Aug 192020

I was texting with my pal Laura about how bored and sad we are in our covid bubbles, and it made me start thinking of all the fun we had when she was still living in Pittsburgh. Yes, she’s one of the many who escaped! Good for her! This place is….just ok.

Waaaaay back in 2011, I had this brilliant idea that we should go to two amusement parks in one day. Granted, the parks I had in mind are super piddly and can barely even be considered full-fledged amusement parks, but it still seemed like a super fun to say CIAO FOR NOW to summer of 2011.

I remember having a huge row with Henry over this (lol, not really: it was basically like this: he said no, I screamed, he said fine) because we had just come back from a week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and this was back when I was still working part time and money was tight yo, and not as in “cool” but as in “barely there.”

But in the end, I won and Janna and Laura came along for the ride. It ended up being a really fucking fun day even though the parks are lame (I typed lamesauce and then yelled, “EW WHO AM I” and deleted).

Anyway, please enjoy these old photos of Chooch sans-front teeth while I go back to painting 740187408734087315 tigers on my front door. #CovidArtProject


First Stop: DelGrosso’s

All you really need to know about DelGrosso’s is that I got really fucking sick. I had just rode back-to-back spinny rides with Chooch, Laura and Janna (one of which was the Tilt-a-Whirl, and Chooch and I kept laughing because Janna rode alone; I am raising my child right, in case you haven’t noticed) before agreeing immediately to ride this thing called the Casino with Chooch.

Laura and Janna opted out.

First, Chooch and I had to stand next to an unoccupied seat, waiting for the girl running the ride to help us unlatch it while everyone who was already situated stared at us like they couldn’t believe it was our first time at an amusement park. The girl kept getting distracted, or she was just pointedly ignoring us, who knows; but I should have taken it as a sign and walked away.

Instead, we stood there like idiots until the door was unlatched for us (there were like, three whole steps to unlock it; no way would I have ever cracked that code) and then within one and half revolutions, I felt my equilibrium throat-fucking me.

Really, it wasn’t so bad: just some slight undulating motions as the roulette wheel spun us around, but then, joy of joys, it went BACKWARDS.

And that is where my first trimester of pregnancy came back to haunt me. I instinctively reached into my pocket for a peppermint disc, but I didn’t have any on account that I am not actually pregnant anymore.

Oh, look at Little Miss Thrill Ride Queen, nearly barfing all over the occupants of the Casino.

One more revolution, and it would have been that puking scene in Problem Child all up in DelGrosso’s.

After the ride ended and we waited to be released from our maximum security cell, Chooch skipped off into the horizon while I staggered slowly after him, finally nailing the zombie gait that I so pathetically pantomimed during my zombie self-defense class last spring.

Without a word to Janna, Laura and Henry, I slowly took a supine position on a bench.

“Maybe the train will be a nice break for you,” Laura suggested, so we all got in line for the most lamest amusement park train ride of all time. We didn’t make it on right away and had to stay in line for one more go-around. I considered sliding down the wall into a heap of sweat, stomach acid and minced stomach lining instead of standing with everyone else.

I was that nauseated that even standing was giving me the spins.

However, I was not too nauseated to laugh evilly when an older woman got out of her seat before the train started to take a picture of her family, only to lose her balance and fall back into the seat, sprawling across her embarrassed husband’s lap and absolutely cracking the fuck out of her shin.

It was a pure delight to witness. I guess it wasn’t all that exciting though because Laura and Janna admitted afterward that they must have missed it. It gave me tears, that’s how much I enjoyed myself.

The train ride did not help my churning stomach. I clutched the front of the seat with whitened knuckles, wishing the sunshine would un-blanch my complexion instead of coaxing the bile up my throat.

Afterward, I waved the white flag and collapsed on a bench. I urged Henry to take Chooch to kiddieland and encouraged Janna and Laura to ride the Crazy Mouse again without me.

“Don’t worry about me,” I moaned in the stoic tone of a fallen soldier. “I’ll be fine.” And then I wept behind the privacy of my sunglasses.

Everyone rejoined me after about 15 minutes and I decided that I needed to try and eat, so we all trooped back over to the food area, where Chooch and I sat alone on a bench, me with my head between my knees.

“Let’s go on the Wacky Worm again,” Chooch cheered.

I started to say, but then on second thought, I said, “Yeah, OK. Let’s do it.” And damn if that fucking ride didn’t make me feel better.

“Where were you?” Henry said when we found him holding a plate of pizza.

“On the Wacky Worm!” I shouted happily.

“But you’re sick…” he started.


Laura and Henry both wore black shirts because they’re in a pigment race gang.

We rode the Wacky Worm one more time before we left, while Henry stood sullenly off to the side and stared with disapproval.

“So, what did you think of the Wacky Worm?” I interrogated Laura on the way back to the car.

“It’s a…ride,” she answered uncertainly.



The thing about Lakemont is that as far as amusement parks go, it’s puny. Nothing about it is really “new,” except this time when we were there, we noticed that one of the rides had been removed so maybe next year there will be an upgrade in its place. And how shocking that would be. Especially if it was anything manufactured post-1980.

But for some reason, I love the hell out of this park! People-watching is prime, the rides they do have are an amalgamation of bizarre and retro, and best of all—it’s cheap. Extremely cheap. We always go on the same weekend in September when Lakemont hosts some sort of Altoona craft bazaar, because it’s only $5 that weekend and there is almost no lines to stand in at all.


One of the bigger draws at Lakemont is a small wooden coaster called Leap the Dips, which also happens to be the oldest running coaster in the WORLD.


It costs an extra $2.50 to ride it. They didn’t charge extra the last time, but I guess this is their effort to do everything possible to maintain and preserve it for future use. The old man who sold us the tickets was hilarious and teased us mercilessly. He wouldn’t hand over the tickets until I was able to tell him how much it would cost for three. This of course caused sweat-on-the-brain but I was able to answer before Janna and that’s all that matters.

It’s so old that the young farm-handish employee had to actually run and push our car to give it momentum. But not before making fun of my iCarly messenger bag. (He accused it of being Hannah Montana and I felt the vinyl flap featuring Carly and Sam’s mug heat up as it rejected his insinuation. )

Janna and Laura quickly learned the meaning behind “Leap the Dips” as they were nearly catapulted out of their seats when we went over the first dip and our car became airborne.

It’s one fucking rough ride. Henry won’t ride it due to the fact that it agitates his hemorrhoids.


Lakemont’s Wacky Worm is definitely the Toboggan (I finally learned how to spell it! Gold stars all around!). This was Chooch’s first time riding it and he took to it immediately. We must have been ejected from that vertical tube 20 times that evening. Such a stupid yet fun ride.

