Mitglied wählen
Freunde
Suche
2007.05.04-07 - Tennessee Trip!
Autor Nachricht
MilitaryDuckJock
nach oben
Einsteiger Iain Hendry
Kitchener-Waterl...
Kanada
 
Avatar von MilitaryDuckJock
Link zum Beitrag #460033 Verfasst am Montag, 06. August 2007 00:29
1 mal bearbeitet, zuletzt am 06.08.2007 00:31
Themenersteller
Relax
Note: This is a trip report I wrote from earlier in the year, but I would like to post it because it has pictures of the Topple Tower at Dollywood, which I rode and loved very much! I live in Canada, and I took this trip down to the USA. I wrote this report for the smart car club I am a part of, so that's why it may sound like it is more geared toward the car than the rides. In fact the smart fortwo isn't available in the USA, so it's always causing quite a commotion whenever I drive South of the border in my tiny green German/French car! S

Weeeell last weekend I pulled a fairly spontaneous road trip down to Tennessee. My dad drives big coach busses (either MCI's or Prevost's) and one of the trips he was doing needed to have a straight-through run to Florida, so their company got them to team-drive the group down, meaning my dad was marooned just north of Knoxville for 4 days over a weekend. Knoxville is only about 30 minutes from Pigeon Forge, which is home to Dollywood!

Now, I don't know anything about Dolly Parton other than she's a friendly chesty singer, but she's got one heck of an amusement park nestled in a beautiful wooded valley in the mountains. I'd never been; my folks visited 2 years ago when Thunderhead was built - that's a big wooden twister-type coaster built by GCI.

I got the Monday off from work, packed my spare tire and a quick change of clothes, and after work on Friday night I hit the road!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09501.jpg

Horray for 400-series highways in Southwestern Ontario! S

I made it to the border in good time; crossed at Sarnia/Port Huron because I-75 in and through Detroit was down to one lane and delays were expected. I booted it across I-696 and went down I-275 until it merges back in with I-75 just North of Toledo. I-696 is cool, I don't actually remember driving across it before, but I like it.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09507.jpg

Bits of I-696 switch from tunnel to channel, concrete everywhere you look!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09509.jpg

First stop? Well duh, I'm in the States, so it's a given it's going to be Steak 'n Shake!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09513.jpg

I don't know how I was doing it, but American Diesel was giving me incredible mileage results, the entire trip.

I stayed overnight at a Microtel in Dayton, and the next morning got into Knoxville at about 11am. This gave Dad and I a fair bit of time to go have a relaxed lunch and check out some of the other stuff in Pigeon Forge, before heading to Dollywood for their 3pm "next-day entry" program.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09531.jpg

Nosedive found a perfect sized parking spot!

That night, we visited Dollywood from 3pm to 7pm or so. Having never been, I didn't know what to expect, and because of the shoddy weather and some ride shut-downs, I was a little underwhelmed. It was ultra-humid and drizzling, and very warm; I was still dressed in Canadian-mode! The biggest dissapointment was the sign in front of the all-new HUSS Topple Tower "Timbe-r-r-r Tower" that it would be closed, and the attendant out front saying that due to a failed part that needed to be flown in from Germany, the ride wasn't going to be opening until next week. S Riding this incredible machine was one of the main reasons for the trip for me, so I was really, really bummed.

Mystery Mine, the North-American premiere of the Gerstlauer EuroFighter, was also closed when we arrived - which meant that everyone was in line for Thunderhead. We braved it out; the ride is decent, but I still think I prefer Lightning Racer at Hersheypark (another GCI), or Voyage at Holiday World (insanity).

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09621.jpg

Thunderhead doesn't have a centimetre of straight track on it's entire circuit, save for the lift hill and station!

Being a big civil engineering fan and avid snowboarder, I'm naturally attracted to ropeway technology as well. In Gatlinburg, about 20 minutes South of Pigeon Forge, is NA's largest aerial tramway. We went for a ride; ascending through the fog in pure darkness is completetly surreal. The cabins that we were in were brand new - this was day one for their operation! They'd been down for 12 days replacing the aging 35-year old Von Roll cabins with all new CWA units.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09555.jpg

All-new CWA cabins on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram.

The roads between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are breathtaking. It's through the Smokey Mountains National Park. My dad drove the entire time while I was down there; he couldn't get enough of the smart. S He was laughing, thinking back to 2 years ago when I started talking about wanting a smart, and how dissapointed and concerned he was... until he took a ride with Ryan, and knew from then on it'd be okay. He said driving the smart is so similar to driving his bus; it's an automated manual transmission, and the torque is the same, and so is the scale of weight to power.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09565.jpg

World's most confusing road sign ever.

