TR: Wisconsin Sprint Trip – State Fair, Mt. Olympus, Timber Falls (8/8-8/9/2015)

In the never-ending battle to find new coasters to ride, I often find myself looking at fairs. Fairs bring big rides to towns within striking distance to me, and I like big rides. Call it a weakness if you must. I do like them. But this is a complicated thing, as I’ve done most of the significant fairs within reasonable distance of me. That means I start to get into “unreasonable” distances for fairs. And that’s a challenge to justify to my wife, who generally doesn’t like carnivals. My solution: Just go solo. She’s OK with that. The problem: Single rider rules at many fairs. Solution to that? Have friends. Continue reading

TR: Ontarian Amusement – Canada’s Wonderland, Peterborough (7/31 – 8/2/2015)

Time moves fast – somehow 3 years has gone by since we last visited Canada’s Wonderland, and this is an issue my wife and I knew had to be corrected quickly. It had been even longer since we saw our friend Sandy who lives in Toronto, and that too had to be fixed. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones needing to get to Toronto – my mother in law and her friend needed to catch a lift there to go on Via Rail for a cross Canadian rail journey. The stars aligned, and we were headed east again across the border. Continue reading

TR: Random Coastering In Michigan Vol. 2; Ionia Free Fair (7/19/15)

Super Nova (A#712/M#414) was the main reason we came out to the 100th running of the Ionia Free Fair. This is a brand new Z40 Zyklon, I believe an IE Park version, which just made its first appearance out of the container two weeks prior in Bay City, MI. This ride will soon be making its way to Wisconsin to anchor Spin City, and then it’ll be off to Minnesota and Texas for their big fairs. But first; 10 days here in Ionia. As you’d expect from an almost brand new piece, the ride is super clean. There’s barely visible wheel marks on the tracks. Individual cars of 4 circulate around with lapbar only seating. There’s also a belt that runs off the lapbar for each rider down between the legs to clip in. I found the belts nearly impossible to clip in or press for release, and it seemed like a mighty tight squeeze for me, a not enormous person to ride. Continue reading

TR: Random Coastering In Michigan Vol. 1 (Kokomo’s & Saginaw Stuff 7/12/15)

I haven’t been writing as much as perhaps I could be, but hey, I write when I feel like it. We did do stuff fairly recently, and I suppose I could write about it?

I had chosen, somewhat at random, the of Au Gres, MI as the terminus/turnaround point for a day trip. It was at the end of Saginaw Bay, new territory through which I had never driven, and seemed, well, like something I should perhaps see. Beaches – at least free ones – were nowhere to be found where we drove, but we came across the remains of two abandoned amusement centers. Au Gres had a small family entertainment style establishment operated by Lutz’s Bakery-Restaurant which operated into the 2000s before finally going bust. Only a couple of signs and pieces of the water slide remained to tell of its existence. The town as a whole had an empty and depressed feel, with many empty commercial storefronts lining the main street. We followed signs to a boardwalk – it terminated well short of the shore, surrounded by tall grasses and wetlands, its condition best described as “marginal”. Continue reading

TR: Hamburg Family Fun Festival (6/19/2015)

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Why am I at a small fair in Southeastern Michigan? Well, reasons. There’s always reasons. I’ll be honest; I didn’t go for the fair. I often proclaim my dedication to liking rides as my driving interest in my participation in this hobby, but this, this was to go meet a friend. Sean’s a good guy and I haven’t seen him in a couple years because of diverging things, but he was in Hamburg with the Eyes of Freedom Memorial, and that’s not far from my house, so why not meet up, get some dinner, and since there’s rides here….

Continue reading

TR: Cedar Point (6/13/2015)

Having attended yet another disastrous opening weekend but having also had the sense to not spent much money to do so, we were free to return for another weekend at the park in Mid-June. Mid-June is our favorite time to go because everything operates and not everyone is at the park yet, making it a highly appealing proposition. This meant we’d finally get to hit some of the big coasters we skipped due to them not working back in May and re-ride other favorites. Continue reading

TR: Holiwood Nights and Kentucky’s parks (5/29-5/31/2015)

2011 was the last time I stepped foot in Holiday World. That time, my wife and I made the trip together to participate in Holiwood Nights, the spiritual successor to Stark Raven Mad, one of the coaster enthusiast world’s most iconic events. An olympic games cycle of years later, and I’m back. This time though, it is a solo journey. Meredith opted, instead, to travel to Orlando and take in a long weekend with her mother at Universal Studios and SeaWorld. Her reasoning: Holiday World isn’t that good. Most everyone I would expect annually to show up to the event also skipped. For this, a year where Holiday World’s first really significant steel coaster was opening, there was a lackadaisical attitude to the proceedings from my peer group…or at least the old guys I historically have talked to on the internet about rides. Why go then? Because coasters. That’s always the reason. Continue reading