TR: Coney, Rye, Dorney

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Dave Sandborg

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Jul 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/15/98
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Trip report: Coney Island ACE Day, Rye Playland, Dorney Park--7/11-7/12

This trip, which I took with Tim Melago, was centered around the Coney ACE
Day, but I suggested we add Dorney (a park I had never been to but could
get in for free with my under-used Cedar Point pass) and Dana added the
suggestion that we also spend some time at Rye. Three new parks for me
meant a trip full of surprises.

The weather was perfect for coasting. Sunny and warm, but not excessively
hot, and not humid at all. We got to Coney a bit early (despite traffic on
the Belt Parkway), enough to go try out Nathan's before things began. Good
stuff, I just wish they were served "Chicago-style" with all manner of
toppings on them.

Even after Nathan's we had a bit of a wait before they gave us our
wristbands (good from 12-5 for any ride in Astroland). In the interim all
I could do is watch the train cycle around the Cyclone with plenty of empty
seats. Even looking at it, it's obvious that it's much different from the
one clone version I've seen and ridden (Viper at SFGAm). There are kinks
and jogs in the track that I can't imagine being on a theme park woodie,
and the turns look much tighter.

Finally I got to ride. Tim and I chose a non-wheel seat in the middle of
the train for our first ride, just to warm up. Even that seat was pretty
good. Then we moved further and further back, until we got to the very
back. Then we tried some front seats. After having tried all these, we
took whatever we could. Each of us got a couple of solo rides, including
riding alone in the back seat--possibly the ultimate coaster experience!

I was amazed at the four-seater trains! Are these the only four-seater
trains in operation today? The lap bars were kind of obnoxious, since they
had an extension that stuck down into one's gut. This cut down on one's
ability to experience airtime. The trains were well-padded, though, which
was a definite plus. I found the middle seats of any car quite smooth and
very rerideable. This was in contrast to the wheel seats, particularly the
back seat of each car, which were much more jarring. For most of the
course even this wasn't so bad, but the bottom of the second hill was IMHO
*too* rough.. Once when I rode in the fourth seat (which otherwise I
loved) I seriously wondered for a brief moment whether I might have gotten
a concussion on that drop. It was beyond pain...the shock to my whole body
was so intense that I went numb for a minute. Sorry, fans of roughness, I
don't think that's what a coaster should do. Fortunately I didn't suffer
permanent damage (though I had a bit of a headache the next day) and even
returned to the wheel seats later (probably not the smartest thing I've
ever done).

Enough of roughness, how about *violence* (by which I mean what's designed
in the ride profile, rather than the way the train tracks)? The Cyclone
has this in abundance, much of it due to the aforementioned "kinks and
jogs" in the track. The first drop is superb in the back (but I'd love to
ride it with roomier lap bars), but otherwise I didn't find this ride to
really be about airtime (probably partly because of the lap bars).
Instead, it's more about sudden twists and jolts. There are a few really
nice lateral slams. Even better are the unexpected direction changes. One
of the best is at the end of the third turnaround. At first, you think,
"Where are we going?" because of the tangle of track in front of you. Then
you think, "How the hell are we going to get there?" because it doesn't
seem like the turn will make it to where you're supposed to go. But at the
last minute, it wraps around another piece of track, while the drop also
suddenly gets steeper. Then there's what I called the "Kerchunk hill"--the
hill after the second turnaround where the front of the train makes a
"kerchunk" noise as it crests. And finally there are the small hills, each
with a slight lateral twist. It's moments like these that really make me
like the ride, particularly riding alone in a seat. I rode 22 times
throughout the day.

Of course, there's more to Coney Island than the Cyclone. During the
middle of the day, we went to sample some of its other delights. Our first
stop was Dante's Inferno, a dark ride with exterior decorations that aren't
exactly family-oriented. I'm no real judge of dark rides; it seemed pretty
typical to me except for the slight drop in the middle.

