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US Live Trip Reports

Discussion in 'CoasterForce Live' started by tomahawk, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. tomahawk

    tomahawk Moderator Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Best Coaster:
    Outlaw Run
    Best Park:
    Dollywood
    Coaster Count:
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    Post the reports in here, I will get to mine once I finally get home and figure out some pictures I have.

    I miss you :emoji_zipper_mouth: already.
     
  2. Snoo

    Snoo Well-Known Member

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    Best Coaster:
    Lightning Rod
    Best Park:
    Silver Dollar City
    Coaster Count:
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    Ok you :emoji_zipper_mouth:. I meant to post this a few days ago but you know, life. HERE WE GO!

    Just for sexy, here is the sunset at my best friends house in NW Ohio, just south of Sandusky. Great seeing him. <3

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    Day -1 (Cedar Point cabin)

    So the day before our trip, we rented a cabin at CP and decided to get all kinds of drunk. I got to meet up with Antinos and tomahawk before hand
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    At the cabin, of course we had cuddles
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    We also lost someone early.. LOL
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    Day 1. Cedar Point and Kings Island

    Officially, we woke up all fuzzy to get ready for some morning ERT on Valravn. Boy is she beautiful.
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    Official review! Well the ride was exactly what I expected from a Dive machine. It had a great drop with great inversions but.. it just lacked the punch I felt from Griffon or Sheikra. To be honest, they're all REALLY close, but I'd choose the parents over the kids any day. That being said, I'm not a huge fan of dive machines anyway because they're meh but what can you do?


    We then ventured over to Maverick for a sexy run on this beast. Also, tomahawk found a new #1!
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    We did miss out on this puppy though. She was down for.. well something. I realized I haven't slid down these rails in a solid few years now due to various reasons. Need to go again!
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    Another shot of Valravn as we moved frontward
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    We also get some great views of Raptor now that area is cleared out. The paintjob really helps.
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    We didn't stay long though as most of us had been to the park and just wanted to enjoy some sex before we officially began the trip. Just nice to have a relaxing day at CP for once.
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    After meeting up at my house here in Columbus, we ventured south to Kings Island
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    We first rode this monster of a machine, Banshee. The BEST B&M Invert there is. :)
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    We only really came for one reason, Beast at night. As the park was open until 10, we had plenty of time to knock out a few others of the only redeeming rides at Kings Island. Diamondback was one of them, of course. We were able to get it right around dusk for some real glory shots
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    We finished our night on Beast, which was good but not great. Some damn kids in the front had their phone out the whole ride because they had to.. snapchat? Who knows. For those who've been on Beast at night, its only redeeming factor is that its pitch :emoji_zipper_mouth: black. When you have some retard with a light guiding the way, its damn near pointless. Severely disappointing tbh.

    Next up! The first OFFICIAL day of the Live.. Kentucky Kingdom!
     
  3. LiveForTheLaunch

    LiveForTheLaunch Well-Known Member

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    Best Coaster:
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    Best Park:
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    Been waiting to hear how this went!

    TTD closed again? It use to have little intermittent issues ever since it opened, but now it's closing for every single little thing (oh no, a guest sneezed in line, better close the ride for gusts) I've noticed especially in the past two or three seasons. I haven't bothered to go back since Valravn opened, mostly because I don't even care about B&M dive machines, and if Griff/Sheikra are both better, I really am in no rush to get there.

    Banshee the best B&M invert? I won't even go there but it's full of wrongggg :p
     
  4. Snoo

    Snoo Well-Known Member

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    Best Coaster:
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    Well, something we CAN agree on, Afterburn was still incredible. We actually had a mini ERT as they were.. for some reason.. assigning seats. They would always assign front first so Hixee and I just marathoned a solid 7-8 rides before we decided to get off and ride something else. We coulda kept going too. :D
     
  5. LiveForTheLaunch

    LiveForTheLaunch Well-Known Member

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    ^ Afterburn is great, I'd say third best, but I think Montu and Nemesis are in leagues of their own. That coaster is always a walkon too so it's nice when you can just get comfy and stay on it. I was happy that happened with Iron Rattler and SheiKra when I rode those, but I suck at marathoning coasters anyway. More than two rides on Afterburn and I'd probably be having palpitations. It's a bit intense.
     
  6. tomahawk

    tomahawk Moderator Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Re: US Live Trip Reports

    Afterburn I felt was overhyped by Marcus considerably after my first 2 rides, then I sat on it for 4 straight go's, and it quickly became one of my more preferred coasters. The transition into the batwing is a tad rough, but those forces are amazing.

