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#GreatLakes2017://Day 4- Renegade Rocks While Valleyfair Can't Sing

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Jarrett, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. Jarrett

    Jarrett Most Obnoxious Member 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    Best Coaster:
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    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.

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    Dressed to go RMC riding! I got this shirt but made sure this was the first time I wore it!

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    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!

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    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.

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    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!

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    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...

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    No, not that thing from Idaho!

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    This thing from Idaho!

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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!

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    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!

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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...

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    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...)

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    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.

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    Next up was V2: Vertical Velocity, the first of two Intamin Impulses on this trip...with a horrendously long line.

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    A guy. With a stick. On an impulse.

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    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.

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    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...

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    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!)

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!

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  2. GuyWithAStick

    GuyWithAStick Captain Basic Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Nice report! It was super cool to meet you, and had a wonderful time.

    Can't wait to see the next part of the trip!
     
  3. seamaur

    seamaur Active Member

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    Can't wait to read more!
     
  4. Jarrett

    Jarrett Most Obnoxious Member 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    Totally agree, getting to meet you in person was awesome and you were an amazing park tour guide! Thanks so much for the help!

    You got more on the way today! :D

    -x-

    Day 2

    I woke up a bit earlier than Connor did (I don't need much sleep to recharge) and headed out to grab some Froot Loops and milk for breakfast. I came back and both of us finished getting ready and called our Uber. Sadly, our Uber driver this time wasn't nearly as cool as Kyle and we got some lady that took us to the employee entrance and then moaned when we told her we couldn't enter the park through there. But she got us there eventually and we again endured the weird cattlepen structure to get into the park.

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    Good morning, Six Flags!

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    Dark Knight was our first cred of the day, and the first of three we needed. Connor loved it but to me it was still a standard ride, liked the water spray though!

    Little Dipper was next and I didn't even get any photos, but it was standard. Credit's a credit, that's 2, just need one more.

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    It should be no question what #RMCitorWreckit Jarrett wanted to do next.

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    Line wasn't as bad as it was yesterday and they were playing Loony Tunes in line in classic Six Flags fashion. For some reason, sitting there in a line full of grown adults laughing at a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon made for kids is the most feel good thing ever.

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    I thought this said #RideWithRMC at first, haha!

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    That ride was way better than I remembered it being the previous day. It didn't hold back on the airtime, brought the violence in those corners, and felt absolutely ballistic as it swooped and dived over and under itself in that tiny pad of land. Look who up to join the rest of the RMC family, climbing a couple spots above Voyage and Fury but still at the back of the RMC pack. Still though, having a weakest RMC is like having a least successful Fortune 500 company. Can't help but wish it were a longer ride but I still love the thing.

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    Up next to clean the park out we did American Eagle's red side and sadly, it still sucked. Barely any airtime and that last helix was even weaker than the one on the blue side.

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    Up next was X-Flight! I was so stoked, I love this ride!

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    When you gotta make this fit into a hole made for this...

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    Sadly we sat in the back and I wasn't a fan. In the front? It's amazing. In the back? It rattles like cray and actually was borderline painful. Great speed coming through that dive drop, navigated the elements nicely, but the texture had a bit to be desired.

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    Two absolutely unbelievable coasters...

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    Up next was another B&M beaut, Raging Bull! I honestly think this might be the best hyper despite how heavily panned it is, for some reason I like how you can actually feel the speed on it better than the others.

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    Well we wanted to do Whizzer but the line was sadly very long. :(

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    With Viper and Whizzer both having long lines, Connor and I decided to hit the train next.

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    If you want some good Joker shots, this is the way to get them!

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    There's my bae!

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    Train ruining an otherwise amazing shot...

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    Nerd shot!

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    Did World's Greatest Batman Clone next and it delivers just as much in the day as it does at night! This thing ranks so much higher than the cookie cutter clones it spawned for some reason, it runs so much better and smoother and the location is much better. Love that the supports are purple too, which is my favorite color.

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    After that, Connor and I hatched a plan that involved leaving Chicago and getting to Wisconsin Dells at a reasonable time, so decided to grab one more goodbye lap on Goliath before leaving.

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    Obligatory name plate shot.

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    Got a few more nerd shots on the way out, this one to show off the machining that goes into those wood stacks and laminate beams. I love how Goliath in particular has painted laminate strips, more topper tracks ought to have this.

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    So twistable, versatile, and smooth. <3

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    The amount of precision that goes into these coasters is beautiful. The ride experiences are exactly as they're intended to be and you can tell.

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    Goliath also has the distinction for me of being my first RMC with a Vekoma lift truss, one of only two of their jobs that have them. Not gonna lie, it's something they should do more. Really makes it feel like a proper wooden coaster from the 2010's.

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    I love this shot!

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    This needs to happen more. Make it happen more, RMC.

    This coaster, like everything else RMC has done, is a marvel of engineering. Sure it's the weakest RMC but with what they had to work with, they did pretty well. For such a tiny space, this is undoubtedly the best thing that could have gone there and I'd love to see more parks get coasters like this. You have the best RMC drop ever, an incredible overbank, a killer ejector hill, an awesome inversion followed by my favorite inversion on a coaster anywhere, two tiny but violent overbanks, and one more ejector pop into the brakes. It's a short ride, but that's a good amount of stuff packed into such a short ride. It is now sitting in a well deserved #6 spot and I think it's fair to say it was the most significant coaster of the trip.

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    Six Flags Great America is, by far, my new favorite Six Flags Park. I think New England still has better flagship rides but this has more enjoyable rides and nothing I would consider offensive, not to mention the ambiance is much better. It feels nice and old school while still being clear in its identity as a modern regional amusement park. They have an RMC, an awesome take on the classic Coney Island Cyclone, the best B&M hyper, and the second best B&M wing coaster. Add in one of the best dark rides ever, the beautiful theming in Southwest Territory, and an incredible family coaster, and you have an amazing park. Hats off to you, Six Flags, I'm sad I didn't make the journey here sooner considering it's only five hours away. I'll definitely be back here soon for sure.

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    Goodbye, Six Flags! I hope to see you again very soon!

