For my second day at Carowinds I got to the park a few minutes early before they opened, in time to witness the ceremony they were doing to honor the men and women of our armed forces. The park opened and the first ride I went for was the Carolina Cobra, which is new to the park this year, but actually is a roller coaster that is used in several parks.
The thing about Carolina Cobra is that if the line gets long, it will take a long time to get to ride, and that is simply because of the design of the ride. Only one car can be on the track at a time, period. After the train is loaded, it is pulled up the slope on one side before being released. After going through a cobra roll and loop it reaches the other slope, where it is pulled up a bit, before being released and sent backwards through the loop and cobra roll to the station. There's no way more than one car can be put on the track, so it does take a while to get there. I've ridden one like it before at Six Flags America as "Two-Face: The Flip Side" so I'm familiar with the design. However, if I want the coaster credit, I have to ride it as the Carolina Cobra at Carowinds or else that's just plain cheating.
I then hit Vortex, which is a standing coaster. Normally I love standing coasters, but I also forget that at times the restraints can play hell with your junk. Think about it like if you were coming over a rail fence except when you straddle it, your feet just barely stand flat on the ground, so move a centimeter downward and you're gonna hurt a bit. Perhaps there was a reason I didn't ride it again ;-) With that however, it did complete all of the coasters that I could ride at Carowinds, and now I am at 108 different coasters.
From here I started hitting some other coasters for repeat rides, such as Carolina Cyclone and Afterburn. I also went and hit the drop tower ride. It's a ride that pulls you up to the top of the tower and then drops you straight down to the near bottom. To be perfectly frank, if you want to hear me scream like a bitch, put me on that ride. It definitely taps a bit of my fear of free falling from a high place, and it's why you will probably never see me skydive, unless I'm trying to give myself a heart attack.
After about 3 hours at the park, it was starting to get hot, and I had been dealing with a headache since I woke up, so I decided to head back to the hotel and wait for it to cool off outside before going back to the park. I napped while watching Deadliest Catch since there was a marathon that weekend. Was I the only one that noticed they used a Blue Crab for the promos for the marathon? It's kind of funny they did, considering that there are no Blue Crab in the Bering Sea, it's too cold them for them.
Around 7:30 I went back to Carowinds and the first thing I ended up doing was hitting up one of their shops for more Nickelodeon merchandise, namely because the items that were 50% off yesterday, were now 75% off. Parents were definitely all over that stuff because it meant getting lots of Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants stuff for really cheap. I have taken care of some gifts for birthdays and Christmas now. I talked to the girl at the register while she was scanning my stuff, and she partially confirmed my hypothesis on why the Nick stuff was out the door. Cedar Fair wants the stuff gone because they're going to bring in their own stuff. So folks, if you're really desperate to see the kiddie area of Carowinds as the Nickelodeon version, this is your last season. I'm expecting next year it will all be Peanuts themed.
Anyway, so I got that done and then hit a few more coasters and the drop tower again before heading to the front gate for the fireworks show at 10 PM. The fireworks were great, and I saw some unique ones I have not seen in other shows, so it was definitely worth catching for me. In all the show probably lasted close to 20 minutes. I took video with my digital camera of the fireworks, which I hope to have up on YouTube in the next day or two.
Trying to get out of Carowinds was a completely different story. There is only one "official" road that can be used by the public to get out, and I knew it was going to be bottlenecked, so I basically sat in the car, rolled down the windows, put the seat back, and chilled out for about 1.5 hours before making any attempt to get out. By this time there was a second route out of the parking lot, which was to follow a back road around the park to the employee entrance, and use that to get onto Carowinds Blvd. Once I did that, it was a matter of a simple U-turn to get to my hotel.
After waking up Sunday morning, I got all packed up and checked out of the hotel before going over to Shoneys for breakfast. Their breakfast buffet was good, and the server was extremely helpful, to the point she actually packed me an extra drink for the road without me asking her, which was well above and beyond any normal service. Her tip certainly reflected the extra service she gave and she deserved every penny. So if you happen to go to the Shoneys right off of Carowinds Blvd and your server is Wendy, you will be well taken care of.
The drive home was not too bad, though I did hit traffic a few times. For whatever reason, VZ Navigator put me on 95 after a while. From what I heard later, 66 had some major issues going on, so that's what I got stuck with. Either way I did get home, though a bit later than I wanted. Got my laundry done and then was able to chill out before bed.
Ultimately the trip to Carowinds was worth it. I got to experience a number of new coasters, a great experience at the park, and got to see completely new places in the country as well. It was a win-win situation all around. Plus with the visits to Carowinds, I have basically paid for my season pass now. I will likely go back again next summer, and hopefully with a few people in tow.