Thursday, July 12th

What should have been a restful night of sleep, almost turned out to be a disaster! One pet peeve of mine is how hotels don't use fitted sheets. They just take the flat sheets then fold them under the edges of the bed. So when you move around while you sleep, you move all the sheets with you. But the bed that I was sleeping in had this satiny top on it, so whenever I would move, the entire bedding set would slide on the mattress! Even just getting into the bed was a challenge because you couldn't just slip your legs under the cover...the entire sheet and blanket set moved with you. Nor could I scoot from the side in to the center of the bed. It was awful...I only laid in the bed for maybe 10 minutes before I decided that there was no way I was gonna be comfortable when I couldn't move in my own bed. So I got up, laid on top of the other fully made bed and use the first bed's comforter as my cover.

Of course the next morning, I felt as though I had to say something since the first bed I tried was without a doubt the most uncomfortable sleeping situation I'd ever been in. The clerk (the same guy as last night) even said that he had stayed that night and noticed the same thing when he woke up lying on a bare mattress with all of his sheets on the floor! He said he would definitely pass on my comments about how desperately they needed fitted sheets since he agreed with me.

There was a small continental breakfast set up, so I grabbed a Danish, then drank a juice box and ate a cup of peaches I'd brought from home. I packed up everything and checked out, hitting the road for Great Adventure around 7:15.


Aww, my car made a friend overnight!

This was a Rise and Scream morning, and considering how crowded everyone said this park should be, I definitely wanted to make it there for the early entry. I got to the exit for the park at 8:45, with the early entry starting at 9:30. I got a more substantial breakfast at McDonalds, opting for the egg and cheese bagel and yogurt. Every bit of the fruit in my yogurt was completely frozen solid. :-/


Woohoo, time to get my ride on!


Rise and Scream - the best kept secret of SFGAdv!


That's it! That was every car in the parking lot!

After paying the $15 to park, I realized that there was practically NO ONE there that early! If I guessed there were 20 other cars in the lot, that would be an exaggeration. I took a few moments to gather some trash in my car, then grabbed by still frozen fruit yogurt and walked to the gate. My car was parked right next to Superman, which was pretty cool...felt like I gave my car something interesting to look at all day :-)

By the time I got to the gate, my fruit was still frozen so I tossed it, and waited with the other 50 or so people at the gates. Once the park opened, it was a little confusing as to where to go since there wasn't an announcement about what rides would be open. So I sorta just followed the crowd and ended up at Rolling Thunder. People were going towards El Toro, and no one seemed to be there stopping them, so I went that way as well, hoping that it was one of the rides that was open. Sure enough it was!

I took my seat in the next to last row, and was on the first train of the day. We had to sit there for a little bit before getting the all clear to go, but I thought it was cool to be the first on the ride that day. This ride was crazy good! I was really hoping that it would blow me away, and it certainly did! The first drop was awesome, the ejector airtime was incredible and it was extremely smooth! By about halfway through I knew it was one of the best woodie's I'd ridden! I ended up riding three more times from various seats near the back of the train, which was really awesome. I definitely think that El Toro edges out Voyage in my woodie top 10 if for no other reason than that it is so rerideable. I seriously doubt that I could have ridden Voyage four times in a row in the back of the train!

For my fifth ride, I waited through three or four trains for a front row ride. So I got myself buckled in, and lowered my lap bar to where it had been on my four previous rides. Then out of nowhere, the ride op at the panel comes over to me, stands right next to me, and drops his entire upper body weight onto my restraint with his hands! I ended up screaming because it hurt SO bad that he had jammed it SO far into my stomach, not to mention the seatbelt that was now cutting into my abdomen! I was yelling for him to release it since it was way too tight, but he just made a shrugging motion at me. No matter what I did I couldn't get into a position where the belt buckle wasn't cutting me. He eventually asked me if I was OK and I yelled no and for him to let me out. Then he said "But then I'd have to recheck the entire train." While I was still visibly struggling with how badly the restraint was hurting, he dispatched the train!

Needless to say that every hill was excruciating and I was nearly in tears by the time I got back to the station. His manager was there, and in the heat of the moment, I yelled at him that when someone is screaming that their restraint is hurting them, that they should put that person's comfort above the crew’s desire to dispatch the train, especially on such a violent ride. I couldn't even stand up straight as I walked down the exit ramp because my stomach and abdomen were hurting so badly. I thought about marching straight over to guest services while I was still in pain to file a complaint, but I didn't know what I would expect them to do about it since it was in the past now. So I didn't go and complain.