    Of course, the last Uber driver of the trip we had was Kyle, the cool guy that we got the previous day so we got to tell him how it was and it made him want to make it back there. Connor and I decided to maybe bump each park up a time slot in the trip, to say. We had talked about how it might be hard to do Valleyfair and Nick Universe both in the same day on a Saturday, so we changed plans a bit. We left SFGAm with the intention of getting to Wisconsin Dells at night to grab a night ride on Avalanche, doing Mount Olympus and Nick Universe tomorrow, and Valleyfair all day Saturday. So I finally got off my arse and got in gear doing my share of driving on the trip. There was a ton of traffic so we took a few back roads, crossing into Wisconsin over State Line Road, getting possibly the lamest welcome to the state without a sign or welcome center or anything, but hey, new state credit for me! We stopped at an Arby's on the way and the girl taking our order had the most beautiful Wisconsin accent ever, that combined with the landscape already let me know I was in a state that would end up being one of my favorites.

    So we got into Wisconsin Dells and guess what? I missed the exit! And with how rural it was, it was a good five minutes to the next one. Missed it again! And it was like 9:36 with Timber Falls closing at 10...and the next place I could turn around was like 8 minutes away. So I got there, turned around, and floored it back to Wisconsin Dells, desperate to get that cred tonight.

    In the nerve wracking couple of blocks to a closing Timber Falls, I instructed Connor that we would have to run in Amazing Race style. We got all of our crap together, with me pocketing my camera, phone, and wallet at the longest red light ever, and peeled out down to the final intersection before our destination. Up on a hill overlooking us was a small complex of fake rockwork, wooden walkways, and steel truss, all crowned by a small lit sign reading "Timber Falls Adventure Park."

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    I parked right in front of the coaster, shut the ignition off, tossed Connor his keys. Both of us ripped the doors open and bolted under the rockwork arch of an entrance sign into the ticket booth. We got in and I frantically asked if they were still open, pulling my phone out to look at the time. 9:51, we had just made it! All that cred anxiety just went away in an instant. We paid $6.50 each for a ticket and were sent right into the queue line, right next to the ticket booth.

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    Wisconsin Dells had clearly gone to bed. As we headed up the network of wooden decks to the platform, the only sounds to be heard were the trickle of water features, our footsteps reverberating against the timbers, and the chorus of nocturnal wildlife in the forests surrounding the Dells. Connor and I were the only two on property. So we got into the station and immediately noticed the worn out condition of the PTC trains on the track, and that combined with the reputation this thing had instantly worried me. I could tell it had hardly been maintained. So we handed our tickets over, sat up front as the only two in the train, and I braced for the worst as the train dispatched.

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    Surprise, Jarrett!!!

    I was hanging on to my restraint with one hand, grabbing the front of the train with the other (I don't think the grab bars were still attached), and leaned forward when the train shot down the drop and WHAM!!! That first turn felt like nothing short of getting your car spun out by a cop on an Ohio highway going 73 in a 70 zone. And then came a hill full of lovely airtime. But it was smooth, and not painful at all! I let go and put my hands up, seeing now that this was actually a very good ride! It's just a little inconspicuous wooden coaster surrounding a putt putt course but I have so many good things to say about it. First, it's great where it is. It actually dances along the rockwork of the golf course and that provides some really cool visuals, especially at night when it's lit up. Second, the ride is literally a game of airtime roulette. It's full of lovely hills that provide every kind of airtime imagineable. Some of them provide lifty Gravity Group-style ejector, some of them are more floater, some are sort of borderline floatjector, some of them barely kick you. But all of the hills provide airtime to some extent and it's so much fun heading into a hill and not knowing how hard it's going to chuck you. And finally, my favorite thing about the ride, those turns. I could tell right away that it goes into those turns way hotter than I thought it would and what it does to the lovely ride experience is beautiful. It feels like you're getting hit by a semi in every single one and it's so violent I can't even begin to describe. Like, every time it turns it feels like you're getting t-boned by a tractor trailer and it's perfect for it. With a few pops of floater, our ride came to an end and I got off totally floored! When I told people about this trip some of them didn't even know about this coaster and we had only wanted it because it was unique and an Alan Schilke product but getting off I knew it was in my top 10 wood easily!

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    Afterwards we walked around the property for a bit, looking at it and trying to get decent shots in the dark.

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    WHAM!!!!

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    It looks great at night but I was limited with what I could do for photos, this made me regret leaving my tripod back in Ohio.

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    After a bit of that we hit the car and decided to drive to our hotel, but I left Timber Falls feeling very surprised and very welcomed to Wisconsin. This might be the most surprising coaster I've ever been on. It just zips around that mini golf course so nicely, claiming a spot in my top twenty combined and top ten wood right behind Mystic Timbers. If you're in the area I know it's $6.50 a go and just one credit, but do not miss it! I've become such a huge advocate for this ride in the coaster community, it deserves to be more well known than it is!

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    It was dark so I couldn't get a good picture while the car was in motion, but we drove past this thing. Not sure what it was but it looked fun, thought we might check it out tomorrow.

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    My mom had some extra hotel points she offered us and with the expensive hotels in the Dells, it was a no brainer which night to use them. This is the nicest room I've ever stayed in while coastering! Outlets everwhere, Connor and I each had our own little reading lamp, and the bathroom had one of those fancy sliding rich people doors! We got in before 11, I called Emily to scream in her ear that she missed out not coming because she didn't get to experience Avalanche, and then we went to bed. Had to be up at a time of day that college students seldom see to get free breakfast. Oh, and Mt. Olympus tomorrow. That too.

    UP NEXT: A couple of Son of Beast survivors take on Mt. Olympus maintenance, the dumbest thing I've ever seen a park guest do, the most ejector I have ever gotten on a traditional wooden coaster, mechanized assault and battery on the worst cred I've ever had the displeasure of riding, and Jarrett and Connor get cartoon crazy!

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  5. LiveForTheLaunch

    LiveForTheLaunch Well-Known Member

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    Your photo skills are absolutely abysmal. Please work on that because your reports are decent. No more pictures of just random, blurry blobs of close-up track sans a train, please.

    Otherwise, good report. I actively disagree with you about Xflight being good, and I have mixed feelings about Avalanche. The straight bits and hills are amazing, as is the setting, but the turns just absolutely kill it.

