Voyager's TRs - West Coast '09

All 16 CA park photo TRs now posted - TR is complete!
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Voyager's TRs - West Coast '09

Postby Voyager » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:48 pm

Robb suggested that I just start a thread and put all of my TRs in it, so this is it.

Here are some links to my past TRs:

The first TR posted in this thread is from the 2009 California Trip, and the index for that trip is the next post. -Mike
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California TR - Intro

Postby Voyager » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:04 pm

Mike's West Coast '09 Photo Trip Report - Links

I will add links to each post/park below as I finish them.

Click on the park below for a link to that page of my trip report (TR):

Introduction, thank yous, etc.

AS I begin to write this I am still smiling from my trip to Holiday World yesterday with some friends. We got a lot of rides, including the two last rides of the year on the Raven. The weather was cool, but beautiful, and the leaves were starting to show color. Fall is definitely underway, so the California trip (CA trip) during the summer seems way off in the past. I'm amazed that I haven't had time to do the writing and photo editing for this TR until now.

While I remember names of trip participants that I hung out with a lot, I am terrible with names and have forgotten a lot of them since the trip. For that, I apologize.

This was my first TPR trip, and I decided to go because driving all over CA myself did not sound like fun, and the trip visited most of the parks in the state. I'd never been to any of the parks before.

I have to first thank Robb and Elissa for putting together a fantastic, though exhausting, trip. I felt very welcome.

Thanks to Mikel for being a great roommate, walking fast enough to keep up with me, and for sharing Q-bots and beers. It was nice to get the credits out of the way and have time to take photos and go back and ride the rides that we liked.

I apologize to everyone for walking so damn fast. That's just how I am.

Thanks to Robbie, Natalie, Kim, Neil, John, Matt, and everyone else for hanging out with me and giving good park tips, etc.

Thanks to Mike A. and Wes for sitting by me on the bus and for good (and entertaining) conversation.

Thanks for the photo compliments, thanks to those who carried or held onto my camera while I rode rides, and thanks for the "Hanno Award".

I'm also a member of ACE, and I had heard stories about the two groups not getting along. I found that was simply not true, and people were more concerned about riding, drinking, eating, occasionally sleeping and just having fun than what organizations you were a part of.

Thanks to everyone for making me feel welcome. -Mike

Now, on to the trip reports: Day 0: Bus trip, CGA sneak preview
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Day 0 - Bus trip and CGA sneak preview

Postby Voyager » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:15 pm

Day 0 - Thursday, Aug 6 - TPR bus photos and an evening at CGA

Just before the trip, I was on Maui for a business trip and to visit a friend. I took the red-eye from Kahului to LAX on Wednesday evening, and I arrived at the TPR hotel lobby about 6am on Thursday morning.

The first TPR person I met was Wes, and then most of the group filtered in for breakfast in the hotel lobby not too long thereafter. I talked to a few people, met Rob and Elissa for the first time in person, and we all headed for the bus.

On the way out of LA Rob gave the trip rundown, and kept asking for questions and cracking jokes. All I could think of to ask was "How long is your standup act?"

I think Rob thought I was tired of hearing him talk, but I wasn't - he was very entertaining - but that was really the only question I could come up with after taking the red-eye the night before!

After getting to know a bunch of people on the bus and looking out the window at the traffic and parched, brown hills, I got out my binder full of coaster photos and passed them around, and that turned out to be a really good way to get to know people.

The trip from LA to the Bay area was a serious haul, with not a lot of scenery, but multiple snacks.

Here are some photos from the infamous TPR bus on various parts of the journey.

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The back of the bus - looks like I caught Ben by surprise.

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Middle of the bus - pretty enthusiastic, except for one troublemaker

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"Hi, I'm Robb, one of your tour organizers. I'll smile for your photo, but then get back in your seat and leave me alone."

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The front of the bus - also in a good mood

We stopped in the middle of nowhere along the interstate. There was a McDonalds, a Carl Jr.'s, and some other stuff, but that was about it. The food was mediocre, and it was really crowded, since this seemed to be the only place to stop for miles.

Since it was a ~7 hr. bus ride, we needed snacks and candy once and a while to keep us going. One of the most memorable moments on the bus ride was when Robb turned into the snacky-snack guy (complete with dayglo orange hat) on a night-time bus ride.

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Do not anger the snack monster or you will not get a snack!

