Rick and I left Thursday morning for our Renegade Midwest Trip. Our intent was to drive the entire 14 hour trip that day, and participate in the Coaster Craze event at Valleyfair! on Friday.
Our first stop was in Rockford, IL at Cherry Valley Golf & Games. The Tidal Wave roller coaster was moved to this location in 2006, but never opened. Cherry Valley Golf & Games went out of business and did not open in 2007. A sign outside says to visit their new location called Volcano Falls. They advertised a roller coaster and a train at the new location. Since the Tidal Wave was still standing but not operating at Cherry Valley, we thought the new location may have a new coaster that we did not know about!
We set the GPS and find Volcano Falls about ten minutes away. There was no roller coaster or train in sight, just miniature golf, batting cages, go carts, and an arcade. We asked two girls at the ticket counter and they knew nothing about a roller coaster. We asked about Cherry Valley Golf & Games and the girls had no clue! I can only assume that the Tidal Wave roller coaster will be moved to Volcano Falls some day.
We continued our drive to Valleyfair! but after 9PM it started to storm and made driving difficult. We made it past Wisconsin Dells to Tomah, WI, where we found a nice Econolodge with a 24 hour indoor pool and hot tub! Since we would be up late and still had a three hour drive to Valleyfair!, we knew we would not make it for the ACE Coaster Craze event in the morning.
We arrived at Valleyfair about 1PM. The ACE event had already had morning ERT and lunch, so we just used our Cedar Point passes to get in. The park was empty for a beautiful Friday in July! All of the coasters were "walk on" all day, except for Renegade, which was about a 15 minute wait. Wild Thing is now running two trains and there was no line at all...walk on all day! Last year, Wild Thing was only running one train after the accident, which created long lines.
Renegade is a great GCI coaster with many twists and turns. It is very fast and smooth. Rick and I tried almost every seat throughout the day, but the back seat gives the best airtime! I am not saying it is better than the front seat, because I am a front seat rider, but the back seat gives the best airtime! And the rumors are true, Renegade runs much better and faster at night! Unbelievable!
We had a great time at Valleyfair! We did not need ERT because the crowd was so light. The High Roller roller coaster was running very well, MUCH better than it did last year. I may put it back in my Top 40.....a true classic wooden coaster! Classic trains too!
Saturday morning we started out at Carnival Thrillz in Duluth, MN. It is an indoor amusement park on the shore of Lake Superior. The Dragon Wagon coaster was moved here from Santa's Village in Dundee, IL, which closed in 2005. We enjoyed a ride on it again.
We continued on to Wisconsin Dells, found a hotel, and arrived at Mt. Olympus at 3PM. The park was open till 10PM. I have never seen the park so crowded, and I have visited this park many times. The longest line was for Hades, more than one hour. It was running very well, and as smooth as it has been the past three years. There was only one rough spot where the track circles around the station at the end. We had a great night at Mt. Olympus- a full moon and four wooden roller coasters! Rick took some time at the batting cages, then we walked around the park. They got a new wave pool and a new S&S Swing this year.
Sunday morning we started the day with rides on Avalanche at Timber Falls. This is a great wooden coaster from S&S Power! Why don't they build more like this? We didn't want to leave, but there was a lot more to do on this day.
Next stop was Knucklehead's Bowling and Family Entertainment Center, also in Wisconsin Dells. This is a bowling alley and indoor amusement park. They have a family coaster, Minor Mike, that is built on concrete steps! (Click here for a photo). There is a cute train whistle that the operator controls every time the train passes through the station. Rick wanted to bowl a couple games and we ate lunch. These were the nicest bowling alleys we have ever seen!
Little A-Merrick-A was the last stop on our trip. We knew that Meteor had not opened yet. When we arrived we saw Darryl, the manager of the park, working with some men on the platform. They appeared to be doing some touch up painting on the train, which was beautiful! When Darryl saw us, he came over and talked to us for awhile. He said the first test run was done on Saturday night. The train went up the lift hill then got stuck on the turn before the first drop. He invited us to stay to witness the second test run in a few minutes. We told him how nice the coaster structure looked and they did a great job. There is a mixture of old and new wood, since this coaster is being relocated from Hillcrest Park on Rt. 66 near Chicago, which closed in 2003.
On the second test run of The Meteor, the train went up the lift, turned and went down the first drop, then got stuck on the second turn around. Darryl and the guys pushed the train and it continued through the entire track and back into the station.
The third test run, the train went all the way to the third turn and got stuck. The fourth test run, the train went up the lift and went through the entire length of the track and into the station! People were clapping throughout the park! Darryl looked like a kid with a new toy! What a great experience! Even though we could not ride Meteor today, it was exciting to see these historic test runs!
Little A-Merrick-A is also known for it's great train ride, Whiskey River Railway. Monday thru Friday they run the diesel train. On Saturdays & Sundays, they run the steam engine and train. Every time we have visited the park, we rode the diesel train. Today was Sunday, so we got to ride the steam engine! What a treat! T he train also chased a herd of ten sheep up the track and through the tunnel! LOL. The BEST train ride in any park!
We arrived home on Monday morning. I added three new coaster credits to my list. My coaster count is now 795....
Looking forward to the Grand Opening of The Meteor and Kemah Beach Boardwalk Bullet.
It was like Heaven, riding Renegade in 2007.
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