Canada 2019 Day 7

SFDL.PNGSix Flags Darien Lake | Photos | Videos


May 10, 2019
Darien Lake NY

Okay, so this one doesn’t have much Canada in it, but thats where I started out for the day. Friday morning I woke up, packed up, checked out, and headed to the Rainbow Bridge to cross the border back into the US for good on this trip. Crossing the border into the US was always quicker than crossing over in to Canada. I was on my way pretty quick, with a couple of quick stops for pictures, and off through Buffalo and on to Darien Lake for my first visit. The day was cold and rainy, which was fine as I only wanted to spend a short amount of time at SFDL to ride the coasters. This being the first year back fully under the Six Flags Umbrella, my Diamond Elite Membership got me in, with free parking, and lots of other perks I ended up not using or needing on this visit.

The drive to SFDL was quick and easy. I stopped at yet another (the last of the trip) Tim Hortons for breakfast, and before long, I was pulling in, showing my pass, and parking near the gate at Darien Lake. Apparently there was some band competition there, but the park was still very dead. And as I’d never been before, that made me very happy. I had seen Superman running as I drove by the park to the parking lot, so I knew it was up and running, and it would be a milestone coaster for me. So I headed in with my pass and made my way over to the left, walking to my first coaster of the day.

Ride of Steel (400)-FINALLY! I finally hit 400 credits. I’ve ridden the sister clone at Six Flags America, which was my 2nd hyper coaster ever. I’ve loved it for many years. I was glad to see that this ride had updated their trains to the newer restraints. For my first ride I sat in the last row. Before long we were speeding on our way up the lift hill. Getting pulled over the top, the first drop I was very used to from it’s sister in MD. The rest of the ride, though, was very mediocre. It’s cold, early in the season (opening day), and early in the morning. So even though there was airtime, the ride had not warmed up. It was good, mind you. The turn into the first hill, up and over had major floater air. The last 3 hills gave airtime as well. But it wasn’t what this ride is capable of, and that’s okay.

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Atlanta 2018

ATL18Banner.pngSix Flags over Georgia | Photos | Videos


October 10, 2018
Atlanta GA

I love Atlanta.  It’s one of my favorite cities. I’m thankful that its only a four hour drive from where I live because I can get there pretty easy and pretty often. The previous year I took a group of friends for a fun weekend in Atlanta in October, but because of some issues we felt like we needed a do over. We all had a nice time, but there were some interpersonal issues with someone who didn’t go this year followed up with some expectations not being met.  We decided to head back in 2018 to set it right. Well…

We’d gotten rooms at the Marquis Marriott in Midtown where we stayed in 2017. I like the Marriott and the Hilton across the street because they’re very convenient and easy for Lyft to get to. We didn’t want to drive this weekend. I’d requested off half a day on Friday and planned to pick up a rental car as neither my friend nor I wanted to drive our cars to Atlanta. I’d rented thru Enterprise, thankfully choosing the free cancellation option. That will be important to the story in a second.

On Friday my friend Stefan came to my house where I dropped my car off after work, then we headed to Enterprise. I’d dealt with the guy at the counter once before when I had to rent a car after someone hit mine. He wasn’t very nice then and apparently things hadn’t changed. The quoted price was originally $212 but for some unexplainable reason went to $412 with a $200 deposit. I expected the deposit, but even though my insurance (and credit card) would cover the insurance without having to purchase theirs, he tried to up the price to add insurance for the day, then some other random daily fees.

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Six Flags Great America 2014

14SFGAmBanner.jpgSix Flag Great America | Photos | Videos


September 1, 2014
Gurnee IL

Arriving at the park around 9:30 AM we got in the line to the parking lot which opened around 9:50, then parked right near the entrance. We had printed our $15 off coupons to get in to the park and gotten our tickets so we headed over to the entrance, which opened promptly at 10:00 AM. Most rides were apparently going to open at 10:30, but just as we got back to get in line for Goliath, which started in the bridge near the entrance, the rain really started to pour. So that meant that rides were delayed.

