My best friend’s son just turned 12, so a couple of days ago for his party we went to an amusement and water park called Michigan’s Adventure! I hadn’t been there in a few years and so I was LONG overdue to indulge my roller coaster obsession. It was a particularly exciting trip for me, since it was the first time I got to ride their newest coaster… The Thunderhawk!
(Okay, so I didn’t take very many photos because I was so busy having fun, and the videos in this post are all from YouTube, since I didn’t bring my video camera with me to the park!)
Of course, the Thunderhawk HAD to be the first stop of the day. It came from a park in Aurora, Ohio, call Geauga Lake. Like Michigan’s Adventure, it used to be a combination water park and amusement park. Cedar Fair (the company that owns Michigan’s Adventure, Cedar Point, and a bunch of other awesome parks) bought the park and turned it into strictly a water park, dispersing many of the major rides to their other parks. Michigan’s Adventure got really, really lucky, as it is now home to the only suspended, looping coaster in the state.
Suspended, looping coasters are awesome. The Raptor at Cedar Point has long been one of my favorite coasters, and the Thunderhawk is a similar (though smaller and slower) ride. I love, love, LOVED it! (So much that I rode it 4 times throughout the day!)
It was also only the 3rd coaster that DH has ever ridden, and his first steel coaster, his first suspended coaster, and his first inverted coaster. He was really unsure about it, so I was SO proud of him! LeAnn’s hubby also rode, and he’s afraid of heights so I never thought we’d get him on a coaster! As it turns out, both of our guys enjoy riding roller coasters, but not nearly as fanatically as LeAnn and I!
Next, we walked all the way to the other end of the park to ride my all-time favorite wooden coaster, the Shivering Timbers! It was “born” on my 18th birthday in 1998, and ever since it has consistently been rated as one of the top wooden coasters in the world. It’s an out-and-back coaster, which means instead of twisting and turning around and through itself, it goes straight out, turns around, and comes back. It’s really long for an out-and-back, making it fairly unique. It also gives you tons of airtime!
We rode it five times, three of which were back-to-back rides. The lines were so short that we literally got off the ride, walked out the exit, back in the entrance, onto the platform, and got in the first seat of the next train out each time. Practically no wait for world-class coasters! It was incredible!
Right next door to the Shivering Timbers is the park’s original wooden coaster, the Wolverine Wildcat, which dates back to 1988. This one seemed a lot scarier when I was 8 years old, but it’s still a fun ride and I always make a point of riding it once every time I go. It was made by the same people who created the Mean Streak at Cedar Point, but unlike the Mean Streak, I don’t feel like I’ve been beaten up when I get done riding the Wolverine Wildcat! We got through the line just in time to meet up with everyone for lunch, which means we had ridden all three of the biggest coasters in under 2 hours!
After lunch, LeAnn and I hit the Corkscrew. (Know what’s crazy? After a decade of being best friends, it was the first time these two adrenaline junkies EVER rode a coaster together!) The Corkscrew is older than me! It was a pretty crazy ride back in 1979, and even though it’s a simple and very short ride, it’s still a fun little coaster. Later in the day I rode in a second time with the hubs as well, since he’d never been on in.
Toward the end of the day, LeAnn decided that she and I had to do the biggest, craziest thing in the entire park, and bought us tickets for a flight on the RIPCORD!
I did one of these in 1997 at Opryland in Nashville, but that one was a mere 152-foot freefall. The one at Michigan’s Adventure is 185 feet! (If you think that doesn’t sound like that much of a difference, try climbing 33 feet up a tree, then contemplate jumping out of it.)
Obviously, this isn’t a video of LeAnn and I. If it were, you would see me on the left, grinning nervously all the way up and concentrating on the instructions the guy gave me for pulling the ripcord (yes, you have to pull the cord to release yourself!) and LeAnn on the left, screaming the whole way to the top. People on the other side of the park probably very clearly heard her voice yelling, “Oh my God, Rhonda! Oh, Jesus! Oh my God!!!” And then, as we dropped and started swinging, we both screamed and yelled all the way to the end, hootin’ and hollerin’ at the big crowd that stopped to gawk at our enormous commotion!
If I could bottle the feeling that you get in the first second after you pull the cord, while there is still slack in the line, I’d be a bazillionaire.
Two days later, I’m still sore from riding coasters all day… But it was TOTALLY worth it!
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