Time for the next part of our journey! I heard about the next spot we went to thanks to TPR. Despite traveling quite a bit, my plans usually consist of theme parks and the nightlife, and it dawned on me that in my 28 years, I still had never done an alpine coaster. Wanting to change this and having struck out on Smokey Mountain Alpine Coaster the night prior, we decided to go early the next morning, to
Goats on the Roof
Again, thanks to TPR for having reported on this place previously. It's essentially a roadside attraction with a large gift shop, some goats (on the roof), and an alpine coaster. We didn't spend much time in the gift shop, as we had the goal of getting to Dollywood as soon as possible, but I can tell you that the coaster was totally awesome and I did NOT expect how far up the mountain the lift takes you, as you cannot see the entire lift from the parking lot. They have a pretty modern system that auto-slows the ride vehicles if you don't brake, so that's exactly what I did. I kept the bar full-down my entire ride and got some decent speed and laterals. The guy in the station said "we're the fastest alpine coaster in the area", and I took his word for it.
On approach, you can see the end portion of the ride's track
You also get a view of the end of the ride from the parking lot.
From outside the gift shop, you can see that they sell everything from rugs to adirondack chairs to bird houses. We didn't do too much exploring of the gift shop, as we wanted to get to Dollywood
Our first look at the ride vehicles for the alpine coaster. Looks pretty modern!
Heading out of the station and beginning what would be quite a long lift hill!
More of the layout comes into view and there are riders zooming by as you go up the mountain
Approaching the top, time to put my phone away so I can haul a$$ down the mountain
Proof that there are, indeed, Goats on the Roof.
As we headed toward Dollywood, we were treated to some stunning views of the surrounding Smokey Mountains, which really is a beautiful area of the country that I'd highly recommend visiting!
Of course we're in Tennessee, so Moonshine is a thing. Next up, Dollywood!
Okay, so straight from Goats on the Roof we went to
I think I've done like two reports from Dollywood in the past two years, so this one is going to be mostly photos.
We got very lucky this time. I know Lightning Rod is having difficulties again and we were there only a day or two before these difficulties started. It's getting a little embarrassing, though, and I really hope they can figure out a long-term solution to getting this reliably up and running soon. Can you believe this is it's third season?
This day was one of the best I've ever had at Dollywood and any day at Dollywood is an excellent theme park day. Pretty busy day at the park but with top-notch operations as well as having Time Saver Pass, we got to do everything we wanted to do many times. And the best part is that we got in 10 rides on Lightning Rod despite a few spots of downtime in the morning and afternoon. I can finally say, without sounding too much like a rank queen, that it's probably the best RMC and about tied with El Toro and EGF for my "favorite coasters". Especially at night in the back, it was absolutely f*cking terrifying between it hauling A$$ like crazy and being in pitch blackness on the far side of the mountain. With it running like that, when you're coming over those airtime hills you have no idea whether or not it's just flown off the track. Totally outstanding ride that I hope gets to see more uptime very soon.
Great food, friendly employees, amazing rides. Now pics or it didn't happen
Hey again, Dollywood. I think I've visited you more in the past year and a half than Universal Orlando, and I live 5 minutes away.
It doesn't get much more southern than Christian-inspired songs being sung by a group featuring both a double bass and a banjo, in front of an American flag.
We booked it to Lightning Rod and...closed. Again, I really hope a long-term uptime solution can be found soon so trips to Dollywood can be a matter of "when you ride LR" and not "if you ride LR"
So instead we got our morning workout power-walking it up Craftsmen's Valley to the totally outstanding Tennessee Tornado. Love love love this coaster, especially in the back row with the way that drop rips you down it!
Yayyy Wild Eagle. I'm finding that as they age a little bit, B&M Wing Coasters get super shaky on a vertical axis and some give me that "brain stem headache". I've experienced this on Flug der Demonen and Gatekeeper last year, but I'm happy to say that Wild Eagle is still super smooth!
A cool overview shot of Firechaser Express from Wild Eagle's exit. Such beautiful scenery here too
Me in a nutshell. Heh
Cool theming, fire, backwards section. This is what you get when you Dollywood a family coaster
They took out the Splash Battle and put in some rocking chairs
This is one of the most disorienting sections of any coaster out there for me. From the time you go into the drop to the time you hit the brakes it's one big "WTF just happened to me?!"
It wouldn't be my TR without me telling you motherf*ckers that hate on Thunderhead that it isn't rough!
Well, this is a bit of a problem.
It also wouldn't be the South without selling you bags to conceal your gun that you must carry around with you at ALL times. It's almost like they're compensating for something ;)
You had me at "shackles"...
