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.


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.

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