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WILD ONES 2004 MEMORIAL DAY TRIP

PAGE 1:   JANTZEN BEACH, OAKS PARK

 

 

This year for Memorial Day, a small group of the Wild Ones went down to visit the 3 amusement parks of Oregon:  Oaks Park, Thrillville USA, and Enchanted Forest.  We left our home in Burlington at around 8 AM on Saturday the 29th.  At around noon, we arrived at our first stop on the journey, Jantzen Beach Supercenter.  The land where the mall sits was once the largest amusement park in North America and home to the wondrous Big Dipper, designed by Carl Phare.  Now all that remains of the once great park is the beautifully maintained carousel, now located in the mall's food court..  It was originally located at the Venice Pier in California before moving up to Jantzen Beach.  The ride was a fun one, but what a shame that the park was torn down for a mall.

Our next stop on the trip was Oaks Park.  This park originally opened in 1905 as a trolley park and has been in continuous operation every since.  The most famous attraction at the park may be the largest wooden-floored skating rink in the Northwest.  Above the ring sits a great old Wurlitzer pipe organ.   We entered the park and bought our all-you-can-ride bracelets for $12.95, a great deal.

Bubba's favorite ride at Oaks Park was undoubtedly "Big Pink".  This is a 3-lane sack slide that Bubba most have went down 20 times during our time at the park. 

Oaks is also home to the NW's only dark ride, Haunted Mine.  While it isn't very scary, it is pretty funny.  The best part:  "Go back!  This is your last warning!"  On the right, Mark & Scott get ready to head into the Mine.

Although the park is nearly 100 years old, it isn't content to rest on its laurels.  New this year is "Up, Up, And Away", a great balloon ride.  The balloons travel up a tower about 20 feet tall and the whole thing turns.   The individual cars can spin as well.  As we found out, each balloon can hold 3 adults and 1 child.  It's not very comfortable that way though.

Like almost any amusement park, Oaks has a ferris wheel.   This one sits right next to the go-kart track and provides a great view of the whole park and the Willamette River to the west.

The major coaster at Oaks Park is Looping Thunder.  It's a funky little looper from Pinfari.  Riders climb into a 12-passenger car and travel over a series of turns and hills and into what has to be one of the smallest loops in the world.   It's got a couple of rough spots, but Looping Thunder packs quite a punch for such a small ride.

Our favorite ride at the park was the Skooter Cars.  These classic bumper cars are bumper cars the way they're supposed to be:  fast, hard-hitting, and a ton of fun.  After about a half a dozen rides, I think we all eager for even more.  To the right, Clay slams his wife, Cassa, into the wall.   What a nice guy!

The "other" coaster at Oaks Park is the Zooooooooom.   It's a fun kiddie coaster with some nice back-poppin' airtime humps towards the end.  Of course we had to ride a couple of times.

The best thrill ride at the park is probably the Scream'n Eagle.   This is a KMB Afterburner and it is kind of like a floorless pirate ship that spins really fast.  The picture to the right was taken from directly under the ride as it reaches the pinnacle of its arc.  The ride is really fun and super intense, but I probably could have done without the Motley Crue blaring during the entire ride.

Oaks has a great carousel as well:  a beautiful Spillman ride with a great assortment of menagerie animals.  Micah decided to ride on the zebra.   One of the other animals is a kangaroo; apparently one of the rarest Spillman animals to find.

Almost everything at Oaks reminds you that the park is old, including the bathrooms.  The urinals in the restroom near the skating rink are gigantic, and these ones were just plain weird.  I think they used to be normal toilets, but now they use them for urinals.  Of course, the flies buzzing around this bathroom didn't help the situation any.  If you want to find this restroom, it is just south of the Big Pink slide.

The "yellow water" inside was Clay's doing, by the way.

After leaving Oaks Park, we went over to Malibu Grand Prix in Beaverton for some go-kart action.  We had to wait a bit for the track to dry out, so Bubba and I worked on our softball swings a little bit.  After the tracks dried out, the Wild Ones tore up the track.  Tammie and I each shared a 2-seater with Micah and Bubba.   Everyone else got their own.  My fastest time for the 3/4 mile track was 69.2 seconds.  I think Clay had the fastest of the group, but I don't remember what his time was.

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