    Once I'm not on my phone, I will do a proper report, but the trip was fantastic. In a nutshell, I got a new favorite coaster, a new favorite park, and one of best trips ever. More detail to come, but trip has given me major motivation.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
     
  7. Snoo

    Snoo Well-Known Member

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    Best Coaster:
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    Day 3. Kentucky Kingdom/Holiday World

    The first OFFICIAL day of the Live begins with KK and HW. Kentucky Kingdom was gracious enough to allow us to have a little bit of ERT fun on Storm Chaser, their brand new RMC Iron Horse. I mean, if you're going to start a Live, thats how you do it. :) The ride is pretty as well. I can't wait for the foliage to fill in and it will make that infield much better.

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    Official Review! The ride was stunningly fantastic. It's exactly the perfect length as it doesn't drag on like some of the bigger Iron Horses but still packs quite the punch. I have it in my Top 10 because I absolutely loved the ride. Airtime was legit sex and it paced very well. Of course, we had to take a group shot of everyone:

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    We then ventured over to Lightning Run, my official 300th coaster (finally damnit). The ride really surprises you with immense ejector on the last few hills. These NEED to be at more places.

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    Hyde and I posing like a bunch of cute bitches
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    Another group shot sans Erich paying attention with a yawn and tomahawk
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    Joey.. so happy with the drop tower
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    Then.. we made the mistake of this abomination
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    After we finished up some creds, we departed and said our goodbyes to Hyde as he had to head home. At least he got to partake in some ERT. I did have to add another shot with Hixee because.. sex.
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    Hello beautiful.
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    HELLO BEAUTIFUL.
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    We unfortunately did not get to hit this bad boy at night but it still delivers! Glad to get it once again.

    We then moved up the hill to Thunderbird to close out the creds before we slapped Voyage one last time before moving onto our hotel.
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    Obligiatory sex shot.
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    Afterwords, we went to a Red Robin and two things happened. We had a fantastic waitress who half the table wanted to caress softly and Joey had his FIRST SHOT!!!!! Enjoy the video below as well as Hixees face. :D

    https://www.facebook.com/marcus.allen.j ... 280056441/

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    Next up.. DOLLYWOOD SLUTS!
     
  8. Hixee

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

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    Haha, Sadie <3
     
  9. LiveForTheLaunch

    LiveForTheLaunch Well-Known Member

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    Joey had his first shot?! What was it? Better have been something MANLY. How'd he handle it? :p

    KK is a nice little park, I didn't expect much from it when I went but I enjoyed it, and that was pre-Storm Chaser. The park isn't too too far (well, no different than me driving 12 hours in a day for Goliath) so I'll have to make a return trip. I agree about more parks, especially smaller ones, needing to invest in rides like Lightning Run. Tiny footprint, but it packs a punch albeit being slightly uncomfortable on the legs. I had bruises for days.
     
  10. Hixee

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

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    I can't remember what it was actually, but he took it like an absolute champion. No hesitation, or seemingly bad feeling after. It was great!

    Couldn't agree more. We all said the same thing getting off: "why are there not more of these?!"

    They're also really accommodating of small riders, so there were loads of kids riding and having a good time. Unfortunately not the other way for Tom though!

    It wasn't too bad on my thighs (thought Skyrush was much worse), but it was pretty harsh in places. That could easily be fixed by a slight rework of the elements, I'm sure.
     
  11. Youngster Joey

    Youngster Joey Well-Known Member

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    I believe it was Rum, Courtesy of Erich ordering a "Rum and coke, but I want the coke and give that guy the rum" Or something to that extent.
     
  12. LiveForTheLaunch

    LiveForTheLaunch Well-Known Member

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    ^ BLECH rum. What a nasty first shot :p
     
  13. tomahawk

    tomahawk Moderator Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Best Coaster:
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    So this was my first coaster trip since 2009, and that was just KI and HW. These would be my first new creds (really) since 2012. Doctors had given all clear on my back to ride coasters (not gonna argue) and that's when planning started.

    The wife and I were in KC for her brother's wedding that week, so Saturday we flew into Detroit where this beautiful bastard picked us up.
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    We skipped and hugged as straight as possible. Nobody questioned our sexuality...at all...We then drove to Sandusky. I was pissed because the goal was to get to the park just before close and go back to Maverick, but we were delayed and it was never "realistic" to begin with. Meh.

    We got in to town and hit up Wally World for some booze. Antinossi was my hero and brought my sangria <3 so we got beer for pong and then found Snoo and wifey there. Penetration all around is how Snoo describes it. We then got to the cabin where we met up with Hyde, Joey, Erich, and Kevin.

