May 042024
 

Look, you had to know that we would find a way to incorporate roller coasters into Mission: Marriage. We had only been to two amusement parks in Korea on our past trips, so we had a handful of others to choose from this time. I had my eye on Gyeongju World because they have a B&M invert and that’s my jam. And then once I started researching Gyeongju in general, it was a done deal.

We arrived right around the time it opened for the day on Friday, along with fleets of buses carting in hordes of school kids. But, unlike AMERICA, this didn’t present a problem. I thought for sure we’d spend all day standing in outrageous lines, but….where did all the kids go!? So bizarre. A mystery.

I actually don’t have all that much to say about this park because while it’s a decent size, there just wasn’t too much going on ride-wise. The dive coaster was down for maintenance (we did know this ahead of time so it wasn’t a surprise) but it didn’t bother us too much because it’s a clone of Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I’m not the biggest dive coaster buff anyway.

But, anticipating long lines, we speed-walked over to Phaethon, the B&M invert. (I would say that as far as steel coasters go, inverts are my #2 after hypers, and B&M is definitely the top dawg in these categories. Just in case you cared.)

Totally stoked!

Anyway, as luck would have it, the line WAS NOT LONG. We did have to wait for about 10 minutes for the ride to officially open, and then after that it was probably another 10 minutes before we got on because it was running one train and Korea is notorious for slow ops. It’s kind of weird because for a balli balli balli (fast fast fast) society, their theme parks definitely run on a different speed. At least in my experience, having visited three of them now!

Another fun thing to note – Korean teenagers are VERY hyperbolic and dramatic on amusement park rides. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the experience, hearing them scream OMMA (MOM)! and WE’RE GOING TO DIE and just generally acting like they have been forced onto this as punishment. It’s hilarious and entertaining!

Overall? I loved Phaethon! A solid B&M invert. Apparently, the layout is similar to Raptor at Cedar Point and I LOVE RAPTOR so it makes sense that this was so much fun for me. Henry was like, “It was a little rough” and to that I say, “You LOOK a little rough, STFU.”

A solid first coaster of 2024! Which I fear is going to be a bad year for us as far as coasters go what with all this college preparation, graduation partying, Kpop concerts, etc. :(

OMG then Chooch and I rode Valkyrie, a Gerstlauer shuttle coaster and the first one of its kind that we have ever experienced. I would have to say that I prefer this over the deluge of family boomerangs that we have been seeing going in parks all over the world! I was PLEASANTLY surprised. It felt like a longer ride cycle too than the boomerangs.

Do you know what my favorite part of this ride was? When we were standing in line (roughly a 20 minute wait), the kids in front of us saw one of their buddies walking past the ride and they began to furiously call him over. I was like, “Oh boy, here we go, happens in every country, the line-jumping epidemic.”

BUT YOU GUYS. Do you know what happened? They LEFT THEIR SPOT and met him at THE BACK OF THE LINE. I couldn’t believe it. Such consideration!!

Yeah, I really enjoyed this. Kennywood should get one! This is such a good family steel coaster and is something that Kennywood lacks, so I think this would be a really great fit for that park. I could even see it going in the Kiddieland section. Why not.

GW’s theming was so adorable actually.

Also? Super clean restrooms. No surprise there.

My only complaint, and we weren’t really looking TOO hard, was that there wasn’t much food available for vegetarians and I’m going to wager probably nothing for vegans. They have a Mom’s Touch and I’m pretty sure they have vegan chicken there now, but the one in Gyeongju World has a very limited menu.

Chooch made me ride this and it was quite terrible. It didn’t totally take me out but I also had trouble walking in a straight line for a while afterward.

FIERCE.

While we were in this funhouse, parts of it began powering down, lol. It was literally like a fuse was blown halfway through. Definitely not on par with the European funhouses that spoiled us, but moreso on an American county fair level. Definitely accumulated bruises in various iterations of this at the Big Butler Fair.

It’s a photo zone, yo.

I made them ride the train because by this point, we were running out of things to do.

Lots of unnecessary train selfies. Choo choo, motherconductors. (OMG SHOULD THIS BE MY SIGN-OFF??? Maybe I’ll ask group chat what they think next week, although I think I’ve been getting on their nerves lately lol. Yesterday, SPEAKING OF COUNTY FAIRS, I told them about the time I was in a LOVE TRIANGLE at the Big Butler Fair and they were like “….ok.” I would have just given them the link to my blog post but apparently my blog is now blocked at work because of MALICIOUS CONTENT but also I thought I was getting fired recently over an UNAUTHORIZED BROWSER issue which is a whole other story that still keeps me up at night, so maybe these two things are correlated and I’m being WATCHED now, I don’t know.)

You guys, while we were on the train, we passed a field that had RMC raptor track laying in it!! So, there was already a rumor that GW is potentially getting an RMC raptor next year for their….50th??…anniversary, but it was still really exciting to SEE THE TRACK IN REAL LIFE and confirm that yes, the rumors are true!! Actually, several weeks after this, RMCD (Rollercoaster Database) added it as a TBD project by RMC at Gyeongju World, so now it’s also on the wiki page for GW. And we saw it!

You knew it was coming….

If a park has a carousel….

Bitch, it’s #carouselfie time!!

It was a cute carousel! I have some video which will be included at the end of my LAST GYEONGJU POST. Yes, just one more after this and then we go back to Seoul!

We really only stayed here for about 3 hours, got our coaster creds (just 2), rode the carousel, and bought a shit ton of merch because their gift shop was pretty cray. They sadly didn’t have any t-shirts, but TONS of other GW-themed items (I actually had a hard time choosing which magnet I wanted, there were so many cute ones!) and actually a lot of really cute Gyeongju souvenirs in general.

“Oh great, more glass,” Chooch muttered as I scooped up a tiny glass Gyeongju coffee cup and also a set of 4 TENNIS-THEMED JUICE CUPS that were on sale for W9,900 so like, $7!!!! They are so freaking cute too!!!

After we left the park, we walked back to the WRONG BUS STOP from the day before, because the area where they’re holding the RMC track was right past that.

Ahhhhh!!! Korea’s FIRST RMC!!! This is so exciting! I already was sold on revisiting Gyeongju in the future, but now I’m definitely going to have to come back and scratch this RMC off my list! (I don’t count coasters, just RMCs lol.)

Dude, pre-2018 I never would have given a shit if we stumbled upon TBD coaster track out in the wild, but present day Erin was dorking out over it pretty heavily.

Anyway, after this, we walked back to the park entrance-ish and waited for our Kakao Taxi to take us back to the tumuli area of Gyeongju so we could lunch it up, buy some last minute things, eyeball the burial mounds one last time before we had to catch our 4:50pm train back to Seoul – you know, Gyeongju thangs.

Apr 272024
 

When we got the invitation to admitted student’s day at Drexel, of fucking course the first thing I did was go to Hershey Park’s website to see if they were open yet in April. Henry was like, “Please be closed, please be closed” because Tight Wad Dad hates spending additional money. Lucky for me, they were open so a “quick weekend away” turned into more of a mini-vaca, much to Henry’s chagrin.

Look – it’s not even that I LOOOOOVE Hershey Park, OK? In fact, I wouldn’t even say we’re frenemies. We just…know each other casually but less casually than acquaintances. We work for the same company, different departments.

I need a nap.

But! Last summer, the park got it’s very first RMC and you know that RMC is my ult bias in coaster manufacturing land. And not only that but the new coaster – Wildcat’s Revenge – also had the distinction of being the first RMC in all of Pennsylvania!

(Petition for Kennywood to have RMC turn Steel Curtain into a single rail.)

We didn’t make it out to Hershey last year to ride Wildcat’s Revenge in its inaugural season, opting to head south for a jaunt on ArieForce One instead and I stand by that decision! But I was having big time FOMO being on that Norden Coaster Crew trip last August and hearing everyone comparing Arie to Wildcat, that’s for sure.

So, it was time! If we were going to be THAT CLOSE to Hershey, why not – right? Henry’s made of money – right??

First off, we went on a Sunday and even though the plaza looked super packed before the gates opened, it ended up being not too bad that day! Still, we had major coaster thoosie anxiety and half-jogged all the way to the other side of the park as soon as the rope dropped, expecting a huge line to have already been formed…

Yo, it was a STATION WAIT. Actually, it would have been a walk-on if we weren’t back row elitists, and even then we only had to wait one cycle.

My first thought  – the locker area is REALLY SMALL. It wasn’t bad for us since we were there on a slow day, but I can only imagine how jammed up it must get on busy summer weekends. And I’m sure this is a NO NO but there were no signs that I saw stating so, but since it was such a low-crowd day, we were leaving our stuff in the assigned locker and running around for re-rides. We didn’t do this more than twice in a row though, because we’re not total assholes. But there is no way we were taking up a locker that someone else could have been using because the crowds just turning out for Wildcat that day. Even later in the afternoon, it was STILL A STATION WAIT.

My thoughts? I loved it. I love all of RMC’s coasters. They’re insane, they defy logic, they push the limit. After the first ride, I initially said that I liked it better than Arie, but I retract that statement. It’s fun, but I think after several more rides, I decided that it would be “upper-middle tier” for me. Wildfire in Sweden is Chooch’s current RMC bae and he said that he wouldn’t rank Wildcat above that.

But you guys, it’s still a solid fucking coaster. If you live in PA and have never been on an RMC, this is a great introduction to the sorcery that is Rocky Mountain Construction.

So that was a highlight!

Ugh, Henry and his man-purse.

More highlights: not having to wait 90 minutes to ride Fahrenheit, which I’m sorry – this coaster is NOT THAT GREAT?! I mean, it’s a lot more fun when you only have to wait 15 minutes to get on it, that’s for fucking sure. But I could definitely skip this one:

Other than that though, we rode Lightning Racer which….wasn’t racing. It was also a walk-on. I enjoyed it! It was only my second time riding it but I think this would be one that I would try to get on every time I was there, if the line wasn’t outrageous. It is rough, but not intolerable. As Henry said, “It didn’t give me a headache. It was alright.”