    You should have stayed in the Olympus resort hotel. It was so cheap and youbget your own waterpark plus admission for 2 days and ERT. The Dells is fab <3 also, Timber Falls was dead when we webt at like 630 PM so I think it is just unpopular
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
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  6. GuyWithAStick

    GuyWithAStick Captain Basic Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    If you ride X-Flight anywhere but the front, you'll have that reaction. ;)

    Kinda sad you didn't like Eagle Red, the ride is soo much better there.

    Interesting to hear that about Avalanche. I've only heard horror stories, so I'm glad there's some hope in the ride!

    Sent from my VS820 using Tapatalk
     
  7. LiveForTheLaunch

    LiveForTheLaunch Well-Known Member

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    ^ I have ridden both front and back on XFlight and I didn't care for it. It doesn't help I'm not a fan of that type of coaster to begin with, but when it's compared to the others, it definitely falls short.
     
  8. seamaur

    seamaur Active Member

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    Surprised on your thoughts on Avalanche/Hellcat. Last time I rode it it was unbearably rough.
     
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  9. Hixee

    Hixee Most Knowledgeable Member 2016 Staff Member Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    My recollection is not necessarily "unbearably rough", but I do recall it being pretty rattly (back in 2013). So maybe they are actually doing some maintenance after all?
     
  10. Jarrett

    Jarrett Most Obnoxious Member 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    Yeah, as someone who was head photographer for my school yearbook and has had quite a few experienced photographers tell me I'm at least pretty good, I'll admit I'm pretty disappointed with the photo haul from this trip, most specifically Timber Falls. Some of the photos from other parks I'm quite proud of, but the ones from Timber Falls sucked because of how dark it was. Aside from some of the Goliath pics I got, I won't be bragging about much I took on this trip.

    As for the hotel, I actually managed to get admission for $3 online! We looked at the Village hotels but more expensive when you consider that both of us got park admission for less than a quarter of the $40 standard price by buying online. I'm actually kind of bummed we didn't, ERT on Hades would have been unreal.

    And Avalanche is amazing! Those turns absolutely tore me up but that's what made it fun, especially at night!

    Yeah it's just that rides of that style really don't interest me. For such a big, expensive, hard to maintain structure I feel it has a lot more potential. No airtime, no sense of speed halfway through, I wasn't a fan sadly. But make it up to the Dells and they have a much better coaster, it's absolutely amazing. I honestly don't know where people come from saying it's rough, it's amazing.

    @seamaur- I was preparing for the worst from the reputation this ride has but it was actually very comfortable and I loved it! It definitely didn't feel like the poster child for maintenance, but it wasn't enough to provide a bad ride at all.

    @Hixee- We rode in the front so it might have had something to do with that, but it wasn't anywhere near unrideable.

    -x-

    Day 4

    I woke up starving and went down for some free breakfast, knowing that it could very well be my last meal because today we were headed to Mt. Olympus, a park with a history littered with ride accidents that I had been told was the sketchiest park ever by others.

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    Coaster enthusiasts that visit Mt. Olympus are like Spartans because you go in prepared to die.

    As I sat in the hotel lobby eating my breakfast surrounded by waterpark-bound screaming children in swimsuits, we hadn't even gotten to the park yet and the jokes had already started rolling on social media. Connor joined me soon after and grabbed some food as well before we grabbed our stuff and checked out. Got two medium-sized parks to do in a day!

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    The first thing you notice about Mt. Olympus is that their financial habits are a tad...odd. Driving in it's obvious that their little "village" is actually just a bunch of seedy motels they purchased, painted Greek blue and white colors, and annexed.

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    Coming over the hill, it's actually visually impressive. Between giant Hotel Rome to the left and the giant mess of twisted scaffold ahead, I would guess I was getting myself into the Holiday World of the Great Lakes!

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    Wooden Coaster Heaven, here I come! They clearly have enough money to crank out a good experience, they could afford a giant Trojan Horse in the parking lot! Right???

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    And this is what brought us here! Hades 360 looks amazing towering over the parking lot like that!

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    Here we are!

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    It looks so much like Voyage! Couldn't help but hope it rode as well... ;)

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    Pay no attention to the bent ribbon behind the fence!

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    After they looked up my online ticket a la Camden Park (apparently if you don't feel the need to pay for safety you don't pay for an actual ticketing system either), we headed in and hit the park's out and back CCI woodie, Zeus!

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    It actually looks really nice when you walk in set in the trees like that. Connor and I were crossing our fingers that our luck with Avalanche would continue and that false claims of roughness were just a thing in the Dells.

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    It's not as bad as I expected. At all, actually. However, it seems to have very distinct good spots and bad spots. Airtime on the straight shots was actually decent, but the second we hit that turnaround it attempted to snap my neck like a twig. It's like it has round road and upstop wheels but triangular side friction wheels, I've never seen anything like it. It's a CCI so the layout itself is great, but sadly, as Nietzche would say, Mt. Olympus's lack of maintenance killed this god and put it way lower than it would have gone had it been taken care of properly.

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    Up next we had another featured coaster for the trip, the mighty, fiery, Hades 360! Here we see a fancy sign that the park purchased by putting off that retracking for four years!

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    A gum tree? I thought this was supposed to be Greece, not Australia!

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    This queue line absolutely SUCKS for vantage points but I got a couple interesting shots out of it.

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    The official Snapchat story post for Hades 360!

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    Jarrett the psychic predicts that in three years a Mt. Olympus parkgoer will get hit by a branch on Hades 360 and sue the park.

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    Story time! So as I said earlier, there's not a lot to keep you out of the ride area. Well some girl dropped her $20 on this ride coming out the double down and saw it laying right next to the track. So she got out of line (with full intention to jump back in) to go get it. Well she couldn't. So this moron decides to be a hero and go help her...by hopping a fence two feet from the coaster and climbing into the ride area to grab it. He was right next to where the track is in this photo and very easily could have fallen onto the tracks and been killed. And of course both line jumped back in like nothing had happened.

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    A little off on the timing but I'm proud of it.

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    Hell on wheels!

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    Track maintenance: $500,000. Sign that basically says that if you get hurt and had your hands up you can't sue us: $25. It's a no-brainer!

