I first went to Six Flags Great America in 1996, before I liked riding coasters. I remember spending the whole day riding the scrambler, the motion simulator, the Condor, the sky tower, and the only coaster I rode was Whizzer. I remember watching American Eagle and thinking "What crazy fool would ride that?" and seeing Iron Wolf and vowing never to ride a coaster where you had to stand up!
But for the last couple of years, I'd really been wanting to go back so I could do all the stuff I missed out on last time. When I figured out that I was going to have the 8th and 9th of August off, my mom and I decided to make a weekend out of it and head up there for a couple of days. I secured a room at Candlewood Suites in Waukegan for both nights, and we decided to also head for Navy Pier the night we got there since we'd wanted to go there in '96 but hadn't gotten to.
A couple of days before we left, I realized that Indiana Beach was only about 20 miles off the highway we would be taking, so I asked mom if she'd like to go there too. She said yes since the admission price was only $2, since she probably wouldn't want to ride anything there. It was a nice surprise being able to add in Indiana Beach since everyone talks so highly about it, and it was 5 bonus coaster credits I wasn't expecting!
Monday, August 8th, 2005
It seems like all my trip reports of late have begun with "I worked overnight at my hotel" and this one is no exception. I was supposed to leave work at 7:00am, but due to some rude and selfish coworkers who decided that they didn't need to be on time for work, I ended up leaving at around 8:00, an hour late. Mom had been waiting at home for the last hour ready to go, so not only were the coworkers rude to me, they were rude to her too (this was later addressed with management since it happens nearly every day).
I grabbed an egg and cheese biscuit and hash browns from McDonalds and ate as I drove to my parents house. Once I got there, we hit the road immediately, and I started out the drive. I was able to get to Bowling Green before I was too tired to drive any more, so Mom took over while I slept. I actually got two hours of very sound sleep, which is unusual for sleeping in a car!
Once we were a good ways into Indiana, we decided to stop for lunch at a Max and Erma's, which neither of us had had before. The choices looked great, and I ended up with a burger with mozzarella, sundried tomato pesto, bazil and guacamole with seasoned fries. I think it was one of the better burgers I've ever eaten! It was so incredibly yummy! Mom got some sort of burger with bacon on it, thought I'm not sure exactly what it was.
We found Indiana Beach easily by following my Mapquest directions (what's up with Mapquest giving me the right directions recently?
hehe) and we parked at the South Entrance. Mom got all upset when I told her she had to walk across a suspension bridge to get to the park, but she got over it when she saw how big it was. We both paid our admission, then I stopped for my POP armband. The total was $21 for both, which I didn't think was that bad considering that the park was fairly big, had a lot of rides, and included five coasters.
My first stop was Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain, and I was more than a bit worried that this ride would shake me to pieces considering all it's reviews. I waited probably 15 minutes for it since they were only running one train. I didn't think the ride was terribly rough, though it was a little...and it was definitely wierd! It definitely feels like it used to be a dark ride, and in some places, it didn't even feel gravity powered because of the way the track bends. There were little cubby holes in the walls with stuff in them, and you almost get hit by a train...it was just very weird (though not the wierdest I've ridden...that honor still goes to Blazing Fury!).
I walked on, and stopped at Tigg'r Coaster next. I got my own train since no one was in line, and it was a decent coaster. It gave me a couple of good slams into the right side of the train, but it wasn't too bad.
The Cornball Express entrance was right across from Tigg'r Coaster, so I did that one next. There was almost no line, so I got in the next to last seat in the train. I thought it was a great ride, but didn't think it lived up to the hype some people have given it. It had airtime, but not nearly as much as I was thinking it would have.
Being in the same area, I rode Hoosier Hurricane next, and it was definitely my favorite of the two big woodies. My comparison felt a lot like when I rode Raven and Legend...everyone went on about how fantastic Raven was, barely ever mentioning Legend, which I thought was a lot better. Same with these two coasters. Cornball gets all the fame, yet Hoosier Hurricane was better in my opinion. It's longer, has a more scenic layout, has a LOT more airtime, and has better drops. I tend to like out and backs more than twisters, so that may be a lot of it.
When I finished up with that, mom and I popped our heads into a gift shop or two in that area, but didn't find anything we liked. Then we ran across the Fascination parlor and decided to try our luck. It was only fifty cents per game, so we each played $3 worth. It smelled like a bowling alley since you could smoke in there, and it looked like a place right out of the early 80s. Out of six games, we each won once, which gave us two tickets each to spend on prizes. They had a lot of cool stuff for 3-5 tickets, but neither of us wanted to spend more money playing to get better prizes. So I got a sour gummy lizard and some Lemonheads, and mom got two Toosie Pops and some Lemonheads. They had a lot of old looking electronic prizes as well as a cast iron skillet for 17 points. Just what everyone wants...to win a cast iron skillet in an amusement park and have to lug it around all day.