    Drinking happened
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    I think we all finally passed out around 3. Nobody prayed to the porcelain gods, so we were good! I went for a walk sometime after 2 and got this picture of Mean Streak. Meh, still a pile of :emoji_zipper_mouth:.
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    Day 1: Cedar Point and Kings Island

    We got up around 7 I think, because those cabins aren't big and once one person is up, forget it. We got cleaned up and then made it to the Marina Gate around 8:30 to get morning ERT.

    Nerd ass and sexy Valravn
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    As we waited, and Snoo forgot his tickets at the car, Joe decided to grace us with his presence. More cuddles. The gate finally opened at 9 and we were immediately in line, about 10 minutes. At this very moment I realized I was out of the goon game. I had a bag, and everyone else had cargo shorts loaded down. Thankfully guy at gate wasn't paying attention so we just walked right on by.

    As there were ten of us, we split up because they went with shorter rows. And this is the moment my trip officially took a turn for the worse.

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    My biggest fear of the trip happened. I thought I was safe from the B&M spite, but nope. Was buckled and everything, but the censor wouldn't stay lit. :emoji_zipper_mouth:. Time to drop my head and walk.

    Sexy Ravn
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    Sexy Drop
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    I was greeted by the sex kittens after, and they tried to make me smile, but wasn't working. So we went to Gatekeeper for more...
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    Snoo sat out and we cuddled. We then went over to MilF, and I didn't bother, because 11 years ago it was tight, and I definitely shrunk since then. On the way over, some shenanigans occurred.

    Marc being racist making Snoo carry him
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    Joe having Hyde's junk cuddle his neck
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    Milf broke down while they were in the station, and wifey hates heights, and coasters in general that aren't just inversions, hung out. We then decided to torture ourselves and ride the giant piece of :emoji_zipper_mouth: in the back of the park. I pray the RMC rumors are true.

    I then got my first +1 of the trip on the :emoji_zipper_mouth: mine train. Then we ate. Then, we walked over to Maverick. I was concerned walk of shame #3 was gonna happen, but nay, Intamin said no! So we waited for an hour.

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    I got a new number one. I've :emoji_zipper_mouth: on this thing for 10 years or however old it is, saying it couldn't be as good as it looked. I was :emoji_zipper_mouth: wrong. Big time. The ejector is stupid, the transitions are amazing, and it's just amazeballs. I wanted to go again, but we had other things to do.

    My timing sucks
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    We ended up riding Gemini, I got my missing +1 on that as I had the other side all those years ago. Then we rode Magnum, which sucked ass like I remembered. Painful, but I got sex with Snoo in the back so it was ok. We then left on our long journey to Snoo's Castle. It was hot so we stopped for drinks, I was in car with Marc, otherwise Snoo might have jacked my drink. ;)
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    Finally getting to Snoo dojo, we realigned cars, said good bye to the wife (she hung out with Mrs. Snoo for the week) and we were off!

    King's Island obligatory shot
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    I was here 2 years ago, but at that time I couldn't walk, so we had a wheelchair for my ass. This time I had other goals.

    Banshee is sexy
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    It was walk on, got in my fatty row, had a ride op staple me in, green light, and then the :emoji_zipper_mouth: censor flicks off.
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    I take my walk and wait. We then elected to eat, because we needed something to hold us over until the night feast of Waff. I found a sandwich which sucked and then I got another +1 of Adventure Express. Mine train city! Went over to Diamondback, more of the same, and then we took some pictures. Always found it photogenic.
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    We then decided to begin waiting for Beast. It was nearing dark (finally, way too late to get dark out there, used to like 7:45 not 9:45) and the ride shut down for fireworks, and I wanted to try and get a second ride in. We were on the second to last train before fireworks, and after all the hype for Beast at night...I was disappointed. Apparently, I had a "wheel" seat, it was rough as hell, tweaked my back a bit, and gave me a headache. It was still a little dusky, so wasn't completely pitch black in spots, but some twat in the front used his :emoji_zipper_mouth: cell phone flashlight.

    I debated riding again and was talked into it. We went to the front of the train, I'm weak. It ended up being about 10:30ish and it was so much better, but it wasn't X2 at night. I've had it hyped up and it didn't live up, just like something else later on the trip.

    We left and went to Waffle House, and stuffed the 7 of us in a hotel room. Lots of cuddles. No pictures of that though. We were tired as hell.
     
  14. Snoo

    Snoo Well-Known Member

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    Best Coaster:
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    Day 3. DOLLYWOOD SLUTS!

    Well. Well. Well. The reason did the whole trip has arrived. Dollywood and, of course, Lightning Rod. And boy almighty was it hot. We'd be adding another addition to the group today, Edward M. Quite the legend he is. BUT LETS BEGIN!