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    Timberliners! Weren't in the best shape but still my favorite train type. Like the fiery god head on the front too.

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    Here we go! Might not come back so gentlemen, it has been a privilege riding with you! I always knew I was going to hell...

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    This coaster blew me right away! Connor and I sat in the front on our first of two spins on it and right away I could tell where all the reviews for this ride come from, both positive and negative. For starters, those first three airtime hills that start the ride are absolutely perfect. It's violent, rough, and irreverent, but not at all painful. Hades literally rips you from your seat three times before you engage the lift. It's a decent view going up but don't get used to it, it's named after the god of the underworld for a reason. After a very Voyage-esque drop, the train storms right into a dark tunnel. Now I wish there had been some light in there to get some idea of the speed because it's actually kind of tame in there, but you can still rely on other senses to feel the speed. Because ripping through a cold, dark concrete tunnel as the roar of metal on metal echoes throughout the whole passage punctuated by the screams of terrified riders sounds exactly as I would expect hell to sound. Eventually a curtain of light races towards you and the next thing you know you're being catapulted right through a corkscrew, not slowing down at all, as possibly the weirdest visual ever spirals around you. Hades then slams into an overbank before my favorite moment of the ride. After the little parking lot island section, the train is very abruptly yanked back underground in the strongest moment of airtime I have ever felt on a traditional wooden coaster. After another joyride in that deafening tunnel punctuated by airtime, the train flies back out and into yet two more very violent airtime moments in the double down. Sadly though, the ride is almost over after this. The little lap around the queue line has got to be one of the most pointless coaster sections I've ever experienced and I seriously think it could be reprofiled into something way better. But the ride isn't over quite yet! The brakes that finally take all the kinetic energy off this mechanical demon grab the train so hard you can feel them tip forward with the upstops keeping them upright. In the continuing theme of comparing Dells coasters to motor vehicle accidents, it feels like a car crash, no other way to describe it. One of those odd ten foot drops from the brakes into the station where you're met by yet more aggressive braking and you have a winner!

    I got off absolutely floored. It felt like a more violent Voyage but with a few more tame spots, especially at the end. I ranked it right below Voyage but I knew I wanted a back seat ride, so I kept my mind open as we headed onward.

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    Speaking of back row, we got to Cyclops next, I got in line, and pulled out my phone. All of Facebook had just assumed I had met some horrible fate on Hades 360 and started calling dibs on my precious goon hat collection on my "about to ride Hades" post! It was so funny I laughed so hard when I first saw it!

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    Next stop was another one eye wanted to ride (see what I did there?), Cyclops! wait wasn't too hateful, even on one train it's a short ride. Connor and I went right for the back responding to the stigma surrounding that seat and both of us were certainly impressed! Cyclops really delivers, it certainly doesn't feel fast but the airtime coming off of some of those drops, especially the one pictured, is insane. Not quite Hades insane but it's certainly some of the best wooden airtime out there. Not quite enough to crack the top ten wood but pretty close, landing in my top 40 combined.

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    Next up was the park's family coaster, yet another CCI product known as Pegasus! The wait was pretty brutal for this one just because the ops were so ridiculously slow but we got through it.

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    From Pegasus we saw the park's New for 2017 ride, a starflyer called Manticore. Those chains sketch me out enough as is, and knowing Mt. Olympus, riding this meant that those chain links were likely held together by cable ties or something. Not risking it!

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    It looked like a cute little ride, but that turn at the end seemed to be a bit...abrupt. Like, something about the way the train handled it looked horrible. So after the wait we got in and found that the row we had picked couldn't accomodate us both because the belt was a better half of a foot shorter than the others. So I grabbed a single rider seat and we rode separately.

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    OH MY GOD THIS IS THE MOST TERRIBLE COASTER I HAVE EVER HAD THE DISPLEASURE OF RIDING!!! :mad: Most of the layout I was getting jackhammered about (though nowhere nearly as bad as SoB, Gwazi, or Predator would) and despite a few pops of air (probably from it diving into those dips as crudely as it does), what it did to my side is unforgivable. But the thing that took this from being an offensive cred to being the worst coaster I've ever been on was that turn I talked about. I was completely braced for it. Grabbing my restraint, leaning into it, slid forward, teeth gritted, and it still wasn't enough to save me from the soul-bruising wallop this turn inflicts upon its victims. There's no way it was under 2 Gs, everybody on the train I saw was violently jerked to the side and seemed to have a reaction of pain, and it was so bad that I could hear the upstops on one side catch it to keep the train from flipping over like a wrecked car. I was literally feeling it in my neck a good hour later. It's not funny, it's disgusting, it's vile, it's horrendous, and as much as I love RMC, mechanical geniuses like Alan and Fred don't deserve to have to get near this abomination. Don't RMC it, don't wreck it, just BURN IT!!!!!!

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    Next up was something almost as unwelcome, a spite on Little Titans! I asked if I could ride, explained that I'd ride with a kid, ride alone, whichever. Apparently the height limit on this is the single rule that Mt. Olympus actually enforces so with that came the first cred that I was supposed to get that I didn't. And with how we had things planned, no time to stop by Knucklehead's on the way out. Doomed to leave the Dells one cred short. :(

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    Well with the park as cleaned out as we would get, Connor and I headed to pick a go kart track and finally enjoy what we could of the park. Sent Emily this photo of intelligent animals being kept in captivity for the entertainment of the public.

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    In the continuing theme of interesting, elaborate theming but lacking anything basic and essential to keeping a park running, I noticed this super cool guest info building. It looks like the quinqueremes from the Sid Meier's Civilization game series (which I love), they were boats equipped with multiple rowers and a copper battering ram at the tip (which you can see on the left next to the dude in the golf shirt) that were used to ram other ships once up to speed. Regardless of whether or not this is supposed to be a quinquereme or just a generic Greek ship, it's really friggin' cool you have to admit!