The longest line we stood in was for Skyrush and that was only about 30 minutes. I actually hate this one a lot, definitely in the camp of haters who call it Thigh Crush. BUT over the off-season, they got new trains with different restraints and even the most vocal haters were changing their tune.

Is there something wrong with me? Because while I can agree that it no longer hurts to ride it, I still just think it’s that great of a coaster! Even Chooch was like, “It’s fine.” I don’t know, there is just something about this ride that is not enjoyable to me, even without the thigh-crushing.

Additionally, we rode Great Bear (still love it, this might be my fave in the park still, even with Wildcat’s Revenge) which was a station wait and Candymonium which was a walk-on but we got stuck on the brake run for about 10 minutes and it was a chilly day, so that was a great end to the day!

I don’t know – is this a me problem? Am I missing something? Because Hershey just doesn’t do it for me! I think also what irritates me is that the layout is stupid and it’s just not, in my opinion, a beautiful park. Yes, Cedar Point is fucking annoying, crowded, unreliable, etc. BUT Cedar Point is fucking beautiful. It’s just PRETTY. The landscaping is nice, it has that sweet fucking lakeside setting. You could spend a day just sitting on a bench and it would be….well, a fucking waste of time but at least the surrounding area would probably be nice to look at.

Other things to note real quick:

  • There was some dance championship happening that weekend so we were treated to a horde of rhinestoned bitches that stunk like AquaNet and Target perfume.
  • Chooch got a piece of a napkin in his eye (?!?!?!?!) while we were eating soft pretzels (their soft pretzels taste weird) and there was a bit of drama over that. I said, “Do you remember recently when we went to a park and I immediately got a bug in my eye?” and Henry and Chooch both said NO because they don’t pay attention to me.
  • DOES HERSHEY NOT SELL THE BUCKETS OF HOT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES ANYMORE?!?! We couldn’t find them anywhere and that was honestly the best thing they had going for them.
  • We stopped at Chocolate World afterward so Henry could stock up and Chooch and I could go on the free chocolate factory ride, which still excites. Obviously my favorite part is getting the free mini Hersheys bar at the end. I do which they would add a trick track, a little drop somewhere in there like OH NO WE’RE GOING DOWN THE CHOCO-FALL NOW! HOLD ON, KIDS!
  • Witnessed some entitled brat having a fucking meltdown in the checkout line and her dad quietly carrying her out under his arm like a newspaper. I would have made the bitch walk. Look at me, with my 18 year old kid who is so past all of the meltdowns and tantrums haha. (Future Henry is reading this like, “ok but when will YOU be so past all the meltdowns and tantrums…”)

Yeah, that was our day (eh…half day) at Hershey. Overall – the best out of the three visits but still didn’t WOW me. I want to be DAZZLED. I’ll go back the next time they get a new coaster, I guess.

Dec 302023
 

Friday, August 17th was another BEEP BEEP WAKE UP MOTHERFUCKER Stupid:Early AM wakeup call. We were taking a 2+ hour bus ride to Tampere, Finland in order to visit our last park of the trip: Sarkanniemi. First, we had to embark on a short trip to the bus station. I would have preferred to take a train, which is faster, but apparently there was some issue / construction going on with the track somewhere, so we would have had to transfer to a bus at some point anyway. (According to google, a bus ride to Tampere is about 2 hours and 45 minutes which seems longer than what our trip was, but OK.

After not getting back from Tallinn until after 1:30AM, we were D R A G G I N G. But that’s the life of a coaster enthusiast, I guess! (I don’t know what I’m talking about it.)

I have to be honest here, this bus ride was the most uncomfortable mode of transportation we experienced the ENTIRE trip. The bus was a double-decker, but it was TIGHT and also? It was completely sold-out. I thought this was kind of curious since it was a Friday morning, why were all these people (ALL COLLEGE STUDENT-AGED, IT APPEARED) going to Tampere?? It was just a shit ton of mostly young girls who had no couth, no spatial- or self-awareness, one was watching cartoons on her laptop with no headphones, one was practically sprawled out in the aisle so people struggled to pass her when they needed to get to the bathroom, and it was HOT AF in there. Just very uncomfortable, honestly, and made me feel like I was in America.

But you know, it was a cheap ticket I imagine (Henry booked it, what do I know) and it got us there in decent time. That’s when we:

  1. had to find a local bus to get us to the park;
  2. learned that the reason hordes of YOUTH were flocking to Tampere was because Blockfest, a big hip hop festival, was happening. Apparently, Ice Spice was there lol.

Sarkanniemi is not a very big park, but it does have some coasters and I liked that it sits along Näsijärvi Lake. Aesthetics matter. 

Right away, Chooch and I ran to the line for Tornado, which ended up being a walk-on. Henry was being a bitch because he thought it looked too much like an SLC and opted out:

(NOT MY PICTURE; FROM WEBSITE)

But yoooo, this was excellent! Also, the guy in front of us was wearing a Six Flags eyeglass strap, a Busch Gardens t-shirt, and had a vlogging camera. “Chooch, that guy is definitely American,” I said, nudging him with my elbow. “I’m going to talk to him when we get off!”

“Please don’t,” he mumbled.

BUT I DID, AND YEAH BOY, ANOTHER AMERICAN THOOSIE! We had a nice chat with him – he’s from Atlanta and needed to use up some PTO time at work and was like, “Finland it is!” So that was really cool – we told him all about our trip too and he was just very nice to talk to and didn’t act like he was too cool for us or whatever. (I WISH I COULD REMEMBER HIS YOUTUBE NAME!! I subscribed to it on the spot but can’t find it in my list.)

I mean, come on man. Look at that beautiful water.

Anyway, right after that, we started walking to the next coaster and Henry goes, “OMG look who it is!” AND IT WAS ROBERT, DAWN, AND ARNOLD FROM COASTER CREW!!!!!

OMG I was so happy to see them!!! We spent the next several hours riding everything with them and it was THE BEST WAY TO END THE TRIP. 100%.

We took over the kiddie coaster like old times!

I…don’t know why I took this picture.

This was A NO for me. Totally uncomfortable. One and done. Actually, aside from Tornado and the flat rides, it was a one-and-done themed park for sure.

I miss these people. Also, this was a fun log flume!

At some point, we lost our friends because we needed to eat and I think they left because they had already been there for a bit before we arrived. :( Their plan was to go to Power Park farther up in Finland the next day, and then Robert and Dawn were heading home on Sunday, but Arnold was heading to Tallinn. Chooch gave him the heads up on the +1 credit there “because I’m a nice guy,” he said.

Gorgina!!! (Any Ur Mom stans here?)

I think that this park is really clean and I love the pops of color. I think they also a great and quirky collection of flat rides, but if they could get one outstanding coaster to pair up with Tornado for that one-two punch, I think this park could be taken to the next level. As it stands, unless you have little kids and pay extra for the separate “Doghill Fairytale Farm” petting zoo and aquarium, this is not a full-day park and not worth the visit to Tampere alone (Tampere has plenty of other things going for it though so it is still 100% worth visiting and I’m actually disappointed that we didn’t allow ourselves more time to explore outside of the park before having to rush back to catch our bus back to Helsinki!).

Another Euro-park, another fantastic bathroom!

For a second, I couldn’t remember why we didn’t end up eating here but then I remembered it was because we found out another place had vegan hotdogs!

Chooch just came home and exclaimed, “You’re still talking about this!?” Um, if by talking you mean blogging, then yes. (Although blogging really is like talking to my stuffed animals, all lined up on the couch with cups of tea duct-taped to their hands. HOLD ON, HAROLD, I’LL TAKE YOU TO THE BATHROOM AS SOON AS I FINISH THIS PARAGRAPH, JESUS CHRIST.)

Immediately squirts mustard on himself.

Yeah, this ‘dog was worth the burger swap. Usually if a vegan dog is on the menu, it’s gonna be of the basic nuked store bought variety and those are so unsatisfying. I can make that myself in my own kitchen, bitch please.

I don’t know what this thing was but it was adorable, super antique-feeling, and just good old-fashioned fun.

Chooch probably disagreed.

Oh, I just looked it up and it’s literally called Lake Carousel. It’s spins and tilts but not very aggressively. You can imagine bitches from the past riding this in their floor length gowns and bonnets or whatever. (I don’t know how old this ride itself is but apparently the amusement park has been around since 1975 so it’s only slightly older than me, which ISN’T YOUNG.

LOL according to Wiki, this ride opened in 1996. So yeah, you can imagine bitches from the past riding this in their BUM Equipment sweatshirts and scrunchies or whatever.

FINLAND. <3

Even the car ride was one of the most scenic rides I’ve ever been on.

Henry and underwear friend.

Fun fact: Sarkanniemi means “Cape of Sandbank.”

I thought this was going to be popcorn-flavored ice cream but it was literally ice cream topped with popcorn lol.

Chooch was being a big crybaby over hot chocolate so don’t worry, big baby got his hot chocolate. Also, he was mildly pouting because there was supposed to be some stupid Angry Birds kiddie ride there and he roamed around aimlessly looking for it for the first hour before realizing that it had been rethemed to carrots, LOLOLOL.

I was so excited when I saw this weird game because I thought it was a Finnish thing but then later I found out that we have these here in America too, so.

Literally just did my Carouselfie 2023 post the other day so if you’ve already seen these, YES I KNOW I ALREADY POSTED THEM.

I really did have an enjoyable time here but 1/3 of a day is really all you need. One of the coasters was closed (no tears were shed about this though because it’s a Zamperla Volare coaster, which are AWFUL. Granted, I’ve only been on one in Canada’s Wonderland, but it’s not something I’d ever happily line-up for ever again.

By 3:30pm, we were ready to say goodbye and try to get a bus back to the bus station since our transfer had run out and we didn’t know where to go around there to get a new ticket. My favorite part of traveling! The bus driver was like, “Oh for God’s sake just get in and sit down” in so many Finnish words so yay! Thank you, Tampere public transportation!

By 4:22pm, we were on our bus back to Helsinki!

