Sep 262022
 

Before I start this post, I want to express my sadness for the terrible events that took place at Kennywood, the night after Henry and I were there. Honestly, nothing related to gun violence is shocking or surprising anymore, but it’s still very much sad and maddening. It’s very fortunate that no one sustained life-threatening injuries, but the fact that a gun was even able to make it into Kennywood at all is a huge problem. The part that made me angry-laugh was that I actually thought, “Well, it sounds like it was at least just a regular gun and not an assault rifle” Because that’s where we are right now in America, I guess. “Thank god it was a least-bad type of gun.” “Oh, thank god it was just a dispute between people who knew each other and not a random mass shooting.” “Thank god that person was ‘just shot in the leg’ and nowhere worse.” I could go on and on but it’s the same effing story every damn time. Come the fuck on, America. 

I hope everyone involved have speedy recoveries and no PTSD, though that’s one hell of a hope. :/

I haven’t been to Kennywood’s Fright Fest, or whatever they’re calling it now, since 2006. And as much as my appreciation for Kennywood has grown over the years, I gotta be real here: I am REALLY glad we didn’t pay for this. Since it was the Pass Holder preview or whatever, the crowds were fairly light and but the lines for the haunts were pretty long. I would have been a lot angrier about that if we had paid to get in.

I’ll save the haunt reviews for my WRITTEN JOURNAL that no one cares about, but I’ll just say here that we only did two – Villa of the Vampire and Malice in Wonderland – and the cemetery walk-thru.

The best part of Villa was standing in line (we did this right when we got there, well, ok, after Henry peed, so the line wasn’t too outrageous yet, maybe 25-30 minutes) was watching this little boy get totally pwned (do the kids still use this word? and by kids, I mean people who are now probably 35?) by the clowns at the entrance to one of the scare zones. He was acting so tough until one of them chased him and then he let loose the mots high-pitched shriek YA’LL EVER DID HEARD. He was super entertaining, especially when he asked some old man if he could borrow his cane to beat the clown!

Highlight of the Villa: Luca, the vampire in the beginning that I immediately imprinted on, and the old ass Vamp King who descended from his throne in order to get in my face and ask me to be his Queen.

“Sure, I’m single,” I shrugged.

Everything else was dumb and by “everything else” I mean the absolute nothingness that happened.

The sign was cool though.

Honestly though the best part was getting to ride the coasters, boiiii. Here we are in line for Jack Rabbit which was almost a walk-on.

Also – Chooch didn’t go with us because he was SO TIRED. And also, HIS PARENTS ARE LAME.

After this, we waited in line for the Alice in Wonderland thing for AN HOUR. Maybe longer. Apparently, it’s an upcharge on normal operating nights? I mean, there was a ticket booth, so I dunno. The line was pretty uneventful except for:

  • annoying teenagers who bitched about their Pepsi tasting like Not Pepsi, Maybe Poison but still drinking it, taking pictures of each other for a solid minutes using the .5x option.
  • little kid crying because he lost his spider ring and I totally knew where it was in line because I remember staring at it and willing it to come to life and infecting me with venom while Henry was talking about something dumbz0rz, but then his mom walked back through the line until she found it so I didn’t get to be a hero :(
  • seeing one of the scare actors and realizing he used to work at Castle Blood.
  • two skunks scuttling around the Steel Curtain area, looking for a food. An old man security guard kept watch.
  • Old Man Security Guard asked the line attendant, “Is that group going in next?” she said yes. “Can I go with them?” she said yes. Now annoying teens with their annoying selfies and Poison Pepsi were going through a haunted house with a POPO lololol. They looked very not happy about this but the hilarious thing is that my takeaway from his exchange with the line attendant was that he was on his break and just genuinely wanted to check out a haunt. See what all these civilians were lining up for.

All I’ll say about this one is that immediately I was S T O K E D. The actors were very made-up, super into character, the room designs were immersive and creepy-whimsical, there were genuinely good jump scares, the Tea Party room was chaotic as it should be, there was a really great mirror illusion involving a banquet table, the Queen was scary….all of this happened in the first 5 minutes, so much to pack in! And then after the Queen, the exit to the Steelers County courtyard.

The end.

An hour in line for 5 minutes inside.

NOPE, KENNYWOOD. That’s not how this shit works are you new???

I would have been PISSED if I paid to get in, first of all, and then paid extra on top of that.

Man, so much potential with this one!

Then we had pizza and I was served some old-ass corner piece that was about 3/4 crust and Henry was like, “Do you want me to ask them for another piece?” and I said, “no” in my pouty tone, but then Henry asked anyway and the 12-year-old kid working was like, “I just put in a new cheese pizza, if you don’t mind waiting” and you know what? I did mind waiting, so I took my dumb crust piece and sulked off. Henry picked the pepperoni off of his slice and gave me half because he didn’t want the night to take a turn.

While we were eating, Old Man Security Guard strode by, shoveling the last quarter of a pizza slice into his bent back head and then stuff the paper plate into one of the clown trash cans in Kiddie Land.

“Wow, he is literally having the best night ever,” I said, watching him meander off toward another haunt. Love that for him.

Terrible haunts aside, it’s always nice to be at an amusement park on a chilly fall night, fog in the air, creepy lighting illuminating the paths. The scare zones were pretty fun, I will say.

This is actually where the shooting took place the next night. :(

Everyone knows by now that the real reason we went that night was to ride our One True Love, Phantom’s Revenge. <3

There were two young girls in the row next to us and the older one was seamlessly roping me into their conversation. She was telling me ALL KINDS OF STORIES like how Black Window broke down recently and everyone got stuck upside for an hour. I went along with it but Black Widow doesn’t go upside down and I’m pretty sure she’s confusing it with Aero360 which got stuck for 5 minutes earlier in the season.

I also told her I liked her shoelaces and Chooch would have been melting into the ground from the sheer force of the secondhand cringe.

But OH BABY Phantom in the pitch darkness on a chilly night, plummeting into darkness…this is the best part of Kennywood. This is why enthusiasts ALL OVER THE WORLD have Kennywood on their bucket list.

So damn good, it’s almost disgusting.

And it was FLYING that night. So smooth!! No back-crunching!

After that, we did Exterminator – lights out! I love this ride so much but the last couple of times I rode it, I started to not love it as much. Well, my love rebloomed last Friday because this was hands down the best ride I’ve ever had on it. I was scream-laughing SO HARD, ask Henry. Go on, ask him!

What else – we rode SWINGSHOT which has replaced Aero360 as my favorite flat ride. I love that stupid ride so much and I can’t believe that it was actually the LAST TIME I was at Fright Fest in 2006 that I ride it for the very first time with Kara and then quickly vowed to never ever ever ride that fucker again. I’m so glad I let Chooch talk me back on it when he was younger because wow, a trip to K-wood is not complete without at least one ride on this thing. My only complaint is that I am CERTAIN the cycles are shorter  now and that makes me sad.

Also, I thought my ex-boyfriend Jeff was riding this with us but my eyes are bad and it probably wasn’t him. I mean, I haven’t seen him since the year we broke up (2001!!) so I wouldn’t really know what he looks like aside from what I see on Insta.

One more ride on Phantom and it was 10:30 already. Park closed at 11 but I was SHIVERING and Needy Chooch was texting us for food, god it’s always something with him!! J/k we love that pest.

Henry thought I was getting in line to go through the Vampire thing again and then we had a big laugh about that, lol.

The facade was so nice though! Maybe they just did a half-staff thing for pass holder preview but if that’s the case, that’s pretty rude.

P.S. I forgot about the cemetery. It was very very very tame but I enjoyed this ghost bitch wading in the green-lit fountain.

Sep 242022
 

Hello from the second half of our ultra fun day Great America! It was just Labor Day Weekend but they were already setting up for their haunt. I made Henry stand in this tunnel thing so I could photograph him like one of my french bitches.

I think he’s actually opening his little packet of aspirin in these pictures, lol. Can’t ride more than two coasters without it.

For Snack Time, I had this Dole Whip swirl. It was mango and strawberry. It was fine but like, why so much hype for Dole Whip though? Henry got a pretzel for his Snack Time and I had regertz so I gave him the rest of my Dole Whip in exchange for like 3/4 of said pretzel.

In line for the Flash – Henry dislikes Intamin Impulse coasters but I super-love them and he was my riding buddy on this day so SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP.

I always get extremely nervous waiting for the launch but guess what?? It was actually really weak. So weak that I thought they were having an issue but no, it was nervous I guess. Nowhere near as thrilling as my beloved Wicked Twister (RIP baby).

I always enjoy a good fling on the Batman clones! This one looked like it had a really long line but it wasn’t long at all. Really none of the lines were bad all day except for Joker (low capacity) and MaxxForce (this is just problematic and I feel like the line would be long no matter what).

I didn’t get anything from here but thought it was cute, OK.

At some point in the day, Chooch rode his 250th coaster and actually had one of his friends take a picture because I told him MAKE SURE YOU GET A PICTURE because you know me and my obsessive need to document every little moment of his life for the future MOMMY LOVES YOU scrapbook that I’ll be sure to present to him in front of a crowd someday.

OK, I was extremely excited to ride American Eagle! It was Intamin’s first foray into a wooden coaster and all I knew from coaster vlogs is that it is a legit HIKE through this queue, and boy they weren’t wrong. You just keep walking and walking, up and down and up and down, across a ROAD, until you finally reach the station. If that entire queue is ever actually filled, I would be horrified.

Halfway through our leisurely Sunday stroll through the American Eagle queue.

The line didn’t even actually begin until we reached the bottom of the steps leading up to the station. Then we played musical rows because I couldn’t settle on one – we started in the middle row because the only way Henry would agree to ride any of the wooden coasters was if I agreed to sit in the middle and not my beloved back row. But in the end, I had maneuvered my way to the front row and that’s where we stayed. It was right next to the ride op’s room and there were various rubber ducks lining the edges of it which was entertaining to look at it while waiting for the slow AF ops – it’s supposed to be a racing coaster but they were only running one train on one side, which was annoying  but I swear this seems to be the new norm anymore – King’s Dominion, Cedar Point – maybe King’s Island but I can’t remember now? – were all running one side only on their racing coasters the last few times we were there.

Our thoughts on American Eagle:

Henry – it wasn’t that bad, I’ve ridden worse wooden coasters.

Me – I FUCKING LOVED IT. It made me laugh my effing ugly face off so hard, it was ridiculous. Not nearly as rough as it looks like it would be, and the HELIX, YO. THE HELIX. Do not skip this if you go to Great America.

HERE IS A PICTURE OF US EXITING THE RIDE.

WHIZZER!!! Holy shit, Great America – you got a super weirdly-rounded coaster collection! This Schwartzkopf (I am NOT looking up the spelling, sorry imaginary journalism degree) oddity was so unique and felt like something the Brady Bunch would have ridden together and Alice would have been screaming into a kerchief while Marsha was making eyes at the muttonchopped ride op.

It’s a toboggan-style coaster where two people sit front to back on one long seat so I would have had to try and sit between Henry’s legs without jamming my knees into the seat in front of me.  I was super worried that Henry and I wouldn’t fit in one car together so we had to ride separately because I wanted to spare us from the trauma of being fat-shamed.  This was definitely made for two children or a parent and child and I noticed other adult couples were also riding stag so that is what we did too, sorry Henry, I know you were looking forward to squeezing your thighs against my saddle bags. Much erotic.

After this, we passed Chooch and his SQUAD GIRLS! The girls happily waved hello to us like normal functioning humans while Chooch looked like he wanted the earth to open up and engulf him whole. I can’t remember where Henry and I were headed, but we ended up changing our minds and going back to finally face the MaxxForce line which was hovering between 60-90 minutes all day.

GUESS WHO HAD THE SAME IDEA??? Chooch and his squad girls! WOO!! So much to Chooch’s chagrin, he ended up having to live the waking nightmare of standing in the same line with his PARENTS and GIRL FRIENDS for NINETY MINUTES. Yeah, I didn’t even realize we were in for 90 minutes until Chooch was bitching about it later and I was like “There is no way we were in that line for that long?” but he argued that we were, so I checked my phone for receipts because I texted Corey the moment we got in line with them and then I took that picture down there of Chooch right when we were next in line, and yep.

