Jul 092023

I know sometimes it sounds like my brilliant ideas are born from late nights rolling in a kiddy pool of cocaine, but I swear to BETTY FUCKING WHITE that my “It’s so easy” plan of driving a billion miles from Pgh to Atlanta to ride one goddamn rollercoaster actually ended up being something that was enjoyed in equal parts by ALL.

(OK, maybe more like 50% me, 25% each to Henry and Chooch – they don’t get excited about shit.)

By now, you know (and still don’t care) that my favorite roller coaster manufacturer is ROCKY MOUNTAIN CONSTRUCTION (RMC). When it was announced that they were building a brand new ground-up coaster (they are mostly renown for taking already-standing wooden coasters and making them insane feats of engineering) at this tiny family entertainment center outside of Atlanta called Fun Spot America, the coaster community went wild with confusion, speculation, and of course excitement falling in clumps out of cargo-pockets.

In America, RMCs generally only go to the big name parks, the Cedar Fairs, the Six Flags. This particular Fun Spot (there are two others in Florida) is essentially an arcade with some go-kart tracks and flat rides in an old, repurposed parking lot. The only coasters they already had was a janky jumble of track called Hurricane (the kind of coaster you’d expect to see in a traveling parking lot carnival, actually) and a standard kiddy coaster.

And now, a fucking beast of an RMC called ArieForce One, which just opened last March. I know we’re going on this big trip in a month, but I was like, “HENRY WE HAVE TO RIDE THIS THING BEFORE THE TRIP BECAUSE ALL THOSE THOOSIES ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT AND I WANT TO BE IN THE KNOW!!!” Henry tried to talk me out of it, but in the end, I won.

Oh, and “Arie” is not a typo. It’s an homage to the surname of the family that bought this park several years ago, Arie. LEGEND HAS IT (it’s not a legend, it’s right there on FunSpot’s website), the patriarch of the Arie family was/is very into airplanes or whatever. Love it or hate it, RMC built a BEAUTIFUL ride to go along with the theme of flight and when you see this bad boy looming along the side of the road before the full park comes into view, how do you NOT gasp?? I mean, I imagine even if I wasn’t an enthusiast, if I knew NOTHING about this hunk of red and blue track, I would at least be inspired to look up WTF it was and probably start nagging Henry to pull over so we could ride it.

Obviously, we went straight to ArieForce One upon arrival. IT WAS A STATION WAIT. Actually, it could have been a walk-on if we weren’t trying to get either the front or back row, and even then, we barely had to wait because they were running two trains and we were next!


Chooch was like, “Oh boy, here we go with the station selfies. I am so excited. Yay me.” I ended up ditching Chooch and running up to the front to ride with Henry because otherwise, we’d have had to wait more cycle. So Chooch ended up riding with the single rider / enthusiast that was in front of us in the backrow.

Dude. I don’t know what to say other than IS THIS MY NEW FAVORITE RMC?!?! Holy shit, the things this coaster does seems illegal, honestly. There is this one part where you do a zero G roll / barrel roll over the arcade and it nearly gave me whiplash every time. It was my favorite moment but holy shit, the way you twirl between the structures, talk about head/limbs/everything chopper. Hoo boy!

DO YOU SEE HOW EMPTY THIS TRAIN IS?? It was like this all night! Walking onto an RMC is unheard of at any other park. I mean, for Christ’s sake, we’re lucky if we can get ONE RIDE on Steel Vengeance every time we go to Cedar Point because the line is usually consistently at 90+ minutes. (When it’s not breaking down.)

But on this day, it was us, maybe about 5 or 6 thoosies, and a handful of GP who caught on to the sheer majesty of this ride and knew that it was worth the multiple re-rides. The ride attendants were so great too!! The one guy asked us at one point how many rides we had gotten in so far and I honestly had lost count. I mean, we would ride 3-4x in a row, walk around and do some other things, and then go right back.

I will say that this coaster is tough to marathon though because the very ending has a quadruple double-down that is VIOLENT. And then it just slams you into the breakrun. Parts of my thighs had red marks on them from the sheer force of the restraints crushing into me every single time we reached that element. VERY EXTREME. I think this could be a one and done for the casual rider. You have to be a psycho to beg the attendants to let you stay on when you come back to the station and see no one is waiting for the row you’re sitting in. They allowed it every time!!

We got really lucky too because the weather forecast was calling for storms all evening. And actually, after we had gotten in our first two rides (front and back –  I think I actually preferred the front because it hurt less, lol), we had pissed around a but, checked out the arcade, rode some other rides, when we overheard the ride attendant for the janky coaster, Hurricane, get a call that said some of the rides needed to stop operations because lightning was spotted.