For my own good, I skipped out on an extraordinarily long ride on the
Breakdance. I settled for the milder pleasures of the Wacky Worm. (Is
this the generic term for this ride? I saw that somebody else called it
the Big Apple.) This is a bizarre little kiddie coaster. The first
strange thing I noticed was the unusual "wiggle track" at the beginning.
It's like miniature speed bumps; but they'd best be called "slow bumps"
because the train crawls over them like the worm it represents. (There is
one "large" drop on the ride, though it is braked.) The other very odd
thing about this ride is the turntable that holds one train for loading
while the other is on the course. This adds an unusual beginning and
ending to this strange little ride, as you rotate on and off the circuit.

I must confess to being rather frightened of the Wonder Wheel. I hate
Ferris wheels as it is, and making one with tubs that slide on a track
seemed like a very bad idea. But I felt I had to ride it at least once to
have the full Coney experience. I wasn't the only one who was scared; we
must have looked like a real bunch of cowards getting on the ride. We only
went around a full circuit once (not including loading time), but once was
enough for me.

More important was that while we were on the Wonder Wheel, Joe Schwartz had
discovered a Chance Twister ride below us (and once I heard its unique
sound, I wondered why I hadn't noticed it myself). Knowing that it would
have to be better than the horrible ride I'd had a Lakemont recently, I was
itching to ride. Better yet, they had a two for one deal.

I rode with Ted Ansley. Even knowing what a Twister could be like from my
prior Indiana Beach ride, I didn't fully realize what a monstrous machine
this is. Early on, we got spun quickly once, and then things calmed down
for a while. Then watching the operator, I suspected he was setting us up
for anther fast spin. We started spinning at about the speed we'd been
doing before. Ted began suggesting things to make the ride more intense,
like "Put your head out; that makes it much worse!" and "Try to look over
your shoulder!" I don't know whether the operator took it as a challenge
that we could try these things at all, but in any case, suddenly the tub
began spinning *much* faster. I had no choice at that point but to rest my
head against the back of the seat and let the ride crush me. This ride,
when run by a talented operator, is truly awe-inspiring.

There was one other ride at Coney that I rode, the Jumbo Jet. There's
little I have to say about this ride except that it's a peppy Schwarzkopf
design. The spiral lift hill brings back fond memories of my first
coaster, SFGAm's Whizzer.

Part of the Coney Island experience is, well the Coney Island experience.
That is, the entire environment itself is something unique and far from
anything you'd ever find at any other park, even a traditional park.
Besides the extraordinarily long ride times and intense ride operations,
there are other hallmarks, such as the "Bump your ass off" bumper cars and
the ride operator riding the Polar Express standing up. One such memory
will always be associated with Coney Island in my mind henceforth: the
Cyclone operators saying, "Ride again, three dollars!" Early in the day, I
thought the place might be a bit disappointingly dead, an impression
enhanced by the howling of the wind apparently caused by the observation
tower. But later there were plenty of people there, which made the place
seem more lively.

After Coney Island, we drove on to Rye Playland, a trip which took longer
than expected due to heavy traffic (and traffic cops). I believe we got
there around 7 PM or so. My first impression of the park came from seeing
a woman using the men's room. Fortunately, later impressions were more
favorable, including trying the excellent fresh potato chips. All in all,
I liked the "look and feel" of this park very much. As Tim put it, it's a
traditional park, but it's also planned. It's full of interesting
decoration and the midway has a wide lawn running down the middle.

The park was crowded, and it took us a while to get food. When we finally
got to riding, we went with a medium-sized crew of RRCers straight to the
Auto Scooter ride, which Dana and Dooley recommended. We had to wait some
3 or 4 rides before we got ours, but it was certainly worth the wait! Very
fast and easily-controlled cars, well worth the wait.

Our next ride was on the Dragon Coaster. This coaster has the distinction
for me of being my first Fred Church coaster, and also my first experience
with Morgan wood coaster trains. One word seems to describe this coaster
fairly well: "Bland." But that's still not quite right, because it makes
the experience sound too negative. I really had fun on this coaster, even
though it has virtually no interesting forces. It's just a speedy trip
around a fairly long course. In fact, the train seems to take every curve
at almost exactly the same speed; it never seems to gain or lose anything,
just scampering around from beginning to end.

