Here is a look back to a couple of seasons ago when I went down to kick off the season at Kings Dominion. What do you think your first ride of the season will be? Will you ride this season? Either way enjoy this phone lockscreen of Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion.
Demon Drop is one of my favorite roller coasters at Dorney Park, yes you read that right roller coaster. It has been a perfect pick up as one of the many relocated attractions for Dorney. It also has a special nostalgia for me as I have many childhood memories on Freefall at Great Adventure, and I expect guests visiting from points west would have that same connection since it was relocated from Cedar Point. Do not skip this demonic contraption from the past, and enjoy this lock screen for your phone.
Wicked Cyclone was my first taste of what RMC could do with their Iron Horse technology. I personally loved the Riverside Cyclone, and I rode it many times as a child visiting New England, and at the time Riverside Park. The Iron Horse technology that transformed this long loved woody into a hybrid was more than welcome. It saved my childhood memories, and brought them into a new century, oh man am I old. If you like the image please consider going to our webstore and ordering yourself a high quality print.
Everyone loves to discuss roller coaster records. They are bookmarks of breaking barriers as the industry evolves. We, as enthusiasts, want to ride the tallest, fastest, longest, and subject ourselves to long strings of inversions. However some of these records have stood for a long time, and are just begging to be broken. The current record holders in the clearest superlative categories for roller coasters almost seem unbeatable, but when they first broke down their respective barriers you could have said the same thing. Right now the tallest roller coaster in the world is Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure, a title it has held since 2005. The fastest roller coaster in the world is Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi since 2010. The longest roller coaster in the world is Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land, a title it claimed in 2000. Finally the roller coaster with the most inversions is Smiler at Alton Towers with a dizzying fourteen times being flipped upside down since 2013.
There are other records parks have claimed, but are sometimes regional, or very specific to an element or coaster model. I always say these records beat every coaster in the world except for those that it doesn’t. These dubious records are not meant to impress coaster enthusiasts they are meant to market towards the general public and get them excited. Why aren’t parks aiming for those big four superlatives that have stood for years unanswered? There are a variety of reasons from amount of space available, to limited budget, and of course if the park expects to see a return on such a massive investment. However to truly break a record, barriers do need to be broken down. To do something that has never been done before requires innovation. There is no map or example to look to, that have been in this uncharted territory.
We do not know how parks will plan for the future, but we do know about external factors that may affect plans. Right now as parks are closed due to Covid-19 we are hearing about how parks are changing their plans and budgets for the future including cutting back on capital expenditures. 2020 was supposed to be a huge year with a big handful of very interesting roller coasters set to open, and eventually they will. 2021 was also shaping up to be another year where we were expecting another interesting roster of rides based on early rumors. Let’s just say we should temper our expectations as planned rides might get spread over a longer timeframe than originally intended. I do not believe that any plans would be throw out, but delays are reasonable to expect. Since these rumor are not announced there is no way to know if they are real, or postponed until we hear it from the parks themselves.
Another external factor is that the cost of steel has gone up drastically over the last few years. The external factor has already impacted parks planning for the types of coasters they are building, and contributed to trends we can already observe. A major cost of constructing steel coasters is the size of the lift hill, as it will directly impact the total track length. A very tall lift hill will need tons of steel to support it and adds to the length of the track, but it also impacts how much track comes after the drop because coasters have to use up the energy added by that tall drop. You couldn’t have a ride like a hyper or giga with a short overall track length because it would enter the break run too fast. To create layouts that more effectively use steel we have seen many launched roller coasters. They trade a higher operating expense for a lower material cost. That is why you see parks breaking those very specific records like; fastest acceleration, numbers of launches, fastest launch on a multi launch, and even first dueling quadruple launch. There has been no shortage of launch coasters in North America over the past few years, and most likely we will be welcoming another three this year.
