was cool but... ouch.

 

When we exited Posessed we found ourselves in a super cool pirate scare zone. There were some seriously impressive sets there, along with a pirate cannon that was ridiculously loud and scared the crap out of everyone whenever it went off. I remember the scare zone from previous years, but I feel like it was much better this time around.

 

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Argh! We'll smite thee neighbors with our loud ass cannon and teach them to bitch about our loud ass fireworks in the summer. Argh!

After escaping the pirates, we stumbled upon Stinger. Stinger had valleyed (I think with riders) earlier because it's a piece of sh*t and as we drove in we saw maintenance climbing the back spike with flashlights but it had since reopened. It was a complete walk-on, but we ended up skipping it anyway because it's terrible. We had a date with the world's tallest and fastest mine train.

 

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Definitely the coolest sign I've ever seen for a mine train.

On the way we passed by Grave Walkers, planning to hit it on the way out and Trick or Treat, which we didn't plan to hit ever . We made our way up to the ride, walked up the stairs, began the customary elongated walk through the empty queue to the empty station and into the empty train and...

 

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What sorcery is this??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Holy crap... people in Allentown sure love their mine trains. After picking my jaw up off the floor we found ourselves in a shocking, 15 minute queue for Steel Force... easy 14 minutes longer than any Steel Force queue I've seen in my entire life.

 

Luckily it was a pretty entertaining queue as we could check out the nearby dinosaurs and super old "Halloween" music videos on Fun TV. I really like that they switch the Fun TV programming for Haunt with horror movie clips, "Halloween" music videos and tombstone shuffles. It seems simple enough, but it's neat idea. I sort of wish Six Flags actually gave enough of a sh*t to do that.

 

A few minutes later we found ourselves in the station and made our way to the front row line since that's really the only seat where the ride feels like you're riding a coaster and not falling asleep in your recliner at home. While I do appreciate the theming on Great Adventure's mine train, I like that Dorney's mine train doesn't have the obstructive locomotive smokestack on the front of the train so you have a mostly unobstructed view in the front row. You do have the nose of the train in front of you that's about the size of the front end of a 70's Dodge Charger and the train does feel like you're riding in a plus size coffin but I guess it goes with the haunt theming.

 

As we left the station and made our way up the lift I was pleased to see that the cars still rock from side to side and make it feel like you're going to get dumped into the employee parking lot. As the train reaches the top of the hill you get a great view of downtown Allentown right before you begin cresting the hill towards the massive first drop and throw your hands in the air in anticipation.

 

... and continue cresting the hill

 

... and keep cresting

 

... I have my hands up but I feel like I'm being a little dramatic

 

... this is like that guy that puts his turn signal on 2 miles before the exit. I appreciate your enthusiasm but it's going to be awhile. Chill...

 

... are we even moving?

 

... yeah, I think we're moving

 

... maybe this mine train is themed to the little engine that could?

 

... I think I can, I think I can, I think I can

 

... woah, are we moving?

 

... holy crap, I think we are.

 

... woohoooooo!!!!!!

 

The ride itself was probably the best ride I've ever had on Steel Force, probably because the train was actually full for a change. There was no airtime to speak of, but sitting in the front of this thing on a freezing cold night, flying through the giant helix is an awesome experience. I'm a sucker for speed. The ride is forceless and doesn't do jack sh*t but it goes really fast for a really long time and that's good enough for me. I approve!

 

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Steel Force was flying!

Thanks to the unexpected line, we were pretty short on time at that point. We decided to skip grave walkers and the PC Asylum and make our way back to the front of the park instead. On the way, we took the path under Thunderhawk and found ourselves in a completely awesome medieval style scare zone complete with HUGE animatronics. Damn, Dorney... I'm impressed.

 

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This dragon was guarding Thunderhawk from potential riders. Due to the completely empty trains it was sending it seemed like he was doing a good job.

