Travel Note

10th August 2007

In recent years I've purchased a number of connecting flight tickets to get to far flung destinations. The key advantage has always been receiving all required boarding cards at initial checkin, with my baggage being transferred to the final destination. Sadly, as our national airline struggles to compete with the low fare alternative the people who really lose out are the customers. On check-in in Dublin I was informed that I'd have to collect my onward boarding card at the connections centre in London Heathrow. This was not, in fact, possible; following signs for connections brought me out into the public part of the airport, where it was left to me to get myself to the right terminal (from one to four) and check in again with the local computer.

The local computer checked me in in seconds, but informed me that I'd need to show my boarding pass to a member of staff in order for my bag to be transferred. This meant joining a ninety minute queue, not what I'd hoped for to say the least. In the end, my relaxing connection time of four hours barely proved adequate thanks to the cost cutting of Aer Lingus and the incompetence of British Airways. The flight arrived more than two hours late, thanks to congestion on the ramp. And people ask me why I hate London Heathrow.

The wonderful agent at the Hertz counter attempted to save us some of our lost time by upgrading us to premium service, which in their parlance means that we wouldn't have to walk ten minutes to get our car. Apparently economy cars (which in this country means more than twenty five miles to the gallon) are kept in an off-site lot, as fewer customers are interested in driving them. At any rate, after twenty minutes waiting for this car to arrive, we enquired where it might be only to discover from the dispatcher that this was the first he'd heard about it.


Lakeside Amusement Park

10th August 2007

The end result was that our intended 6:30pm arrival in Lakeside Amusement Park metamorphosed into a 9:15pm arrival by the time we finally made it through the gate. Our first stop was always going to be Cyclone (#1028), a nice classic wooden coaster that turned out to be quite a bit longer than initial impressions might have suggested. The single operational train has a fixed position lap bar and a real oddity of a seatbelt that operates with a clip that can be in one of four positions. The ride itself was very pleasant, the only strange bit being a whole section of perfectly straight track that was banked thirty degrees to the left for reasons known only to the original designer.

Beside that was Wild Chipmunk (#1029), a rather aggressive wild mouse design with single seater cars. The park has a sign indicating two per car but that would not be possible with anyone over five foot tall, and fortunately the park didn't insist. The real surprise of the ride was had as the cars disengage the top of the lift hill, where there is a sharp and unexpected lurch forward. Unusual stuff to be sure.

And that was pretty much that; the powered Dragon was down for maintenance, and the Kiddie Coaster was only for kids, sorry man. Since we had a few extra tickets to use up we went for a second circuit on the Cyclone before calling it a night.


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Lakeside Amusement Park

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