Me: what was your favorite part of Knoebels?
Chooch, no hesitation: Petting a Corgi!!
Ok, that might be true, but Chooch was also super into collecting dropped ride tickets in an effort to get enough to force Henry to ride something (if you actually READ MY LAST POST you’ll remember that I mentioned you can buy tickets to ride shit if you know you won’t ride enough to get a full ride-all-day wristband’s worth) and playing this old-fashioned arcade game called Fascination, but we’ll get to both of those after looking at some beautiful “Autumn at the Amusement Park” snaps.
*fun fact: it took me seven tries to spell Knoebels correctly and I WORK WITH A KNOEBEL. What if I got some type of brain damage after my haunted house injury last week?!
Lol j/k I’ve been dumb since way before that.
We had to wait for a hillbilly family to get their pictures taken here first, because they CUT IN FRONT OF US. That’s one thing you should know about this park: it is shockingly WHITE. And I’m talking about the kind of white that also has a red neck. Basically, it was like being at Holiday World again, except more camouflage and less face tattoos. But the scenery at Knoebels is much more charming because you got those Pennsylvania mountains, etc etc. (Honestly, I put “etc” because I don’t know what else.) I was suddenly tree-obsessed and kept saying things, “Let’s go over this way so I can get a picture of those trees” and “I like those trees” and “That is a pretty tree” and “Should my next boyfriend be a tree?” and “I bet I could get a nice big elm to marry me, fuck you, Henry.”
Knoebels also has a creek-thing with numerous little fairy-tale bridges to help you cross so that you don’t get your camo pants soggy.
ISN’T IT PRESH!? CAN’T YOU HEAR IT BABBLING?
I couldn’t get over what a gorgeous fall day it was. The weather forecast all week had a CLOUD WITH RAIN and said it was going to be like 45 degrees so I was ultra-sad but determined to still go and not complain because then Henry would do that annoying, “YOU’RE NEVER HAPPY” jiggity-jig and I hate that.
We didn’t even need our jackets for most of the day, which Henry loved because I kept dumping mine in his arms before racing to get in another ride line. There is really nothing like riding roller coasters on a crisp autumn day, you guys.
OMG get me a minivan, a Pinterest account, and a Starbucks giftcard, I am officially a basic white bitch.
More of those stud-muffin trees, yeah, boy.
Chooch and I, in tandem, exclaimed that the “dog pounder” was a horrible name for a game…for so many reasons. He still played it though. And lost.
OK, now onto the riveting tale of HOW WE GOT HENRY TO RIDE A RIDE.
Chooch found two discarded ride tickets earlier in the day and decided to keep them just in case. I think it was like 50 cents worth, so there wasn’t anything they could be used for.
But then later we were in line for the Haunted Mansion and that ride actually isn’t included in the ride-all-day admission. I could probably just look up why but I’m gonna act like I know it all and say it’s because it’s a super classic pretzel-car dark ride and they use that extra cash to maintain it while also keeping the crowds at bay because I’ll tell you what, for as much as I love dark rides, I’m not paying to ride that bitch more than once.
And that’s some Erin Rachelle Real Talk, ok?
Chooch and I had exactly the amount of tickets we needed for a haunted joyride ($2.50 worth, I think?). I kept thinking we didn’t have enough and counted them over and over like I had a counting compulsion. Chooch finally was like, “LOOK I COUNTED THEM AND WE’RE GOOD, OK?!”
Meanwhile, Chooch found two more 50 cent tickets and scooped them up like they were bread crumbs and he was a boxcar kid scavenging for vittles. He held them with both hands and cheered openly, causing people in line to look at us and if there is one thing I hate it’s people looking at me.
“MAYBE I CAN FIND ENOUGH FOR DAD TO RIDE THE PHOENIX!” he cried, and some people gave us pity-smiles, like we were visiting from the poor house and sad ol’ dad was slapping around in his cardboard shoes, stinking of a gin bath and dreaming of having enough change to ride a rollie-coaster.
