Coasterville Con'04 - Lake Winnie

Trip Report: Coasterville Con '04

Day 2 - September 4, 2004

Chatanooga, TN -> Marietta, GA

Lake Winnie!

After our longer than planned night last night, we slept in. We got our butts out of bed in time to be the first ones served at the local Sticky Fingers BBQ restaurant. We ate lunch and then headed to Lake Winnie.

We arrived at Lake Winnie shortly after noon, pulled into the free parking lot, and headed to the gate. A short time later we were equipped with an invisible ink handstamp, a green wristband, an admission ticket and a receipt. All of this for $21 ($3 admission and $18 ride pass)

We walked through the turnstile-less admission gate, where I was informed that my admission ticket had a peel off backing, and I was expected to wear it in plain sight throughout my visit. That's different.

We headed into the park and headed directly for the Boat Chute. The Boat Chute is the parks Old Mill ride, with one noteable distinction. Boat Chute still has the big drop at the end of the ride. We boarded the 6 passenger boat and soon headed into the tunnel. Its a long long dark tunnel with nothing to see, and its straight until the turnaround at the far side so its a rather uninteresting tunnel. Anyway you exit the tunnel after the turnaround a the far end and go up the funky old lift hill with its old time style life chain, then you go down the drop where you barely get wet, then you skim accross the lakes surface where you do a turnaround at the other end to return to the station. It's an interesting old ride for nostaliga purposes.

After the Boat Chure we took a ride on the Matterhorn next door, I'm not sure whose Matterhorn this is, but at leat they run it where the cars swing out and stay there for a few seconds at a time. I mean not many people run these like this. I did note the cars have locking lapbars, unlke other Matterhorns I have seen, and also have decrative sled runners on the bottoms. Neat ride, it was also interesting when we saw someone exit towards the center of the ride then try to figure out what to do next.....

From the Matterhorn we walked along the edge of the lake, looked at the big fish in the lake, and eventually would up at Castle. Castle is the parks old school style dark ride. It winds points for actually haviing a moat around the castle, and you enter over a small bridge. There was a short wait (under 15 minutes) to ride the castle. The station though has an outer space theme, and soon we were going inside. Its your typical dark ride experience but it appears to be well maintained

After leaving the Castle we headed further around the lake and came upon Wild Lightning. Wild Lightning is the parks wld mouse coaster, and is it a doozy. Absolutely no brakes active on course until the ending brake runs, hairpins turns taken at a good speed, and then the lower level has some insanely strong laterals. Single riders must sit in the designated side of the seat. Wow.

We then walked over to the Cannon Ball, Cannon Ball was running only 1 train today, the blue one. Go North! (user mentally pulls out his blue Dixie Stampede flag to take on the ride) Anyway today the line would, at most just hit the bottom of the ramp, which is 2 maybe 3 train wait at most. Cannon Ball has a very classic station with 2 stop loading, simple entrnace and exit ramps, skid brakes, manual brake lever operations. (And the brake levers appear to have a junction wired to them with the lap bar controlls), then into the train, single position buzz bars, nice seat cushioning, and long individual seatbelts.

We took a back seat ride, then a front seat ride. The coaster runs fast, the coaster runs incredibly smooth, in fact when the train goes up on the skids in the brake run, you can hear wheels spinning well after the train stops moving. However, the laterals and airtime just don't seem to be there in large quantities, I mean yes there is some artime on the ride, but the problem for me, I guess is that the ride profile is just too similar to Screechin Eagle, so Cannonball is unfairly put into a position where it must compete against my memries fo the insane Eagle. Don't get me wrong, its a fine old wood coaster, it just doesn't have the action that I like to see in a wood coaster. (It could also be suffering due to recent Thunderhead rides....) In the end of course Cannon Ball has one big advantage over my memories of my beloved Screechin Eagle: Cannon Ball is OPEN and OPERATING and I am here to enjoy it. The only rain of the day was a short sprtiz during the second Cannon Ball ride. The park seems to now know where it is, as it calls itself as being in Chatanooga, TN, when legally it is in Rossville, GA. They took care of this ont he coaster, at the apex of the lift hill they fly the American flag, on the bent before the apex they fly the Georgia flag, and on the bent after the apex they fly the Tennessee flag.

But lets see the rest of the park first, shall we?

Right next to the Cannon Ball is the Fly-O-Plane. This appears to be the last Eyerly Fly-O-Plane left in existance. Good Riddance! The ride features 8 miniature aircraft on a spin ride center. The ride starts and a cable pulls the aircraft off ther ground into flying position, then somehow releases the tub lock. From there, in theory you can use a sterring wheel to control the wings of the aiircraft, and with skill perofrm aerobatic manuevers. The tub has two steering wheels bbut both are tied together. Okay, I boarded an aircraft to take a solo flight, and positioned the lapbar where I wanted it andpulled the door almost closes so I could see where on the ladder rungs the bar would stick through. Seemed reasonable. Nope the op shoved the bar down as hard as he could, then closed the door. Yelp, I don't think I have ever seen an Eyerly lapbar go that low on the ladder rungs with me in the tub. I was expeiencing slight discomfort before the ride even began.