Despite only a one-train operation, they were doing an outstanding job of line control and getting the train out as quickly as possible
Weeee flying through a barn on a swing
My friends convinced me to do this and it's actually a really awesome flume ride. It also helps with the fact that it's hot as hell in the south in the summer.
This ride's wetness level is hit or miss. Some people got lucky and only got a few spots on them. Some people came off absolutely soaked. We got absolutely f*cking inundated with water but it was so needed. My hair got messed up tho :/
Cool that Dollywood teaches you how to be an Appalachian logger while you're in line for Drop Line, and how they fit the theme into the region.
Drop Line is actually pretty big! I forgot what it said, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-250 feet.
I splurged and got this awesome Oreo orgasm thing and since it was at Dollywood, it changed my life and now you should go get one too.
Little did we know that as the sun began to set, Lightning Rod was preparing to make us it's b*tch back in those woods that night.
Of course we got the cinnamon bread. But I put the photo on Snapchat and failed to take an actual pic
So, Dollywood gets very close and even reaches "Disney Magic" levels a lot of times. Lucky riders who were on Drop Line at the right moment were treated to the ride being parked at the top for the fireworks show. You go, Dollywood.
However, we had other plans. This was Lightning Rod's queue during the fireworks. We got 5 or 6 rides in a row before the park closed, and as I said before, it was totally balls-to-the-wall insane. "Warmed up" rides on Lightning Rod are some scary sh*t! I got Skyrush-like bruises on my thighs from our night rides and Lightning Rod can manhandle me any day of the week, it hurt so good!
Then, we luckily had one bonus hour of Goats on the Roof being open, and since everything in this area is required by law to be totally and completely awesome, they have a $5 same-day re-ride policy, so we went back for a night ride!
Just your little headlight, the track lighting, and the woods.
To end the night, we headed over to Smokey Mountain Alpine Coaster since it looks f*cking awesome at night and we failed to ride it the night prior.
However, it wouldn't be. The lady at the window said we were looking at about a 2-hour wait with this queue house full and it didn't seem to be moving much. We had our hotel booked already by Carowinds, so we decided to call it.
A little bit of a bummer, but honestly, I'll almost always come back to this area every year if I have the opportunity to do so. Dollywood is awesome, the local attractions are awesome, we found a cool brewery, and it's just generally a great place to visit.
In case you didn't get enough pictures from the recent TPR trip, the final park on this mini trip for us was,
I love me some Carowinds. However, I think I learned my lesson about going during the summer. I wasn't born to be a southern belle, and my-oh-my, that dog gone sun had me roastin' like a hot potater! There isn't much shade to be had at Carowinds, and it was about 100 degrees and felt like 100% humidity. I may live in Florida, but it is significantly hotter up in that area than it is down here.
Luckily, they have a 95mph coaster to dry your pits out on. Fury 325 is an amazing ride and when I first rode it a few years ago, it was like an electric shock to revive the B&M we once knew and gave us rides like Kumba, Raptor, and Batman clones. I'm going to be honest and say that it felt a *little* more lethargic than I remember it from a few years ago, but I'm almost positive that it had something to do with just coming off all those night rides on Lightning Rod. That or the heat.
I first visited Carowinds when Intimidator was new. Back then, the park was "okay", but to me it felt like one of those parks you hit every 5 or 10 years and don't think too much about in between. In the past few years, Carowinds and Cedar Fair have had the pedal to the metal. Carowinds did their new entrance plaza, installed Fury, did their new waterpark area, re-themed old areas, and really just breathed new life into sections of the park that used to be ho-hum. Back in the day I'd make comparisons between Cedar Fair and Six Flags. Nowadays it's like Cedar Fair went off to the ivy league while Six Flags is stuck in summer school.
Approaching the park and I get a money shot of both Fury and Intimidator trains. Ahhhhhhh...I'm close!
And boom goes the dynamite. Just look at this f*cking drop. How is this even a thing?
Fury zooming all over and around the entrance area really ups the ante and makes for a great start to your visit! The fact that they keep the grass underneath and around it so tidy just shows that Cedar Fair really cares about the initial presentation of their park.
This thing hauls a$$ to the point where you even have to be quick to snap the photo before the train is gone
The "treble clef" is the best part of the ride for me
Wait...you're not Twisted Timbers...
You've all seen this photo about 1,000 times but this thing is HUGE
Train on the lift, one just hitting the brake. Carowinds was cranking out the trains that day, too. At one point, we were dispatched just as the train ahead of us cleared the lift. Dang!