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    Next up were Mt. Olympus's famed go karts, with us picking the Poseidon track that goes under a pond of water twice. The wait was brutal but we got on no problem. I quickly found out that my kart had an issue in particular keeping it idling constantly, never to actually brake to a stop. So I had to get in and hold the brake down waiting to dispatch to keep from shoving the other karts out the front of the station. So they dispatched the first row (which Connor was in) and then it took them forever to dispatch mine because some dumb girl had managed to get her kart sideways ten feet from the station, leading the ops to spend five minutes going out there straightening her up before dispatching my row. So I get out and notice that the karts turn like the Queen Mary, leading you to throw your whole body weight into turning them. Well down in that first tunnel I see some little 11-year old punk with a devilish smirk on his face that obviously knew that this tunnel was anarchy without employees able to see inside and I could tell he was trouble right away from the sideways kart in front of him. Wham! The little scumbag jerked his car sideways and rammed me right into the concrete wall, continuing the theme of rides feeling like car accidents in the Dells, only with this one actually being one! The rest of the track was actually kind of fun and slightly terrifying up on that 30 foot spiral tower with a steering mechanism that barely worked. I wish I could have enjoyed it more but I was still kind of mad about that kid. Coming off I was prepared to stop this kid, demand to know where his parents were, and get security over there and tell them what he had done and hoped someone else had seen, but sadly I couldn't pick him out of the crowd. So Connor and I decided to take one more on Hades in the back before heading to Nickelodeon Universe to cash in on their after 5 deal.

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    After another wait about as bad as the first that was still full of line jumpers, we grabbed a back seat ride. And guess what? I loved it even more! It's so fast that it doesn't feel slow at all in the back, the fact that you actually get that lovely violent ejector coming out the station, the fact that you get pulled through that dive back into the tunnel and the double down, and the visual of the train spiralling through the corkscrew solidified this. Despite the weak bit before the brake run, it's still better in the back, I rose it a spot above Voyage, and Hades 360 just captured the honor of being my favorite non-RMC wooden coaster for the underworld. The multiple ejector moments before it even hits the lift, that deafening tunnel that sounds exactly like you would expect hell to sound, that fun corkscrew and overbank, the violent sustained ejector in both the dive back into the tunnel, the few small pops of ejector on the run back to the brakes in the terrain (despite the fact that this is considerably weaker than the rest of the ride), and the only time I've ever actually enjoyed a coaster brake run solidified this as a top ten ride. It's rides like this that are the reason Gravity Group is my second favorite manufacturer right now. After the rave reviews my friend Andrew gave of Mine Blower and then having ridden this, that coaster is now a priority for me as well.

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    95 Degrees!

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    So Connor and I headed to the parking lot to head to Nickelodeon Universe but then ran into an issue, we couldn't find the car! So we frantically searched around for like fifteen minutes, like full on split up and looked around, until Connor found it by the Trojan Horse prop. Part of me wishes I had been a bad friend and hung out to get Hades photos of trains going through this but I knew we needed to get going.

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    I don't think I've ever had so much to say about a single park, let alone one that took only 4 hours to do. This park needs to be a meme, to be honest.

    I had a blast. I really did, it's a park I really enjoy with a coaster collection about as good as Holiday World's. Honestly, this could be another Holiday World. But there's a lot of basic stuff that they need to get down. Maintain your rides, idiot-proof your ride areas before someone else gets hurt, watch your guests, get a second train for your rides, and just put a bit more TLC into the place and it would be one of the best things on the planet. This is a good park that could easily go from good to one of the best and I'd love to see them do that. Learn to take care of the stuff you have first before building some expensive new ride or that full-scale Parthenon that does absolutely nothing except look cool.

    All in all though, as rough around the edges as it was, it was an amazing time at an amazing park and I'd love to go back, especially if they got another Gravity Group! Definitely don't miss this place, Hades and Cyclops alone are worth the $40 full price but when I got it as low as $3 online, there's no reason not to.

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    Connor and I split the drive to Bloomington up, with him taking a shift and then me taking the wheel. Gonna be honest, Wisconsin's a beautiful state. Rock formations like this were all over the state, something I wasn't expecting to see at all.

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    We're here! Let's go get some credits!

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    I know it's a little park themed to cartoons but I was actually kind of excited. I liked the one Gerst spinner I had ridden, had yet to ride another Eurofighter aside from Mystery Mine, had yet to ride an Intamin half pipe, I liked Zierer Tivolis, and considering how my favorite flat is similar to Gerstlauer's skyflyer I was stoked for TMNT as well. Celia had also raved to me about this park, so I was excited to see how it was in reality.

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    The very first thing we saw was their Shredder's Mutant Masher ride, a claw-type ride, shut down due to the Ohio State Fair thing.

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    Up first was the park's spinner, Fairly Odd Coaster. Back when Kings Island's Planet Snoopy was Nick, this was the name for our kids wooden coaster, so it felt kind of odd to be talking about it again. I ended up enjoying this one as well! It wasn't weighted as well as Pandemonium was when we rode it but the way it twists through everything all crammed together like that is still a ton of fun.

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    So my friend Jennifer posted a meme about this show a while back and I thought it was just a joke but she told me that there was actually a show called The Wonder Pets that I don't remember at all from my childhood. Turns out it actually has a ride here!

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    Up next was the park's signature attraction, Spongebob Squarepants Rock Bottom Plunge!

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    It was pretty good! A bit rattly but the drop was great and the inversions were fun. I have to admit I liked it better than Mystery Mine, though not by much. I think it's cool they have a thrill coaster themed to a cartoon, though!

    Next up I did Back At The Barnyard, a cred I decided I didn't even need a picture of. This powered loop around an oval with about a 1 foot elevation change is barely a coaster but I counted it. I barely fit in the tiny train but a credit's a credit!

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    Pepsi Orange Streak was next and it ended up surprising me! I had ridden and liked three Zierer Tivolis so I knew this should be a good time and boy I was right, this is my new favorite of the set! It's paced beautifully, weaves around that action-packed floor, and has this cute dark ride portion halfway through. I love this ride!

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    Up next was Avatar Airbender, a ride I already liked given how it's themed after my favorite Nick franchise. Definitely the best animated work I've ever seen.

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    Now let's see...will the cred ride like the animated series or the live action movie?

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    That awkward moment when this Snapchat filter was accessible from a park heavily geared towards children. Didn't stop me from having a bit of fun though! :p

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    What a great coaster with a great theme! The floater you get on each spike is amazing, and the spinning just adds to it! You're just up there spinning in neutral gravity about to break through that skylight. It's a serious shame these haven't been cloned more, it's one of the smaller cookie cutter designs out there yet it's way better than some of the larger ones. Add in the fact that it's themed to one of my favorite TV series ever and you have a winner! Best coaster here!

