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Very Eventful Week

Katya4me

Autox Junkie
:
Laser Blue '03 P5
So, the P5 has been mostly a DD for a while now but this past week, was involved in 2,600 mile road trip to cover 7 different amusement parks in 7 days. For a little backstory, last fall, we went to Six Flags America last fall with some friends and took advantage of a killer deal to upgrade our tickets for Gold Passes for the 2014 season. After Shawn started talking about a week of parks, we decided to get Cedar Fair Platinum Passes as well. These passes included parking at all of the parks and many of the parks also offered early entry to pass holders, which enabled us to get the coasters in early before the big crowds. :) As a side note, all of the Six Flags parks offer a Discover Card entrance which always has a shorter line than the regular gates and this was also very handy and we took advantage of it.

We started out in Frostburg, MD on Sunday, May 18. We had a rally-x out there and left the site around 6pm, enroute to Kings Island in Mason, OH which was 347 miles away. We made it to about an hour out from the park and found a hotel for the night. Got back on the road the next morning and arrived at the park a little after 9am. The park opened at 9:30am for pass holders and Banshee is open early as well. This allowed us to ride that coaster 3 times in a row, once on each of the 3 trains that were running that day. We continued our way through the park and left sometime in the early afternoon. Our next stop was Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka, MO, 393 miles away.

Six Flags St. Louis opened 10 minutes early for pass holders, so it allowed you to get in line for a ride faster. Boss was not open right away so we rode on Screamin� Eagle and I discovered the Pandemonium ride, which I thoroughly enjoyed. We ended up riding this 3 times in 3 combinations, 2 riders, 3 riders and 4 riders and it was different each time. Rode the rest of the coasters, came back and did Screamin� Eagle a 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] time and left the park around 1:30pm. Lunch at Bogarts Smokehouse was on the agenda next and it was so good� We got the ribs and burnt ends and they didn�t even need any additional sauce. Once we polished off our plates, we got on the road to head to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL, 358 miles away.

Unfortunately, Six Flags Great America did not offer early entry or early ride times to pass holders. :( So, we used the Discover entrance and took a ride on the double-decker carousel wheel while waiting for the main park to open. Also, the new coaster, Goliath, wasn�t open yet, so we will have to try that at a future date. Due to the circumstances, the average line length was longer at this park than any of the others that we visited. Having said that, I thought the line for X Flight was well worth it, as that was my first experience of a wing roller coaster. After hitting all the other coasters once, we left and headed back East towards Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH, 339 miles way.

Cedar Point offers a pretty sweet deal for Platinum Pass holders. You get to enter the park one hour before the general public to ride Lake Erie Eagles, Pipe Scream, GateKeeper, Millennium Force, Raptor, Iron Dragon, Maverick, Midway Carousel, Ocean Motion and the rides of Planet Snoopy. We decided to head toward the back and unfortunately Maverick was down the entire hour and remained down until we came back around 1:30pm. GateKeeper was awesome as was Millennium Force. Between the overall number of coasters (15 total) and the line for Maverick, we were here until almost 4pm. We were headed north after this, to Canada�s Wonderland in Vaughan, ON, 359 miles away.

We decided to stop in Detroit for dinner before heading across the border into Canada. Between this and the border stop, we stopped for the night an hour out from the park. The park didn�t open until 10am so this allowed us to get a good night�s sleep. Upon arrival, we entered the park and headed straight to Leviathan, which is a giga-coaster, as is Millennium Force. There was a wait for this, but it was worth it. It was cool and rainy/drizzly all day and this allowed us to come back in the afternoon and ride it twice more, back to back. I strongly recommend the front row, but it is quite breezy. :) Time Warp is a bit of a novelty coaster but was a lot of fun and the only ride of its type we experienced on the trip. Wonder Mountain�s Guardian opened the next day, so that is also on the list of rides to try at a future date. After riding Backlot Stunt Coaster at 3 different parks, I told Shawn it did not get any better and will not be repeated. :p Once we wrapped up for the day, it was time to head to our next stop, Darien Lake in Darien Center, NY, only 139 miles away.

