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Photo TR: West Coast Bash ~ Disney ~ and Me! (o:


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Right now, and late at night tonight, 0315 PST approx, I have been busy sorting out all the photos I took from this year's

West Coast Bash, and the visits I paid to the Disneyland Resort. So my Trip Report will be starting up real soon.

 

But for now, here's a peek at "just a few" of the usual assortment of (i.e. A LOT OF) souvenirs I bring back from every trip I've taken,

with and without TPR, lol! This trip was no exception, as you'll see near the end of the report.

 

Enjoy this, till I get going. Like AMTRAK. Eventually.

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And what's that all wrapped up, in the middle there? In time, all will be revealed. (o;

Edited by Nrthwnd
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As Peter Pan would say: "Here we gooooo!"

 

When I started planning this trip, I didn't have the actual dates of this year's West Coast Bash to base anything on. But I took a chance,

and (rightly) assumed that the weekend after Labor Day weekend would be The Weekend to be there. I also decided that since I was

retired, and had lots of time to travel the distance, traveling by AMTRAK would be nice to do. So I put my faith and trust in the

train company, and got myself a nice little roomette for getting there and back. This also included meals, which was fine by me!

 

The journey actually took 1-1/2 days to get there, which started with a bus to Seattle first (no train service that early, from

Vancouver); the train from Seattle to Los Angeles; then taking a San Diego bound train to Fullerton Station; and finally a taxi to the

Knott's Berry Farm Hotel, which would be my home from home, for 8 nights' stay.

 

My train trip was nice and relaxing, and we had a great awesome steward for our sleeper car, named Cyndi. She was totally amazing,

making sure everybody was comfortable, and aware of all the services on the train. Plus reminders of meal reservations, etc. She was

really great, and I wished we'd had her on the way back home. But when I left for home, she was on her way to a well deserved cruise.

 

So here's the photos (random ones too) that I took on the way down to Los Angeles, via train. And sorry that a number of photos in my total

report, come off 'fuzzy' or well out of focus. I am still learning the art of digital photo taking, so pardon the non-crispness of some pix, but

I did decide to include them, as I felt they were still worth posting.

 

Enjoy...

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It all starts at 0530, with a bus to Seattle Train Station.

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The bus.

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We arrive in Seattle.

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Definitely Seattle.

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Interesting motif.

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Seattle Train Station.

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Check in for my sleeping room. We departed just after 0900.

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Our amazing steward Cyndi!

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Ahhh.....my own little space. And bed.

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Important car to remember: The Bar and Lounge Car. Everybody would regularly use this.

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Important menu from the bar.

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Passing the (wooden) Tacoma Dome, in WA.

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The bar is stocked and ready for us!

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I have my first cocktail: a MOSCOW MULE. In a take home COPPER mug!

Very nice extra to buy. So my souvenir buying has already begun, lol.

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View from the bar car.

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Lunch time! Since every meal was included, I naturally went for $$$$ items, heh.

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Um, didn't I leave Vancouver a few hours ago? :p

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Salad with a nice chicken breast on top. And my dining partner's macaroni & cheese, there. Yum.

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We were seated "community style" which meant, couples were sat side by side, and everybody always

sat opposite a new person, to meet. It was fun, most of the time. Lots of interesting people to chat with.

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A nice little cheesecake dessert. I had it a couple more times, later on.

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We arrive in Portland, OR.

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Eep.

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I am, I am!

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Dirt!

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The afternoon wine tasting. I did not participate. I got myself another Moscow Mule.

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And took in the scenery along the way...

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This was the last photo I took, on my first travelling day. Dinner and bedtime followed, these shots.

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p.s. How I Start Planning These Trips ~ Still ~ After all these years.

 

While I'm coasting along, on the Coast Starlight train, in the bar car with my Moscow Mule in

a nice shiny copper mug, heading down to Los Angeles, I thought I'd show how I put all

these solo trips together. It's a combination of online pre-buying...and papers in an envelope.

 

 

Yes, I still write notes down here and there on pieces of paper, but always remember to gather it all up into

"The Trip Envelope" for safe keeping. Then, I can easily look at all I've collected, info. and pre-buying,

and then adjust the trip, by throwing out cancelled ideas, etc.

 

And yes, in this day and age of electronics and social media, writing things down seems kind of.... old fashioned?

But at my age, it keeps my mind active, and planning. Until I get the thrill of finally starting the trip itself!

 

Then, I throw it all away, when the trip is over!

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It all starts like this. Pretty primative, hmm? :p

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There was one for Magic Mountain, too.