    Unrelated note: Our Pipe Scream, a very similar type of experience, was themed to Avatar: The Last Airbender back when Kings Island had the Nickelodeon license. I honestly don't see any connection between the show and that spinning/back and forth motion that these rides both exhibit. Maybe it's because Avatar simply has an older demographic than, say Fairly Odd Parents, but I would have been interested seeing this theme on a different ride just to mix it up a bit. I mean, Spongebob has worked for god knows how many rides, it would have been interesting to see the theme put on a spinner or a cliffhanger or some other ride type.

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    Next up was TMNT Shell Shock, I thought the Ninja Turtles were okay as a kid but the reason I wanted to ride this was, of course, because of the actual ride. My favorite flat ride ever is Skyhawk at Canada's Wonderland, which is just this but rotating around a tower like a Windseeker. I always thought these Sky Fly rides looked even better!

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    I freaking loved the themed control panel! More rides need something like this!

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    I like how they put some effort into theming their rides here, this one especially!

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    It's a great flat. I still like Skyhawk better, but it's a good second. It's easier to flip but it doesn't flip as violently once you have it in motion. Found the lap bars kind of uncomfortable too, Skyhawk's OTSRs are much better. All in all, though, great ride! I think Cedar Fair should start putting these in, especially since they're halfway there with Skyhawk. Heck, back at home we have space in X-base and it would fit in perfectly if they were to give that part of the park a facelift!

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    After that, we grabbed a few rerides before the park closed. Sadly Avatar's line was too long to justify a reride, but we redid the spinner, Eurofighter, and Tivoli all at least once.

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    After all this, Connor's sneakers got too worn out from walking so he wanted to grab some new sneakers. He tried on shoes...I found this hideous thing. Yes, those are golf-themed flip-flops and they're just as tacky in person.

    From there we explored our way out of the enormous mall, found our car, and headed to a seedy Motel 6 south of St. Paul. We saw someone leave out the back door when we parked and assumed it was open, so we grabbed our stuff and headed in. The next thing I know, some guy busts through the door to the hall while we're in the stairwell and yells, "I'MA NEED YOU TWO TO COME TO THE FRONT DESK!!!!" So we headed up and I calmly explained we were just checking in, as politely as possible so they didn't get any ideas. The guy who yelled at us came in, laughed, and apologized, telling us that some idiot had left his door unlocked and he needed to make sure he knew who was in his hotel. So we laughed it off, checked in, and headed up to our room. I crashed and called Emily, who seemed pretty ticked with me for calling. It was 12:30, a normal time for me to call her, but I forgot that we were in a different time zone and that it was 1:30, she had gone to bed long ago. So I talked to her for a bit before crashing myself, knowing we had a full final day of theme parking tomorrow!

    UP NEXT: Pure floater nirvana, the best ride ops of the trip, and an amazing coaster off the beaten path!

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  11. Lofty

    Lofty Social Media Team Staff Member Social Media Team

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    X-Flight as good as Thunderbird?

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  12. Jarrett

    Jarrett Most Obnoxious Member 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    Day 4

    It was the last day of the trip but we were spending all of it at a medium-sized park in a chain we both love, so if I had to end a trip that's how I would choose to do it. So we woke up and drove the 20 minutes around the Twin Cities bypass to the final park of the trip, one of Cedar Fair's first properties and the source of the "Fair" in the company name that survives to this day, Valleyfair!

    The drive up to the park is interesting because it's so much like the drive up to Dorney but so subtly different, I had serious deja vu seeing that come into view over the green landscape. There's a big swampy plot of land between the first vantage point and the park too, so that's kind of unique as well.

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    Connor had actually been here before, I had not, so I needed all the creds. So without further ado, we got in and headed for the park's green Morgan juggernaut, Wild Thing!

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    The walk back to Wild Thing was all it took to show us that we were in good hands with Valleyfair's staff. Early in the day they had games associates out of their booths handing out maps and asking if we needed help finding anything. As someone who absolutely busts their butt to provide good customer service at their job and holds people in service to a high standard for that reason, I was extremely impressed with the quality of their service. It's kind of the "we're a small park, we don't have a huge budget but we do have it in us to make sure you have the best time possible regardless." Kind of the opposite of the poor service I experienced at big expensive Kings Dominion last month.

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    Sadly, based on that ride, Wild Thing didn't make my heart sing.

    The first hill was good floater, I admit. But then those large turns get pretty pointless really fast, with the exception of portraying the speed okay. Coming back we got some decent floater in the tunnel but it barely got us out of our seats. Not the worst hyper because it didn't offend me like Superman, but it was definitely the weakest I had been on, which sucks because I wanted to enjoy it just as much as Steel Force. Like that it runs next to a bike path, though.

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    Before it got bad I decided to grab Cosmic Coaster, another Zamperla powered coaster. As sad as it is, this might actually be my favorite Zamperla job. It didn't beat me up like the others do and I liked that it was space themed, as someone with aspirations to maybe do machining for SpaceX one day. Zamperla is my least favorite manufacturer but this one is probably the best just because it didn't beat me within an inch of my life.

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    Up next was Mad Mouse, which was also my first Arrow wild mouse! Took a selfie in the long line, the longest we waited in all day.

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    I liked the pin used to hold the transfer track in place, very beautiful lathe machining on this.

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    This is an amazing wild mouse! It feels like the illegitimate child of Ricochet and an Arrow mine train. Crude banking, smells harshly of chain oil, that distinctive Arrow anti rollback sound, it was so odd. Fun ride though!

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    And now, the moment we've all been waiting for and the final featured coaster of this trip, the ten-year old GCI gem, the wild and untamed Renegade!

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    Actual photo of the only theming on Renegade.

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    Very little of the ride is visible from public areas, which sadly includes the ride's trademark s-curve drop. But what is visible looks great.

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    Some more machining porn for all you gearheads out there.

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    Wow! I was a bit worried that it would ride like Apocalypse at SFMM but I was totally wrong! I was sold on this being one of GCI's best projects instantly!

