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Outlaw Run: A first ride on Silver Dollar City’s record-breaking roller coaster

This week I’m heading to Branson, Missouri to take one of the first rides on Outlaw Run, their new record-breaking roller coaster debuting this Friday. Outlaw Run is the first wooden roller coaster to take its riders upside down THREE times. At 68 mph, it’s also the second fastest wooden roller coaster of all time (El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey holds the top spot at 70mph).

As I drove down to Branson, I asked my followers on Facebook and Twitter for suggestions on places I should stop. They came up with a few suggestions.

Here in the story you’ll find video and photos of the ride, along with the spots I’ll be stopping along the journey to get to Branson and back. Enjoy!

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I’ve been talking about it all week. I was among the first to ride the record-breaking wooden roller coaster Outlaw Run at Branson’s Silver Dollar City.

But I wasn’t the ONLY one.


On tonight’s WGN News at Five, we’ll be talking with all of the coaster enthusiasts who were there to take a ride, and show you some of the amazing video they shot on board. We’ll also talk to Rocky Mountain Construction’s Fred Grubb, who created and built the ride alongside designer Alan Schilke. Fred told us all about RMC’s new technology that lets Outlaw Run take riders upside down three times.

If you’d like to visit Silver Dollar City, they open today. Here’s more information about the park…

Silver Dollar City | 399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy,  Branson, MO | 417-336-7100 | $58 adults, $48 kids 4-11, kids 3-under FREE |

Besides the many, many times I was able to ride Outlaw Run, the coolest part of the trip was meeting the people behind all of those amusement websites I’m wasting time on at work (don’t tell the boss). Here’s a link to the people you’ll see in the story (and some that didn’t make it), along with an Outlaw Run video from their site…

One Wheel Productions - Rocco Casella and Scott Schaffer put together this awesome Outlaw Run video cut to Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me”….


Roller Coaster Database – The IMDB of roller coasters. This is where you go to find ANYTHING about ANY rollercoaster ANYWHERE. Or close to it.

Theme Park Review – You probably know all about Robb Alvey by now, but just in case, his has a review/video of pretty much every roller coaster you can imagine. Here’s some video he shot of Outlaw Run from the back of the train… – We talked with Chris Godsey. Click here for a link to all of their ride reviews. - The guys behind CoasterForce were on site as well. They have all kinds of coaster videos on their site. Here’s their video with all of the first Outlaw Run riders on Silver Dollar City’s opening day….

It was a wild day at Branson’s Silver Dollar City yesterday. I was among the first people to take a ride on Outlaw Run, a 68mph wooden roller coaster with three inversions.

I’ll have much more on the ride, and all of the roller coaster enthusiasts it brought to Branson, on Friday’s WGN News at Five. Look for more photos and a complete review here on the blog as well.

Before I drive back to Chicago (8.5 hours) I thought I’d leave you with the complete raw video of the ride. Here’s me looking out from the front car, then screaming my head off with delight. I’ve been on a lot of roller coasters, and this one is like none I’ve been on before. Enjoy and stay tuned!

Took this shot while gassing up at the Saddlebrooke Convenience Store in South Galloway, Missouri, just a few miles outside of Branson.

You don’t get a view like this while getting fuel in Chicago. And do I need to say anything about those prices?

Stay tuned tomorrow….I’m all checked in and ready to ride Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City. We’ll have SO many photos and plenty of video to watch here on the blog, along with the WGN News at Five. Now, I sleep. See you tomorrow!

Rest stops usually look the same, right? Small structure with bathrooms, a big map, a couple of vending machines, an alternative energy windspire….

Wait, what?

I heard about this unique rest stop at the Mile 110 marker on I-44. It has a Route 66 theme – retro gas pumps, a map of the historic route painted on the floor, fun sign pointing your way in. And out front, there is an Alternative Energy Spire with a sign claiming it provides enough energy to power the lights inside the building. Again, not something you see at every rest stop – worth a break if you’re on the long road trip.

Here are some photos I snapped….

For all of us in Chicago, the historic Stonehenge is thousands of miles and a long plane ride away.

Or maybe not? Well…..PRETTY much.

It was brought to my attention that, on the way to Branson, Missouri, I could stop and see a small-scale recreation of the ancient Megalith outside of London. The Missouri University of Science and Technology created the replica, which sits on the northwest corner of their campus in Rolla. It’s just a short jog off the journey if you find yourself heading to Branson, and it’s a pretty neat site to see.

The designers even created a Polaris window. If you stand in the right spot at night, you can see the North Star through a window in one of the large stones. You can read more about the replica Stonehenge HERE. Check out some photos I snapped….

Before heading down to Branson, MO to take a test ride on Outlaw Run, I asked Facebook followers for a great place to grab some BBQ in MO, and Brian Princer suggested I hit Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis.

How could I resist?

I hit Pappy’s at 3106 Olive Street around 2 p.m. The place was pretty full with just a few tables left. It’s your typical BBQ smokehouse style joint – walk up to the counter, place your order, and they’ll bring it to your table.

I ordered the Beef Brisket platter with sweet potato fries and deep fried corn as my sides. The biggest surprise was how fast it came out to my table. I barely had my coat off and a tray was down right in front of my face. As you can see in the photos, the brisket has a nice, subtle smoke ring and plenty of smokey flavor. I like to eat most of my brisket without sauce to get the full experience of the meat, but the Pappy’s Original Sauce was quite nice – a bit thicker than I like, but it had the perfect amount of heat.

Here are some photos….

If you’re in the area, I’d recommend giving it a try. I don’t get down south very much, so I’m always looking for great southern BBQ suggestions. Let’s get something started in the comments below – where is the best place to get great BBQ….WAY south of Chicago?