The bus ride back was WAY BETTER – not crowded and no annoying YOUNGS. (My actual “final night in Helsinki” post can be found here.

The next day, we left our airbnb at….4am I think??? It was ungodly. I don’t even want to think about that travel day, actually. Let’s just end the vacation here! I DID IT, I WRAPPED IT UP BEFORE THE END OF 2023!!! ONE WHOLE DAY TO SPARE!

Dec 282023
 

I still have one more amusement park to recap on here and hopefully I will get to that by the end of the year, but I wanted to skip ahead and do my annual Carouselfie Collection post! NONE are from the US! We did go to several US parks this year but they were ones where we already have carouselfies from, or they didn’t have a carousel (Fun Spot America).

So, with the exception of the first one pictured, these are all from our Coaster Crew trip, which makes them even more special to me! (Of course, none of these are printed, framed, and hung yet but it’s been a stupid several months).

First carouselfie of the year was also our first park of the year – Canada’s Wonderland! It was our first time visiting this pretty massive park right outside of Toronto and it was aight. I feel like the first park after a long, boring winter is always kind of weird – for me, at least – because I have to remember how to tolerate crowds.

I thought it was a really cute carousel though!

Next up was this crazy carousel in Denmark’s Bakken (the oldest amusement park in the world!) where you just run and jump on it while it’s still moving. Mmm, I wasn’t super OK with that, but I guess that’s the American sue-culture in me. But yeah, our first European carouselfie!

It doesn’t look so scary, but man, I really thought I was going to get a foot chopped off jumping on this thing.

NEXT UP: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen!

I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to get a good carouselfie because Henry and I had to sit in a spinny thing so I tried to do a video edition instead. Don’t worry, that didn’t become a thing, lol.

We’re all wearing the same clothes as we were in the first carouselfie not because our luggage was lost but because this was the SAME DAY. You would know that if you read my blog.
The next day, we also did two parks but the first one didn’t have a carousel sadly. So, these photos are from Tivoli Friheden, somewhere in Denmark.
I wasn’t a big fan of this park in general, but I thought the carousel was beautiful. It was also super sloooooow, though. Some kids actually asked to stay on and I couldn’t tell if it was ironically or not.
The next park didn’t have a carousel, so this was the next-next park: Farup Sommerland, also in Denmark. I loved this one! It was woodland creatures and motorcycles!
HOW COULD I NOT LOVE THIS ONE?!
First and only carouselfie in Norway! If it looks like Henry and Chooch are wearing the same clothes as the last picture, it’s because THEY WERE because everyone slept in the bus while we drove overnight to Norway after the biggest storm in 20 years cancelled all ferries. I was prepared and made sure I had a shirt to change into though because, vanity.
Anyway, this was at Tusenfryd and I was generally super in love with this park. Loved the vibe, loved the views. It was beautiful.

OK stop – was Liseberg the best park of the trip? And was this also our first carouselfie in Sweden? Ugh, there are no lies here. We spent two days here and it was a goddamn dream. I hope to return here one day! I hope that Chooch has children someday and we can take them, too because this place was built on magic. Disney is cool, BUT LISEBERG BLEW MY HAIR BACK.

Fun fact – adults (Chooch included) aren’t allowed to ride on the animals on the carousel here so we had to sit in the spinny tea cup thing.

Yo, Stockholm carouselfie! This was at Grona Lund, our last park with Coaster Crew. :( We also went to two other places prior to this one but no carousels were to be found.
First Finnish carouselfie!! Linnanmaki is another park that I hope to return to some day. It was so quirky and pleasant and just a joy to be at.

And lastly, here is the one that I haven’t actually recapped yet, but we did a day trip to Tampere in Finland and went to Sarkanniemi, which was….meh but super scenic and something really unexpected happened while we were there so I guess you will just have to check back and see if I ever get around to posting about it!

My legs look like giant hotdogs and it’s creeping me out.

OK, that was fun. A bunch of carouselfies. I hope Chooch doesn’t think that he’ll be exempt from these once he starts college??

Nov 252023
 

I am having a pretty good day and I hope you are too. (Look at me being positive and nice!) The past week was pretty good too aside from some weird work anxieties – nothing major but I think I am just very on edge lately since OMG CHANGES IN MY LIFE. I just really don’t adjust to change all that well. The best way I can describe the last month-and-a-half is by comparing it to the time middle school was on vacation with my grandparents. I think we were gone for nearly 3 weeks, just long enough for me to really experience homesickness. I was happy to come home to my dogs (mm probably not the rest of my family though LOL savage) and the familiarity of my bedroom. EXCEPT THAT MY MOTHER CHOSE TO REARRANGE MY ROOM WHILE I WAS GONE.

Kevin, excuse me but do you know how disorienting that is??

I think that’s similar to how I have been feeling lately. To be honest, I don’t think I really got back into the groove since we came back from vacation. That was a long time ago at this point. I just feel so uncomfortable every day? Nothing feels right? And then the new neighbor situation has really fucked me up and I can’t explain why. Yes, it’s been sort of stressful, but I think it’s more of the fact that my routine was bulldozed for weeks and I just can’t get back into it. I’m trying to start up my exercise routine again because that was totally ruined and my diet was fucked, all of this PLUS the stress causing me to gain weight and you know the underlying theme of my life is WEIGHT OBSESSION / FOOD PHOBIA etc. so god bless my neighbors for sending over plates of delicious food and homemade bread, but I know associate them as a whole unit with WEIGHT GAIN and I am to the point where I am almost hiding from them and that’s so fucked up. I am fucked up. Do I need therapy, you think? Here are these people just trying to be nice neighbors by feeding us and I’m over here developing an aversity to them because I’m fucking neurotic. I hate myself.

Anyway, all of that aside, some nice things happened over the past week to get me out of the house and talking to people aside from online chatting with my work friends (not knocking that AT ALL but sometimes I need some IRL conversing).

I had brunch plans last Saturday with my friend Lindsey and I was reallllly looking forward to it. It’s only our second time hanging out but, at least on my end, it feels like she is an old friend (I mean, she *is* Internet-wise!) and the nerves are not there at all, which I really appreciate. Henry drove me though because Chooch had his gaming class at Pitt right before that and it was convenient for us to drop him off together so that we could then go to Home Depot and pick up paint for our current project. There is this one person I used to follow in IG who would drop little bread crumbs about her latest project and then say I CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW YOU WHAT IT IS and half the time she never would. I will not be like and just tell you that we (LOL *WE*) are redoing the twin to the current beverage buffet we have and we are doing it in a garish clown theme. No big secret to reveal later, unless you want me to assign it a gender and have a dramatic announcement when it’s done.

OK so the whole point in me telling you this is because we had the best cashier ever, this super personable older black woman who first initiated conversation by saying that she liked my hamburger purse and then she started asking me questions about it like is it wagyu I don’t fucking know and I was like, “Oh, I just bought it because I thought it was funny since I’m a vegetarian” and she was like, “Oh ok. Are you ready for Thanksgiving? What are you cooking?”

I laughed, like a really hard staccato HA! and said, “Nothing!” She looked at me like I was FUCKING CRAZY. “Trust me, no one wants me cooking!”

Henry was off to the side making grunts of agreeance. Then he said he does all the cooking and she was like, “WHY YOU DON’T YOU TEACH HER??”

“Oh trust me, we’ve been together over 20 years. There is no teaching her.” And I added, “It’s true. He has tried and I get so distracted and start looking up at the ceiling.”

She was dying. Then I told her about the time I tried to make Chooch pierogies and didn’t realize that I had melted the spatula on it until I saw him about to shove a forkful of pierogi and spatula tendril into his mouth.

We had actually already finished checking out and were still standing there talking about this and it was one of the rare times lately where the small talk felt so real and natural?? It reminded me of how I used to be before the world and texting and the Internet ruined my knack for verbal communication. I forgot that I used to be really good at it and would have good chats with people everywhere I went! I kind of feel inspired to do that again??

Then it was time for brunch with Lindsey at Scratch!! First of all, it was so awesome to see her again and eat what were quite possibly the best donuts I’ve had in Pittsburgh? My friend Wendi was raving about them to me, and I can confirm that they were worth the hype!

The avocado toast was also totally filling and also beautiful – look at it up there! I can be kind of bratty about avocado toast because trends also annoy me but sometimes a good avocado toast can be so satisfying.

Then one of the waiters interrupted us to tell Lindsey that she has the best laugh and I totally second that! But then it was kind of awkward because I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask to join us….? He just sort of lingered there and then eventually offered to take our order because our original server was busy with a large party, but honestly, I kind of felt like he was he interested in Lindsey and then lost his nerve and tried to play it off by taking our order?! LINDSEY IF YOU’RE READING THIS, DID YOU GET THAT VIBE FROM HIM?

We overstayed our 90 minute welcome window and were asked (politely!) to leave, lol. I mean, the host did offer to move us to the bar area, to be fair! I can’t believe how fast that 90 minutes flew by though! It was so fun to catch up, complain about Pgh’s food scene (eff you, Oak Hill Post!!), and tell her the Coaster Crew trip deep cuts.

I totally forgot to ask someone to take our picture!

My Coaster Crew friend Pam is in town this weekend for an event at Kennywood (it’s being held by a different coaster club) but she made time to see me after she got into town yesterday! We met at Yinz Coffee (owned by the former owner of Crazy Mocha which was the ONLY cafe in Pgh that had a good chai latte and I’m happy to report that Yinz Coffee uses the same recipe thank god) and had a wonderful catch-up sesh! Kind of surreal seeing her here in Pgh and not out in the wild of some Scandinavian amusement park. #tears

Henry came in toward the end and Pam was like, “IT’S HENRY!” Ugh, Henry! Henry! Henry! Henry barely even talked to anyone on that trip and I guarantee he’s still the one people would remember the most!

That was really fun, and it made me want to have a reunion with everyone from that trip so I posted on Instagram that we should have a Phantom’s Revenge marathon party next year and then everyone can stay at my house and Jean (!!!) commented and said, “Let’s do it!” and Henry was like, “DO THEY KNOW HOW SMALL OUR HOUSE IS?!?!” But if we wait until Chooch goes to college, we’ll technically have two spare rooms to fill with beds and sleeping bags?!

