TR: Veendam Caribbean Cruise 2016: Pt. 2 – MS Veendam Ship Review

The MS Veendam is a ship from Holland America line, and is by far the oldest vessel I’ve ever been on. In service now for 20 years, Veendam is also the smallest ship I’ve ever taken at a measly 57,000 tons. Now, at the time it was constructed, that was a whole lot of ship. Honestly, it still is. But these days, the Oasis class ships displace roughly 4 times as much in the ocean as little ‘ol Veendam. 57,000 tons is a “midsize” ship, not a megaboat, and that means it lacks some amenities like water slides or interactive video characters. This could be problematic for you if those are things that make or break your vacation experience. Us: not so much. Continue reading

TR: Sylvan Beach, NY State Fair, and Geauga (9/3-9/5/16)

9/3: Conneaut Lake has nothing on the present version of Sylvan Beach. While the arcades seem to be healthy and clean, the dry rides are a shambles. Being there with my wife, mother, and stepfather, it was remarked that this was probably a really great place once long ago, but had passed its prime. While there’s a number of kiddie and adults flat rides, of most interest are the coaster and the dark ride. Galaxi (A#778/M#479) is a fairly standard portable model coaster which had a prior life on the Seattle World’s Fairgrounds when it was Fun Forest. For the last 20+ years, it has been here in Sylvan Beach, and over many of them, I imagine maintenance has been deferred. There was one train of two cars running the rusty track, and the entrance ramp up felt as if it could give way at any moment. The ride itself was entirely OK, though most interesting was the lap bar being what felt like at neck level. Next to the Fascination (.25 a game!) is Laffland, a classic Pretzel dark ride that has probably seen better days. Our car struggled to complete the circuit – no big scares located within, but not an awful ride either. Continue reading

TR: Conneaut/Knoebels/Hershey/Cedar Point 8/26-29/16

Did a long weekend road trip to a bunch of parks, and a few notes on each:

8/26, Conneaut Lake: Hit this for 90 minutes on the route East, meeting up with old friend Kyle Mackey and his wife. Compared to our last visit a couple of years back, there’s been a lot of progress overall in beautifying this place. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the park is any great shakes, but it does have a dark ride, a classic carousel, a wood coaster with single lap bars, flying scooters, and a Tumble Bug. That’s enough of a lineup for me to care. Beyond that, Hotel Conneaut has seen some heavy work to make it look better, there was a car show going on in front of it, and most of the burned out hulks have been torn down, with stuff like a Nanobrewery having been set up on site and a bunch of empty ride pads just being there. Continue reading

TR Michigan’s Adventure (8/18/2016)

With time running out on the season and having not made my annual pilgrimage to the land of Timbers, I penciled in stopping in for a 9PM closing after work and trudging up the two hours just to get some power riding in. After all, the internet says that even if weekends are dead, so are weekdays. Why would the internet lie?

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TR: Lightning Rod At Dollywood & other Pigeon Forge stuff (8/6-8/7/16)

(originally posted on RRC)

I’ll make this fast: Wife and I put off going to Dollywood until this weekend, and the wait paid off. Lightning Rod (A#771/M#473) was open both days and I caught a total of 6 rides, front, back, and middle. I’ll skip a play by play since we all have access to Youtube minus the Chinese. Cutting to the chase: in the back seat there’s noticeable potholing on the first big drop and wave turn. I also think the major changes in direction on the ride are uncomfortable back there due to the forces imparted on riders and the position they hold in the seat when doing so. Having said that, the front and middle are plenty fine rides with no appreciable complaints I can offer in reference to those sorts of problems. This being my 5th RMC ride, there’s clear consistency with the kind of airtime pulls I get on each of them, and honestly the lack of a zero G roll is strangely something I’m missing from this wood coaster, as it would provide variety in the ride. As it presently operates, Lightning Rod offers a fast, chock full of ejector ride that I can completely predict the feeling of as I pass over hills. Continue reading

TR: Maritime Parks (7/23-/8/1/16)

This was originally posted on rec.roller-coaster and focuses only on the amusement parks. We rode every single permanent roller coaster in the region, which is worth exactly zero to most but something to us. If you have other questions, please email me at godsonsafari at or comment and I’ll be happy to get at you.


Atlantic Playland – Not a lot to say about this park. There was a haunted house which I skipped. People were only let in roughly every 30 minutes, and I missed a “tour” due to trying to find a ticket counter closer to the rides. There’s a couple kiddie rides racked and apparently just not to be used. There’s a water slide, some batting cages, bumper cars (possibly Duces?) and one of the weirder looking go kart tracks I’ve ever seen. Rockin’ Roller Coaster (A#767/M#469) was in the back. It’s a Schiff kiddie coaster that ran in Ontario somewhere long ago. We went around a few times and it was plenty.

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Brief TRs: Indiana Beach (7/9/16) & Kentucky Kingdom (7/16/16)

Some brief notes from the past couple of weeks:

Indiana Beach: First visit here since 2011. Last time we were here, we paid $15 and got a slightly better than crummy time. This time, it was more like $32 a person. I don’t know if it was a 100% better park experience commensurate with the price increase vs. the coaster enthusiast discount, but it was definitely superior. Continue reading