Sunday, 31 July 2011

RCCGB USA 2011 - Shake, Rattler & Roll Tour

As most of you know, I did not attend USA 2011 - Shake, Rattler & Roll Tour. Nonetheless I've had enough interest in the trip to every day of the official report on the Club Messageboard. Well done to whoever put the effort into writing that, including putting up the photos. You lot (58 of you) certainly had fun in the USA that fortnight, which I missed out on. Here are my comments and questions about the trip.

Day 1 - Saturday 4 June - Outward Flight

So it was alright to say you went from Heathrow Terminal 5, Gate C65 and flew on a Boeing 747. I bet if I included train trivia (type of trains, train numbers, platform numbers etc) about my train journeys to UK Club trips in my Messageboard reports e.g. Blackpool Bash, I'd get a grilling for including unnecessary drivel.

Ryan at Heathrow
In the photo of Ryan staring out at the plane, he looks not so much scared of flying, but somewhat miserable. At least he smiled in the photo taken on board the plane in the air.

First Night Out
I notice some members wore their USA 2009 or USA 2010 tour T-shirts the first night of the USA 2011 tour.

Day 2 - Sunday 5 June - Six Flags Over Texas

A long day: 8am start and you left the Park at 7:30pm. Well Nev said you get early starts and late finishes on USA trips. Thankfully you stayed at your first hotel the first two nights, so your coach journeys that day were short.

New Texas Giant ERS
From the official trip report, RCDB, and article in AIRtime March / April 2011, I've noticed the wooden track has been replaced with steel track, but the wooden lattice structure is still there. Surely that's sacrilege, will some ride purists no longer call this a true woodie? What did Nev think of the modified ride, considering he thinks true coasters are made purely of wood? Did Ryan still like it? Before the modification, it was among his favourite USA woodies. How does it compare to riding Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Log Flume Photo
I notice the riders went on without cagoules, so they must have got wet on that ride.

Peak Time Temperature
101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius). Boy o' boy, that was hot!

From the photo, this looks like a corkscrew style coaster. How does it compare to Corkscrew at Flamingo Land?

A steelie with two vertical loops close together. How does it compare to Millennium Roller Coaster (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells)?

La Vibora
How does this bobsled coaster compare to Avalanche (PBR Blackpool)?

Judge Roy Scream
A true woodie (wooden track, track bed and lattice structure), how does it compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Batman The Ride
An inverted steelie. Apart from being yellow, how does it compare to riding Nemesis (Alton Towers), Nemesis Inferno (Thorpe Park), Infusion (PBR Blackpool), Kumali (Flamingo Land) or Jubilee Odyssey (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells)? I hope it's not as rough as Jubilee Odyssey.

Day 3 - Monday 6 June - Schlitterbahn

Early Rise
How early was your cooked breakfast to be on your coach at 7am? I suppose Nev managed to get the staff to serve it that early being as there was a big group.

An outdoor water park. I remember Tropicana at Weston-super-Mare tended to be chilly at the best of times. I've never been to the open-air water park in Paignton, as the British climate puts me off. I hope you had it as hot and sunny at Schlitterbahn as you did the previous day at Six Flags Over Texas.

Schlitterbahn has great water slides, how do they compare to some of the "better" ones I've been on in the UK, e.g. Blackpool Water Park, Splashdown (Tower Park Poole), Butlins (Skegness and Minehead), Basingstoke Aquadrome Lagoon, Cardiff International Pool?

I'm surprised you were allowed to take pool side photos; just about every swimming pool / water park I've visited in the UK prohibits photography / filming in the pool area.

Day 4 - Tuesday 7 June - Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Another early rise to be on the coach at 7:30am. That was unusual, having breakfast at the park.

Ryan's Birthday
A belated happy 51st birthday to Ryan for that day. I'm glad he received cards and gifts, just like on Wednesday 30 September 2009 during my Ride Slide Go Cornwall 2009 tour, I received a card and box of chocolate truffles from the staff of my guest house in St Austell. How appropriate he got Rattler ale as a present.

Rattler ERS
Being as this was the day you rode Rattler, it was hardly surprising this was 2011 tour T-shirt day. Ryan is really happy riding his favourite USA woodie Rattler, where better for him to be on his 51st birthday. Looking at RCDB stats, I've discovered Rattler is nearly 3 times the height of Big Dipper (PBR Blackpool), and has an extra 1,780' of track to travel in 4 seconds less than Big Dipper. Evidently Rattler must be considerably faster. What does riding Rattler feel like compared to Big Dipper? Is it as rough as it's made out to be? How does Rattler compare to Megafobia (Oakwood), which Ryan enjoys so much close to his home but to-date I've never ridden?