Ninety fucking minutes.

The big TO DO of this line was the fact that Chooch was wearing the same shirt as that guy behind us. His girl friends (Anna and Lexi) were dying over this and I said, “That’s his Dad Shirt” and that made them lose it all over again and Chooch kept making INSANE ORCHESTRAL CONDUCTOR hands motions next to his head like he was willing to swallow a stick a dynamite in order to escape the pain of his Mexico world colliding with MOMMY.

I was super engrossed in what they were talking about, too, but Henry kept gently pulling me back by my shoulders and making a subtle, “Give them space” eye blinks.

UGH.

They were totally talking about CIEE people and I wanted to know!!

At one point, Chooch made eye contact with Anna and then turned and made eye contact with me, and screamed, “STOP LOOKING AT ME!!” and the anguish on his face you guys, the wet glint of agony in his eyes. It was hilarious. Anna was laughing so hard and squealed, “Why do you get so upset when people look at you?!”

Oh, the trials and tribs of Riley J.

(Speaking of, we were very good about calling him RILEY in front of his friends although Anna found my Insta and knows about “Chooch” now so he was like, “And I would like to thank you for that.” LOL.)

THAT FACE THO.

We did not ride Little Dipper for absolutely no good reason. Apparently, Chooch didn’t either and he was pretty salty about it because it’s all about the COASTER CREDS. Guess we’ll just have to go back!?

Somewhere after MaxxForce, we rode Superman and it was excellent (Henry hates flying coasters but admitted it was OK) and whatever their indoor wild mouse is. Gotham something. It was about a 25 minute wait and also the only time all day that I got mad at Henry because I was trying to tell him a really important story and he kept looking past me and I HATE THAT because it makes me feel like he’s not listening to me so then I gave him the silent treatment and he cried and begged me to be his friend again.

Then on the ride, he caught the hat of the guy in front of us and it was probably the most heroic he’s felt since he was IN THE SERVICE.

That ride was actually good too! I think Great Adventure is where we rode the clone and I don’t remember thinking that one was any good because the theming was shit, but this one was SO GOOD. The theming was there and the ride itself was actually really intense and I nearly got whiplash.

Then I demanded Henry buy me a Six Flags sweatshirt because I was legit freezing in a t-shirt and shorts all day. So now I have red Six Flags sweatshirt which was actually a hassle to buy because some asshole family was hogging the whole rack and then I had to ask an employee if they had Mediums and she had to forage “in the back” for one. At that point, I was locked in. Had to buy it.

I have to say though, while Six Flags can generally be so hit or miss (they have major issues, I’m not even exaggerating, basically the Walmart of theme park chains at this point) their gift shop employees have always been EXCEPTIONALLY FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL. Literally every single park.

Anyway, this sweatshirt was a game-changer. Or, mood-changer really. Because I was really getting cranky but now that I was warm and cozy, I felt like I was given a do-over and was ready to get back out there and have fun again.

Got a late night black bean burger at some place in the Raging Bull area of the park. It was OK but they apparently didn’t have the sauce that was supposed to come with it and I get really mad about stuff like that because I LOVE ME SOME CONDIMENTS. The waffle fries were surprisingly good, but the pretzel bun was very dry and didn’t really do much for me. I would have preferred whatever bun Henry had on his meat sandwich.

Running back to try and get one last ride on Goliath before park closed. I LOVE the feeling of being in a park when it’s nearly ready to close. It’s like, romantic or something, I dunno.

We made it in line for Goliath and GUESS WHO ELSE DID TOO? LOL. They were behind us a bit. I let Chooch know we were aware of his location by texting him a picture I took of him from my spot in line, because I read the Creepy Mom Handbook when I was pregnant and it’s gotten me this far without causing a complete and utter relationship severance, so why stop now.

They ended up getting on the train right after us and I tried to get a picture of them coming onto the brake run but I stupidly moved before it was done so it was just one big blur. :(

We talked to them for a little bit after they got off Goliath, while watching the fireworks. Chooch was sure to point out that his night ride was better than my night ride because the fireworks started when they went up the lift hill.

“I don’t know if you guys realized this about him, but he is VERY competitive,” I said to Lexi and Anna, rolling my eyes, and they cracked up because OF COURSE THEY KNOW THIS. Everyone who spends even a few minutes with my kid knows this.

I TRULY DON’T KNOW WHERE HE GETS THIS TRAIT.

Oh also so that ride up there? Fiddler’s Fling? HENRY WOULDN’T RIDE IT WITH ME. Actually, HENRY WOULDN’T RIDE ANY FLAT RIDES. And this park actually had a pretty unique flat ride collection so I was super sad. I definitely need to go back – with someone else!!

The (weak) Flash.

Oh yeah! We rode this earlier too. It was Henry’s first ever 4d Free Spin and he didn’t hate it as much as he anticipated. I was scream-yelling the whole time. I hated this ride the first time I rode it in New Jersey, acquired a newfound appreciation for it in Massachusetts, and changed our status to IN A RELATIONSHIP in Illinois. You and me, Joker. 4 lyfe.

Oh look another ride he wouldn’t ride with me.

Literally one of the most beautiful amusement park landmarks.

Before we left, I blurted out, “CAN I TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU GUYS” and the girls said ABSOLUTELY while Chooch was quickly looking for a vampire to turn him so he wouldn’t appear in the picture.

I don’t know what else to say – I loved this day so much. I loved the whole weekend. It was weird not being with Chooch all day but I also so happy that we were able to arrange this reunion for him and ugh, sometimes I really am such a mom! See?? I do have the maternal stuffs in me. It’s just sometimes buried by my Forever 16 personality traits.

 

Sep 222022
 

Yoooo, there was no way I was leaving this Great America without a carouselfie on their majestic double-decker carousel! Originally, I had wanted to get one of us PLUS Chooch and his SQUAD GIRLS but he was like, “We are never ever ever ever ever doing that together and if you don’t stop asking, I’m going to start singing that in the tune of Taylor Swift.”

He did not actually say that because he’s NOT AS FUNNY AS ME, THIS WAS ALL ME, I MADE THAT UP.

He did say something similar not in so many words, probably something like, “Nah, I’m good.” I’m honestly still sizzling about this though because the Friday before we left for this Labor Day trip, Chooch texted me at 6:30AM on a morning that I was planning on “going for a walk later” rather than at the exact moment I wake up inside of the 6AM hour. But nope, here comes  Chooch, foiling mommy’s plans AS USUAL.

He wanted me to walk to the Potomac trolley station to see if his wallet was there because he suddenly didn’t have it when he was on the T. He said he was almost certain it fell out of his pockets on the shorts that Henry bought him that don’t fit right so this, in case you were wondering how he was going to work it, was how he was able to twist it into being someone else’s fault.

Anyway, I angry-stomped my way to the station and there was his stupid Pokemon wallet, laying face down on the platform under the bench. No one even tried to steal it or turn it into the fare booth guy.

That motherfucker is so lucky because, while he only had a dollar in there (lol, that unemployed life), all of his amusement park membership cards / season passes are in there in spite of the fact that Henry keeps trying to confiscate them. Well, the confiscation was successful this time!

Yeah so I told him that for my reward, I wanted a group carouselfie and I feel like a GOOD BOY would have obliged but no, I got stuck with this bullheaded jerk.

So it was just Henry and me, and ew why does he look so sleazy?!

Quick carousel review: for as lovely and bitchin’ as this merry-go-round is on the outside, the actual ride was very lackluster. In lieu of traditional calliope tunes, some ride operator was up on the top deck, screaming Six Flags trivia questions over a speaker and it was just very disconcerting. Bro, I don’t play games, I want to believe I’m living in Mary Poppins times with a whimsical rabbit squeezed between my thighs.

Um, OK, unclear what sort of vibe he’s going for here but I feel violated somehow.

I think it’s weird when some carousels require you to actual fasten the seatbelt. Like, for what reason? In case it needs to brake real hard?

This was my feeble attempt to get a mirror carouselfie.

Well, that’s my account of our 5 minutes on the carousel. We’re actually in the process of redoing the carouselfie wall (it’s done, we just have to rehang the pictures and haven’t had time because this week is all Pie Party Prep, All the Time) and I’m really excited to include one of these. The exclamatory nature of that last sentence is implied.

Sep 192022
 

Hi guys! It’s me checking in from yet another amusement park. I tried to get Henry to guest-blog in order to mix things up but nope.

You’re stuck with me.

Six Flags Great America is located in Gurnee, Illinois, which is not Chicago, but kind of close to Chicago? I don’t know my Illinois geography AT ALL aside from where Chicago is located on a map and that’s only from flying in and out from there when we went to Korea.

As I mentioned previously, some other day in a different post, two of Chooch’s Mexico Squad friends live about an hour away from the park so they were game to meet up! Of course, Henry and I didn’t tag along, no matter how badly I wanted to, but we stayed with Chooch inside the entrance until they arrived, and he let me take one (1) selfie with him before they arrive. Everyone says that Chooch and I don’t look alike but LOOK AT OUR FORCED SMILES. They are carbon copies of fake affection.

Um, can I just say I love that he became friends with these kids?  The two girls who met him there were so cute and seem just, I dunno, good. One of them asked to take a picture of them with her phone and I was like GLADLY while Chooch squirmed uncomfortably, lol.

I won’t post the stalker-mom TMZ shot of Chooch and his pals through some shrubbery after we left them to it but you can believe that I immediately texted this to a laundry list of peeps who had been following along with the CIEE Yucatan Instagram posts, trying to figure out if THERE WAS A LOVE CONNECTION between Chooch and anyone there.

I had seen this carousel / pool set-up so many times in YouTube videos but it was really extra magnificent in person. I mean, Six Flags is not really known for its landscaping and aesthetic appeal. Granted, the rest of the park was questionable – lots of weeds and asphalt – but I will always associate it with this gorgeous entrance eye candy.

You guys, Henry and I were riding partners for the whole entire day! I was so nervous about this because he’s such a cock when it comes to:

  1. old woodies
  2. 4d free spins
  3. almost all flat rides
  4. Arrow loopers

So I anticipated that I would be skipping a lot or riding alone. But he was actually a good sport! Except for the flat rides. He was still a motherfucker about those.

We hit up the B&M hyper, Raging Bull,  immediately and it was a station wait! It was still pretty early – we got there about 30 minutes after the park opened – and the day was super dreary so we didn’t encounter very long lines until later in the afternoon, but even then the wait times were in flux. The only ride that was consistently LONG AF all day was MaxxForce but that’s because it’s right by the entrance, it’s still pretty new and novel, it runs one train ops, and it breaks down a lot.

Usually these hypers are guaranteed to be my faves in any park but this one was just OK. I kept saying I wanted to go back later and get some re-rides on it but every time I checked the wait time, it had gone up to around 45 minutes, and when it was a walk-on, we were on the other side of the park.

We never did get our bearings! The layout was confusing.

Then we rode Viper, a woodie that looked like it was going to be a spine-fucker, but it was actually not bad at all! Henry disagreed and immediately had a headache, but I experienced no jack-hammering and I thought it had a decent layout on top of that.

Later, Chooch texted me after he and PARTIAL SQUAD rode it: “RMC Viper.”

That’s something enthusiasts say after riding a real janky woodie that they think would be a good candidate for the RMC treatment.

It was not that bad!

Besides…

Great America already has an RMC…

…and it ain’t Demon, lol.

HOWEVER, to Henry’s actual disgust, Demon was my favorite ride. Before the ride started, a recording asked, “Are you ready to conquer the demon?” and Henry mumbled, “I do that every day” whatever that means. Then afterward, I yelled, “OMG I LOVED THAT DID YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING” and he somberly said, “Yes Erin. You were right next to me and we were practically the only people on it.” 😂 👹

Later, he told Chooch to guess what my favorite ride was and Chooch named every single ride in the park BUT Demon, then said, “Oh. I forgot that one even existed.” WOW JUST WOW.

It just had all the things I love: A TUNNEL, FOG, LIGHTS, A COOL SIGN, IT’S NOT WIDELY POPULAR (even with coasters, I’m a hipster).