While in line, I noticed that the aforementioned Hillbilly Family was also in line for this ride and then I looked a bit too long and ended up witnessing Hillbilly Patriarch kissing his Hillbilly Maybe-Wife and I felt very uncomfortable.
It was not an attractive kiss.
It was the kind of kiss that could lead to baby Duck Dynasties.
Then Chooch found another 50 cent ticket and by this point he was acting like Charlie fucking Bucket. This one was slightly ripped, so we weren’t sure if it would be accepted, but I have to be honest here, I was secretly excited about Chooch being a ticket magnet.
We were in the second row of the serpentine queue at this point, with one more corner to turn before we were on the homestretch. This is when I noticed that there was another red 50 cent ticket, just outside of the line, nestled under a bed of leaves at the base of a tree trunk. I silently pointed it out to Chooch, who stupidly reacted, causing the people standing in that part of the line to follow our gaze and notice the ticket. I saw some old bitch point at it to her companion, but they couldn’t reach it. Several other people tried too but it was just out of arm’s reach.
I WAS GETTING NERVOUS ABOUT THIS NOW. I didn’t want anyone to get it before we looped around and made it to that part of the line but at the same time, I feared that we wouldn’t be able to reach it either, even though I know in my heart that Chooch and I wanted that fucking ticket more than anyone else.
YES, WE HAD RIDE-ALL-DAY WRISTBANDS. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!!
I knew what I had to do and I hated that this was my only option.
I texted Henry.
I could see him from where we were standing in line and this made me even more angry because he was literally MOSEYING around with his hands casually clasped behind his back, looking at all of the food.
“OMG HE IS SO ANNOYING!” Chooch screeched.
Finally, Henry checked his dumbass phone and slowly meandered over to us, which was infuriating because could he not tell from the urgency of my texts that this was SERIOUS?! The line was moving fast and we needed him to come over to us so we could point out the ticket before it was our turn to go in the mansion!!!!
So here he comes, all dum-diddle-dee-dee, and we are frantically trying to explain to him why we need this ticket (WHY DOES IT MATTER?! JUST DO WHAT WE SAY!) and he was smirking.
SMIRKING, you guys.
Oh, I wanted to punch his dumb head.
And then, even with our excelsior directions, he couldn’t see the ticket. I was about to catapult myself out of the line and just get it my own damn self but then he finally walked over to the tree and like, laughed to himself?! Because this was FUNNY to him!?
Ugh, whatever. He finally picked it and Chooch and I tried to cheer quietly so as not to draw attention to our cheapskate selves but I think it was too late because have you even seen Chooch and I trying to perform covert operations? Yeah. We’re like elephants in a small box.
Whatever that means.
BUT NOW WE HAD $2!!!!!
And this is how we finagled Henry onto one whole ride at Knoebels! Look at how thrilled he was! THE RED LIGHTS CAME ON WHILE WE WERE STANDING THERE!
Chooch got all Parent Trap and said, “You guys can ride together in the back.” Now Henry was even more thrilled because you know how much I get on his nerves on a regular day, on solid ground, in the house, doing nothing. Now imagine me sitting beside him on a roller coaster. HOOOOO BOY WHATTA RIDE.
(Apparently, it cost $3 to ride the Phoenix, so Henry still had to buy $1’s worth of tickets, haha. Also, the ticket person at the Phoenix took the ripped ticket with zero fucks, but Chooch and I still ran ahead in case there was an issue because we didn’t want to be associated with Henry’s cheap ticket-pilfering ass.)
Henry buying his $1 worth of tix lol
Anyway, that doucher barely even smiled once through that whole roller-course, what a joyless dick! Meanwhile, I was slapping his arm and doing that Bobcat Goldthwait choke-giggle thing that I do when my giddy levels are reaching a boiling point. Ugh, I love when I’m having that much fun! The memories of that moments help me get through trolley commutes and random small-talk a little bit easier, you know?