First, we had "fake JB's", now, "fake Chickie's and Pete's", what is this world coming to?!
But unlike Six Flags, while this counter-service Chickie's and Pete's had a limited menu, the quality was still good and the staples were still there.
Also, can you please stop calling them "crabfries"? How f*cking dare you make me always think for a second that I'm going to get crab meat on my fries!? Other people thought this as well. Crinkle fries...they're crinkle fries.
Since my last visit, this area of the park was given a little refresh and looks great. I love the "Flying Cobras" reference to the whole North Carolina "First in Flight" mantra
Fair vibe, never-in-a-million-years Top Scan, string lighting, and fairground-themed food buildings surround the rethemed area
I'm very excited for the new coaster next year will bring. This is just going to further enhance the awesomeness that is Carowinds. I haven't been keeping up with the thread, but even if this ends up being a more "mild thrill" attraction with some good theming, I'll be happy.
Fun fact: I'm allergic to peanuts. If I'm ever ruler of the world, anyone found in possession of peanuts will be executed.
This is one of those B&M inverts that everyone forgets to talk about. I don't even know what it's called half the time. Flight Burn or Thunder Deck or TopGun Hawk idfk. The first half is basically the same as Montu save a little bit of a different direction. The second half is quick and snappy. It's super intense and easily one of the best.
We gave Intimidator some love. But I'd be lying if I said we wouldn't rather be on Fury.
Still not Twisted Timbers. Maybe try again later.
A mostly empty station awaited us at Hurler and we gave it a few rides in the back, finding it to still be a pretty smooth and enjoyable ride!
Wait...what...could it be? No way...
Wait...guys...RMC has wooden pallets at their headquarters, in the loading dock! Holy f*ck! THIS MUST MEAN HURLER IS GOING TO BE TWISTED TIMBERS 2.0!!! Someone call Screamscape and the Carowinds discussion thread!
We forgot to ride the Vekoma Flyer that day lol. But for real I do actually like these, we just forgot it was there.
Aww, that's a cute play on words.
There are some pretty green areas at Carowinds as well
Halloween! Yom Kippur! It was not the 4th of July when we were there...
Aww, southern things. Bless their little hearts.
Anyways, that was the end of our day at Carowinds! We then proceeded to go check out the bar scene in "Uptown" (weird) Charlotte, and get significantly hammered! Yassss
Having stayed in Charlotte after our night of drinking, there was one last place to check out the following morning.
Mac's Speed Shop, not far from Carowinds, is a fantastic BBQ joint! I discovered it on Yelp a couple of years back and made it a must-visit part of the trip.
We were there on a Sunday morning so it was dead, but it's a bar and BBQ restaurant in one
A picture of the menu. Rumor has it that some coaster enthusiasts are quite "porktacular" ;)
And a shot of my pulled pork, fries, and mac and cheese, which is not a bad way to cure a hangover! Pile on the carbs, drink more alcohol, and you're good as new!
About two weeks after the previous trip ended, my bestie moved to Atlanta, so of course I made plans to visit her, which brought me right back to
Six Flags over Georgia
For real this time! No weather issues on this visit. And I have to say that I was very impressed with the park on this visit. I had a few visits in the past few years where I encountered some issues, and on this trip it was like the park did a 180, at least for the most part.
Fast operations (mostly), friendly employees, no line jumping, and I honestly was happy that the employees were enforcing policies by saying things like "line jumping will result in being banned from the park", and "taking out your phone on the coaster will result in a 5-year ban"
I know TPR just reported on this park, too, so you've already read about it recently, but I'm happy to second the fact that Twisted Cyclone is AWESOME. When I look at RMC coasters, I see both progression and a sort of "yearly theme", and this year's theme seems to be small, abrupt airtime hills, a low-to-the-ground zero-g roll where an airtime hill used to be, inversions into drops, and a sudden jerk to one side (the abrupt neck-snap right turn on TT and the abrupt left into the brakes here). A lot of elements reminded me a lot of Twisted Timbers, which I rode earlier in the season, and I mean this in every possible good way.
We also had some seriously awesome rides on Goliath. It was a hot day and I didn't make it up there until 5PM, so Goliath was warmed up well and hauling all sorts of A$$, feeling fast and full of airtime even after riding Twisted Cyclone. I've been on almost all the B&M hypers warmed up or not, and these rides on Goliath made me think that it's probably the best B&M hyper out there.
Anyway, pictures now
You get a nice view of Batman from Six Flags' pothole-ridden parking lot.
lol, seriously I've never seen a park so badly in need of a re-pave. Gravel lots are smoother.