If we’re being honest, it was the guys running the thing that kept me coming back for me. They were hilarious and cute and coveted  my iCarly messenger bag. The thing with the Toboggan is that there is a lot of sitting around in the cars, waiting for your turn to be carried up through the tube and then waiting for all of the other cars to come back before being unlatched and set free. But these two guys would walk back and forth, antagoning us, showing us stupid magic tricks and just being all-around completely entertaining.

It made me remember why I enjoy Lakemont so much — the kids working there actually give a shit about their jobs and have fun doing it! What a novel concept!

OK good, I did spell it right.

Isn’t it majestic?

Someone watches too much 16 & Pregnant. (EDIT FROM ERIN IN 2020: wow, I think I might have been a lot meaner in 2011 :/ )

Moments later, I almost lost an arm and leg when Chooch stamped down on the gas pedal before I was all the way inside the car. It was a pretty great scene for all the people standing in line.

This was the first time I was actually proud of my kid. Not for nearly spontaneously amputating me (though I would finally have weighed less!), but as far as riding things at amusement parks go. Of course I’m already proud of his sarcastic, biting words; knowledge of horror movies; and independence in the kitchen. He rode the shit out of everything he was tall enough to ride and I felt like we were really in sync with each other that day as we frolicked from ride to ride; even Henry rode his fair share AND EVEN SMILED AT TIMES.

Considering we had spent the morning screaming at each other over money, the day ended up being pretty spectacular and Henry even held my hand at one point (!!!) and said he was glad he came along after all. See that? My brilliant day trip ideas SAVE RELATIONSHIPS.

Can’t wait to do this again next September! WHO’S IN?


On the drive home, Janna admitted to not being able to see, provoking Laura and me to nervously suggest in tandem for her to pull the fuck over. Since I was now driving, I told Janna it was her turn to entertain us, and after whining for awhile about not having any stories, she launched into this shoddily-detailed narrative about going to a party when she lived in DC but then ended up getting a chili dog instead and then parking in a loading dock by her apartment and eating it in the car. I kept waiting for the climax, at the very least a car-jacking, but nothing ever happened other than her eating a chili dog while illegally parked.

Kids, don’t blow off parties for chili dogs or you too will grow up to not have any stories to tell.

[Read Henry’s harrowing account of the day here.]

Feb 292020

Last week, Indiana Beach announced that it’s not going to open for the 2020 season and I was like WHAT YOU SHUT YOUR FACE INDIANA BEACH. While we only ever visited this amusement park once, it gave us a lifetime of memories (such Hallmark words coming from me, I must definitely have a fever, let me check—99.4!!!! THAT’S GETTING CLOSE!!!). I actually had been tossing around the idea of trying to make it back out to this park this summer, and I’m bummed that it won’t happen now (unless someone buys it! CEDAR FAIR?! THE KENNYWOOD PEOPLE!?!?) so I have been mourning the loss of such a unique, historic park by watching YouTube videos of my favorite coaster enthusiasts having fun on the Lost Coaster, which was one of the most unique coasters I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding.

I’m taking a break from my obsessive-compulsive temperature-taking and ritual hand sanitizer application to share with you, today, my day at Indiana Beach from 2014. RIP to a super quirky, incredibly fun amusement park in some small town in Indiana. Sigh.



My criteria for planning a road trip is pretty simple:

  • Are there friends along the way that I can impose upon?
  • Does my Roadside America app approve of this route?
  • Are there amusement parks in the vicinity?

I’ve wanted to go to Indiana Beach (fun fact: not actually a beach) for awhile now, and it seemed logical to combine this with a long overdue visit to Michigan to hang out with Bill, Jessi and Tammy and also meet up with some other ladies I have been Internet friends with for YEARS. (More on that later!)

We had to drive through actual farmlands to get to Monticello, Indiana, at which point a man of about 100 years of age collected $7 from us and told us where to park.

Which was “anywhere in the wide open, empty parking lot.”


We got there right when the park opened, and not only was it a ghost town, but none of the rides were running. We roamed around for awhile, getting turned away from the Hoosier Hurricane and wasting time at the shooting gallery. Also, the humidity was so bad that it felt like Hell with the lid on; my face took on the sebaceous sheen of a glazed Christmas ham in no time. It was disgusting. But not so disgusting that I would consider visiting the dilapidated water park portion of Indiana Beach, which was included in regular admission because the lazy river wasn’t running. God only knows why not.


No thanks, dirty pastel water slides. God only knows what kind of fungi you’re getting ready to launch into my vagina. (I have phobias, OK?)


Chooch killed some time at the shooting gallery, while I paced around, waiting for the adjacent Frankenstein’s Castle to open their dumb doors already. I refuse to partake in the shooting galleries at amusement parks because HENRY won’t teach me how to aim. So I almost never hit anything. And then I pout, which morphs into an inevitable Hulk Rage later on.



Fuck you, Henry.

Lame Henry didn’t get the ride-all-day wristband because he’s too old to have fun at amusement parks now. But he sure does enjoy the ones with free general admission so that he can walk around and complain for nothing. I promise you, we broke up at least 87 times that day.


The main (OK, the only) reason Indiana Beach made my list is their staggering collection of THREE dark rides. Two of them, The Den of Lost Thieves and the most-anticipated House of Frankenstein were basically the last rides to open that day. But oh, were they worth the wait.

The Den of Lost Thieves is a shooting ride, which I generally do not enjoy. Kennywood took out a great dark ride, the Goldrusher, and replaced it with a modern shooter-type dark ride and the only thing remarkable about it is how incredibly boring it is. I would gladly bypass this one every time we visit Kennywood, but Chooch always drags me on it. I hate waiting in line for it too! You wait and wait and wait only to get put in this holding room, like a foyer, where they force you to watch some animated portrait on a wall telling you the story of Ghostwood Estate and then the door opens and it’s a fucking free-for-all. Everyone pushes their way through so even if you were the first one in line before entering that room, chances are you’ll take a fanny pack to the groin and wind up 17 people back.

So when I realized that the Den of Lost Thieves was also a shooting ride, I was like, “Damn, we drive 8 hours for this?” But it turned out to be FANTASTIC! Old, musty and full of old-school scares. I loved the shit out of this ride. Especially since I got more points than Chooch.



Another dark ride in the park doubled as a coaster! It was called the Lost Coaster of Something I Forget Who Knows. There was no one in line when Chooch and I walked past, so I shoved all of my belongings into Henry’s chest and bolted for it.

“Um…it’s gonna take a few minutes,” the older, orange-shirted ride operator said. “It got stuck, and I’m waiting for someone to push it back out.” Oh OK, no big deal, you guys. Rides get stuck like all of the time, right? And probably not back-to-back times, right?