No, it's not a thriller, but it doesn't really pretend to be. Rather than
trying to be mean and failing, it tries to be fun and succeeds. Adam
Revesz may have put it best when he said that the experience is basically a
"you're just on a coaster" ride. Even the Morgan trains didn't really hurt
this ride too much because it's so non-violent. I could see how they'd be
much less pleasant on a more jarring ride. The only thing I had against
this ride was that it cost money to ride each time, because there is no POP
plan at the park. It's just not worth riding more than once or twice when
you have to pay per ride. If I were able to ride it more often, it would
probably be high on my "not thrilling, but just plain fun" list.

Rye also has a Windstorm coaster, called the Hurricane. I had ridden one
of these rides in Seattle several years ago and recalled it being very
intense for its size. I was not disappointed. Tim and I got to ride in
the very back seat, and the twisting drop in the middle of the ride was
everything I remembered. But as Shawn Mamros pointed out, as we were in
line, we were standing on the site of the old Aeroplane Coaster, a sad
thought indeed.

There was one more coaster at the park, and due to Dana's special efforts,
we were able to ride it, though ordinarily we couldn't. This was the
kiddie coaster, a cute wood oval with NAD trains. We hung around like
vultures until the kiddieland closed just so we could get a ride credit on
this ACE Coaster Classic. They gave us three circuits apiece. I thought
this would be an ideal ride to introduce kids to coasters. Not quite as
violent as some steel kiddie ovals, but still a speedy little ride. One of
the hills on the far side was surprisingly fast, though it never got to the
point of airtime. Thanks to the folks at Rye for letting us indulge
ourselves in this way, and Dana for making the arrangements!

We took several other classic rides while at the park. The Racing Derby is
quite good, though it took them a long time to "wind it up" for us as they
checked to see if we were in the proper riding position. The Whip was
interesting; it seemed to have more action than usual on the straightaways,
but less on the turns. The Old Mill was a bit more enjoyable to make fun
of than to ride. Some scenes seemed to be missing. I'm still trying to
figure out the significance of the line "You tell them" is. Made me think
of "Now you will pay!" The Old Mill was unique in that it runs directly
under the Dragon Coaster, whose rumble can occasionally be heard.

The next day, Tim and I headed to Dorney. We got there early, when the
park was still quite empty. But even later in the day, the "Water park
phenomenon" took hold, and the park remained relatively empty for an
amusement park on a fair-weather July Sunday. Rides were very easy to get,
even Steel Force rides. But even with the low crowds, the rides were run
at admirable efficiency; three trains all day on Steel Force, for instance.

Getting into the park on my Cedar Point season pass was easy. However, the
gate attendant asked me to empty my water bottle before I could go in, even
though it only contained tap water. It didn't much matter; he let me keep
the bottle, which meant I could refill it anyway, but I find this a strange
and unnecessary policy.

We began our day on Hercules, because it was there. Pretty much everything
people say about this ride is true. The trip to the lift is the best part
of the ride. After that, there's a long braked drop into a turnaround over
the lake. The turnaround and the hard seats exacerbated my headache from
the previous day's Cyclone riding. Fortunately, the other coasters at the
park didn't do this. After this drop, the ride slowed precipitously.
Obviously the brakes detracted from it. In the front, I could feel that it
was trying to do more than it could at its current speed. Speaking of the
front, the Cedar Fair front-loading policy was present to an extreme. Some
poor man was forced to ride in the very front seat because there was nobody
else in the station to load any other seats. Note on the trains: the lap
bars were well-behaved, as they stayed in position throughout the ride (if
they would have come down, it would have been at the base of the first
drop, for sure).

Our next ride was on the Laser. Here again I didn't care for the loading
policy, which is basically to load the train in single file from front to
back. This policy is probably dictated by the design of the station,
though, which doesn't really allow people enough room to line up for seats,
or for them to let more than a trainload at a time on the platform. The
ride itself was really fun. Two loops followed by some good twists (the
one directly after the loops was the best). I didn't get to sample all the
seats I would have wanted to, but it was distinctly more intense toward the
front than in the middle. I never got to ride toward the back.