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Precious Knott's tickets and coupons.

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My Disney 3-Day Park Hopper Passport-With-Magic-Morning-Entry (whew!).

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Where I store all of those trip envelopes. Along with event/theatre tickets etc. And I already started a 2017 one! (o;

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^ Thanks. Now honestly, I am not that much of a train geek, myself. But I have ridden across Canada, and

throughout the USA with the train systems available. I have also had the great fortune to use several overseas

transport trains, on TPR Tours or my/our own trips. This includes the Bullet Train in Japan, the ICE Train from

France, and Thalys which was David's and my transport, from Amsterdam to Paris, one year ago, this month!

 

I also appreciated the fact that with a room, you had the power to get angry at anybody, then storm off to your

little cubicle, and rant/vent away (in silence or low noises) and nobody is bothering you! Awesome! I also had

my meal reservations done right at my sliding room door. And as I said before, the meals were included, there

was a HUGE shower downstairs in our sleeping car. With towels soft and fluffymmmmmm.

 

I would easily save up and do any trip by train with a room, if I could, now. This beats anything to do with any

airport, really! Even with an eventual UPSET that happened right in the home stretch of our journey

back to Vancouver, I would do it again and again.

 

And you see some pretty interesting other trains along the way, too.

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Preview shot of the 1/2 day left, of my train travelling to Los Angeles. With another Moscow Mule, sans copper. (o;

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^ Thanks Andrew! And yes, I agree the CS is easily one of the nicest trains to ride, with or without a room and meals.

And just the right amount of time, to handle coach, if you really wanted to ride on the cheap, heh.

 

My worst ever coach trip (though not the destinations themself) was a 42 DAYS across USA journey, that took me

to Boston; down to DC; onward to Orlando (and the Keys);back up to Chicago; and then back to Vancouver.

 

All - coach. It was relentless in it's boredom. And this was in the mid-1990s before social media hit big time.

 

So I save up, and pre-plan, and so far, it has paid off nicely as a big part of the vacation itself, and not just "transportation."

 

Like flying can be. A lot.

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What's this? What's this? ~~~ To be revealed, soon enough. (o;

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I was hoping to see a PTR from your trip, Bill!

 

I like the start of it so far....food, alcohol and some scenic shots! I myself have never traveled by rail in the US or Canada, but have in Italy, Germany, Amsterdam and South Korea. I really enjoyed it and would love to try that west coast train sometime!

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You're brave to do Amtrak!!!!

 

My worst ever hold up, was a train trip to Houston TX, via Los Angeles. 1993.

 

Somebody had decided to throw a mattress onto the Coast Starlight train tracks.

Many were called, unions were notified, and it took over four hours to get the damned

thing off the tracks.

 

Needless to say, it caused a literal time chain reaction, and the poor poor people

heading eventually to New Orleans, were going to be late by a full 24 day, from when they started.

I was late into Houston, by over 4 hours, which wasn't really too bad, all things considered.

 

For myself, since I'd gone through that over 20 years ago, and a few other AMTRAK Ooopses

in earlier years, I was prepared (in my mind) for whatever AMTRAK might throw my way.

 

And for the most part, it all worked out just fine.

Until coming back, midnight in Sacramento, CA...

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What's this? What's this? Hmmmm.

Edited by Nrthwnd
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If they do it like they did last year, you'll need to sit on Cedar Point's website every day when tickets are about to go on sale. They only sold around 1,000 last year, and they were sold out in a matter of hours. I would book the hotel room, flight, car, etc. now to ensure you have it at the best prices. It'll be the Friday after Memorial Day, always is, so you can book that stuff now and just get your ticket next spring when it goes on sale. I got my hotel room (HoJo across the street from the Thirsty Pony) for $50 a night, booking November 2015, before the announcement. Everything shoots up once the event is announced.

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^ Thems my plans for next year's staying at The Breakers.

 

And yes Bert ^^, I think it's awesome that we can share this trip, next June.

And yeah, I agree that both you and me will have to sit on the CP site, daily watches, and the second CM! Tix are available,

one messages the other immediately. If we both cross messages, great. We'll both know, then.

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My Magic Mountain souvenir haul.

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Because its late, my jazz programme is on...and I'm bored... here's another 'mystery' pic from the Souvenirs Haul...

 

And Clue #1 --- Yeah duh, it's a PIN!

