Our Father’s Day tradition is usually to hit up our local amusement park, Kennywood. I just wasn’t feeling it this year though, and since I have a knack for making every day about me, even Father’s Day, I suggested that we take a little road trip to Erie and visit Waldameer because I was having some kind of Ravine Flyer II cravings. I mean, it makes sense to me: let’s make the man who hates amusement take us to a park full of it.
Of course Henry said yes because I rule, but I’m sure he was wishing that I could just have normal cravings, like for pickles or sex, or pickle sex. We already got to do shit that he wanted to do on his birthday a few weeks ago (i.e. nothing), so I didn’t feel too bad about hijacking his holiday.
It takes about the same amount of time (two hours-ish) to get to Waldameer as it does Delgrosso’s, but it’s a different direction and for some reason, it just seems like the drive goes so much faster. Plus, there’s more to ride there and Henry can still pay zero dollars to loaf around on every bench he comes across, plus it has THE WACKY SHACK. If only they had the Wacky WORM as well, then we’d never have to go to Delgrosso’s again!
In all honesty (because I usually lie lie lie to you all the other times?), I wasn’t going to write about this recent trip to Waldameer. I’m a little burnt out and really, nothing note-worthy happened this time around.
One of the things my mom did right when I was a kid was always having her camera with her, which is how my memories of our trips to the Wildwood boardwalk have held up. I love that there’s a picture of me and my Pappap on the Keystone Kops ride, and my step-dad and me on the Wildmouse, and the people stuck on the Sea Serpent coaster. My mom was good about that shit, and that’s one of the good qualities I definitely picked up from her—I take pictures of everrrrrryyyyything. I’m sure it’s annoying to Henry and Chooch and they’re like, “No one cares about your picture of the Ravine Flyer, Erin” but someday, when it’s not there anymore, and Chooch is visiting me in the shoddy, state-funded home he’s shipped me off to, he’s going to ask, “Hey Burden, what was that coaster we used to like at that one park that took forever to get to and I would cry about it in the car?” and then I’ll say some kind of technology spell and the Internet will materialize in front of us like a mirage and we can spend quality-time looking through pictures together on my blog.
So, maybe nothing note-worthy happened, but 40 years from now, Chooch might think differently about that.
I want my future house to look like the Wacky Shack.
We were the first ones to ride the Wacky Shack that day! The park was pretty sparsely populated all day, so we mostly just walked right on all of the rides without having to wait anyway, but Chooch still thought this was gloat-worthy.
The second time we rode the Wacky Shack, we were in line behind a family: a mom, her son who was probably 12, her daughter who was maybe 14, and the grandma. Apparently, there was some drama with one of the park performers and the grandson, some big misunderstanding, but the park performer blew it out of proportion and threatened to have this kid reported and kicked out of the park. I couldn’t figure out what had happened, but he had seemingly on accident, done something to really jack her off during her performance. This kid didn’t seem too threatening to me, just your typical white suburban boy in a Nike shirt and cargo shorts. He looked really upset while the mom was filling in the grandma, and if Chooch could just ever stop talking for more than 2 seconds at a time, I might have been able to come home with a much better story for you, Blog!
We saw the family later on, this time the dad was with them too. Now there was some drama with between the boy and his sister. He had evidently walked away from her while she was talking to him, and now the dad was trying to act as a mediator while he was in line for the go-carts with the son who now all of a sudden didn’t seem so innocent. The daughter was on the other side of the line and the dad was like, “Why don’t you just calm down and ride this with us?” and she was like, “I DON’T WANT TO RIDE THAT!” in a “how dare you minimize my feelings!” tone and stormed off to sit on a bench with Grandma. We walked past them later and she was still sitting on the bench, head down, and scowling.
It was like looking at myself.
Chooch made me ride the Steel Dragon twice in a row: once sitting front-facing, and once rear-facing. That shit fucked me up and I opted to sit down on a bench and put myself in Henry’s shoes while Chooch rode a third time by himself.
I keep seeing some lame article going around about people spending too much time taking pictures of their kids with their kids instead of “actually living in the moment” and while I can see where this would be concerning in extreme cases, I have to roll my eyes at this because how am I not “living in the moment” by taking a picture? To me, I’m living in the moment and also capturing a photographical memory of it because I know it’s going to be something that I will look back on some day when I’m sad, and it’ll make me smile. And that’s what I do on days that I’m sad, for real! I re-read trips to Kennywood and Warped Tour and then I’m OK again. Meanwhile, Chooch was like, “People keep staring at me…?” He forgot he had purple hair.