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    Look at this group of sluts. We had to wait on Erich because he left his damn ticket at the machine.. lol

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    Our first stop, Lightning Rod of course! As Edward was running a little behind, we jumped in line. We ended up filming a Facebook Live video for those who have not seen:

    [facebookpost]https://www.facebook.com/CoasterForce/videos/10153584497648639/[/facebookpost]

    OFFICIAL REVIEW!! Well, it's my #1 rollercoaster! In fact, EVERY SINGLE PERSON who rode it that day has it as their new number 1. I don't think, except maybe when a lot of people grabbed Boulder Dash in 2007/8, that SO many people loved the ride from the get go. The launch was much stronger then expected, air time over EVERY SINGLE hill. The quadruple down is exactly what you would expect going 70MPH. It was intense, incredible, and just as good as you'd think. Of course.. ERT at night helps too. :)

    It was definitely one of the few moments in my enthusiasm where, when the ride finished, there was no words.. just laughter and amazement from what you just experienced.

    After our ride, we ended up wondering around a little and grabbing lunch, Edward M after he was able to get on it himself, and took rides on Tennessee Tornado, Wild Eagle, and a few others before returning to Lightning Rod for the site tour. From the park, you can only truly see the lift and the final turn so all the extra bits of a majority of the ride really put the epicness into perspective.

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    The transfer track is actually hydraulic as it drops right down below the station.
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    Great view right below the brake run with the whole fun bits
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    Same with the station, with the transfer track right below.
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    BEHOLD THE POWER!!
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    As we were walking back for the pretty shots, you can see the first fan turn. It's IMMENSE.
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    Here is the first drop. It doesn't look very tall until you realize you were launched over the lift hill and start at the top of that drop going some 30 mph.
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    Here you can see a pano of the valley
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    Another one of the drop
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    After the tour, we ended up hitting a few more rides before the rain hit. Because we knew a storm was coming, we ventured from the park and hit up a local pizza spot while the downpours fell. We were quite worried the ERT on Rod wouldn't happen. HOWEVER! The rain subsided around 8pm (park closed at 10pm). We hopped STRAIGHT in line for LR however it broke down two trains away. As the other members of the group needed creds and Kevin and I had them all, we elected to just wait for everyone in the station. We were able to grab a few nice shots before we finally got on.

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    The rides were enormously awesome. As we came to find out, Maverix (another member here) was actually a ride operator for LR. So he was able to join us as well! Even being a ride op, he didn't have the chance to ride it at night as much as we did so it was just amazing for the whole group. Huge shout out to Pete and Erin who provided us this opportunity. It is something we'll never forget. :)

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    Next up. Carowinds!
     
  15. Hixee

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

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    Coaster Count:
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    Part 2 – USA Live Day 1 – Kentucky Kingdom & Holiday World

    I have been writing the remaining parts to my trip report in a separate topic, HERE. I will head back there once the Live days are finished up.

    I woke bright and early to get everything packed up, before checking out and waiting for the guys. They pulled into the car park and Tom came to get me. It was great seeing them all again (and meeting Erich for the first time). As will probably be no surprise to anyone, there was a lot of excitement, not just because we were all finally heading to the first park after months of planning and chatting about the trip, but also because we were kicking off the trip with one hell of a treat - ERT on this little monster:

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    Rob met us and took us through the employee entrance out towards Storm Chaser. As we walked up, the bright red rails and clear blue sky looked amazing.

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    We headed up to the platform and started our half-hour of ERT! I took three rides, then hopped off to get some pictures of the guys riding.

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    You can literally see the airtime:

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    Oh, hello!

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    It really is a fantastic coaster, especially considering it’s only 100 ft tall!

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    Kevin riding solo:

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    I hopped back on for another few laps before our ERT session was over. What a start to a trip!

    Next it was on to Lightning Run, the other slightly crazy contraption this park has. I wasn’t sure what to expect, a lot of people really rate this coaster, but I’ve always found something a little RCT about it (in a bad way – looking at you, awkward transitions). With only around a 10 minute wait, we rode this twice and really enjoyed it both times – it’s excellent!

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    Not to mention the great looking colours:

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    We hit up the Flying Scooters, because who doesn’t love them?! Joey did a pretty good job with my camera too, managing to get some decent pictures of us riding.

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    We mooched around the rest of the park, riding the drop tower, picking up the remaining creds, and generally chilling out.

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    We headed back towards the park entrance, paid our admissions (at a heavily discounted rate) with Rob and said our goodbyes.

