Lots of parks and stuff are opening this weekend and I hope that people are getting out there, but I'm stuck doing grading with little hope of relief until Thursday. For those who are house-bound, I offer this report on a trip that Cheryl and I made last month to Jolly Ol' England's southern coast, the part that lies on the English Channel.
The idea here was to try to ride every roller coaster West to East from from Bournemouth in Dorset to Hastings in East Sussex -- in just two days! We did not succeed, but not for lack of trying. Not to say that it's an impossible task. You should try it. We came pretty damned (Yes, it's "damned", not "damn". I looked it up!) close. Off we go! Hope you enjoy!
Yay, first time flying on one of the SkyTeam-branded planes! Cheryl was already in Paris for a conference, and I was going to meet her at LHR.
Wow, I'm gonna drive on the wrong side of the car! Here's a useful tip: If they give you a fancy car at the rental place and you aren't buying the rental agency's insurance, double check to make sure that your rental insurance doesn't exclude that model. We dodged a bullet with that one. More to come.
Here is proof that I can drive a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side.
Here is proof that there is more Krispy Kreme available at a British roadside stop than on all of Long Island (including Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk), pop. 7.5 million.
Yay, first stop!
And yes, they want to block us from entry! First park of the trip is afraid of unaccompanied adults. I love this industry!
We pleaded our case. Eventually a duty manager, Emma, came over and escorted us into the park and took us to the coaster, FREE of charge! We had to wait a few minutes for an operator to arrive. I love this industry! We're talking GBP 12.45 each!
First credit of the trip, Wild Bill's Runaway Train.
We were then escorted out of the park! I took a couple of snaps. It looks like this. I appreciate that they didn't charge us the GBP 12.45, but I can't help feeling shitty for being thought of as suspicious. The perverts have ruined it for the rest of us. Adventure City in California has the best policy on this, IMHO. Show them your coaster club membership card and they welcome you without kids and give you a discounted admission.
Next stop was Paultons Park, a larger affair with lots of rides, but also a lot of natural charm.
This was Flying Frog.
This was some theming.
This was Cobra.
Nice art on the cars.
For some reason, there are no Gerstlauer Bobsled models in the United States, which is a shame because...
They are fun.
As I said, there were some nice nature paths and gardens.
They also had another, larger Zierer Tivoli, called Stinger. Incidentally, you may notice that the shutter door on my camera isn't opening properly. The camera has since been retired, so this photo trip report is it's last hurrah.
Paultons Park introduced Peppa Pig World a few years back, but we didn't have time for it. I've seen Peppa Pig toys and such, but I've never seen the animated show. According to Wikipedia, "She enjoys jumping in muddy puddles, playing with her teddy bear, named "Teddy," playing fairies and dressing up."
Nicely themed restaurant and shops on the way out.
The plan was to go to the Isle of Wight for two parks, but it was getting late, so Cheryl re-booked our ferry passage for the next day and we went directly to Hayling Island's Funland.
This was our first seaside park, and it represents what the South Coast parks are like, which is not very different from places like the New Jersey shore, but without the boardwalks, and not as big and awesome as Blackpool in the North.
Credit: Super Dragon or Junior Dragon, whichever sign you believe. Super Dragon was its name at Drayton. May be time to write in to rcdb to update.
Here is the coaster in action.
The next credit was this Zyklon that used to be at Drayton Manor under the same name.
There's one more credit there, Woody's Children's Roller Coaster, but it was down. We were told that it's waiting for a part.
There is also this cute little 2 foot gague railway that runs along the beach.
The area used to be served by a railway many years ago, mainly used by beach-goers in the summer. It was ultimately shut down decades ago, but hobbyists and enthusiasts re-established this short portion of the route about 15 years ago.
From Hayling Island, we traveled to our final stop of the day, Clarence Pier in Portsmouth.
Get your tokens here. And there's your Zamperla ferris wheel.
First credit is Skyways.
It's a Zyklon Galaxi.
And here's the next credit, Caterpillar Coaster. At first the guy didn't want to let us on, saying it was a children's ride, and I countered that we had bought our tokens already with the intention of riding it. You can see him in the picture; he was big guy, with a very strong accent, one that you would say was different from the royal family's accent. Then he said, "Unless you're one of those roller coaster enthusiasts, then it's alright." That shut me up.
And he is credited with this photograph of Cheryl's 1100th. Yes, that is an official Martin and Cheryl coaster count milestone sign-holder.