After checking into the hotel, John and Matt and I sampled some snacks at the snack exchange (can you see a pattern here?) and we decided to catch a ride in the hotel shuttle van to California's Great America, which was literally a 10-15 minute walk from our hotel.

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After arriving at CGA we were ready for our first rides of the trip.

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After the stand-up Vortex, we headed for the Demon, which was exactly like the Demon at Six Flags Great America near Chicago.

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Here's John and Matt (giving his official ride review) on Invertigo, the coaster that, four days later (one day after the official TPR visit), got stuck for about four hours with people on it. Personally I am very glad I missed out on that event.

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The wild mouse coaster was the only ride with a significant line, as the park was basically dead on a Thursday evening.

Six coasters and credits later (Grizzly was the only one not running) we were happy to have gotten some rides in as we waited for the shuttle to return.
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I'm not sure if I even ate dinner that night after sampling stuff at the snack exchange before heading to CGA, but everyone else had gone off to Bennigans to get drunk and have dinner (in that order, I believe).

I tried out the pool and the fairly slimy hot tub, and I think Mikel and I had a beer right before I took a much-needed shower and crashed after not enough sleep on the plane the night before.

First official stop: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
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Day 1 - Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Postby Voyager » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:31 pm

Day 1 - Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

The drive to the park was scenic, giving us views of the bay and surrounding landscape. It was a nice day as we pulled into the parking lot.

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Oh my God - coasters - RUN!!!!!!

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Hey! This is not a coaster, this is the parking lot tram! Calm down!

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If you water your wood coaster, it will grow and get taller! (Seriously, with the low CA humidity I wondered how they kept the wood from drying out and spontaneously bursting into flames, and now I know.)

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Robb, Elissa, and Mike lead the TPR crew into the park; KidTums hacks the Q-bot to get free HBO and Cinemax and unlimited rides.

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The camel is thinking - "Oh, hell no - this fat guy is not getting a ride."

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The SFDK people had a variety of animals out for us to see before heading into the arena where they tigers performed. We watched the tigers swim and do a few tricks before heading out to our first ERT session on Medusa.

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Medusa is a fantastic ride, and it took me a few rides to realize it had seven inversions. I got plenty of rides during ERT (five or so), and then Mikel, my roommate, and I fired up the Gold Q-Bot and started racking up credits.

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The second coaster of the day was this very long kiddie coaster. Mikel either gives the count or wishes for peace.

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The kiddie coaster produced a very nice photo later in the day when I was standing outside the gate shooting Medusa and Roar, and I just happenned to catch this shot through the palm trees.

Medusa and V2 were my favorite rides at this park, and Roar was also very good, though rough in a few spots. If it had been a little smoother it would have been faster, and would have seriously kicked butt.

My favorite flat was Hammerhead, but Tasmanian Devil also proved to be a lot of fun.

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Hammerhead was fun, despite the super-snug harnesses - when you are hanging upside down from them you don't mind snugness.

After a fairly good ride on the Top Spin, we got stuck on it for 5-10 minutes when it didn't stop in quite the right place. This was made all the more unpleasant by the self-stapling restraints.

I think Mikel and I had ridden all of the coasters by lunch, which was in one of the picnic groves. After lunch, door prizes and announcements, they brought out more animals.

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"I am the cutest animal you will see on the whole trip. Bow before me. I SAID BOW!"

I took some other photos of animals in the main part of the park.

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In one tank you could pet a small stingray. They're actually not dangerous at all.

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DOLPHIN ATTACK! Oh wait - the trainer has fish.

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What does the "D" stand for? Not sure.... hey, what's that in its beak?

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Hey, those are feathers, and I think the penguin we saw at lunch is missing...
"D" must stand for Dangerous. Bad penguin. Don't look at me like that or I will peck you to death!

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Are these sea lions?

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Whatever they were, they didn't want to look at me or my camera.

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I spy a Bay Area Bash attendee in this photo!

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ERT later that night was on Roar, V2, and Tony Hawk. Here Mike Austin actually appears to like a ride, and he's smiling, too, something you don't see often.

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Hey, I know those guys - they're from Kentucky, what the hell are they doing here?

Earlier in the day, while most of the group was off touring a factory that made some kind of candy or snack food, I was taking photos.

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From just outside the main gate, I could see the stop and go traffic on the highway, and I decided that a photo of California traffic combined with a roller coaster was an appropriate photo for this trip.

From this spot I could get great shots of Roar and Medusa. Let's start off with Roar - a very good ride, and there were some nice photo ops from just outside the main gate.

