Thursday, 28th of August, 2003
Wednesday, 20th of August, 2003
Sunday 17th of August, 2003
Friday, 15th of August, 2003
Picture - A view of the memorial outside the museum.
Picture - Three large hangars of airplanes, and a fourth one still being constructed.
Picture - 1908 Wright flyer
Picture - Caproni CA 36 Bomber: a WWI bomber, one of the first bombers
Picture - B-10 Bomber
Picture - A violin on display.
Picture - The text for this violin.
Picture - Douglas B-18A Bolo
Picture - Radioplane OQ-19D Radio-controlled Aerial Target: used by the air force in training to provide fake targets for trainees to shoot at in the 40s - shows how expensive training can be.
Picture - Messerschmitt Me 163B "Komet": there's no propeller on this WWII Nazi plane, it's rocket-powered!
Picture - Consolidated OA-10 "Catalina"
Picture - MXY7-K1 trainer: Japan used this modified kamikaze plane to train kamikaze pilots to fly straight into the U.S. Navy ships.
Picture - X-JET: a concept for a small jet engine to propel a personal craft capable of maneuvering relatively close but off the ground.
Picture - Boeing Bird of Prey: hanging above other planes that have also tested the concept of "tail-less unmanned aircraft".
Picture - F-86H "Sabre": with the shell off so you can see the insides
Picture - Conair B-36J: with 6 turboprop engines and 4 jet engines for maximum thrust
Picture - A model of the 3rd hangar shows how they pile the airplanes all over each other.
Picture - We know airplanes have spark plugs in them but these models are just plain cool.
Thursday, 14th of August, 2003
Then we did the Millenium Force. That was a fast coaster. The 310 feet seems really tall - even though the lift hill is the fastest by far I've ever seen, it's also the longest climb I've ever been on by far. And then when you take the plunge down, it's very fast - 93 mph! When I reached the bottom of the first hill, I was seeing stars because the blood wasn't quite rushing around in my head properly, and after that, it was just all very fast - too fast to really react to. The seats did offer a unique restraint system, with a special buckle and lap bar, but no head restraints! My neck felt a little weird at the end of that one. Overall though, the sheer speed of it made it one of the best "traditional" roller coasters I've ever been on, and it went so fast that I want to do it again!
We cooled down a little, then went on the Magnum XL200. Knowing that this one was going to go "only" 72 mph and "only" 205 feet into the air, we wanted to experience some of what it was like back when this was the tallest coaster in the world between 1989 and 1999. Turns out, this is one of the best roller coasters I've ever been on! Sure, the view is not as breath-taking as the Millenium Force, but there were so many hills with lift time and cool tunnels, it provided one of the best 1.5-minutes of roller coaster thrills ever! This is a must-ride, and the 30-minute wait was nothing compared to what you get - and we waited for the front too!
We had to get another wooden roller coaster in, after all, the park has 3 of them, 16 roller coasters of all types total. The Mean Streak was only a 15-minute wait, so that can't be a bad use of time. The ride reminded me a lot of a wooden roller coaster in Disney World - track that takes you all over and through the wooden beams, so close that you look like you're going to hit stuff. It does go 67 mph, but the track layout is such that you don't get as much lateral G-forces as you do on The Boss here in St. Louis. So, the Mean Streak is not bad, but The Boss here is just that good.
That got us all ready for the big one, Top Thrill Dragster. The ride was running today with intermittent delays, probably because of some sort of heat issue, because there's one big motor on a cord that propels the 7-ton coaster from 0-120 mph in 4 seconds! After waiting for almost 2 hours, we got on the coaster, got our front seats, got all buckled in, only to be told to get off again while they wait delay the coaster for a few more minutes. But all that was worth it, because then we got propelled to 120 mph in the front seat. That's a once in a lifetime experience! It was so fast! Tears were streaking out from my eyes because of the force. Then, we went up. 420 feet high. The view was incredible, but check it out for a couple seconds, because now the coaster is going to go on a nose-dive, twisting 270 degrees, and back down at 100+ mph. The nose-dive was not nearly as scary as the Millenium Force, because there are thick pillars guiding the track as you dive down, so there's no doubt that you're safe and on a fixed track. For 120 mph, that ride is also super-smooth, and the restraints are like no other. There are head restraints that provide not only rear support, but some side-to-side. I still say the best part of the 25-second ride is the first 4 seconds.
