Ah, the annual region trip. Started as a tradition in 2014 when I did a big trip to my cousin's place in Vegas and did some parks in the Vegas and LA areas and decided I wanted to do that every year but to different places in the country and one day, the world. I had been planning this one in particular and planned to do it for years, but other regions had always attracted me more. Now with pretty much the entire East Coast knocked out except part of BGW and Florida, it was time to head inland for creds! Six Flags Great America is actually the closest Six Flags park to me but I had never been, and other parks up there really attracted me, mainly for the fact that they have a ton of modern CAD-designed wooden coasters around, which have very recently become my favorite "breed" of coaster. Between Six Flags Great America, Mt. Olympus, Timber Falls Adventure Park, Nickelodeon Universe, and Valleyfair, only one of them didn't have a modern wooden coaster, so logically that region was the one to hit. So I grabbed my friend Connor and we hit the road! Day 1 I worked all night the night before we made the 5 hour trek up to Six Flags Great America to kick off the trip, so needless to say I started #GreatLakes2017 absolutely knackered, knowing my driving abilities and potentially my theme parking abilities would be limited at best. I got off my third shift job at 7 that morning and Connor got me around 10 and we hit the road for Chicago, Illinois! Once we got into Indiana I was able to take over and take like an hour off his driving duty but on 18 hours no sleep, I was limited to what I could do. Dressed to go RMC riding! I got this shirt but made sure this was the first time I wore it! Gary, Indiana, the very same one from the song! Yeah, it's not quite as happy anymore... We kept on driving and it took about an hour to get through the Chicago area to Gurnee just because of tolls and having to change highways in suburban areas. I slept a bit south of town but was woken up by Connor needing toll money like fifteen minutes in. But finally we got to our hotel, checked in, and got our Uber to the park to avoid paying $25 to park for a day or $80 for a season! Traffic on the way there was awful but our Uber driver Kyle was at least super cool, told us it was a good day to go. The second I saw this I knew it sucked from the getgo. Never seen a park with a cattepen to get in the gate, and that turnstile building is hideous to begin with. Hoped it was better on the inside! Not a bad welcome at all! But you can tell from how shaky my hand was that I was a bit eager to get on a certain something from Idaho... No, not that thing from Idaho! This thing from Idaho! Ordinarily I'd want to say that a coaster called Goliath is bigger than I was expecting, but it honestly wasn't. It was way shorter and more compact than I expected. I knew RMC had limited space to work with on this project but the way it was barely twenty feet wide really fascinated me. It said an hour wait on the sign but there's no way we waited more than 45. And to make things even better, Connor and I got the back row! Both of our first times on this ride and his first RMC period! Where to start with this thing... Goliath certainly rides like other coasters of its breed. It's glass smooth, the airtime is killer, the inversions are the holy grail of floater, and it's still aggressive. However, I would be lying if I didn't say I was at least a bit let down by it at first. One thing it lacked was simply the sheer aggression you'd get from another RMC. It barely felt fast and it didn't do nearly as much tossing. You start the ride, however, with the best RMC drop they've done yet. That first overbank has to be the most docile element RMC has done to date. However, that's when the ride really starts. That first airtime hill is typical RMC killer ejector, but the only proper moment of it on the ride. Afterwards there's a beautifully floaty dive loop followed by the best part of the ride: the stall. You barrel right out of that dive loop, shoot right through a roll, and just when you're expecting it to come out, it holds you upside down for a solid two seconds. And if you look up, there are no supports and it's just your bar holding you in in possibly the weirdest type of force I've yet to experience. They hit the positives just right on this element and it's perfect, inversions usually don't interest me that much but this one was incredible. Finally, the ride does two little 90 degree overbanks that throw you around a bit before a pop of air welcomes you to the brakes, satisfied but wanting a lot more. Initially I ranked it just below Voyage and not with the other RMCs in that little chase group I have chilling at the top with their token Intamin Skyrush. Goliath cleaned out all the RMC Topper Tracks in the States, time to clean out another national set, every B&M Wing Coaster in the US! Wow!!!! I was expecting X-Flight to rank towards the bottom of my wing coaster count but it was actually very comparable to my favorite one at the moment, which is Thunderbird. The drop isn't as good as GateKeeper's but it's still awesome, the other elements flow together beautifully as it glides over that queue path, and the ride's keyhole tower at the end ties it all together beautifully! Easily my number two wing coaster! After that we met up with a very familiar face that happens to work there. Everybody's favorite rod-possessing dude GuyWithAStick got off work and we met him by Goliath! We all headed for American Eagle, which was sadly running the blue side, which he said was the weaker side. Wow, what a boring ride. Barely any floater, that helix is totally pointless, and that last helix is slowed down way too much. It's an Intamin which I respect, but sorry this thing can go. Probably would have made a better RMC than Goliath to be perfectly honest. #RMCitorWreckit They had just repainted the front half of the ride so it at least looked kind of nice as it sat back there and sucked, and that helix actually looks cool as lame as it is. I'd say call Alan and get the ball rolling but since they already have an RMC (though I wouldn't exactly mind two...) maybe get GCI to do to it what they did to Ghostrider. That would actually be really awesome most likely. Next up we did another SFGAm classic, Demon! I was actually delighted to hear them playing the Demon Song from the Marriott era in the 80s I had heard on YouTube. Turns out this is actually one of the better classic Arrow loopers, I really liked it! The loops were like the ones on Vortex back at home but without the pain, and that tunnel with the flashing lights really took me off guard. I liked the rockwork around it too. Next up was Southwest Territory which is now my new favorite Six Flags themed area, this area is amazingly themed, it looks beautiful, and has two coasters! Naturally, we started off with the park's juggernaut of a B&M