I was literally screaming, “Nooooooo!!!” thinking that we were only going to get those 2 rides on Arie, and were probably going to have to leave the park altogether if it started storming. This was only about an hour after we arrived too! I was big sad.

But then I was like, “Well, let’s just walk toward Arie just in case, you never know,” and right as we were walking that way, we passed someone who looked like he was In Charge as he was telling another park employee, “All clear of lightning” so then I was like “LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOO!!” and yep, just as we ran up the steps to the Arie station, they were just about to start sending trains again!

On one of our many rides, Chooch told me, “As we go over the hill, don’t look down, just look straight ahead. It makes it better,” and I thought this was just some dumb thing he had made up to see if I’d fall for it, but I did it and it made the butterfly sensation amplified by a lot, which made me crack up uncontrollably and then spit all over myself. So, then I was laughing even harder, which resulted in me being in tears by the time we careened into the brake run.

At one point, Henry and Chooch wanted to ride go-karts and I said, “OK, I guess I will just go walk around while you’re doing that” and walk around is exactly what I did – straight to ArieForce One!! I rode in the back by myself and one of the loner thoosies was in front of me, so we started talking on the brake run (ops were kind of slow so every time a train came back, it would idle on the brake run for a few minutes while the train in the station was loading). He was really cool but I’m not used to talking to people who actually care about this stuff so WORDS WERE JUST SOMERSAULTING out of my mouth at a pace which made me gasp for breath like an asthmatic. Honestly, I need to come up with a way to tap out of conversations, like putting a paper grocery bag over my head, askin a bee to sting my tongue, or just you know, saying, “Excuse me bye” and walking away.

As it was, we somehow ended up walking out of the station together, super awkwardly, and when he asked what my favorite park is, I BLANKED AND THEN SAID CEDAR POINT??? Cedar Point is NOT my favorite park!??! I feel like if I hadn’t been short-circuiting, I probably would have said Universal / Islands of Adventure or Busch Gardens Williamsburg?!?! And then I was telling him that Kennywood is my homepark and he said he had never heard of it so I was like, “Yeah, you should go sometime and ride Phantoms Revenge, it’s amazing” and he goes, “Who is the manufacturer?” and this is the part that you won’t care about if you don’t like coasters, but I was now in the position where I said to say, “Arrow….and then it was reworked by Morgan” and I could hear myself saying these words while watching the look of skepticism befall his face.

“Oh, OK,” he said.

“Yeah….you should look it up. Well, enjoy the rest of your night!” and then it’s a wonder I didn’t trip and fall into a garbage can in my haste to exit this conversation.

(Arrow is notorious in the coaster community for making pretty shitty, rough coasters and is now defunct. And Morgan is just whatever. So to try and sell the merits of a coaster manufactured by these two companies is pretty insane, but Phantom’s Revenge is the exception, ISTG. LOOK IT UP – COASTER ENTHUSIASTS COME TO KENNYWOOD FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO RIDE IT. IT’S CONSIDERED AN ELITE COASTER AND MOST THOOSIES HAVE IT IN THEIR TOP 25-50 LISTS. SO THERE.)

The night rides on this were masterful. CHEF’S KISS, BITCHES.

That ride attendant there in the front was my favorite!!! He never stapled us, he let us pull down the restraints ourselves and then only (GENTLY) pushed until the light on the screen turned green. Bless your heart, sir.


I love that you can see the ferris wheel from the back of the station!

That other ride attendant over there on the other side of the track is the one who kept permitting us to stay on for re-rides. I loved everyone associated with this ride, you guys. It was an EXCEPTIONAL experience.

Family selfie that only I will forever cherish!

Anyway, I will do a full FunSpot recap another time, but we all were in agreement that as usual, I have the best ideas and that this was 100% worth the 11 hour drive.

I think this was Chooch’s and my 11th RMC, and Henry’s 10th?

  1. Lightning Rod
  2. Storm Chaser
  3. Steel Vengeance
  4. Twister Timber
  5. Outlaw Run (the one Henry doesn’t have because his back hurt, but we still made him drive us to Missouri lol)
  6. Wicked Cyclone
  7. Twisted Cyclone
  8. Iron Gwazi (ugh this one MIGHT still be my fave??)
  9. Goliath
  10. Jersey Devil
  11. ArieForce One

There are two more that we will potentially add to this list this year: Wildfire in Sweden next month, and hopefully at some point before the end of the year, I’d like to make it back out to Hershey to ride the brand new Wildcat’s Revenge but we’ll see how destitute we are upon return from this August trip hahaha ugh.

Say it don't spray it.

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