We hoped that rain would let up just enough for us to at least get our credits as Goliath was going to be 700 for Jay, and I was going to hit 300 at some point, and radar backed our hopes up. Finally, the rain stopped and the coasters started testing. Then they let us in line for Goliath. It was close to 11:00 AM when we got on, so a total wait of less than 30 minutes not counting the rain delay. This would be my 3rd full RMC coaster, though my first with all topper track (note: I had ridden Georgia Cyclone which had some topper track, and I though it ran amazing with the topper track. I was excited.

GoliathWe rode in the front row. Goliath had a great first drop. Then it went up into the overbanked turn around that had pops of airtime in the entrance and exit of the element. Then there was the airtime hill with some major ejector air followed by the dive loop, which had some awesome and comfortable hang time. Then it goes into the zero G stall which, again, had amazing hang time. Next you hit the other turn around with airtime in the entrance and exit, then up with a shot of ejector airtime into the brake run. It was really amazing. It had a short ride time, but it packed a punch. It was not my new number one, but it was very good, like a mini Texas Giant.
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Six Flags Magic Mountain 2012

12SFMMBannerSix Flags Magic Mountain | Photos | Videos


December 17, 2012
Valencia CA

I left Knott’s Berry Farm at 12:30 PM. I should have stopped and gotten something to eat, but not knowing how L.A. traffic would be midday on a Monday, and not knowing exactly how long the ride would be, I waited till I got to Six Flags, which was a mistake I’ll get into in a bit. Overall, it to me about an hour and six minutes to make the drive from Knott’s to Six Flags. Not bad, from what I can tell, in moderate traffic. Who says driving in L.A. is hard?

It went from beautiful to partly cloudy, to pretty dreary by the time I got to Magic Mountain. Why was it always dreary when I go to Magic Mountain? I was, however, excited when I arrived and saw things that made me happy. First, X2 was running.  Second, there was only 1 open car lane in to the park, which I hoped meant that it was about as busy as Knott’s. Third, getting into the parking lot, seeing a couple hundred cars, and parking right behind the handicapped spaces. Fourth, only one gate into the park was open, followed by empty midways. There were more employees at Magic Mountain than guests.

Already, I was in a better mood than my first miserable experience, but then I was just heading in to the park. Would the park be clean? Would the rides be opened? I figured without pressing my luck too much, I would head to my favorite coaster in California thus far…

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Six Flags Over Texas 2011

11SFOTBannerSix Flags over Texas | Photos | Videos


September 3-4, 2011
Arlington & Dallas TX

When Six Flags over Texas announced that they were completely redoing the Texas Giant, I was apprehensive. I hadn’t ridden it, and was hoping that they’d make a once well liked coaster well liked again, but when they announced what they were doing to it, I was kind of worried. Especially since this was basically now going to be a prototype for the Rocky Mountain Iron Horse track that was being placed on the ride. Over the course of several months (well, a year, I guess), I watched with anticipation. I chose not to go to Texas for 2010 as I had planned, and talked about a Texas trip with Matt Scott to check the ride out.

Matt loved the original and was very apprehensive as well, but we started to make plans for a decent sized Texas trip for Memorial Day Weekend 2011. Then we switched it to July 4 Weekend, 2011. Then we finally decided on Labor Day Weekend because that worked out best for both of us, since I was starting a new job in December 2010 and needed to make sure I had enough vacation time.

A few months passed and we planned the trip out. Then one day Matt found a great price on a flight and asked me when I was going to book and if he should go ahead and book his flight and vacation time. I said sure, because I had planned to book my flight that Friday since it was pay day. Unfortunately, 2 days after Matt booked his flight, I lost my new job. This was both a blessing and a curse for me as I’d spent four very long, very miserable months working for a county that was run very poorly. It was stressful and I was already looking for another job after only about 2 months in, but that’s beside the point. I found myself unemployed and with no hope of going to Texas unless I found another job in time and could get off for Labor Day while giving up on taking Friday or Tuesday off as well.

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Six Flags Great Adventure 2010

10SFGAdvBanner.jpgSix Flags Great Adventure | Photos | Videos


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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Six Flags New England 2010

10SFNEBanner.jpgSix Flags New England | Photos |Videos


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 Weather.com was calling for some clouds and blustery winds, which is what we got and it was fantastic.