hyper, the mighty Raging Bull! I actually went into this coaster with extremely low expectations. As far as I'm concerned, Intamin makes much better hypers and these are nothing but weak floater to moderate at best. Add in the fact that I keep hearing that this one is the worst and I was expecting to just get the cred and go, especially with how meh Nitro is. What a surprise! Raging Bull is actually pretty good! For such an old B&M, it's butter smooth except for the occasional bit of delightful violence. This one definitely has a bit of aggression to it, violently flying up into those hammerheads and overbanks with the occasional bit of airtime in between them. It's a pretty solid, well-paced ride from the violent airtime coming off the drop to the finale twisting on the ground. I was already tired and was half expecting it to put me to sleep and it ended up being my #3 B&M hyper behind Behemoth and Diamondback. Kind of like a much weaker, old school B&M version of Fury that does more speed than airtime but still makes it a crucial part of the layout. Next up was Viper, which I've been told was the first ever CAD-designed wooden coaster? Not sure how factual that is but I had heard it was good. But sadly, one train and it took forever, and in that wait it was just hitting me how long I had been awake. When it came time to ride, I rode with GWAS and he noticed I was nodding off on the lift hill... The next thing I know I'm being tossed to the left and my bench is out from under me! That drop woke me right up! Going back over that hill GWAS told me, "this is where the ride gets good." This thing rocks! I was out of my seat over every hill! I put it towards the bottom of my wooden top ten but hardly committed to it, knowing with it being that low it wouldn't survive the week there. Next we made our way back over to Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. Connor had been to SFSL the year they got theirs and I've been to SFGAdv this year (again, got one this year) but neither of us got to ride them because they weren't opened. I was expecting this ride to suck but I loved it! The animatronic Cyborg in the queue was something I didn't expect at all in this day and age of screens on everything. Turns out that this ride is the perfect mix of screens and props! The cars travel through scenes full of props and animatronics before pointing at a screen and shooting at a realistic 3D movie to rack up points. There's a really incredible scene where you're chasing the bad guys down the streets of Metropolis and the vehicle makes it feel very realistic and at the end you're thrown up into a building and as soon as that happens it turns away and you're in a destroyed office. Such a great ride, by far my new favorite dark ride and I'd love to see other chains get these! Next up was the best themed drop tower I've ever seen, Giant Drop! It's a drop tower so not much to say on the ride but it's a good one! Rocks made me a bit claustrophobic in line though. (You can tell I was getting tired after this as the quality of my pictures drops faster than this thing...) Afterwards we met up with Alex (another local I know) by Goliath who asked Connor and I if we had heard about what happened at home. When we said no, he showed all three of us the Ohio State Fair video for the first time right there on the midway, I'll never forget the horrified look on Connor and GWAS's faces seeing something like that happen and I'll always remember where I was when I found out. On a happier note, we went over to Spacely's Sprocket Rockets and knocked that credit out. Not gonna lie, one of the better kiddie creds I've ridden, though waiting on that platform with the Jetsons jingle repeating over and over again over the screams of annoying children running everywhere was kind of annoying. Next up was V2: Vertical Velocity, the first of two Intamin Impulses on this trip...with a horrendously long line. A guy. With a stick. On an impulse. Sucks to be you, V2, you're the worst of the impulses. The setting is nice but the lack of a holding brake just kills it for me, I'm sorry. Afterwards we did the only New for 2017 coaster on this trip, SFGAm's Joker! Level: At night! We just single ridered it and got the credit and I have to admit, it was pretty insane not being able to tell exactly which way is up. In the day you can see the horizon clearly, here you can't so you know the ground is wherever the light is coming from, roughly. On the second pass of the layout I kicked my legs out and it held us upside down the whole way. Those raven turns are amazing too! Love these little Joker clones, KK needs one! Next up was a clone we're aware I'm not too fond of... SFGAm's Batman clone was the first one I had ridden at night and also the one with the most theming left intact. We all know I don't necessarily care for coasters that do all force and nothing else, but this Batman clone was different. It shreds the layout, twisting around the trees and pond like that is insane, but it's smooth and it's fast! Still not a fan of the layout as is but for that layout, this one takes it the best. Easily the best Batman clone, I actually really liked it! No "WHAM!!!," "POK!!!," or "SCHPLOOM!!!" that I would ordinarily expect from a Batman clone, especially an older one. (PLEASE tell me someone got that joke, that show is so hilariously bad I love it!) Next ride of the night was Whizzer, a coaster GWAS told us was one of the best family coasters out there. I had never ridden one but I kept hearing it was good. Love how retro it felt. Because we knew we weren't cramming three or even two grown men into those seats, we all rode separately but those seats are so comfy! Sitting that low to the track as the ride rips around the forest at night is an amazing sensation! I easily have a new favorite family coaster in this. We ended the night on Connor's first B&M flyer, Superman: Ultimate Flight! It was pretty standard for a Superman clone, I ranked it in between the two other ones I had ridden. It's kind of cool riding it at night, though. After that, GWAS went back to the employee lot and Connor and I got on out of there, ready to rest up to get a good second day in, still in need of three credits. We were going to call an Uber but my friend Scott in the area offered us a ride back to the hotel. So we waited at the drop off area, looking for a car he described as "It's a police car." The next thing we know the black car from Mystic Timbers Media Day is pulling up to the park and Scott's shining a high powered flashlight at us like a police light. So he drove us back to his hotel and said his car was having issues...turns out that right after he dropped us his car gave out and he had to leave it at a mechanic's shop next door. I blacked out the second my head hit the pillow. Good night, SFGAm, see you tomorrow! UP NEXT: More action at lovely Great America and the surprise of the trip!