Knoebel’s Grove 2010

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October 8, 2010
Phoenix Phall Phunfest
Elysburg PA

Knoebel’s Phoenix Phall Phunfest was one of the last of the major yearly coaster events that I’d yet to attend, and having cancelled out so many times before, I really wanted to make it in 2010. I’d heard so much about the park and how great Phoenix and Twister were and I really wanted to visit. Plus, there were some other folks going that I’d yet to meet in person after knowing them online for many years.

I was flying out of Greensboro early Saturday morning heading into Philly, and then driving to Knoebel’s. I’d forgot to fill the Xterra up on Friday evening, so I had to stop and get gas, which took a little longer than I’d have liked on Saturday morning. I hadn’t actually driven to GSO from my house before as previously I headed over from work, which was about 20 minutes from the airport. The drive was longer than I’d expected.  Though I’d wanted to get there at 6:30 AM since I’d left my boarding pass at work after checking in and printing it out on Friday, I needed to print one at the airport.

Once I parked outside the main terminal’s front gate I ran into the terminal to print my pass…only to find out that the self service machines have a cutoff of 30 minutes prior to departure. It was about 27 minutes prior to departure so it said to see someone at the counter.

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Six Flags Great Adventure 2010

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September 5, 2010
Jackson NJ

Monday morning sure seemed a lot like Sunday morning. We headed out early from the Crowne Plaza and drove to Six Flags Great Adventure. I really had nothing on the agenda today other than to try and ride Kingda Ka as it was down the entire day when I was at the park last year. We arrived just after opening. I saw Ka testing, so I was excited. We headed into the park and met up with Ken over by Ka, but unfortunately the ride was down once we arrived. There wasn’t much of a line, but they had the queue closed off.

So we waited. We stood in the shade by the ride’s entrance. Monday was a little warmer than the rest of the weekend, but it was still nice with a breeze. After waiting maybe 15 minutes the ride opened and started launching riders. All three of us got in line for the front row, and since Matt and I rode together first when we got off I was able to just switch to the right side of the train and ride with Ken. I had wanted to ride this to compare it to Top Thrill Dragster since it opened. Dragster is a fun ride and only has a lap bar, but Ka had shoulder harnesses. I was adamant when the ride was built that they wouldn’t make much difference, but people had complained ever since. Now I saw why.

Kingda KaThe launch was no different from Dragster’s launch, but the shoulder restraints felt terrible as you’re launched forward and up the top-hat. The actual ascent feels much the same as Dragster, and going over the top I never felt the magnetic brakes slow us down on the way over. It was interesting to ride this one without having glasses on and being able to see. The downward spiral really hurt my shoulders both times that I rode, and the hill afterwards was more pain, less fun. I was glad it was over the first time, and even happier it was over the 2nd time. I don’t see me riding this many times on future visits.

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Quassy & Lake Compounce 2010

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September 4, 2010
Middlebury & Bristol CT

I slept better Saturday nite than I had on Friday. I’m not sure about Matt, but I was having allergy/sinus issues, so I snored pretty badly. On Sunday morning we got up and headed out, leaving our room at La Quinta behind. Our first stop of the day was Dunkin’ Doughnuts for breakfast. What is up with New England? They don’t keep chocolate cream filled doughnuts all year round, they’re only seasonal. Whatever.

Breakfast was still good, though, even if I settled for Bavarian cream. Matt learned not to call the cashier a Yankee, even if she tried to take his $10. Then it was thru the back roads of Connecticut and off to Quassy. We arrived at the park after 11 AM and families were already pouring in. My first thought was that it reminded me of a nicer Camden park. Walking around, though, it reminded me more of a smaller Beech Bend.

We walked over by the Mad Mouse but decided first to walk around so I could take some pictures. The park was very nice, and we walked all around snapping pictures. I was going to ride the kiddie coaster, but ended up skipping it. One thing I liked was that they had a ticket machine back by the carousel, so we got 2 tickets and headed back towards the coaster. This would be its last year here, so it was our chance to check a rare ride out.