He said something about the cars not being “properly weighted” and I was like, “Oh well if you’re looking for all of the weight, you’ve come to the right thunder thighs.” Four more people joined us right as a mechanic came grunting out of the fake cave, pushing the double mine cars in front of him.

The ride operator seemed confident that we had enough bodies to successfully propel the mine cars from start to finish, so we loaded up with me and Chooch and some lady and little girl in one car, and a guy and kid in the one behind us.

Awkward thing about this ride: four people fit in a car, but the seats face each other, so unless you’re with three of your homies, you get to stare at strangers for the next two minutes and I hate that you guys. Looking at people who are looking at me, it’s just…ew. Not for me.

This ride was pretty thrilling and volatile, just like a relationship with me! All of the ups and downs and whiplash and violent shoves. Will you need a PFA? Maybe! And then…nothing. It just stopped, right in the middle of the dark cave.

“Is it supposed to do this?” I asked the people in the car with us.

“I DON’T THINK SO BUT THE STEEL HAWG GETS STUCK ALL THE TIME,” answered the little girl in an octave only little girls can manage.

****Mental note to be wary of the Steel Hawg. (Which never opened that day anyway, so moot point.)

Anyway, guess what guys? We were stuck! I think this may have been my first time ever getting stuck on a ride, too, so thanks Indiana Beach! That’s a cherry I sure needed popped.

As if it wasn’t hot enough that day, now we were stuck inside some muggy faux-cavern, in a near-enclosed car, with no rescue in sight. I had sweat rolling into my eyes and mouth, I could feel it dripping from the backs of my knees, my whole person was slick with the moist essence of PANIC.

And I had these strangers staring at me and I had nothing to say other than nervous laughter and then the kid in the car behind us started to cry and his dad was mouthing off about how this was such BULLshit and Chooch kept meowing and I was like, “WHY IS NO ONE TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WITH US OVER AN INTERCOM OR MORSE CODE OR CROP CIRCLE?!” And then finally, after a good FIVE MINUTES OF NOTHING, that same disgruntled mechanic came trudging up the track behind us, shouted an answer to a garbled voice over his walkie talkie, fumbled with some switches in the breaker box next to us, and then said “Enjoy your ride” just as the motor kicked in and we went STRAIGHT DOWN A HILL. Oh that’s right, we were stuck on the zenith of a hill and had no idea because it was so dark in there. So…that was definitely a thrill.


Meanwhile, Henry had been dreaming of buying a taco all day. That’s what he’s thinking about in this picture, as a matter of fact. Indiana Beach has a taco stand that was apparently featured on the Food Network for some reason. I love me a good taco, but I knew that Indiana Beach was for sure not going to have a meatless option. So Chooch and I decided to get pizza and then Henry was going to get his coveted taco afterward.

Except that Chooch only ate one slice of his personal pizza and Henry acted like a motherfucking martyr and ate the rest of it. Like, who cares? Sometimes I think he does this shit on purpose, like he’s some Leftover Scraps Hero. OK, you ate three small slices of crappy pizza, good for you.

Oh, you ate the rest of Chooch’s waffle for breakfast? Well, FUCK Henry. Thanks for taking one for the team. Shit.

I knew all of his moaning and groaning over this would eventually paint a bigger picture, and I was right: Now that he had eaten Chooch’s pizza, he was “too full” to get a taco, and that was ALL THAT HE WANTED, you guys. A fucking taco, but now Chooch and I had ruined his life by having the audacity to get pizza for our own lunches. Last time I checked, no one was forcing pizza down Henry’s enlarged hatch.

I kept coaxing him to get a taco, but he was being such a bitch about it. He was acting offended almost, like he was on a porn diet and I was trying to get him to succumb to peer pressure by showing photos of naked broads going to town on tacos.

So bizarre. Maybe he’s trying to fit back into his SERVICE costume?


Wistful thoughts over the taco stain on his shirt that could have been.


Dreaming of brushing a taco with his moustache bristles to the tune of a Selena song.


He had his chance right here! Going, going….


Gone. This was right after he said, “I DON’T WANT ONE NOW. JUST FORGET IT.” Oh wow, someone’s come down with a case of the Erins.

Imagining a lake where all the sailboats are tacos and he’s a great, venerable taco sailor.


Not buying a taco.


Yeah Henry. Don’t forget. Bitchbaby motherfucker.

(I think Mexico might find it hard to believe that the world’s best tacos are in Indiana.)



Honestly was about to scratch a Will on my leg with a paint chip from this sad, downtrodden Paratrooper—it was such a janky ride! On one hand, I was like, “At least if we’re flung from this shoddy piece of mechanics, we have a 50/50 chance of hitting the lake and surviving” and then on the other hand I was like, “EW I DON’T WANT TO TOUCH THAT GROSS WATER!”

I’ve only ridden on one set of Paratroopers more run down looking than this one, and that was at the Washington County Fair.

A fresh coat of paint goes a long way, Indiana Beach. Just pretend like each umbrella is one of Tammy Faye Bakker’s eyelids. Go wild!


Faces of Paratrooper survivors.


That guy has what we call 1950s Indiana Swag.


I love the Tilt-a-Whirl so much but not on days where elves are spooning viscous scoops of oil from my facial pores to use as liliputian love-stick lubricant. Let me spell it out for it: IT WAS HOT AND HUMID. I can’t ride spinny rides when I’m in the throes of heat stroke. But Chooch rode this three times in a row. God, good for you, Chooch. Why don’t you just write a song about it on your dumb keyboard, ugh.


Obligatory ice cream cone shot. Can I get any more predictable.


Seriously, these guys. I was obsessed. Also note: this was pretty much how crowded it was all day until late afternoon when the water park mysteriously closed down and a horde of Indiana’s finest invaded the park like beached whales.

Pale, so pale, very pale beached whales.


This is not where I got my ice cream.

I haven’t even finished writing about this park yet and I’m already trying to con Henry into taking us to another one. I’M NEVER SATISFIED. Just ask the doves when they cry.


I read some reviews online (because that’s what I do: read amusement park reviews all day long; I don’t have any friends to occupy my time, remember?) that complained about the employees were terrible. This was definitely not the case on my visit, because they clearly know I have a blog and want all of the glowing words written about them. I will say that I didn’t have a single run-in with surly orange-shirts all day. And I even left the park with two favorites: the dude from the Lost Coaster ride and this sweet Russian broad from the Hoosier Hurricane.

The Lost Coaster guy reminded me of the Salute Your Shorts camp counselor, Ug, in that he thought he was way cooler than he was and tried to act tough by yelling things like, “LIKE DON’T SIT ON THE RAILING!” But I guess he was still more intimidating than me because Chooch never listens when I tell him to get off the rail but when Ug hollered it, Chooch hopped off with a quickness.