Next, it was time to ride (and ride, and rideŠ) Steel Force. I made this
my 125th coaster (plus or minus a few, I must admit; there are a few
uncertainties in my early riding history). I was of course eager to
compare it to the other hypers I've ridden, particularly Magnum.

In the efficiency department, Steel Force is unsurpassed. The operators
can dispatch a train immediately after the preceding one drops off the
lift. Meanwhile, the third train is approaching the station at the same
time. It's a wonder to watch, particularly since given the short lines,
they didn't *have* to run it that well. Kudos to the crew!

Another thing that was great about the crew was how they checked lap bars,
or perhaps *didn't* check lap bars. Except for the case of small children,
they only would make a visual check, meaning that the bars would never be
forced down on you. Twice, they did *ask* me to lower my bar a notch more,
but that's far better than jamming it down. The springs on the bars were
quite stiff, too, meaning the airtime could be enjoyed in full.

What about the ride itself? And of course, the question everybody asks,
how does it compare to Magnum? After 15 rides on Steel Force, I still
can't decide! I think I have to simply let the two be tied for my #1 steel
coaster spot. Magnum clearly has the best view and better tunnels. I also
preferred its outward trip and turnaround to Steel Force's, though it's a
very close call on both counts (but Steel Force's second and third hills
were a bit disappointing in the back). The return run, in my book, belongs
to Steel Force. I do love Magnum's style of airtime, but I didn't find
Steel Force's to really be any less extreme. One reason I think people
experience them differently is simply that the Magnum lap bars will
generally be lower than Steel Force's at this point in the ride, making
Magnum's air feel less like floating. If the trains had equivalent lap
bars, I'm not sure that Magnum's variety of airtime would feel all that
different than Steel Force's, except that SF's hills are higher and
steeper. In any case, both rides are great.

One coaster remained for us to ride: Thunderhawk. Tim and I sat in the
front seat for my first ride. I had heard it was supposed to be a good
coaster, but I really didn't know what to expect. The first speed bump
seemed disappointing; a very shallow triangular hill that's barely
noticeable. Then came the rise into the first turnaround, and my big
surprise. There was airtime galore there. Not floater air, but explosive,
"POW! You're hitting the lap bar!" air. Same with the rise intot he
second turnaround. The third turnaround is comparatively gentle. The
return run is pretty good, even with the unfortunate brake. I'd love to
ride it without that brake. The back seat wasn't as good, but the third
seat was, as Dana and Dooley's friend (Donnie?) put it, "airtime central."
Thanks for not spoiling the surprise, Tim!

The trains on this coaster deserve mention. They're a combination of good
and evil. They have poorly-padded headrests, but the sides and seats are
well-padded. The lap bars are the single non-ratcheting variety, but there
are seat dividers. Though these are not the perfect trains, I found them
tolerable, much more so than the Cedar Point Blue Streak trains. If the
Blue Streak had these trains, I could enjoy it quite a bit more than I
currently do, I think.

Most of our riding at the park was done on the coasters, but we did do a
couple of flat rides, including the Whip, the Crazy Cars, and the Top Spin.
The Top Spin was run on a pretty wimpy program (the same program for all
the rides I saw) with about two upside-down hangs and one flip. But the
public seemed to like it. The Crazy Cars are Dorney's cross between bumper
cars and bumper boats. They are bumper cars operated with gasoline motors,
having big inner tubes around the base. They are steered like tanks, with
two levers that can be either moved forwards or backwards (unfortunately,
mine was slightly asymmetric, so that if I tried to move forwards, I always
found myself turning slightly). Collisions were not too violent, it was
actually more fun to back oneself into the edge of the pit, which would
lift the front of the car off the ground.

All in all, a very fun trip, with completely new parks and completely new
coasters for me! I would certainly love to go back to any of the parks I
visited.

--
Dave Sandborg
Remove Spam-away to respond via e-mail.

RunawayMT

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Jul 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/16/98
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Well, Professor Dave, I've been waiting for this report and it's good to hear
you enjoyed yourself so much. A few questions: after 22 rides where does the
Cyclone rank on your list of favorites? It sounds like a fantastic coaster!
And is it me or what, but sometimes I get the feeling people rank the Cyclone
based on "respect." Anyway, at the very least it's a rite of passage and I
really envy you and Tim for taking this trip!

