Photo TR: Three Weeks of Insanity! From BGE to BGA to DCA.

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Photo TR: Three Weeks of Insanity! From BGE to BGA to DCA.

Postby 65skylark » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:33 am

OK everyone. This is by far the longest Photo TR I have ever posted. Because of that, I will be posting in sections. I do plan on having the whole thing up within 24 hours, though. Basically, I spent three weeks away from home for a number of different reasons. For it all to make sense, I need to give a quick back story. I'll try to make it short. For those of you who could really care less, by all means, just skip to the pictures. For the other five or six of you, here's the scoop.....

- Around mid July of this year, my family and I decided to make plans to go to Orlando this October to meet up with some friends from TPR and enjoy the parks while their Halloween events were going on. We were very excited as my wife and I hadn't been to Orlando in over ten years and the kids had never been at all. We booked our flights, purchased some of our event tickets, and were just counting down the days. Then, everything changed.

As some of you know, I drag race my '65 Buick Skylark. I race every week at Portland International Raceway competing for points in my class to qualify to race at the NHRA Division Six Final every year during the second weekend in September. Long story short, I won! But, that isn't even the best part (although it was pretty freakin awesome). The best part, was that by winning, and becoming the division champion, I was paid $3500 by Summit Racing Equipment in traveling expenses to race at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, CA for a national championship! The only bad thing was that I had to be in Pomona on Oct. 31st, the day we were scheduled to fly home from Orlando. Oh well, we'll just reschedule our flight home and pay the airline penalties. I mean I just won $3500, right? Well, then something REALLY major came up.

I have been wanting to go into business for myself for several years now, but having a secure job, and wanting to take my time to make sure I made the right decision, had kept me from doing anything. Then the perfect opportunity came along. A Meineke franchise came up for sale and I had the inside track on buying it, so I did! One of the requirements to becoming a Meineke franchisee, is to attend a two week long training course in Charlotte, North Carolina. The class was from Oct 15th to the 26th. Florida was going to have be canceled.............well, almost.

Part One: Carowinds (This Post)
Part Two: Busch Gardens Europe (Scroll Down)
Part Three: Kings Dominion Click HERE
Part Four: Busch Gardens Africa Click HERE
Part Five: Cypress Gardens Click HERE
Part Six: Animal Kingdom and Epcot Click HERE
Part Seven: Halloween at The Disneyland Resort Click HERE
Part Eight: Day Two at DLR and I Get Paid! Click HERE
Part Nine: Six Flags Magic Mountain And A Little More Disney Click HERE
Part Ten: The Race Click HERE

I arrived in Charlotte around 11am on Sunday, so naturally, I planned some time to go to Carowinds.
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After a nice relaxing nine hour flight, I am here. I really hadn't heard much about this park one way or the other, so I didn't know really what to expect.
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Scarowinds was in full swing.
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Very scary orange water fountain.
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I see mean, BORG Assimilator.
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I had already rode BORG when it was at Knott's Cedar Great America California Fair so I will be skipping it for now.
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Now we're talking. I am admittedly a B&M invert fanboy. I had always heard good things about this one so I was pretty excited.
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1:00 in the afternoon on a Sunday and this is what the station looked like. Not too bad.
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Honestly, I was a little disappointed. It was still a great coaster overall, but I would rate it at the bottom of my B&M invert list with Great Bear.
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Time for the fairy coaster.
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"Um, mom. Are you sure I'll be OK riding with this guy? He keeps taking pictures of himself."
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The Fairy Coaster was actually the surprise of the day for me. I thought it was really good.
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No line for this one either, but I just wasn't feeling enough like a whore to ride it. I could have probably asked my new friend to ride with me too, if needed. I know, I'm a discrace to dredit whores everywhere.
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How's it going Ed?
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Hey BeemerBoy, does this count as a monorail shout out? No? Oh well, I tried.
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I had never been on a Jr. SLC before. Looks pretty tame. Can't be too bad, right?
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For all the lift POV fanboys.
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Yeah, right about here is where the pain begins. Seriously, these things are terrible. For a coaster that probably never goes more than 20mph, this thing beats the crap out of you.
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Since I had just gotten my brains beat in, I figured I was on a roll. Why stop now.
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Another long wait. I remember waiting for an hour to ride this thing when it was at KCGACF.
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Laying on your back, with all the blood rushing to your head, waiting for the slow ops to send the train. FUN! B&M really took everything about these, and made it better.
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This part of the ride is still a lot of fun. The rest..........not so much.
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Vortex. I hope this one is better than the other old school stand-up on the other side of the country with the same name.
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You guys getting tired of seeing pictures of empty stations yet? No? Good, because I got more.
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Actually, not to horrible.
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Alright. Woodie credit #2 for the day.
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I took this picture before riding. It is the only picture I got of Hurler, because I was too busy getting my spine adjusted, and a few cracked ribs taken care of after riding, to get any more pictures. Seriously, the best way I can describe Hurler, is, Psyclone with air-time.
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After Hurler, Carolina Cyclone can't be that bad, right?
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Wow, a line! That must be, what, ten minutes? Again, the credit whore in me just wasn't showing up, and ten minutes is a very long time to wait for a wild mouse, so I passed. Plus, there was a mine train somewhere over here I wanted to ride.
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There it is. Looks like a lot of people on it too.
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Wow! A coaster that doesn't totally suck. Score!