 

 

 

And if ANY of you already know what this is - please NO SPOILERS! thanks. It plays out, in just a few more photos. (o;

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What's this? What's this? The bottom of...something? (o; And no, that's NOT chocolate spongecake, there. Yuck.

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"Life is like a train..." (Lyrics from the Broadway Musical, On The 20th Century.)

 

Woke up in the morning, and immediately realized, I SLEPT on a TRAIN! Never been able to do that on any other moving

vehicle (i.e. cars, planes). But this was easy. And breakfast was a great start to the last segment of this part of the trip.

(So was having another lunch and dinner later on, too.)

 

We passed by the old NASA west coast missile site and shuttle base. There was even a shuttle 'garage' still there! That was cool to see.

 

And then we got back to heading down the coastline (we'd been inland for some time), with gorgeous views of the ocean, and even

a few seals here and there! Other people said they even saw a whale "out there in the water." Wish I had seen one. No matter. Great

last part of my train trip to Los Angeles.

 

Unfortunately, we arrived so well On Time, that I had an hour and a half to wait ill my last train was boarded, and taken - one stop

to Fullerton Station. Thank goodness I had a book to read (John Cleese ~ So,Anyway... ~ Great funny opening chapters.)

 

Got the train, made the one stop, then got a taxi to the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel....

 

Now to get another good night's sleep and the trip really starts tomorrow.

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Next morning, we're in Oakland, CA.

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My roomette windows, from outside the train. Snazzy huh?

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I'd say this could be a potential theme park and roller coaster site, yes? No?

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Looks possible to me. (o;

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Lean to the right.

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Another Moscow Mule, sir? Of course!

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Old NASA buildings.

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Oooooo a shuttle box.

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Dinner. A steak done very nicely.

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Dinner view.

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Sunset over L.A.

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Waiting at Los Angeles Union Station for my last train of the day.

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^ The steak dinner cost $25 US. And I had it included, as part of the room deal I bought.

The only thing I had to pay for at any meals (or none) was the alcohol and beer/wine.

And the steak was done nicely, the way I wanted it. The potato was 'baked' perfectly, too.

They had a nice little cheesecake as well, that I repeated another meal, coming back.

 

Service was excellent. I felt like I was in 1st Class all the way, and more room to move around!

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Had to get The Snoop, and bring him back home.

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Another shot of the Mystery Pin, to post right now.

 

And Clue #2 ~ It cost me $16.95 + tax US. And the price was on the sticker itself,

not part of the usual colour coding system for most pins they sell. (pink=$9.99 etc.)

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^ The steak dinner cost $25 US. And I had it included, as part of the room deal I bought.

The only thing I had to pay for at any meals (or none) was the alcohol and beer/wine.

And the steak was done nicely, the way I wanted it. The potato was 'baked' perfectly, too.

They had a nice little cheesecake as well, that I repeated another meal, coming back.

 

Service was excellent. I felt like I was in 1st Class all the way, and more room to move around!

You were in first class! There are upgraded bedrooms, but Amtrak considers everything from a roomette and up to be first class accommodations. Hence the treatment!

 

I've had some really good food in the dining car on the Texas Eagle (Chicago-San Antonio train). If you get one with a real diner and not just the cafe car, it's great. Cafe car is just pre-packaged microwave stuff.

 

I would like to do an Amtrak overnight trip one of these days, but the only place the train goes that's convenient from here is Chicago. I had hoped back in 2010 that since there was so much talk of expanding the system that we might get better service, but as usual, politics got in the way. Still, Amtrak continues to make do with what they have, and I think for as little as their budget is, they do a pretty good job.

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What I called... "The Pre-WCB Visit to Knott's Berry Farm"

 

I had earlier decided that I didn't want to visit Knott's on just the Sunday of WCB. So I started out planning for two days' visit.

And then I decided that this wasn't enough. I really wasn't sure if I was ever going to be coming back here again. I mean, the last

visit to Knott's (and Disney and Magic Mountain) was over 20 YEARS ago!

 

So, I planned two extra days at Knott's. And a three day park hopper ticket for my Disneyland and DCA visits.

And Friday, I went to Knott's.

 

I also decided NOT to ride Ghostrider during this visit. Well, I really wanted to experience it with others from the weekend,

so I skipped it, and rode practically everything else there, and sure enough, on Sunday it was open. And all was well.

 

 

P.S. Knott's was only open until 6 pm that day, so I had plenty of time back at the hotel, to ALSO try out their swimming pool

and connected jacuzzi. Both were open until 11 pm every night. And it - was - heaven!

