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 Review of Kentucky Rumbler @ Beech Bend
2 Rating Posted by: Timberman on 7/2/2007 9:09:00 PM
Kentucky Rumbler gets the 2006 "Field of Dreams" Award for Meritorious Accomplishment in the Construction of a Roller Coaster in the Middle of Nowhere. They built it, and we came. I am very happy to report, moreover, that Rumbler was well worth the trip.

Ive generally been of the opinion that GCI roller coasters, especially those with Millennium Flyers, are like the stone fox that you thought was unobtainable, somehow still managed to obtain, and then discovered she wasnt really that special after all. I dont want to offend anyone on this family website, so I wont elaborate on this analogy beyond stating that GCI coasters seem to trade on their looks. Their physical presence is so overwhelming that you want to believe youre having an amazing time in their company, even when you know deep in your heart that youd be much happier and more fulfilled with that around-the-way CCI or that old clunker that used to turn heads when you were a kid but that everyone thinks theyve moved on from since then. Yet what Griffon does for B&M in this critics opinion, Rumbler does for GCI: it takes the best trademark elements of an underperforming marque, uses them to their fullest advantage, and then ups the ante by incorporating standout elements not seen on previous designs. In the case of Rumbler, those added elements are an excellent, two-stage first drop; a layout that lets the Flyers do their usual twisty thang while feeling more like a run-away train and less like a string of roller skates; and some excellent blending of horizontal and vertical forces. Meanwhile, the ride also has GCIs usual knockout looks, an incomprehensibly undulating track, and trains designed to negotiate the layout with the sure-footedness of a Himilayan Sherpa. Thus, Rumbler almost lets you have it all. Shes sexy, shes fast, shes curvy, and she cooks.

I say almost, however, because while the Millennium Flyers perform better here than on that notable disappointment Lightening Racer, theyre still saddled with the same excrable dual restraint system, the business end of which is a big, steel, vinyl-coated rectangle that digs ever deeper into your midquarters over each successive bump. As Ive noted elswhere, its like having someone heave an anchor into your lap. No matter how hot things have otherwise become, thatll cool your jets in a hurry. In Rumblers case, it negates the payoff of what should be several notable airtime events. The grey matter tops out in the brain pan; the digestive organs float weightlessly in the abdomen; and the lungs hover in the thoracic cavity. The butt, however, stays firmly planted on the seat. Thus Rumbler takes you to third base, but leaves you needing a cold shower when all is said and done.

Still, coquettish though she may be, Rumbler neverthless represents a big step in the right direction for GCI. Once she warmed up in the summer heat, and with a full train of admirers urging her on, this ride served up no-nonsense intensity over an excellent layout. But for the chastity-belt-like death grip of the lap rectangles, we could have had a beautiful relationship. Many riders, moreover, will happily accomodate this quirk.

So really, Rumbler, its not you. Its me. Its not a question of whether or not youre perfect, because were just not perfect together. I wish you well, however, and know that most riders would be lucky to have you. I just think the best thing for both of us is that we go our separate ways. So chin up, Shorty. Chin up. Well always have Bowling Green.

Review Comments

ginzo on 8/16/2007 9:00:08 PM said:
Hahahaha. Poor Timberman. One of your better efforts went unnoticed here.

I think you do raise valid points that essentially echo my sentiments regarding GCI. The coasters look better than they ride. And the comparison to that extremely attractive but dull girl that we all know is apt. Though I try not to mix coaster reviews with sexual innuendos. Maybe I havent allowed myself to reach that level of dorkdom yet.

Perhaps John Allen was right in claiming "curves do not do anything for people". Though the great Mr. Allen based his opinion on only one failed project, the initial Mr. Twister at Elitchs, and he didnt have the benefit of using computers to design. Mr. Allen improved the ride, which bombed the first year, by raising the lift hill and installing an out-and-bank section that he then blended in with the twister section. I certainly prefer airtime by an exceptionally wide margin. Though I think GCI is too heavily invested in the twister genre now to even tone it down a little bit. That being said, I think something in between CCI/GG and GCI would be interesting ground to explore. Parks must really like the twisters though because GCI seems to be flooded with orders, and now Gravity Group is getting in on the action at Kemah Boardwalk. Their economy of space is hard to argue with. Now if they could just "kick it up a notch" with the ride experience.

My first memory of Bowling Green, KY goes back to when I wasnt into coasters and had no idea there was a park there. We were bored in a hotel near Mammoth Cave, which is in a dry county. Because it was February all the area attractions, like the Alpine slide and mini golf courses, were closed. Bored out of our skulls we made the 60 mile round trip pilgrimage to Bowling Green to procure some alcohol. I felt a bit like a fiend in making this trek, but we were so bored that night. Hotels can be so dull when youre in them at length.

BTW, I highly endorse a side trip to Mammoth Cave if youre headed to Beech Bend again. Its such an amazing thing to see, and most of the tour guides are incredible. Even if you only go for one of the wimpy 2 hour "tourist trails", itll still be a great experience.
BobFunland on 8/16/2007 9:10:34 PM said:
Id be pretty content with a knack for cooking, but if you saw me cook youd understand why this is vital for my survival
Timberman on 8/16/2007 11:47:07 PM said:
Ginzo, I dont know whether or not I should thank you for rescuing this review from total obscurity, as I was a little on the fence about using this metaphor. I saw a posting on another sight of a love poem a guy wrote to a roller coaster (I think it was the Raven), and while I appreciate artistic license as much as the next person, it pretty muched pegged the creep meter. So while I may have sunk to new depths of "dorkdom" here, I at least did so self-consciously. Just be glad I never got around to writing that review where I compare the pre-ankle-grabbing S:ROS at SFNE to Ursula Andress in "Dr. No." As I tell MommaT every time I head out on another solo coaster trip, my only mistress is the wood-tracked she devil.

As for mixing up twister action with a little airtime, what could be a better example of this than Gods gift to wooden roller coaster dorks, Voyage (even though Satan has now arrayed his forces against it such that even the true-believers at Holiday World have unleashed the trim brakes). Heck even that foreign-sounding Jersey coaster -- La Bamba? El Negro? La Cucaracha? -- does a pretty good job of bringing together world-class "uplift" with extreme banking and quick directional changes. I heartily agree that Boardwalk Bullet looks to be an interesting combination of genres, although apparently its had some birthing pains.

In any event, I still think that Wildcat, GCIs inaugural effort, is my favorite of the bunch (at least when it had PTCs). Maybe GCI took so much heat for its intensity, given HPs family-oriented demographic, that theyre now theyre gun shy. Too bad, because when the GCI boys step into ass-kicking mode, they can git er done with no wait.

ginzo on 8/17/2007 7:43:16 AM said:
Being a fan of Sean Connerys rendition of James Bond, Im very familar with what Ursula Andress looked like in the first Bond movie, very familiar. Although I havent been on the SFNE S:ROS yet, Im just going to say that youre wrong. Andress was better than any coaster I agree that those new restraints are an abomination. Why is the fun invariably ruined?
fergusonat on 6/6/2008 12:55:52 PM said:
Hahhahaha, Timberman, you are the only TPC dude to draw a comparison between wooden coasters and blue ball. Fantastic stuff. Im plannin an 09 Midwest trip and Beech Bend is on my to do list. Any particular advice on which seats provide the best ride and whatnot?
Timberman on 6/9/2008 1:08:12 AM said:
Fergusonat, I had good rides all over the train. The ride doesnt really have any standout moment you need to experience from a certain seat. Its just overall fast and lively. Not a top-10 ride for me, but definitely worth a trip if youre in that neck of the woods.
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