Poltergeist ERS
How does this steelie compare to anything I've ridden in the UK? From some RCDB photos it looks kind of like Corkscrew (Flamingo Land).

Superman The Krypton Coaster ERS
I notice its vertical loop from an RCDB photo. How does this steelie compare to Colossus (Thorpe Park) or Millennium Roller Coaster (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells)?

Kiddie Koaster
This family steelie is a Vekoma Junior Coaster (85m), track length 85 metres (278' 10"), hence the model name. From 2003 to 2011 inclusive I've ridden Maximus (formerly El Pastil Loco) at Devon's Crealy near Exeter, which is a Vekoma Junior Coaster (207m), i.e. length 207 metres (679' 2"). So Kiddie Koaster is considerably less than half the length of Maximus (Devon's Crealy). During one ride on Kiddie Koaster, how many laps of the track do you get? One Maximus ride consists of two laps. What's Kiddie Koaster like to ride compared to Maximus?

Big Spin
The title suggests the ride cars spin. What's it like to ride compared to Sonic Spinball (formerly Spinball Whizzer) at Alton Towers?

Scooby Doo Photo
It's great to see adults having their photo taken with a costume character, in this case Scooby Doo. When I went to Fantasy Island during my East Coaster Story tour last year I had my photo taken with the Pirates.

Day 5 - Wednesday 8 June - SeaWorld

Start Of Day
Slightly later start than the previous day? Only 15 minutes! You still had to be on the coach at 7:45am, so it was still an early rise. Thankfully the journey was short.

Great White ERS
How does this inverted steelie compare to Nemesis (Alton Towers), Nemesis Inferno (Thorpe Park), Infusion (PBR Blackpool), Kumali (Flamingo Land) or Jubilee Odyssey (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells)?

Steel Eel ERS
A mighty sit-down steelie. No vertical loops, so you can't compare it to Millennium Roller Coaster (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells). It's less than three quarters the height of PMBO (PBR Blackpool). What UK coaster that I've ridden can you best compare this to?

Journey to Atlantis
This looks like a cross between a roller coaster and a boat ride of the Tidal Wave (Thorpe Park) genre. Considering part of the track is below water, and there's a mighty splash at one point, why weren't you wearing cagoules?

How do these round boats on a waterway compare to the Rumba Rapids (Thorpe Park)? Another wet ride, why isn't anyone wearing a cagoule?

Alan with Penny & Pete
Well done Alan Chilvers posing with the two penguins Penny and Pete. Just goes to show, you're never too old to have your picture taken with costume characters.

Day 6 - Thursday 9 June - Kemah Boardwalk

Start Of Day
At least you had a later start today, whereby you had to be on the coach at 8:30am. Still you must have all had your cooked breakfast before 8am, which I guess was before normal serving time.

Boardwalk Bullet ERS
An ERS on a woodie, how does it compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak PBR Blackpool? I notice one member donned a USA 2009 tour T-shirt on this.

Boardwalk Beast ERS
An ERS on a speedboat ride. Do you actually went on a lake / out to sea, not a constrained man-made waterway like Tidal Wave (Thorpe Park). The report says you all got soaked on this. Why weren't you wearing cagoules? Considering they roll up small and are really light, there's no excuse not to carry one in your day tripper bag / rucksack.

I notice from the Kemah Boardwalk web site there's a playground behind Flying Dutchman. Is it only for children, or are adults allowed to play there? If adults are allowed to play, did anyone play? The good thing about Devon's Crealy and Woodlands is they have indoor and outdoor play areas in which adults can play. Where's the fun in visiting a park that only allows children to play in its playground?

Day 7 - Friday 10 June - Dixie Landin'

Easy Going
I notice you had a lie in, with breakfast by 9.30am, and on the coach by 11am. Hardly surprising, you must have all desperately needed a lie in after so many early starts and late finishes. It proves, even the keenest coaster enthusiast can't be expected to live through two weeks of early starts and late finishes. I've also spotted the statement "this was a chill-out day", you must have needed one after so many hectic days. Remember come the Monday of my East Coaster Story tour last year, I took the day at a leisurely pace after the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I notice the ride cars on this Maurer Söhne Spinning ride have back-to-back seating, like Dragon's Fury at CWOA. How does it compare to Dragon's Fury (CWOA)?

