Just over a week ago I got from my biggest trip to date with my good friend Ian, which was a huge tour across the United States. From Minneapolis to Martin's Fantasy Island, and Canada's Wonderland to the Colonel H. Sanders Museum, I covered a lot of ground. This is the story of where I went in 20 days of great friends, great parks, fast driving, fast food and poor bowel movements.
It was a really memorable trip, in no small part thanks to the amazing company along the way. So as always, thanks to everyone who took the time to put up with me!
Thanks to Ian for his photos too, my report would look lame without them.
The adventure begins at Manchester Airport at 10am. 40 mins before getting on the plane, I manage to lose my PASSPORT in the bar at the departure lounge. Luckily 39 minutes before I got on my flight I had found it again. I've made a bad habit out of losing things whenever I go on holiday, and I wasn't about to let that happen again. So I kept everything well within sight until I touched down in Chicago.
Thanks to being one of about 5 non-Americans on the flight, it took all of 2 minutes to get through Immigration, and then it was off to pick up my hire car. I grabbed the nicest looking Pontiac G6 going - heathed leather seats and all! Not really necessary with the temperature in the 90s though.
With my luggage in the boot (or trunk, whatever that is) it was time to drive to Grand Rapids for the night...
Isn't she a beaut! Goes like a rocket, but handles like a canal boat.
That's the exit for Aurora, IL of Wayne's World fame. Excellent!
Apart from the wacky food on the plane, I hadn't eaten much all day, so I went for a bite to eat at a service plaza.
When in the US...
Back on the Interstate, it was business as usual getting around the rush hour traffic. Stop-start, stop-start, etc etc.
Don't worry, I didn't go on the "wrong" side of the road once!
Get back on the Italian Job already!
Halfway along, and here's one of those classy Michigan rest areas!
Complete with two flavours of Dr. Pepper that I've never seen before!
There's the Grand Rapids sign, but how the bloody hell did I end up back in Europe?
Sunset signals the end of the first leg of the trip.
And the first of many Super 8s! Michigan's Adventure coming soon...
Yeah, Michigan road stops.....are real classy.....NOT!
Michigan's so ghetto it couldn't save itself, Wait till' you see Detroit now that is freakin' ghetto. You probably most likely will not see Detroit, but if you do stop there that's where ghetto gets to it's prime.
Well, enough bashing of my state, stupid Kilpatrick effing up Detroit. I don't even know how he got re-elected as mayor.....OY!
Michigan's Adventure was the first park of the trip, and all those fears about the lack of shade and the mass of concrete came true! Apparently a lot of trees were cut back after one fell over onto a ride during a storm. This wouldn't be so bad if there other sheltered areas outdoors, but apart from umbrellas on the garden furniture outside the food outlets there wan't any! So nice going there Cedar Fair.
The park is also very lacklustre, with nothing special ridewise to make it stand out from the crowd. I'd describe it as "bland". Not a bad park to go, but not much there to spice it up a bit. And sometimes that's worse.
There were a few good points. The staff as a whole were very polite, Shivering Timbers was excellent, and made the park a little more worth the visit. They also have Swan Boats, which Alton Towers don't, and unlike Alton Towers they actually pay the license for some real music to get piped around the park.
But none of that is really much worth shouting about. I was done in just over 2 hours, and was on the way to Toronto for the next park of the trip. So here's how it went....
Here we are! And the car park looks heaving already.
Apart from a few cars next to mine, this was the car park. Shouldn't take too long then!
One Maxx Pass later, and I'm ready to tackle Shivering Timbers, Wolverine Wildcat, Mad Mouse, and JAIL BAIT!
First ride, Shivering Timbers - through the glare!
The seats are a problem if you're wider than a fridge, but they're rather comfy.
No problems for me. I'm about as a wide as a sheet of paper. May I also point out there will be plenty more sad and pathetic shots like this throughout the Photo TR.
Even first thing in the morning, it was butter smooth, and there was some excellent airtime! Must have caught this on a good day.
All those hills? Airtime!
And the first drop? Well take a guess...
But what the hell was the point in this? I get the same effect just leaning to the left or the right!
After the bliss of Timbers, it was time to hit Wildcat.
And I really wish someone would hit this. Preferably with a demolition ball. It wasn't very good.
Wow, I can hardly wait.
Well I say that, but it had the longest line in the park! At a whopping 10 minutes.
The junior woodie was much better than Wildcat!
By Michigan standards, this is a HIGH THRILL RIDE!
But it's good for the whole family, which is what it should say. Certainly a lot better than the concrete!
Some of the high up views are brought to you by this ferris wheel.
Never done an Arrow mouse before. But apparently neither have the park.
Nice smooth ride, but I can't figure out why they need 9 cars on track when 6 of them are stacked at any one time,
They can't figure it out either!
And how could we forget our "Sad and Pathetic" credit of the day?
Alton Towers, take note!
Grand Rapids, at Michigan's Adventure. Way to think outside the box for a name! I was really thinking about doing this...
Then I saw this and passed it up.
I thought about this one too.
But the Dan in me came out, and he said "screw this!".
Possibly the campest funnel slide in the world! At least it takes the glare off the concrete.
So it was back to Timbers for one more ride before leaving. Unfortunately someone had threw up, and the train needed a clean.
Ejected? Sounds like fun! More fun than walking over miles of concrete anwyway.
Several hills and a stupid trick-track later, and that was that!
On the way to Paul's house, I made a stopover with a friend in Windsor, Ontario, which meant passing through Detroit. And check that sign-unendo!
The Bridge to Canada! Or a gateway to heaven, you decide.
And here's me with my friend Taylor!
You know I could be arrested in America for this! See you at Canada's Wonderland, very soon...
I think CF's ride rating system is really bad. I wouldn't have been surprised if Zach's Zoomer was a 5 last year since at Dorney Wild Mouse and Thunderhawk were both 5's but changed to 4 this year. The log flume and bumper cars are also a 4 and the rapids are a 5. I think a 1 - 7 or 1 - 10 system would be better especially when most coasters are a 5.
Great report so far, Tom. Michigan's Adventure really is a bit of a hole, but I have to admit that I always have had fun there - thanks to my friends who live in Michigan. And Timbers is pretty great .. very moody since Cedar Fair took over, but it sounds like you caught it on a good day.
I'm seriously considering doing a day at Michigan's Adventure after the Midwest trip. Still haven't decided if it'll be worth it. Then again I hear so many mixed reports about Shivering Timbers so maybe I should just go and decide for myself.
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