    The drop is violent as hell yet sways in an oddly beautiful way. It feels so unnatural, it's so rare that it feels like a coaster simply shouldn't be doing that.. From there, you're sent right into a typical GCI ejector hill, some weird turnaround, and then back into another hill. Next is an extreme s-curve which has bits of lateral airtime before you head into another turnaround. There are some nice lateral jerks and pops of airtime as the train blazes right through this element before heading into a banked airtime hill. Next up the train heads into yet another air hill which takes it back into the ride plaza, around the turnaround that caps off the ride area, and then a station fly-by that incorporates, you guessed it, another airtime hill. After one more air hill and a lap around the queue, Renegade rides off into the perfectly normal, not haunted brake shed. And you'll be so blown away you wouldn't even care if there was a million dollars in that shed.

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    Wasn't quite sure if I liked it better than Mystic Timbers or not just yet, especially since Mystic Timbers had taken a spot that had been held for nine years. But I knew I liked it. Between the deliberate jolts of floatjector and the pops of air and laterals you get going in and out of some of those turns, this had airtime and violence with a good deal of speed, and we all know those are the three things I look for in a traditional seating coaster, as well as the thing the modern wooden coaster does so well. This reminded me why I decided that I liked wood more than steel and just made me want to go ride more wooden coasters. Hats off to GCI for this one!

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    Finally at the back of the park, we grabbed lunch at Chickie & Pete's which was just okay, and then went to hit the second of three Arrow rides in the park, the mighty Excalibur!

    (I feel like there's a Monty Python sketch in this photo waiting to happen. Like "You cannot pull the sword from the stone. I mean sure if you give it a good yank it'll come out but you can't get to it because it's chained off.)

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    Let me start off my review by saying that the ride ops here are hilarious. The girl with the height stick swatted a fly and the guy on the mic started giving her crap for "killing innocent animals" over the speakers. She decides to throw some shade back and the resulting exchange was nothing short of hilarious! The staff here is freaking amazing!

    Wow! I was bracing for the worst on this ride and it's actually pretty smooth for an Arrow! Nice, fast, and violent. Got a bit of air on it, almost feels like an attempt at building an RMC without CAD or CNC machining...or heartlining. I really liked it, it's one of my favorite Arrows now! Not as good as Magnum, Tennessee Tornado, or Thunderation, but still pretty good.

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    Made our way up front to nab the two remaining creds, the first being the only other classic woodie on the trip, High Roller.


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    Being from that horrid #RMCitorWreckit era, it was a classic wooden coaster and based on what I saw, it wasn't a very good one.

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    Yeah, #RMCitorWreckit Valleyfair. Another boring coaster with primitive geometry, an uninteresting layout, and nothing I like in a coaster. It just lags over airtimeless hill after airtimeless hill and even hurts a bit. I know it gets a pass to suck because it's outdated but if nobody else wants to I'll gladly be the first one to swing a sledge at this thing to make way for an RMC. Luckily there's only this and American Eagle in the region, unlike Pennsylvania where it was being shoved in my face at literally every park.

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    Heading up we passed North Star, Valleyfair's New for 2017 attraction and the second park to get one of these Starflyers for the season on this trip. We didn't ride it either because the line was long but I honestly might have done this one.

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    For the second of two Intamin impulses on the trip, we had the toxic Steel Venom!

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    Some nice views of the park from this line but sadly the wait was ruined by a line jumper in front of us and some camp group that was singing very very loudly and very very badly behind us.

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    And I ended up having a new favorite impulse...kind of. Yes it rode exactly like I remember Possessed running, but the only reason I gave it the edge is because I heard Possessed no longer has that lovely holding brake that makes it so awesome. So I suppose I have a new favorite impulse, only need one more to have all the US ones! Don't think there are any international ones so I suppose that's another set to clean out on #NorCal2019!

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    Two Impulses in one trip, not a bad thing at all!

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    Saw Northern Lights getting stuck walking back from Venom.

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    With Venom knocked off, it was off to the next coaster we needed, Valleyfair's Corkscrew! Kinda reminded me of Carolina Cyclone with the changing colors.

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    And it's actually not rough at all! Maybe I'm just used to bracing for these at this point but I didn't feel any pain on it. Hats off to Arrow and to Valleyfair for providing me with credit 299! It isn't bad to look at over the water like that either! So next credit, naturally, had to be...

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    I finally hit 300 credits on the park's last coaster I needed, the mighty Northern Lights! This is the best roller coaster we rode on the whole trip! I love this thing, it's even better than Pipe Scream! (Okay, so I didn't actually count it, but if I was going to haul this sign all the way to Minnesota and get screwed out of using it for my actual 300th, I might as well have a laugh while doing it! I didn't even ride the damn thing. :p )

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    That moment on the trip when the cred anxiety finally goes away and you have all the credits is one of beauty, so we decided to celebrate with a spin on Renegade!

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    Being Renegade, it didn't disappoint!

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    With Renegade done, we decided to try their looping starship as I like the one at Carowinds. Never seen a starship that looks like a pirate ship but whatevs!

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    It was fun, but I forgot how terrifyingly claustrophobic these restraints and rows are! Scared me half to death, good thing I was on an end seat!

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    Go home, Morgan, you are drunk.

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    Took another spin on Wild Thing next and rode in the third row of the front car, which would have been the vomit seat had this been Magnum. I don't know why but for some reason, this changed the ride for me. I got way more sustained floater here and was out of my seat for a good four seconds at one point in the tunnel. I was cool with it!

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    All aboard! I always like park trains and Minnesota River Valley Railroad was no different!

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    I love how it went right next to Wild Thing!

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    For a park with minimal landscape opportunity, the train really does a nice job keeping it things fresh and relaxing.

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    A bit of straightening and cropping and this might be my best waterslide photo ever.