Then the ride started. My first attempt at a barrel roll was a huge mistake, Once I got the tub flipped halfway over, I never did get the aircraft righted again. Movint the wheel meant I got either hang straight upside down, or hang upside down at a more cofortable angle wherI could at leat not have quite aa bad of blood rushing to head sensation while I could lean against the tub side. Of course as witht he Roll-O-Plane the tubs ize I was stuck leaning against was the door, not the solid other side. I guess the tub door can take close to 300 lb.s of dead weight resting on it with no issues... I mean I tried using the control wheel, I tried manhandling the tub, but I coukdnt reach anything outside the tub I could use for leverage. I tried painfuilly tryting to shift over to the other side of the bench. So I spent a good 2 minutes or so just hanging upside down., stationary.

Therefore I got a demonstration that somehow the tun is able to right itself as you come back down to the ground, don't know how that happens but it works. And let me tell you I wasn't this happy to be let out of a ride since the Chance Skydiver. Man that sucked, comparing noted with Eric, he had about the same experience. That was a definite oncer. Man, I eagerly waited years to get to ride a Fly-O-Plane then when I finally get to ride one, man what a let down.

We walked accross the midway to the Conestoga Wagon which just completed the trip from Hersheypark. The ride on the Conestoga Wagon was fun, if brief. We tehn headed next to the Fly-O-Plane to ride the Paratrooper. Nothing much to report here, so we walked around the Cannon Ball and took a ride on the Orbiter.

After the Orbiter, a spin ride break was called, and we took a ride on the Alpine Way, the parks sky ride. Its a round trip only skyride that goes over the lake and turns around just past the Boat Chute loading area. They do have something I had not seen before, pressure pads as you enter and elave the station, if yourt feet touch the ground the ride stops.

After Alpine Way, we headed around the back of the park and did the Antique Car ride, followed by the Wacky Worm. Wacky Worm is the parks kiddie coaster. Its a popular kiddie coaster with its caterpillar like train, and lapbars that appear to only be help shut by dogclips. You exit the station, turn around, go up the lift, turn around do a series of very small dips, another turnoaround to the big drop, then a turnaround to the station. 2 laps make a ride, and you can tell the ride is very much a trailer model. I can now say I have ridden the Wacky Worm, and are the brakes all the way down the rides only real drop a standard feature?

After Wacky Worm we looked throught the parks gift shop, and looked at the historical exhbhit. Neat things were that there was once a pool where the Castle and the unque carousel on an insland now stand. The Fly-O-Plane once had decorative landing gear on the planes, and you see photos of where stuff has been moved around. The gift shop also supplied some appriected air conditioning.

Leaving the gift shop, we checked out Scatterball along the games midway. (The pinball like game where you try to catch the ball in the cup), looked in the arcade but did not see any old school arcade machjines. Then we went and rode the Genie. Genie is a Super Round Up, and maybe the only Round Up with a big fancy scenery panel behind it. It is unqiue. We rode the Round Up, then headed for the train ride.

The Tour Train takes guests on a ride around the perimieter of the park, from where we could see the ampitheater for concerts as well as a cose look at the outside of the Boat Chute. Where the train goes around the lake, you are actually outside the park, and the train passes in front of the back admission gate. Hmm, I wonder if the gate admission paid stickers may be in response to people jumping on the train as it went around the lake on the outside of the perimiter fence.

After riding the tour Train we took a ride on Pirate, a swinging ship cleverly mouned on a dock over the lake. Nice setting and the ship produly has the docrative crows nest and mast intact and proudly flies the Jolly Roger. I do doubt the ride ops claims that the ride has been here for 50 years.....

We then returned to Coaster Central where we took another Wild Lightning ride, and if though it was insane before, its brutal now. Wow, not many parks run their wild mice rides like this. We then stopped off for some hot cookies at the snack stand accross form Cannonball, where I also purchased a Frozen Coke, served in a nice size container for $1.50

We finsihed the day with several rides on the Cannon Ball, then headed towards the games area. We sat down at the derby racer next to Wild Lightning. Here I got an object lesson in game pricing. At Lake Winnie, they run their competition games for $1/play and they have all player positions filled, Major Theme Parks charge $3/play and are begging for players. I wonder who makes the most money off their games. I played and won enough times to take a nice prize home to mom Lastly we stopped in the gift shop, where I bought the park t-shirt ($10!) and some postcards.

We then had a most unusual experience exiting the park. After getting our free product sample from Band-Aid, we headed to the exit gate where we were stopped by security. As you leave they have guards stationed at the exit who are to cut off and destroy your rides wristband, as well as collect the gate paid sticker. I have never seen another park do this. Paranoid much?

We then pulled out of the lot, and drove to Marietta, GA. A travel tip, the Georgia Welcome station on the GA/TN line is passing out buy 1 get 1 free coupons for SFoG. Just a tip to you for reading to the end.

We drove to Marietta, and stayed at a nice large Motel 6 complex off exit 261, this particular Motel 6 was very busy due to current weather events down in Florida. We then stopped at Scallia's Italian Restaurant for dinner before returning to the room.


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