July 15, 2009

Coastering and rollering, part one

Yesterday, for my birthday, I engaged in a little NT tradition: I journeyed down to the state of New Jersey, in the municipality of Jackson, to Six Flags Great Adventure. And I rode several examples of Russian culture's greatest gift to humanity, the roller coaster. And it was good.

As part of the nation's premier amusement-park chain, Great Adventure takes its thrill rides seriously, and has the budget to do so (or did). Among its roster is the world's tallest and fastest coaster (the Kingda Ka), the wooden coaster with the steepest drop (El Toro), the world's No. 7 rated coaster (Nitro), and several other grade-A rides. I had the absolute best time anyone ever had ever.

Sadly, the wonderfully intense Kingda Ka, which I'd ridden twice before, was closed for the day—when you shoot people up 456 feet in five seconds, safety demands annoyingly frequent maintenance (this video makes me smile, but does not do the experience justice). Also inexplicably unavailable was Bizarro (named for the Superman villain), this summer's new attraction, which is actually the old Medusa spiffed-up and rebranded; too bad, because the smooth, serpentine Medusa was always a favorite of mine.

But I rode the shit out of everything else (hooray for the Flash Pass; $20 is totally worth it to bypass the lines). My rankings:

1. El Toro
I took three trips on this massive wooden coaster, with an unbelievable 76-degree drop, and I still can't fully wrap my mind around it. This thing is just sick. My primary reaction was "the Cyclone on some serious crystal meth," which is fairly accurate. It has the kind of drops, banked turns, and headchopper effects of the Coney Island standby, but way faster and way, way more intense. It simply never lets up. After a disconcertingly fast ascent, there are two consecutive drops that make you feel like you're being pushed out of an airplane; throughout the ride, there's a nearly unrelenting feeling of air-time. You can tell it's great; everyone's smiling when they get off.

2. Batman: The RideA classic. This ride has been at several Six Flags locations since 1989, when Bat-hype infested the globe, and despite the pervasive reminder of a film better left forgotten, the ride is just terrific. It's a steel inverted coaster, which means the track runs above the riders' heads, with feet dangling (people need to leave their flip-flops in the station). A number of corkscrew loops and zero-gravity rolls result in a very smooth and graceful experience. A short ride, but marvelously well designed, packing a lot of excitement into its brief time.

3. NitroI previously wasn't keen on this ultramodern coaster. First off, the restraint—a large rubber arrow that basically pins your abdomen to the seat—always felt insufficient to a stringbean like me, and combined with the ride's minimalist steel track, it seemed unsafe (I know, I know, you're far more likely to get hurt driving to the park). It travels a relatively long distance—as you ascend, it looks like you're about to voyage into the wilds of Delaware—and incorporates a number of camelback drops that have the nasty habit of turning my stomach. But yesterday, at the insistence of my companions, I rode it three times, and learned to love the elegance and smoothness. Still not my favorite, but I'll never again vote to pass it up during a trip to the park. (Watch this if you're curious.)

Four more coasters in my next post. Stay tuned…


Anonymous said...

moot http://blogs-new.bestfriends.org/members/Kitchen-Cabinets/default.aspx http://blogs-new.bestfriends.org/members/Slipcovers/default.aspx http://blogs-new.bestfriends.org/members/Polar-Monitors/default.aspx http://blogs-new.bestfriends.org/members/Popcorn-Machines/default.aspx http://blogs-new.bestfriends.org/members/Garage-Door-Openers/default.aspx

Anonymous said...

genuine ugg boots
kate spade handbags
cheap ugg boots
true religion outlet
uggs on sale uk
cheap uggs
discount ugg boots
ugg boots sale
ugg uk
patagonia jackets
ugg black friday
nike shox shoes
cheap ugg boots
cheap ugg boots
ugg boots for women
uggs sale
nike basketball shoes
ugg outlet
joe new balance
ugg black friday sale
ugg boots sale
pandora jewelry
ugg boots clearance sale
ugg boots outlet store
cheap uggs
isabel marant sneakers online
uggs on sale
uggs on sale
coach handbags
cheap uggs uk
uggs on sale