Or we could be grown-ups and buy a house.

I was really thinking a lot last night about our Coaster Crew friends and it made me wonder if any of them were at the Coastin’ By the Ocean event we did in 2022 – it was technically an event held by Morey’s Piers but you had to be a card-carrying member of a coaster group to be able to register, so we were able to do it as Coaster Crew members. Of course, we had never done a Coaster Crew event before that so we had no idea if anyone from that group was there.

I looked up the group picture and literally SCREAMED:

FREAKING DAWN AND ROBERT, TWO OF OUR FAVORITE PEOPLE WHO WE ALSO RAN INTO IN FINLAND?? (Spoiler – I haven’t written about that yet, oh well!) And they were RIGHT IN FRONT OF US? I am shook. Honestly, the world is so small sometimes. It’s humbling.

Today, Chooch and I met Janna, her sister Julie and bro-in-law Marcus and their son August at Eat n Park so that they could talk to Chooch about his college plans, tell him about their experience at CMU, answer questions for him, etc. It was really informative and interesting even for me, the big stoop at the table. It also occurred to me on the drive there* that I don’t think I have seen Julie since high school??

*(You’ll be shocked to know that I actually drove Chooch and myself there and here’s why I did: I knew I would be able to park there; if I am going somewhere with street parking, Henry better drop what he’s doing because I will have an anxiety attack before I even grab my purse, requiring him to drive me and drop me off like I’m fucking Miss Daisy or a 4-year-old going to preschool.)

Anyway, I really really really appreciate that Julie and Marcus took time out from their holiday visit to meet with Chooch and I don’t know how he’s feeling about it because he never tells me this shit, but I know that I for one felt a bit better and less stressed about it by the time we left.

The college process in general I think (OK I  know) is another reason why this fall has felt so alien to me. Most nights, I lie in bed with such anxiety, that I can feel my blood rushing even in my gums. Like a sizzle/tingle along my teeth. I know, I know, “this too shall pass,” but I am having such a hard time calming down. I need one of those sweaters that dog’s wear to keep them calm during thunderstorms. Maybe the human version of that is a hug? I don’t know.

Nov 192023
 

One of the first things I like to do before going to a new park is looking on their website to see if there are veg/vegan options. I don’t know if you guys have noticed but the websites for most American parks are stupidly unhelpful. If you’re luck and can find a “dietary restrictions” section, they might have a list of their “restaurants” that have something for us of the NO-MEATS persuasion, but then you get there and find out it’s a soft pretzel, a wilted salad, OR if you’re really lucky, a soggy ill-cooked veggie burger.

These parks on our trip though – they spoiled us rotten. Linnanmaki was no exception! Before we even left Pittsburgh, I had like 4 places there that I wanted to eat at and knew it would have to be a game time decision. Can I just point out that every single food place on this list has the vegan symbol??

We ended up choosing Hurlumhei, which offered TOFU BURGERS. I love tofu. I will choose that over an Impossible/Beyond/black bean burger any day.

Look how fun the interior is! It definitely didn’t feel like we were eating inside an amusement park. I think that’s such a great perk to parks that are free to enter – they usually tend to step up the food game so that non-riders are inspired to pop inside for food. There seemed to be quite a few nice sit-down restaurants in this place. Maybe not at the level of Bakken, Tivoli Gardens, or Liseberg, but better than, OH I DON’T KNOW, Kennywood.

We have season passes for Kennywood and I think we would go more often if they had better food options, where we could maybe say, “Hey, while we’re out this way, let’s go to Kennywood for dinner and ride Phantom several dozen times.” But instead, it’s like, “Let’s eat at home first and then go to Kennywood for rides and an ice cream cone.”

Chooch got a fancy frappucino-ish thing and then acted like I was making him cut out his own kidney with shrapnel from a sardine can when I asked for a taste. He is SO GERM-PHOBY and also really just a brat at the core of it all.

I honestly think he tries to mask the stinginess with the fact that he doesn’t want anyone using his straw. Mm.

FIRST FINNISH SQUIRREL SIGHTING!! Living his best life, lunchmeat in hand/paw. We spent entirely too much time interacting with this cutie, to the point where people were walking by and stopping to see what the hell was so fascinating to these idiot Americans.

Is it weird that I think a lot about how I wasn’t squirrel-obsessed yet when we went to Korea, so I didn’t notice the squirrels there but now that’s near the top of my list of things to do if we go back, above “get married”? Because I’m really gonna go to Seoul Forest. How we have been to S.Korea twice yet never made it to Seoul Forest either of those times is kind of criminal and in the vein of “But Did You Even Really Go to Korea?”

I will say that Finnish squirrels look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale, though. 10/10, exceeded expectations.

Omg the slowest ops in the world were running this ride. They really wanted every single car to be filled so they had us just sitting there picking at our cuticles waiting for more riders to maybe show up even though this ride was buried in the back of the park in a dead end!

Fun ride though.

Chooch made me take this picture because I think his phone was dead and he wanted to send it to a friend because it was the opposite of Ice Spice. I don’t know why I kept it?!

I loved this little arcade and snack area!I want to have neon spirals on my ceiling!!

Finally, it was #CAROUSELFIE time. Also, these benches. This landscaping. Am I in Snow White’s backyard?! I will never be able to properly convey the magic that this park exudes. You know a place has to be pumping out subtle wafts of serotonin when the three of us manage to go the whole time without temper tantrums, empty “THIS IS THE LAST TIME WE’RE GOING ANYWHERE TOGETHER” threats, or disparaging remarks about each other’s annoying breathing/eating/chewing/attitude. I mean, of course Henry was annoying but there is not very much out there that can distract from that.

Which one should we use for the #carouselfie wall??

17 and he still pouts when he doesn’t get the carousel animal he wants but this time he snagged his #1 choice of elephant so he was pacified.

Wouldn’t it be fun if Henry learned how to make fiberglass sculptures and then we could turn our yard into a creepy storybook forest type of nightmarescape that would maybe deter religious solicitors?

I also think it would be cool to have this is a bed post.

Vuoristorata!

I will never stop missing the licorice selection. It was A++++++ in every country we visited on this trip. Lands o’ Licorice.

As usual, magnificent restrooms!

Ugh Kirnu. Back-to-back parks with these awful Intamin Zack Spins. I am not sad that there are none left in the US. Anyway, behind it, you can see the water tower that now houses an indoor family coaster, which you can choose to ride with VR goggles. I think there were three themes to choose from, and we all ended up choosing the horror one. IT WAS SO FUCKING GOOD!! I couldn’t believe how much it elevated this basic little dime-a-dozen family coaster that you find pretty much in every park. It was excellent and I have no idea why we didn’t go back and try the other two themes?!

Chooch and I also rode a bunch of unique flat rides, the rapids ride, and we all rode the train. We stayed until the park was about to close and then began our short journey back to the apartment. I felt sad immediately after leaving. This place, man. What a babe.

Here’s a video of our first day in Finland, including Linnanmaki footage but starting with arriving on the ferry that morning, the train ride to Helsinki, the rickety elevator in the apartment building we were staying in, to the walk back after getting off the tram from Linnanmaki. Now that I’m recapping this, it’s hard to believe that all of this was just one day. I feel tired reliving it.

Nov 162023
 

Weird to say “BUT THEY’RE SO CLOSE!!” when talking about two countries that are separated by a large body of water (and are only accessible by car/bus/train in the far northern regions, not applicable in our case)* but when I saw how cheap and easy it would be to, you know, just hop over to Helsinki from Stockholm, I started really drilling home my case for Linnanmaki, Helsinki’s amusement park.

*(I had to come back a day later and add this because in my head, I knew what I meant but I figured it was only a matter of time before someone called me out for being geographical ignorant, I mean, in a world where strangers still actually read this shit, you know what I mean?)

  1. It looks fucking precious in every video I watched;
  2. It has Taiga, an Intamin Blitz coaster that opened 2 years before what is arguably one of the best coasters in the world: VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure. We are obvi huge fans of VelociCoaster, so I used that as a big selling point;
  3. I just really wanted to go to Finland in general and this seemed like a good “excuse”;
  4. It’s for a good cause, as Linnanmaki is “owned by the non-profit Children’s Day Foundation, which operates the park in order to raise funds for Finnish child welfare work. In 2019, the foundation donated €4.5 million, and so far has donated a total of over €120 million to this cause.” – Wiki
  5. Including Taiga, it has an impressive 8 coasters –  not too shabby (ugh I actually hate that phrase so I have no idea why I used it and furthermore no idea why I didn’t just delete it?? My old boss at Olan Mills used to say that all of the time and it’s not like I didn’t like her, but it was so annoying) for a small city park!

Um, now that I’m really reading this Wiki page, I’m learning so much. Here’s a … fun? … fact:

Since its opening in 1950, two people have died in amusement ride accidents at Linnanmäki, both caused by negligence on the part of the rider. In 1953, an employee, a roller coaster brakeman* who was sitting in the front row after his shift on the last ride of the evening did not attach the safety bar, fell off and was hit by the train. In 1985, a guest, a boy, also sitting in the front row, had managed to open the safety bar and stood up to wave to his friends. The boy then fell in front of the train, which ran over him.

*Also, if you’re wondering what a coaster brakeman is, shame on you for not reading my Tivoli Garden post, where we rode our first ever brakeman-operated coaster!

Another fun fact, this one I already knew, is that the park is built on a hill about a mile outside of Helsinki, and derives its name from Vesilinnanmäki (lit. ’Water Castle Hill’), the name locals gave to the hill way back in the day since it had two water towers. Both towers are no longer in operation, but some kind of city zoning law prohibits the towers from being removed. One of them was converted to a maintenance shed for the park, and the other now houses an indoor family coaster!! I love that. That particular water tower especially is now an iconic landmark in  the park. Also, thank god it doesn’t look like the gross kinds we have in America. I would never ride a roller coaster inside one of those. Fuck you.