Also, umm.....what sort of exterior decorations would you be alluding to on
Dante's Inferno?

>I must confess to being rather frightened of the Wonder Wheel. I hate
>Ferris wheels as it is, and making one with tubs that slide on a track
>seemed like a very bad idea.

LOL!

>Rye also has a Windstorm coaster, called the Hurricane. I had ridden one
>of these rides in Seattle several years ago and recalled it being very
>intense for its size. I was not disappointed. Tim and I got to ride in
>the very back seat, and the twisting drop in the middle of the ride was
>everything I remembered. But as Shawn Mamros pointed out, as we were in
>line, we were standing on the site of the old Aeroplane Coaster, a sad
>thought indeed.

Yes, this is very sad, and the more I read about this amazing coaster it
becomes the one ride I wish I could experience above all others.

>Our next ride was on the Laser. Here again I didn't care for the loading
>policy, which is basically to load the train in single file from front to
>back. This policy is probably dictated by the design of the station,
>though, which doesn't really allow people enough room to line up for seats,
>or for them to let more than a trainload at a time on the platform. The
>ride itself was really fun. Two loops followed by some good twists (the
>one directly after the loops was the best). I didn't get to sample all the
>seats I would have wanted to, but it was distinctly more intense toward the
>front than in the middle. I never got to ride toward the back.

We were lucky enough to get a back seat ride on The Laser. It was the second
most surprising coaster of my trip (after OL:FOF). The back seat was intense
with a capital F!!!

>After 15 rides on Steel Force, I still
>can't decide! I think I have to simply let the two be tied for my #1 steel
>coaster spot. Magnum clearly has the best view and better tunnels. I also
>preferred its outward trip and turnaround to Steel Force's, though it's a
>very close call on both counts (but Steel Force's second and third hills
>were a bit disappointing in the back). The return run, in my book, belongs
>to Steel Force. I do love Magnum's style of airtime, but I didn't find
>Steel Force's to really be any less extreme. One reason I think people
>experience them differently is simply that the Magnum lap bars will
>generally be lower than Steel Force's at this point in the ride, making
>Magnum's air feel less like floating. If the trains had equivalent lap
>bars, I'm not sure that Magnum's variety of airtime would feel all that
>different than Steel Force's, except that SF's hills are higher and
>steeper. In any case, both rides are great.

Yes, both rides are great! However I still give the edge to Magnum and for me
the difference is in the turnaround. SF's second hill is great, but Magnum's
third hill into the pretzel is fabulous. And I don't know where this term
"floater" air came from but it does not apply to SF!!! I was *shocked* at the
violence with which I was lifted out of my seat, and that last bunny hop was
definitely one of the three worst "rib ticklers" of my trip. The return run on
SF scared me, and it definitely was better than Magnum's. The deciding factor
for me is the turnaround. I love that fall-out tilt on Magnum's pretzel, and
SF's helix really didn't excite me at all, especially after Mamba. I would
rank it even lower than WT's figure eight. But the return run is superior.
This is all just nit-picking anyway.

Well, I seem to have gotten a little long-winded! I'm glad you enjoyed
yourself. Can you tell I wish I had been there?

Mark-
who thinks the Top Spin is a bit overrated and takes a back seat to The Mighty
Axe any ol day!

Today for you, tomorrow for me

RunawayMT


Sean Flaharty

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Jul 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/16/98
to
Great TR Dave! I wish I could have been there with you guys screaming
away. Oh, and Mark, if you want a REALLY intense ride on a Top Spin, go
to GL and get in line for the Texas Twister, and then talk to Dave
Bradley (Dsbrad) and ask for #4! You will be glad you did!
Sean

************************************************* Irishcoast's Homepage!
http://www.Geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Stage/7332


Peg Batchelder / May Coryell

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Jul 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/16/98
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Dave Sandborg wrote:

