Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah, TX
Total Timber Tour Blog Day 12
236 mile drive from Hotel in Ennis, TX to Kemah Boardwalk, located 31 miles south east of Houston.
We were on the road at 6am today, as we wanted to get to Kemah Boardwalk at 10.30am for park opening. We needn’t have bothered, as the coaster was closed until 11.15 for a private function. Some other enthusiasts were having a birthday exclusive ride time. Shame we weren’t invited. Weather today was again, well into the 90’s and very humid, even by the coast.
The park were very helpful leading up to our visit, but less so when we got there. For some strange reason, the employees were not allowed to have their photograph accepting the tour certificate! So the certificate ceremony was a lonely affair!
Again, the end of season blues seem to have set in amongst the staff here, with very little in the way of enthusiasm or friendliness, except that this parks season is all year round!
As for the coaster. Today was its first birthday. This was the 6th coaster we have to tick off of our ‘to do’ list. The Boardwalk Bullet, as it is known, is a very unique compact design and we can’t liken it to anything else we have ridden.
Unusually for a modern design, it has anti-rollback ratchets on some of the hills. Not unusual on some older designs, but quite a surprise here. This is more than likely a bi-product of the tight foot print the coaster had to be built on.
It’s quite amazing that the ride is so long, given the parcel of land it occupies, and it was noticeable speeding up with each circuit of the day. By mid-afternoon, when we had to leave it was flying round.
One other problem the coaster has is the incline (or lack of it) between the brake run and the station. Once the circuit has completed, its takes gravity an eternity to get the train moving again under its own momentum to return to the station. Plenty of time, in fact, to admire many previous riders stomach contents!
The park itself offers little else for the coaster enthusiast, but is a very scenic park in an idyllic location, and spotlessly clean. An ideal stop off for families.
As mentioned a in a couple of previous blogs, we have been tracking tropical storm Gustav for about 5 days. It became obvious to us on Friday that it may have an effect on the trip, and after our visit to Six Flags, the storm projections didn’t look good at all. We decided on our way to Kemah that, given the evacuation of New Orleans and surrounding area, we would only make the journey to the hotel if there was a probability the park would be missed by the tracked storm and operate on Monday. Well, a quick phone call to the park, reported back that the area was within an evacuation zone and, as such, would not re-open until at least Thursday. So, with obvious disappointment, we had to hurry together a ‘Plan B’. At the 11th hour, we decided to head west to San Antonio (and well away from the storm), to spend a day at a park we have been promising ourselves a visit to for some time, Sea World. There are a couple of coasters here we have yet to ride (both steel), and at least we’ll be doing something rather than just sitting out the storm in some hotel room somewhere. A special mention to our friend, Andy, back at tour HQ in London, England for helping us sort out our accommodation changes.
Heading back through Houston, we decided to pay one last visit to the site that was once occupied by Six Flags Astroworld. This was the home to Adrian’s first American wooden coaster, but the park was razed to the ground a couple of years ago because of the valuable land it was sitting on (or something like that). Well, the land was never built on, and is again up for sale. Today they were using it for a rock music festival. We left a memento of our visit (see 2nd photograph).
On Tuesday, we will be heading back to our scheduled hotel and continuing the tour as planned up to Seattle.
4 hour drive to San Antonio, Texas to hotel for 2 nights.