    So, some closing reviews:

    Storm Chaser: Brilliant. I remember the original, :emoji_zipper_mouth:, ride renderings that came out about this at first, and then the excitement as we got to see more and more of the layout. The coaster is fantastic. I can’t believe RMC have been able to do so much with a coaster of 100 ft. It’s just about the perfect length, and has buckets of airtime. Once the shrubbery has grown in around the coaster, it’s going to be even better. Only criticism I have? That awkward outwardly banked hill just before the first turnaround. It throws you out the seat in one direction, and the train takes off in the other, leaving your mid-back to bash into the seat rather violently. Now I’m all for RMC, their work is amazing, but that element would have been so much better with a straight hill. It’s not aggressive, I’m not being soft, it just doesn’t flow with the rest of the coaster – and it stands out like a sore thumb. Overall, Storm Chaser is one of the better RMCs, especially as it’s so small.

    Lightning Run: Another excellent coaster! I can’t understand why more parks haven’t bought these?! With a bit of fine tuning (I think some of the transitions ARE a little RCT) that would be one of the best compact coasters a park could buy. Airtime everywhere, smooth and fun!

    There wasn’t really anything else of any real note at Kentucky Kingdom for me. Didn’t really enjoy Thunder Run or T3 at all.

    Kentucky Kingdom: I actually quite enjoyed our time at Kentucky Kingdom. The park is small, but packs in two excellent coasters and seems to have the drive to expand. It wasn’t too busy and although it was hot we didn’t end up feeling like we were being worn down by the park (looking at you Carowinds). The hospitality given to us by Rob (and his team) was excellent, and we can’t thank him enough!

    After saying goodbye to Hyde, we started our short drive over to Holiday World.

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    As soon as we got into the park we realised that we’d timed it quite well. Most people had either had enough of the heat and gone home, or moved over into the water park. I’d been to Holiday World on the Live back in 2010, so only Thunderbird was new for me, but I was looking forward to re-riding Voyage. Oh, and the free drinks… <3

    We started off at Raven, which was a lot of fun. I don’t remember it being so fun last time I rode it! We then moved on to Legend which, despite the re-track, was pretty rough in places. It was good fun, and the re-tracked sections were great, but they need to do the whole coaster now. :lol:

    Next up we headed to Voyage, and after a short wait we were climbing the massive lift hill.

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    It was a lot of fun, and I’d forgotten quite how long it actually is. I love giant hills at the start, and the way it gains speed on the way back (even after basically stopping on the MCBR).

    Look at these sexy bitches:

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    After passing through Gobbler Getaway we headed up the hill to Thunderbird. I was really looking forward to this, my first B&M launch and another wing coaster! The way the path winds up past the coaster is very nice, giving some great views:

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    We jumped in line, and with little-to-no wait we were on the coaster! Another very fun coaster! We dashed round for a re-ride after getting more free drinks, and then chilled out for a while giving me a chance to take some pictures. Thunderbird is very photogenic!

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    Finally, as we were heading down the hill, I got the perfect shot of Thunderbird. Pleased with this one. :lol:

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    Reviews:

    Voyage: Just as massive as I remember and one hell of a coaster. I did think it was a little rough in places, and it was one of those coasters where you hit the brake run almost glad the abuse it over! But it’s a great coaster and a good laugh. Not sure where it sits for me now (it was at #7 for a while), but now I need to have a rethink of my top ten and I think it may have slipped out. Still, a world class coaster for sure!

    Thunderbird: I loved this. Best wing coaster I’ve ridden without a doubt. I really like the B&M wing coasters, I think they look fantastic and they ride really nicely too. The launch is very powerful, and the layout is great. It could have done with one of the funky ‘backwards’ rolls like Flug der Demonen, but I can’t really fault it for that. The way it moves through the trees and comes close to the ground are great. It is a little bumpy, like all wing coasters, but I’ll forgive it that.

    The other coasters are good, but they’re just not as good as those two. Raven being the better one of the two, in my opinion.

    Holiday World: Holiday World is an odd park, I’ve never really worked it out. I find it to be very tacky in many respects, but it has some world class coasters and I’ve always enjoyed my time there. Not to mention how great the free drinks are!

    That night we headed down towards Dollywood, stopping off for some food. Ended up with a fab waitress and Joey doing his first shot! It was great. Rolled into the very cosy hotel room (with Erich taking one for the team on the floor) and all passed out in bed. There was much sex. It had been an amazing first day to the trip, and reminded me just how fun these big CF road trips can be!

    Next up Dollywood!
     
  16. Hixee

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

    Likes Received:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Best Coaster:
    Lightning Rod
    Best Park:
    Silver Dollar City
    Coaster Count:
    477
    Part 3 – USA Live Day 2 – Dollywood

    One of the biggest motivations for this trip was Dollywood, and more specifically Lightning Rod.