> Our next ride was on the Dragon Coaster. This coaster has the distinction
> for me of being my first Fred Church coaster, and also my first experience
> with Morgan wood coaster trains. One word seems to describe this coaster
> fairly well: "Bland." But that's still not quite right, because it makes
> the experience sound too negative. I really had fun on this coaster, even
> though it has virtually no interesting forces. It's just a speedy trip
> around a fairly long course. In fact, the train seems to take every curve
> at almost exactly the same speed; it never seems to gain or lose anything,
> just scampering around from beginning to end.
>
> No, it's not a thriller, but it doesn't really pretend to be. Rather than
> trying to be mean and failing, it tries to be fun and succeeds. Adam
> Revesz may have put it best when he said that the experience is basically a
> "you're just on a coaster" ride. Even the Morgan trains didn't really hurt
> this ride too much because it's so non-violent. I could see how they'd be
> much less pleasant on a more jarring ride. The only thing I had against
> this ride was that it cost money to ride each time, because there is no POP
> plan at the park. It's just not worth riding more than once or twice when
> you have to pay per ride. If I were able to ride it more often, it would
> probably be high on my "not thrilling, but just plain fun" list.


Great trip report! I really enjoyed the Dragon Coaster for the same
reason. It was fun, especially after being banged and bruised by the
Cyclone all afternoon. Peg actually got 38 rides in on the Cyclone. (I
didn't keep track of my count.) I agree that it's too bad that Rye
doesn't have a POP, especially since it's only 30 minutes from home, and
Peg drives by the exit everyday when/if she takes I-95 to and from work.


May (wishing that she would win Powerball one of these days/years)

Tim Melago

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Jul 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/16/98
to
RunawayMT wrote:
>
> Well, Professor Dave, I've been waiting for this report and it's good to hear
> you enjoyed yourself so much. A few questions: after 22 rides where does the
> Cyclone rank on your list of favorites? It sounds like a fantastic coaster!
> And is it me or what, but sometimes I get the feeling people rank the Cyclone
> based on "respect." Anyway, at the very least it's a rite of passage and I
> really envy you and Tim for taking this trip!

I'll give my opinion on this question intended for Dave. I rank Cyclone
#7 in my top ten. I have GL Big Dipper in the #6 slot and CLP Blue
Streak now #8. I think it was any easy decision, it just seemed to
fit there in my mind. It is a great ride. There is nothing else
I've ridden quite like it.

Some people might give it too much respect in rankings, refusing to
knock it down a few slots after riding other great coasters. I've
seeen this happen with other coasters too. But I can see how people
say that nothing else matches it. In certain ways, nothing does so
I can see their point.

--
*******************************************
* Tim Melago * HOME PARKS *
* roll...@sgi.net * Idlewild - Kennywood *
*******************************************

Shawn Mamros

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Jul 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/16/98
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I hope Dave Sandborg doesn't mind if I add some of my comments to his
excellent trip report...

>I was amazed at the four-seater trains! Are these the only four-seater
>trains in operation today?

AFAIK, they're the only operating four-seater cars on a wooden coaster
in the US. The original Texas Cyclone cars were also four-seaters,
because they wanted it to be just like the Coney cars. The Texans soon
found out the hard way what that meant in terms of maintenance, though...

>[...] I found the middle seats of any car quite smooth and


>very rerideable. This was in contrast to the wheel seats, particularly the
>back seat of each car, which were much more jarring. For most of the
>course even this wasn't so bad, but the bottom of the second hill was IMHO
>*too* rough.. Once when I rode in the fourth seat (which otherwise I
>loved) I seriously wondered for a brief moment whether I might have gotten
>a concussion on that drop. It was beyond pain...the shock to my whole body
>was so intense that I went numb for a minute. Sorry, fans of roughness, I

>don't think that's what a coaster should do. [...]

The bottom of the second drop's always been the roughest part, at least
for as long as I've been riding it. The roughness at the bottom of
That First Drop can vary quite a bit from time to time, depending on
when they work on it. Nothing seems to help the second drop, though.
For the few times when I do ride the wheels, I haven't yet decided
whether Dana's approach of "hands up and go with the flow" or the alternate
approach of "brace like hell and keep your bottom off the bottom" works
better for me. In general, for me, I'm better off staying off the
wheels altogether - my back isn't what it used to be (and never was...).