I EVEN BOUGHT A DEMON MAGNET.

I swear I had heard that there is even a heavy metal theme song that plays but if this is a thing, they had the stereo turned off that day, unless I’m confusing it with another coaster!

Oh, it was a total fucking walk-on too.

Oh shit, X-Flight was amazing!! I’m generally not that impressed by wing coasters, but this one was FUN and really forceful. (I am not great at using actual physic-y descriptors like true enthusiasts do. I’m just not that nerdy I guess. LOL OK fine I am, but just in other areas.)

The X-Flight crew was really energetic and funny too, I should note – this was actually an ongoing theme throughout the day and I’ll tell you what, you stick some personable people on a ride crew, and it’s going to elevate the guest experience FOR SURE.

I just asked Chooch if he agrees with and he said “Sure” before I even finished my question and left the house.

It definitely counted for something because even though this was a station wait, it still took a short while to get on the ride because of fast pass or the people with the handicapped paper, I couldn’t tell who it was that they were letting steal the backrow seats.

Well, after X-Flight, the time had finally come: we had made it to GOLIATH, my TENTH RMC!!! We didn’t run straight to this because everyone knows that RMCs need some time to warm up, le duh.

The wait for this was only 25 minutes – FOR AN RMC. Do you know how many hours of my life I have spent in line for Steel Vengeance?!

Well, it’s a lot.

Seats were being assigned but I was like CAN WE HAVE THE BACK ROW IF POSSIBLE and did my puppy-dog lip/eye combo which ALWAYS WORKS ON RIDE ATTENDANTS ESPECIALLY BOY ONES. It embarrasses Chooch but Henry is like, “That’s fine, they’re not going to be sway by my grizzled visage.”

Obviously he said that in more simpler terms, but you get it.

OK, Goliath – I see you! Not the best RMC out there but still so fun and this one goes through a small underpass twice, and there’s fog!! The second time it goes through there, it is fucking CRUISING. If you are reading this and you have not ridden an RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction), please do yourself a solid and google WHERE IS THE NEAREST RMC HYBRID and then GET YOURSELF THERE ASAP.

I mean, 9 other RMCs have preceded this one in my life, and even still I was SCREAMING! LIKE, FUCKING HOLLERING as if my RMC cherry was being popped. Just laughing myself into a coughing fit, it was truly a goddamn delight. RMC just HITS DIFFERENT. (I said that out loud for the first time ever yesterday and immediately felt like such an herb lol.)

If you’ve been on an RMC before, please tell me which one! And if you are an RMC fangirl like me, tell me your RMC bucket list coaster! I have two: Zadra and Wildfire, the latter is one I might get to ride next summer GOD WILLING.

(I will turn religious if it gets me closer to international RMCs, bet.)

I’m going to end this installment here because true to form, I’m only 1/4 of the way into the day and I’m already over 1,000 words which is just stupid. Tomorrow, I’ll continue to beg and whine until I get Henry to contribute something.

Sep 112022
 

Late Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend, we made it to one of my bucket list parks (lol so stupid), Mt. Olympus in Wisconsin! I have watched enough vlogs on this place to know that I needed to proceed with caution, that it’s truly a ride-at-your-own-risk park. But it’s home to four wooden coasters, one of them being the notorious Hades 360 which was the first wooden coaster to feature an inversion (although this revamping of the original Hades coaster debuted with the inversion in tandem with Silver Dollar City unveiling the RMC masterpiece, Outlaw Run, which was *also* taking the title for FIRST WOODIE WITH INVERSION. So Silver Dollar City modified their claim to “multiple inversions,” lol. Coaster drama.

So right off the bat, you get a true taste of how sketchy this park is as you’re walking down the entrance and can LITERALLY reach out and touch the track of Zeus. You could slap hands with people riding it, there is NOTHING STOPPING YOU from losing a hand or climbing all the way onto the track and losing your whole damn life. Presumably, this is what they’re waiting for being putting up actual safety measures.

We didn’t spent too much time here so hopefully I can give you a succinct recap with a minimal amount of typos. Let’s goooo.

The entrance to Zeus is the first thing you run into once you get your wristband and enter the park through the gift shop. We got in line for this immediately and started doing neck rotations and windmills in order to lubricate the ol’ spine-a-roo before an afternoon of body beatings. Everything here was one-train-ops, and Zeus only had one young girl operating the ride AND checking restraints, but we still somehow only had to wait for about 20 minutes. I think that most people come to Mt, Olympus for the water park (it’s like, world renown I guess, but not a water park specialist so I can’t confirm) and it was honestly pretty chilly that day (I think it only got up to 70 at one point but felt more like low-60s) so the park wasn’t very crowded.

Um, OK Zeus! Your trains are old and busted but this was a really enjoyable wooden coaster! Not too terribly rough and it had me laughing SO HARD that I was giving myself coughing fits, which was basically the theme of the whole weekend. Janky coaster-inducing coughing fits.

Oh! When Chooch and I were getting into the back seat, there was a phone and lighter sitting there, left behind by the guy who was riding before us. Luckily, he was very distinguishable because he was wearing a bright yellow hoodie, so Chooch put the lost items in the bin with our stuff, figuring the guy would probably be lingering near Zeus once he realized he left his stuff behind. BUT HE WASN’T. So now Chooch was the keeper of the lost items and refused to give up and turn them over to lost and found, determined to find the guy himself.

Thank god the park is very small, but we still walked around aimlessly for 30 minutes, looking for the damn guy. Henry kept saying that he saw him and we were like, “Bro, that’s not even close to what the dude looks like, do you even know who you’re looking for??”

Just as Chooch was about to make his concession speech, we ran into the guy who was finally heading back toward Zeus. Chooch strode right up to him and said, “Did you lose your phone?”

The guy was, “YES” and Chooch handed it over (and the lighter, lol) and dude was like, “THANK YOU!”

And that was that. No back-claps, no promise of being penpals, no “Are you on TikTok?”s.

Super anti-climatic.

But now that we got that over with, it was Hades360 time!

The line looked a lot longer than it was, but it was still the longest wait we had all day and that was still only about 30 minutes. It’s actually good that there were some people in the park because I heard that some of the coasters won’t/can’t be sent unless the train is full or almost full. So on dead days, some coasters there won’t even open.

Also, Hades360 allegedly breaks down quite often so I just wanted to get on this at least once.

Gum tree.

This picture sucks because Henry took it with his shitty broken phone, but here we are, about to ride Hades360 for the first time! Henry was mad because when the ride attendant asked how many we had, we said two so Chooch and I were able to snag the back row while Henry had to wait for the next cycle, lololol.

OK um…I don’t even know how to explain Hades360 but if you ever want to feel like you’re having a near-collision with death, ride this. Drive yourself to Wisconsin and wedge your ass in a seat on this carriage to Hell and you will understand. It was out of control, relentless, forceful, ROUGH, and that’s before it even gets to the absolutely terrifying PITCH BLACK tunnel UNDER THE PARKING LOT. And then you have to go back through the tunnel on the way back and there is a surround-sound ROARING throughout the underground portion that literally sounds like Satan himself is telling you to SLOW DOWN.

There are signs that tell you not to put your hands up and you better believe I obeyed those signs because that was one terrifying experience, yet TOTALLY EXHILARATING. Chooch, who was being a moody teenager most of the day up to this point, dropped the facade long enough to casually admit that this is now on his Top 10 wooden coaster list. Honestly, I was waiting for him to say something totally disparaging and shit-eating, like, “That was overrated” or “Cool mm.”

I hate “cool mm” btw. It’s his response to EVERYTHING I text him.

Anyway, here is Henry riding it in the backseat after us! As soon you leave the station, you go down that first drop and then it just gets scarier and scarier from there.

Here also is a super underrated Reel I made of Henry riding this and I don’t usually care about this stuff but I do feel like it IS VERY FUNNY and no one cared, lol poor me but seriously this was the best use of an NCT song:

We also rode Cyclops which was a fine smaller wooden coaster, actually not painful as I had anticipated, but there are no pictures because Henry is the worst Coaster Dad and sat on a bench with his back toward us the whole time instead of capturing our smiling faces on “film.”

Second to Hades360, I was most looking forward to Pegasus, which is the smallest coaster of the four BUT it has the notorious “yeet turn” as it comes onto the brake run.

I actually this was NOT  that bad of a ride?! Only because it was so odd. Like, it felt like it had legit corners. Such a weirdly engineered woodie! Chooch was like “That’s a no for me” but I honestly was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t walk away with contusions or at the very least, a bruised tailbone.

Where’s Henry.

Back to being a sullen teenager.

Henry actually came through and took a picture of us on Pegasus!

LOL, I tagged Mt Olympus and they liked it. Henry was not amused.

I was hoping they would have a good Hades shirt but no luck. I just got a magnet for my collection and that was fine. Also, by “Shops” at Mt. Olympus, they mean the same shop over and over again.

Weird family photo, in line for Zeus, part 2.

Tricked Chooch into smiling.

Henry wasn’t falling for it.

Also, Henry has to take his hat off on coasters and being hatless makes him look mean(er). I don’t like it. Maybe he needs bangs. That might soften his look.

I’ll suggest it.

I think we only spent about 3 hours there in total. We didn’t eat anything (Henry and Chooch both had Starbucks and complained about it and I was like, “THAT’S WHY I JUST SAY NO TO STARBUCKS.” God, follow my lead already. I didn’t even pee the whole time we were there so I can’t give you a bathroom review, but aside from that, I found Mt. Olympus to be a clean park and the staff was pretty personable. I wish that Hades at least was more than one train ops, but I thought the line still moved moderately fast. It must have broken down right around the time we left though because we waited for a good 10 minutes in the parking lot to get a video of it coming down the hill and into the tunnel, but then one finally came so we got the damn video and then left to check into our hotel. (A Super 8 but it was actually really decent?!)

If you’re interested in more Mt. Olympus content, Coaster Idiots has a really good and funny vlog about their day there last summer!

Sep 072022
 

As previously mentioned, we had a suspiciously* grand old time at Great Adventure but there were two big ass highlights which we will now discuss at length.

*(Any grand old time at a Six Flags park is suspicious. And curious.

HOUDINI, BABY

There’s this dark ride-ish / attraction at Great Adventure called Houdini’s Something or Other that we never got around to doing on our other visits, but this time, there appeared to be no line so we walked through the queue with the utmost confidence like we knew exactly what we were getting into. But as soon as we got to the end of the queue, a line attendant roped us off and said, “I’ll get you into the next cycle,” and we were like, “Oh, OK” all knowingly as though we were seasoned vets at this thing.

Meanwhile, more people had joined us in line, most notably, a family with a baby who was SUPER FUCKING BAD AND RUNNING AMOK AND SCREAMING.

Luckily, we only had to stand out there for about 5 or so minutes, before the doors to the building opened and we were all ushered into a “haunted library”-esque holding room, where a fairly lengthy pre-show played for us and I honestly am not too sure what was happening, but we reacted with over-the-top shock and let out super embellished gasps of surprise as Houdini’s ghost started making lights flicker, etc. This part alone was wildly entertaining for all the wrong reasons, but OH WAIT THERE’S MORE…

When the pre-show ended, a set of doors opened to a long room with three long, room-length benches on each side. It was set up like a haunted banquet hall, I guess? It’s been nearly a month & three amusement parks later at this point, I can’t remember! I just know that once everyone was seated, the ride attendant – a very bored and unenthused girl who was definitely sick of her job – kept repeating in an indoor voice that could barely be heard to please put all belongings in the bin on the other side of the doorway. A few people got up and did so, but most people continued to sit with giant stuffed animals and backpacks in their lap. She kept slowly cruising the room, eye-balling all of the benches, repeating her demands, so I hissed, “Put my bag out there!” to Chooch, who was like, “It’s a fanny pack, I don’t think she cares about that” and I was like, “JUST DO IT SHE’S MAKING ME NERVOUS” so he ripped it out of my hands with a huff and practically punted it onto the loose item shelf near the exit.