Instead, I went over to Medusa while there was still about 5 minutes of Rise and Scream left. There were two people on the ride at the time and not another soul anywhere to be seen, so I ended up getting a private ride! That never happens! hahaha By the time my private ride was over, the GP was trickling into the park, and pretty obviously all heading towards El Toro. That meant that I was able to grab a ride on the right and left sides of Rolling Thunder with only about a two train wait per side.

This was a pretty good woodie too, but kinda pales in comparison to its next door neighbor!


Never before seen shot of El Toro across the lake

With the pain in my abdomen starting to dull, I walked across the lake to the Runaway Mine Train. I called Kevin as I walked, and he was glad to hear that I was enjoying the park so far, despite the near injury. We only chatted for a few minutes, then I got in a ride on the coaster.

It was a fairly standard mine train, what can I say. And what's up with the teepee back in that area? The entrance was all blocked off, but it obviously used to house something. *shrug*

I decided to take the sky ride where ever it would take me, and luckily there was no line yet. That deposited me over near Skull Mountain and Wiggles World.


Skull Mountain

I had no clue what type of coaster Skull Mountain was, but it turned out to be fairly entertaining. The wait was minimal, which was great, but even so, I passed on a reride.

Since it was in the area, I also rode Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train, which inadvertently ended up being my #250 coaster! hahaha Tivoli's are really fun rides...would definitely put one of these in a park I was building instead of a normal whiplash inducing kiddie coaster.

Since I was running extremely ahead of schedule that this point, I paused for a moment and found the Houdini ride.


Even the shadow at the entrance is kinda creepy!

I absolutely loved this ride at Six Flags New England, so I was really excited to ride another one. As I recall, the Great Adventure preshow was more impressive than the New England one. I pretty much think that this is the best illusion I've seen on a ride, and I still can't quite figure out why I find it so convincing! Even the seam where the fake exit meets the real exit is well hidden! Such an incredible ride!

After the ride, I was getting hungry, so I stopped at the Nathan's Hot Dogs for lunch. I got a hot dog and fries, with the dog smothered in sauerkraut! Yum!

It took a while to eat since there was so much kraut on it! After lunch, I took a moment to plan out the rest of the day's attack, then headed over to Superman : Ultimate Flight.

Almost as soon as I arrived, the ride broke down. The employees started to spiel that the ride was experiencing MINOR technical delays (always strongly emphasizing the word MINOR), and most of the queue cleared out. The wait was posted at 45 minutes and was full through about 3/4ths of the switchbacks, but by the time everyone left, I was at the bottom of the stairs! It seemed pretty obvious to me that they just cut at least a good half hour off my wait! Within about 20 minutes or so, the ride was up and running again, making my entire wait time a little over half an hour or so. Not bad.

While I was in the area, I took a look at Great American Scream Machine, which I had not seen cycle all day. The entrance was blocked off with an employee, and upon closer inspection, I saw two black bars running perpendicularly through a big chunk of the track. So needless to say, I didn't get that credit. Not a big deal though, since I would much rather miss that credit than something like Medusa or Nitro.

Being finished with the credits on that side of the park, I went back over towards Batman and Nitro. On the way, I saw a kiosk that makes engraved rings, so I decided to have a look at their prices.


The ring engraving machine

After trying a few on, I decided on one that I liked (which now everyone says looks like a wedding band!) and had them engrave the words "Live without hesitation" on it, as a reminder to me to never forget to live while I'm alive.

Moving on, I took a few photos of Chiller while I was in the area, which not surprisingly, was closed.

The line for Batman was very reasonable, coming in at less than 15 minutes if I had to guess. Next, I got in line for Nitro, which ended up being the longest wait of the day at around 45 minutes. But I bought a Powerade, chatted a bit with the family in front of me and man behind me, and the wait wasn't that bad. The ride ended up being fantastic...definitely my second favorite in the park! It's not quite surpassed Goliath, but I definitely liked it more than Raging Bull!


OMG! Back butt! She's got a back with a crack! It's like double decker donka donk! Ahhh!

The only credit that was left to get was Road Runner Railway (Kingda Ka, if you hadn't figured it out by now, was closed. They weren't even letting people near it...the entire pathway leading up to the ride was blocked off with foliage.). And again, there was a really long line for the kiddie coaster! Since I didn't have a kid with me, I snuck in by piggybacking on the family in front of me. When we all got seated, the ride op asked if I and a young girl behind me could ride together, so we did and I didn't feel like such a credit whore after all haha

Being not even 4:00pm yet, I felt extremely accomplished in getting every available credit in the park in so much less than one day without the use of Flash Passes. I seriously considered getting the Flash Passes before I left home, but ultimately decided to wait and see what the crowds were like, and I would buy them if they were necessary. I'm so glad I didn't buy them! There was absolutely no need for them, and I had a fantastic time without them. I'd read some pretty horrible things about this park before my trip, and I had planned two entire days of my trip to seeing and riding everything. So it felt pretty great that I didn't even need 8 hours!