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Boston 2010

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September 3, 2010
Boston MA

We left Six Flags on our way in to the city. I hadn’t been to Boston in 16 years, and Matt had never been, so we really didn’t have a plan. Matt said he just wanted to ride by Fenway Park, and to drive thru the Big Dig. When he said Fenway, I remembered that the Red Sox were playing the White Sox, so I got on my phone and looked up how much tickets were. Nothing online was available, so I tried to call, and the park has an automated system that you talk to and it wasn’t working correctly, which lead to me screaming “FENWAY PARK!!!” over and over again before giving up.

We got into Boston and drove by Fenway as the game was starting. Parking near the park was expensive, so we decided to try and park around Faneuil Hall instead. Matt got his wish of driving thru the Big Dig before we got over to the marketplace area and found a parking garage that ended up being just as expensive as if we had parked at Fenway, but oh well.

After leaving the garage, we headed over to the Greenway so that Matt could get a good look at the Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. We walked towards it and took pictures before finding a subway stop. Yay! New subway credit! We asked which line to take to Fenway and were told Green line, D train, though after waiting forever, we found out that we could go on C or B trains too. The trains on the side we took were small, but nice.

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Six Flags New England 2010

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September 3, 2010
Agawam MA

As I’d started a new job since moving I didn’t have much vacation time, so I was trying to use all of my extra days off that summer, as much as possible, to go on a couple of coaster trips. I had considered Chicago, then Ohio for Labor Day weekend, but then Matt suggested I come up for SFNE & Lake Compounce. That sounded tempting, so after a few weeks of planning I was almost set. I purchased my plane tickets a few weeks prior to the trip, and on Friday afternoon I left work at 4 PM bound for Greensboro for my flight. I was worried that I would get stuck in traffic, but I was in the terminal 25 minutes after I left work, and my flight wasn’t until 5:50 PM.

The flight to Charlotte was quick and easy and my layover in Charlotte was quick as well. Then the flight to Hartford/Springfield was much faster than I’d though it would be. In fact, we were at the airport about 20 minutes early, which was good because Matt was there waiting for me. We made our way to the La Quinta near the airport, which was pretty nice compared to the last La Quinta I’d stayed in. We settled in and I dealt with a stomach ache for the rest of the evening before finally drifting off to sleep after 1 AM.

On Saturday morning we got up and headed down for a quick bite to eat and then we headed out to our first park, a place I’d wanted to visit for a very long time, Six Flags New England. The weather was beautiful, and was calling for some clouds and blustery winds, which is what we got and it was fantastic.

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Carowinds CoasterStock 2010

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July 24, 2010
Charlotte NC

I’d been to Carowinds already a lot in 2010. Not that I’m complaining, but with CoasterStock coming, and me having not spent a full day there in a while, I really didn’t know if I’d want to be at the park from before opening to after close, especially since I’m not a morning person.

I slept a bit later than I’d intended, and I missed my exit because I wasn’t paying attention, so I got to the park later than I meant to but it wasn’t a big deal. The only morning ERT I wanted was on Afterburn so after arriving I headed there first. I rode in the 2nd row and it was really good. Once I got off I headed out to find Bill and Jill. I ran into them close to Afterburn, so we went back for 2 rides in the front. The ride is so different front to back, more intense, and I can’t take much of it. This early, and this hot, I wanted nothing to do with the back seat. But I can power ride in the front all day.

We walked over to the Flyers. I can’t remember if they rode that or not, but I knew I wasn’t going to be in the mood for spinning with it this early and this hot out. Once we made it to Intimidator, though, we got in line to wait for the park to open. We were on about the 3rd train of the day, near the front, and the ride was great as usual.

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Holiday World 2010

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June 4-5, 2010
HoliWood Nights
Santa Claus IN

We arrived at the hotel just before 6 PM. Matt Scott, Matt Shoebridge, and Bill were already at the park an hour early and had started riding things but the rest of us went to Joe’s room and settled just a bit before heading over. It was still EXTREMELY hot and uncomfortable. Even though it was so muggy out we eventually pulled together, got in the car, and drove over to the park. The line to pay to get in for Holiwood Nites was rather long, but went swiftly. Thankfully Wade was my ‘sponsor’ since he had a coaster enthusiast club affiliation and I did not.