Meanwhile, Henry kept asking, “What does this ride do that no one can be holding anything??? Should That Baby be here?” and I kept brushing him off because I kind of new what it was but not totally?!

That Baby was over there somewhere crying and screaming, so I whispered, “They should have to take that baby out, too” because NO ONE WANTED IT IN THERE, IT WAS SO FUCKING ANNOYING. There was a group of teenaged girls behind me who clearly felt the same, because one them cough-screamed, “SHUT YOUR BABY UP” and then “TAKE THE BABY OUT” and us COOL KIDS were fucking dying over this. Henry was frowning, but I could tell he wanted to laugh and join the Babyhaters Club because that baby was seriously the worst.

When I say that we sat in this room doing fuck all for a good ten minutes while the ride attendant slowly scanned the benches for loose articles, and then DISAPPEARED FOR LIKE 3 MINUTES, I am not even embellishing a little bit. It was the most surreal experience, sitting there, not knowing what the ride even was, while people walked back and forth to the loose article bin. One guy across from me left the room entirely and then some lady in his group went to go find him I guess and they both eventually came back and sat down, but why was this allowed to happen?? So much was going on and the ride hadn’t even begun!

Finally, the Loose Article Cop was satisfied and the ride started with no warning other than the lights shutting off. Basically, this was one of those “mystery house” type of rides where you’re essentially sitting on a giant swing, and while you’re slowly swinging, the room rotates around you so it appears that you’re going upside down but you’re not. It was actually super chaotic and kind of rough to be honest, so the girls behind us started screaming, “BUT THE BABY! WHAT ABOUT THE BABY!” and I was fucking losing my mind over this. I guess you could file this under HAD TO BE THERE but it was sincerely hurting my sides, I was in hysterics over this. Perhaps it was lack of sleep from all the traveling and action, but even Chooch and Henry could no longer stifle their mirth and actually appeared to also be sort of laughing a little maybe.

My laughs were more like JOYFUL BELLOWS though. I was into it. Bigly.

What a fucking weird experience.

Also – how did they manage to sneak That Baby on the ride?!!? It appeared to be maybe 2ish – able to walk/run as evidenced when it escaped its parents outside in line and ran into a cordoned-off area and the mom was frantically trying to capture it. I mean the ride didn’t actually go upside down and it was docile enough that there were no seatbelts or restraints on the benches, but was That Baby actually sitting on its own throughout that?! Because the rules say NO LAP CHILDREN. And That Baby seemed like a LAP CHILD to me.

EL TORO AT EL NIGHTO

Our first ride on El Toro earlier that day was good. I *thought* that I understood the hype. Maybe? It was a bit more painful than I anticipated, but there was no way I was leaving that night without a night ride.

It was around 8:30 by then, and the park was set to close at 9, so we were treated to a station wait which could have been a walk-on if we weren’t such back row sluts.

I will spare you the nitty gritty, but let’s just say that a night ride on El Toro felt borderline spiritual. First of all, 90% of the people riding it with us were psychopathic coaster enthusiasts. The ride ops were INSANELY hyper. People were screaming OLE each time a train left the station. The dispatches were PHENOMENAL.

This is one of the most aptly-named coasters I have ever had the pleasure (horror?) of being flung around on because you legit feel like you are clinging for dear life onto the back of a murderous bull. It’s the only way to describe it. The drops alone are heart-stopping, but there is a twister section near the end of the course that made my breath hitch every single time, it is so forceful and relentless, and it honest to god feels like you’re going to derail which isn’t really funny to say since it actually did partially derail last summer, but I digress.

Henry had gotten on the train before ours for some reason, I can’t remember why, so he was waiting for us at the entrance but little did he know that Chooch and I schmoozed the line attendant who was standing at the halfway point to check fast passes – there was a garbage can blocking an opening between the exit ramp and the queue line and NO ONE WAS IN LINE so we were like, “Can we please cut through??” rather than having to continue all the way through the exit and then get back in line. He granted us passage but made us walk like zombies as our penance, lol.

I love the El Toro crew!!

Chooch and I got back in line and decided to wait for the second to the last row because we would have a better chance of getting a reride if we weren’t in the back. While we were waiting, a girl screamed VOYAGE!!!!! to Chooch, who was wearing a Voyage shirt, and pointed to a Voyage tattoo on her arm. Then our favorite ride op ran past while checking restraints, stopped in front of us, and whined, “I WANT TO RIDE VOYAGE!” while stomping her feet in a fake-tantrum. It was so adorable and I really felt like I was with my people. Finally! Like, you have to be a crazy person to willingly get back in line for El Toro. When I say that it felt like my organs were shifted on our last go-around, I swear I’m not exaggerating!

Third ride on El Toro – excellent!

When our train came back to the station, we were like CAN WE STAY ON not realizing that someone was in line for our row, but NO ONE WAS IN LINE FOR THE BACK ROW and the people who were behind us on our ride had exited so the ride op was like, “Yeah, just grab an empty seat!” and we quickly slipped into the back row. Meanwhile, guess who had come crawling back into the station looking for us after we literally never left the El Toro area? HAHAHAHENRY. We waved to him from the back row and he shook his head and gave us the “You fuckers,” smirk.

Anyway, fourth ride was super memorable because as soon as we got to the top of the lift hill, it came to a complete stop. Everyone was like, “WTFFFFFF” and I was panicking because that lift hill is high AF and I was NOT trying to walk down it in the dark. Chooch made some dumb roll-back joke and I fucking swear to god right after he said that, the train WENT BACKWARDS for a click or two. We were all fucking screaming!

Then the main ride op who reminded me of Taylor from Coaster Studios because my eyes are bad came on over the speaker at the top of the lift hill and said, “Enjoy your 176 foot drop into total darkness” and the cable lift started back up and we were on our way but HOLY SHIT. What an experience. I think this was the ride where I whacked my elbow REALLY hard and literally thought I chipped the bone but then it turned out that the pain was from the bruise that instantly appeared. I sported that bitch like a badge of honor for days afterward.

OK this is where it got super chaotic. The train came back and the station was nearly empty so the ride ops were like IF YOU CAN FIND AN EMPTY ROW YOU CAN RIDE AGAIN. This was going to be the LAST RIDE OF THE NIGHT so people were ready to tackle each other for a seat. Chooch and I got split up – I ended up sitting with an older man enthusiast who Chooch saw later that night at our hotel, and Chooch got to sit with his Voyage girlfriend who I found afterward on Insta because she’s a huge El Toro groupie and is friends with a lot of the coaster vloggers I follow so you better believe I’m now following her as well, which Chooch thinks is cringey.

Anyway!

The stipulation was that since this was the last ride of the night, if anyone came into the station before the gates shut, whoever was sitting in that row would have to leave. So of course at the last minute, a few people came and out of all the rows, two of them picked the one that Chooch and the Voyage girl were sitting in which was just some random row toward the back. So they had to get out but the ride attendants were screaming, “EMPTY SEAT! EMPTY SEAT!” and Voyage girl ran and snatched it. Chooch ended up leaving and I was like NOOOOO because our Voyage-loving ride attendant girl friend found one more empty seat and was trying to call him back but he had already left and it was actually heart-breaking, you guys.

Like, he should have been on that train with me.

But…

Then I remembered how he had the best fucking night rides of his life on FUCKING STEEL VENGEANCE at Cedar Point last May without me and I didn’t feel so bad anymore, lololol.

Holy shit, though. Ride #5 on this fucking demon, hoo boy. The shared adrenaline between everyone riding it was AMAZING. It was an enthusiast’s delight. Everyone was roaring LET’S GOOOOOO and it really felt like being a part of something insanely intense that is impossible to explain.

Then as our train was on the brake run, we watched them SEND ANOTHER TRAIN AFTER US, ARE YOU KIDDING? We were all crying, “You lied to us!” I guess the assholes that were on the train right before us cajoled them into sending them for one last cycle so THEY got to be the last ride of the night, which made Chooch feel better, lol. But he was still glowering at me when I finally left the El Toro station and returned to him and Henry, both standing outside of the El Toro entrance with their arms crossed, shaking their heads at me.

“It wasn’t even the last ride of the night, nice try,” Chooch said, clearly still jealous though lol.

And then a week later, several people got hurt on El Toro when it allegedly hit a pot hole at the bottom of one of the hills and now the ride is closed again, under investigation. Enthusiasts are coming out left and right talking about how they really felt like it had been running exceptionally rough over the last several weeks so um, that would explain my bruises (some of which were probably internal too!).

I’m glad that no one was seriously injured and I hope that Six Flags does everything and more to ensure that this ride can safely reopen at some point, because it is truly amazing and I’m sorry that it took me so long to get out to Great Adventure and ride it.

OLE.

El Toro (Six Flags Great Adventure) - Wikipedia

(Got this picture from Wiki – would you just look at it.)

Aug 302022
 

I kept putting off recapping our Six Flags Great Adventure visit a few weeks ago and now the timing is super awkward because El Toro has recently been closed indefinitely by the park so that sucks. But we’ll get to that another time!

Our experience at Great Adventure has been sketchy. The first time we went, it was part of my roller coaster birthday extravaganza last summer, and the sole purpose of going was to finally ride El Toro  (OK and also the brand new at the time RMC raptor) but then a few weeks before the trip, one of the trains of El Toro had a partial derailment and the coaster was immediately closed for inspection, investigation, and repairs.

Luckily, no one was hurt!

But the coaster community was SHOOK because this coaster is beloved. It’s been on my bucket list ever since I rode T-Express at Everland in South Korea, because that’s El Toro’s sister coaster (they’re both Intamin pre-fab woodies) and T-Express is the coaster that turned me into an enthusiast. Before that, I leaned heavily toward dark rides when deciding which amusement park to travel to and I still am a huge dark ride dork! But T-Express opened my eyes to the world of these newer wooden coasters because I had no idea prior to that than anything this insane could be possible. It’s kind of backward that my intro to this would be in Korea and then El Toro would sit stagnant on my bucket list for like, 5 years, when it’s only 6 hours away from me!

Anyway, El Toro was retracked and deemed safe to open for the 2022 season (OR IS IT, dun dun dunnn). So, since the Coastin’ by the Ocean event ended at 2pm that Sunday, I suggested that we leave afterward and hit up Great Adventure, which is only about 90 minutes away. Henry mumbled a half-hearted agreement and it actually ended up being the best idea because THE PARK WAS NOT CROWDED. Were we finally going to have a fantastic time at Great Adventure?! Fine, I’ll just tell you – YES. We had a great effin’ time!

It was also the last day of their Summer Festival thing so there were some fun photo op areas set up like this valley of dancing air guys which was impossible to enjoy because parents were too busy letting their children abuse the things.

Our mission was to get our asses on El Toro ASAP but first we had to get lost in the park because even with three visits under our belts in less than a year, this park still renders us with no sense of direction. This pinwheel tunnel was cool to get lost in though.

You guys.

*heavy panting*

*wipes slobber off chin with back of Henry’s hand*

*slow hip gyra—-I MEAN WHAT OK*

OK I don’t even know where to start with this and you don’t care so I will try to keep this brief, but our first experience is AS FOLLOWS:

  • waited in line for around 20 minutes, maybe less;
  • entered the station, which was SIZZLIN’ with energy, and went straight to the back;
  • the ride ops were INSANE and SUPER HYPE, which only added to the experience;
  • they scream OLE! when they dispatch you!
  • the cable lift hill!!! T-Express vibes! I was like exploding with anticipation!
  • THE FIRST DROP!!!!!!! IT WAS LIKE “WHERE IS THE BOTTOM?? IS THERE A BOTTOM??” IT FEELS BOTTOMLESS. BOTTOM. BOTTOMBOTTOMBOTTOM. Does not look right to me.
  • PAIN. OH LORDIE THE PAIN.

As we three staggered toward the exit after our inaugural ride on the bull, I had thoughts, the most reoccurring being HOW IS THAT SAFE.

And I mean that in the best, most complimentary way possible.

I did feel as though it was rough, maybe even excessively so, to the point where I was scared to put my hands up at times because I felt the need to hold on for dear life ESPECIALLY toward the end when the laterals (lol it took me forever to understand this) actually make you feel like the train is going to fly off the track.