As I passed by, I decided to ride the Ferris wheel, and spotted some sort of mini-parade going by as I was riding. Only had a couple of floats and some characters. Odd.


From the top of the Ferris wheel, you can see 8 of the park's coasters!

Once the ride was done, I decided to give Houdini another ride since I'd enjoyed it so much. It's so fun watching everyone as they ride that ride...it's so awesome.

Figuring that I wanted to pick up some type of souvenir from the park, I went back to the area with the tiger exhibits to check out the gift shops (as well as the tigers!). I found a great little glass tiger ornament, and a magnet that I liked, so I got those. The lady at the register asked where I was from, and when I said Nashville, she acted really shocked that someone from Nashville would even know about their park, much less drive all that way to visit it!

As I was leaving, I spotted the Carnegie Deli...ok, ok...


Yeah, that's just about the right size...

...I spotted the GIANT pickle they have on the front of their building! Thinking that I could certainly go for a pickle, I popped my head in. To my great surprise, not only did they offer pickles, but an entire pickle platter! For only about $4, I thought that was a nice snack, so I got one.

It came with 4 slices of pickled tomato (which were kinda hard and didn't taste that great) then four slices each of two flavors of regular pickles (one was very light and still tasted like cucumber while one was very strong and garlicky...I liked that kind better). That platter was clearly enough pickles for a group of 3 or 4 people to share, yet I ate the whole thing by myself. And as I downed the last bite of pickle, I knew everyone would be proud.


Going...


Going...


Gone!

With a stomach full of pickles, I decided to head out, bidding farewell to what I thought was a really awesome park! It's left me in a tough situation...in a pickle, if you will...about which Six Flags park is my favorite now. I really loved Great America because of their coaster collection and great assortment of flats. But Great Adventure has El Toro, and is an amazingly pretty park with its lakes and grown in trees. I don't know! All I know is that I like both of them more than Over Georgia, which seems to be most people's favorite.


I feel like I gave my car something interesting to watch all day!

With so much extra time, I decided to head on down to Clementon and see about hitting J2. I'd originally planned Clementon for the end of my second day at SFGAdv, during my drive from New Jersey to Allentown, PA. But doing it at the end of the first day would free up the entire next day for something else that I would figure out later.

Long story short, it took longer than I expected to get to Clementon, and when I got there...

...there was a sign out front saying that J2 was closed for "regular maintenance". So no way I was gonna spend close to $30 to get into what didn't look like that great of a park if I couldn't even get their coaster credit!


My car with the SBNO Clementon Jackrabbit

Disappointed and frustrated, I turned back around and headed back up to Bordentown, my home base for the night. On the way I passed a Panera Bread, so I stopped in and grabbed a turkey sandwich for dinner. I also downed a ton of water since I didn't feel like I was drinking enough over the last few days. When I was done, I found my way to my hotel and got checked in.

I was staying at the Days Inn Bordentown, which I found on the Great Adventure website. It was still fairly far away from the park, but then again, nothing is really close to the park. It was the most expensive of the hotels on my trip, but it was still the most reasonable I could find anywhere close to where I needed to bed. Had I known that I was only gonna need one day, I could have looked for hotels elsewhere, but who knew?! The hotel was fine though...a small step down from the Super 8 because of the exterior corridors, but still a step up from the Motel 6! At one point I went looking for ice, and was glad that I hadn't been put in one of the rooms on the back side of the hotel...it was very dark and kinda scary back there! Luckily I had been given a room on the second floor that was right off a little courtyard that had the pool in it. It was a well lit area and I was right next door to a family with some kids, so I didn't feel unsafe there.

The long haul to Clementon and back made me tired, so I was very glad to be able to relax and enjoy a few hours of the hotness that is American Chopper.


I *heart* American Chopper!

A few days earlier, one of my friends had made fun of me, saying "What will you do on Thursday when you can't watch American Chopper all night??" hahaha When the first episode of Hard Shine came on (in other words, during the one hour break from American Chopper haha) I called Kevin to discuss what I might do the next day since I had an entire extra day now. He searched through RCDB and came up with the Seaside Heights amusement piers. I'd looked at them a little bit when planning the trip but didn't figure by a long shot that I would have time to visit them. He was also pulling up some suggestions for stuff to do in Philadelphia if I wanted to spend the day there too.

After the hour was up, I told him that I was too tired to decide between Seaside Heights or Philly right then, and that I'd have to call him the next morning so he could give me directions to whatever I decided on. I briefly talked to my mom as well, then fell asleep to the peaceful sounds of bickering motorcycle builders as I drifted off into slumber land.

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