Awesome! You've really highlighted well all the stuff there is to do in Branson. Outlaw Run kicked off a flurry of construction that has really changed the town. It's not just country music, go karts, and mini golf anymore. That stuff's still there, but there's so much more to do now.
Well, this is it! The final segment of the 2017 trip report.
After leaving Branson, we headed north to Kansas City for our last park of the trip. Worlds of Fun was a cool place to spend maybe half a day. It was a little chilly in the morning, and the ride operations weren't great, but we got our credits and had some cinnamon rolls and didn't ride the boomerang -- well, at least the smart people didn't.
The less said about how Prowler was running, the better.
After we left Worlds of Fun, we went to the Zona Rosa shopping area for our group farewell dinner and some fun at an arcade.
And then, just like that, it was over!
So, I don't have very many pictures from Worlds of Fun -- just wasn't doing a bunch of photography that day for whatever reason. I'll post what I've got, and follow it up with some of my post-TPR-trip travels.
Hope you've enjoyed this report! Maybe we can do it again some day...
Hey kids: this is not the school bus you're looking for.
The new entry plaza looked nice! Once we figured out how to get to it!
A compass pointing north. Toward, well, Iowa or something.
So, what was the best part of the day? I'll go with "getting step-ladder evac'd off Patriot during morning filming because the floor wouldn't come up."
It's such a big step down!
Behold! The magnificent rolling step-ladder that saved TPR!
I visited Worlds of Fun on my own in 2011, and Timber Wolf was not running that day. So, it's the one credit I had to make sure I picked up this time around.
The Timber Wolf station was an absolute cluster, and it was probably about a 45 minute wait for the front row, but I wasn't risking this thing in the back.
Truth be told, it wasn't awful in the front row. It had some rough spots, and the ending was bad, but there was decent airtime in the first half.
...and hairtime, too.
Two thumbs up on a Dinn Corp woodie from the 80s? I'll take it!
A slightly less-enthused response...
...but this one is acceptable.
Oh, and behind Timber Wolf, there's Steel Mamba Force or whatever. I had some really good rides on it in 2011. It was running like a mega-sized mine train in 2017.
Mean Streak lives on in Kansas City!
So, some of our group chose the boomerang. Those poor saps. The rest of us enjoyed the bench adjacent to the ride station.
I was all Vekoma-inversion'd out by this point of the trip.
Hey, ever wanted to see inside a Coke Freestyle machine? We passed one that was open!
Lots of little cartridge slots for your favorite (and least favorite) flavors.
Lime, vanilla, lemon, orange, and so on.
I don't know why this was so amusing to me, but it was.
Conquering some classic video games at the end of the trip! Holy crap, is that Galaga '88?
Skee-Ball is fun. But it's sure hard to find the long-lanes like I used to play in the 90s.
An epilogue -- some bonus pictures from my six days traveling after the TPR trip had ended.
Day one post-TPR (August 5) and I had an extra day to spend in Kansas City. So, I rented a car and ... drove north to Iowa.
Yep, picking up a new state credit. I was in Iowa for less than 15 minutes.
And they don't even have a big "welcome to Iowa" sign on I-29! So this welcome center sign is the best I could do.
Then, just minutes later, another new state credit! Welcome to Nebraska!
I wound my way back south and went to downtown Kansas City, but the top half of downtown was missing.
This is as close as I was gonna get to a night-time picture of downtown...
...because right as I was taking this picture, I realized the rest of my night was gonna be completely shot due to storms and flash flooding. THANKS ANDY.
Day two post-TPR (August 6) and a giant plane attacks!
I left Kansas City and hopped a flight back to Charlotte, where I had dumped my car at the start of the trip. Here, a thunderstorm looms behind the airport.
There's Charlotte's skyscrapers, with a plane coming in!
Oh, and can you see it? Way in the distance on the right side, behind the runway? A little peek at Fury and Windseeker at Carowinds!
Day three post-TPR (August 7) and I find myself winding my way through South Carolina. This is the Poinsett Bridge, the oldest bridge in the state.
Some long-exposure fun on the stream that runs under the bridge.
I hopped on over to Greenville SC, one of my favorite mid-size cities, with a really cool downtown park system.
As the moon looks on, I make my way through Falls Park.
Oh, and here's why they call it Falls Park. There's a waterfall right downtown!
It was peaceful to listen to the water crashing over the rocks...
...but a storm was coming up behind the Liberty Bridge, and I had just minutes to return to my car.
Day four post-TPR (August 8) and I'm thinking about spiders for some reason as I watch the fog roll off the mountains in Brevard, North Carolina.
Not the best weather day, but a trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway was waiting for me.
At the top of Richland Balsam, a county high point and one of the highest peaks on the Blue Ridge!
The summit of Richland Balsam is covered in trees. So here's a view from a nearby overlook on the parkway.
Now, the fog is rolling /up/ the mountain.
Ended the day in Asheville NC, another cool city with lots of people hanging around at night!
Another night scene from Asheville.
Day five post-TPR (August 9) and I'm at the highest point in the state of Kentucky, Black Mountain.
Boring stuff about Black Mountain no one's going to be interested in, but yeah, it was in my folder with the other photos so here you go.
Also on Black Mountain: a big FAA radar site.
This is one of the juicier warning signs I've ever read.
In nearby Norton, Virginia, I met the woodbooger. Yep, that's what they call their local version of bigfoot in Norton, Virginia!
I also met the back side of the woodbooger.
Norton is also famous for Flag Rock, which is a rock with a flag in it. So, I guess you take what you can get for tourist attractions in Appalachia.
In other "remote peaks in the middle of nowhere" adventures, this stairway leads to Birch Knob on the KY/VA border.
You can climb the platform at the top...
...or go underneath to actually get to the highest rocks.
This was actually a really exciting peak for me. As I crossed the line into Pike County, Kentucky, I was standing on its highest point. It was both the 1000th county I'd visited and the 100th county high point I'd visited.
The views from the top! Quite nice.
The sun was doing it's thing.
A night-time overlook in Pikeville, Kentucky.
Day six post-TPR (August 10) and here's the daytime view of the same place.
This is called the Pikeville Cut-Through, and it was a huge engineering project that actually diverted a river (and a road) through what used to be a mountain.
There's the river down below.
So, a fitting end to this post -- a passing view of Kings Island as I returned to my home in Ohio.
That does it for 2017! Thanks to everyone on the trip who made it a lot of fun. Hope to see you again some time soon!
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