    We made the short(ish) drive into Dollywood, got our tickets and headed into the park. Only to realise Erich had misplaced his ticket, meaning he had to go back to guest services! Not to worry, he had it sorted soon enough.

    We made our way straight for Lightning Rod. Partly because it was the new coaster than none of us had ridden (most of us had been to Dollywood before) and partly because it was actually running and knowing the track record for this coaster we wanted to give ourselves the best shot of riding it!

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    The queue wasn’t awful, only a few spots where the heat felt really bad, and the different levels are nice. Their throughput at the start was awful (~5 mins per dispatch), but they gradually improved while we were queuing and we were on the platform after an hour or so (I seem to remember). You get some fantastic views of the final parts of the coaster from the last set of stairs up to the platform.

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    Before we knew it, it was our time to ride!

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    What a coaster! We were all pretty speechless to be honest, but one thing was clear – it’s one of the best roller coasters in the World. Period. For most of us I think it was already sneaking around the top of our lists, but it was hard to commit to after just one ride. We’d come back…

    The area around the coaster is really rather lovely.

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    It was nearing lunch time, so we headed over the buffet – which was very tasty! It also afforded a nice view of Lightning Rod disappearing over the hill.

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    Marc was going to have to leave us after the Lightning Rod tour (coming soon), and he was missing Firechaser Express so we headed up the hill to ride that. I can’t really recall the order in which we rode things here, but I think we may have jumped on Tennessee Tornado at one point. A very enjoyable coaster, and a shame for it to be one of Arrow’s last projects as it was noticeably better than the other loopers out there.

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    We got in line for Firechaser, which promptly decided to break down, so we moved on to Wild Eagle, which had a very short line. The giant bird is really magnificent – I remember seeing this during construction and falling in love with it, and it’s just as cool in real life!

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    It was nearing the time for our site tour, and our chance to finally meet Ed (Edward M on the forums), so we headed back down to Lightning Rod. We met Pete, said our hellos and Ed arrived shortly after.

    Pete had very kindly offered to give us a site tour of Lightning Rod, starting with some of the background to the coaster, the tendering process the various manufacturers competed in, the development of the coaster and the theme and finally the regeneration of the area in general.

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    Next we were taken round the back of the coaster to the maintenance areas. The vertical lift system them have to get the trains into the work shop (directly below where guests board the train) is really quite impressive, and it was great to hear about their maintenance procedures. Pete was very technically capable, meaning he was able to discuss all aspects of the coaster with confidence.

    We also got to poke our heads into the very cool (both in terms of interesting and air temperature) high voltage capacitor room which actually powers the launch. A nice sneak peak for us geeks!

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    The final part of our tour was up to the back of the site to see the coaster running through the hills. And boy, what a view you get from there!

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    At this point Pete had finished telling us about the ride, so we just spent 20 minutes or so chatting to him about everything and anything, and of course taking pictures of the coaster testing (it had a minor breakdown while we were making our way up the hill) and running. It was a really nice, informal and chilled out time for all of us. All the time watching this massive coaster race through the woods.

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    Pictures don’t really do justice quite how big that Wave Turn is!

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    The airtime through these elements was just a mind :emoji_zipper_mouth:!

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    Racing towards the double-up/quad-down.

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    Another one of the first drop!

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    One of my favourite shots of Lightning Rod – nine (Pete included) enthusiasts watching the coaster in action!

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    We headed back down the hill, said our many thanks and goodbyes to Pete. Right at the VERY end, he dropped the bomb-shell! Come back at 10pm and we’ll give you guys 30 mins of ERT to close out your day! It’s fair to say we were buzzing at this point!

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    Look at that guy’s face – that’s the face of someone who just found out he’s getting ERT!

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    We finished our little session with Lightning Rod (for now) with a group picture!

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    We headed back up the hill to get Firechaser Express for Marc – I was pleasantly surprised with it to be honest. A really good fun family coaster!

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    We said our goodbyes to Marc, as he had to make the drive back up to Michigan. It was a shame to see him go, it’d been a lot of fun hanging out with him for a few days again!

    Next up was Mystery Mine. It was alright. Unique, for sure, and a pain to get pictures of, but a decent enough coaster. The first section was the worst, with some really awkward transitions after the first lift.

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    Then Thunderhead. It was pretty rough in places, but had a good layout. If it was a little smoother it’d probably really stand out. This is another coaster that doesn’t really lend itself to pictures, so you’ll have to use your imagination. :lol:

    At this point it suddenly got very, very wet. We decided to grab some dinner out of the park, as all the rides were closed anyway, so we all piled into the car and went to a local Italian place. Once the rain had subsided (helpfully just after we’d finished dinner) we headed back into the park for some re-rides and mopping up of creds. There was some skipping.