Loco Loco
Looks like a kiddie coaster to me, I guess it was still worth getting the tick. How does it compare to any kiddie coasters I've ridden, e.g. Little Dipper on Cleethorpes Beach?

Ragin' Cajun
A Vekoma Boomerang coaster, one of 45 of these around the world (according to the RCDB). Is it the same as the Boomerang at Pleasure Island Cleethorpes, which I rode last year?

An unusual steelie with a couple of spirals. Is there anything like it in the UK? I don't recall seeing anything similar here.

Day 8 - Saturday 11 June - Waterville USA

Cannonball Run ERS
An ERS on a woodie, how does it compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool? I noticed Nev sat in the front seat on one go.

Water Park
The report says some members went into the water park. Is it indoors or outdoors? What flumes, roller coaster water slides, space bowls, etc does it have? How do they compare to the flumes etc I've been on at Blackpool Water Park, Splashdown (Tower Park Poole), Butlins (Skegness and Minehead), Basingstoke Aquadrome Lagoon and Cardiff International Pool?

Long Journey
What time did you leave Waterville USA? How long was the onward journey after you left? It's great that Nev paced the journey with bingo, but I hope those wanting sleep instead managed to sleep on the coach.

Day 9 - Sunday 12 June - Alabama Adventure

Rampage ERS
I see from the report this woodie is like Megafobia (Oakwood), but bigger. Ryan must have adored this, what did he think of it compared to Megafobia? He looks happy sitting in the front seat in one photo. I've never been to Oakwood, so how does Rampage compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Marvel Mania Takeover
This family steelie looks somewhat like Loco Loco at Dixie Landin' two days earlier. Is it the same model?

Zoomerang Take Over
Another Vekoma Boomerang, is it identical to Ragin' Cajun at Dixie Landin', and Pleasure Island Cleethorpes? Well done to Matt Walker and Adam King who clocked up 25 goes straight off, was that each? The best I could manage on Boomerang at Pleasure Island last year was six, and then only three lots of two at a time. I just didn't find the Pleasure Island one anything like as re-ridable as Millennium Roller Coaster at Fantasy Island Ingoldmells.

What a pity you had to leave at 3pm. That's rather early to leave. Did everyone have enough time to ride everything?

Day 10 - Monday 13 June - Six Flags Over Georgia

Mind Bender ERS
A steelie with a vertical loop. How does it compare to other vertical looping steelies in the UK, e.g. Colossus (Thorpe Park)?

Batman ERS
How does this inverted steelie compare to riding Nemesis (Alton Towers), Nemesis Inferno (Thorpe Park), Infusion (PBR Blackpool), Kumali (Flamingo Land) or Jubilee Odyssey (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells)?

Georgia Cyclone and Great American Scream Machine
How do these woodies compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Looking at some RCDB photos, the layout of this Vekoma sit-down steelie looks substantially different to Millennium Roller Coaster (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells). Is it anything like Corkscrew (Flamingo Land)?

Superman - Ultimate Flight
Having seen the photos on the RCDB, it certainly looks similar to AIR (Alton Towers). What is the ride experience like compared to AIR Alton Towers (which to-date I've only ridden once – Loopathon 2005).

Dare Devil Dive ERS
I notice from some RCDB photos this has a vertical lift and beyond vertical drop, like Rage at Adventure Island. How does it compare to Rage (Adventure Island) or SAW (Thorpe Park)?

Goliath ERS
You seem to sit in an unusual position on this steelie, I can't think of a similar ride in the UK. Is there anything like it in the UK? How does this Goliath compare to the Goliath at Six Flags Fiesta Texas?

Day 11 - Tuesday 14 June - Pigeon Forge

Cannon Ball
From what I've read, it seems this was a surprise bonus on the tour. Wasn't it originally billed on the itinerary? How does this woodie compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Wild Lightnin'
How does this steel mouse coaster compare to Fantasy Mouse (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells) or Rockin Roller (Bottons Skegness)?

Ruby Falls Caves
Is this the first time Nev has included a cave visit on a RCCGB USA trip? Why did he put that in?