We didn't really intend to ride it, but as we approached Thunderhawk we came to the realization that we hadn't ridden the ride since it got the new trains. The main reason for that was because we didn't really see how replacing a PTC train with a slightly more orange PTC train would solve anything, but it had no line so we figured... what the hell?

 

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Hello thunderous hawk, we meet again!

I normally hate when people complain about this type of stuff, but this coaster is downright frustrating.

 

This was our first ride in years since the ride had gotten really rough before it got those new trains, but they had done a lot of work on it since our last ride so we hopped into the second row of the first car (which used to be the best seat on the train) and were cautiously optimistic for our ride.

 

Thunderhawk could easily be the best coaster at Dorney park, bar none. When it runs without trims, it sends riders in the front car into the stratosphere at the top of the first turnaround. The second turnaround also provides awesome ejector airtime and the return run provides endless pops of floater air all the way back to the station.

 

Sadly, when the ride runs without trims it rips itself apart and requires a ton of maintenance. If this ride were at Knoebels it would be beloved by everyone, but Dorney would rather put trim brakes on every potentially exciting moment of the course so it meanders back to the station without really doing anything at any point than do tons of track work.

 

On the plus side the ride was smooth, but it's also a completely uninteresting coaster and it really doesn't have to be. Oh well, one and done for us.

 

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The ride certainty LOOKS great. I'll give them credit on the new lights.

We were down to our last 30 minutes or so and we wanted to make sure we ended our night on a high note with the new "Tourist Trap" house but on the way I became distracted by a certain drop ride over near Thunderhawk.

 

Photo by Philard. I didn't get close enough to the entrance to take a picture of it. lol

No... not you. F*ck off.

 

Of course, I'm referring to Demon Drop. We snagged our second ride of the night on that beast of a ride and it was just as awesome as the first. We contemplated staying there for the rest of the night, but in the end we decided to pry ourselves away and make our way up to "Tourist Trap".

 

I was actually pretty surprised when I heard about Tourist Trap as it replaced their iconic Manor House attraction that always seemed to be their Haunt pride and joy. I never thought it was there best house, but it was very long, had some cool sets and was definitely a lot of fun.

 

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Dorney's newest house!

On the way, I planned to get some crab fries from the Chickie and Pete's quick service location before getting in line but they were closed by the time we arrived. Luckily, I wouldn't have to endure a crab fry-less line... because there was no line... because Dorney.

 

When we reached the top of the walkway where a line would have been if we were at any other park, we were greeted by some weird dude skipping around while grouping. It was amusing but I have no idea what it was supposed to be and honestly that theme continued throughout the entire house. This thing was a hot mess.

 

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Welcome to the clusterf*ck house!

Honestly, I feel like this was just Manor House with a new name, a weird skippy dude at front and weird music in the queue. It's pretty much an incoherent clusterf*ck of a maze with no real story behind it, whatsoever. That's really not a bad thing, it's a cool house for sure... but every other house seemed to have a general premise and this one was just loaded with random gags. It was cool, but I don't really think there was much of anything "new" about it. It's still a solid maze though. We definitely had a good time.

 

We had originally expected that to be the end of our night, but when we got out of the house we saw that we still had about 10 more minutes. We didn't expect that at all going in since it was a brand new house, but we weren't about to waste the opportunity. We didn't have time to get down to Grave Walkers or the PC Asylum house, so we made our way up the hill, cut over past the Troika and walked over towards the Blackout house. A house in total darkness that neither of us had ever done!

 

... and kept on f*cking walking.

 

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lol, hi!

Yeah, sorry. Maybe that house was good but Six Flags totally ruined the premise for us. We wanted to ensure that we ended our night on a high note so we made our way up to the best coaster in the park instead. I don't regret that decision.

 

Luckily, everything was back to normal at Talon and the ride was back to sending trains with 2 riders on them per usual. We hopped in the front row and were treated to an awesome ride per usual, when the train returned we assumed that the ride was done for the night but we saw that there were people waiting for the front and hopped into the back (after being granted permission from the ops which is odd for Dorney) and ended the night with a kick-a** ride on Talon!

