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Friday, May 20, 2011

Mr. X's Roller Coaster Road Trip Part 1

If you're reading this, odds are you care enough about me to already know where I've been for the better half of this week. If you don't know, then I was on a 4-day 2-park roller coaster road trip to ride roller coasters at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana and Kings Island at Kings Mills/Mason, Ohio. If you don't know, I am a roller coaster enthusiast (although not an official member of American Coaster Enthusiasts). I enjoy riding coasters and have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of coasters. This will be my photo trip report of my adventures. However, don't worry if you aren't familiar with coaster terminology. I am writing this to be as descriptive as possible and help possibly teach you a few things about roller coasters and history. Alright, let's begin.

...Actually, let's not. Seeing as how this site sucks, I'm going to use photobucket to post my photos. In the descriptions, I will have the original captions I planned to use here. Alright? Got it? Good.

...Actually, not good. Turns out photobucket sucks too. Therefore, I will have a sort of glossary here for reference. I may use some coaster geek terms in the photos and will describe that here in a segment called "The Who and the what now?". I'll also have "Coaster Reviews" for those who don't want to actually look at the photos just to know how I liked the rides.

The Who and the What Now? - Who is CCI?
CCI, or Custom Coasters International, was a wooden coaster manufacturer that was founded in the early 90s and went bankrupt in 2002. They have both some of the best wooden coasters out there...or so I'm told. Until this trip, the only one I had ridden was The Boss at Six Flags St. Louis and it sucked. Some people from CCI split off in the 90s to form their own firm, GCI or Great Coasters International which specializes in twisted Wooden coasters (see Wooden Twister Coaster in Roller Coaster Tycoon 2) and still operates to this day. The remaining members of CCI founded The Gravity Group in 2002, which has made some of the best wooden coasters to date including The Voyage, also in Holiday World.

The Who and the What Now? - What is airtime and how can it be "ejector"?
Airtime is the result of negative g-forces at the top of a hill on a coaster. Negative g-forces are difficult to explain, so I'll do my best. Say you have a ball. You toss it up in the air and it goes 10 feet into the air. Now, you put the same ball on a tether that's 7 feet long. You throw the ball in the air with the same force, but the tether pulls the ball back down before it reaches 10 feet. Now pretend you are the ball and the coaster train is the tether. Your body wants to go farther into the air, but the train prevents that. The result is your butt lifting out of the seat: a sensation known as airtime. Floater airtime is when your butt leaves the seat but only just a bit. Ejector airtime is when the force is so strong, you almost feel like you're standing and you can feel the restraint straining (ok, it's not really straining, but it feels like it) to keep you in the train. That is the sensation most coaster enthusiasts (myself included) count as the best to experience on a coaster.

Coaster Review - The Raven
The Raven is constantly near the top of coaster fans' wooden coaster lists...and I really don't know why. It was fun, yes, but nothing special. There was only a little airtime and the ride was over faster than you can blink. Overall, I'd give it about a 7/10.

Coaster Review - The Voyage
Wow. Holy shit, this ride is awesome! Crazy amounts of ejector airtime mixed with sections of twisting track made this ride my instant favorite coaster of all time! However, it did have one rough patch near the end of the ride, but overall it was spectacular! Of course, the trip was still young and there were many coasters to go, so just because it was number 1 now doesn't mean it would stay that way. Still, 10/10

Coaster Review - The Legend
The Legend is a unique coaster in that it's more about lateral g-forces (being forced to the side) than airtime or vertical g-forces (being forced into your seat, the opposite of airtime). I don't care much for lateral g-forces but it was at least different than usual coasters. 7/10 but slightly worse than The Raven. Slightly.

Part 1 can be found here

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