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2006.07.02-03: Trip to Ohio, or, "It's Electric!"

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Heya all,

Earlier this month, I joined up with my folks who had set up camp in Sandusky, Ohio, a few days earlier. I was happy to have somewhere to go over the holiday weekend (free, to boot!). And since jaunts to the USA are always fun... ;)

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Hey doggie, good idea!

Saturday I'd head down, meeting them around lunch at the campground before heading over to Aurora (Cleaveland) to Geauga Lake (formerly Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, formerly Six Flags Ohio, formerly Geauga Lake...). Spend a few hours there, come back, then spend part of the holiday Monday at Cedar Point before I'd head home on my own again.

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The drive down.

I stopped at Exit 15 on I-75 Southbound. This is sort of a regular stop point for me just because it's about ~30 minutes into the states, nice chance to take a lil' break (since I usually don't stop in Canada, 401 to Windsor is soooooo borrrring). Well, I pulled into the big TA centre as usual but this time needed to fuel up. Hmm. Big Diesel signs out front... but no pumps. Go inside, wait for 10 minutes in a line up... only to find out that all the diesel pumps are out back. Ohhhhkay! So I drive around back, and sure enough it's the big truck pumps. I park and go inside.

MISTAKE NUMBER 1.

You gotta get the mental picture here. The office here for these pumps had a glass wall which I was parked parallel to - my back to it, facing the counter. The lady behind the counter was sitting on the floor (?!) and I peeked over the edge, trying not to scare her... as I started to talk she started to stand up.

Me: "Um, hi? do you have small Diesel pumps? Like not the..."

Her: "What the nut is that. That is so electric, not Diesel."

By now, two guys from out back, Bumpkin and Hubbub, decided they'd see who poked in. I knew where this was going and that I wasn't going to get an answer about the pump any time soon. After 10 minutes of trying to get away, I finally just interrupted mid sentence and asid "Okay, thanks... thanks! Thanks thanks." while heading for the door. She just kept saying over and over and over and over how it WAS electric and I was wrong! Yeah, okay honey honey!

I booted it so fast out of there that I caught air going over the raise in the pavement where the pumps are. Wooooiee!! I found the normal Diesel nozzle at another station down the street.

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Okay, so back on the road now...

The whole way, as usual, is filled with waves, honks, cars slowing down to get a better look... and some people cook right on by without even noticing. At the toll booths on I-80 even the toll collectors wouldn't let me just have my ticket and go. "That car is electric!". Go away!!!

But this was nothing yet. Getting to the campground in Saudnsky, finally, I pulled in and went looking for my parents' camper. I went down one road before coming up another... when I noticed something in my rear view mirror. I thought nothing of it, until I saw more, and more... kids, chacing me.

Chacing Nosedive.

When I stopped. I swear, I couldn't even make this up if I tried, 20 people swarmed my car. I couldn't get out. It was just like the original smart commercials for Canada (the one where everyone's looking around one of the cars). I pushed my way out (I was pissed!), grabbed my backpack, shut the door and let my parents deal with the crowd. I muttered something about going inside and ran for the camper, went inside, and sprawled on the couch!

When I came out 20 minutes later there were still people there. I helped my dad with something in the truck and people were still coming from all corners of the campground to check out the little "Canadian Golf Cart" that had somehow, SOMEHOW! Managed to make it ALL THE WAY from Southwestern Ontario.

IMAGINE!

We headed to Geauga Lake... in my parents' massive Chevrolet extended cab pickup truck. :)

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Geauga Lake is one of my favourite parks. I love their ride selection: the best rides being Superman Ultimate Escape, Batman Knight Flight, X-Flight, and The Villian. Of course, since Cedar Fair took over all the names have changed, but I haven't got the energy to think of what those new names are, nor do I care. Superman Ultimate Escape has held a very special place in my heart for a very long time. In fact, when it opened in 2000, I stole my parents car and drove down, 6 hours, rode it on opening day for 6-7 hours, and drove back that night! They still don't know I did that!