>[...] Then there's what I called the "Kerchunk hill"--the


>hill after the second turnaround where the front of the train makes a
>"kerchunk" noise as it crests.

And you can feel the whole front car leaping up! Definitely a good
reason for having upstops...

Speaking of which, at one point in the afternoon, Ted Ansley and I took
a front seat ride and took a closer look at how the Cyclone is put together.
This is one *weird* coaster from a construction perspective. Most of
the runs between the turnarounds use "conventional" track construction,
with the upper layers of wood serving as the upstops. But on the turnarounds,
the track reverts to angle-iron upstops (ala Kennywood Racer and Thunderbolt).
I have no idea if it was originally built that way or not. Also, everyone
knows the Cyclone uses steel for its bent structure, but if you look closely,
many of the shorter bents are actually wood. There's evidence that much of
that lower trackage has been recontoured, both horizontally and vertically,
over the years. On the steel bents, it looks like the ledgers are steel as
well, something that I thought went out with the Traver-designed coasters.
But even those ledgers have wood built over them in spots, such that, for
example, it looks like they've increased the banking of the lower Surf Ave.
turnaround (fourth turnaround) from what it may have originally been. It's
been known that the Cyclone's been tweaked and adjusted over the years (as
early as 1937); interesting how one can actually see the evidence of that.

(For those who might not know the terminology: bents are the upright
structural members of a wooden coaster, though bents themselves can
be steel as well as wood; ledgers are the horizontal or banked beams
of the bents on which the track rests.)

Moving on to the rest of Astroland:
>[...] I settled for the milder pleasures of the Wacky Worm. (Is


>this the generic term for this ride? I saw that somebody else called it
>the Big Apple.)

Astroland's name for it is the Big Apple Coaster. It has a somewhat-
inconspicuous sign in front of it; it also goes by that name on their
web site (http://www.astroland.com). Wacky Worm is the manufacturer's
(whose? I don't know) name for the ride, I guess. Our ITOT on one of
the trains was truly memorable. :-)

>I must confess to being rather frightened of the Wonder Wheel. I hate
>Ferris wheels as it is, and making one with tubs that slide on a track
>seemed like a very bad idea. But I felt I had to ride it at least once to
>have the full Coney experience. I wasn't the only one who was scared; we
>must have looked like a real bunch of cowards getting on the ride. We only
>went around a full circuit once (not including loading time), but once was
>enough for me.

Didn't we go around twice? I could swear I saw you guys (we split into
two groups on the Wheel; Dave was in the group in front of ours) go
around once before we got on. It was my first time ever on the Wonder
Wheel. If I were with another (or the same) good group of people, it
wouldn't be my last.

The Twister, however, is another story. ;-)

>[...] Early on, we got spun quickly once, and then things calmed down


>for a while. Then watching the operator, I suspected he was setting us up
>for anther fast spin. We started spinning at about the speed we'd been
>doing before. Ted began suggesting things to make the ride more intense,
>like "Put your head out; that makes it much worse!" and "Try to look over
>your shoulder!" I don't know whether the operator took it as a challenge
>that we could try these things at all, but in any case, suddenly the tub

>began spinning *much* faster. [...]

Oh... so Ted's the one to blame!!! :-)

On we move to Rye Playland:


>Our next ride was on the Dragon Coaster. This coaster has the distinction
>for me of being my first Fred Church coaster, and also my first experience
>with Morgan wood coaster trains. One word seems to describe this coaster
>fairly well: "Bland." But that's still not quite right, because it makes
>the experience sound too negative. I really had fun on this coaster, even
>though it has virtually no interesting forces. It's just a speedy trip
>around a fairly long course. In fact, the train seems to take every curve
>at almost exactly the same speed; it never seems to gain or lose anything,
>just scampering around from beginning to end.

Funny thing: even on the other Church coaster(s) (and other coasters that
share Church-like track construction and flanged wheel trailered trains),
it seems to me that there's some of that same ride feel in all of them
that's different from other coasters. Even though the others, like
Vancouver Playland's Coaster (Carl Phare), have more severe drops and
curves that impart more forces on the riders, the trains themselves
have a sort of "constant roll" feel to them. Or at least I think they
do. Anyone else agree?