I accidentally left my phone on the ride and realized it about 3 minutes afterward. When I ran back up the exit ramp to the ride platform, he was checking the next riders’ seat belts and casually holding my pink cell phone and it just made me crack up so bad.

“Hey, that’s my phone,” I said in faux-outrage and he put his hands up.

“I tried to chase you down but you were already gone!” he explained, handing it back over and we both had a good laugh. Why, I’m not sure. But I think I probably was definitely in the beginning stages of heat stroke by then so everything was funny to me except for things that Henry said/did/didn’t do because those things just made me inexplicably ANGRY.

OK, now let’s talk about the Russian. (I mean, after I type out hundreds of words that seem totally unrelated to a Russian broad, of course.)

A few days before we left for our road trip, Chooch acquired some sort of cut/scrape thing on the top of his ankle. Something about he went to kick a soccer ball, missed, tripped over it, bent his foot all the back and scraped it against the sidewalk. Then he proceeded to wear Converse high-tops, which ended up rubbing his scrape raw while forming a blister all at the same time.

So now he had a mutant cut/blister injury in addition to his foot hurting in general from being bent all the way back. He would be fine in the morning, but once he started walking too much, it would aggravate the wound and make his ankle get all red and slightly swollen.

The humidity that day, and also the OINTMENT (I love that people hate that word) that Henry slathered on the wound, made Chooch’s ankle too MOIST (hahaha) for Band-Aids to stay adhered for very long. So when were walking up the metal-grated steps of the Hoosier Hurricane coaster, Chooch forgot how to walk and fell, banging his ankle against the metal edge of the step below him, knocking off the Band-Aid and making him wince in pain.

Henry wasn’t with us, since he wasn’t RIDING anything that day, so I had to try to be a mom and tell Chooch things like, “It’s probably going to be fine” and “You’ll probably still have a foot after all of this is over” and “PLEASE START WALKING, I REALLY WANT TO GO ON THIS ROLLER COASTER.” As soon as we made it into the station, a super sweet Russian girl took down the chain for us and said to Chooch, “Oh no! What is happened to you?” But Chooch was still blinking back tears so I had to do my best to make it look like I hadn’t abused my child.

“There is first aid down there,” she said, pointing over her shoulder. She was really concerned about Chooch’s ankle, which was really endearing. But then we got stuck standing awkwardly next to her while we waited for the coaster to come back, so she made broken-English small talk about the weather.

“It is hot,” she said in a staccato.

“Yeah,” I agreed, struggling for words. And then after a stretch of about 30 million acres of silence, I thought of something else to say. “That, uh, humidity makes it worse.”

“Oh yah! The humidity is worst!” she agreed, and I thanked the arrival of the coaster for interrupting our cliche weather discourse.

She made sure Chooch and I were safely buckled into our seats and then said, “Enjoy ride!” and I secretly hoped it was meant just for us and not any of the other sweaty bastards behind us.


After we got off the ride, Chooch ran ahead of Henry and me because he knows everything, including the way to the first aid trailer. Eight-year-olds don’t need parents, you guys. By the time we caught up and walked into the first aid trailer, Chooch and the park medic were just sitting there silently, Chooch on the edge of the bed and the medic at his desk.

“He just came in and sat down,” the medic explained. “Said he was waiting for some people.”


And then Chooch relayed the entire, sordid saga of the Origin of the Wound.

He loves to talk about it. Last night, as soon as we got to his piano lesson, he sighed and mumbled something about his foot hurting. (Side note: that fucker is pretty much healed by now, so I guess he’s experiencing fantasy pains similar to Henry’s imaginary war wounds that don’t exist because Henry was never in an actual war when he was in the SERVICE.) “Oh no, what did you do to it?” his piano teacher Cheryl asked.

“Ugh, why does everyone ask me about it?” Chooch cried and I was like, “OH OK, MY LEFT FOOT, MAYBE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T STOP BRINGING IT UP.”


Here’s Henry re-doing Chooch’s Band-Aid 3 minutes later.


There was another Russian girl working the Cornball Express, another roller coaster, but she wasn’t as nice. I mean, she wasn’t a dick head or anything, but she didn’t go out of her way to smother us with attention like Hoosier Hurricane did. The other Cornball Express girl routinely helped me unbuckle my seatbelt all 137 times we rode that coaster (honestly, there were no lines to wait in). Chooch, who had quickly mastered the secret of the Houdini-approved seatbelts, kept crying out, “Oh for Christ’s sake, mommy!” Before eventually just not waiting for me anymore.

I seriously have never struggled so hard with a seatbelt in my life. It was almost embarrassing. Ok it was embarrassing.


After hours of stalking Frankenstein’s Castle, those fucking garage doors were finally a’lift and we had the confusing task of trying to add dolla dolla bills to the Indiana Beach cash card thing. I forget to mention that this is one of those amusement parks where, if you don’t want to plan on riding much, you can load money onto credit cards and then scan it before you get on the rides. Even the ride-all-day wristbands have barcodes on them and everyone is required to stick their wrist under a scanner at the front of all of the lines. Waldameer Park in Erie does this, too. It’s annoying, but whatever.

Anyway, Frank’s Place wasn’t included in the ride-all-day admission price. Some dark rides are like that and while I’m not exactly sure of the reason (Chris? Can you help here?), I have a few theories, mostly that it’s a restoration thing. It was an additional $3.50 per person and BE STILL MY HEART, Henry actually paid for THREE. At first, I thought maybe there was some sad albino kid in line behind us, tugging on Henry’s bland heart strings and making him do charitable thangs. (I didn’t want to end on a rhyme. You understand.)

But no, he was paying for himself! Henry was finally going to not sit on a bench with his nose pressed against his phone, looking at Pinterest! (Honestly, Chooch and I made fun of him from every line in which we stood. Because why not.)

As soon as the ticket booth broad granted us admission, our nostrils were slammed with the unmistakable vintage bouquet of moth balls and Aunt Edith’s cedar closet of muumuus. It’s a smell that I love because it means old school amusement park. Fuck those flashy sterile, steel concrete jungles known as Six Flags.

I want that fancy dark ride musk.

If they bottled it as perfume/cologne, that’d be a surefire way to get me into your backseat.

(Oh come on, don’t pretend like you thought I was classy.)


“I just paid $3.50 to walk through a fake castle with two screaming d-bags. I bet that taco would have also cost $3.50 and have been way less annoying.” – Henry, if he ever thought about anything.

After sitting on a bench and listening to a crackling recording about what scares we were about to encounter, a disinterested young Indiana Beach employee opened a door and ushered us in for the “OMG crashing elevator” segment. At first I thought this was going to be totally lame, and that part was, but then she opened another door and set us free, on our own, to shuffle through the guts of a mostly pitch-black haunted house.