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    We got in line for Lightning Rod again, but just as we got to the gates the coaster broke down. After waiting a little while, and them running a few test runs, one of the trains rolled back on the launch. At this point, a couple of us decided to ditch Lightning Rod (we knew we’d be coming back later anyway) and ride Blazing Fury and grab a re-ride on Wild Eagle.

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    Then, the big moment had finally arrived – ERT on Lightning Rod. We met Erin outside the entrance to coaster (which possibly looks even better at night) and waiting for everyone to arrive and for the regular park guests to leave the area.

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    We headed up the platform and… well… had the coaster to ourselves for half an hour. I think it was the first night ride that cemented this as my number one. The quad-down is pretty amazing, but that final one is just out of the world. The airtime, coupled with the speed just make it so incredible. We all loved it, and I think most of us reckoned it ended up as our number ones.

    Also shout out to Maverix, thanks for meeting us!

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    Finally we said our thanks to Erin, left the park and started the journey to the next hotel. I’ll finish up with two more sexy shots of Lightning Rod at night.

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    Now, my reviews collected together in one place.

    Lightning Rod: Well, it’s my number one! :lol: In a bit more detail maybe? Firstly, it’s smooth and the trains are comfortable – that helps a lot! The launch is very impressive. Much more powerful that I was expecting, and the way you gain speed up a hill that steep is a real thrill! There’s some good airtime over the first hill, but the second hill and the main drop is where :emoji_zipper_mouth: hits the fan. The airtime is amazing in all rows really, but the back is absurd. The force with which is puts you back in the seat after the drop is intense. The speed at the bottom of the drop is very apparent too, which is excellent. The wave turn is great, so much bigger and better than Outlaw Run’s one (which is also excellent). It genuinely feels (and is) massive! The two outwardly banked airtime hills have some very strange forces. Airtime, laterals, positive-Gs, they’re a work of art really. However where this coaster really comes into it’s own is the double-up/quad-down. The second hill on the double-up is mental in the front row – I’d wager probably as much airtime as Skyrush (except the restraints don’t suck :lol: ). The speed you gain as you race down the four drops, and the airtime on each one, is the final icing on the cake for this coaster. It feels (and is) just outright powerful. It’s really something you have to experience, especially at night!

    Wild Eagle: This coaster seems to be relatively disliked, but I actually enjoyed it a lot. I think it’s better than Swarm (I think the setting makes it for me), but definitely worse than Flug, X-Flight and Thunderbird. I liked the feeling of soaring through the trees!

    Firechaser Express: What a great family coaster! We had a really good time on it, and it seemed like everyone who was riding it did too! I’d love to see more parks getting coasters like this, although they’re presumably quite expensive compared to other family coaster styles. It’d fit really nicely in Paulton’s or Chessington!

    Mystery Mine and Thunderhead were okay, but nothing to really write home about. Tennessee Tornado and Blazing Fury were great! That’s pretty much about it. To be honest, Lightning Rod stole the show!

    Dollywood: My first visit and I was impressed. Due to the weather and the arrangements during the day, we didn’t end up spending much time “enjoying” the park itself. The coasters were great (and so was lunch), and we definitely enjoyed them, but we didn’t end up with enough time to really soak up the atmosphere. That being said, I did really enjoy the day and I’ll definitely going back if I’m ever in the area!

    Phew, that was a big one. Carowinds next! Thanks for reading!
     
  17. Snoo

    Snoo Well-Known Member

    Likes Received:
    103
    Trophy Points:
    248
    Best Coaster:
    Lightning Rod
    Best Park:
    Silver Dollar City
    Coaster Count:
    336
    So much better than mine. Of course, that big ol camera helps. :D
     
  18. Hixee

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

    Likes Received:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Best Coaster:
    Lightning Rod
    Best Park:
    Silver Dollar City
    Coaster Count:
    477
    Part 4 – USA Live Day 3 – Carowinds

    We headed down to Carowinds for the final day of the Live, and to ride Fury 325!

    The way Fury weaves around the entrance is great – you can definitely see the inspiration from Gatekeeper in making the coaster a part of the entrance. The entrance pathway also gives a nice view of the first drop.

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    We headed straight for Fury, as it was the cred we most wanted (and all needed, if I remember correctly). The entrance plaza is pretty nice, with a good view of the lift hill (although the rest of the ride is pretty hard to see).

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    There was essentially no queue (partly due to the small crowds – we assumed from the heat – and partly due to their incredible operations), so we rode a few times before moving on. A few of us needed all of the creds, so we started systematically started working out way round the park. We rode Hurler and the drop tower next, before moving on to Carolina Cyclone.