 

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Ending the night on a high note!

While people love to rag on this place, I HIGHLY recommend their haunt event. Not only is it a fun park by itself, but they do a GREAT job for haunt and the lines for rides and mazes are ridiculously short compared to any other park in the region during haunt. Personally I'd much rather go there than somewhere like Great Adventure where the mazes are terrible, have 3 hour lines and are up-charges. If you haven't given Dorney's haunt a chance, you definitely should.

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I guess I need to get right with god... and that could f*cking take awhile so I'm pretty sure I'm screwed.

 

Personally I just like the crazy, f*cked up farm gag with corn everywhere so I'm leaning towards that one.

 

Keep this up and you'll be voting for Trump in a few years. (Yeah, even I had to go there...)

 

Great report. Dorney actually seems like a decent park, but like many parks in the country, probably not worth the drive for us. Maybe one day we'll be in the neighborhood or take a small detour out of another trip in progress.

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Dorney really is a fun park. It's on par with Valleyfair! and Worlds of Fun honestly. It just suffers from being near 3 other, way better parks. I probably won't ever go to the Haunt, and honestly if I'm ever in PA again, I think I'd take a third day at Knoebels and skip Dorney. It's not bad, it's just not good enough to justify spending time there over its competition.

 

Good writeup on the day. Once a year is appropriate. Talon is awesome and I agree that Hydra's fun too. Too bad CF will not run a log flume in the fall, because that may just be their best ride.

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Great report! Sorry to hear about the insane crowds at Dorney. Either the park was considerably more crowded in the mid-2000s or the universe just hates me since I visited on a day when Steel Force was a consistent 30 minute wait, Talon and Hydra were 15 minute waits, and even the non-coasters were at least 1 cycle waits.

 

I actually get good airtime (both front and back) on the world's largest airtime. It's still the tamest hyper coaster out there, but I do find Steel Force fun.

 

I thought about taking my girlfriend on Demon Drop, but decided to test the waters with Dominator. She likes coasters but not heights. I took her on the launch side since and she was pretty freaked out so I figured Demon Drop wasn't the best idea.

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As always, fantastic and hilarious reporting. I was bummed I didn't make it to Dorney at all this year. Their Haunt is definitely great compared to Great Adv and sounds like you guys had a great time.

 

All sh!tting on Dorney aside, how are the crews? How are the operations on a scale of Six Flags America to Cedar Point? That picture of the line at Steel Force looked longer than 15 minutes from what I've seen at Wild Thing or heard about Mamba.

 

The thing is it never really matters @ Dorney. I've been on beautiful summer Saturdays & Sundays and nothing has a significant wait ever. I can confirm that is a 15-20 minute wait for Steel Force.

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As always, fantastic and hilarious reporting. I was bummed I didn't make it to Dorney at all this year.

 

Don't be bummed, just get a Platinum Pass and go next year. You know you want one.

 

Great report. Dorney actually seems like a decent park, but like many parks in the country, probably not worth the drive for us. Maybe one day we'll be in the neighborhood or take a small detour out of another trip in progress.

 

Yeah, honestly, if you're not a local or a complete credit whore (and I know you're not) it's hard to recommend Dorney when there are so many better options (both in terms of theme parks and regular, non park related tourist destinations). There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but it's up against some tough competition.

 

Great report! Sorry to hear about the insane crowds at Dorney. Either the park was considerably more crowded in the mid-2000s or the universe just hates me since I visited on a day when Steel Force was a consistent 30 minute wait, Talon and Hydra were 15 minute waits, and even the non-coasters were at least 1 cycle waits.

 

I actually get good airtime (both front and back) on the world's largest airtime. It's still the tamest hyper coaster out there, but I do find Steel Force fun.