NOT MY PHOTO, TAKEN FROM WIKI:

(Now I’m Googling Finnish water towers and all of their water towers are like sculptures, quirky architectural feats. Fill a coffee table book with ’em, they’re so photogenic and not GROSS AND LOOMING like ours. Ugh.)

Anyway, we took a tram from our apartment and then had to walk for maybe 10 minutes or so before reaching the park. I will never complain about walking while on vacation – it’s truly the best way to experience a new city! If we had taken a bus all the way there, Chooch couldn’t have mocked whoever this Paavo Nurmi pal is.

J/K guys, of course I know that he was a Finnish Olympic running man pal.

Totally without Googling just now.

Actually, guess where he was from, spefically?

TURKU, the city that Henry RUINEDU. That actually does a ring bell now, know that he’s from Turku because in one of the many travel videos I watched in preparation for our day in Turki that never happened, I remember seeing some monument to an Olympic runner and honestly, how many Olympic runners could Turku possibly have produced?

This underpass had cool murals and did not even have a HINT of a piss stench like Pgh underpasses.

I’m not sure we took the best walking route to the park, but after hiking up a hill (Vesilinnanmäki amirite??), we made it to the entrance! The timestamp on my phone says we arrived at 3:24PM.

Tervetulua! (One of the only words I remember from the one solid week of Finnish I limped through on Duolingo.)

After getting our wristbands, we went STRAIGHT for Taiga which is located near the entrance so good for us, etc. etc. The queue itself was amazing, but since there was barely a line at all, we didn’t really get to take much of it in. I mean, I’m not complaining! Apparently, “taiga” is a type of bird in Finland, I think.

There was a brief line that we had to wait in only because it was one-train ops, and right away, we noticed that SAM from our Norden Coaster Trip was in line for the front row! He spotted us too and actually left his spot to run back and say hi to us and my heart, you guys. My heart. He fist-bumped Chooch and me, and then also Henry which was an “ugh why” moment, but still – it was so fun to see a familiar face!

He said he had been at the park all day and was just marathoning Taiga at this point, having already collected all of the other coaster creds. It was such a whirlwind – he IS SO HIGH ENERGY that all I remember was him just spraying us with excited sentiments while shaking his head in his That’s So Sam manner, telling us to look him up if we ever come to LA, and then running back to reclaim his spot. I didn’t even have a chance to ask him if he was with anyone! I guess not, because he was one of the singles on our trip. We somehow never saw him again after that so that was sad. :(

No^^^This one is a BIG NOPE. Imagine the most Wild Mouse-type of coaster you’ve been on, probably in like a mall parking lot for your local town’s traveling carnival, right? Where you’re thinking you’re gonna tip right over the edge every time it whips around a hairpin turn? Now imagine that same ride, but the car purposely tips and tilts as it careens along the track.

That’s this piece of shit ride.

IT WAS SO AWFUL.

Right next to it is the park’s power-coaster mine train which was fine! Henry was pissed though because Chooch and I left him in the dust and got on a train before him and he had to wait for the next one even though there was still room on ours?? He was acting like such a fucking martyr about it too. He PURPOSELY stayed back in line rather than follow us onto the platform. Well, his mistake because since he was on the train after ours, I was able to stand at the exit and film him riding a family coaster alone with a frown on his face :)  Video compilation to come!

STAN LOONA! It’s still crazy to me how worldwide popular Kpop is now. Also is it weird that I want to join the Kosogang without knowing anything about it?? I just spent an absurd amount of time thinking about it.

This was in line for the park’s Mauer spinning crazy mouse – SALAMA. Um….did I enjoy this ride better than Taiga?? I THINK I DID?? Don’t get me wrong, Taiga was great – great layout, great launch – but am I becoming too snobby?? Too hard to impress?? I think what I want to say is, come for Taiga, stay for the rest. Because honestly, if it wasn’t for Taiga, I’m not sure this park would have even been on our radar, and what a PITY (lol, I will never say that in full seriousness, has to be backed by major drama kid emotion) that would have been because damn you guys, just DAMN, this ended up being one of my favorite places on the whole trip.

Linnanmaki, you are a fucking BABE AND A HALF. Be my forever Valentine.

Chooch Up Close.

The family that ignores each other….fights less together? I dunno. Still seems like we fight a lot. However, we were like besties the entire time we were at Linnanmaki. It was just that good. Totally brought us together. Aw, the audience says collectively.

The garbage and recycling bins!! Love you, Finland.

Each section of the park was themed so well. The landscaping was on point. Bathrooms were spotless. Employees were delightful. There weren’t even any annoying park guests!

This is the subject of my current gem art project, which is twice as big as the ones I’ve done in the past so RIP my back. But yeah, you know I’m always down to clown. This darkride was fun and the cars were like suspended half eggs, which was very cool (I have video, you’ll see!) but overall it was just one scene after another of clowns doing stuff, like cleaning up elephant shit? It was nice but not very memorable. Except for the elephant shit part, I guess.

There’s another dark ride over by Taiga and THAT one was a real treat though! It was themed after a haunted hotel and I loved it.

Not as death-trappy as some of the other fun houses we got banged up in on the trip, but idiot Chooch temporarily lost his phone in the exit slide because it fell out of his pocket and didn’t make it all the way down the slide. Someone had to fetch it for him, he’s so embarrassing.

Some of the brakemasters that have worked on the famous Vuoristorata coaster! Chooch and I sat in the back, and I thought it was rather delightful, but apparently he and Henry didn’t care for it. Please watch this video – I am so happy that we got to ride two of these (three if the one in Bakken hadn’t recently been updated to eliminate the need for a brakeman!) on this trip. It’s a slice of history! It’s things like this that make amusement parks worth visiting when you’re traveling abroad – you get to experience things you can’t here in the US and isn’t that a huge reason to travel?? I need to remember the next time someone mocks me for planning vacations around roller coasters because up to now, my only comeback has been, “Shut up.”

Fuck this ride too!! Ukko, more like F-Ukko, amirite fellow 5th graders on the same humor level as me. You go up a vertical lift hill and then travel upside down for way too many seconds before finally reaching that twist in the track way up there. I was screaming you guys. Fucking screaming. ONE AND DONE for this broad.

I think I will end on that note for now, since I actually packed this post with LITERAL FACTS and shit, can you believe it?? I always want to go into these posts with all of the 411 but then I get lazy and it’s like, “Here are pictures, we rode stuff, Henry was mean and wouldn’t buy me xyz.”

Oct 272023
 

Spoiler but not: I end up crying, lol.

I kept seeing ads for a Pippi circus while we were in Stockholm!! The original Swedish Pippi movie was Kelly Family Favorite back in the 80s. My brother Ryan and I used to watch it A LOT and make fun of it, but also I was low-key terrified by it??

Yo, Grona Lund is so freaking beautiful. Vaguely reminiscent of Indiana Beach in that it sits along water, but um, obviously Stockholm trumps anything in Indiana (sorry, Indiana peoples) so I’m going to have to give Grona Lund the win here. The beautiful thing about nearly every park we visited on this trip is that they have so much aesthetic appeal and the rides are almost secondary to the experience of just BEING THERE. I can see Grona Lund being a place where people would go just to walk around, eat, enjoy being next to the water, bickering with people on Reddit over the Lost finale.

I don’t know, just seems like a peaceful locale to really settle in for some comment section belligerence.

They have THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DROP TOWERS. Calm down, Grona Lund.

Being tormented by MOMMY as usual. I think he was pissed because some of the cool guys from our group were sitting nearby, drinking beers and he didn’t want to be seen being mommy’s monkey.

Me looking old AF because news flash, this was not a chill, relaxing vacation lol.

We would be on that ferry in approx. 24 hours from when this picture was taken!

Yeah like imagine going here on a date, you know? Shit, son, how romantic!

If I had brought the good camera into the park with us, I would have made Chooch stand here for senior portraits. What a missed opportunity. Notable about this bridge though is that it was the FIRST TIME of the trip we had a convo with Alex from Coaster Spot! Well, technically Chooch had previously conversed with him AND ridden with him too probably, OK cool guy.

But anyway, he was filming stuff and then stopped to say something to us, I can’t remember what, but we started chatting and then I blurted out ARE YOU COASTER SPOT and he very reluctantly admitted that yes, yes he is. I’m a subscriber of his YouTube channel but he is notoriously ALWAYS behind the camera and usually only films his wife. I had THOUGHT that they were going to be on this trip but then when 2 days passed and I never saw his wife, I figured they didn’t come. But then SOMEONE on the bus said he was on the trip and I was like, “WHAT.” One day, Henry was standing near him and recognized his voice and said to me later, “Hey I think that’s Coaster Spot” and I was like, “no way, his wife isn’t here…” but yeah, it really was him! Anyway, he very bitterly said, “[XXXXX] outed me” and I said, “Yup,  that’s exactly how I heard you were here.”

Apparently, that same person is an absolute menace to coaster personalities on the internet and a lot of them had to block him. But it was a bonding moment, lol. And then he said, “You should have talked to me sooner!” and I wanted to be like, “Well, you were always with the girl who hates me, so.”

He hasn’t posted a single video yet from this trip but I’m really looking forward to it because he does a lot of walk-thrus whereas the other guys heavily edit theirs. I want to be able to relive more of the experience by watching someone’s walk-thru!!

Stockholm carouselfie!! This carousel was a tiny baby thing.

We had fun in kiddie land!

I think LARRY took this! We were riding with Dawn, Robert, Arnold and Eamon!

Plus a random dad and kid who got stuck riding this with a bunch of Coaster Crew dumbos lol. We kept hand-slapping every time we went around a bend since the train would curve, but I could never reach anyone!!

Chooch and I caused a scene when we rode this and were the only ones who couldn’t get their elephant to fly. People were laughing at us and I really wanted to bury my head in the sand, or in Dumbo’s butt.

Random collection of Beatles artifacts.

Two shots of my LICORICE ICE CREAM with LICORICE TOPPING.

Wow, Henry is so cool.