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    I can’t really remember what we rode next to be honest, save that the wild mouse (Ricochet) was probably the longest wait of the day and the boomerang (Carolina Cobra) was dreadful! We worked our way round to Afterburn, which was the next stand out coaster for me.

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    Again, Afterburn was a walk on and each time we pulled into the station there was barely anyone else waiting, so we basically just kept doing laps without having to leave our seat! I think I rode four or five times with Marcus, before jumping off to get some pictures and leaving him to ride with Tom. It’s a really good coaster, so it was a lot of fun getting multiple laps!

    At this point it was nearing time for a late lunch, so we left the park and went for a bite to eat nearby. Again this was a welcome break from the heat, a convenient break for a nearby storm, and a chance for us to just sit around a big table and chat :emoji_zipper_mouth: for a while. It’s times like that that I most enjoy the Lives! Plus I had frozen custard for the first time – which I very much enjoyed.

    So, back into the park again and back past the wonderful looking Fury at the entrance. This turnaround is a great element, with some lovely forces.

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    Next up was Intimidator, a rather lacklustre Hyper to be honest. It was alright, but one of the poorer ones and massively overshadowed by Fury.

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    Next up was the Flying Scooters, naturally.

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    At this point the sun was starting to set, and with the storm clouds still just visible in the background, it meant some of the coasters looked really nice against the sky. I only really managed one successful picture though…

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    Joey had been feeling a little under the weather earlier in the day, so had skipped the boomerang, however he was feeling a little better by this point, so he rode it. I don’t think he enjoyed it very much! Unfortunately all of my pictures of him riding came out really crappy, so instead have a shot of us waiting for him at the entrance.

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    At this point we only had Vortex left to ride (for those of us who’d never visited the park before), so we rode that (another walk on) before heading back to Fury for a few laps on that to finish the day (and park, and trip).

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    I’ll close out with some night pictures of Fury. Had a hard time getting these to be honest, as I didn’t have my tripod with me, but these are the ones that came out okay.

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    Some ride reviews before finishing up the report for the day.

    Fury 325: Lots of people have said this is the best B&M hyper and out of character for B&M. I think they’re right. It’s a fantastic ride! The view is fantastic and the first drop is really good with a lot of sustained airtime! The twists and turns feel almost reminiscent of RMC actually – specifically the way the airtime comes in bursts through the transitions. At night this ride is just as good, and I particularly liked the lights in the tunnel. A top quality coaster, and by far the best one at Carowinds.

    Afterburn: Marcus was excited to ride this again, and now I can see why! The speed and power of this coaster is really great, and the Batwing is the highlight. The forces in the back row are almost addictive! A very good coaster, and I’m glad we were able to get a good number of laps on it!

    Intimidator: This coaster is a real shame. It’s got a lot of hills and if the trims didn’t bite so hard it would be really nice. I don’t mind the floater (I quite enjoy it actually), but the feeling of the train being slowed down on every hill is the disappointing part.

    I’m actually struggling to think of anything else at Carowinds that deserves its own review…

    Carowinds: Generally Carowinds doesn’t seem to be particularly liked among enthusiasts, and I can see why. Fury and Afterburn are really the stand out coasters, and everything else is mediocre at best to be honest. I had a nice time at the park, but I think that was more due to the small queues and chilled time we had. At the very least, Carowinds is a good park for bumping up that coaster count!

    We headed to the hotel, faffed around for a bit and then headed down into downtown Charlotte for some drinks to end the trip! Ended up finding a bar with some live music, and generally just hung out. It was really fun, and a fantastic way to finish up the trip!

    That brings me to the end of the USA Live 2016! It had been a lot of months planning and waiting, and the trip sure delivered! With a small group like this we all get to know each other really well, and it was such a blast. We basically just spent three days riding coasters, chatting, eating and poking fun with each other – exactly what a USA Live is all about! Thanks to everyone who came, and to Maverix and Edward M for joining us in Dollywood, and thanks to Tom and Marcus for planning the trip and arranging all the perks. I already can’t wait for the next one!

    Thanks all!

    That’s going to be the end of my trip reports in this topic. Please see my trip reports topic, HERE, for the rest of my trip.
     
  19. Snoo

    Snoo Well-Known Member

    Likes Received:
    103
    Trophy Points:
    248
    Best Coaster:
    Lightning Rod
    Best Park:
    Silver Dollar City
    Coaster Count:
    336
    <3 <3 <3

    I MISS YOU HIXEE!
     
  20. Pink Cadillac

    Pink Cadillac Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a pretty successful live if you ask me :p
     

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