Here is Henry’s review:

It was fun. I got pushed through by two scared little people. That’s about it.

Wow. Titillating as always.


There were no scare actors, just the effective non-use of light bulbs, enclosed animatronic displays that managed to pop on when I was always the most unsuspecting, moving floors and enough enclosed spaces to make a claustrophobe fake their way through the rosary.

THIS IS A CLASSIC DARK ATTRACTION. One that keeps it real and doesn’t rely on modern, high-tech scare tactics. Let me put it this way: there are chicken doors located throughout the length of the castle and if Henry hadn’t gone in with us, I guarantee the first one would have a chunk taken out of it in the exact outline of my body.

This is the type of haunt you want to walk through with the person you’re obsessively crushing on or maybe the hipster you just met IRL on Tinder and want to terrorize in the dark with rusty hedge clippers while wearing your mom’s skin on your face. Butterflies!

I’d go back to Indiana Beach every summer just for another 10 minutes inside Frankenstein.


Dec 192019

Every video I watched about Silver Dollar City gave a shout-out to the candymakin’ biddies at Brow’s Candy Factory. They give demonstrations throughout the day, so we made it a priority to catch one. Am I officially turning into an old person? Mayhaps.

I said “mayhaps.”

Fuck, I’m old.

The demonstration we caught was two of the Olds pounding out some of that famous Silver Dollar City peanut brittle. Of course, it was full of puns and dad jokes at which I laughed loudly because I knew it was making Chooch angry. Then they said that the only way the candy audience could receive a sample was by singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and I am THE WORST at knowing lyrics to Christmas songs. Those broads were actually checking the crowd too, making sure our mouths were moving, and of course every time they looked at me was at a part I couldn’t remember so I just mumbled my way through it.

And I got my sample! Most people approached in an orderly fashion but Chooch and me, and a handful of kids, were acting like it was auditions for a sport, that is to say, we were aggressive. I wanted a sampled while they were still warm, OK?!

Yeah, it was nice. Was it the best peanut brittle I’ve ever had? I don’t know — all peanut brittle tastes the same to me.

OK so you know me, the RMC-whore that I am: Outlaw Run was the main reason I wanted to come to this park that’s nearly 13 hours away by car. Everyone at work was like “bitch you cray” but if any of you are legit coaster enthusiasts, YOU UNDERSTAND. RMC is like the hottest coaster manufacturing company out there right now and I am a slut for their refurbished woodies. If you ask me, they’re the best thing to come out of Idaho since, I don’t know, potatoes probably.

Luckily for us, Outlaw Run was running all day, in spite of the weather. Although, when the gates open, we ran straight for it only to find out it was temporarily down for maintenance. Hilariously, there was just a very small crowd of us bee-lining toward it, and literally every other motherfucker veered off to another path in order to line up for one of the shows. This is why I love parks like SDC and Dollywood! Everyone goes for the shows leaving all of the rides a veritable walk-on.

The first time we rode it, some young ride attendant was assigning seats. When he tried to put us in the fifth row, I asked, “Could we have the back instead?” He tossed a furtive glance over his shoulder toward the back of the train, and then nodded. We always consider these such huge wins because we have little else going for us in life.

While we were standing in the back, waiting for the train to return, I spotted Henry standing with all of the other parents waiting to photograph their kids when the train left the station. I waved to him just as the young ride attendant* looked over at me and thought I was waving to him so he waved back and then I think he thought I had a crush on him because he smiled at me every time we came back to ride again so that was cool.

*(I forget his name! I want to say it was like, Kyle, or something and I only know that because the ride operator called him out OVER THE MICROPHONE at one point for sitting down and forgetting to assign seats, lol wow calm down buddy, there wasn’t much going on that day.)

Empty line—for an RMC!? This was when we came back for a night ride and proceeded to get off and run right back into line three times because…when an RMC is a walk-on, you GET THE FUCK BACK IN LINE. It was us and this group of three young kids who kept getting off and running back on but they were SO FUCKING ANNOYING and Chooch was like drowning in schadenfreude one of the times because the one kid got his coat snagged on the gate so we were able to breeze past him and then the other two kids had to stop and wait for him HAHAHA SUCK IT, ASSHOLES.

To get back in line, you have to run all the way through the Outlaw Run gift shop, which is where Henry was always waiting for us and he was getting so furious because he was ready to leave but we kept huffing, “JUST ONE MORE TIME!” as we galloped past him. One of the times, the lady working in the gift shop calmly told us not to run so we were like SORRY and slowed to a speedwalk until we got out of the gift shop and then we kicked our legs into high-speed cartoon-running-on-air mode.

The Outlaw Run station looks so beautiful lit up for the Christmas season!

So maybe you’re wondering, “Was it worth dragging Henry and his brokedown back on the half-country trek?” YES. YES IT WAS. That ride was fucking nuts, as RMCs tend to be on principal. Especially at night, once you got to the top of the hill, you were dropping down into a pitch-black valley and that track turns and whips you in ungodly ways even in the sunlight. I couldn’t figure out what was going on!

In case you need FACTS: This was the first wooden roller coaster manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction and the first wooden roller coaster with multiple inversions. It really was a gamechanger and even though we’ve ridden newer RMCs, I would still say that this one holds up. My ONLY complaint is that it is infuriatingly short in length. It wasn’t too much of a deal breaker for us on this day since we were literally just walking right on it, but if I had been there on a busy day and had to stand in line for anywhere longer than 30 minutes, I’m pretty sure my opinion would be bleak.

We learned later that the ringleader of the kids we hated was named RYDER because of course he was.

Here’s a fun fact about Silver Dollar City: It’s built on top of a cavern, tours of which are included in the cost of admission! Of course Chooch and I wanted to partake in these subterranean shenanigans. Apparently though, there was flooding in part of the cave so they were only offering half-tours which meant instead of riding the tram out of the caverns, we had to walk up the steps we descended to get into it. Thank god I’m in shape, because it was like 30-some flights of steps I think they said?

Henry was unable to join us for this underground tour of puns because in the very beginning of it, there’s a true-size cut-out of the lowest opening you’ll need to walk through once in the cavern, and Henry couldn’t bend down enough to get through because of his back which cracked us up because we’re shitty people but yes, I know: REALLY NOT FUNNY, SORRY HENRY.

His back is practically fine now so don’t pity him too much.

Anyway, I’m always down for a good cavern tour and this one was really enjoyable. The theme of the tour was “guano” because that’s what was found when the cavern was first discovered, just a…shit-ton of guano.  I’d be interested in going back again when the full-tour is available though because we didn’t get to the waterfall room, whatever the fuck that its! My favorite part was when our tour guide was like, “Screw that tree outside, we have our own Christmas tree” and then lit up a giant tree made from strings of lights (see above picture!).