 

 

P.P.S. Almost forgot! When I rode the Waveswinger in the park, I sort of noticed "something" on the ground beneath us.

The ride then stopped, with my swinging chair right over this thng I saw: a crisp and folded $20 bill! Looked around. Saw nobody

suddenly running my way, etc. So, that was that. Sometimes, these kinds of event$ happen to me in 3's. And - they did.

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The Morning After Arriving The Night Before. It was a very nice comfy room to spend 8 nights in.

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Where I headed, after breakfast.

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Had to walk under this. I loved it, especially when I went back to the hotel, while it was still running! (o:

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Quiet Frot Gate. For now. And off-season now, so no more early entry. )o:

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Sierra Sidewinder testing. I really enjoyed this spinner.

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Heavy Metal - Gates.

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Symbol of Quality. Or..."You Are Definitely NOT At Universal, Sir!"

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Silver Bullet tests now. It was awesome! I really enjoyed this one.

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The guns and pistols were all wooden. But - it just made me think, about outside the park, etc.

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Picked up my Souvenir Super Sipper, which strangely reminded me of.....

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The Beast's, at home. Some company is making a killing in the mfg.of these things, world wide, lol!

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Besides Boomerang, I also skipped the Timberline Twister, seen here. Already had the credits, so no big deal.

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In the Observe Tower, a very "smoggy" view of Excellerator.

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View of The Boardwalk. The plastic covering the viewing windows was really...uh....tanned?

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Silver Bullet, Montezooma, Jaguar...anything else I'm missing here? (o;

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"Lean to The Left"

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One last look, before heading back to the Hotel. Soon, soon.

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Got Ants? At the Knott's Bakery in the nice little MarketPlace outside the park. Also has a Starbucks.

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The Hall of Independence replica. Well done too, I have heard.

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Back at the Hotel, out on the patio...Something's missing here.

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Ah yes. My Stella Artois to enjoy.

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I liked the landscaping here.

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And here.

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Dinner in the Hotel's AMBER WAVES Restaurant. The breakfast buffet happens here, too.

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A dinner salad. With a nice cut of steak on top. Yum.

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Night walk after dinner. Loved the lighting on Ghostrider!

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'Night night Knott's. See you again, on Sunday.

Edited by Nrthwnd
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"WCB Day 1 at SFMM: The All-Day Challenge of The Mountain"

 

First of all, I want to thank my driver Bryan (from Sacramento) for taking me on as a passenger for the ride up to Magic Mountain. I already had a rental car ready to be picked up by myself, but Bryan and I connected through TPR before the trip and then, I immediately canceled that reservation, woo hoo! Bryan had a car rental too, and was more than happy to share the ride up there. We met up at 0600 in the Knott's Hotel lobby, and took off, with a short stop for breakfast stuff at McD's.

 

We arrived in plenty of time, the parking was free, and we got a pretty good front row spot, opposite all those MM coasters. Got to the front gate where registration for WCB was happening. Entered the park a couple of hours early for some group ERT on (at the time) five coasters available: X2, Yolo, Revolution, Scream and Twisted Colossus. Unfortunately, both X2 and Scream were not ready for us just yet, so we made do with the other three, and everybody kept an eye on (especially) X2 for it to be testing and eventually opening.

 

The park is literally built on and around a 'mountain', which involves uphill (and downhill) walking and trying not to backtrack as much as one can. And the heat. Nature decided to make some sort of record, and I was told it was hovering between 95 - 103'F that day. Very very hot, for myself and I suspect several others there not used to this. But we all seemed to get through it, and even so, I noticed a lot of the gp who were hunched over a bench or just looking miserable from this heat. Which made me feel pretty good, that I was doing okay. That and a lot of WATER to drink. I smartly stayed away from the carbonated drinks most of the day, and just kept refilling a small bottle I had, with water from drinking fountains. I'm sure that's what helped me through it all.

 

Twisted Colossus was amazing, and that first drop just made me start swearing immediately LOL! The speed of it was great, and out of three times on it, 'we' got to duel twice. Which wasn't too bad, considering all the reports I've read on it not dueling that much. But I was happy. And an actual surprise coaster for me was....Scream! I think riding it at night made the difference in my ride (and not being able to really see those parking lines, heh), but I really loved it!

 

The park had a bit of a breakfast for us over by TC (2 donuts and orange juice was fine by me), and later on we had a mid-afternoon lunch provided by them in one of their group picnic areas, which really surprised me as the eating area was right beside an open green grassy field area, surrounded by trees. Apart from the screaming sounds here and there, you wouldn't really think you were at the theme park, let alone Magic Mountain. Just a nice park, somewhere. Lunch was good and c-c-cold water to be had, too!

