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August 13, 2008

Two Enthusiasts To Ride All US Wooden Roller Coasters?

Blog entry by:
Eric Gieszl, Editor

Nottingham, England − An interesting press release with a very misleading title crossed my desk this week.

"2 British Coaster Enthusiasts To Ride All Wooden Roller Coasters In the United States − 7000 miles, 23 states, 3 weeks New York to Seattle via Texas!"

Oh really? Ride all 116 wooden coasters in the United States in just three weeks − yeah right! It's literally impossible and especially so, when many states with wooden coasters are absent from the itinerary presented on their web site −

Oddly missing from the itinerary is the great state of California. There is no stop at Six Flags Magic Mountain to ride the former wooden, now steel coaster − Colossus or California's Great America to take a spin on Grizzly − famous for its square wheels. So what exactly are these two British coaster enthusiasts really up to besides sending out goofy press release?

Well, Adrian Whitcombe, 45 and Ian Booth, 36, both from Nottingham, England are setting out on what has to be one of the zaniest amusement park trips I've heard of. Their actual goal is not to ride every wooden coaster, but to instead ride the nine remaining wooden coasters in the US they haven't already ridden.

The only problem is the nine roller coasters aren't located in neighboring states or even one geographic region of the United States. They actually dot the entire landscape of this country with locations in states like New Jersey, Illinois, Texas and Washington.

In order to ride these nine elusive coasters their 21-day trip will require 7,000 miles of driving and cross 23 state lines. If there were awards for crazy coasters trips, these two would be standing atop the podium for a metal.

Based on my estimate of $4.00-a-gallon gas their fuel costs alone will exceed $1,000 for nine roller coasters. That's an expensive ride! Maybe they should consider soliciting Chevron to be a sponsor of this trek.

"There are currently 116 operating wooden coasters in the US and we have ridden all of them except 9" says Adrian Whitcombe. "We have been riding wooden coasters in the US for 20 years now, and we only need to ride the remaining 9 to complete the set."

The nine rides Whitcombe and Booth hope to ride are: HellCat at Clementon Amusement Park; Flying Turns at Knoebels; Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park; Evel Knievel at Six Flags St. Louis; Meteor at Little-A-Merricka; Renegade at Valleyfair; Boardwalk Bullet at Kemah Boardwalk; Cannonball Run at Waterville USA; and Coaster Thrill Ride at Puyallup Fair.

The press release continues, "However, with unconquered rides spread from New Jersey, to Southern Alabama and Seattle, this is not a regular vacation."

There's no question about that. It's apparent that these two need their heads examined to contemplate driving 7,000 miles at a mad pace to simply add nine more rides to their track records.

So I guess this begs the question. Can being a "coaster enthusiast" now be classified as an illness?

For more information and to follow the progress of their trip check out the web site

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