But yeah, the cavern is the reason Silver Dollar City exists today, so props to you, underground world.

When we made it back out of the cave, Henry was waiting for us inside the gift shop. “They’re getting ready to light the tree,” he said, and I was like, “OMG RUN!” for some reason, because I am apparently super into the lighting of Christmas trees now.

I gotta admit, it was pretty magical. I thought the lights were just being projected onto the tree because the images were so cool, but Henry verified that there was actual lights on each branch.

And then we just meandered about and enjoyed the lights, like normal Americans. That’s what you people do, right? My favorite part was when we walked by a stage with some strange man in a shimmery green blazer playing the piano. He stopped to talk to the audience and as we walked by, Chooch screamed, “MERRY XMAS” and everyone turned to look at us. Henry was really happy about that.

In case you were wondering, SDC celebrates the TRUE MEANING OF XMAS so there’s all kinds of Jesus shit everywhere.

The only argument of the day happened beneath this wreath. All I wanted was one quick shot of Chooch and me but there was a family of like 10 who were totally monopolizing the area like it was their fucking backyard and it went from one group picture to, “NOW WE NEED ONE OF JUST SUSIE AND TED. OK, NOW ANNE AND TOM” and so on until I was certain that they were doing this on purpose because they knew I was waiting to get a picture.

When it was finally all clear, Henry took a blurry picture and also cut off the top of the wreath because that’s what morons do – cut off the tops of things in pictures. So I completely lost it but then Chooch and I went back to Grandfather’s Mansion and I was OK again.

And that concludes my Silver Dollar City review. I’m excited to go back in warmer weather and ride the stuff that was closed!

Dec 152019

In spite of Henry’s back being broken and half the rides not running because of the weather, we still had a great time at Silver Dollar City! Here’s some photos of us being a moderately happy family. (Hey, we only had one fight and that was all the way at the end of the night when we were all cold and tired so that has to count for something, right?!)

Here we are on the shooting dark ride that I made Henry ride with us and he was all bent out of shape about it for some reason, maybe because he knows how competitive I get when it comes to these rides.

I actually really dislike it when a dark ride has the shooting element to it. It distracts me from the actual ride and by the time it’s over, I have no idea what I was even looking at aside from tiny targets and the score on my stupid gun.

Even still, I liked this one because it wasn’t just a dark ride, it was ON A BOAT.

I just tweeted last week about losing more weight but you would never know it because I still like a hunchbacked tree trunk in pictures. Don’t worry, haters! Anyway, I’m still posting this because Chooch looks cute and also we give no glories to your God so this picture is pretty hilarious.

In line for Thunderation, which I kept calling Thunder Nation, and then I was confusing I was singing it in my head to the tune of Rhythm Nation and it was just a real mess inside my skull.

I wasn’t ready.

If you’re into posing with tons of Christmas character things, then Silver Dollar City’s got you covered, boy.

Just because you wear it across your chest doesn’t make it any less of PURSE, Henry.

The only thing that disappointed me about SDC, and this is really reaching, is that their carousel was SO SMALL. Like, it was so small that I was convinced it was just the Kiddy Land version and that there had to have been a real carousel elsewhere in the park BUT NO, this was it.

Also, the old people running the ride were adamant about NO CELL PHONES OR CAMERAS once the ride started so we had to fucking hurry and get our pictures while the ride was still being loaded. I was angry because the first time we rode it,  Henry and I claimed our horses behind the one Chooch chose, but then Henry got off for .000005 seconds to give Chooch my phone to take the picture and in that short amount of time, two fucking kids came and took the two horses next to me, one of which was Henry’s so I was like WHAT THE FUCK, KIDS and we all had to get up and run to another spot where we could sit together.

What inconsiderate assholes.

“They were like 7, Erin,” Henry said but please read this in WHITE KNIGHT font.

Love you, SDC, but your carousel is beat.

Because I’m a monster, I made them ride it again later so we could try to get a better family picture. This time, we were the ONLY PEOPLE RIDING IT and a different old person ride operator was really nice and asked, “OK, did you get your picture?” before starting the ride. We are such embarrassments.

Anyway, I love how the wind was blowing Chooch’s back in such a way that it looks like this was the most thrilling ride in the park.

(It wasn’t. That was Outlaw Run. More on that in another post, I guess, because why not drag this out for as long as possible so I can continue being stressed about having shit to do when none of it is even necessary but I guess I’m just addicted to never-ending To Do lists.)

Speaking of Outlaw Run, here is a picture of Chooch and me in line for Outlaw Run at the end of the night when we marathoned it. I don’t know why my face looks like I just had a stroke. I think I must have been squinting against the cold?! #excuses

There was this funhouse-type thing called Grandfather’s Mansion or something and it was just one of those roadside attraction-esque explorations in gravity. There was one room that had a wooden bed and the challenge is to lay down on it and then lift yourself up without using your arms or legs. We were watching all these people trying and failing to it, and it looked like some huge struggle, so then I tried it and expected it to be impossible but I popped myself right up. Henry was like, “Well you because you have abs” and I mean, I am constantly doing ab exercises subconsciously while watching my shows, so I guess I do “have abs.”

Don’t worry – I still have lots of fat covering them so don’t get all jealous, haha. There are no bikinis in this bitch’s future.

OK, I have “errands” to do today so I’ll come back another day and tell you about some of the rides, THE CAVERN!!!, and the Christmas lights. Silver Dollar City is a real gem – who knew that Branson, Missouri was so cool?!

Dec 112019

True to form, we got to Silver Dollar City right as it opened at noon. Henry LOVED the fact that they have a FREE PARKING LOT with trams so you don’t have to pay $25 on top of the already exorbitant ticket price. I was really concerned while we were sitting on the tram, waiting to depart for the entrance, because it was almost unbearably cold. The weather was allegedly around 38 degrees that day, but the windchill was a fucking Ice Queen. And Chooch almost forgot to bring a jacket AND packed all t-shirts, but thankfully we were only 10 minutes from home on Saturday when it occurred to me to inquire about his coat situation, and then he had a random flannel in the trunk.

Not that it mattered because Henry still had to go to the local Branson Target once we arrived that night in order to buy the dumb kid gloves. Mr. I Don’t Get Cold. Yeah, right. He’d have perished at Silver Dollar City in jeans, t-shirt, and bare hands!

For as much as we travel, you’d think we’d be better at packing. Nope.

You’d also think we’d be better at not leaving things behind in hotels. Nope x2.