 

I thought about taking my girlfriend on Demon Drop, but decided to test the waters with Dominator. She likes coasters but not heights. I took her on the launch side since and she was pretty freaked out so I figured Demon Drop wasn't the best idea.

 

Yeah, that's the way to do it. The first time I took Brit to Dorney she was still terrified of coasters. I eased her into the hobby, and we went to Dorney pretty early on.

 

I remember we started out at Lake Compounce since Boulder Dash allowed her to ride a world class coaster without ever being more than 10 feet off the ground. I think our next stop was Dorney a few weeks later. She wanted to ride Demon Drop instead of Dominator since it looks much less intimidating, but I also had her ride Dominator first because I knew better. Eventually she worked her way up to Demon Drop, and she loved it!

 

Great trip report! Always a hilarious read. Someday I'll make it out to Dorney.

 

Eh, there's no rush.

 

Dorney is on the way to Knoebels if your coming from the philly airport so there's that.

 

... sounds like time that could be better spent at Knoebels.

 

Dorney really is a fun park. It's on par with Valleyfair! and Worlds of Fun honestly. It just suffers from being near 3 other, way better parks. I probably won't ever go to the Haunt, and honestly if I'm ever in PA again, I think I'd take a third day at Knoebels and skip Dorney. It's not bad, it's just not good enough to justify spending time there over its competition.

 

Good writeup on the day. Once a year is appropriate. Talon is awesome and I agree that Hydra's fun too. Too bad CF will not run a log flume in the fall, because that may just be their best ride.

 

Yeah, that's basically how I feel about it too. Pro tip: They usually DO run Thunder Creek Mountain on Saturdays and Sundays for the first few weeks of Haunt. They close the ride around sundown, but if anyone goes to haunt I would suggest those weekends since it's one of the best rides in the park by default (even if you're not as big of a fan of flumes as I am).

 

All sh!tting on Dorney aside, how are the crews? How are the operations on a scale of Six Flags America to Cedar Point? That picture of the line at Steel Force looked longer than 15 minutes from what I've seen at Wild Thing or heard about Mamba.

 

The crews are really fast, but it's really easy to push down a bunch of restraints in empty seats where the seatbelts are aready fastened because nobody has sat in that seat for the last hour or so. The Steel Force line was a straight shot to the station and they were pulsing the line for the Fastlane users that didn't exist because you would have to be a crack addict to buy Fastlane at Dorney so it was a short wait.

 

Great report as always. Always good for a laugh.

 

Thanks!

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All sh!tting on Dorney aside, how are the crews? How are the operations on a scale of Six Flags America to Cedar Point? That picture of the line at Steel Force looked longer than 15 minutes from what I've seen at Wild Thing or heard about Mamba.
The crews are really fast, but it's really easy to push down a bunch of restraints in empty seats where the seatbelts are aready fastened because nobody has sat in that seat for the last hour or so.

 

Fair enough.

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Alright, up next is one of the more spontaneous and (arguably) crazy trips we've ever taken.

 

For the uber-nerds out there that eat, sleep and breathe coasters, this may not be for you. We do ride some coasters (and I'll get to that later on) but this wasn't really a "coaster trip". The title of the thread is "Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports Land", and while I have the first two more than covered, I feel like I've been a little lazy on the third one.

 

As everyone knows, I make it a point to check for great travel deals frequently. We never planned on making this trip, but one night I was surfing some travel sites and found a deal that was way too good to ignore. I was on the fence, so I called in Brit to make the final call.

 

I found airfare to Las Vegas for $35 each way per person. Brit had never been to Vegas and I had been there but not since I was a kid who was way to young to appreciate it so this seemed like a deal that was too good to be true.

 

We never planned on going on vacation in early November, but for that price we were really tempted to go for it. As is the case with most deals that seem too good to be true though, there were a few catches.