I headed for the Galaxi next to get my last credit in the park. I wasn't expecting much from this coaster, but the first two drops really snatched me up out of me seat! No one told me it was such a powerful little coaster! Den of Lost Thieves was right across the midway from the Galaxi, so I hopped on it after about a 10 minute wait. It was ok...my score was 360 or so...but it was nothing to write home about, and definitely not worth the $5 to ride if you don't have an armband!!!
If we'd had more time I'd have liked to ride the Chaos and the DOuble Shot, but we still needed to get to Chicago fairly early that night, so we headed back towards the gate. On the way, we passed a tower out in the lake that had a flaming man standing on it. Uh, random! He did a little dance, then jumped into the lake to extinguish himself...and that seemed to be it! It didn't seem to be a part of a show, or even a preshow...he just jumped into the lake and that was that. Had to be one of the more random things I've seen in a park. I wanted to ride the chairswings, but again, Chicago was calling. I did manage to ride the Ferris Wheel though, which afforded me a great view of the park. When that was done, we headed out, bidding a fond farewell to Indiana Beach. Hopefully I will get to come back another day and spend more time.
We headed straight in to Chicago once we left, and were in the city around 9:00. We'd planned on going to Navy Pier but since work had delayed me by an hour, we were stuck with only an hour left to go there. NOt to mention parking and riding the trolley would take a good 20 minutes at least. At this point, I was just stewing in my frustration over work, and how I've been late one time in 9 months, and how my coworkers can repeatedly stroll in an hour late on days when I need to leave on time and never have a word said to them. So I decided to just call in to work on Wednesday and go to Navy Pier that morning.
We decided to stop for dinner at our favorite place from our '96 trip...Ed Debevics. Our last trip there had be *so* fun, so we figured that it would be a nice thing to do instead of Navy Pier. Mom was insisting that I navigate from the front seat, knowing good and well that I get very motion sick if I have to read in the car. So by the time I got to the restaurant I was woozy and my head was hurting. I still had a good time though.
Our waitress was Nacho Mama, and she was a lot of fun. She gave us a hard time about getting water to drink since it wasn't on the menu. Mom got quesadillas, which looked great, and I got nachos. It was my own stupid fault for not reading the menu correctly because when they got to me, they were covered in an onion mixture that I hadn't seen on the menu. It was called "atomic sauce" which I assumed was like a picate sauce or salsa, not just raw tomatoes and onions. So sheepishly I asked her if I could have them remade without the oniony stuff on it, and she said ok. The next set wasn't nearly as good as the first set, but they were still ok. She brought me my Oreo milkshake before I had barely made a dent in the nachos, so I ended up eating that in the middle of my meal so it wouldn't be melted. That didn't work either as I didn't eat probably a 3rd of it because it melted too quickly. When it was time to go, I made sure to tip Nacho Mama extra well for having a second set of nachos made eventhough it was my fault that I didn't like what I got.
We found our way back to highway 94, and were off to Waukegan. Mom made me mad on the way because the only instruction I gave her was to stay on I-94, no matter which way it went, and she couldn't follow my instructions. It goes north for a bit, then west, then back to north...so I didn't want to say "Follow it north" then have her come upon a "west" sign and not follow it. First she insisted that an even numbered highway would not run north/south, so obviously I was reading it wrong. Then there was a sign for highway 41 that said Waukegan under it, and she decided that I had no idea what I was talking about, and followed 41. Of course we got completely lost, which she them blamed on me also. Finally, seemingly just to spite me she said "FINE! I'll turn around and take 94, and you'll see that we don't end up anywhere near where we need to be!" And wouldn't you know, about half an hour later, we pulled up at our hotel, having not had another issue once she decided to follow 94. Things like this have made her increasingly more difficult to travel with recently. She tells me to navigate, then tells me everything I'm saying is wrong, eventhough she hasn't looked at the map at all.
Anyway, once we found our hotel, it was very nice! I'm going to start favoring the minisuite hotels from now on if I have the option. We had the full kitchen with stove, dish wahser, full fridge and lots of dishes and cookware. We had a recliner also, which I learned while I was staying in Cincinnati was a wonderful thing to have in a hotel! We didn't stay up very late since we wanted to get to the park kind of early the next day.