Once we got in the park we traipsed around and down to the picnic pavilion where everyone else was. We were there probably 30 to 45 minutes and I was able to meet up with a lot of people I’d not seen in a while and some new people I’d not met before. I saw Andy Wong for the first time in 7 years. He’s all growed up now, married, and with a kid (actually, he’s my age, but that’s besides the point).

After a while we were all let loose to go in to the park to get food and ride the coasters and rides. I suggested to Ken & Wade that they ride Raven, then Legend, then Voyage, so we headed to Raven first. I’d never been too impressed with Raven, save for the 5th hill, so I kind of felt like getting it out of the way for the evening so that I could concentrate on Legend and Voyage.

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Six Flags St. Louis 2010

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June 4, 2010
St Louis MO

I hadn’t really thought about attending Holiwood Nites 2010 when I was planning out my travel for the year. I had no interest in going in 2009, but then I moved AND they were supposed to be getting new trains on Voyage. Let me stop quickly to talk about Voyage: I loved the ride. It highly on my overall coaster count. The reason(s) it isn’t my #1 overall is that I like the type of violent ejector air found on some other coasters, though many people feel it is the best ever made.

Previously Voyage, while great, wasn’t re-ridable for me. I could ride once, rest, then another, rest, then I’d have to go ride the other coasters. So new trains would perhaps change that. Since Matt, Bill, and a bunch of other friends were going, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years I decided to go.

This trip, though,  I refused to drive. I was flying out, and letting everyone else make the plans. I went along for the ride, as long as I got picked up at the airport and dropped off at the end of my trip. Again, I have to sidestep and say that I love that I live between 2 airports, one major (CLT) and one smaller regional with decent service (GSO). I decided to fly out of Greensboro because even though it had a layover in Charlotte, Greensboro was about $100 cheaper, AND it was only 20 minutes from work, as opposed to Charlotte at almost 2 hours, since I worked an hour north of my house. This made it easer to leave after work.

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Carowinds 2010

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April 2, 2010
Charlotte NC

Working in local government I had Good Friday 2010 off with pay. I had company coming and so I had to clean house. But I also needed to get to Charlotte because I had 2 major things to accomplish. After Time Warner came over to hook my 2nd cable box up, I left.

I arrived at South Park Mall in Charlotte around 4ish and headed to the Apple Store. As I walked thru, an attractive young woman was standing by with an Apple shirt on and I said “You look like you’re just waiting to help someone”. I told her I wanted the 500gb 21’ iMac and in less than 15 minutes I was walking out with one as well as a cover and dock for my iPhone and a MobileMe subscription.

Then I headed to destination #2. It didn’t take long to go in and get my Gold Pass at Carowinds and after parking in the season pass lot, which was almost full, I headed to Intimidator. Thank goodness for single rider lines. The wait in the single rider line was about 10-15 minutes. I was assigned to row 11 or 12 when my turn to ride came. The crew hustled. The park was mildly busy and the stand by line was about a 45 minute wait. Three trains were running. I sat down and soon we were off.

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Carowinds 2010

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March 12, 2010
Charlotte NC
Intimidator Construction Tour

I was invited to go on my first construction tour, so with my new camera strapped around my neck, a sore throat, and some comfortable walking shoes ( I headed to my new home park early on a Saturday morning to meet up with a bunch of other salivating coaster geeks. As soon as I’d gotten out of the car I saw Jonathan Hawkins, who I hadn’t seen in person since 2008. We chatted till we got to the back gate and then ran into a bunch of other people, some I recognized, some I didn’t.

We stood around for a while as Max, the Assistant ACE Rep for the region, and the park got things together, and then we headed in to the park. There were a lot of really important things going on with Carowinds for 2010 so we got a good overview of everything new. Our first ‘destination’ was a walk behind Carolina Cyclone.  It was sporting a new paint job for 2010, its 30th year at the park. I wasn’t a fan of the new color scheme but it was definitely in need of some painting.

Bart, the new-ish General Manager, likes slim trees and line of sight to the rides, Dani said, so some trees had sadly been removed, and some had been thinned down, and some new thin trees had been planted in new areas. As we walked from the back of the park to the new Planet Snoopy section much work was being done with painting, landscaping, construction, destruction (they just cut Sponge Bob off of the fountain recently) and more going on. Everyone in the park was very busy.

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