On the Comet, Chooch and I sat behind this guy, Michael, who was in his late teens/early 20s and seemed to possibly be autistic. He was LOVING LIFE, you guys, and I have to say, his enthusiasm was infectious. We wound up behind him right after this, in line for the Ravine Flyer II. Michael ran out of line because he wanted to hug some country music station mascot (I never could figure out what it was supposed to be); when Michael came back, he started to walk to the back of the line, but Chooch and I stopped him and let him get back in front of us because we were obsessed with him.
“I like this guy,” Chooch whispered, jutting an elbow in Michael’s general vicinity.
This coaster is the shit, you guys. Here are some words that go through my head when I’m riding it:
- This was a mistake.
- oh god.
- holy fuuuuuck!
- This is the train to Hades!!!
- MY MOTHERFUCKING BACK!!!!
- SUCCURRE MIHI, DEUS
Oh my god, it’s a wild ride. Chooch and I laugh like hyenas on it and for those 2 minutes, we are best friends and not bickering mother and son.
The second time we rode it, I was pissed because some stupid group got to jump the line because they were filming it for Periscope, and they were sooooo smug about it. Their leader was some arrogant ginger and the rest of us people in line scowled as he encouraged his group to scream and act more stoked than they actually were. Turns out it was some lame Drumstick gimmick:
Whatever you say, Drumstick.
I spent a good portion of the day shooting Henry in the face with my forced-adorable expressions in order to soften him up because Chooch and I desperately wanted him to ride the Ravine Flyer II with us! Even if you don’t buy a ride-all-day pass, you can put money on a Wally Card in order to ride things. Waldameer is a cash-free park, so you have put money on one of those cards in order to buy food and play games, anyway, so…..he had no good excuse!
It pains me to admit this, but my motion-sickness tolerance is even more unpredictable than ever this year. Normally, I’m good on the Tilt-a-Whirl, but at Delgrosso’s last month, I almost puked on it. So I smartly avoided the Tilt-a-Whirl at Waldameer. However, I did go on the Swings almost as soon as we arrived, because it was one of the few rides that was already running. I admittedly haven’t been on the Swings in any park in the last several years because I was starting to lose enjoyment for it. But I decided to give it a shot and was pleasantly surprised! I didn’t get sick at all, and I was even able to enjoy the beautiful view of Lake Erie.
So I stupidly allowed myself to believe that I was cured of spinny-ride syndrome, and later rode the Spider with Chooch, upon which the color immediately drained from my face and I limply flopped around in the seat like a dying flounder. The ride operator must have noticed that he had a potential puker on his hands, because even though we were the last ones to board, we were the first ones off. And the ride seemed curiously short, too. Henry was waiting for us on a bench, and just shook his head smugly when he saw me shuffling toward my death bed. I spent the next 15 minutes with a cold bottle of water pressed against my neck, sitting as still as I could on the bench and begging my eyeballs to stop darting around in their sockets. Henry and Chooch went off to play games and when I was finally able to rejoin them, I found myself spending an unusually large amount of time admiring the (safe, still, unmoving) landscape. Statues! Flowerbeds! Topiaries! Things I never gave a shit about before.
Over by the go-carts, Henry overheard a conversation between a white trash mom, her son, and his girlfriend. I guess the son was telling his girlfriend that all of the little kids in line with them were his siblings and he said, “Can you believe all those kids dropped out of my mom’s hole?” and then the mom bragged about not even having any stretch marks and lifted her shirt all of the way up to prove it.
Henry’s favorite part of the day: walking alone.
By the end of the day, we wore Henry down and got him to ride the Ravine Flyer II with us! (Oh, and if you’re wondering what happened to the Ravine Flyer I, apparently some dude died on it a long time ago and it was torn down and II was built in its place. Good to know!)
One of the young ride attendants was super enthusiastic and made us all give him a high-five on the way off the ride, and HENRY ACTUALLY DID IT! Dare I say, Henry might have actually had a little fun that day. I mean, he got to eat a soft pretzel; warm, candied almonds; a snickerdoodle (his favorite cookie!); and he got to waste more of Chooch’s college fund on games. Sounds like a pretty fulfilling Father’s Day, if you ask me.
[PS: Chooch wants me to tell you that he found out the next day via Instagram that his girlfriend Cassie was at KENNYWOOD on Father’s Day. “THE ONE TIME WE DONT GO!” he wailed.]