This was really cool at Clarence Pier. This was a hovercraft boarding. They just drive up on to the beach from the water. This is like a boat that operates on the principles of air hockey.
Here it is inflated. It just spins around and flies into the water. Very cool.
Wimpy is a British hamburger chain based on the American cartoon character.
One more look at Clarence Pier.
The next morning we were up bright and early to take our ferry to the Isle of Wight. I highly recommend Wightlink for your ferry needs. Yes, there are indeed other options, but Wightlink is your best choice.
technfxrick said that Isle of Wight wasn't very big. Bullshit! This took forever. But I think he hasn't been here since he was a kid, so his memory may not serve.
Here's where we're going.
It's been around forever. (The barrel says 1843)
Apparently a "chine" is a ravine, and there used to be a huge one here, but it's collapsed. They have to keep moving the rides as the cliffs fall in.
See what I mean.
This guy is very afraid of that moment.
Cliffhanger is the notable coaster attraction.
From here, you can see that the top of the coaster gives a great view of the coast. You can also see my patch jacket. And my bald spot.
Cheryl's gotten another credit!
It's a nice park but we didn't stay long.
There's actually another park on the Isle of Wight, in Shanklin.
It's a lovely little seaside area with some more nice cliffs.
And another little park.
And another little credit!
The operator was quite obliging and I told him that I'd get him onto Theme Park Review!
I hope this isn't your 15 minutes, mate!
There are a few other small attractions and mini-golf.
Back to the ferry and the mainland!
And this would be the last photo I took with my camera on this trip because I left the camera on the boat! Huge kudos and applause and shout-outs to Wightlink Ferry Line, which found my camera and shipped it to the States, free of charge. They were super helpful and basically awesome. I'm happy that we scored the Wightlink Ferry fridge magnet!
The next little park, West Sands Fun Fair, is basically a little park inside a bungalow/RV colony.
It's got a credit, and that's all that matters. On to...
It was more of the same, with a little more character. I also want to say that the staff at this park was unusually friendly and helpful. Someone noticed we were struggling with the token machine and helped us out, unasked. I appreciate that in a park.
Here's the credit.
Near to Harbour Park is this chain restaurant, Harvester. Apparently there are 200 locations in UK. I would compare it to a Perkins, but not as good and more expensive. And no sneeze guard at the salad bar.
And one final stop. The famous Brighton Pier. First I scraped the wheel and tire on the the side of the curb when I parallel parked.
It was pretty chilly at this point, with a very strong wind. We rode the mouse.
Then we saw that there was a sign on this other credit (which was yet another Pinfari Zyklon) that they needed a full train to run it, because of the high winds. We asked if we could wait on the steps and the ops said yes. We waited a FULL HOUR in the freezing wind until we had 12 people. I want to publicly thank the stalwarts who slowly joined our cause over the course of the hour and waited it out with us, when it was clearly the crazy thing to do. I wish they had been a little more active in trying to recruit riders, as I tried to be, but at least they stuck it out with us. CREDIT!
Brighton also has a decent haunted house.
And an Air Race!
Thank you so much for visiting UK's South Coast with us!!!!!!
Last edited by milst1 on Fri May 16, 2014 2:45 pm.
I tip my hat to you... This is pure credit whorish-ness at its most extreme...
I honestly love how much effort you guys go to to get your coaster count up with all the tiny kiddie coasters and especially waiting an hour to ride a horrible Zyklon Loop, when you rode the same model coaster only the previous day!
Seriously though, I loved following your TR, it was so great to see you guys getting on so many little coasters in only a couple days! It even got me exploring them on Youtube and RCDB
beatle11 wrote:Great report Martin! You got me curious though. You said you had dodged a bullet with the rental car. What happened?
First, thanks again for checking out the report. It always blows me away how many views these things get. Incredible.
Sorry, I didn't emphasize it, beatle11. I mentioned that I rubbed the tire and wheel against the curb while parallel parking at Brighton Pier. When we returned the car the next day, Hertz added GBP275 to my bill, something like US$476! I paid it (instead of making an insurance claim on the spot as we had a plane to catch) and then put in a claim to American Express (I have the additional Amex rental car insurance; it's a flat US$25 per rental) when we got home. They took it off my cc bill within a week or so.
I don't like paying for the insurance, but things do happen. And $25 is a better deal than what you get in Italy. No U.S. insurance will cover you there and you have to pay the ridiculous insurance premium that they charge at the counter. On our last Italian trip, the insurance was more expensive than the rental itself!
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