Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Monday, July 05, 2010

TR: Stricker's Grove - 6/20/10

TR: Stricker's Grove
Trip Report: Stricker's Grove
Ross, OH
June 6, 2010

Every year on Father's Day, our parish holds their parish picnic at Stricker's Grove.  So somewhere between 1:30 and 1:45 we pull into the Stricker's Grove parking lot, and walk through the simplese main gate of any gated park.  No ticket booths, no turnstiles, no ticket takers, just a sheltered opening in the fence with a security guard overseeing the gate. First stop one on the grounds, into the big hall to drop off our contribution to the pot luck dinner, then to the beer booth for a free beer.  

I enjoyed my beer while walking down the midway, not much has changed at the park this year.  The main arcade in the red building got real doors instead of using garage doors, and perhaps some air conditioning That's really about it as far as changes to the park go.  I more or less head right back to the front row of the Tornado.  The Tornado is the parks big wooden coaster.  Standing maybe 60' high, its not as big and intimidating as today's rides, but it does have a family resemblane to the long gone Mighty Lightning.  The classic red and white paint job is fading and peeling badly, going around corners it can now squeal with the best of them, seat 8 has been closed off for I can't remember how long,  it's like your country cousin, a little rough around the edges but overall it provides a good ride.  

Out of the station,you make a turnaround to the lift hill, up the hill, down the first drop, back up to a turnaround.  The sceond pass through the structure is a series of low to the ground speed hills, that end with ou going up into another turnaround.  The third pass has the ride's signature moment.  It's an elongated double down, that in the back car provides an instance of violent airtime on a ride not known for strong airtime.  It rides like a mistake, but oh what a good mistake,
 After that surprise you come back up into the final turnaround, and a classic view of the first turnaround structure to your right side.  A couple more dips on the way home, and perhaps one minor airtime moment on the final dip.  Then it's into the brake shed, and back into the station.  At the time there might have been 4 or 5 of us riding a coaster that seats 18, but they make you walk around each and every time.  In the past, I have seen them give double rides if nobody was waiting, but not this year. It  took a couple more rides to work my way bak to the back seat.  Not only is that where the strongest air is, it also has a shorter than average seatbelt. Just another test for the weight loss program that I passed.  

So after several Tornado rides I went to see the rest of the park.  Next up was a Tilt-A-Whirl ride that had both plenty of Tilt and plenty of Whirl.  I hate Tilt-A-Whirl rides that don't have any Whirl, don't you?  In direct contrast to the Tornado sitting next to it, the Tilt-A-Whirl just finished a massive make over a year or so ago and looks almost factory new.  After that was a solo ride on the Electric Rainbow, which in this park is a Super Round Up.  This ride has a couple non-mechanical issues that persist.  One, the park recently bought a bunch of stock ride safety signs that are so generic they are meant to go with just about any ride.  These replaced the old signs, which were the very basic just what you needed to know variety.  So, the sign for the Round Up, says, plain as day "DO NOT STAND UP ON THIS RIDE".  The other issue is the park never installed the center scenery panels that have the rainbow the ride was named after.  A lot of Sricker's rides are transplants from other parks,a lot of which have since closed, for example this ride came from LeSourdsville Lake. When I boarded the ride, I was givin the directions to give the thumbs down symbol when I wanted the ride to end.  Hmm, a spin ride enthusiast and the chance at a long ride, this should be sweet. While riding, I did note the scenery panels are still sitting under the ride.  So I span for quite some time, then I feel the ride begin to lower, when I get off the ride its a different operator altogether.

Continuing the tour of the park, I took a token ride on the Teddy Bear, which is the park's junior wood coaster.  When I say junior wood coaster, it makes Kings Island's Faily Odd Coaster look big. It's maybe 20' tall, and has more in common with the former Chicago Little Dippers which have both since moved on,  
The rest of that side of the park contains the kiddie rides - mini versions of the whip and the turtle along with kiddie cars, kiddie boats, and kiddie rocket ships.

 Starting back down the other side I admired the band organ on, but did not ride the carousel, nor did I ride the Dumbo ride next to it.  I have to give Stricker's points for having he nerve to call their elephant ride Dumbo and not Jumbo as most parks and carnivals have done to avoid issues with that major park operator.  I passed on the Ferris Wheel (Eli Wheel  pointed the wrong way where there is almost nothing interesting to see), but I did take a lap on the train ride.  Every now and then you can see something interesting back in the athletic fields, for example one year we saw the former Cedar Point Schwbinchen sitting back there.  Not so much this year.  But it does take you from the park, all the way back past the athletic fields, alongside the Great Miami River, then alongisde the neighbors farm, then you go through an impossibly small tunnel underneath the parking lot entrance.  When they say to keep arms and legs in the train, they mean it.  You then circle around the Tornado, then back to the station.  

Working my way back to the Tornado I made stops at the Tip Top (Bubble Bounce), this, at one time, was one of those rides of legend you would read about on rec.roller-coaster, then when I finally got to ride one, I realized why they aren't made much anymore.  Once the ride gets up to speed, the oval shaped tubs swing out with the heaviest person to the outise, and it jus takes way to much energy to get it to spin.  The bouncing action is kind of neat, however.  I also stopped at the Srambler.  The operator was taking real care to make sure nobody burned themselves touching the metal car bodies, even wiping down the black seat cushions before yoou sat down.  All that care, and the ride still shakes and rattles its way through a cycle, making nasty noises, and never getting up to speed.

I passed the Helicopter ride and instead decided to fly a Flying Skooter.  I got a solo ride on the Skooters.  The first ride I had just figured out the pattern to get snapping like motions (without the loud satisfying Ker-Chunck noise of course) ,the ride is very similar to Holiday World's in that respect that it makes you think you have gotten it, but no payoff.  Anyway I had just started getting into the paternw hen the ride stopped.  At first, I though I was getting kicked out for rough flying, but the operator comes out and asks if I want another ride.   Sure, why not?  The ride is like when Kings Island had it set on the busy day timer. Just when you start to get into the pattern the timer expires.  

From there, it was back to the Tornado for several more rides.  I rode till about 3:45, then I walked through the arcade to note that it hd nothing of real interest to me.  Then I grabbed two lemonades from the free soft drink stand.  (college dining hall size cups)  This got me into the big hall just in time to be towards the front of the food line.  Stricker's furnished the drinks, as well as hamburgers,hot dogs and brats, and even the roast corn. All the appetizers, salads, side dishes, and deserts were from the pot luck.  They also close the rides during the dinner hour.  So good food, good times, good conversations.  Then once dinner was over, another beer in hand, it was back to the Tornado for a few more rides before heading home, the second ride session was busier than the first, with a two train wait for the Tornado.  Then it was time to head home.  


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