Pete & Rick Go West by Southwest

June 24 - July 4, 2004

Hi Everyone!

Rick and I just returned from our fantastic trip out west to Texas, New Mexico, and Denver. We visited 12 Amusement Parks in 11 days, 10 of which we were never at before. We rode 54 new roller coasters! Here is the report:

June 24 thru July 4

DAY 1 Thurs.
Drove from Pittsburgh to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

DAY 2 Fri.
Visited Magic Springs Amusement Park and rode all 5 of their coasters, Including the new Vekoma suspended looping coaster, Gauntlet. This was our second time at this park, we visited last year when we went to a Ringo concert in Little Rock. After enjoying the park for a few hours we continued our drive to Texas. We arrived at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington around 4:30. Earlier in the day they had severe rain storms and everyone left the park. When we arrived the rain was over and the park was reopening. The park was completely empty and it was Friday night! We had the whole park to ourselves from 4:30 to 11:00 PM.

Exclusive Ride Time on 12 coasters!!! Great night rides! The Titan hypercoaster is great. Intamin needs to look at the restraints on these cars and put them on Millennium Force! The Texas Giant and Judge Roy Scream wooden coasters were really flying after the rain. Another favorite coaster was the Shock Wave coaster built by Schwarzkopf in 1978. Two loops and lots of air time. Rick saw a snake in the flooded water below the coaster while going up the 11ft hill. After the ride I also saw the snake! Had many great night rides till the park closed at 11 PM.

DAY 3 Sat.
Drove to Sandy Lake Amusement Park, which is about 20 minutes from Six Flags Over Texas. This is a beautiful small park with many classic rides. We rode the Pretzel, a great dark ride and the Train Ride, which goes around Sandy Lake. We rode the two coasters; The Dragon and The Little Dipper, which is like the High Speed Thrill Coaster at Knoebels. This beautiful park has never been open at night! They close at 4PM. We stayed till about 1 :00 then we drove to Six Flags Astroworld in Houston. We arrived around 5:00 and the park was empty on a Saturday night! Apparently they also had a rain storm earlier in the day. We had Exclusive Ride Time on all 9 coasters! More great night rides! The park closed at 11:00 PM. We stayed In Houston that night.

DAY 4 Sun.
Drove to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. Spent the rest of the day here and again the park was empty! Rode all 6 coasters, including The Rattler wood coaster and Superman Krypton Coaster, a great B & M floorless coaster. The Road Runner Express is the best mine ride I have ever ridden.

DAY 5 Mon.
Went to Sea World in San Antonio. They have 3 coasters; Shamu Express (new kiddie coaster), The Great White (B&M Suspended coaster), and Steel Eel (Morgan hypercoaster), which was my favorite steel coaster on the trip. Again, the park was empty and we got many rides. We stayed till about 3:00, then started driving northwest to our next destination, Lubbock, Texas.

DAY 6 Tues.
Joyland Park is a beautiful family owned park that is only open from 7-10 PM daily. We knew this but arrived early at 1:00 PM. We saw people in the park riding when we arrived, and proceeded to the front gate to see what was going on. We met the owner, Dave and his wife who said they had a private picnic which was just ending at 1:00. The picnic was over and Dave asked us if we wanted to ride the coasters!!! He actually asked a ride operator to stay and give us rides on the coasters! We rode the Mad Mouse 2 times, The Galaxie Coaster 2 times, and Little Coaster 5 times! WOW! What hospitality! They would not accept money for the rides, but we bought T shirts. Also, The Galaxie Coaster at Joyland is from White Swan Park in Pittsburgh! We really had a great time here then proceeded to the next park, Wonderland Amusement Park in Amarillo, Texas. It was a two hour drive and this park also is only open from 7-10 PM. We arrived at 4:00 and ran into Mrs. Roads, the park owner, in the parking lot in her white Cadillac. We told her we were A.C.E. members and she said we could go inside the park and take pictures and look around! As the park was opening at 7 PM, a bad storm came and they decided not to open. What a disappointment! We saw the park but were unable to ride. We drove to our next stop, Albuquerque, NM.

DAY 7 Wed.
Cliff's Amusement Park is closed Mon., Tues., and Wed. and only open Thursday 11-5 PM., so have to wait till tomorrow to go to the park. Today we went to see my Dad's land in Rio Rancho Estates, which he bought about 35 years ago. My Dad was never able to see this land so I really wanted to see it myself. We went to City Hall and they gave us directions to the property. We finally got to see it, dirt roads and all. It was beautiful.

DAY 8 Thurs.
Went to Cliff's Amusement Park. Rode The Galaxie, and The New Mexico Rattler, a great new wood coaster from 2003. The park was empty, so we got a lot of rides and left the park around 2 PM. We drove to Denver and arrived at Lakeside Amusement Park at 6:45. The park was open from 7-11 PM. This is a beautiful traditional amusement park and has many classic rides- our favorite park on the trip! I will have to put The Cyclone wood coaster in my Top 10, what a classic The Wild Chipmunk is the scariest Mad Mouse I have ever been on. I love this park and the great night time atmosphere.

DAY 9 Fri.
Also in Denver, only 5 miles away, is Six Flags Elitch Gardens. We arrived when they opened at 11 :00 AM., and it was very crowded. This was the only crowded park on the entire trip. Rode all 7 coasters, including Twister 2 and the new Half-Pipe coaster. Left the park around 2 PM. and headed to our next stop, Kansas City.

DAY 10 Sat.
In Kansas City, Rick went to visit his Grandmother and Aunt, and I went to Worlds of Fun. I have been to this park about 5 times before and Mamba is one of my favorite steel coasters. Timber Wolf was very rough today. Spinning Dragons is their new spinning coaster and I got to ride it and add it to my list. I have now been on 425 coasters!

DAY 11 Sun.
Drove from Kansas City to Pittsburgh. Got home at 11 PM. It was a great trip and we traveled over 5200 miles. It's good to be home!

Pete and Rick

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