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    Dinner was Mexican food served cold as we listened to horrendous karaoke. The taste wasn't bad and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't even hot enough to melt the cheese. But the entertainment came from the karaoke through the bushes. They have this open mic (and I mean, probably too open) where every teenage girl in the Twin Cities area that thinks they can sing can just get up there and make horrendous noise that's supposed to sound like already bad pop music. This girl sang Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys and it was so bad they had to turn it down so the whole park didn't have to suffer through it. They turned down everybody who sucked but not as fast as her! Towards the end of our meal it had died down so much that the two hosts ended up singing and they were the only tolerable ones all day. I considered getting up there and telling jokes but my sense of humor simply isn't appropriate for a family park. :p

    Valleyfair Tip No. 162: Sit behind the ring of shrubs in the little karaoke area while you eat, you can laugh at the horrible singing and even put it on Snapchat without hurting any feelings and feeling like a scumbag for the rest of the day.

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    After the train we headed back up front to meet Brett, an enthusiast I knew from CoasterMania 2015 that happened to be a local. We shopped around for merch waiting on him but there was nothing good in the gift shops, easily the worst CF park I've seen for merch.

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    As the sun started to die we headed back to Renegade and HOLY CRAP!!! That threw Mystic Timbers through a woodchipper and shot it out all over Kings Island! Ride this towards the front, the airtime is amazing! Without a shadow of a doubt my new favorite GCI!

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    Livin' like we're Renegades!

    After that we headed back to Excalibur for one lap and it was awesome as ever! Then we headed up front because Connor wanted to ride Steel Venom again.

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    The line is even better at night because you get to see the sun set behind an awesome view of the park all lit up.

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    There goes Wild Thing doing its thing!

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    I liked it at night too! The wait was a bit hateful but getting shot up into the blackness of the night sky felt exactly like a rocket launch probably does! And the holding brake was awesome as always!

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    We did one more on Wild Thing afterwards on our way to close out the trip on Renegade. Riding in row 3 again, the floater at night like that is insane! I love it! Not exactly Magnum but for a park this size, it's a great ride.

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    Brett informed us that for our last rides, Valleyfair actually has a reride policy! You can go around twice if nobody is in your row! Only CF park to do this, I love it!

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    Let's ride!

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    Station is dead, train is empty, time to ride!

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    WOW!!!! Renegade in pitch black is amazing! I was still kind of sad you can hardly see the ride from the midway but I'll gladly take this if it's going to dish that out at night! It's so dark, you can barely see a thing, and it's just that much faster riding at night! And getting to double dip was even better! That swaying drop in pitch blackness, flying back to the lighted midway and then back into the station flyby tunnel, all of it is nothing short of awesome! Definitely don't miss this at night if you come to Valleyfair!

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    I went into Valleyfair with pretty abysmal expectations and I walked out having way more respect for the place than I thought I would. The park obviously doesn't exactly have CP's budget but what they have, they definitely make work. Wild Thing is a great fit for the park, Excalibur is a really unique and fun ride, but their crown jewel is the best GCI ever, Renegade! The park staff is very friendly as well, second only to Cedar Point in the chain. It's a bit out of the way in terms of creds but like the rest of this region, don't miss it! I definitely recommend everyone get to this park at some point!

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    Goodbye, Valleyfair, I love you! Only 3 Cedar Fair parks left for me to visit now! With that out of the way, we drove back to our hotel with the windows all the way down, letting the summer air blow through the car, before I got there, called Emily, and passed right out. Got a long drive the next day!


    Day 5

    Connor and I woke up at 8 am our time to get on the road early, knowing the drive back would be absolutely brutal. And as brutal as it was, it was also really dull. Some pretty scenery in Wisconsin but the rest was so blah and boring, not to mention the horrid toll road waits in Illinois. Nothing like waiting ten minutes to pay an annoying toll!

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    Greater Chicago's rest areas, called Oases, were actually really cool! They go over the highway and you can watch the cars pass under while you eat and shop and do your thing! Why can't we have nice things in Ohio?

    Eventually we got home around 8 pm and Connor dropped me off and headed home himself. The rents had Hawaiian pulled pork sandwiches with some lovely ginger sauce on them. I got to sleep right away, needing to be up tomorrow for the jury I was lovingly picked for the day after I got back.

    But I got some cool swag!

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    Yet some more RMC swag! This one might be my favorite from the trip!

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    All three shirts I got feature the signature element of the modern wooden coaster named on them. This shirt was way overpriced but I like it!

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    We had to cross the park for this but we got it! So glad Brett knew where they might have more sizes!

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    Some additions to the keychain collection!

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    I honestly didn't even care for this hat but it was $2 so why not?

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    This cool wooden postcard now hangs on my wall above my desk!

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    I got this to take pop up to my room without having to take the can and I love it!

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    What an incredible, fun, and memorable region trip! Between another RMC ticked off the checklist, that surprising Avalanche ride at night, Hades 360 gladly demonstrating how a traditional wooden ride system is best used, and the best GCI, this was the perfect way to kick off my new love for the modern wooden roller coaster. All of the parks we visited were pretty awesome too, even though I didn't expect them to be. Wisconsin, the only new state credit I got, was beautiful and I also like Minnesota, which I originally got only as an airport credit back in 2002. Still a bit bummed that I missed 300 but oh well, I've got a few things in mind for how to attain it now!

    All in all, though, this trip was the perfect way for me to unwind and be myself before starting that final push at my new college program. It's an experience I'll remember for a lifetime, it reminded me why I like coasters, and it was certainly a great way to keep the tradition of the region trip alive. Can't wait to do it all again next year in Texas! #GreatLakes2017 #TX2018
     
    Pink Cadillac and Hixee like this.
  13. LiveForTheLaunch

    LiveForTheLaunch Well-Known Member

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    [/quote]ome more machining porn for all you gearheads out there.[/quote]

    Since I've been doing machining for a solid month now I feel like I could create a whole RMC coaster on just a bridgeport :p In all seriousness, I give the people doing these a lot of credit. I do manual milling right now (will be doing CNC pretty soon), so obviously making parts to 4 or 5 decimal place tolerance is unheard of, but I still imagine that might be difficult on a CNC as well.

    Good report and it's good to hear you enjoyed Renegade as I've heard a lot of mixed opinions about it.
     
  14. Pink Cadillac

    Pink Cadillac Well-Known Member

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    Nice report. I remember Renegade getting built and haven't really heard much about it since due to its location, but glad it rode so well! Hades is another one I don't hear about so often. Always thought it looked good.
    There is one in Taiwan
     

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