Day 12 - Wednesday 15 June - Dollywood

Thunderhead ERS
How does this woodie compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Mystery Mine4 Takeover
Judging by the overhead harnesses, is this a steelie with inversions etc? Anything similar in the UK? I'm pleased to read that the young queue jumpers were sent to the back.

Afternoon Storm
How severe was the rain to force the rides to close? Was it actually a thunderstorm? When I've been to Devon's Crealy in the past, their rides have continued to run in rain, though a Ranger once told me they aren't allowed to operate rides in a thunderstorm.

Day 13 - Thursday 16th June - Camden Park

Big Dipper
How does this 1958 NAD woodie compare to its namesake at PBR Blackpool?

Lil' Dipper
Is this more along the lines of Little Dipper (now Blue Flyer) at PBR Blackpool?

Haunted House
Is this a ghost train? How does this compare to the PBR Blackpool one? Since it has a lift hill, could one class this as a coaster?

Log Flume
That was a bit unkind of Dan Ould soaking other riders, whether they liked it or not. Bravo to whoever placed him in a log alone and to the others who then soaked him, a taste of his own medicine! Why didn't he put a cagoule on though?

Phantom's Revenge Surprise
After your long drive, I'm surprised you went into Kennywood late evening for an ERS on Phantom's Revenge. Was this intended as an advance bonus to supplement your main visit to Kennywood next day? Presumably then your hotel I was a stone's throw from Kennywood that night.

Day 14 - Friday 17 June - Kennywood

Sky Rocket ERS
How big is this? Looking at the track and trains in the report photos, this appears to be a family steelie.

Jack Rabbit
How does this woodie compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Kennywood Racer
Is this a racing woodie similar to Grand National at PBR Blackpool? If so how does it compare?

Lil Phantom
What exactly is this? Ryan looks happy in the photo of this ride.

This is an unusual woodie, it's not an out-and-back one like Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool. What's it like to ride?

Pitt Fall
How does this drop tower compare to the Ice Blast at PBR Blackpool?

Apart from it being in the dark, how does this mouse coaster compare to Fantasy Mouse Mouse (Fantasy Island Ingoldmells) or Rockin Roller (Bottons Skegness)?

Day 15 - Saturday 18 June - Lakemont Park

Leap The Dips ERS
An ERS on the world's oldest woodie, an achievement to be proud of for those members on the trip. How does this vintage woodie compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Skyliner ERS
How does this woodie compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Initially I thought you meant a toboggan run like Woodlands (Dartmouth), Oakwood or Llandudno Ski Centre, but it's actually a steel roller coaster. Any similar steelies in the UK?

Triple Atomic Wings Challenge
What exactly are the atomic wings? Chicken wings? I take it they must be exceptionally hot and spicy for Dan to drink so much water. That's going to extremes a bit though, making you sign a disclaimer.

Day 16 - Sunday 19 June – Knoebels

The final park day on the tour, and where better to be than Nev's favourite park Knoebels?

Phoenix Morning ERS
How appropriate that the day begin and end with ERT on Nev's favourite woodie Phoenix. The view from the top in one morning ERS shot looks impressive. What's it like to ride compared to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Haunted House
Is this another ghost train type ride? Does it have undulations like the one at PBR Blackpool, or is it a level circuit like the ghost train at Bottons Skegness?

Kozmo's Kurves Ice Cream Challenge
What kind of steelie is Kozmo's Kurves? Judging by the track and train in the photos, is it a family steelie? Hardly surprising you got ice cream all over you during the ride. What do you expect trying to eat ice cream on a coaster?

Log Flume and Skloosh
Two more water rides, and once again Dan got wet. Why didn't he wear a cagoule on those rides to keep him dry? Is Skloosh similar to the Tidal Wave at Thorpe Park, or Lost River Ride at Flamingo Land?

Twister ERS
From some RCDB photos this looks a mighty woodie. It doesn't appear to be an out-and-back either? How does the ride experience compare to Big Dipper and Nickelodeon Streak at PBR Blackpool?

Hokey Cokey and Group Hug
The final park day wouldn't be complete without that, would it? Did everyone in the group take part?

By co-incidence, Sunday 19 June was day 3 of my own long weekend in south Devon (17 to 20 June), which I called Devon 2011: Coaster Quick Half. I spent that particular day at Devon's Crealy (obviously tame compared to Knoebels). When I got back to my guest house in Torquay around 10:30pm BST that evening, I sent Nev a text. Being five hours behind BST, it must have been 5:30pm in Pennsylvania, USA at that time. Did Nev get my text?