The drive to Darien Lake was our shortest leg of trip and this definitely worked out well for us. This park is an independent, so the only one we didn�t have a pass for. The best prices we could find were $35.99/person and $8 for parking. But then Shawn saw that if you bought a season pass for $64.99 before May 26, it included a �bring a friend free� ticket and free parking. Yes, you see where this is going� So, we stopped in at the local Tops grocery store, bought a pass voucher and now I have 3 2014 season passes for amusement parks. Once we got the pass and ticket, we headed into the park. Our focus for coming here was the Motocoaster, which is currently the only ride of its type on the East Coast. It�s a very fun ride, definitely not a hyper-coaster, but very fun, esp. on the front row. We did that and most of the other rides that we wanted before lunch, then watched the Nik Walenda: Secret Stunt! at noon. Apparently he is doing a regular show there all season starting in June but did a 1-off show that day. He drove a motorcycle onto the highwire set-up above the lake and there was an acrobat below the bike doing tricks as well. Very cool and a pleasant surprise. We rode the Motocoaster once more and then decided it was so nice that we checked out the water park. Of the water rides that we went on, we enjoyed Tornado and Mister Twister the best. Once we were completely soaked and chilled, we decide to head on to our last stop on trip, Six Flags New England in Agawam, MA, 353 miles away.

Just like Six Flags Great America, SF New England did not offer any early entry benefits so our primary aim was to get on Bizarro as it was the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] giga-coaster on our trip. We accomplished this and got on all the rides we wanted, including BATMAN: The Dark Knight (twice), Goliath and Pandemonium. Unfortunately, all of the lines were long, so we wrapped it up after that and headed to the water park for the rest of the afternoon. The highlight there was Typhoon which is a water coaster and super fun, and we went on that twice. It was a great way to end the day and then it was time to head home.
 

Katya4me

Autox Junkie
:
Laser Blue '03 P5
The original plan was to get on the road Sunday evening, heading towards Frostburg, MD. We had left the rally-x car and tow rig there for the trip and needed to pick them up. About 11pm, we were almost to Scranton, PA, driving along wonderful PA roads that are under permanent construction status, when Shawn also me what was hitting something in the hatch. Looking back, I noticed that the drivers side passenger seat belt covered looked higher than it should be. Not good Pulled over on the shoulder and sure enough, the strut mount had blown and we needed a new one to replace it, ASAP. We managed to find a hotel with a vacancy on Memorial Day Sunday night and placed an order for a replacement at the Advance Auto down the street. Picked that up along with a loaner spring compressor on Monday and limped to the local Harbor Freight. 20% Memorial Day coupon FTW as we had to purchase tools to replace the strut mount. Jacked the car up in the parking lot, and get the strut off (after sawing off the end link) and discovered more fun.

The inner metal sleeve appeared to be fused to the top of the strut, preventing a simple replacement of the strut mount. Called around and once again, it is Advance Auto to the rescue, only now they are 4.5 miles away and the car is up on 3 wheels. :( We decided to walk there. About 7 miles into the 9 mile RT, we were regretting this decision. We got back to the car and discovered that part #72589 is not equivalent to part #71589. Grr. At this point, a very nice gentleman in a Subaru Forester stopped by to see if he could help with our tire trouble. Shawn told him that wasnt the problem and then the man offered to take him back to Advance to get the correct part and bring him back to the car. Hallelujah!!! Got back to the car, swapped the spring onto the new strut and were back on the road within the hour. As it was now close to 4pm, picking up the tow rig got scrapped and we headed straight home. With a stop for dinner, our 8 day adventure came to a close at 10pm that evening.
 

Katya4me

Autox Junkie
:
Laser Blue '03 P5
Takeaways for future road trips:
1) If your car has 150,000 miles on it and over 100,000 miles on the current struts, maybe you should check them before heading out.
ii) If you haven't re-charged your AC in a while and it craps out the week before the trip, look into that beforehand.
c) When swapping out the snow tires, don't put on the noisy summer tires.
IV) When entering Canada, it would be wise to have a hotel booked ahead of time. It helps speed up the border crossing.
E) It's time to start planning for the next round of amusement parks. :D