Time to head back to the other end of the park for a credit I missed earlier.
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The powers that be.
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Didn't get a chance to ride the Scooby Doo dark ride. I'm guessing I didn't miss much.
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Now, who says Cedar Fair isn't "large people" friendly?
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Much better than Hurler. Not nearly as good as the Fairy Coaster. Backwards side was not running. Probably a good thing.
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Really a very clean, nice, pretty park. Even on a day as slow as this, every coaster that could was running two trains. Only problem.... the coasters suck! Aside from Top Gun, there were two other decent, but nothing special, coasters, and then the rest was absolute crap. Actually, I didn't ride Ricochet. Too bad. It was probably the next best coaster in the park next to Top Gun.
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Speaking of Top Gun. Might as well get in one more ride while I'm here.
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I rode in the back for my last ride and it was a little better. Even at the bottom of my invert list, I would still give it a solid 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. Did I say I love these things?
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On the way out I saw they were selling old Paramount shirts 2 for 5 bucks! Now that's a deal.
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And I will end this section with a picture of the famous Carowinds pole.

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Postby Purplepills » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:06 am

Nice pics and TR, thanks for sharing.

Oh and you also get a bonus point for using boobies and pole in the same sentence, well done! :lolr:
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Postby 65skylark » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:45 am

Part Two: Busch Gardens Europe

So, after a week of classes, including half a day on Saturday, I was free for the rest of the weekend. After weighing all of my options, I decided my best course of action would be to drive up to Virginia and hit BGE and KD. Since they were so close together, I figured I could do them both in the limited amount of time I had. Plus, I had been wanting to go to BGE for a long time now. I left Charlote at about 3:30 in the afternoon and arrived at BGE in time to get my season pass processed and spend a few hours in the park before closing.
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Time to hit the road. But I seem to be missing something very important.
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That's better! Now I'm set.
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Yay, state credit #15. I know, I really need to get out more.
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Virginia has the nicest rest area's EVER! Seriously, this is just a rest area. I must have passed at least three or four just like it.
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Five hours later, I arrive at BGE.
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They were also geared up for Halloween.
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These guys were chillin out just inside the entrance.
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Most of the park was all fogged up. I thought they did a really nice job overall.
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One of the scare zones was by the wolf exhibit. Naturally, they had werewolves hanging out in this zone. Apparently, this warewolf was on a break.
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Griffon was down. Hopefully, it would be up and running again by tomorrow.
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Darkastle was looking pretty sweet after dark.
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Clowns. Ever since watching Poltergeist for the first time as a kid, clowns have always kind of freaked me out. Clowns and chicken. And braces. And trees.
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See, trees are scary.
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The next morning I arrived bright and early. Scary dude was still there holding his sign. I was able to get in rides on Alpengeist, Big Bad Wolf, and Apollo's Chariot before leaving last night, so I was sitting good to start the day.
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Lock Ness Monster was the first ride of the day.
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This is now my favorite Arrow looper. Loved the tunnel helix.
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Even during the day they really went all out with there Halloween theming.
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The real wolves were out today.
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Griffon already had about a 20 minute wait and the park had technically only been open for about 5 minutes. One of the many things I loved about this park is that they let you in, and even had some of the rides going, before they were scheduled to open.
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Not only was Griffon a fantastic coaster, but it was also a very photogenic coaster.
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One of the best inversions on any coaster out there, IMO.
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Another angle.
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And another =)
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Totally awesome first drop!
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Here's a picture you've never seen before.
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And one last shot of the best coaster in the park.
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What is that I see?!
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Have I mentioned that I LOVE these things yet?
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Inverted loopiness.
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Money shot right there. Oh, speaking of log flumes.
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Hey Ted!
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OK, back to Alpengeist.
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Big thumbs up! Thought it was great.
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Hey, I've looked like that on skis before.
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I always thought Ninja at SFMM was good, but this thing is just sick! Totally awesome!
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Another reason I love Busch parks. The food is fantastic. All of this for 16 bucks. It would cost you ten buck for a lousy hamburger and a soft drink at almost any other park.
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Theming is pretty good too.
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Just a very beautifull park.
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Bet you've never seen this picture before! I know, I know, I have a gift.
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This is where the evil clowns live.
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A few of them even hang out during the day.
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Time for one last ride on Apollo's Chariot. I got three rides in all. It was a good coaster, but I thought Goliath at SFoG was considerably better.
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Again with the theming.
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I think I'll pass on the highly themed, but very wet, boat ride.