 

Riding X2 completed the trio of 4D coasters I'd ridden around the world (Eejanaika in Japan and Dinoconda in China). And until they build another one, no more for me! I am done with these things. This was the oldest of the three, the original, and just as painfully bumpy, intense and unfun as I remember the other two.

 

F'ull Th'rottle was fun, the overhang time at the top of the loop was crazy fun, and it was enjoyable. Thankfully, doing it during our morning ERT avoided the usual 1-1/2 hour+ waits that happened the rest of the day.

 

Green Lantern was OW; Apocalypse was OW X3; I skipped Batman altogether (had the credit); I skipped Viper too (had the credit, and lines were huge all day there); Riddlers Revenge the standup coaster was fine, although I felt like I wasn't standing upright, through most of the cycle. But I survived it; Ninja I had ridden before and wasn't planning to ride, but Bryan and I spotted it open after a time it had been closed, so we go t to it, and we got a nice night ride on it. Been a while since I had been on one of these suspended cars coaster. A bit bumpy, but still a fun ride.

 

We also took in a live show involving Hypnosis, and i have to say it was pretty good. Considering the main participants were audience volunteers. There were a few surprises, some laughs and it actually helped us relax our feet a while, since we'd been walking and walking all around the Mountain, up to then. After we came out of the theatre, I actually felt refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day.

 

Our Four Hour Park Buyout ERT was at first, thought to be just between us and a Christian group (Hallelujah Jubilee?). Turns out SFMM had also done a deal with the Southern California Gas Co., so the numbers that night (after 8pm) increased by the thousands, and the lines were just as long as they were in the day time. Oh well, we all persevered, and although Superman was on and off through the day, I got my ride on it, backwards, and it was great!

 

And Tatsu, although I didn't know what it was like in the day, was wonderful at night! All that swooping and turning over and over, in the dark. Loved it!

 

So, all in all, with it being a hot hot day, a huge park to trek through, and (eventually) HUGE CROWD Queues during the Night time ERT, I got all my credits, I re-rode a couple of fave coasters I remember (from 1996!), kept drinking water, and all was well with my world. Bryan and I had had enough by 11pm, so we took off, and later the next day, I found out the traffic leaving The Mountain later midnight was INSANE (e.g long long time to get out of the place. So we timed that right.

THANK YOU Robb and Elissa for planning and organizing this first part of of our WCB weekend, and Thankyou to SFMM for hosting us.

 

(Pardon the few photos taken, but I was so overwhelmed by the heat, and trying to get to coasters that weren't queue-heavy, I didn't think much of taking photos.)

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They they are, just waiting for us.

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Where we checked in for WCB Day 1.

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The Steampunk Entrance to Twisted Colossus, Scream, and a Hypnosis Show!

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Tatsu! I see yu!

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Lunch at Magic Mountain. I tried to make a chili dog without much success.

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Remember him?

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Well here's Marvin's faithful companion K-Nine! Paid a visit to our lunch.

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This made me smile, when looking for the bathrooms.

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Now THIS is all that existed at the time, back in March 1996, when we were last here at MM. Just the foundation for Superman.

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The Hypnosis Show. It was fun, and a nice break from all the heat and walking around.

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Wheeee!

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Note the Halloween themeing?

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Yeah, well, I rode it. (And Insane in Grona Lund, is much MUCH better, truth!)

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Fuzzy shot.

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Yolo! And I lived. Once on it.

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Lit tracks.

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11pm ~ Buh Bye Six Flags Magic Mountain.

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And now it's time for... "Retro Knott's!", as I just found another photo of myself.

 

A really REALLY old one.

 

My Very First Visit to Knott's Berry Farm, in ...1963, at age...10.

 

Eeee hah!

 

My mom took me there, and to Disneyland of course,

over an extended (for me, from having good grades in grade 4)

Easter time period.

 

So, this was also my first larger scale steel coaster back then,

with the Matterhorn, at DL! Both tracks. Single cars. Awesome!

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Pretty cool how they did stuff like this, back then, hmm?

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^ That's really cool. Not a lot of parks do photo ops anymore. Knott's is a really special place, and apparently has been for a while!

 

I heard some people saying that Magic Mountain was hot and that the topography is challenging. I guess it's a matter of what you're used to. I'm used to hills like that everywhere and weather equally as hot but also very hunid. So I was loving the California weather all week.

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