While I agree that El Toro is deserving of the hype, I still – IN MY HEART OF HEARTS whatever the fuck  that even means – love T-Express more. Look, I only rode the thing twice and it was in 2018 when my basis of comparison was probably only, I dunno, the time I rode the Beast in 2005, but I just remember T-Express taking me by absolute surprise and tossing me around like a rag doll in the jaws of a German Shepherd, man.

I knew that I would need to get at least one more ride on El Toro before we left, preferably at night, but we had some other coaster creds to FINALLY get first.

Like Nitro! I really liked this B&M hyper! It was not my favorite hyper by a long shot, but I thought it was definitely worth the wait – it was closed on our first visit, and our second visit was during Fright Fest and the line for it snaked all the way out into the concourse. This time? It was practically a station wait both times we rode it!

The first time, we had just made it back to the brake run when Chooch was like, “OMG look!” and started waving to some people on the rapids ride. I didn’t understand what the big deal was at first, but then I realized that the raft had somehow entered an area that wasn’t part of the ride?! It was the big overflow pool thing, and it looked like the gate to that area had somehow opened and allowed a raft with people on it to cruise on in. Maintenance was there with a rope trying to get them out wtf?! I mean, it was harmless, no one was injured, but this happened RIGHT AFTER Chooch made some weird comment in line alluding to a rapid ride incident.

Oh, another redemption? JERSEY DEVIL. We rode it 4 or 5 times, I can’t remember, because it was an absolute walk-on and the ops were insanely efficient, and I realized that HOLY SHIT, this is actually a fun ride. I know it’s so annoying to hear enthusiasts say things like, “It hasn’t warmed up yet” or “it’s running really slow” because before I started learning about coasters, I never knew that ride experiences could vary! (I mean, aside from front vs back row.) But I really think that this was the case when Chooch and I rode it last October – it was a chilly fall day and clearly it wasn’t running to its full potential because this bitch was FLYING in August.

I also appreciated that one of the ride ops asked me, “How do you want it?” before pressing down on my restraints. “Just a little bit,” I answered, so he TAPPED IT and moved on. THAT IS GOOD SERVICE.

I realize that that whole last section sounds obnoxiously sexual.

Chooch got his Lil Devil cred:

And we also finally got the Superman Ultimate Flight cred after the line was like 2 hours long the first two times we visited. This time? 10 minutes, boy. The ride ops on this one too were cruising! They were definitely timing themselves / racing each other and it was really entertaining to watch.

Flying coasters aren’t my faves, but this one was actually pretty enjoyable. I still would say that Manta at Sea World Orlando is the best, but this one is up there. Probably wouldn’t feel the same if I had to wait 2 hours to ride it though!

Do you remember last October when I imprinted on Bizarro? Well, it was rethemed (themed back to?) to Medusa. This was the original name of the coaster so OG fans of Great Adventure were really stoked for this. All I cared about was if it was going to keep the flames and other effects. It did! However, the fire wasn’t happening the day we were there. I’m pretty sure it’s still there though because I feel like I saw it on some coaster vlogs (like I don’t even care that I’m a fucking nerd over this anymore, lol).

Anyway, even without the flames, it was still a fun-ass ride! The ride ops were super sarcastic, the first drop sent me on a giggle spree, the smoke effects made me scream YEAAAAAH like a frat boy, and then Chooch randomly started talking about how he wants to be a serial killer when he grows up and I was just like, “Why wait?”

It was delirious ride experience, and I loved every second.

This basically sums up our quick visit to Great Adventure, minus THE TWO BIGGEST HIGHLIGHTS which I will post about separately because this bitch is nearly 1500 words and I’m running out of stamina.

Aug 252022
 

[Sidenote: I’ve been stalking Morey’s to see if they ever posted our group picture and apparently the used a cropped version of it on their 2023 Coastin’ By the Ocean registration page – yes, you can already register for next year! They don’t waste any time. Anyway, I’m laughing being the annoying coaster ‘tuber got cut out of the picture. You can see me in the back!!]

Look, you’re tired of hearing/reading about it, I’m tired of writing about it (j/k I’m loving these recaps because it’s like I’m still there when I am actually just in dumbo Pittsburgh ugh), so I’m going to try and zip through the last installment of the Coastin’ By the Ocean 2022 series, OK?!

Sunday consisted of 11-12pm ERT on the rides at Morey’s Piers, and then we moved on over to the Adventure Pier where we got ERT on all of the extreme rides which are normally an upcharge of $20+ per person, but were all included with our pass! That didn’t delight me very much because some of these extreme thrill rides are a bit too much even for me. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

The guy in the patterned shirt is the one who called out my Gemini tshirt the day before – he was so cool! Anyway, you can kind of see Chooch and me on the Sea Serpent even though Henry always wants to stand as far away as possible so we’re just blurred smudges in a sea of strangers.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the Sea Serpent sucks. It does not. It’s iconic and forceful!

Can we talk about Morey’s Music? Just like last summer, my aural experience was excelsior, literally the best summer soundtrack. I even opened my Notes to jot down some of the stuff we heard Saturday morning on Surfside Pier, which was playing most stuff from the late 1990s:

  • Sweetness – Jimmy Eat World
  • YOUR WOMAN – WHITE TOWN!!!!!
  • Shimmer – Fuel
  • Inside Out – Eve6

Of course, we heard some Cure and HOWARD JONES too, and “How Soon is Now” by the Smiths. I have noticed that the era of music varies depending on which pier you’re on – for example, Mariner’s Piers stays true to the pure 1980s nostalgic ear worms and I love them for that. Unlike most parks where you’re guaranteed to have, I dunno, Party in the USA or some Taylor Swift blah blah beat into your ‘drums, Morey’s puts THOUGHT into their playlists. I need to meet the person in charge of this at some point because they are truly doing the lord’s work.

LAST YEAR, WE HEARD HEART AND SOUL BY T’PAU AND IT WAS LIKE THE GHOST OF 8-YEAR-OLD ME HAD RUN UP TO THE DJ AND REQUESTED IT JUST FOR ME.

OK moving on! Let’s just mostly look at some pictures, because Morey’s is a beautiful spot.

I feel like Flying Galleons was the longest line we waited in all weekend and it was only about 20 minutes and I will tell you why it took long – the ride op was letting in some PEASANTS who weren’t sporting the special Coastin’ By the Ocean wristband! He did turn some people away but we couldn’t figure out what his thought process was.

Looking for my birthday present to the right….

…to the left….

NO, I DO NOT HAVE IT BECAUSE YOU NEVER GAVE IT TO ME, TRY AGAIN.

Look at Great White over there, creeping up along the beach!

Missing his Mexico Squad, boo hoo *in Spanish*.

Praying for me to stop asking about my birthday present. (For those following along at home, wondering if I ever got it, I’ll spare you the suspense: N-O. Maybe next year LOL.

That “LOL” was passive aggressive, in case you couldn’t tell.

In line for Whirlwind Whizzer lol.

I wanted to ride the balloons but then forgot that I wanted to ride them and am just now remembering as I look at this and now I’m sad.

Buncha thoosies.

Um, I have no idea what he was signaling to us here. “I JUST REMEMBER THERE’S NOTHING IN HERE, MY HEAD IS JUST AN EMPTY SHELL.”

Us in line for Whirlwind Whizzer, alternate angle.

The ride op was so fucking cheerful on this one. I mean, they all are and it’s really unique because Morey’s has some kind of international summer work exchange program or something where people from all over the world come here to work the piers and their name tags all tell their home country –  my favorite was the kid from Malaysia who was running IT on Saturday. You get to interact with friendly, cool people from all over the world and they really give you the best customer experience possible. It’s a stark contrast to some of the other parks where the ride operators look like they’d rather drink acid than smiling at riders.

Every single Morey’s ride operator waves to you too as your ride starts up, and it’s fucking adorable and so much fun to wave back.

On Saturday, I was like, “Oh yeah, I forgot they do this here,” while dusting off my best jazz hands.

Getting some dumb pineapple drink in between piers.

Over on Adventure Pier, I rode this piece of shit extreme ride with Chooch and it was an actual hellscape except hundreds of feet in the air instead of in the scorched earth.

It was similar to that asshole ride at Six Flags Great Escape, except only two people can sit on each end and it was somehow way worse / scarier than the other one. The ride op asked me if I was excited and I was like DO I LOOK LIKE IT and she was all, in her Russian accent, “Oh, this is the BEST ride on the WHOLE boardwalk! I ride it every morning! It’s fun you will LUFF it!” and I was like, “Mm we’ll see about th—–OMFG UGHHHHHHH CHOOCH I HATE YOU, I’M GOING TO DIE, THIS IS SO AWFUL!! CHOOCH *PAUSES TO CHOKE ON TONGUE* I’M GOING TO PEE MY PANTS CHOOCH *GAGS ON FEAR* NO SRSLY CHOO—-AHHHHHHHH OMG HOW IS THIS LEGAL???”

Yeah, it was an absolute fucking nightmare. Especially when it pauses you at the top while the people below are being let off and you can feel every single movement that they’re making down there, and it’s like, “Just look at the scenery, enjoy the scenery. Beautiful oce——OMFG IT’S GOING BACKWARD NOW?? OMG IT’S LIKE WE’RE CAREENING FACE FIRST INTO THE CONCRETE, CHOOCH!!! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK THIS IS AWFUL!! LET ME OFF!”

And he’s just over there smiling like a derelict. Honest to god though I was laughing and crying at the same time, but then my laughs would get snagged in my throat as my body periodically did a full shut-down into preservation mode.

My heartrate is actually accelerating a little bit at the memory of this.

Anyway, once the ride was done, the girl asked how I liked it and I was like IT WAS SOMETHING and then slinked out of the seat.

“Could you hear me screaming?” I asked Henry, who was like, “Um, YES. EVERYONE could you hear you screaming.”

“Even the part about how I was going to pee my pants?”

“Yep, even that part,” he said with a frown.

Then Chooch and I rode Great White twice in a row because they let us stay on!

OMG see the guy in the pink outfit? He was part of the event and I was OB-SESSED with him ever since watching his video from, I think 2019 when he also attended this event as a guest of one of his friends who is an ACE member. He was just so cool in his video and on both days this year he was wearing really amazing summer rompers.

Henry said I should have just talked to him. He was too cool for me though :(

Since I rode that Skyscraper shit show with Chooch, Henry took one for the team and got in line for the Slingshot thing.

 

One of the ladies from the event came over and said to me, “You’re sitting this one out too, huh?” and I was like, “Look, I went on that stupid thing over there so I paid my dues!” She looked at the Skyscraper and said, “OMG I won’t get on that thing either!”

Smart woman.

Although…now I’m kind of craving another go on it?!

Did you guys know that Chooch and I are such avid smoothie bowl fans that we are currently open to any and all sponsorship opportunities? I WILL SELL MY SOUL FOR A SMOOTHIE BOWL HOOK-UP, TRUST.

Anyway, Henry stood too close to this smoothie shack and I said, “OMG ARE WE GETTING SMOOTHIE BOWLS??” and he was saying no, I was giving him my order, and then Chooch wanted one, so then Henry sighed and even got himself a smoothie too! (Not a smoothie bowl though, he’s not sophisticated enough for the things that go into and on top of a smoothie bowl.)

God yes, my body was like NOURISH ME, SEMPAI after the pizza blitz from Saturday.

Henry finally got his lime rickey. I didn’t like it. It had too much rickey to it.

Next time, I want to eat at Snow White! It has such an iconic sign and there’s a recording of some old guy reading off the specials that plays all day long. (Wait, I think that’s at Snow White! Do not quote me. #FakeJournalism)

Couldn’t leave without Curley’s!

Ugh, this was our final memory of Morey’s Piers 2022. I still can’t believe that last year was my first time back in nearly 30 years, and then we came back this year too! I suggested that we buy a beach house there and Henry was like “OK Fake Attorney.”

I am trying to push for an extended stay maybe next June, where we make Wildwood our home base for like 4 nights and then hit up all the neighboring boardwalk parks.