>We took several other classic rides while at the park. The Racing Derby is
>quite good, though it took them a long time to "wind it up" for us as they
>checked to see if we were in the proper riding position.

Something about this ride didn't agree with me. Maybe it was the riding
position, with putting my right leg on the uppermost "step", that forced
my somewhat-long leg into an uncomfortable position. Or the "bumps"
that I received when my horse hit the bottom of the cycle (with my posterior,
of course, perched on the hard wooden saddle of the horse), coupled with
one too many Cyclone rides. But gosh darn it, I found myself *hurting*
on this ride, and I was beginning to find it difficult to hang on. I
wish it weren't that uncomfortable for me - I certainly like the ride
concept, and the "classicness" of it certainly appeals to me.

> The Whip was
>interesting; it seemed to have more action than usual on the straightaways,
>but less on the turns.

The cars were definitely rocking back and forth on the straights much
more than on any other Whip I've ridden. I don't understand it well
enough mechanically to explain why it might have been, though...

I wasn't at Dorney with Dave and Tim the next day, but I did want to
comment on one thing regardless...


>One coaster remained for us to ride: Thunderhawk. Tim and I sat in the
>front seat for my first ride. I had heard it was supposed to be a good
>coaster, but I really didn't know what to expect. The first speed bump
>seemed disappointing; a very shallow triangular hill that's barely
>noticeable. Then came the rise into the first turnaround, and my big
>surprise. There was airtime galore there. Not floater air, but explosive,
>"POW! You're hitting the lap bar!" air. Same with the rise intot he
>second turnaround. The third turnaround is comparatively gentle. The
>return run is pretty good, even with the unfortunate brake. I'd love to
>ride it without that brake. The back seat wasn't as good, but the third
>seat was, as Dana and Dooley's friend (Donnie?) put it, "airtime central."

The first time I ever rode it, that brake wasn't on. You get literally
stand-up catapault-style airtime right before the brake run with that
brake off (in the front car, of course). Of coasters that I've actually
ridden, T-hawk may be the one I'd most like to try again if I had a time
machine - imagine it with no seat dividers, no headrests, hand-operated
skid brakes and no mid-course trims. The possibilities are frightening...

-Shawn Mamros
E-mail to: mam...@mit.edu

Dave Sandborg

unread,
Jul 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/16/98
to
In article <199807160500...@ladder03.news.aol.com>,
runa...@aol.com (RunawayMT) wrote:

> A few questions: after 22 rides where does the
> Cyclone rank on your list of favorites?

It's getting tougher to rank coasters as I ride more, but I've tentatively
put it just below the Texas Giant on my list, which would make it sixth.

> It sounds like a fantastic coaster!

It is.

> And is it me or what, but sometimes I get the feeling people rank the Cyclone
> based on "respect."

In some sense I feel that way, but I think that true Cyclone-fans love it
for what it is, not just because it has the image it does. There is plenty
to like about it, for sure.

> Anyway, at the very least it's a rite of passage and I
> really envy you and Tim for taking this trip!

I'm glad I got a chance to go! It turned out to be either this trip or
doing part of the Coaster Zombies tour on the weekend of the 4th. I'd have
been very happy doing either, but this worked out better.

> Also, umm.....what sort of exterior decorations would you be alluding to on
> Dante's Inferno?

Depictions of naked women... Somebody in our group, I forget whom,
mentioned that these were covered over on Muslim day.

> [Rye Aeroplane Coaster]


> Yes, this is very sad, and the more I read about this amazing coaster it
> becomes the one ride I wish I could experience above all others.

I don't know how it would fall in my coaster rankings if I had a chance to
ride it, but I think it certainly must deserve points for the sheer
artistry of its design.

> Mark-
> who thinks the Top Spin is a bit overrated and takes a back seat to The
Mighty
> Axe any ol day!

Have you ridden one of the more intense Top Spin programs? Actually, I
suspect the Mighty Axe is more intense (is this the same thing as Knoebels'
Axis?), but I prefer the flips of the Top Spins.

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