At one point, Chooch and I were in line for something and looked down (a lot of the rides have elevated stations) and saw Marshall sitting on a bench, smoking. “Did he even ride anything on this trip?” Chooch mused out loud. “All I ever see him doing is sitting down and smoking. ‘Hmm, I wonder what it would be like to smoke cigarettes in Sweden. *signs up for trip*'”

This trip turned Chooch into a stand-up comic. I mean, he’s always made me laugh, but this was next level guffawing.

GUFFAWHAWHAW.

We made Henry go on the fairy dark ride since he skipped out the first time and it was his favorite ride at Grona Lund in case you needed it to support the Henry’s Nude Fairy Fetish section of your “Henry: Inside the Mind of a Man & His Beard” dissertation.

Man, did this day go by quick. (You would never know based on how long it took me to recap it, Jesus Christ, get it together, Erin.) But I will always remember how it ended: It was getting close to the end of the night so we decided to get a final ride on Monster. It was a walk-on for the back row and Sam ran over and asked if he could ride with us. Of course we said yes! That kid is soooo full-throttle adrenaline, I swear to god. It’s contagious. So we were all pumped up by the time we returned to the station and the ride attendants said we could stay on if no one was waiting for our row. NO ONE WAS! So me, Chooch, and Sam stayed on but Cry Baby Henry got off. That was fine though because Dewey came and sat with me! It was my first time talking to him the whole trip so we bonded as best as we could in the short amount of time we had left.

“I really think I’m going to cry!” I yelled across my restraints. And he said, “I know, I can’t believe it’s our last night!”

And you guys. You guys. You guys you guys you guys. Almost the whole train was Coaster Crew, last ride of the night, and we were shrieking, “Coaster Crew! Coaster Crew!”

It was so fucking wholesome. So pure. And Henry missed it!

After that, we all gathered around near the front of the park, waiting to get back on the bus. It was a sad drive back to the Sheraton. A bunch of us talked outside while Tim handed out our room keys and then we had to go to the luggage storage room to grab our shit because we had dropped everything off prior to going to Grona Lund since we weren’t going to have the same bus bringing us back. Or something. I can’t remember. This is a boring detail anyway.

I made Chooch take pictures of Pam and me. I MISS HER MOST OF ALL. I’m crying right now, LOL. Ugh.

Anyway, after this, I gave Tim the special Liseberg print I got him with the thank you note I scribbled on the back. He was like, “Should I read this now?” and I screamed “NO!!” but the gesture alone made him tear up and then I teared up and then we were both tearing up and hugging and he called us a sweet family which made me laugh but it came out as a blubber on account of all the tearing up.

Jesus Christ, I can’t handle it. There wasn’t much more that I wanted to say here but I will include it in the beginning of the next post which was A PARK-FREE day, can you even believe it?? And I will leave you with this comprehensive video of the second half of this day. I will warn you – the beginning of this is a LOT of “bus window scenery” content. SORRY but I thought everything was so beautiful and I didn’t want to forget it OK?? Sue me.

Oct 252023
 

Henry and I went to Kennywood last Thursday after work. It was a pretty good time, minimal crowds, some terrific night rides on Phantom which is honestly the only reason we even went.

Not too much to report, but I did take some pictures on Lapse and just finally figured out how to save them to my camera roll rather than screenshotting them which was turning them into tiny-tots.

IN LINE FOR JACK RABBIT. Fun fact: I have been riding this literally since I was like 5 probably and I still to this day can’t keep both my hands up on the double dip. I always scream, “HAHAHA I CAN’T! I CAN’T DO IT!! HAHAHAHA!” and then, you know, I don’t do it.

This haunt was called Dark Shadows. It was fine. However, when we were in line for the haunt next to it, some hospital thing that was actually REALLY FUN and I was SHOCKED because KENNYWOOD, there was this totally annoying middle aged broad (I know, I described myself) in front of us, and I knew she was a Karen before she even revealed herself to be a Karen a few minutes later by telling the TOTALLY DISINTERESTED guy she was about how LAST YEAR she went into the Dark Shadows haunt and it was SO DARK SHE COULDN’T SEE so she USED HER PHONE TO SEE and one of the scare actors told her TO PUT HER PHONE AWAY. She COULDN’T BELIEVE THE AUDACITY! How was she was SUPPOSED TO SEE in the HAUNTED HOUSE that is literally made so that ONE CANNOT SEE??

The guy she was with barely grunted in response, in fact, it might have been him swallowing a burp and not actually reacting to her KAREN KARENOWOLSKI complaint because I have a feeling Guy wasn’t even listening to her bitch fest. Fuck off.

The only reason we came!! The ride crew was ON FIRE. They were so efficient and had a goal to NOT STACK THE TRAINS which was nuts considering that it was a walk-on all night. When Phantom has the elite crew working, BRACE YOURSELF. Because they’re gon’ send you before you even have time to miss the phone you left behind.

NO TRIMS!!

I think I spent the entire night talking and worrying about our new neighbors. I might be obsessed. I can’t tell if Henry is annoyed with me yet or if he truly is just immune to my emotional chaos anymore.

Well guys, that’s about all I have to say about that. A fun evening but not very eventful unless you want me to write an essay on my love for Phantom and how it gets stronger at night. Because I will do that. We left around 8:30 and went to Sheetz for snacks because there was nothing at Kennywood that seemed appealing.

Oct 242023
 

Before I continue onto part 2 of Grona Lund, I want to tell you about the craziest, most terrifying, and BEST MOTHERWHOMPING fun house I have EVER conquered. But let me tell you – that mother almost conquered ME. Those steps in the beginning?? I have never done ones that were this steep and intense but when I say I couldn’t get a groove and almost fell backward twice – I’m not kidding you guys, I probably would have had to go to the hospital. Or worse.

I had the whole “I dreamt I was falling” full body shudder / panic as I started to fall back and I have never grabbed on to anything so tight before in my life.

Whooooo boy. And you people thought I was going to die on a shady Nordic coaster. Nope. Moving funhouse steps? Way more likely.

By the time I got NEARLY to the top, I got a rhythm going and figured out how to just ride it out by coasting on one step at a time. I had no game plan or strategy when I started at the bottom, just forged ahead like gangbusters, and nearly did a full split as the steps pulled my legs in opposite directions and just…kept going.

That was unpleasant.

Shit you guys – this was probably the best fun house I’ve been in. I haven’t done any of the other crazy ones in Germany or Prater in Vienna, though. So, for now, I think this is my #1 as far as fun houses go, lol. And the best part is that you’re in there for a substantial amount of time!

The grand finale slide thing called for a souvenir magnet.

Oct 232023
 

Guys, this is it. We’ve reached the last part of the Coaster Crew portion of our Scandinavia & Beyond coaster trip. I was so excited to get to Stockholm, but hoo-boy was it bittersweet!

On the drive to Grona Lund from Kolmarden, I was whisper-hissing back and forth to Chooch from across the aisle of the bus because we HAD to give away some of the chocolate he won at Liseberg. I mean, it was either that or bring upon extreme diarrhea trying to eat it all ourselves rather than try and fly home with it in a few days. That giant box had FOUR DOUBLE-LAYERED boxes inside of it. So much chocolate. And you guys, it was GOOD chocolate too. I think I mentioned this already but when I looked those assortment boxes up online, they sell for over $30 a box.

And we had FOUR of them.

We kept two for ourselves and I passed around the other two to everyone on the bus because I am apparently the spokesperson of our family. Chooch REFUSED to initiate this chocolate-sharing experience. Some of the REALLY COOL GUYS were sitting in front of me and I was SWEATING. Aside from Mark and Hunter, I didn’t really make much contact with these guys so I was like, “ARE THEY GOING TO SNEER AT ME AND BE LIKE WHY WOULD WE WANT YOUR CHOCOLATE, LADY?” But no! It was the opposite! I tapped one of them (Jeremy I think?) on the shoulder and said, “Hey, do you guys want to take some of this and pass it around? We can’t take all of this home with us!” and they were like “YES PLEASE YAY CHOCOLATE!” I gave the other box to the guys behind me (who I was shipping so hard, btw) and they each selected a piece and passed it back like you normally would, while the cool guys in front of us were taking this VERY SERIOUSLY, reading every description, discussing amongst themselves…Chooch texted me and was like, “Good one, they’re never going to pass it on.” They did though and we STILL ended up having some chocolate left in one of the boxes.

It was so fun though, hearing everyone being stoked for surprise bus chocolates.

This is why I love group trips! We gotta start doing these more. There are benefits to also traveling solo / without a tour group, but being on this bus with these amazing people really made me sentimental. I loved the organized group trips of my youth, like when I met Olivia, had my first Older Man Crush, and made possibly my first Frenemy, Steve.

We took this group picture as soon as we entered the park and I was like, “Goddammit, don’t cry.” Also, another picture where the Oh Honestlys are not together, LOLOLOL. Seriously, we probably were known behind our backs as the Family Who Was Always Fighting, lol. (To be fair, we actually did not fight that often!) But I think this is a true testament to how comfortable we had become with the group that we didn’t need to be attached to each other like lemmings like we usually are at home.

Coaster Crew: Norden Sub-Crew 4L.

But yeah, Grona Lund, baby! I have watched so much YouTube content of this place over the years that I truly built it up so much in my head. Did it live up? Actually, although it was SMALLER than I imagined, it was more magical than I could have dreamed. It’s located on one of the many archipelagos of Stockholm! One of the ways to access it is by ferry, which we would actually do the next day because there were other things we wanted to do on this particular archipelago (a word that will never not be difficult for me to say, spell, remember. Pretty sure I called it an archbishop at one point).

Views of Monster, the new B&M invert, as soon as you enter. Cameras out: Thoosies gon’ thoosie.

One of the many little alleys of Grona Lund. And more chocolate roulette!

I think there are THREE drop towers here. Insane.

Our first credit was Vilda Musen – Wild Mouse! The people in front of us are Lucas and his friend whose name I never learned but they were sitting on the bus facing us on the way to Kolmarden and coughed the whole time and I’m 100% sure they got me and Chooch sick. Anyway, we rode this with them (I can’t remember how we got separated from Henry – OH I KNOW it’s because we told the ride attendent there were two of us and she sent Chooch and me on the same car as those two and we left Henry behind hahaha) and I said, “Hey it’s our first time riding together, you guys!” and they were like, “Mm heh.”