The “Fascination” Fascination
One of the things that Henry does to kill time at Knoebels while we’re being normal kids and riding things is hunker down inside the Fascination shelter. Fascination is some kind of old-fashioned arcade game that’s a cross between skeeball and Bingo, I guess that’s the best way to explain it. You get one ball to roll, and whichever hole it goes into, the corresponding spot on the screen will light up, so you keep doing it over and over until someone gets a full line, which makes their seat light up and a buzzer goes off, GAME OVER FOR THE REST OF THE LOSERS.
I had never heard of it until the first time we went to Knoebels because very few places have it anymore. Henry tried to insist that Kennywood used to have one but I googled that shit and he is WRONG. Apparently, Indiana Beach has it but I can’t remember Henry spending all of our money there when we went in 2014…
Anyway, Chooch didn’t remember this at all from the last several times we were there, even though I have pictures of him playing it. THIS IS WHY I KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING LIKE A NOSTALGIC PSYCHOPATH. I have photo-proof for almost every disagreement I have with Henry and Chooch.
A Fascination token and my signature shitty manicure.
Henry briefly taught Chooch the rules and then they went hogwild spending my future Korea cash while I sat in at a table that was out of order because I didn’t want to play. The hilarious thing about Fascination is that everyone in the room who is playing is involved in that round, similar to how Bingo works – you’re playing against the room. And some dude sits at an elevated desk and narrates what’s happening like he’s employed by fucking ESPN or something. It just cracks me up, especially when they do the special game called Cover All which is where, you know, you have to cover it all. So instead of getting the one line of 5, you have to get every light to light up. So he calls it like a fucking horserace, like, “Table 19 only needs 5 more, now Table 36 only needs 5 more too, they’re neck-and-neck!” And then of course this makes everyone super frantic.
Oh! And before the next game starts, you have to slide a token in the slot above your table number and then when the game starts, everyone’s tokens fall in. Henry and Chooch made me hand them tokens after every game and it was really annoying because Chooch especially was being super demanding and impatient about it so I kept getting nervous and dropping them.
But then, Chooch won his first game and the color commentator mentioned that it was “the hardest line to get” so Chooch was like WHATS UP NOW MOTHERFUCKERS, COME AT ME. And that was it, we lost him to the seedy world of Fascination.
LOOK AT HIS FACE. He has that Gambler’s Glaze to his eyes. I felt scared. He kept winning, and was the runner-up for one of the Cover Alls he played (he actually got his last ball in a split second after the winner and he was PISSED. I worried that he was going to light the place up with his psychic fury).
Family Fascination Selfie!
We ended up going back there toward the end of the night because it started raining and Chooch was like, “OH DARN, RAIN. OH WELL, I KNOW JUST THE PLACE TO TAKE REFUGE” and then ran there like a fiend. He won several more games and then spent an eternity trying to figure out what to cash in his tickets on (sadly, he didn’t have enough for ‘lamp’ or ‘crockpot’). Finally, I talked him into this cute Halloween cat stuffed animal which he gave to Calvin when we came home, and then he “splurged” and “did him” by getting A RECORDER after I begged him to get anything but A RECORDER. What a jerk!
“If I even hear you WHISPER into that fucking thing in the car, it’s going out the window,” I hissed in his ear with my nails dug into the back of his neck HAHA WHAT I WOULDN’T DO THAT TO MY KID OMG WHY DID I JUST TYPE THAT.
Meanwhile, Henry had this creeper hovering over him for at least five rounds and never felt his presence. He sadly didn’t bring Henry any luck because he didn’t win a single fucking game.
“Thanks for showing me Fascination,” Chooch said to Henry as we walked back to the car later that night, and it was the most sincere I think I have ever heard that damn kid. WOW, JUST WOW.
If you think this is my last Knoebels post, YOU IS A FOO. But the next one(s) will probably mostly just be pictures because I have so many! Amusement park pictures are my favorite things. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and scroll through my old Flickr albums of amusement parks and then fall asleep with a dopey smile on my crappy face. I am so precious.
Before I say goodbye, I would be a failure if I didn’t end this post with FASCINATION STREET, my favorite Cure song. I used to watch this video over and over when i was 19, wishing I could reach through the TV and touch Robert’s perfectly-pale face.