Right before we left, there was a brief moment when I thought Henry was proposing to me on the Wildwood boardwalk after 21 years but he was actually just kneeling down to tie his shoe. 🤷🏼‍♀️ A very Oh Honestly Erin ending to the weekend.

Also, I just realized that it would have been right next to a garbage can so I’m glad it wasn’t actually a proposal although it would have been so apropos. An aproposal, even. #noringforme #couldaputitinthelimerickey

Aug 242022
 

I woke up last Sunday morning feeling LIKE MYSELF again. Still a little tired, but we didn’t have to be back at the boardwalk for Day 2 of ERT until 11, so we got to take it easy. And by take it easy, I mean that I woke Henry up bright and early and made him walk with me to get coffee.

We picked this adorable cafe a few blocks from our hotel, called Goodness on the Go and arrived JUST AS AN ENTIRE VAN OF MORMON-esque broads came tumbling out with their vacant stares and ankle skirts. We managed to get through the door while they were still out doing roll call or bowing to the prophet, who even knows.

The two ladies working there were A DELIGHT. Super friendly and helpful. “Oh no, she’s looking at the flavors, you better tell her now!” the one lady said to the other, and I guess they were out of FRENCH TOAST syrup.

I mean, I was actually just planning on getting a hot coffee with no flavor but sucks about the French Toast syrup! When I asked for Splenda with my coffee, the one lady was like, “We have some SUGAR FREE SYRUPS, if you’d like to hear ’em?” and you know what? Yes, I did want to hear them. They had sugar free pumpkin. Fall flavor in the middle of summer at the beach? Let’s do it.

I really appreciated the suggestion, actually!

By now, the coven had entered the building, as well as some additional people, so we felt really blessed that we got there when we did. Was Sunday the Lord’s Day, or OUR Day?

Henry got an iced coffee or something, who cares. But we both agreed that it was some good coffee. I felt ready for the day. Thank you, Goodness on the Go! Your cookie was good too!

We woke up Son of the Year when we got back. He seemed to be in an OK mood because he had finished his book (Bullet Train) at some point during the night and was riding that high because I guess this is his current favorite book??

I had been jawing off since the day before about wanting to eat at Hot Spot for breakfast to the point where both Henry and Chooch were screaming in unison, “OK WE KNOW! WE GET IT! WE GOT IT! HOT SPOT. BREAKFAST. DONE.”

We sat outside so we could breathe in that ocean air  give scraps to the sea gulls lol.

I packed a bunch of Chooch’s coaster nerd shirts since we were doing a real life thoosie event and of course on the first day, he wore some random F21 shirt but I made him wear his Voyage shirt on Sunday and this would come into play later that night at a completely different park, which I will get to in another post so you will just have to believe me for now that it was an awesome moment.

Still no birthday present. It’s fine. I just wanted a waffle by this point.

Sunday’s breakfast was so much better than Saturday’s! I had been craving a waffle ever since I stupidly went the savory route at that other place. I appreciate that it came topped with FRESH blueberries and not a compote.

So far, Sunday was off to a great start. My waffle was just what I needed, the view of the beach and Morey’s Pier was stellar, the company was so-so. But then two separate families arrived with kids who seemed to be competing over who could get their screams closest to DOG WHISTLE territory without crossing over into it. So effing loud and shrill, go away!!

We had some time before ERT was starting so Henry went back to pack and check out while Chooch and I cruised the boardwalk, looking for the place that had a particular Bad Bunny shirt design that he wanted to buy for one of the MEXICO SQUAD MEMBERS. We ended up going into the wrong one – they had some BB designs but not the one his friend liked, so we were about to leave but THE WORKER MAN accosted us and was like CAN I HELP YOU and Chooch is worst than me when it comes to declining a shop clerk’s assistance, so he said YES DO YOU HAVE THIS ONE and showed him the design on his phone, and the dude was like NO BUT I CAN GET IT and used his phone to find the image from Chooch’s phone and at first I was like IS THIS MAN GOING TO MAKE YOU A TSHIRT USING A PICTURE OF AN IMAGE TAKEN FROM YOUR PHONE but no, thank god, he was just using it to look it up on some BOARDWALK IRON-ON image repository, I don’t fucking know.

Meanwhile, Chooch’s friend (ANNA) was like, “I was just kidding please don’t buy me a shirt” as if he was even the one doing the buying, please Anna. But Chooch was like, “Look, we are in this deep now. You are getting a shirt” so then she was like fine and chose one of the other Bad Bunny designs that the guy already had on the wall! So now Chooch had to stop him from doing whatever he was doing on his computer, thinking he was going to make it easy by picking a design he already had in his inventory, but the guy was like, “OK that’s fine but I am still going to add this design to my store because I like it” lol give Chooch a finder’s fee discount then.

From here, it turned into “what kind of shirt / what color / what size” and thank god Anna was responding in real time because this was a stressful process.

There was a sweatshirt that I wanted to get but at this point I was like I WILL JUST GO TO THE STORE WHERE I ORIGINALLY SAW IT. Basically all these shops are the same – they all have similar iron-on designs and you just choose what kind of shirt or hoodie you want it on so I wasn’t exactly MARRIED to this place. But then he was like, “AND FOR YOU?” and there was just something about this man that was so earnest and nice, UGH I know he was basically just a boardwalk charlatan treating everyone like he only had eyes for them in order to make a sale but I still willingly fell into his web, OK? THE ATTENTION WAS NICE. Especially when he said mine would be 1/2 off. I mean, come on.

So I got a Wildwood sweatshirt, which you can see if you go back and read my MONDAY LIVE BLOG!

Um, I will say though that my debit card DECLINED here even though I had sufficient funds (don’t worry, I had backup) and then someone from the FRAUDULENT CHARGE DEPT of my bank called the next day and left a message, which I never returned, and then that same card was declined tonight too when I tried to pay for dinner at Mad Mex so um….maybe I should call them back lol.

What kind of business are you running, Boardwalk Charlatan?? Also, how long before Anna’s and my shirts disintegrate into sand.

Is it weird that I, a 43-year-old woman (with no present from my partner to commemorate this new older age) felt like Chooch and I really accomplished something big without Henry!? WE WALKED IN THAT SHOP, TOLD THE MAN WHAT WE WANTED EVEN THOUGH HE TRIED TO FORCE HIS OWN CHOICES ON US (like I appreciate that you think I can fit into a small crewneck, bro, but I would prefer to be able to move so when I ask for the MEDIUM let us PLEASE go with that), AND THEN WALKED OUT WITH A BAG CONTAINING TWO (2) PIECES OF APPAREL.

We made that happen. Snaps to us, if I could snap.

Wow that was a lot of words and none of the riding even happened yet.

Aug 232022
 

Hi babes – OK, that didn’t work. Let’s never do that again. I was trying something and it made me squirm in my uncomfiness.

Anyway! The second half of Coastin’ by the Ocean, day one was A MIXED BAG OF FEELINGS. It started when we went back to our hotel and I convinced Henry to walk to the Wildwood Historical Society with me because they were having a Castle Dracula comic book event where the the creator of the book was there doing a signing and some old cast members were making an appearance as well as I believe the guy who had created the old Castle Dracula attraction in Wildwood? If you don’t know the story, it was this IMPOSING STRUCTURE on the boardwalk that had two options: a walk-thru or a BOAT RIDE.

I don’t recall myself being a mega-wuss in general and I for sure grew up on a HEALTHY SERVING of horror movies, but there was something about this attraction that scared the crap out of me and I refused to go into it. I have a memory of my parents doing it one summer and actually fearing for their lives?! I went on like every single other darkride but this one! It had the most foreboding music that wafted out onto the pier like the smoke-version of Dracula himself waiting to penetrate your ears.

This shaped many of my nightmares back in the 80s but to this day, one of my greatest regrets is NOT EXPERIENCING THE INSIDE OF THIS. Greater even than dropping out of high school, etc etc.

And I’ll tell you why this is a regret: because some dumb asshole boys BURNT THE WHOLE THING DOWN in the early 2000s. IT NO LONGER EXISTS. But it is legendary, man. If you know you know.

I’m positive that I have written about this on here before because it is one of those things that is very much a part of my childhood.

So yeah, Henry was like, “Sure thing little lady, love of my life, recipient of an imaginary birthday gift, let us walk to this joint together and get you a copy of this relic.”

It actually took much longer to walk and we arrived RIGHT before the place was supposed to close, but they had a healthy crowd and the elderly woman in a black mourning dress who greeted us inside the door didn’t seem to balk at our late entry, but instead spent a good five minutes explaining to us what delights we could find inside the historical society, and I giddily told her that I bought vintage Wildwood postcards from their eBay shop several years ago.

She seemed super impressed.

j/k.

Anyway, there were several people in line to have their book signed, and people were chatting away with an old man whom I assume was the aforementioned creator of the Castle, and for some reason, my social anxiety kicked in BIGLY. Like, I was in fight or flight mode and wanted to flee ASAP. Henry was like, “Why? We’re here. Get the book,” and I was like, “I CAN’T DO IT. I CAN’T GO OVER AND PICK IT UP. THE PEOPLE! THE TALKING PEOPLE!” I was just so worried that by getting too close to the action, someone would ask me to tell a memory of the Castle and I would have to say THAT I NEVER WENT INSIDE BECAUSE I WAS TOO SCARED?

So I was like, “Forget it I’m leaving” and tried to leave but more people had come in and now Mourning Gown was giving the new people the same spiel and blocking my escape, and in the meantime, I noticed that there was a display case with CASTLE DRACULA COFFEE CUPS and I figured I could at least get one of those without having to coversate so while I waited for some guy to get out of the way, Henry emerged from the SCARY ROOM with a copy of the comic for me and said, “I didn’t have to stand in line to have it signed or talk to anyone, I just picked it up and paid for it” and wow, ISN’T LIFE SO FUCKING EASY FOR HENRY THE HIM MAN.

I got my things and I am mourning the loss of this dark attraction all over again. :(

I got really cranky(ier) on the walk back. I was exhausted, clearly, but maybe also hungry, definitely slightly dehydrated, and also WHERE WAS MY BDAY PRESENT so all of these things were chipping away at my patience.

We stopped at a Mexican bakery though so that was nice. Got back to the hotel, Chooch ate his Mexican baked good and then he and Henry took a nap BUT I COULD NOT, AND NOT FOR LACK OF TRYING. Henry was snoring so hard and I was really wired.

This all must have been from around 4:30 to 5:30, because then Henry finally woke up and he and I went back to the boardwalk to ride some stuff before dinner, while Chooch continued to nap.

It was mostly a nice time! Henry rode the Sea Serpent for the first time and was like, “Cool but never again.”

Ugh all of this is so iconic.

This was on some revamped dark water ride themed after Wildwood.

It was cute but not the greatest. I wish they would bring back the oldies like Keystone Kops or Koppers, whatever it was called. I fucking loved that ride when I was little.

Then I had a MISTER SOFTEE while waiting for Chooch to join us because it was almost time for the catered event at 7pm.

Me getting mad again because where was my present. I dunno, ask Henry.

Looking for my present?

Chooch did eventually meet us but when we went to the pavilion where the catered picnic was happening, there was a long line of enthusiasts waiting and I dunno man, my nerves were HEIGHTENED. I had that “who will we sit with?!??!” middle school cafeteria concern and finally Henry was like, “We don’t have to eat here, you know” and so we didn’t but maybe we should have, I dunno! The Morey’s people were so awesome, but I didn’t get a real sense of inclusivity from many of the attendees. Cliques be non-impenetrable, you know?

So insert OLYMPIC FLAME dinner here.

I’ll tell you what, after eating, I could barely keep my eyes open. The last time I can remember being THAT tired in public was being JETLAGGED in Korea. I said that I wanted to go back to the room and sleep and it’s a good thing I did so because it was the only way I was able to go back later that night for midnight ERT on Great White!

While I was in the bathroom taking out my contacts, I couldn’t help but overhear the LOUD FAMILY on their porch in the hotel behind ours because our buildings were practically flush against each other and I would have been REALLY annoyed except that the convo was so scandalous because evidently, some guy affiliated with them, whether another family member or just a friend is to be determined, had told the woman who was clearly the Alpha of this group and did most of the talking, that he wanted to kill himself and this was SUPER INCONVENIENT AND ANNOYING to her, like AW COME ON, GET OVER IT, you know? So she’s droning on and on about how no one should really believe this and all of the guys on the porch are being really quiet but then another broad chimes in that someone should SLIP HIM SOME PILLS.