RMC has been a rising force and they have ways of making very impactful and dynamic attractions that use steel very efficiently. The most recent innovation is the raptor single rail coasters. They have a very compact rail system that minimizes the amount of steel needed to support the train and track. RMC is starting to be used for the unique ride systems they make. Just like B&M enjoyed creating records and first for each of their models RMC is able to one up their own creations to enjoy those dubious records. This year they will open record breaking single rail and hybrid coasters. Nothing saves you money on steel like not using it for the support structure. RMC’s hybrid track system has been built onto existing structures, however they have been getting more and more ambitious. When RMC built two rides for Cedar Fair they built up sections of Twisted Timbers, and they added onto Steel Vengeance in an unprecedented way. They followed that up by building their first ground up hybrid in Poland when they built Zadra. This year they combined parts of the two layouts of Gwazi together to create Iron Gwazi complete with a brand new lift. While the lift has steel support the remainder of the structure is wood. I am very excited by the possibility of more ground up hybrids being built, I really like the flexibility and possibilities this trend creates.
Finally there is another segment of the roller coaster story that can be expanded by this trend, and that is traditional wooden coasters. While I have minimized specialized records, I do think that wood coasters deserve their own records and consideration. While inversions are new they seem to be a growing trend as Gravity Group, RMC, and now GCI all have the ability to to produce inversions on wooden coasters. While the Beast at Kings Island has held the title for longest wooden coaster for over forty years. Unlike steel the record for tallest and fastest woody has changed hands many times in recent years. Wooden coasters have flirted with pushing boundaries for speed and height with varying degrees of success. Intamin and RMC have both made very successful wooden coasters that gathered records, both with their prefab track systems. Many people, from Ohio mostly, will also point out Son of Beast, but I think this is the example of biting off more than you can chew. It had an inversion, that needed to be removed, it destroyed height and speed records that have still not been topped, but the ride literally destroyed itself. Times have changed, and I think the wood coaster might be ready to go for a 200 plus foot lift hill, and that would most likely allow the coaster to exceed speeds of 80 MPH. That is exciting!
However the more exciting topic would be who is crazy enough to build it?
It's the weekend! I think it's the weekend, but here is a wallpaper for Hoosier Hurricane from Indiana Beach. I have never been to Indiana Beach, but I know a bunch of my mid-western coaster friends were very disappointed when the park announced over the winter that the park would be closing their doors forever. However this week the park has been dropping hints on social media that they might not be done after all. What do we know right now, nothing. But it is more fun to have something to look forward to so let's hold out hope for Indiana Beach and our coaster friends for the mid-west as they eagerly await official word from their local spot.
The best ride for social distancing is surely an RMC Raptor model. Enjoy this image of Railblazer at California's Great America. When you have to go alone the unique riding position on these single rails offer a single seat to keep you germ free from other riders. When the parks reopen the extra elbow room and solitary seating are sure to be the place to be, or you can squeeze in between two possibly contaminated riders on a germ infested B&M. ::sprays lysol:: With two raptor models out there ready to go and two more on the way, claim the full row, RMC is way ahead of their time again.
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It is amazing yet terrifying at the same time. At how much has gone on in this country the past few weeks. So many things have been shuttered, including theme parks. Driving around where I live, it is so eerie seeing all the empty parking lots. It feels like we are living in a terrifying movie.
I understand and agree with social distancing. But man even I have only so many shows to watch on Netflix & Amazon Prime. Recently we canceled our Fantasy Baseball draft. That is usually one of my favorite days of the year. I mean spring is on the way, and baseball was so close. Hanging out with some close friends, then playing cards after the draft eating bad for you but delicious food and watching March Madness...... Then, poof, it was all gone.
Now we are still having the draft whenever baseball resumes. It just won't feel the same. However, when you have lemons, you make lemonade.
2 cups sugar.
2 cups water.
1 gallon cold water.
2 cups fresh lemon juice (Bottled juice works fine)
1 lemon, sliced, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish.
