Aug. 15, 2010

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    I drove to Albuquerque and got to the park a little before noon, when Cliff's was scheduled to open. I bought my wristband for $26.70 with tax and entered the park. I visited this park in 2005 and loved New Mexico Rattler, the wooden coaster. So I went to it right away. I walked on to the back seat and waited awhile as they let more people in. There were about six other people in the train. What a coaster! The first and second drops have good airtime, but the best drop is the drop parallel to the lift hill. The airtime in the back seat is spectacular. Rattler's running really well. I was a little anxious that it wouldn't have aged well, but it's only got normal wood shake. It's doing great. 10/10.

    Then I went to Galaxi. It's fun. Nothing much to report on. It's a standard Galaxi with tons of helices. I went to Rattler again and rode with more people, so it ran a bit faster. The whip over the drops was better.

    I went to the drop tower, Cliff Hanger, which is the same as the one at Castles n Coasters. I love that there is no wait at the top. The ride reaches the peak and then just falls. That's a great feeling. I like it. 9/10.

    Then I went to Rock-O-Plane. I rode my first Rock-O-Plane, at Joyland, the week before and loved it, and I was anticipating the one here. The operator ran it a long time, and I got some excellent spins on it. I was able to get it to flip twice in a row without rocking it myself. That was great. I also love locking it upside down at the bottom. I did that when it was stopped to unload the seat in front of me. I unlocked it, but the ride operator told me I could keep screwing around because I had to stay in for it to be balanced right. Nice! I got a few more laps around. I think I have a new favorite flat ride. 10/10.

    I rode Rattler and Galaxi again. While in line for Galaxi, I saw a lizard. A storm started coming in, and a supervisor at Galaxi was watching the clouds come in from the mountains. I went to Cliff Hanger to get a ride in before the lightning shut it down. The winds were picking up, and Cliff Hanger was swaying a little in the wind. That was really cool at the top. A girl sitting next to me had a penny with her, and she let it go as we dropped. But the winds picked it up and carried it away.

    I went to Falling Star. I like it. There's good side-to-side motion, and the sensation of swinging around is enjoyable. Then I went to Train. While I was riding, it started to rain. Over the park's PA system, someone said a few rides would be closed until the electrical storm passed. I saw some lightning, but it wasn't bad. Galaxi closed. The rain came down steadily, though it wasn't too heavy. It was still raining when I got off the train, but it stopped shortly after.

    I went back to Rattler, and there was a bit of a line. There's only one train, and the capacity's a little low because the operators look over the seats twice and wait to unlock the restraints. I ended up waiting 47 minutes for this ride. While waiting, I saw an ACEr nerd in line. Then I went to Carousel. I went to Rattler again and waited five or six trains. I ended up with five rides. What a great coaster.

    I rode Cliff Hanger and Galaxi again. The park was only open for six hours, and it was getting close to closing, so I went to Rock-O-Plane to end my day. But while I was in line, the park closed, and a supervisor told us the current ride cycle was the last one. Aw. I really wanted to get another ride. So I rode Bench: The Ride.

    I spent all six hours at the park (open to close) and really got my money's worth. The wristband system here is interesting. There are little machines on some rides (the coasters use a handheld device) to scan the long bar code on the wristband. When I visited in 2005, it was just a simple colored wristband. None of that fancy technology. Every employee wears a shirt that says "If you don't amuse them, they will amuse themselves." I'm not sure if the owner said that or what. It's weird. Police patrol the park on bikes. I was not able to ride Super Fire Ball or Sidewinder because they had long lines and low capacity, and the storm closed some things for a while.

    Cliff's is a great little park with an outstanding wooden coaster. I'm glad it's aging well and is maintained properly. The park has got a good collection of fun rides too. I had a great time.

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