Day 17 - Monday 20 June - Shopping & Flight Home
Firstly I've spotted an error on the Club site: this day is shown as day 16, when it must have been day 17. When will the actual report appear?

GCI Visit
A surprise visit to GCI. What exactly is it? A coaster factory? Did you actually get to ride a coaster there?

Didn't you go to a fair / park on the last day? Last year Nev managed to squeeze in a visit to Martin's Fantasy Island on your last day, where you rode a couple of coasters.

In the final day's photos I've noticed some people sleeping on the coach. I bet everyone was worn out by then.

Well, what a mega fun trip that was, I wish I'd been there. Did you ride any of the following non-coaster rides:
Bumper boats
Canoes, pedaloes etc
Water coasters (like Wave Runner at Paultons)
Freak-out / Afterburner type rides
Mondial Top Scan type rides
Swinging pirate ships
Spinning pirate ships (Rock 'n' Tug type)
Cyclone / Twister
Tea cups / cauldrons
Chair-o-planes / wave swingers
Disko / Disk-o-Coaster
Ripsaw style rides
Miami type rides
Paratrooper (umbrellas spinning on angle) or Mexican hat type rides
Astra (multi-lane bumpy) slides (as in Astroglide at Paultons, Giant Castle Slide at Harbour Park, Littlehampton)
Drop slides (like Demon Drop Slide at Flambards, Buzzard's Swoop and Red Devil at Devon's Crealy)

Once again thank you very much again for the Club website report of USA 2011, roll on the AIRtime report in a future issue.


  1. Nick, they don't have Waltzers in the US. In fact England is about the only place you'll find them. I can't think of a single fair or park outside of the UK where I have seen one. The closest thing you'll come to is the Sellner Tilt A Whirl found in the US.

  2. GCIi are wooden roller coaster manufacturers. The surprise visit was to one of their US offices. I believe where the trains are made. There's no way on earth they would have ridden a coaster there because wooden coasters are generally custom built on site, not built up at a factory before hand. The exception, to some extent are Intamin Plug and Play woodies.

  3. Titan at SFoT is similar to Corkscrew at Flamingoland in that it is a steel coaster with a chain lift. But beyond that it is nothing like it. Titan is a Mega Coaster from Giavanola. It has no inversions and with its selling point being its hieght, high speeds and high g's. It's closest comparison that you're likely to have ridden is Pepsi Max Big One. But it is far more intense and not as dull as PMBO.

  4. With regards cooked breakfasts, these are not the norm in the US like at UK B&B's. Breakfast is usually a buffet consisting of things like cereal, muffins, bread, and if you're lucky waffles that you cook yourself. More often than not all this is set up in a room and you just go in and grab what you want finding a seat wherever you can. I've taken stuff onto the bus in the past.

  5. I suspect Ragin Cajun would have been just like Boomerang at Pleasure Island Cleethorpes. In fact it's probably just like 40 of the other Boomerangs out there. The 4 it's likely to be different to are the Boomerangs at; Prater Park, Power Park, Carowinds and Walibi Belgium which all features different types of trains. In the case of Prater Park's the trains are not made by Vekoma and only have lapbars, more Boomerangs need these trains from Schaffer Amusements.

  6. Mystery Mine is a steel coaster with inversions. To be more precise it is a Gerstlauer Eurofighter. I think it might even be the first Eurofighter, if it's not it's one of the very early ones. It's closest comparisons in the UK are Rage, Saw and Speed. But they really bear no comparison to Mystery Mine. MM is substantially themed to the highest level and is significantly longer with 2 lift hills and beyond vertical drops. Not even Saw comes close to matching MM. The closest Eurofighter to it in Europe is Fluch Von Novgorod at Hansa Park.

  7. Miami's as such are not really found in the US. They're very much a European product. In fact one of the best ride manufacturers, KMG, were founded as a result of the Miami. KMG was founded by Dutch Showman wanting a high quality Miami ride. It was so good more showmen wanted their own, so KMG was founded.

    Wisdom Industries produce something virtually the same in the US called Moby Dick. They're not often found in big parks but can be found a plenty in smaller sea side park, especially down the East Coast in places like Jenkinsons, Morey's Piers, Gillian's and Keansburg.