 

#1) The flight was from Dulles Airport in Virginia (in the Washington DC Metro area) which is 5 hours from our house on a route that's highly susceptible to biblical traffic jams.

 

#2) The flight to Vegas was at 10:30 Eastern Time, scheduled to land at 1:00 Local Time (4 AM Eastern Time).

 

#3) The flight home was at 9:05 Pacific Time, scheduled to land at 4:40 AM Eastern Time... in Dulles, VA.

 

#4) It was Frontier Airlines, an ultra low cost carrier which meant there was basically no way I'd be able to sleep on the plane since uncomfortable, cramped seats were basically a given.

 

It was a tough call, but in the end we couldn't turn down those fares or the opportunity to go out west so after a little bit of internal conflict, we decided to go for it and I apprehensively (but excitedly), clicked the "Reserve" button.

 

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What did we just get ourselves into? lol

We had to jump on that fare quickly, so we were definitely working backwards at that point. We knew we were going to Vegas, but what did we want to do there? We toyed with the idea of spending all of our time in Vegas. Then we toyed with the idea of heading to Southern California for part of the trip, but after talking with Brit and realizing she had never really seen the American west (which is really an amazing, one-of-a-kind place), we decided to head East to Arizona before doubling back and spending our last day in Vegas.

 

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The plan

Between the 13 hours of driving there, the 10 hours in the air and the 10 hours (round trip) to Dulles, this trip was going to include a LOT of traveling but we broke it up so that it was actually pretty laid back when we were actually out west, and in many cases the journey was just as exciting as the destination.

 

One advantage of our late departure time was that we didn't have to take a day off from work. When the day finally came around I cut out of work a little early, met up with Brit (who did the same) and we were on our way to Dulles! For some amazing reason, traffic actually wasn't that apocalyptic that day and we actually made some pretty good time. Yes, we sat in bumper to bumper traffic on the beltway for 45 minutes or so, but honestly... that's nothing for DC. I'll take that every single time.

 

We packed light (with personal items only to avoid Frontier's absurd bag fees) but luckily it was pretty easy to cram a few days worth of clothes into drawstring bags and we were thankful for it as we traversed the frozen tundra of the IAD Economy Parking lot. Apparently we decided to fly out on the first weekend that the weather in the Northeast decided to be appropriate for the season. On one hand it sucked, but on the other hand it made us a lot happier to be on our way to the desert. Shaking hands with the clock, we set out in search of some pre-flight food (and drinks).

 

I've got to say... Dulles Airport is a real f*cking shithole. I mean... it's not LaGuardia. I'm pretty sure war torn Syria has better airports than LaGuardia, but it still sucks and we had a hell of a time finding an actual restaurant. We were departing from the gates right in the main terminal, but apparently the main terminal didn't actually have any food in it (aside from a Dunkin Donuts) so we were directed to some weird monster truck thing that could take us all the way to the other side of the airport where we were told there would be an actual restaurant.

 

The little monster truck thing was actually pretty cool. You piled in like you would in a monorail or train car, it drove off of the gate, down the taxiway and then slammed into another gate across the airport which (I guess) was our cue to depart. Once at the far terminal, we were only a short 17 mile walk from a decent restaurant.

 

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Pre-Flight Flight

After our meal, we located a (much less weird) subway that took us back to the main terminal where we spent the next hour or so until we finally boarded the plane. The flight itself was uneventful, and I managed to get about an hour or so of sleep, which is about an hour more than I expected in a sh*tty middle seat.

 

After a seemingly endless flight, the glimmering lights of the Las Vegas strip came into view and a few minutes later we were on the ground in a far more respectable airport than the one we just departed from (that's full of slot machines by the way, which is pretty hilarious).

 

While the airport itself was nice, one thing I found infuriating about the Vegas airport is that it's impossible to rent a car in the terminal. For "convenience", they've moved their rental car center nowhere near the airport and they provide a free shuttle bus that can take you to there from the terminal. Notice the the term "bus" is singular, because they were running that sh*t, Six Flags America style which means that once we landed (at 4am Eastern Time) we had to wait a solid 30 minutes for a bus to show up.

