As I continued to drive south through Arkansas and into Texas I had to make a stop for gas at Texarkana. It is just another tourist trap along the maze of highways that we would be on this summer covering more than 7000 miles and more than half of the states in the country. My day will end at Jerry’s World outside of Dallas-Forth Worth but first I had to get there. It was still raining and has been for the better part of three days. The speed limit in Texas in these parts is 85 miles per hour and everyone around me was going at least 100. I don’t go anywhere that fast in my own cars and trucks, much less in a huge Ford F-150 that is a rental! The metropolis of the Dallas area started close to fifty miles outside from the city center and it was a maze of twists and turns to navigate toward my destination.
I arrived pretty early at a Days Inn and checked in. It was right across the street from the massive stadium that was recently built for the Dallas Cowboys. It is affectionately called Jerry’s World for its owner, Jerry Jones. In the same parking lot is the baseball stadium for the Texas Rangers and Six Flags Over Texas, my next stop on the coaster tour.
It had been several days and several states since I was on my last coaster at Kentucky Kingdom and it was great to be back to a theme park. As the saying goes, they do things bigger in Texas and they sure do, even when it comes to roller coasters at this park.
I started the day in an interactive 4-D ride called Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. These rides are at a lot of the Six Flags parks that we visited but this was the first one I rode. I had to wait in line for quite a while but the cool air conditioning was a welcomed treat from the Texas heat. This type of ride is a roller coaster and a video game wrapped into one where you shoot the bad guys and watch out for your favorite Justice League characters like Superman and Batman.
I next rode Batman The Ride which is the same coaster as the one in St. Louis that we visited on the same day of the tour, La Vibora which is a bobsled type ride. There aren’t many of these left anymore. The best one by far is at Kings Dominion in Virginia. Next up was Mr. Freeze: Reverse Blast which again is ice cold in the train station. It was so hot this day I was having a hard time adjusting. This is unusual for me. I usually don’t have any problems adjusting to the heat. I grew up in the ultra-humid east coast and have been used to 100 degree days but I guess the Alaska temps are getting the better of me. If you recall Michele did have a big problem with the heat at the first park of the tour in St. Louis and was sick most of the night on the ride toward Ohio. I did bring in my bootle so that I could drink the soft drinks. Remember we bought those $20 dolls cups that offer free refills at any Six Flags park in St. Louis? Well, lets just say we got our money’s worth on that. Next up was Pandemonium which was an interesting ride.
From the Six Flags website:
Create Your Own Masterpiece of Spin.
Spinning this extreme is going to take a team effort. Welcome to a totally unique approach to modern coastering. On this gravity-bending ride, everything depends on you. On most roller coasters, you can just sit back and relax while you are propelled at ridiculous speeds over the rails, but on Pandemonium, the amount of spin and twist and all around gut-crunching insanity you’ll experience will depend entirely on the riders of each and every run. Four people at a time load into one-of-a-kind spin cars and launch onto the swooping, soaring, sloping track.
The interactions of the riders themselves, combined with the forces of gravity and momentum, produce unstoppable momentum that will make you lean and pivot in utterly unpredictable ways. Not only do you move forward down this track, you’ll hang sideways, twist unexpectedly, and spin mercilessly, taking every turn with the kind of lean a pro skater employs when banking around hard turns.
Being that no four people are exactly alike, no two rides are ever alike. Micro-factors like weight, movement, and whether you wore high tops or running shoes today will all combine with velocity and acceleration to determine exactly how your car slants and swivels down the track.
And the track is a maze of spin opportunities. You’ll plunge and rise at more than 30 miles per hour down the 1,351-foot track, spinning 360 degrees as you shoot around S-shaped curves, bank hard horizontally, snake through impossibly twisted helixes, tackle sudden sharp dips, and zoom around long swooping trajectories. All the while you’ll be like an artist of spin, and Pandemonium is going to be your masterpiece.
I was with three other people, all middle age like me. Me and the other guy kept wanting to spin and the ladies didn’t. By the time it was over one of the ladies was looking pretty green and her husband, I can only assume, got a swat on the back of the head as we walked down the path after the ride. I guess this is the benefit and a curse of going to the park alone! I know Michele would have gotten sick on this one, for sure.
Runaway Mine Train was next. This again is similar to others in the Six Flag family and a nice way to grab a break but also pad my coaster total. Runaway Mountain was an indoor coaster and a pretty cool ride. I have said before I think this is the future of coasters and that is both fun and sad. I think they can be built just about anywhere but it just doesn’t have the nostalgia of the massive coasters of yesterday and today. Shockwave was next and then followed by the massive Texas Giant. By the time I reached this I was close to over-heating. But it was one of my favorite coasters on the whole tour. The new Texas Giant is a hybrid coaster that I have talked about before when talking about Storm Chaser, Goliath and El Torro.