So that was my time at BGE. Simply put, fantastic park! Easily one of the top five parks I have ever been to.

Kings Dominion coming up next. Stay tunned.........

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Postby RCFreak » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:01 am

Dude, Awesome pics so far! Can't wait to see the rest. I really need to get to the other coast more (my state count is only up to 9) and griffon looks like a lot of fun.

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Postby BeemerBoy » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:39 am

Hey BeemerBoy, does this count as a monorail shout out? No? Oh well, I tried.

:lolr: Well, as they say, it's the thought and the effort that really count.

Congrats are in order on the victory, the franchise, and a big trip on top of all that! (yep, I'm one of the 5 or 6 that read the lead-in.) Oh yeah, and awesome report thus far, with some great pics.

As a fellow B&M invert fanboy, I'm a bit dismayed to hear your account of Top Gun. I've heard great things too, but now I'm even more curious. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to find out for myself next season.
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Postby Swimace » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:57 am

Great TR! I love BGE and I recently moved about two hours away from Carowinds but have yet to get a visit in.

I love B&M inverts, they're pretty much amazing. Alpengeist sits at the bottom of my list of inverts, below Silver Bullet and Great Bear. It's the only B&M invert that I've been on that I really didn't enjoy that much.

I think Apollo's Chariot > SFOG's Goliath, but they're both incredible rides.

Keep up the good updates!

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Postby cfc » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:59 am

I think I felt the same way about Carowinds as you did, Justin: one great coaster (Top Gun), one "interesting" coaster (Borg), and a bunch of mediocre (Carolina Cyclone) to lousy (Reptar) coasters. It's an OK park, but I don't think I'd make a special trip just to go there, although Top Gun is more awesome at night.

Yay for Euroburg!

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Postby CoasterFanatic » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:41 am

Muchos Gracias for the log flume props.

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Postby 65skylark » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:09 am

BeemerBoy wrote:
As a fellow B&M invert fanboy, I'm a bit dismayed to hear your account of Top Gun. I've heard great things too, but now I'm even more curious. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to find out for myself next season.

I really don't know what it was about that one. Don't get me wrong, I still thought it was a great coaster, as was Great Bear. They just didn't quite stack up to the others. But, I really like Alpengeist and Silver Bullet, and those are probably the two most bashed inverts out there.

Swimace wrote:I think Apollo's Chariot > SFOG's Goliath, but they're both incredible rides.

Yeah, I'm sure people would be pretty divided on that one. Apollo was a great ride. What does it for me with Goliath is simply the extra-ordinary amount of air-time as compared to any other coaster I have been on.

Thanks for all of the comments so far. I have a dentist appointment (YAY!) in about 20 minutes. But, I am off the entire day, so I hope to get this beast finished up by tonight!

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Postby Team Thriller » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:24 am

Can't wait to see more! Simply awesome!! ;)

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