Pete's ACE Summer Conference Trip

The Pacific Northwest

September 9 - 12, 2004

I returned home last night from my trip to ACE Summer Conference in Seattle and Vancouver, BC. There were 156 coaster enthusiasts in attendance, mostly the older members of the group. This was good for me because I knew a lot of them from before, since I have been a member for 12 years myself. We were all there for the same reason- to ride two of the best classic wooden coasters in the world, "Roller Coaster" at The Puyallup Fair in Washington, and "Coaster" at The PNC Playland in Vancouver, BC.

THURS.- I had a direct flight to Seattle, and arrived at 11:30 AM (Pacific Time). I got my room at Comfort Inn, Federal Way, and went out to explore Seattle. It is really a beautiful city! I went to Seattle Center and went up to the top of the Space Needle for a wonderful view of the sunset on the city. Under the Space Needle is an amusement park called Fun Forrest. They have about 20 rides, including the roller coasters Windstorm and Rainbow Chaser. There is a lot to do and see in the Seattle Center, and I also drove around the rest of the downtown area. I returned to the motel to rest up for the first day of the ACE Convention.

FRI.- We met at the Gold Gate of the Puyallup Fair for ACE registration at 9:00. This was the first day of the fair and there was a parade and rodeo before the gates opened at 10:00 AM. We had ERT on "Roller Coaster" from 11-12:00. "Roller Coaster" is a classic wood coaster, built by John Miller in 1935. It has 3 classic Prior & Church trains, with eight two seat, open front cars with single bench & single lapbar with NO seatbelts! As ACE Guide to Ride says: "works of artistic beauty". This is the only coaster left in the North America that operates exclusively at a state fair, only two weeks a year! We also had ride times during the day on the other four coasters, and night ERT on "Roller Coaster". The Puyallup Fair is the fourth best fair in the world! The amusement area also has many other rides- a sky ride, 2 dark rides, 2 Tilt-a-Whirls, 2 Scramblers, a Zipper, and a lot more unique rides! There are concerts and a very large county fair with animals and exhibits that would take days to see all of it! Great food too!!!

SAT.- We all met at Enchanted Village, a small Six Flags Park in Federal Way. We had Exclusive Ride Time on Timberhawk and Wild Thing from 9-10 AM. Timberhawk was built in 2003, and is the first wood coaster from S & S. It is the largest wood coaster in Washington- 75 ft. and goes 50 MPH. Every ACE member in attendance was disappointed in the ride, and the seatbelts were the worst on any wood coaster! After ERT, I did not see anyone return to ride it. I rode the other three coasters and looked around the park. I decided to leave the event and drive to Silverwood Amusement Park in Idaho. I arrived at the park at 4:00 PM. I have been wanting to visit this park for some time, because they have two of the best CCI wood coasters! Timber Terror is an "out & back" coaster, built in 1996. Tremors is a great twister with lots of airtime, and four tunnels. The coaster also goes thru the gift shop! I rode the coasters many times and enjoyed the rest of the park. There are two other coasters and a nice train ride. The Water park has heated water! Silverwood is a great park!

SUN.- We met in Vancouver, BC at Playland Park at 9:30 AM and had ERT on "Coaster" from 10-11:00 AM. Would you believe this coaster is even better than the one at Puyallup Fair!!! What a great classic wood coaster! Everyone in attendance must redo their Top 10 Lists to include both of these classic coasters! We all agreed on this! Playland also has three other coasters, and many other rides. The park was open till 7 PM and we had more ERT till 7:30. The park was empty all day, so I rode "Coaster" a lot. Same Prior & Church trains. Great! Some of us also went to see Capilano Suspension Bridge, about 7 miles from the park. WOW! Is that bridge scary! 450 ft. long and sways back and forth!

It was a great trip with a lot of old ACE friends and I met many new friends. I was able to add 19 more coasters to my list- now 499. Tsunami at Clementon Park will be number 500. It finally opens this Saturday to the public. I decided to go to Coastermania at Cedar Point this week to see all my friends from the trip, and of course it is free! I will go to Clementon next week to ride Tsunami. I am very glad Tsunami will be my 500th coaster! That worked out well.


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