 

We had actually planned on ending our trip in Vegas and spending the first few days exploring the desert so while I knew we would be in a hurry to go to sleep as soon as we landed, I actually booked a hotel about 20 minutes outside of Vegas in Boulder City. I assumed it would take just as long (if not longer) to drive to a massive Vegas hotel / casino, park in a huge parking garage, take an elevator to the lobby, check in, walk through the casino (because they love making you do that sh*t), and take an elevator to the 30th floor of some mega hotel than it would to drive 20 minutes to a Quality Inn, check in in 30 seconds, drive around the building, walk in the door and go to sleep... taking advantage of the "stay twice, get a free night Choice promotion and racking up an assload of rewards points in the process for very little money because hotels in Arizona and Nevada are awesomely cheap, especially since staying where we did allowed us to avoid the Vegas resort fee. In addition, this trip would actually get us Platinum status if we went that route and only stayed at Choice brands, so it was an easy decision (especially since it was probably faster anyway and it was on the way to our next destination).

 

Quality Inns are hit or miss, but this one was really nice. We even had a nice outdoor balcony with views of the mountains and Lake Mead (The man-made lake created by the Hoover Dam for those unfamiliar). I approve!

 

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There's lake Mead.

For obvious reasons we slept in a bit that morning, but thanks to the wonder of time zones we woke up "early" in plenty of time to grab some free breakfast at the hotel. After filling up on breakfast we got in our rental car, ready for a full day of exploring. We made our way towards Arizona, set our clocks forward an hour (because Arizona can't decide what time zone it's in) and said goodbye to civilization!

 

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Everything in Arizona looks like it's straight out of a postcard. By the way, I REALLY hope you enjoy pictures of rocks. Fair warning...

Getting to Arizona from Boulder City used to mean that you had to go through tons of security checkpoints so you could drive slowly over the Hoover Dam (one lane each direction). Luckily, that's changed since I was a kid in the form of the new Tillman bridge. The bridge is pretty awesome since it not only allows traffic to move much faster and reduces wear and tear on the dam, but it provides awesome views of the dam from it's pedestrian walkway. We had to backtrack though, and as tempting as it was to stop we decided to save our dam Hoover Dam experience for another dam day.

 

It was a 3 hour and 45 minute drive to the Grand Canyon according to our GPS, but I had absolutely no interest in going that way. Taking the interstate is cool and all, but once we reached Kingman we decided to ignore our GPS entirely. There was no way in hell we were taking I-40. What kind of loser would do such a thing?

 

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Check this one off the bucket list. If only they could have given me another Camaro. lol

One thing that became quickly apparent was that towns like Kingman, Seligman and Flagstaff were incredibly happy to capitalize on the fact that the world's most famous road ran through their cities. They did a great job restoring old historic buildings along the route for tourists and did their best to keep everything looking the way you would hope Route 66 would look. In many cases, they would do this on small stretches of the highway that paralleled I-40 knowing that many tourists would get off, drive Route 66 for one exit, get an "I drove Route 66" sticker for seven dollars and get right back on I-40. F*ck that, and f*ck them.

 

Don't get me wrong. I fully intended to be an idiot tourist and buy a $7 sticker, but I fully intended to earn it . We were taking Route 66 all the way from Kingman to the Grand Canyon access road, well over 100 miles (not counting the portion where I-40 carries it). Screw that "one exit" crap.

 

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Now this is the type of weird sh*t I was hoping to find along this road...

Along the way we pulled off at plenty of scenic overlooks, checked out a ton of little shops and tourist traps and bought some cool souvenirs. At one point we stopped into a place and put a pin near our hometown and were pretty amazed at how many people had stopped in that little shop while traveling the highway. We even met some people from Sweeden who were traveling the highway, awesome!