We returned to Dollywood on Sunday for most of the day. We went up to go ride Mystery Mine first; and to my shock, people were boarding the Timber-r-r Tower!! It's the closest I've ever been to fainting - I felt my knees go out and I kinda went "unnhhhh...", haha. S I'm a huge flat ride fan, and a huge mechanical-anything fan, so finally getting to see this incredible piece of engineering in operation was just awesome. MarineLand's is finally almost ready to open.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09604.jpg

Timber-r-r Tower and Thunderhead

Now, my dad doesn't do flat rides - but this one he was okay with and rode with me! It meant so much. Here are some shots of this incredible beast in action...

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09575.jpg

One VERY happy Duck! That is some serious German weldmentage up there... starts out at the loading platform...

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09578.jpg

Gondola begins to rise... revs up to 9 r/min... entire base of the ride rotating as well...

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09610.jpg

...and then the two massive hydraulic cylinders, with the help of a 120 ton counterweight, tip the whole thing back and forth 60 degrees!!!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09611.jpg


Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09612.jpg


This is one serious, serious piece of engineering, folks. The precision control over the hydraulic cylinders that drive the tower back and forth is phenominal - servo hydraulic control, using proportional valves. Standard fare, I know, but it's the smoothness and transparency of all this machinery going on under you that is so impressive. It's tweaked just right. The ride length is good and once it's over, the tower centres itself, and lowers the gondola right back down... to right where you started off.

Hats off to HUSS - great job!! MarineLand's gonna have great success with theirs.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09626.jpg

Topplin' Duck...

Mystery Mine was finally open, too - so we went up and had a go on that. This is the first coaster of it's kind in NA - incoroprates two steeper-than-vertical 95-degree drops, pretty impressive! I don't want to spoil the ride for anyone but it's a heavily-themed half-indoor, half-outdoor super-twisting ultra-compact coaster with the tightest maneouvers possible. Both lift hills are 90 degrees vertical - climbing straight up laying on your back is bizzaire!! The climax is the final 85-foot 95 degree drop that blasts you outside, and through 2 consecutive inversions - heartline rolls, before hanging you upside down, twisting back under and hitting the final brakes. Fantastique!! More German precision and engineering goodness.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09622.jpg

Mystery Mine is really impressive.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09596.jpg

One of the two 95-degree drops, and some of the compact track.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09601.jpg

The insane finale.

We rode Tennessee Tornado relentlessly; it won't mean much to you guys probably but the company that built it is notorious for cookie-cutter brutal head-banging rides, and TT was one of the last rides they did before going out of business - and it's the complete antithesis of everything they'd done up until then - it was glass smooth, the transitions were perfect, and it was fast as heck! They finally got it right, and went out of business. So sad!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09651.jpg

TT's loading station

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09643.jpg

Massive first inversion on TT generates huge hang-time

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09644.jpg

Arrow finally figured out compound curves! I can't beleive it!!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09646.jpg

Fast and intense, this is one superb ride.

Stopped for a Pogo - er, CORNDOG (silly US and A!), which was fantastic and much too huge. I opted for that over the other food selection choices...

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09634.jpg

Mmmmm. S

This park is one of the most beautiful I have ever been to - and I've been to a lot. It's right up there with Silver Dollar City (operated by the same company, IIRC), and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Perfect landscaping, no litter anywhere, and the location in the valley is fantastic. I can't imagine a better setting. The people in the park were super well-behaved, no rowdy teens pushing or cutting through line, just everyone friendly and quietly enjoying all the attractions and taking in the scenery. One thing that was really, really weird though, after growing up in Canada - it's so white there! I don't think I saw anyone of any other race the entire trip.

After we exhausted ourselves on more rides, we decided to take off late afternoon and head back along the mountain roads to Gatlinburg. We rode the tram 4 more times back and forth, did the alpine slide at the top of the mountain, and grabbed some dinner.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09656.jpg

Haha, Dad you know you love that cdi!!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09671.jpg


Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09663.jpg


Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09727.jpg


Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09685.jpg

More tram goodness!!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09676.jpg

Two track ropes support the weight of the cabins; a third haul rope provides propulsion.

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09701.jpg

Waaaaaaaay down there is Gatlinburg!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09703.jpg

My dream house in the mountains

So by the time we got back down it was late afternoon and I knew I had an early morning ahead of me to drive all the way home in one shot on Monday. But driving down the strip again, something caught my eye... could it be? Oh yeah, it is... a Gravity Works Skyscraper whirling about at 120 km/h... it's helpless occupants spining and screaming at the end of the arm! Reeled Nosedive in for a hard right, $15 bucks plus a $5 tip later, I'm strapped in...