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Front row - "Raj, I love you." "Oh Sanjeev, I love you too! I thought this day would never come!"

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The one guy looks like he really, really, really has to pee.

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A variety of reactions to Roar's first drop

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The faces in rows 4 and 5 are kind of interesting

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Five kids, five different reactions

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After another drop, the kids look happier

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Bald guys love Roar!

Medusa is just too damn photogenic. I couldn't stop taking photos of people having a great time on this excellent ride. Here are a lot of photos from various angles.

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First drop reactions

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Front row - we're lovin it!

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More hot corkscrewin' action

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The fun resumes with a great quick drop out of the midcourse brakes

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Row 1 - bliss, Row 2 - Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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More first drop fear

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Out of the 2nd or 3rd inversion and the fun is just beginning

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Write your own caption for this one, but be sure to use the phrase "moron with a camera" in it

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Front row hair

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Medusa is smooth and fun, and everyone in this photo is enjoying it

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Check out the kid's face in the 2nd row

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Look - Raj and Sanjeev, who just professed their love for each other in the first row of Roar, are now enjoying a front-row Medusa ride. How nice. I like the guy a few rows back on the right holding his sunglasses/head.

V2 is a great ride, and the 45-degree front spike with a twist is really fun.

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Peekaboo, I see you!

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More flying hair on V2

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Looking straight up the back spike - nothing like floating about 100 feet off the ground - I wish it was taller!

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Zero-G floaty fun

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Her yellow shoes match the harnesses

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I did not feel like getting soaked on this day, but many people did.

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Father and son tear up the track

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Mother and daughter are left in the dust

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I see the logic of the mandatory boxes that lock, but I still don't like them, though I did find it convenient to stash my stuff in one for a couple of hours.

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On another possibly unpleasant topic, some boomerang riders take their first plunge. This one wasn't that rough.

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More really, really, really wet people - not an acceptable amount of wetness!

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This ride was so bad I only took a couple of photos of it.

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These riders head for the sky... and then the chiropractor.

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Let's finish up with a great Tony Hawk ride, which was the scene of a massive soaking during ERT.

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Proper riding technique!

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Maybe my best hairtime photo of the trip!

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Turns are fun

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And finally - little Bobby and Tommy are in love!

At the end of the night, after a last V2 ride, a few of us headed quickly to the front gate and caught a tram. We got to the bus with 5 minutes to spare, thinking we would be some of the last on the bus before it left, as Robb said it would, precisely on time, and not a minute later.

We got on, and found we were the first two people back to the bus with the exception of Larry, the driver. The rest of the group arrived 15 minutes later! Of course by then we had already raided the snacks. :)

Next stop: Gilroy Gardens
Do you feel lucky, line jumper?
Well do ya, PUNK?!
-All of my TRs can be found here-[url=http://www.clubtpr.com][img]http://www.clubtpr.com/images/memberbanners/1352595ebe6dfdefdeaeac51528a94e9.jpg[/img][/url]

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Postby themeparkman25 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:02 am

Did you by chance feed the sting rays? 'Cause that is my second favorite hobby behind coasters.

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Postby krazekiddd » Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:47 am

Awesome Mike! You're photos always kick ass which is why I gave you "The Hanno Award"

Can't wait for the rest!
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2007 TPR MidWest Tour | 2008 TPR East Coast Tour |2009 TPR West Coast Tour | 2010 TPR USA Trips | 2011 TPR Tokyo | 2012 Europe Trip

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Postby mwm1444 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:20 pm

I was very much aware of your photo-taking all the way through the trip, but I didn't realise how stunning it would be. These are awesome (apart from my appearance right at the beginning :P ).

Mike 'hardly photogenic' Moody

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Postby freekeee » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:32 pm

well, i would like to see.. but all of the photos are broken, at least on my end!
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Pictures reloaded

Postby Voyager » Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:42 pm

freekeee wrote:well, i would like to see.. but all of the photos are broken, at least on my end!

Looks like the images that I uploaded were lost when the site was hacked, but I just re-uploaded them. Enjoy.

More updates coming next week..... -Mike
Do you feel lucky, line jumper?
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-All of my TRs can be found here-[url=http://www.clubtpr.com][img]http://www.clubtpr.com/images/memberbanners/1352595ebe6dfdefdeaeac51528a94e9.jpg[/img][/url]

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Postby freekeee » Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:09 pm

That must of been really annoying, thanks!

Oh, and those photos are AMAZING! rider reactions are always funny :lmao:
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