Superman is an Intamin Impulse Coaster and when it opened was only the 2nd one in the world, behind LaQua's (Tokyo Dome) Linear Gale. A train of suspended seats is shuttled back and forth by contactless linear induction motors up two vertical spikes - each with a special treat... the front spike twists almost 360 degrees, the back, straight, but incorporating another linear motor... which actually acts as a holding brake! When the train glides up the back spike the 2nd time, right as the train slows to a stop when changing direction, the linear motor holds the entire train stationary for 0.7 s. It's amazing!

The park wasn't busy at all. In fact, every ride was a walk on and the waits incurred were because they wanted to fill the trains sometimes, so we'd have to sit and wait for the trains to fill. I'd much rather have it that way than the other, though!

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Next up: Vekoma's X-Flight. This Dutch-built flying coaster is one of 3 in North America. It's far better than the Zamperla piece of junk which operates at Canada's Wonderland... but can't hold a flame to other B+M prone coasters, like Superman at SFoG or SFGAdv. Still, it has a lot of unique maneouvers, and the trains are pretty slick! Each train has two big electric ballscrew actuators on the back.. you load siting upright, and on dispatch the trains lie flat, locking into a position on your back. At the top of the lift, the track dips and flips, and you're dangling face-down! Hands out babyee!!

Villian was empty too - we were the only people on the train for our *1* ride.

1 ride??

Villian, when it opened in 2000, was such a BA coaster. Fast, insane, and smooth. Now it's just fast, insane, and as rough as Michael Jackson's nosejob! Sitting in the back, I watched in horror as those fibreglass trains bounced and banged their way along the circuit. You want a brutal ride, here you go! Blah!!

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Took a spin on the HUSS Topspin, B+M floorless (Batman) and a few more rides on Ultimate Escape before calling it an evening. We had only been there a few hours, but rode everything multiple times and I was gettin' pretty tired from having to tell everyone, every 6 minutes, that my car wasn't electric.

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Nosedive tries to hide beside our trailer.

The next morning, I arose to find... no one checking out my car! I relaxed and went for a shower. When I came back, a crowd of 6 people were checking out my car. Enough of that, I need to get me some MF!

Millennium Force, that is!

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Millennium Force is my favourite coaster. It's another Swiss-built Intamin ride. When it opened it was the world's tallest and fastest - now it's only the fourth tallest. Still, it's such a fast, smooth, flowing ride.

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Cedar Point wasn't too busy either - which really surprised me! I expected for the upcoming 4th of July it would have been pretty packed. The weather was muggy and hot. I got a few rides on Dragster, too. What a rush! We checked out construction on their 2007 ride (probably an Intamin Aquatrax) and the world's longest BBQ. Which was aparently enough to exhaust me, because with the workday soon aproaching I decided to head home and get some rest.

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2007 Intamin ride, midway, and bbq.

Filling up on the way home, again, I had trouble finding pumps. I pulled over somewhere near the Ohio/Michigan border. I spotted two pickup drivers near the Propane tanks and thought I'd ask them if they knew where I could find a small Diesel nozzle.

Me: "Excuse me, I'm from Canada, and I was wond--"

Them: "THAT THERES AN ELECTRIC CAR!"

Me: (shifts to neutral and floors it)

Them: "Gotta be electric. Whats the rollover rate on that."

Me: "What's the rollover rate on... your... shirt... pocket...?"

Them: (confused looks)

Me: (pulls away speedily)

I am not so good with the comebacks. I bought some Monster because I was falling asleep big time, and continued on the boring, long, drive home back through Ontario.

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At the border...

Canadian Customs: "It's Diesel, right?"

It never felt so good to be back home. :)

Epilogue

My parents stayed for several more days in Sandusky (they're addicted to Cedar Point). A few days later, a woman came and was talking to my dad. She was almost in tears, becuase she had wanted to talk to me and see the inside of my car, desperatley wanting one for herself. When my dad told her they couldn't have them in the states, he said she looked like she was going to punch him in the face!! We leave quite the impression when we travel to the states with our little cars, as people like Kirk and Dave have found (with photos of their cars surfacing on places like flikr). If you're thinking about doing a trip down and want to see this insanity for yourself, now is the time to do it!

-Iain

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