As soon as the tram dropped us off (Chooch and I waved to other tram-drivers that passed us by on the way because we’re both in preschool and get super-kicks out of receiving reciprocal waves), we joined the small crowd at the entrance JUST as they were announcing that the gates were opening! Woo! Security was a breeze because only Henry was carrying a purse (lol) so we didn’t have much to be checked. However, I was low-key panicking because Henry the Dishonest LIED when he purchased the tickets online and bought the child’s ticket for Chooch who is TWO YEARS out of the age range for such a ticket!

“No one is going to know, and if they say something, I’ll pay the extra $10—it’s NOT A BIG DEAL,” Henry kept saying. But to me, it was! I never try to cheat the system! But Henry kept saying, “I’M NOT RIDING ANYTHING ANYWAY BECAUSE OF MY BACK SO IT ALL WORKS OUT” but I don’t think they have “bad back trade offs” at amusement parks!

So we stopped by the on-site chapel and asked for forgiveness.

Chooch made fun of me for like an hour because when we were walking out of the chapel, some old couple was on their way in and I jovially said, “It’s nice and warm in there!” THIS IS WHY I DON’T BOTHER MAKING SMALL TALK WITH PPL ANYMORE, BECAUSE SON OF THE YEAR IS SO QUICK TO POINT OUT HOW DORKY I SOUND.

I give up. Take my human card away. I’ll just talk to cats from now on. I have better rapport with them anyway, sigh.

You might be confused why a place like Silver Dollar City would appeal to me, since it’s down-home-y and Bible Belt-y, and this is also true for Dollywood. Look, if there weren’t rides here, there is no way you’d catch me loitering with a bunch of elder-dorks, watching shows and eating skillets. But since this place DOES have rides, I allow myself to enjoy the quaint charms it has to offer. I  mean, it is a theme park, after all, and the people who work there go above and beyond to make you feel like you’re in a world without swears and, I don’t know, porn. It’s very wholesome and sometimes I need some of that cheesy bullshit in my life.

It kind of reminded me of the time when I was a kid and I went to this festival in Ligonier, PA called Ligonier Days and it was like, a place for blacksmith enthusiasts  to really pop off. I remember kind of having fun except that I was with my friend Kristen and her step-dad was weird, but there was a place that was selling the motherlode of slap bracelets and people hadn’t yet begun reporting that the bracelets were slitting the wrists of their children, so I bought a ton of them in designs I didn’t have yet, because I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know that I was obsessed with slap bracelets and had a huge collection.

Me and collections, man.

Anyway, I sometimes say out loud that I want to go back to Ligonier Days sometime but, it’s been 30 years and this bitch ain’t been back since.

But yeah, if you’re into amusement parks themed after mining towns that also has a fantastic Christmas event, then get yer ass to Branson, Missouri, missy. Look at how fucking quaint it is!

During our weekly meeting at work, I was telling everyone about our trip to Silver Dollar City and Nate quickly googled it.

“Yeah, well did you get your picture with THIS?” he asked with a smidge more than a hint of smugness in his tone.

He swiveled his laptop around to show me a picture of the ABOVE SANTA BENCH and I was like, “What, you think I’m some sort of amateur?!”


I love this coat so much but fuck if it doesn’t make me look like Big Bird’s chunky bluebird stepsister.

“I want to sit next to him so I can put my hand on his knee!” Chooch shouted, wedging himself in between me and plaster Santa.

We had only been inside the park for 30 minutes before our noses led us straight into the bowels of Nellie’s Homestead, where we got an apple turnover slathered with homemade apple butter.

I wish I hadn’t shared it. I wish I could go back in time and get my own and run to the nearest corner where I could hide and devour it in peace.

It made me think about when I was into Western music and really enjoyed the band Turnover and I went to see them one time and the singer was dressed in a very blatant “Papa H” style. It was weird.

And then we went to Brown’s Candy Factory to watch this pioneer broad making fudge and also to snag some samples. I always think that I’m not a person who eats fudge but then every time I actually eat fudge, I think, “WOW, FUDGE IS ACTUALLY GOOD.” But then some time passes and I go back to believing that I don’t care for fudge.

We really dropped the ball and FORGOT TO GET CINNAMON BREAD. Hopefully we will be going back in the summer though and can remedy this.

Somehow, I didn’t go into the taffy store but Henry did? It must have been one of the many times Chooch and I ditched his invalid ass. Also, we bought so much taffy at that one candy store in Historic Downtown Branson that my teeth actually just twinged while I wrote this portion of the blog post.

Chooch and I got wassail and I cried, “YOU’RE NOT GETTING ONE TOO?!” to Henry, who frowned in response. Chooch realized almost immediately that he didn’t like it so he gave it to Henry and then I couldn’t finish mine so I gave it to Henry, and now Henry had two wassails and mumbled, “This is why I didn’t get my own.”

There are also a bunch of shops that sell down-on-the-farm, Americana home interior bullshit. I’m not about that life, but I didn’t mind perusing. Mostly because it was warm inside those shops. But like, why is everything that boring Rae Dunn-style bullshit these days?!

It was pretty obvious that the temperature wasn’t going to reach the number it needed to be for several of the coasters to open, but I still kept refreshing the weather app all day like a girl sitting at the window waiting for her dad to come home when she knows deep down that he ran off to be with his mistress and bastard.

Chooch always has to get a park map for every amusement park we visit. We were standing near a chicken & waffles cart, trying to find which route we should take to get to Outlaw Run when they dropped the ropes, when some man came over and asked Chooch, “Where’s the nearest bathroom?” He looked like he was a security guard because he was wearing some dumb reflective vest, and he asked in such a jovial way that I thought he was jokingly giving Chooch a pop quiz, but it turns out that he was sincerely asking for the nearest bathroom for the people he was with.


(Henry was there and didn’t think it was funny.)

And here we are, standing in front of the famous SDC Christmas tree, pretending to enjoy wassail, before venturing over to one of the roped-off areas of the park and start the final countdown to 1:00pm when the rest of the park opened for business.

Stay tuned for more Silver Dollar City pictures and bullshit words.

Nov 152019

I’ve been putting off writing this Part 2 post because it could very well be the LAST AMUSEMENT PARK POST OF 2019 unless I get my Thanksgiving Miracle and Henry takes his loving family to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.

Earlier that day, some broad told me at Target that she loved my sweater, and Chooch quickly mumbled, “I don’t.” He hates it when I get compliments in front of him. And then when we arrived at Dorney, the guy at the security check told me he liked my phone case. EAT IT, CHOOCH!

We didn’t do any of the haunt stuff because we didn’t stay late enough on Sunday for when they began, but I will say that of the three Cedar Fair parks we visited during the Halloween season, Dorney was the least decked-out. However, the Street Drum Corps – Blood Drums were performing at one point when we were walking to Demon Drop so that was pretty cool!

Pumpkins make everything better. It’s such a mood. Peter Pumpkin Eater’s wife was so lucky that she got to live in a pumpkin shell.