 

Everything along Route 66 looks like it's straight out of a postcard.

 

As we kept driving along, we encountered some more awesome scenery and eventually made our way through the Hualapai Reservation. Pro tip: So much of Arizona is in the middle of monkeyf*ck nowhere that in many cases there's a grand total of ZERO radio stations and no cellular data so it's best to have some music available ahead of time. We didn't know this until day two but we were happily rocking out to Hualapai music for a majority of the drive. I won't lie, that stuff was fire. It's like a mix of 90's rap music and Reggae; half of which is about peace and half of which is about how 19th century manifest destiny was complete bullsh*t.

 

An hour or so up the road we came across Seligman, the first legitimate town since we left the reservation. By that point we were definitely getting pretty hungry so we were keeping our eyes peeled for a place to eat. Since we were on Route 66 we didn't have a really strict criteria for restaurants, our only stipulation was that it had to be weird. Luckily, Route 66 was more than happy to provide us with a place that perfectly fit the bill.

 

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Feast your eyes on the Roadkill Cafe...

The Roadkill Cafe is a Route 66 staple, and it's just as weird as the name would imply. Their craft beer collection was rivaled only by their taxidermy collection and the place had a great mix of regulars and tourists passing through.

 

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Giant beers and booze in mason jars? I can roll with that.

The food was also excellent, and the portions were huge (this seemed to be a theme in rural Arizona). We could have stayed there for hours drinking and checking out all of the cool sh*t they had thrown all over the walls (this restaurant basically looks like the Tennessee Tornado queue line), but unfortunately November meant shorter days and the canyon was calling our name.

 

The road to the Grand Canyon from the highway is ridiculously long and boring. While most of the drive took place through the desert which was an attraction in itself, the grand canyon access road is basically an hour long straight, flat road through a moderately dense forest. Luckily, we knew that once we reached the end of that road it would all be worth it.

 

After what seemed like ages upon ages of being stuck behind slow moving RV after slow moving RV on the access road, we finally approached the toll gates and entered the park.

 

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We're here!

By the time we arrived at the canyon we only had about 2 hours until nightfall, so we opted to go out to the main visitor center and then drive the rim towards page, stopping at the many overlooks along the way.

 

Brit had never been to the canyon, and I hadn't been in almost 20 years. It really is hard to put it into words, and it's so massive that your depth perception is totally f*cked when looking at it to the point where it's impossible to fully process it. We were both awestruck by it, and you could stare at it forever and keep finding new canyons within the canyon that look tiny but are probably hundreds (if not thousands) of feet high.

 

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Amazing!

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I sense that I'm losing a few of you so here's a picture of Millennium Force for no reason just to keep everyone interested.

We kept driving the rim stopping at tons of scenic overlooks (one more amazing than the next) until we finally picked a place to sit and watch the sunset. There was a small group of people (probably about 20 or so) doing the same, so there was a lot of room to maneuver around and find a good spot (which is not the case at the visitors center). It was cold, but it was absolutely worth it.

 

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Once the sun set (to thunderous applause... I've never seen people cheer a sunset before) we finally made our way back to our car and began our 2 hour drive to Page, Airzona. It was kind of a crazy drive since there was ABSOLUTELY nothing along the way (I mean nothing... no gas stations, no lights of any kind, nothing...) but we anticipated it and made sure we left the canyon with a full tank of gas.

 

Page would be our resting place for the night, but when we got in to town it was only about 8:00 and we were searching for something to eat. Initially I figured we would just hit a quick Fast Food place and go to the hotel, but luckily we found something far better.

 

We didn't expect much on a cold, Thursday night in November but as we made our way into town we came across an old gas station turned BBQ pit called "Big John’s Texas BBQ". Outside was a stage with live country music, and surprisingly (given the temperature) a sh*t ton of people! I didn't even think that many people lived in Page, AZ.

 

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Apparently Page knows how to party. LOL WTF even is this place?