About 5-10 minutes after we got off the Top Thrill Dragster, something historical happened. The power went out. This is the blackout that affected 50 million people in the United States, disabling power from New York all the way over to Ohio and Michigan. It happened around 4:15, and after sitting around for an hour, we figured it was not coming back. We decided to head over to the beach and enjoy Lake Erie, building sand castles and such. By 8:00 the power still hasn't come on, and they were kicking people out of the park. Our hotel's power restored at around 9:00, but before that, finding a place to eat was interesting, as well as traffic flow. What we saw was nothing compared to the situation in New York City, though - everyone that usually used the subway had to find other ways to get home...
Wednesday, 13th of August, 2003
Saturday, 9th of August, 2003
I went out to Gateway International Raceway today to see the Indy Infinity Pro Series race since I got free tickets. It was definitely a unique and nice experience - very loud, and very fast, and the first time I've seen GIR from up close. The race was completely uneventful until on the 79th out of the 80th lap, the 2 cars leading the race bumped into each other on turn 2, spinning out and crashing. This gave the driver in 3rd place the victory as the first 2 cars posted DNFs. Unique indeed!
Thursday, 7th of August, 2003
Tuesday, 5th of August, 2003
Picture - Subarus like having the same amount of tread on the front and rear tires, because of the way the center differential works. After discovering the difference in tread wear after 7000 miles on my Potenza RE92s last week, we inspected Joe's RE92s on his WRX, with 9000 miles without rotation. He needed a rotation. We decided to just do it in the parking lot after the RUF meeting.
Picture - WRX lifted on both our scissor jacks. Hannah helped significantly.
Picture - Now this is where it gets interesting. Bobby comes by and just steals Joe's wheel while it's off.
Picture - He thinks the WRX wheel would make a nice full-sized spare for his Supra. So that's where it lives for a few minutes while he gets chased around Covenant Seminary.
Picture - In the end, the wheel gets returned, in exchange for Bobby's free test drive of Joe's WRX.
Picture - The night would not be complete without a visit to a new STi. Ohhh, it looks nice in silver.
Saturday, 2nd of August, 2003
Pictures I took:
Picture - On the way down there, the coloured sunrise warned if the impeding storm in the area.
Picture - You can see the waves of water roll across the parking lot of High Street Baptist Church's parking lot, the lot they used for the event.
Picture - Chris pilots his friend's stock Ford Focus through the course with his socks hanging on the mirrors - they got soaked while we walked the course in the rain. He was also pulling some handbrake turns on the wet course.
Picture - The cop car had good rain tires. Limited slip probably helps too.
Picture - The cop car's second run shows that the course appeared to dry up pretty quickly, but it looks deceptively dry out there.
Picture - The starting grid.
Picture - Joel, the owner of the Focus, did pretty well too.
Picture - Joel again. The course was run forwards, then backwards after a carousel.
Picture - The Mustang was sliding all over the slick course.
Picture - Stock Audi S4
Picture - The Quattro S4 dives right into the wet spots of the course with no problems.
Picture - The NOS bottle that's really a subwoofer on the DARE Firebird came as a gift from one of the auto shops.
Picture - Chris in the Ford Focus.
Picture - Chris in the Ford Focus again.
Picture - Look out, don't drive into the field! Save that for Rallycross.
Picture - Since it was run by the Porsche Club of America, the 911 Carrera has to make an appearance too. This one got the fastest time of the day.
Picture - The day turn from wet and cold to sunny and hot. Fortunately, umbrellas serve multiple purposes.
Picture - The starting grid again.
Picture - Part of the sunset on the way back to St. Louis.
You can also leave it up to Erik to take really good pictures of the event - he took the ones of my runs. The image gallery is quite impressive.
Friday, 1st of August, 2003
Then we went to test drive a 350Z! That was lots of fun. That car has gobs of power all over the place, and a clutch that's pretty heavy - my foot was feeling funny at the end of the 15-minute drive. The 6-speed shifter throws are very accurate, providing the proper amount of resistance for precise shifts. The throws are very short, though I didn't find that to be an aspect that made the driving experience better or worse. The cockpit has a nice view of the road ahead, but side and rear views are useless. The "Touring" trim level came with 18" wheels and tires that provided excellent grip, and handling was razor-sharp. It's definitely a hard-core sports car, and faster than a stock WRX in both raw power and definitely handling. This is the fastest car I've driven. It must be extremely difficult to stay within the speed limits when driving this vehicle...