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09737.jpg

'Dive and the mountains

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com p1010609.jpg


Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com p1010615.jpg

Yup, that's me way up there!

The thing about it is so weird. It's such a simple ride - it's only one axis of powered rotation, the gondola can freely rotate... but it's absolute bliss. I just sat there for 10 mins with my arms relaxed, whilring forward and backward, pulling massive G's. The operator was super friendly and I asked for a few certain maneouvers to be performed on my ride, which he obliged! The last one I rode was Katanga on International Drive in Florida, but that was a long time ago and it's since been removed. I forgot how much I love these things.

So, it goes without saying that everywhere we went, every time we stopped, we were swamped with people, yadda yadda yadda - you know the drill on how that goes in the states. The biggest chuckels for me were going up the tramway and each time we'd go over where I parked, we could see a different flock of people fawning all over my car. S

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com p1010591.jpg

Random pic my dad took - he calls this one "Oh Deere" (tractor joke)

On the way home on I-75, blasting through Toledo in some heavy traffic I decided to show off... a Lambroghini caught up with me and followed... AND COULDN'T KEEP UP. It was incredible - when they did catch me about 2 minutes later, a hot chick LEANED completly out of the passenger window, smiling and waving, and started CLAPPING at me and shreiked "YAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and gave me a huge thumbs up, before they blasted off at 349218 miles an hour S I love this!!!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09757.jpg

More Steak 'n Shake on the way home, of course!

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09761.jpg

Mmmmmmm.... milkshake

One final thought...

Fremdbild
Quelle: maj.com dsc09749.jpg


Yeahhhh S

-Iain

PS - If you want to see the rest of the photos, here's a direct link to my maj.com account where you can folderbrowse.
Wheels: 2006 smart fortwo cdi + Cagliari G1A
rcmania
nach oben
Aufsteiger

Deutschland . BB
 
Avatar von rcmania
Link zum Beitrag #460072 Verfasst am Montag, 06. August 2007 06:43
1 mal bearbeitet, zuletzt am 06.08.2007 07:30
Relax
MilitaryDuckJock
Stopped for a Pogo - er, CORNDOG (silly US and A!), which was fantastic and much too huge. I opted for that over the other food selection choices...

Didn't you try the Fried Green Tomatoes S?!

Zitat
This park is one of the most beautiful I have ever been to - and I've been to a lot.

I agree on this one. I went to Dollywood on 20th and 21th July and it was awesome.

Thanks a lot for your impressions of Dollywood!


Greetings from Vancouver,

Ute
[Ég vildi bara kaupa eina gúrku, ekki alla búðina.]
[Can you pronounce "Þingvellir"?]
egffreak
nach oben
Aufsteiger

Deutschland . NW
 
Avatar von egffreak
Link zum Beitrag #460086 Verfasst am Montag, 06. August 2007 08:08 Relax
Very nice photos. Thank You!

Greetings from Germany
The Knowledge
nach oben
Onrider

Deutschland . NW
 
Avatar von The Knowledge
Link zum Beitrag #460237 Verfasst am Montag, 06. August 2007 13:42 Relax
Good to know not all Americans drive 6 Litre V8 Trucks. I've got a smart forfour and it was the best purchase I've ever made.

BTW: I like the old fortwo much better than the new one - and that's the one, that has been specifically developed for the US market. Odd!

Have fun with your smart!

Kind regards,

Tim
Excess all areas!
MilitaryDuckJock
nach oben
Einsteiger Iain Hendry
Kitchener-Waterl...
Kanada
 
Avatar von MilitaryDuckJock
Link zum Beitrag #460312 Verfasst am Montag, 06. August 2007 15:30
Themenersteller
Relax
The Knowledge Good to know not all Americans drive 6 Litre V8 Trucks.


Just to clarify, I am absolutely 100% not American, I'm very proudly Canadian. S The smart isn't available in the USA so whenever I drive my Canadian smart (we've had them since about 2003) it always gets weird looks.

The Knowledge I've got a smart forfour and it was the best purchase I've ever made.

BTW: I like the old fortwo much better than the new one - and that's the one, that has been specifically developed for the US market. Odd!


I had a chance yesterday in Buffalo, New York to test-drive the new fortwo (451). I also don't like it so much. It feels very cheap, I think - smoother but with more power, but it's not a Mercedes anymore.

-Iain
Wheels: 2006 smart fortwo cdi + Cagliari G1A
Nächster neuer Beitrag in diesem Forum Nächster neuer Beitrag