Directions: Make a simple syrup by adding the sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Add a gallon of cold water and the lemon juice to a large glass pitcher. Add the simple syrup and the lemon slices. Stir well. Pour the lemonade into tall glasses filled with ice. Garnish the rims with lemon wedges and enjoy icy cold!
Look with so much that is unavailable to us right now. I needed to find something to do. So I made my first apple pie from scratch in around ten years. With all the things going on in my life, I had started to make quick, rather dull meals. Or worse doing the drive-thru/take out, I had forgotten how much I liked to cook! Heck, I forgot what my dining room looked like.
With more time and way fewer options, I have started to rediscover my kitchen. I even recently made a homemade Chicago style pizza that Lou Malnati himself would have been impressed with. And I do not have the words to tell you how cool it is to have an actual conversation with your family sitting at the dinner table.
But let us take this a step further, this is the time of year that most seasonal parks start to open. Heck Kigamania (Orion) was opening This Saturday. Now I know it is impossible to ride a Giga coaster at home, but we can make up some pretty good park-like food in the home kitchen. Trappers Smokehouse at Busch Gardens Williamsburg was the inspiration for this meal
Rybarczyk Raptor Ribs.
Ingredients (for Dry Rub).
8 Tablespoons, Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons, Kosher Salt, you can use sea salt also, please don’t use nasty table salt if possible.
1 Tablespoon, Smoked Paprika, you can use plain paprika, but smoked is way better.
2 Teaspoons, Chipotle powder. This has some kick use 1 teaspoon if you like less heat. (You can use regular chili powder if can't find Ancho & Chipotle powder)
2 Teaspoons, Ancho chili powder.
1 Teaspoon, Granulated Garlic.
1 Teaspoon, Granulated Onion.
½ Teaspoon each dried, Basil, Thyme, Coriander.
½ Teaspoon, Fresh black pepper.
½ Teaspoon, Old bay seasoning.
½ Teaspoon, Powder Ginger.
½ Teaspoon, Curry powder.
There is enough rub here for 2-3 racks
Dry your ribs with some paper towel and remove the clear membrane on the bone side. Spread some good mustard on both sides of the ribs. Then liberally apply the rub, gently tap the ribs so that the rub sticks. Wrap in foil put in the refrigerator and let sit at least 8 hours (I usually do them the night before and let them sit overnight).
Heat your smoker to 250. A little lower is ok, but try your best not to go over, smoke with your favorite wood(s) for 2 hours. Wrap back in foil and place back in the smoker for 2 more hours. Check for tenderness (You do not want them to tender) remove from the smoker and finish on the grill with a light layer of your favorite BBQ sauce to caramelize. Bring lots of napkins and enjoy.
If you don’t have a smoker, here is a delicious alternative. Preheat the oven to 350 Place ribs on a baking sheet large enough, so you do not have to cut or stack them on top of each other. Add 1/3 cup vinegar and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 75 minutes or until very tender remove ribs from oven and carefully lift off tin foil. Watch out for steam, the ribs are now fully cooked and need to be finished. You have a couple of options:
Heat your grill to medium and place ribs meat side down without sauce, but you can baste the back with the BBQ sauce of your choice. Cook until they start to develop grill marks, and turn over - now baste the top You could stop here after they grill a bit on this side, or you could baste them a bit more and then give them a couple more minutes meat side down - that's what I do, or
Heat broiler to high and place ribs on a baking sheet about 4 inches from the heat source and brush the top of the ribs well with the sauce and cook until they start getting a bit brown - then flip to the back, baste and cook some more. Flip back to the top (sauce again) and cook until they get that beautiful rib look. Then, no matter how you cooked them, give them one extra baste after they've been removed and just before you serve them.
I know a lot is going on here, but trust me, you more than likely have most of the rub ingredients in your spice rack already. And I know that some if not most of you will not have a smoker. But the oven option is still excellent. I recommend the Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce. (Amazon) But almost any BBQ sauce will work.