Like, roofie his Cheerios with some crushed up lithium?

Man, this was some real Jersey Shore shit. If I wasn’t so tired, I’d have continued sitting on the toilet with the lights out, filling my head with ripe gossip in the Key of JWOW.

But thankfully, I was actually able to go to sleep for a few hours because the a/c provided the perfect blanket of white noise.

Henry and Chooch came back around 10 I think and I was somehow STILL MISERABLE when I woke up??

We tried to get Chooch to go back to the boardwalk with us for the Great White ERT, but he was “reading his book” a/k/a on a group call with Mexico Squad whom he had been texting all day because they are all really into Bad Bunny and a lot of the boardwalk shops had Bad Bunny merch and some places were even playing Bad Bunny – we will talk about all of this in the “tomorrow post” though.

Anyway, once I got back on the boardwalk, Normal Erin started to come back and I was back to being excited about Wildwood Things.

Henry really wanted a Lime Ricky but it was after 11pm and he was afraid to order one because it looked like the girl was cleaning up the LIME RICKY counter, I dunno, I wasn’t paying attention.

Getting ready for that BABY BACK THERE, DO YOU SEE HER?!?

It wasn’t quite midnight yet so they were still letting general public ride and it was a walk-on. We shrugged and got on a train with all the commoners and man, I forgot from just last summer how great this baby is. I never rode it before it was retracked though and I heard it was a miserable and very forgettable experience back then. But Morey’s has really been putting in the work and TLC and it shows.

We were pretty much the LROTNOGW because right after that, they shut down the queue line while getting all the plebs the eff off the pier. So when we got off, there was already a little bit of a line of the event goers forming at the entrance. When I say that the air felt electric and charged, does that sound corny?! Because that’s kind of how it felt, I’m not gonna lie or try to be TOO COOL to admit something like that. My feelings of inadequacy and unbelonging while standing in the catering line just slipped away and I was way too stoked to think about anything other than that we were going to ride this beautiful wooden majesty, next to the ocean, at midnight, on a pier that was closed to everyone else.

AND THEN THEY SHUT THE LIGHTS OFF! You can’t even tell in that picture up there because the moonlight was so illuminating, but we were actually cruising over those tracks in PITCH BLACKNESS.

There was this kid in line behind us who I kept seeing all weekend long and I just thought he was so precious ESPECIALLY when he called his mom, who I guess bowed out of this portion of the event (she was clearly just there for him – I don’t think I saw her riding anything), and said, “Mom, they turned the lights off! I’m going to ride the ride in the pitch dark!”

The way his pureness regenerated some of the blackened crannies of my heart.

We were on the third train of the event. The first one actually got stopped on the lift hill and they had to temporarily turn the lights back on! I guess that what you get when half of the train is drunkenly scream-singing Backstreet Boys as the train left the station.

We had already ridden it in the back on the last ride before midnight, so this time we just went for a middle row, then got right back in line for front row. It was clear that not many people had come back out this late because most of the rows were a walk-on. We only had to wait for a few minutes for the front and it was excellent. There is something really special about riding a coaster on a boardwalk, ocean air whipping at your face, spinal column getting truncated – ahhh.

It was nearly 1am by that point and we surely didn’t need to stay for the whole duration, so after our three rides, we started our walk back to the hotel and, while there were still some boardwalk stragglers, it was eerily quiet and peaceful!

Ugh, Wildwood. I’m crying right now. I miss you lots like tater totsCurley’s Fries.

WAIT OMG I JUST REMEMBERED SOMETHING! Another huge reason why I was being a fucking shit that day was because MY BLOG QUIT WORKING. I know, you’re thinking, “wow erin rly get a fucking life no one reads it anymore?” but regardless of stats, comments, readers, views, this blog is my lifeline! I don’t use physical journals anymore so everything, my whole life, is H E R E. I had really wanted to be able to post little micro-blogs while we were away so it wouldn’t be over a week later and I’m here trying to catch up as usual, but Henry wasn’t able to get things fixed until the next night. Overall, not a complete disaster, but I genuinely love to blog so I was getting the SHAKES and couldn’t stop thinking the worst.

Sometimes I hate myself lol ugh.

Aug 202022
 

When we registered for the Morey’s Piers Coastin’ By the Ocean event last spring, we knew that we wanted to stay near the boardwalk but it was also extremely hard to find anything with reasonable rates since we were booking that close to the start of the summer season.

But then I (yes, t’was I, the one that Henry never lets anywhere near the booking process) found one that wasn’t too exorbitant (I mean, it wasn’t cheap either but you don’t go to Wildwood without expecting to pay those beach rates). And it just so happened that it was directly across from the pier where we needed to register at 9am Saturday morning.

You.Are.Welcome.

I thought it was ok! I mean, it’s no Olympic but we went through this last year too. So, you know. Expectations were low.

But Henry immediately bonded with the owner, probably because he had tons of Pro-Police propaganda pasted up around the office, which caused Henry to nose-dive into his WHITE KNIGHT armor as soon as I pointed this out in a disparaging tone.

Honestly, we were only there to crash for a bit during the afternoon in between coaster schedules and to sleep.

I liked that there was a live DJ at the pool too. Not that I went anywhere near the pool with my body dysmorphia, but it was comforting to listen to all the people splashing around and having fun while we recharged in our room that afternoon.

Also, you can see the boardwalk from our door!

Also, the proprietor let Henry stay parked in the lot before we checked in on Saturday and after we checked out on Sunday after Henry explained to him that we were still going to be on the boardwalk for the event.

What a nice guy (except for the BLUE LIVES bullshit)!

Good job finding this place, me!

Aug 202022
 

You guys! Baby’s First Coaster Enthusiast Event! I was so giddy when we strode right past the “SURFSIDE PIER IS CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE EVENT” sign with the air of people who BELONG and went to the guest services counter to register. I couldn’t have imagined any place better to attend our first coaster event than at my beloved Morey’s Piers! I had watched some videos from coaster YouTubers who attended this event in the past and it just looked so cool and casual.

Immediately, one of the Morey’s guys called out to me from behind the counter, “Are you the reason I keep seeing those shirts all over the Internet?” and I was like, “I HAVE BEEN SEEN BY A MOREY’S PERSONNEL!!” He was so cool too!

Then I noticed right next to us was a coaster vlogger whom I follow on Instagram and sometimes watch his videos so I had to elbow Henry and he was like, “Ok. Cool.”

Anyway, here was the agenda!

So the reason why this is so cool is that the piers don’t officially open to the general public until noon (Adventure Pier opens at 2pm) so from 9:30 to noon on Saturday, we had free reign of the rides listed up there for special ERT (early ride time / exclusive ride time).

We were the first train of the day on the Great Nor’easter – a trainful of true thoosies! It was a really cool experience because, and I mean this in the best way possible since I’m talking about myself also, but to be a true coaster thoosie, you gotta be a little bit psycho! So imagine a trainful of us assholes, totally screaming our lungs out and just LIVING FOR IT.

And goddammit, this is STILL the best Vekoma SLC IN THE WHOLE WORLD. Literally the ONLY one worth re-riding. Morey’s Piers puts so much TLC into their rides and piers, and their ride operators are just TOP NOTCH – it really elevates the experience.

Oh I should mention that last year, Henry didn’t get a wrist band (we weren’t there for the event last year, this was just a regular day) so the only things he rode was the Great White once and the carousel once. This time, he got to ride everything!

I kept calling Dante’s Dungeon “Dante’s Inferno,” which IS a ride but just…not one at Wildwood. Chooch mocked me which is basically his sole purpose in life these days.

I love love love me a darkride.

Chooch was “not scared” at the real life person who comes after you at the end. They totally got me, though!

Runaway Tram is such a fun family coaster! You would never know it by Henry’s stoic stance.

Now, brace yourselves for a series I like to call Before the Tilt-a-Whirl Tilted and Whirled Our Breakfast.

Me, on the cusp of realizing that Chooch is taking bursts.

Me, starting to sense that something is wrong.

Me, desperately asking for my phone back.

WHY DOES HE TROLL ME SO HARD I HATE IT.

Chooch and I went back for more Nor’easter rerides before ERT ran out. We walked right onto the front, and then they let us re-ride on any unoccupied row of our choosing and the backrow was open so we snagged it! I realized that the front is waaaay rougher/more intense than the back. The back is where you want to sit to get a nice, smooth ride where you can walk off without your brain feeling scrambled!

Gathering our bearings after a ride on It, which is like the Claw ride that is so ubiquitous in traveling carnivals. It’s fun but WHOOO BOY between that and the Tilt-a-Whirl all before 11am, it was a bit much for me and my baby stomach.

OK, that made me sound like I was alluding to pregnancy. That ain’t it.

Um, OK Boardwalk King.

This was before my WHERE IS MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT, YOU PROMISED ME THAT I WOULD GET MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT IN WILDWOOD / lack of sleep / probably a bit of dehydration breakdown that would happen later that evening. Who, me? Throw a temper tantrum? Pfft, never.

The last thing we did for this portion of the ERT was the Zoom Phloom which we didn’t ride last year and I can’t remember why now – either it wasn’t running or we just didn’t care?? But I am here to tell you that if you are a log flume aficionado, and even if you’re NOT, do not skip out on this. First of all, don’t worry about getting drenched. I mean, yeah, you’re gonna get a little wet but not like, excessively so. Plus, if you’re on the boardwalk in the summer, your ass is gonna dry up REAL QUICKLIKE.

But look, this log flume has an amazing layout where it weaves around and interacts with the waterpark slides and the Great Nor’easter. It’s REALLY cool in that way. And after one of the drops, it literally puts you through a tunnel under the boardwalk while UNDER THE BOARDWALK plays around you! It’s not the Bruce Willis version sadly (aka the BEST version) but it’s so wonderful, nevertheless.

I couldn’t stop gushing about this!

Then at noon, everyone gathered for a group picture. Numerous shots were taken and I have been OBSESSIVELY checking the Morey’s Piers socials but nothing has been posted yet. I am desperate for a copy of this picture because if you know me, you know that I love being a part of a group and even though I hate having my picture taken, I am ALL ABOUT THE GROUP PHOTOS.

We had a bunch of free time after that, which I loved because I would have been sad if we were back in Wildwood with no time to soak up all the boardwalk vibes.

I didn’t get any Polish Water Ice last year and it was on my agenda this time around because I had a vague memory of Kennywood possibly offering something like this back in the 80s, to the point where I could imagine how this was going to taste and it was 100% the same as in my taste buds’ imagination! Henry and I shared this because even though I always think that I can house something all on my own, chances are my belly will step up and remind me of my limits.

Random Henry Shot.

Chooch passed on the water ice and opted instead for boba.

We went to a really sad arcade inside the Boardwalk Mall. It was…really sad but also full of character. The elderly lady running the place seemed like a true Boardwalk installation. Someone came to visit her, presumably her daughter (?) and brought their dog, who the elderly lady later told us was named Boardwalk Bob. I LOVED THIS WHOLE PORTION OF THE DAY.

GOD LOVE HER.

PROTECT THIS BOARDWALK BROAD.

Well, I think I will end the first portion of day 1 here.

Aug 192022
 

Jumping out of order here, but on our way home from New Jersey, we stopped at Hershey Park for a do-over of our 2021 trip which was actual madness. This time, it wasn’t nearly as crowded (that is to say, we didn’t need to splurge on Fast Lane or whatever they call their fast pass) but I still walked away from the park with a not-so-sweet taste in my mouth. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it just feels so overrated to me?? Am I wrong?? Clearly, every other thoosie out there will excommunicate me from the club if they knew my opinion.

Anyway, I’ll just post some pictures and a few bulletpoints because we were only there from around 11:30 to 5:00 and nothing super memorable happened except for hating the family behind us on the walk to the gate, with a mom who kept gushing over her son toddler-ish Logan. “LOGAN, HOW ARE YOU SO CUTE??” she screamed at one point, to which Chooch tossed a disinterested glance over his shoulder and mumbled, “He’s really not, though.”