Once you pile into your Cadillac-style train, complete with horns on the hood, you’ll face nearly a mile of all new glistening steel tracks. You’ll race at a gasp-inducing swift 65 miles per hour, starting with a stunning 153-foot high lift and one of the world’s steepest drops on a wooden coaster. How’s that for big?
Then it’s onto the action, with high banking turns and swift switchbacks. You’ll power up and down tight slopes with crazy pockets of airtime. Weaving in and out and around the glorious wooden structure, you’ll careen over the humps and bumps of a classic wooden coaster design, but with all the muscle and class of a cutting edge modern ride, until you hit the madcap finish tearing through a set of three sudden misty tunnels. By the time you cruise back to the station, you’ll know why the New Texas Giant is not just the biggest, but also the best.
As I walked down the stairs I felt like I was going to pass out. My chest was pounding and my legs were tingling. I sent a picture of Michele and she yelled at me to “sit down, now!” Of course I pressed on but I first snapped a selfie and texted it to her just in case this was the last ride of my life.
This is that selfie I sent to Michele minutes after riding the Texas Giant (in the background)
Titan was next and I can honestly say this is the first coaster in my life that I was a little scared to ride. It wasn’t the ride itself but how I was feeling. I have never gotten sick on a coaster before but this was the first and only time I have ever blacked out. I literally fainted for just a second on this coaster. I think it was a mix of the G-forces from the rapid turns and the heat but yep, I can say now that I have been honestly tamed by a coaster. In Texas, no doubt.
Titan was awesome none-the-less! From the Six Flags Over Texas website:
This mammoth steel construction is so intense they have to come up with a whole new category for it – the hyper twisted coaster. Hypercoasters are the modern breed of oversized roller coaster that are pumped up to more than 200 feet tall. Well, the Titan easily clears that distinction, with a mind-blowing 255-foot drop, and that’s just for starters. The drop is so massive, we’d forgive you if you were wishing this was just an ordinary hypercoaster right about now. But brace yourself for the twist: never before has a hypercoaster had such a twisted, gnarly track.
Once you take that hyper-drop, you’ll blast through a tunnel and pulse out over a camel hump that will have your tail lifting straight out of the saddle. Better settle in, because you’re about to twist through a mind-warping 540 degree spiral. Let’s make that two mind-warping 540 degrees spirals, back to back. Some crazy high banked turns might give you the space to relax a bit after that, but don’t count on it, not at a whopping 85 miles per hour. With a mile of bright orange track, Titan takes super-sizing to a whole new level.
After my fainting spell and my near heart attack I took Michele’s advice and grabbed quick snack. What else but funnel cake. After a few minutes in the shade and some sugar racing through my veins I was ready to go.
The last coaster of the day was an old school woodie called Judge Roy Scream. It was all the way at the other end of the park and along the lake. I had a tough time finding it but it was worth the wait. Only me and another couple were in line for the train so I took the front seat and they took the rear. After the ride we immediately jumped off and ran around to switch places in the train. This is the first time in my life that I rode a woodie in the front and in the back in the same day.
From the Six Flags Over Texas website:
Did you know that Judge Roy Scream, one of the most beloved wooden roller coasters ever, was named after the famous Texas Justice of the Peace, Judge Roy Bean? He was a real cantankerous old coot, and the ride that bears his name is no different. You’ll be darting around like a real whippersnapper on this classic, tall wooden structure.
To get there, use the tunnel in Goodtimes Square. Judge Roy Scream is definitely worth seeking out. At 65 feet tall and zooming over the tracks at 45 miles per hour, this whooshy race over the rails is family friendly, even making for a great transition for younger riders who are in training for the mega-coasters. The rest of us will think it’s just plain fun.
Up you go, to the top of a six story lift, and then it’s off for a great serving of what classic roller coasters do best. You’ll buzz over a non-stop series of straight-ahead hills and dazzling drops. Served up simple and to the point, kinda like the way Judge Bean served up justice!
After the crazy day I headed to a sports bar for dinner and back to the hotel rather early. Tomorrow I would be driving south to Austin to meet up with Michele and a service dog we have been training for a soldier, Rags. It will be awesome to have my coaster buddy back and the second phase of the Rock n Roller tour to get under way!
Tomorrow: Austin and My Michele
Coasters to date on the tour: 86
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