My giddy charm didn’t penetrate everyone on this trip, sadly.

Ew, I took this for Corey and I don’t think I ever sent it to him but we HATE Machine Gun Kelly and I wanted him to see that he performed there a month prior to us visiting. Ugh. Grona Lund actually holds some pretty amazing concerts. My Chemical Romance even played there!

Oh real quick another fun fact about Grona Lund that I didn’t know until I watched Airtime Thrills’ Kolmarden vlog, but they were actually the park in talks with RMC but since they didn’t have enough room to spare, they BOUGHT land in Kolmarden and had RMC build Wildfire there. In case you were wondering how a zoo in Sweden randomly became home to one of the best coasters in the world.

You know, it might come up one day. At a brewery trivia or something. And then you might win a giftcard to said brewery because that was the question that propelled you to first place. So, you know where to send the THANK CARD. (Or maybe not. But I will give you my address if you ask because I like getting mail.)

(Maybe I’ll just give you Janna’s address because I have been muy paranoid lately.)

Henry and his new family.

The Wild Mouse was pretty good but also scary because these ones always terrify me because of the jankiness. But real talk, if you can see that blue track that interacts with the Wild Mouse track, that belongs to Jetline, a coaster that’s currently standing-but-not-operating (SBNO) because of a fatal accident that occurred literally about a month or two before our trip. Never want to hear about anything tragic happening in a place meant for people to have fun. I don’t know what happened. I tend to cover my ears and sing the LA LA LA song rather than face reality, but man my heart goes out to her family. I think she was a mom there with her kids?

I actually hadn’t heard a thing about this at first but my sister sent me a link to the article and was like DON’T RIDE THIS WHEN YOU’RE THERE. :/

The facade a Kvasten (The Broom), a Vekoma suspended family coaster that was actually a real fucking delight! From the creepy witch hunt station to the smooth ride experience, I highly enjoyed this one! Henry didn’t ride it because he’s a little bitch and thought it was going to be like a shitty Vekoma SLC, so his loss.

Grona Lund is so goddamn charming, I can’t.

The station for Monster was impeccably themed! Also, it was pretty much a walk-on all evening.

House of Nightmares was an upcharge haunted walk-thru – of course we did it. It was decent! Better some of the ones over here that we go to during haunted house season, honestly, and I feel like it was only an extra $5 for each of us? I know it couldn’t have been that much if Frugal Henry opted in.

Basically, this joint has facades on lock. I really felt like I was in another land. I mean, I *was* in another land to me, but you know what I mean. The whole park had fairy tale vibes. Not quite Grimm’s but a similar feel, if you know what I mean? You smrobly don’t and that’s OK.

OK but pretend like you knew what I meant up there and now apply taht aesthetic to the dark rides here at Grona Lund because holy shit. HOLY SHIT. I wish I was still a member of the Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts club so I could tell them all about these dark rides of Scandinavia and Finland at their next meeting j/k they didn’t have meetings when I was a member, just events at various parks where the group leader acted like he had no idea who I was even though we interacted with each other for years on Facebook and we visited his home haunt one October?!?

He’s no Tim, that’s for damn sure.

Looking at these photos has me nearly in tears. If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the Grona Lund vibes.

I wish the front of my house looked like this :(

And I wish all of the ceilings in my house looked like this. :(

This is Jetline :/ (The blue track.)

Us having no idea what we were in for.

Us coming out with lots to think about….More on this one later – I have pictures and some video too I think which I’ll put in PART 2 like that’s actually enough to entice you to come back for seconds.

Honestly though. You can keep your shooter dark rides. I want more vintage dark rides like these, please. I wish Kennywood hadn’t:

  1. let Le Cachot burn down;
  2. turned Gold Rusher into a dumb shooter ride;
  3. ruined the Old Mill repeatedly

Come on, Kennywood. Give us an old-ass Sally Darkride with pretzel cars and a musty water smell.

Post-faux-chicken nuggets. I was annoyed because Grona Lund had legit restaurants, but we ate at one of the fast food type of joints probably because Chooch was crying about it. Also, he was probably quoting Mark here for the thousandth time, saying, “Guys, I’m going to marathon Insane all night.”

Insane, by the way, was one of the most fucked up coasters I’ve ever ridden. It’s an Intamin Zack Spin, and well, it was Insane. Plus, I had to pee AND ALMOST PEED MY PANTS ON A COASTER FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, AT THE AGE OF 44.

Which, you know, would make just as much sense if I were 4. I can barely sneeze or, I dunno, do jumping jacks without the risk of peeing my pants these days.

The view from the chicken nugget place. Grona Lund, you da best, girl.

OK, second part forthcoming! Keep prolonging the inevitable, Erin! The trip came to an end, it’s BEEN DONE. Move on with your life. Shit.

FUCK.

Oct 192023
 

Airtime Thrills posted his Kolmarden video and I am happy to share that here tonight because I just came home from Kennywood and therefore am too tired to post my own content.

I remember LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY (and you might too if you read my blog yesterday lol) leaving Kolmarden the second day and realizing I was behind Airtime Thrills as he was vlogging and trying desperately to duck. At the end of his video, you can see me taking this picture:

Wow! Really cool, Erin.

Oct 182023
 

We have reached a critical point. This is the beginning of the LAST DAY with Coaster Crew. THE LAST DAY. Sunday, August 13th. I just realized that I hadn’t putting the dates in most of these recaps, LOL, oh well. I’m sure Future Me will figure it out.

I just glanced at my not-always trusty vacation journal and realized that I forgot to note in the Skara post that when we were standing around, Robert asked me, “Are you guys all from the same place?”

Odd question, I thought. But I said, “Yes.”

“OK I was just wondering because you’re always dressed in warm clothes and shivering, but they’re always dressed in shorts and t-shirts, ready for warm weather.”

An accurate assessment, Robert.

At breakfast on this morning, Pam sat with us. Henry and Chooch left together to go get our luggage but I stayed to chat with Pam. I flat out asked her if she liked [someone in our group] and she said YES but that the distance would be a problem :( She was also telling me, “Oh don’t you start!” because I was already moping about it being our last day with the group.

UGH, why am I so sensitive??

Apparently, this was also the day that I realized I had been incorrectly referring to Jimmy as “Jerry” in my journal the whole time.

Before we headed back to Kolmarden for morning ERT, we got to enjoy a Swedish car show across from the hotel! Here is the post I wrote about it while still on vaca, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Swedish Car Show

Kolmarden was not yet opened to the public when we arrived, but we were allowed to enter through the resort entrance, which was STILL a hike but not as long of a walk to Wildfire. It was still a very steep grade though. Eric and Marie are both….Marines? Army? I can’t remember which, but it was cute because Eric was like “LET’S GO” and they started Army chanting thing while running up the hill. Chooch and some of the other younger guys were like, “We will also run” and they were the ones who made it all the way without losing steam, haha.

I didn’t run and I’m glad because otherwise I might have missed this amazing snail-buddy chilling on the side of the path!

After some morning ERT, we did the famous cable car ride through the zoo, which provided some amazing aerial views of my Swedish bae, Wildfire. I REALLY had a great time riding this!

There aren’t many coasters out there that can beat this setting. This is definitely part of an elite club in that respect.

I have no idea why I took this? Was it in error? Oh well, I’m including it.

Chooch still needed the kiddie coaster over in the legit kiddie land that is just chilling in the middle of the zoo like all zoos have a kiddie land with actual rides.

(WHY DON’T ALL ZOOS HAVE THIS? LET’S GOOOO PGH ZOO. GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASS.)

On some tea-cup thing for no reason.

This part was so exciting because Robert and Dawn somehow knew that Chooch was dying to see the capybaras and they came over to urgently tell him that one of them was out!

(Honestly, everyone on the trip knew Chooch. People were asking him, “Riley, what are you parent’s names?” like 6 days in.

Chooch and Sam on Wildfire again. Chooch was actually hoping to get to ride with Mark because they never rode anything together the entire time, but he and Sam were paired together constantly by the coaster universe, lol.

Oh, I’m going to miss it here.

Also, Brett asked Chooch to take a picture of him, Mark and several others under the sign but it was hilarious because he was being a hyper-director over it. “Now do it in landscape. Take one in portrait. OK, now…” literally he asked Chooch to take like 10 different shots it felt like, and it was almost like Chooch was being punked but he was for real, lol. He had Chooch use his own phone and airdrop the shots to him, so Chooch was like, “Cool, now I have these on my phone for no reason.”

Heading out for Gronalund! I walked DIRECTLY behind Chris from Airtime Thrills while he was vlogging so I hope I’m not in the background.

Pretty Kolmarden flowers to end a beautiful split-day here.  I’m so glad we had these extra hours to get to enjoy the zoo portion of Kolmarden. It was so wonderful there.

Let’s end this with a collection of videos I took from that morning!

Oct 172023
 

Heyyyyyy you guyyyysssssss! We’ve reached the part of the trip where I got to practically pee my pants, act like a goddamn corn-shuckin’ sex-through-holes-in-a-sheet-havin’ Amish bitch on motherfucking Rumspringa, boiiiii. Hold while I wrench the bonnet off my dumb god-fearin’ head because this Dutch slut of about to get fucked by the ONLY RMC coaster on this trip: WILDFIRE.

GODDAMN SHIT-SUCKING WILDFIRE.

(Sorry, the Lost Boys quotes come out of me at weird, irreverent times.)

(I’ve had two sips of wine so far and I am like HOLLA LET’S GO WHERE MY PARTY PEOPLE AT like I just stepped out of a Goodwill copy of Girls Gone Wild.)

(I actually saw an old GGW videotape on a road near my house a few mths ago. Someone ripped all the tape of it and left it and the box in came in strewn along a sidewalk. It was there for weeks. The first time I walked past, I only just glanced at the box and thought it was porn at first because Brookline.)

