Flight London - Newark and Lake Compounce, CT
Total Timber Tour 2 Blog Day 1
For a time there it didn't look like this trip was going to happen - Ash clouds grounding flights, British Airways going on strike, rail workers threatening strikes, the Pound taking a dive against the Dollar, oil spills threatening the gulf coast. Well, all that worrying and 9 months of planning and making backup plans and.....
We're off and running! Welcome all to our little place on the Internet where you can read all about our trip around North America as it happens. Especially welcome to all our family and friends who have wished us good luck, readers of Screamscape, all coaster club members and anyone who might just be stopping by for peep into our world.
It's been 9 months since we purchased our non-refundable airline tickets and committed to the dates for this trip. At that time we didn't have a route, we just knew we wanted to do the same as 2008, start on the East, finish on the West and round-up all the American wooden coasters we hadn't ridden, as well visiting some old favourites and new parks.
By the time we had returned from Japan and South Korea last autumn/fall we had a good idea of the must do's for this trip. There was "The one that got away" in 2008 at Waterville USA, 2 new woodies opened since that trip, as well as 2 to open in 2010, the Flying Turns at Knoebels and a new junior woodie at Quassy Amusement Park.
But as the winter passed it became apparent that Quassy would not build theirs this year and Knoebels were still having problems with their new ride. More about the flying turns can be found on our blog from 2008 on day 2. We know there is quite a bit of frustration about the delayed opening of this ride, but we're resigned to the fact that Knoebels will open it some day. We wish them all the luck in sorting out the problems, it would be a shame to see all that hard work and craftsmanship go to waste.
Lucky for us then that Six Flags Great America announced they were saving a woodie and relocating from a nearby park. So our "Must Do's" on the trip this year are spread from the Gulf Coast to Chicago and Kansas City to California. "So what yaw gonna do for the rest of yaw time?"
Enter the Hypercoaster / Giga Coaster / Whatever Coaster - and the name Intimidator. For non-enthusiasts these hypers and whatever best describe coasters (steel) that go above 200ft, 300ft, 400ft etc. We'll show you what we mean as the tour progresses, but there will be at least 5 new ones for us on the trip, including 2 that have opened this year. Don't forget, we'll be updating the blog each evening local time (normally around 11pm), that's about 4am-7am UK time, subject to the hotels having a working Internet connection, of course. So, enjoy following the tour and don't forget to keep checking back for a few little surprises en-route.
So our trip started in London this morning with a 45 minute delay in departure which we made up over the Atlantic, to arrive in Newark, NJ on time. For those not from the UK, you may be unaware that many cabin crew from BA are on strike, but BA have been training-up cover crew so they can keep as many flights going during the strike period. Ours was one of the lucky flights that didn't get cancelled.
Service on board was a bit more limited then usual, but we still got a hot meal, snack, free bar and film selection. Missing was the shopping service and the "snootiness" that usually accompanies some BA cabin crew. rather than looking down at you, our crew were spot on and not a bit patronising. We hope both sides can settle soon, but well done to the BA management and staff for keeping as many passengers flying as possible. We, for two, appreciate it.
So, after landing, we got through Newark controls in record time - EWR is still our favourite gateway to the States. Shame we got the wrong shuttle to the car rental and ended up wasting 30 minutes on a impromptu tour of all three terminals and the rail terminus by monorail!
Then crossing the dreaded New York and, yes, we lost 90 minutes on one bridge.
We had planned to be at Lake Compounce for the last 3 hours of opening, but arrived an hour and a half before it closed.
Our welcoming committee were already waiting on Boulder dash for us, fellow enthusiast Dan Harvey, who was on our South Korean and Japan tour last year was there with his two children. It must be a wrench for them having a father who goes to amusements parks for HIS benefit.
Anyway, we managed to blow away the jetlag with 3 goes on Boulder Dash before the park closed for the evening. Great to report it's running as well, if not better, than it was in October 2008. So, a quick hop to hotel number one and chance to upload the blog.