Take a Voyage
by susskins

Let's talk about specific coasters for a few columns.

keithb.jpgAll right, I know that this isn't a conversation. It's not talking. It's just me blathering on about roller coasters. I can't help it. I DO blather on about roller coasters. They get me all hot and sweaty, even when I'm sitting at my keyboard blathering on about them. My pulse increases when my mind remembers prior moments of g-forces and laterals. I get a mild erection when I think about upstop wheels and chain lifts. I breathe heavy over stats like "height of lift hill" and "maximum speed".

Sorry. Need to go clean up. Be right back.


Okay. Sorry about that. Got a little too much "in the moment" there.

All right. Specific coasters. I'm going to talk a bit about one that I haven't ridden yet. It's been running for one season, and is currently closed due to winter weather. It's in a tiny town in Southern Indiana, at a park called Holiday World. The coaster has the somewhat unusual name of The Voyage.

Okay, many coasters have very coasterish names like Cyclone, or Wildcat, or Cobra or some such thing. Holiday World doesn't go that route. They follow themes. In fact, Holiday World is distinct in that it has four holiday themed areas. The original was Christmas, as the park was originally called "Santa Claus Land". At some point they added on, changed the name to Holiday World, and started exploring other themes. Apart from Christmas, they have Halloween, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving. Of their three wooden coasters, two are in the Halloween section and are named Raven and The Legend. (The second is named for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.")

keithc.jpgVoyage is in the brand new Thanksgiving section, and refers to the voyage of the Mayflower. The coaster is aptly named, as it's super long for a coaster. 6442 feet long, which makes it the eighth longest coaster in the world, and the third longest wooden coaster. (The only longer wooden coasters are Beast and Son Of Beast. Both are located at Paramount's Kings Island, over in Kings Mills, Ohio.) The Voyage runs for over a mile after passing over a single lift hill.

Coaster nerds are almost unanimously orgasmic over this thing. It's long, it's ferocious, it has multiple tunnels, it has two sideways sections of track, and it NEVER FUCKING LETS UP.

Let me repeat that. It never fucking lets up. After a mile, it still feels like it's trying to scare the pee out of you.

keithd.jpgThe first third of the coaster is big dramatic airtime hills. The tall steep kind, all in a line. Your stomach floats over the tops, and slams into your shoes at the bottoms.

The second third is directional shifts and weirdness. A couple of tunnels with twists, and a big turnaround that's completely disorienting. This is the section that also has two sections of sideways track. Yep, the trains travel around a couple of curves at a ninety degree tilt. A bit of a mindfuck, don't you think?

The last third is a furious run for home. Oddly enough, the geeks have been noting that the last third feels like the fastest part of the ride. That's because of tight turns, small hills, and a fair amount of energy still present. That's fantastic coaster design, courtesy of The Gravity Group, the company that designed and built this gem. And just when you think you've made it to the end, it rounds a corner and keeps going. And going. And going.

keithe.jpgThe weird thing is that this coaster makes all the coaster geeks rave, and it also attracts the general public like crazy. That's rare, and that's a huge success. Especially when you compare tiny little Holiday World against the big amusement park juggernauts like Six Flags and Cedar Fair. For such a small family-owned park, The Voyage was a big risk. And it paid off big time.

I can't say enough nice things about Holiday World. It's my favorite park in the entire world. It's beautiful. It's cared for with a lot of love, and it's full of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. It has free parking, and free pop. Yes, FREE POP. Throughout the park are drink stations. Walk in, grab a cup, and pour yourself a Pepsi product. Drink as much as you want.

Compare that to the four dollar bottles of water at the Six Flags parks. Six Flags can eat a dick. I'll take my money to Holiday World.

Keith is very enthusiastic about both pop and dicks.



i need to find a map of where all the cool ones are. well, the cool ones on the east coast.


Coasters make me feel all tingly too! Most long, hard, wood things do.




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