Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 1

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Sora
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Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 1

Post by Sora » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:41 am

As some of you will know, I spent just under two weeks in America this summer with Kat and Nick, who had been dying to get me on a wooden coaster ever since they found out four years ago that I'd never ridden one. Yes, the irony of trying to save a wooden coaster while never having ridden one is not lost on me, but there we have it. :smile: Anyway, it's been a few months now and with Christmas approaching it's time to put up my photos and do a series of trip reports.

My flight out from New Zealand was at 6.30 in the morning, first to Sydney in Australia and then on to Knoxville via San Francisco. I decided sleeping that night would be a bad idea, so I pulled an all nighter and did my best to doze on the plane. Thankfully I was rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise over Australia. Why am I mentioning Australia, you ask? Well, because Sydney has an amusement park. Not only that, but their amusement park has one of the few remaining wooden wild mice left in the world. No, I didn't ride it, but I took photos of it from across the harbour. I was saving my first wooden coaster ride for America.

Once in America I missed the flight I was meant to take which meant sleeping overnight in an airport chair and then taking an early morning flight out via Houston to another airport about three hours away from Kat and Nick. I was picked up their friend Jim (can't remember your username, sorry) who very kindly took me out for lunch, drove me to the airport where my luggage had arrived, and then on to Nick and Kat and their house full of feline pets. :smile: We ate supper somewhere (firehouse subs or taco bell or somewhere else? Can't quite remember) and then it was time to ride some rides. Near Kat and Nick's house is this area called The Parkway. It is one long dual carriageway lined with arcades, restaurants, go-kart tracks and little amusement parks - kind of like a mini Coney Island. Not far away from there is another place you'll be more familiar with: Dollywood, but I'll come back to that in a later TR.

We hit two coasters that night: a dragon wagon and another one I can't remember the name of, but it was at this little amusement park which had three go-kart tracks, a few small flats and a gravitron as well as an arcade. Gravitrons are FUN! If you haven't been on one, you get inside what looks like a UFO and then lean back on these sort of beds on rollers that are tilted back slightly. As the ride spins, the g-force makes the beds slide up and down on some tracks. It's a really clever idea and quite entertaining as long as you've got a strong stomach. Next up was the aforementioned coaster, which was a credit that Kat didn't have. Every time she'd been to the park the ride was broken or closed. Luckily this time it was open and we duly hopped in for a ride. It's a junior steel that turns right at the top of the lift hill and spirals into a helix, then curves up, goes over a hill, through a right hand fan curve and into the brakes. Short, sweet, and fun, with a slight kick on the helix. Finally we got a few rides on the go-karts, and then headed home for bed.

Kat came knocking on my door the following day...at 6.00 pm! I'd slept 16 hours straight. We headed up to Gatlinburg, which is basically like a picture postcard alpine village, but in America. It is very blatantly fake, but also very wonderful. There was one store we went in where we tried about three different kinds of beer, and at another store got my first taste of funnel cake (yes, I really am that uninitiated). I'd been curious about funnel cake since seeing the little funnel cake shops in Roller Coaster Tycoon.

On day 3, we all piled into Nick's car for the long drive up to Ohio where Nick's mum lives. On the way Nick said, "By the way we'll be stopping at Ross." That could only mean one thing, and sure enough after a long drive through the middle of nowhere, a white, wooden structure appeared in the distance. Strickers' Grove was closed, but Joe and I took a bunch of photos of the Tornado. That night we met up with Chase, a friend of Kat's, for Pizza and then headed to Nick's home to sleep. Oh, by the way Nick's room is full of coaster geekery and other miscellaneous collections of curious things including overhead projectors. Kat reached for a box, pulled out a long coaster bolt and asked me if I knew which coaster it was from. It turned out it was from Geauga Lake's Big Dipper. Anyway, we all went to sleep because the next morning we were going to be visiting King's Island.
Last edited by Sora on Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sora
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Re: Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 1

Post by Sora » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:56 am

Photos will be posted in due course, but they are too big for this site and it's too late at night for me to be mucking around! :P

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CptBeeble
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Re: Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 1

Post by CptBeeble » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:27 pm

OK, seriously... it's time for an update. The suspense is killing me!

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Paul Drabek
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Re: Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 1

Post by Paul Drabek » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:19 pm

Lol.
Life is short....have fun!

Sora
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Re: Coaster Crazy, or: Woodpecker's trip to America, part 1

Post by Sora » Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:34 am

Photo time! My pics are huge so I'll post them all as links.

Goodbye New Zealand!
http://i847.photobucket.com/albums/ab36 ... 8b7eb9.jpg

Gooood Moooorrrrnnnniiiiiing Ausssstttrrraaallliiiiaaaa!
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... 4.jpg.html

Luna Park, Sydney, from across the harbour. This is in fact quite an old park.
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... f.jpg.html

Their wristband system is...interesting.
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... 0.jpg.html

Kat's new credit.
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... 9.jpg.html

Kat and Nick's new friend.
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... d.jpg.html

Gatlinburg.
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... 4.jpg.html

Strickers appears out of nowhere.
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... e.jpg.html

Yes, the Tornado really is that small.
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... 1.jpg.html

A paparazzi shot of the Teddybear:
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... c.jpg.html

A gorgeous sunset greeted us as we travelled towards Nick's house.
http://s847.photobucket.com/user/woodpe ... 4.jpg.html

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