  • Chooch managed to get all of his missing coaster creds, except for COCOA CRUISER which we didn’t even know existed until several days later. It’s the kiddie coaster and I have no idea where it is in the park because Hershey is a clusterfuck to navigate. I am not going back for him to obtain this credit until they get an RMC, which RUMOR HAS IT will be happening next year. Literally the only way Hershey will ever get me to come back, unless I come across free passes. Then, maybe.

  • In line for Storm Runner, which was quite controversially closed when we were there last year and I had super high expectations for this Intamin, but after it cruised back into the brake run, all I could say was, “That was it?” AM I TOO PICKY NOW?? Am I a coaster hipster?! I felt the same way about Fahrenheit, which was also closed last year. These two were my most anticipated and I was really disappointed by both.

  • I will say though that the retheming of their standard, run-of-the-mill Vekoma boomerang is really fun though. It’s now themed after Jolly Ranchers and before each cycle, the lights in the station change and land on whichever flavor you’re gonna get. And by that, I mean that they built a tunnel that emits SCENTS when the coaster goes through it, so it’s supposed to stink like whatever color you get. Ours was green apple (ugh) and it didn’t really smell like it, but it was still a fun experience. Also, we waited in line for at least 45 minutes which I would never do for any old Boomerang.

 

  • Are you all Jolly Rancher’d out yet? BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL…
    • We got some Jolly Rancher sorbet. It was ok! Ironically, I liked the green apple best because the texture was like a sweet cloud lol.

  • We rode Skyrush and it was less painful for me this time. Henry didn’t ride it last year and thought I was exaggerating about the painful restraints (it has the nickname ThighCrush because of it!) but when we were standing in line, he started seeing girls getting off the ride with red welt across their thighs. MMHMM!!! I was so worried about self-stapling during the ride that I couldn’t enjoy myself. Rollercoasters should not be so painful that you have to watch How To Not Get Stapled on Skyrush videos on YouTube. Ridiculous.
  • The only ride there that I truly love and do not mind waiting in line for is the B&M invert, Great Bear. This ride is so great! But because it’s my favorite, Chooch was a big baby about getting into line because it was “too long.” It wasn’t any longer of a wait than that damn boomerang but OK SON. So then Henry was all, “I’ll ride it with you, please don’t throw a fit!” But by that time, Chooch had decided to be a martyr and also got in line so we ended up all riding it – yay, I win! In line, some kid had his hands up and out the entire time, waiting for someone to high five him but I watched him cough and sneeze into his hands and then wipe his nose with them too so NOPE. I’M GOOD. Also, a little girl got her legs stuck in the queue fence so that was exciting too. Really fun and entertaining line!

  • Fighting in line.
  • I just really love Great Bear so much. From the moment it started, I could feel the smile on my face and when I looked at the on-ride photo afterward, I looked SO CONTENT. Chooch and I actually had identical smiles on our precious faces and Henry just looked like Henry: unamused, having zero ounces of fun.

  • Then we had to spend an obnoxious amount of time at this stupid game, waiting for the ONE KID WORKING to NOTICE US, SEMPAI and give Chooch the fucking basket of balls that he paid for but instead, he kept getting snagged by all the bitchy soccer moms wanting to exchange the stuffed animals their kids won for OTHER COLORS. Oh my god, give me a break. And the lady next to us must have spent $100 on her three sons just in the amount of time we were there and Henry spat, “THOSE KIDS ARE SPOILED.” Sing it, Henry.
  • Finally got his basket of balls after I leaned across the counter and yelled, “EXCUSE ME” like a fucking no-good Karen but look, I was trying to LEAVE this park OK and the only thing standing between me and the exit was this dorky teenaged worker and his inability to multi-task.
    • All of that, and Chooch lost bigly.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Great Bear
  • Chooch getting his creds that he missed last year
  • The bucket of chocolate chip cookies Henry bought on the way out

LOWLIGHTS:

  • That fucking game
  • Candymonium being down on our way out of the park

MIDLIGHTS:

  • Everything else

Am I a hater?!!? I literally can’t tell. Hershey seems like the fucking DARLING PARK for all enthusiasts out there and maybe I need an official invitation to the Hershey circle jerk, but I just don’t get it? The coaster line-up isn’t *that* great, IMO. Am I being super unreasonable here?! Basically, in that amount of time, we rode 5 coasters. We didn’t even bother walking over to the side of the park where Wildcat (RIP) is even though I would have liked to have ridden Lightning Racer again because that was one of the coasters that I truly enjoyed when we visited in 2021, but at that point, I just wanted to complete the ERRANG COASTER CREDS mission and go the hell home.

Jul 252022
 

Henry mentioned that Kennywood was giving away free ice cream last week to pass holders and I was like, “I’m down for some free ice cream” so we went to  Kennywood after work on Thursday. Of course, it was a day that I actually went into the office, so by the time I came home and changed, it was after 6:30 when we got to Kennywood and because amusement parks have lame hours now, the park was set to close at 8. Boo hiss.

But the one good thing about getting there so late is that hordes of people were exiting when we were walking in, so even STEEL CURTAIN, that cursed coaster, only had a 15 minute wait. AND there was a nun AND a priest in line, AND it was running two train ops! MIRACLE?? Maybe.

THERE THEY ARE!! ^^^

Anyway, Steel Curtain is pretty great. My opinion fluctuates a lot because I want it to be a little bit better than it is and also maybe not so rattle-y considering how new it is. But I do like it overall! It just doesn’t have that WOW factor, and I mean, it really should because it still currently holds the record for the most inversions on a coaster in North America but you don’t really get off the thing feeling you just rode a record-holder, you know?

And in our case on this evening, you don’t get off the coaster until after maintenance fucks around and keeps your train parked out on the brake run in a knucklefucking downpour.

I mean, it was some heavy rain, people, and we were totally exposed, like sitting ducks. And the wind was kicking up all around us too so I was terrified that we were going to slammed with airborne projectiles. YOU NEVER KNOW. Don’t fuck with weather! Some broad died at Kennywood years ago when a microburst blew through!

Yeah, so were pretty fucking angry about this. I don’t know what was going on but as soon as we hit the brake run, one of the JOCKOS as Henry would say made an announcement that “SOMETHING SOMETHING BLAH BLAH 20 MINUTES” so the empty train in the station just sat there and ours couldn’t pull in. Thank god whatever was happening didn’t take the full 20 minutes and we eventually got to get off the damn thing after about 5 minutes, at which point the ride operator (who is ALWAYS there), chirped a quick and totally insincere “sorry” into the mic and I honestly wanted to kick him.

2 for 2 getting stuck in a rain storm at an amusement park that week! I was having a really great hair day too oh well.

“Do you think God was pissed that his people were riding coasters on his time so he made the sky open?” I hypothesized giddily.

“Well, no, because they were on the train in front of us and didn’t get stuck like we did!” Henry rationalized.

“Henry, even GOD fucks up, everyone knows that!” I mean, he allowed DONALD TRUMP to happen, didn’t he?

Steel Curtain: Not a Bad Ride.

The rain didn’t last for very long so we were able to ICE CREAM AND CARRY ON.

Um, hello, Henry failed to mention that it was only free to the first however-many passholders! So we had to pay. I would have opted to just go to Golden Nugget but it was already closed, and honestly this was still just as satisfying. I haven’t had true soft serve at Kennywood in a hot min.

After ice cream, we got in a ride on our beloved Phantom’s Revenge (walk-on!), attempted to ride Swingshot with five minutes left before the lines closed at 8pm but it started pouring down rain again as soon as we sat down and they were like “We can’t run the ride in this but you’re welcome to stay on the ride.”

….?

Why would we want to sit on a non-running ride while sheets of water poured down on us? N-n-n-no thanks. Of course, a few minutes later, the rain ended.

Honestly, Steel Curtain, soft serve, and Phantom’s Revenge in less than 90 minutes wasn’t the worst way to end a random Thursday evening in July.

And now, I’ll leave you with this apropos dulcet tune by Yangyang, Kun, and Taeil of NCT. <3

Jul 222022
 

Hi it’s me, the one who can’t stop typing words about amusement parks but so sorry that it’s prime park time and I’m trying to get in as much as I can because YOLO if YOLO is still cool which it is not but either am I which means I can still use it.

Anyway, I already told you that Henry and I went to Waldameer in Erie for a few hours on Sunday. It was…actually fantastic. We’ve been there numerous times but never JUST THE TWO US so it was like a date which is what everything has felt like lately and it’s weird and cool but also sad because it’s basically a taste of what life will be like once we’re empty nesters and I don’t want to be an empty nester because that will mean I’m OLD?!

I mean, because that will mean that my BABYKINS, MOMMY’S BEST BOY, etc etc will be in college, and then eventually, out of college…and OK Erin. Stop. Stop it.

Back to Waldameer.

 

There are several great reasons to go to Waldameer:

  1. it’s right on Lake Erie
  2. it’s free admission so if you’re not into rides but want to chow down on some fair food and people watch, you can march your ass right on in through those gates with authority
  3. RAVINE FLYER II is one of the best woodies in PA.
  4. WHACKY SHACK.
  5. parking is free
  6. they have SIMPLY DIVINE cookies
  7. it’s just a really cute little park with something for everyone, ok?

We go mostly for Ravine Flyer II and Whacky Shack, but you do you.

Here are pictures of the Ravine Flyer II as taken from the tRaIn:

I lied – this last one was taken from the fErRiS wHeEl.

(You guys it’s 100 degrees in my house and it’s making me be weird.)

Carousel mirror selfie!

I just realized that somehow, we didn’t fight at all. Not even when it was carouselfie time.

When we were riding the dumb train, it started storming, like with thunder and lightning so A REAL STORM and we were sitting in the front seat of one of the cars so even though there was a roof, there was actually very little protection. We were soaking wet by the time we got off it and ended up just chilling in the station afterward, waiting it out and watching a family of skunks terrorize a group trying to have a picnic at a nearby pavilion. It was exciting! Skunks are cute! SHOULD I MOVE ON TO SKUNK WHISPERING AFTER I CONQUER THE MR. GRAY GUY SQUIRRELS??

The Scrambler was actually still operating in the storm which I thought was questionable.

I’ve only ever eaten pizza at Waldameer and it’s pretty good! I could have easily BEASTED a second slice, to be honest though.

“I just took a picture of that guy taking a picture,” I wheezed to Henry, delirious with giddy self-satisfaction.

“Cool..?” he said, going back to ignoring me on the train.

It did eventually stop raining though and we got to enjoy rides again. We were the only people on the ferris wheel!!

I did start to rain again though when we went on the Tilt-a-Whirl but this ended up being the best experience I might have ever had on this dumb ride? Henry was super into it suddenly and had it spinning really hard and I was laughing so hard that my laughs kept catching in my throat. I was so fucking giddy on this day! If you had told me like, 15 years ago that Henry and I would still be together in the year 2022 and having so much fun that my face would feel like it was going to split open, I’d think you were a horrible fucking liar. I used to call him Hoover because he sucked the fun out of everything, for Christ’s sake! And now I prefer to spend all my time with him because we’re always doing fun shit?!

Life is wild.

There’s always country music playing in this side of the park but country music is ONLY tolerable in these kinds of settings so I didn’t hate it too much.

LOLOLOL.

I’ve only ridden this once, probably the first time we were there when Chooch was like 5 or 6 and I forgot that it’s actually a pretty cute/fun log flume! There’s a tunnel with storm effects! We got really wet all over again!

I love that there’s a huge ass tree that the Comet station and track was built around. Also, Comet was running pretty smoothly! This is a great little family woodie.

Literally one of my favorite dark rides ever.

I think that’s basically it. We left around 4:30, went to Hank’s in Meadville for some custard and there were two large groups of super annoying people in front of us that I really hated, and the flavors of the day weren’t anything special (strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla) and I immediately regretted getting a cone once I heard Henry order an apple pie sundae, but it was whatever.

 

Overall, a really nice day with my dumb Henry.