Miller’s Manta Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons butter
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
16 oz Colby jack or sharp cheddar shredded cheese.
In a large pot boil at least 1 gallon of water. Cook pasta to al dente (8-9 minutes) and drain. Return to the pot and melt butter. Toss to coat. Add cheese, whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta. Over low heat continue to stir until creamy, (around 2-3 minutes).
This is as easy as any boxed mac and cheese and 100 times better. I make this too often, but it is sooooo good.
Fury 325 Baked Beans
3 cans / 15oz Great Northern Beans.
1 Cup BBQ sauce or Ketchup. Both are equally good.
2/3 Cup Sugar regular or 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar.
1 Large onion diced
1 Package Bacon. I take 4 strips a time and use scissors to cut into roughly 1-inch pieces.
Combine in a crockpot and turn on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
If you pressed for time, cover the crock with some plastic wrap and cook in the microwave on high for twenty minutes stir and repeat as many times as necessary. Return to the pot to keep warm.
It can be doubled if going to a potluck.
I love baked beans, and it hurts me when I see people buy them canned when they are so easy to make. When you make these beans, I will guarantee that you will never, ever buy them in a can again.
The Beast coleslaw
2 lbs of coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots in any produce section)
1 15oz Jar of real Mayo.
3/4 Cups White Vinegar
3/4 Cups Sugar
1-1/2 tsp Celery Seed
1-1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic
1 tbs Granulated Onion
In a stainless steel or plastic mixing bowl, combine the Mayo, Celery Seed, Garlic & Onion. Mix thoroughly. Pour the Vinegar in the empty Mayo jar & shake until all leftover mayo is incorporated. Pour Vinegar mixture in the mixing bowl. Stir until contents or in a liquid state. In a large salad bowl, pour in the sauce. Then slowly fold in the coleslaw mix. Cover and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Overnight would be better.
Every meal can use a salad, and I can not think of a better salad for BBQ than coleslaw. You will not find a coleslaw in any Amusement/Theme park that can match up with this. Once again, EASY!!!!
Skyrush Peach Cobbler
3 15oz cans sliced peaches in heavy syrup
1 box yellow cake mix.(Non-pudding mix)
1 stick salted butter
Grease a 9x13 pan. Open then empty peaches into the pan, dump the cake mix on top, mix to combine. Just bring it together and do not over mix. Cut the stick of butter into 15/20 pats. Place evenly on top of batter.
Place pan in a preheated 350-degree oven cook until golden on top around 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool for 15 minutes. Enjoy with whip cream or better yet ICECREAM.
Ok, I know you are getting full, but this dessert is worth loosening your belt. It is warm sweet buttery, everything you can want in a dessert. Heck, it is even prize-winning (I won a local BBQ contest in the dessert category.) The cobbler will be the talk of your next dinner. If you have young kids, it is an excellent blackmail tool."You can't have your cobbler unless you eat your vegetables." I have even been known to make this for breakfast.
Well, there you have it, a meal inspired by one of the better Theme Park restaurants. You could even make one outstanding Easter dinner from this menu. Also, all of these recipes, along with many other excellent ones, are in the Ride Warrior Discord Cook Book. (Shameless plug)
I know what we want, almost a need, to get back to the parks to hang out with our family and friends at a place we all love. To ride some coasters, scream with all of our might. And like I said earlier, eat some bad for you but delicious food. We will get back to them until then happy Easter, And eat on Ride Warriors!!!!
I love Boulder Dash, but my world has turn upside down. Here is a view of Boulder Dash that has broken with reality. Hopefully we will be ripping through the woods under the yellow sky with a bright blue sun. Wait what?
Which way would you go? Forward into a new future? Or back to relive the good old days?
There may be a lot of downtime, an extra long wait, it may even be over before we have had our fill. When we finally pull down that lapbar and dispatch we will feel free. There will not be thoughts of stress, obligation, or even responsibility. It will be time to ride.