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Six Flags St. Louis 2010

IMG_3411.PNGSix Flags St. Louis | Photos | Videos


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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Six Flags Over Georgia 2010

10SFOGBanner.jpgSix Flags over Georgia | Photos | Videos


March 5, 2010
Atlanta GA

Not long after I’d moved to North Carolina I had an idea: I could go to Atlanta for opening weekend of Six Flags over Georgia! Since my first and last visit was rained out and gloomy over 2 days at the park, and there were lots of things I didn’t get to do, I hoped I would have a nice warm day with minimal lines. Unfortunately the weekend before I planned on going I was very sick. I had planned to make reservations that weekend but got so sick that I ended up second guessing my decision to go. When Monday came I was still sick. Then Tuesday. Then Wednesday. But by Wednesday evening I started feeling some better, so I made reservations on Orbitz. On my last visit in March of 2009 I ended up staying in Marietta at a Ramada Limited. It was clean, convenient, and close to the highway, so I decided I would try for Marietta again. I found a similar room, same ratings as last year, for about $10 cheaper in Marietta so I booked it at a total cost of around $80 for 2 nights.

Friday came and after work I rushed home to get my stuff and head out. Traffic thru Charlotte was awful and put me behind schedule. All of my driving was at nite and this gave me a terrible headache as the lights bothered me due to so much traffic. Around midnight, though, I had finally arrived in Marietta. Eventually I saw the hotel and my GPS told me to turn right, which was impossible as there was only a wall and no exit. I had trouble trying to get to the place, so eventually I called and the lady guided me to the entrance, which was up and off a side street across the bridge I’d kept going under. I should have turned left, then right, but the GPS didn’t say anything about turning left. I checked in rather quickly because I wanted to get to the room. So far motel looked nice so I was happy.

After parking around back I got my stuff out of the trunk, locked up and walked towards the stairs. Then I heard a man start coughing, which startled me. He watched me as I walked up the stairs and then started yelling incoherently at me. I didn’t like this at all, so I rushed to my room. I opened the door…and immediately wished I wasn’t staying there. It was dirty. It was really nasty. I closed and bolted the door shut. I was not happy. People started walking by my door loudly talking and stopping right outside of my door. I felt unsafe. I didn’t want to sleep in the bed, but had no real choice. After about 30 minutes, I got on my phone and used Hotwire to get a better room for the next night, which ended up being at the Atlanta Hilton in downtown for $71. I knew I’d be losing my money for the 2nd nite here, but I didn’t care. I didn’t get much sleep and as soon as morning came I packed up, checked out, and left. I’d never stay there again.

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Six Flags America 2009

09SFABanner.jpg

Six Flags America | Photos | Videos


September 6, 2009
Washington D.C.

For 2009 I had gotten a Six Flags season pass, and since I already had a trip planned up north for Labor Day weekend, I decided to take a side trip to Six Flags America. In fact, 2009 was the first year I can ever remember that I went on a coaster trip both Memorial Day weekend to start the summer off, and Labor Day weekend to end the summer. After waking up Sunday morning and having breakfast with friends I headed east to the D.C. metro area. I hadn’t been to Six Flags America since 2007, but since nothing new had been added I had no real plans for how I wanted to hit the park, other than to ride the rides I liked and skip the rides I didn’t while hoping that it wouldn’t be busy all day.

After a little over 2 hours of driving time I finally arrived at the front gate. It took a while to find a parking spot and I ended up in a far away lot I didn’t even know existed. The park looked packed, and people were heading to the front gate in droves. This was not what I wanted to see at all. The ticket booths had long lines, but thankfully all I had to do was present my season pass at the front turnstiles, show my wallet, keys, phone, and camera to security, and head in. I grabbed a park map and headed back to the back of the park.

I snapped pictures all along the way, and there were people everywhere. Once I got into the Gotham City area of the park, which was by far the worst of the themed Gotham Cities I’d seen due to lack of themeing, I noticed that Joker’s Jinx had a very small line. This was great, so I headed there first.
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