Obviously this was some category 5 redneckerry, but when in Page... do as the Pagans (wait, definitely not that...), Page-ans... (eh... still no), rednecks (yeah, that sounds good), do!

 

As you would expect from any place with a giant smoker grill and a massive crowd on a Thursday night outside in the cold in the middle of the desert in bumblef*ck, Arizona, the food was fan-f*cking-tastic. To make it even better, they had a huge selection of local craft beer which made for a great combination. In addition, the band was definitely pretty good and a lot of fun.

 

While I am from New York (born and raised), Brit's from North Carolina which means I've done my fair share of driving down and back over the years. When I was in college, I used to drive down and back 24 hours round trip every week for months at a time. Since it was a really long drive and radio stations were pretty limited for most of it, I've definitely developed an affinity for country music over the years... mostly out of necessity. It's still not my first choice, but I can roll with it if need be.

 

Because of this, after a few drinks I was more than happy to join the locals in drunkenly half a** "singing" basically every song. It's kind of hilarious that Brit's from the south and I (a left leaning New Yorker who grew up on Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel) probably know more country music than she does just because of how often I drove through rural Virginia to see her, and that wasn't lost on either of us at this weird a** place. I never really thought I'd be rocking out to country music under the roof of a converted gas station in the freezing cold desert in Page, Arizona but I can't deny that it was an absolute blast and it was a fun ending to an awesome day. When in Rome, I guess...

 

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Good night from Big John’s BBQ! lol

Up next: Part 2 of our Las Vegas and Arizona Adventure! If you made it through this totally weird, non coaster related report on a coaster site... leave a comment! (and thanks again for reading through my endless sea of bullsh*t. )

Edited by coasterbill
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Great non-coaster report! I knew I had to make it to Vegas someday, but I didn't realize the Grand Canyon was within 4 hours as well. Even more reason!

 

Those stops on Route 66 remind me of the sketchy gas station the Griswolds stop at during the Vacation movie.

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Great non-coaster report! I knew I had to make it to Vegas someday, but I didn't realize the Grand Canyon was within 4 hours as well. Even more reason!

 

Those stops on Route 66 remind me of the sketchy gas station the Griswolds stop at during the Vacation movie.

 

That's exactly how I felt. And yeah, the Grand Canyon is very close to Vegas. The National Park is actually on the eastern part of the canyon, but Grand Canyon West is only 2 1/2 hours from Vegas. That's where they have that famous glass bottom skywalk.

 

The catch? The price!

 

I'm not a cheap guy. I'm totally cheap when it comes to hotels and flights, but that's so I can spend money on fun things while on vacation instead. Still, the price difference between Grand Canyon West and the National Park is crazy.

 

It's located on the Hualapai reservation, and they charge a TON of money compared to the park (considering we had 2 people, if you went solo it would be negligible). It's over $50 per person just to access the canyon overlook and over $82 per person if you want to do the sky bridge. Meanwhile, the National Park is much larger, has much more to do and is about 30 bucks per car (regardless of how many people are in it).

 

We had actually planned to do Grand Canyon West despite the price when we were going to focus more heavily on Vegas itself, but when we changed the plan and decided to go to Page we opted for the National Park instead (especially when we realized that meant we got to drive Route 66).

 

The picture of Millennium killed me.

Great report!

Glad to hear it, thanks!

 

That Canyon.....

 

Great tour you got yourself into, Bill!

Thanks! Pictures will never do it justice... especially not pictures from my sh*tty phone.

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Now this is how I want to do Vegas. Fly in cheap, rent a car, get the hell out of Vegas and go to a National Park instead. Looking forward to more of this!

 

Glad you got to experience some of Route 66. Would you be jealous if I told you I drive it on my commute to work? Springfield is the place where the road was first commissioned, and the Mother Road goes right through the square in the centre of town. We have a big festival every year with classic cars and BBQ. It's a fun time.

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