First stop was of course, the fantastical new RMC. I love this wave turn in the back car. You really get ripped through the second half when the front of the train descends.
Goliath was running almost in Intamin mode today. We got some great sustained airtime on the return hills and I greyed out in the downward helix every ride.
Dude, the fake JB's trend has got to stop.
I actually thought this one was going to be okay, as I'm a turkey burger fan and it sounded good at the time...
This sh*t was f*cking horrible. I promise I'm not just trying to complain for the sake of complaining. I've had store-bought, pre-packaged/pre-cut turkey burgers before. These are not that. This seriously tasted like it was marinated in household cleaner, then left out to dry for two weeks. It had this disgusting chemical taste to it, I took one bite and threw it in the trash, it was so bad.
Please remove this from the menu, Six Flags, or re-visit how to make them.
Dare Devil Diiiiiiiiiveeeee
So, we got in line and then actually skipped this. They were only running two ride vehicles, taking about 3-5 minutes per dispatch, and at 6 passengers per vehicle and about 50-60 people in line, we weren't getting on this any time soon.
So we headed down the hill to the always-good, Mindbender!
Mindbender is famous for being an old Schwarzkopf and doing this whole circular-loopy thingy
And then it has some cool swooping turns over the stream underneath it. I'm more of a fan of Shockwave at 'over Texas because it has way better drops, but this oldie is still a goodie.
It still feels wrong that I like this.
For real, I ride this every time I go to the park now. They did a great job of making the coaster smooth and the new Vekoma trains are wonderful. It's a really intense coaster with tons of head-choppers, without neck-choppers
No pain here! Fun fact, Vekoma actually used this design to create the SLC layout. So you still have to hate it a little bit, on principle.
Great American Scream Machine looking stunning in the setting sun
I convinced my friend that we can ride in the back car, middle row, as 3-bench PTCs are extremely smooth as long as you ride in a middle row...
However, as we entered the station, I had a "what the f*ck?!?" moment. They took away the 3-bench PTC trains it used to run and replaced them with 2-bench trains. Nooooooo how could you do this to us, Six Flags?!
I'm pretty sure these trains came from Cyclone. I asked an employee, but she looked puzzled and thought these were the same trains it's always ran. Mmkay...
Needless to say, we rode in the front.
SFOG also has one of those Justice League dark rides that are pretty cool. We skipped it, as we were time-limited, but we did it at Great America last year and loved it
I've always thought the "forest" area of SFOG is really pretty. The dense wooded area, antique cars, and older rides like balloon race make it stunning
This seems to be a common theme the past few years with parks not operating these or removing them altogether.
Coming back around to the front of the park, we got some different views of Twisted Cyclone, and we gave it a few more rides.
And we decided to end out the night on Goliath, which was still running awesome. I always liked it, but I really have a new-found appreciation for it.
Heading out of the park, Scorcher looks really cool all lit up and makes a lot of B&M noise. I realized that we forgot to ride it, and it's actually one of the best Stand-Up coasters out there
My friend's new place in Midtown Atlanta has some cool city views and a look down at the always-traffic-ridden I-75/I-85 concurrent highway
The next morning, we rented electric scooters through the Bird app, which we rode all the way down the Beltline and to Piedmont Park
Since even looking at your phone while going 20mph on an electric scooter is risking suicide, I only got a few photos. At one end of Piedmont Park, we found a cool brewery where we sat for a bit and took in the view
And then I found the same sign I saw on that person's garage in San Francisco! I need one of these
Interesting car-being-swallowed monument/art thingy in Midtown
Rainbow crosswalk in the awesome area where the gay clubs Blake's and Ten are in Midtown
The next morning, we'd have an excellent brunch at a place I forgot the name of
I, too, made the unforgivable decision to get the turkey burger because they were... sold out of "salad" to do buffalo chicken salad (it was noon). It was easily the worst theme park food I have taken a bite of. It was gray, it was ...juicy in the most disgusting way imaginable, and I'm certain there was 11% turkey that made up the patty. I happily ate all of the fries that came with it because they hardly had any taste, which I was totally fine with after taking a bite of the turkey burger
Glad we're both still alive. F yeah Twisted Cyclone and I couldn't believe how fun Blue Hawk is now!
Chi-livin. @adultswim @cartoonnetwork | World traveler, concert attendee, salsa connoisseur, comic reader, and theme park nerd. Snaps: photoboothezizi
Great report! I need to get back to ride Twisted Cyclone and Goliath. I remember the latter being the best B&M hyper I had ridden at the time, but Mako's airtime and Apollo's setting were able to top it.
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