And I wonder why I’m still sloughing through vacation recaps!! FOCUS.

OK, what’s with the (ish) in this blog post title, you might (not) be asking? Well, Kolmarden is actually this enormous zoo in Sweden that JUST HAPPENS to house one of the world’s best roller coasters, and arguably the coaster with the best view, Wildfire. You know one of my bucket list items is to ride every RMC in the world. I guess I would have imagined that I would conquer the ones in Texas and California first, yet here I am, about to cross the only RMC in Scandinavia off of my list.

Wildfire. Shit son are you even serious right now. I was SQUEALING.

After the disappointment earlier at Skara Sommarland, the whole group was looking forward to some positive vibes.

I love this picture! Should I print and frame it? Do I have any wall vacancy??

OMG the thing about Kolmarden is that it is massive and you have to walk up a fairly steep hill straight away. One of the girls that hated me had to sit down halfway up because she was so winded. Thank god I have been training for this unknowingly for the last years! Professional walker up in this zizzoo.

See the entrance down there on the lower lefthand side? Now see the sign for Wildfire all the way up there in the upper right? Lol. Pray for us.

(JK I WAS FINE. PRAY FOR OTHERS.)

THOOSIES ON THE LOOSIES.

!!!!! I-FUCKING-CONIC. HOLY SHIT.

A 10 minute wait. For an RMC.

Do these non-thoosie local zoo-goers even know how lucky they are to have this incredible coaster in their ZOO??

LOL that red thing on the righthand side of the photo is the “clown nose” on my phone case. Sometimes it gets in the way when I do .5x pictures.

WILDFIRE STATS.

(Fun fact: I have spelled Wildfire incorrectly every single time so far because we are now up to 4 SIPS OF WINE.)

OK real talk: this is not my favorite RMC. BUT, it was still a terrific ride! I do have to say that my favorite part was the view from the turnaround after the lift hill.

HERE watch this POV!! I’ll watch it with you:

MY EVERLOVING LORD. I am so thankful that Rocky Mountain Construction exists. Did you see that beautiful view at the top?? That’s what I BELIEVE TO BE the Bråviken Bay, part of the Baltic Sea.

We got to split into groups and do a tour of the maintenance shed, which involved us CROSSING THE TRACK while the coaster was running. The maintenance supervisor was like, “You guys are enthusiasts so I know I don’t have to go over safety rules which you” and I was like, “Mm, that’s because you haven’t met me, but OK.”

I was so embarrassed/annoyed at Henry because we were getting off the coaster when he noticed that a small group of us were being taken down to the infield for the  tour and he was like “LET’S GO” because two other people form our group who had just gotten off the coaster also tagged along, but WE WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO DO THAT. Tim was separating everyone into small groups at the exit after they were getting off the ride, and we BROKE THE FUCKING RULES and went rogue EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT WANT TO DO THIS. I felt like such an asshole.

HENRY IS NEVER RIGHT. I knew it was wrong to follow his lead!!! If this truly was Rumspringa and I was following some creepy bearded American man into a restricted coaster area, you know I’d be waking up in row 4 of the spare train in the maintenance shed, missing half of my organs and hair slick with track grease.

Dude.

I got to get a shot of PAM AND KEVIN riding together, from the restricted area of the brake run!! That non-Coaster Crew broad is looking at us like, “WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE MILLING ABOUT IN RESTRICTED AREAS, SHOULDN’T A SIREN BE SOUNDING.”

In line for ride # who knows at this point! Henry is…wow, why are you here, Henry? Do you even like coasters?

Getting credit #2 (there were 3 in total!).

This one was taken by Larry and sent to Chooch, everyone’s favorite Oh Honestly. That’s Jean and Arnold in front of us! <3

Dude, vegan gyro for dinner at the zoo! We sat with Pam! TMI but I was feeling REALLY SICK after this, but I think it was mostly from the McDonald’s. The last hour or so was V.UNCOMFY for me. LOTS OF BATHROOM BREAKS IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

ERT after the zoo closed! Here’s Chooch riding with his buddy Sam!

Ew Henry.

The one bad thing about Wildfire is that the ops were like NO, YOU MUST SIT WHERE YOU ARE ASSIGNED even if there was literally no one else waiting. It was whatever. At least during ERT we got to do whatever. Oh!! Tim got to dispatch one of the trains during ERT too!!! I wish I had a video but it was after I claimed defeat because my stomach hurt so bad that I needed to sit down, doubled-over, in a large rock.

Afterward, we had a very long walk back to the bus.

The bus was parked next to a PICKLEBALL COURT, BOOOOO.

Then we drove to our hotel for the night in nearby Norrkoping, which I blogged about in real time.

And here’s a video which includes scenes from the drive to Kolmarden featuring A WASP INCIDENT where Brent was like I AM ALLERGIC AND WILL DIE and Lucas was like I HAVE TRAINED ALL MY LIFE FOR THIS, HOLD ON SIR while Henry aggressively shoves food in his mouth like he’s an ACTUAL viking (have I mentioned how EMBARRASSING he is?) and I accidentally show you a view of Up My Nose. Then we have Wildfire stuff, and Norrkoping footage!

Oct 152023
 


Ugh I have been lowkey dreading this recap because it was truly the only disappointment of the whole trip. Skara Sommarland was pretty out of the way from our next destination – the amazing Swedish zoo, Kolmarden. But it was worth the detour because it has this one crazy S&S coaster that is OOAK and therefore a rare credit. There were two other coasters there so 3 credits in total were to be had.

But since it was out of the way, we had to forego that good Curiosa breakfast in favor of a 6:30am bus call and bagged breakfasts.

I felt like a heel because there was this whole discussion with Tim the day before about how he was going to handle my breakfast – he asked if I could eat an egg sandwich and I was like yes for sure, I’m just a plain ol’ vegetarian but then reminded him that Chooch is one and he was surprised because I guess this whole time he thought it was just me, hi I’m the problem, it’s me.

(Will be whipping myself later for quoting T.Swift.)

Anyway, Tim was like, “I DID NOT KNOW THAT, I WILL SEE WHAT I CAN DO” and then said later that we apparently would have specially-marked bags, right? Well, the next morning, my bleary eyes saw two carts of bags: one cart was unmarked, the other cart had bags that said LACTO.

I grabbed one of those but then panicked and thought maybe it was for someone who was LACTOSE INTOLERANT but then I saw someone in front of me with the same bag (we had a new bus on this day and the seats in front of me were a cluster of 4 around a table so now I had two people semi-facing me) and I panicked even more so I gave Henry the bag back and told him to go back and return it because it must be WRONG but he came back and said there were no other specially marked bags.

THEN someone in front of me AND behind me complained that their sandwiches didn’t have MEAT on it so I guiltily said, “Um, maybe you have mine, because I’m a vegetarian?” but it turned out that NONE OF THE SANDWICHES had meat on it so people were really annoyed about that and I lowkey worried that this due to a miscommunication, like maybe Tim was all, “Hey-yo Curiosa friends, two of these sandwiches need to be meat-free” and they forgot how many he said so they defaulted to all sandwiches being vegetarian??

I don’t know, if Chooch was reading this he would say, “It’s not that deep.”

There was also orange juice and yogurt in the bags, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, now that we had a new bus, Marie and Eric didn’t want to sit at the table facing people so they moved to the other side of the bus and sat in front of Chooch. (Justin’s) Kevin sat in front of me and Jimmy from GP Coasters sat next to him, and then Lucas and whoever his friend was who might be the only person whose name I never learned, now that I think about it, sat on the other side of the table facing my direction.

This was all very irrelevant and probably a whole ass fucking snooze for you to read, my deepest apologies.

30 minutes before we arrived at Skara, Tim received an email from them saying that their MAIN ATTRACTION was down and they were waiting for a part to come in from another park. When he made this announcement, the mood dipped pretty low. We still had to go, it was paid for, we drove so far out of the way and it was, I guess, too early for us to go to Kolmarden. So, we had to make the best of it.

They even opened the park early just for us. The original plan was to have ERT on Tranan grab the other 2 creds, and GTFO before GP entered the park.

But then we got inside…

and learned….

….that only the spinning wild mouse was running.


It was soooo rickety. I rode with CoasterKev and asked him, “Do these normally shake this much?” and he went, “Nope! Not usually.” Cool cool!

THIS FUCKING THING WASN’T EVEN RUNNING!!

The only concession the park staff could make for us was to get some other dumb flat ride to run for us, where, as luck would have it, we were “transported to the swampy areas of the United States.” Henry actually rode this with me because everyone was riding it so he wanted to fit in, I guess. If this actually was the United States, he would have been sitting on a bench, holding my purse, and chuckling at IG reels.

Oh yeah and at one point, they were testing Tranan so everyone was screaming, but it was all for nought. It never ended up running for us. The part probably arrived right after we left, too! We probably passed it on the road!

lolol

Then we departed for McDonald’s! BUT FIRST, there was drama because Kevin was missing!! I remembered seeing him come onto the bus and he appeared to have taken his stuff and left, but I didn’t think anything of it. So Tim was doing a silent head count of the upper level everyone around us noticed Kevin’s empty seat and pointed it out to Tim who was like WHERE IS KEVIN? KEVIN ANSWER ME and Kevin wasn’t answering. But then Tim called him on the phone and confirmed that he had moved downstairs so Tim signaled for the driver to PULL OUT BABY.

But Chooch was like, “THERE ARE THREE KEVINS, WHAT IF TIM CALLED THE WRONG ONE AND NOW KEVIN IS LIVING IN RURAL SWEDEN??”

Also what if: I made a WATTPAD story about the Coaster Crew Norden group?!

McDonald’s was fine except that I felt really rushed and didn’t know what was going on and then Henry fucked up and didn’t get a receipt so we didn’t know what number we were. It’s always something.

But at least McDonald’s has a veg menu. If this was a US trip, Chooch and I would be eating fries I guess.

LOL as I’m writing this, one of the Coaster Crew members posted this on his Instagram story and it is so relatable:

OK, I’ll end here and the next post, we’ll pick up with Kolmarden day 1!