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July 30: Third Time's the Charm for Six Hundred


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By now I know all too well how hard it can be to determine the day which I will hit a milestone ride, especially if it follows a multi-day vacation. My original plan was to hit a certain milestone on a certain ride on the anniversary of my first time riding that certain ride (July 23) before I left for my Darien Lake vacation the next day. But since I could stay for only two hours after my open shift (I got off work at 4 and had to be home by 7) and I was still 14 rides away, I did not have enough time so I determined I would reach it on Saturday, the 28th, the day after arriving home from Darien Lake. But the 28th was more crowded than I expected, due to the "bring-a-friend" day, the nicer weather, and the fact that this was the last midnight close, as well as only being able to stay until 10:30 (and I worked a swing shift that ended at 9). So I figured that if I stayed as a guest after my open shift on Monday, July 30, I could finally do it as I knew a Monday would not be as crowded as Saturday.

My dad told me to be home by 8, which meant I could do whatever at the park until 7. My shift ended at 4 so I had about three hours to enjoy the park as a guest.


I entered the park just before 4:30. I had just enough time to slip in a ride on Vortex and make it back to the KI Theater to see Gravity at 5. I had test ridden it at work in the morning so my count was at 595 1/3 when my guest visit got underway.



My pre-Gravity Vortex ride was enjoyed in 6-1 on Train 3. I often underestimate how fun of a ride the sixth car offers (as car 7 is superior) but the sixth car still offers a decent amount of airtime!

It was just after 4:40 when my ride concluded, so I skedaddled all the way to the front of the park, where I entered the Kings Island Theater as the pre-show was beginning. I hopped into the front row next to @whengodsaysgo (whom I saw earlier at WindSeeker and decided to enjoy the park together after work!). I had not seen Gravity since June 12 when the rola-bola act last performed, so I got to see the new contortion act for the first time. That act was AMAZING and unlike any other contortion act I have seen! The bicycle act is still my favorite though. :)


The seat next to mine remained empty, so Toothless, my Vortex beanie bear and my stuffed bumblebee got their own seat!

And of course, we had to get a picture with the cast afterward. For the first time I was first in line for the meet and greet. :P


We headed back to Vortex (yes, I know, you're SO surprised :lol:) and rode the rest of the way to 600...er, 600 1/3 together. For #597 1/3, #598 1/3, and #599 1/3, we rode in 2-1, 7-1, and 4-1, respectively. Taking #599 1/3 aboard Train 3 was special, as I was on Train 3 when I got the 1/3 ride (PM me if you want more details) a.k.a. my incomplete 547th ride last month, so it paid homage to that atypical ride as without it my count would have been 600 that time. Also a side note: if/when I say "600th ride" or the like, the number refers to the number of completed rides, i.e. right now I have ridden Vortex 602 1/3 times, yet I might tell someone I have ridden it 602 times.

As we got back in line for the momentous 600th 1/3 ride, Train 1 was departing and there were two groups of two in front of us in line for the front row, which meant we would board Train 1 when it returned and I would ride in the EXACT SAME SEAT where I took my 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th, and first test rides of 2017 and 2018!!



Finally, I was next to board the front seat, and Train 1 arrived for my milestone spin. We stepped aboard and my crewmate at Unload snapped the traditional picture...


As always, my "milestone train" gave us a great ride as I experienced my first six inversions for the 600th time! I'm glad things worked out so I could enjoy yet another milestone ride with a friend! Thanks for joining me @whengodsaysgo!


It was 6:20 when we boarded, but a brief delay in the station had us sitting in the brake run for several minutes (no worries, it was a nice way to relax!) so we got off at 6:30. We parted ways, as she wanted to see Gravity again at 7, but I had to leave at 7, so after saying bye, I "celebrated" by riding Vortex again of course. I rode in 5-1 this time to wish "smooth sailing" for the ride to 700! And yes, 5-1 was smooth, but not the smoothest ride I've had in that row. This was 5-1 on Train 1, by the way, and I think my earlier rides in 2-1 and 6-1 on Train 2 were a little bit smoother (or at least didn't vibrate as much) which I found funny. Gotta love Arrows, where the ride experience can vary by the day! :D


Toothless got his own picture with Train 1 after disembarking from #600 1/3.


This is my drawing closer up, with Train 1 rolling in in the background. Using various pictures as my guide, it took me four hours to draw and another two to color this thing!

I still had 20 minutes before I had to leave so I decided to give WindSeeker some love.



I was assigned to Seat 15, right next to another single rider in Seat 16. I noticed her "Coaster Hair Don't Care" shirt and mentioned how I had seen it in the shops and always thought about getting one. I eventually mentioned that WindSeeker and Vortex are the rides I work and that Vortex is my favorite ride, and then she mentioned that we saw each other earlier in the day when she rode Vortex because I had apparently said the same thing to her earlier about how Vortex is my favorite ride. When she mentioned that, I did remember seeing her earlier! It was so cool riding WindSeeker with one of the very same guests that I helped while working! The timing of that is simply amazing!

We talked throughout the ride about various things, all while enjoying the view. As we touched down on solid ground once again, we decided it would be fun to ride Vortex together. So we went back over there.


Train 1 was departing as we arrived, which meant we would end up riding Train 2, where I had experienced my smoothest rides this day. We were going for 2-1 but the row was taken so we rode in 1-2. In the meantime we talked about the experiences we have had with riding Vortex, and I eventually mentioned to her the riding habits I developed as early as my second ride. Our ride together was fun and mostly smooth (other than the Arrow-esque transitions as always) and she and I both had a good time! The advice I gave helped her and she didn't get a headache like on her previous ride. But even on her previous ride she still enjoyed it, from what she told me. :)


We exchanged our "it was nice meeting you" 's and headed our separate ways, as it was now 7:00 and I needed to leave. She has a Gold Pass so we will likely see each other again, and I hope we do because we had a nice time riding WindSeeker and Vortex together!


I made my way out of the park, including walking past Off the Charts as they performed. I'm glad they came back this year. They sound great!


+Vortex: 8

YTD: 109 1/3

Total: 602 1/3

+WindSeeker: 1

YTD: 17

Total: 136

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It was such an honor to share a milestone ride with you! :)  Riding with you was on my bucket list, and I achieved that AND got to be a part of your amazing Vortex journey.  I had ridden once earlier in the day, and then four times in a row with you... I hadn't done that in I don't want to admit how many years.  It reminded me of being a teenager walking around the park marathonning (sp?) all of our favorite coasters - racing out the exits and back into the queues as many times as humanly possible before close.  I may not do it every day, but I'll never forget cramming four Vortex rides in between Gravity shows with you! :) Here's to 600 more! :wub:

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