Wait….did he put there and then eat here?!


The last time I rode Demon Drop was in like…1992 when my family went to Cedar Point and it was one of the worst family trips ever and my stepdad and I fought the whole time and my BFF at the time was with us and my parents (and brothers) liked her so much better than me so I had to deal with that shit the whole time on top of feeling like I was going to die on the Demon Drop, so riding it again in 2019 really brought back some feelings.

IT WAS HORRIFYING. As soon as our stupid cage reached the top, I started shrieking about how I made a mistake, I didn’t want to do it anymore, and coincidentally, these are the same things I screamed when I was admitted for my dreaded C-Section.

This is why I don’t do drop towers.

One of the things I liked about Dorney is that they had veggie nuggets at one of their food places, and also the Beyond Burger. Granted, it was an exorbitant price ($17 for Chooch and me to each get one burger, no fries, no drink) and the “fix-in’s” were self-serve, but it was still a nice chance from the standard slice of pizza that I usually end up eating at vegetarian-unfriendly amusement parks.

Guys. You know what time it is.

Family Carousel Selfie time!

I love this new tradition! I never gave a shit about carousels before but now it’s like “WE CAN’T LEAVE WITHOUT RIDING THE FUCKING MERRY-GO-ROUND, BITCHES.”

Chooch was on the deer until he realized that it didn’t go up and down so then he switched to a horse and I was so afraid he was going to get yelled at because it was right when the carousel alarm sounded, and I hate getting yelled at by ride attendants!! This stems from the time I was 7 and my shoe fell off on the Paratroopers and the ride attendant (I can still picture her!!) yelled at me afterward and made me cry and my friend Amy’s mom was like, “BITCH, DON’T YELL AT THIS CHILD” and then the ride attendant probably cried because Amy’s mom could be really mean and loud.

Also, I never wore sandals to an amusement park ever again after that.

Alsox2, this is probably the 12th time I’ve told this story on my blog, but look – it really shaped who I am, OK?!

Carousel mirror selfie.

One ride I consistently skip at amusement parks is the bumper cars.  I love the look of the bumper cars, and how they’re attached to the weird wire-mesh ceiling and it creates sparks as it moves. I love how it sounds, and how it smells. It’s very nostalgic, but I never feel compelled to get in line.



It’s still my dream to replace my couch with vintage, refurbished bumper cars.

Chooch was excited because one of the dumb claw machines was full of the same exact generic “air pods” he won by selling cookie dough. Those good-good TWSI7s.

This year, we managed to go to 12 different amusement parks. 12! That’s not a lot for hardcore coaster enthusiasts, but it’s a record for my family and I can honestly say that I am living my best teenage life. It has been so much fun riding roller coasters with my family! We’ve had mostly excelsior experiences at each park—I’d easily rank Tokyo Disney Sea as my #1 and drop-kick Cedar Point straight down the elevator shaft—and I’d say that Dorney was a solid middle-ground. I really don’t have any complaints about it, and the only low point of the day was caused my own lack of nourishment and has zilch to do with Dorney’s operations.

We only stayed at Dorney until around 3, because we had a 4 hour drive home, which of course always ends up being way more than that. I really liked our time here and I’d like to go back next summer when the water rides are open, because I love me a good log flume and I think they have one there?!

Nov 142019

Chooch told me last night that people might actually read my blog if I was more relevant. “You need to like, write about boomers or something,” he said, suddenly becoming my blogging manager. Well sorry, but here I am with another post about amusement parks for the 1%! Enjoy!

On our second day of the Weekend Whiplash tour, we visited Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. It’s part of the Cedar Fair chain so we were able to use our passes. This was actually how I convinced Henry to make this autumn amusement park trip – “Oppa-yaaaaaaaaa, we won’t have to pay for the park! It can just be a day trip! I’ll help drive! I won’t eat anything!” but once he agreed, I launched my signature manipulation move by “negotiating” a/k/a whining and crying until he agreed that we could also add Lake Compounce in Connecticut.

“We’re going to be right there!” I cried, and by “right there” I meant 3.5 hours and three states away.

Anyway, you already know this! Now we’ll chit-chat about Dorney, which is a park that I’ve wanted to go to numerous times in the past when we’re on our way home from somewhere else and I see a sign for it, but then forget all about it once we get back to Pittsburgh. It’s definitely on the lower-end of the Cedar Fair chain, as far as size and coaster collection go, but it’s still worth a visit if you’re into amusement parks!

Like most (all?) of the Cedar Fair parks, their kids area is themed to Snoopy so enjoy that, I guess. Chooch certainly did.

We took these pictures while Henry was in the bathroom. Literally, we had just gotten there after stopping at like 87 gas stations and even a Target (I NEEDED TAMPONS OK GOD WHY DO YOU HAVE TO PRY INTO MY BUSINESS) but he still has to immediately bee-line for the nearest rest room upon entry to any given amusement park.

OK, Chooch.

The first coaster we rode was Talon, and it was a walk-on. I didn’t think I would care much for it, but this was a real pleasant surprise, my friends! It was smooth, the first drop was thrilling, and I didn’t get a head-banger’s headache afterward.

I watch this one theme park YouTube channel called In The Loop, and when my favorite vlogger of the crew, Legend, reported from there with his girlfriend Molly (my actual favorite) and talked about the “jojo roll” on Hydra, I completely latched on to that for some reason. I mean, first of all, “jojo roll” is a ridiculous name for an element so of course I’m going to start obsessing over it. It’s actually just a heartline roll, but it’s specifically when that element happens before the lift hill, and on Hydra, it happens as soon as you leave the station.

So we were all, “YEAH JOJO ROLL!” but then after that, it was just “a ride.” Nothing super spectacular, but it’s a really beautiful coaster nonetheless – I loved the color scheme and the Hydra sign! Also, I believe this is the only floorless coaster in Pennsylvania, which seems weird that Hershey doesn’t have one, but there you go. Something to seek out if you’re in PA and a floorless aficionado.

After this, we ran to the main attraction (for us): Steel Force. This was actually going to be Chooch’s 100th coaster before we added Lake Compounce to the mix, because we love us some hypers. I don’t think anything will ever replace Phantom’s Revenge in my heart, because it’s a homepark sweetheart and that second drop is unlike any other in the world, but this one was REALLY FUN.

Chooch and I went straight for the back and Mr. Defiant Henry was like, “THEN I AM GOING TO THE FRONT.” You can see in that picture up there how much of a crowd we had to contend with.

Steel Force line selfie!

I wouldn’t rank Steel Force above Magnum at Cedar Point, but holy shit this was a sweet ride! I think I spent most of the time out of my seat. It wasn’t too painful either, whereas I do experience some back-crunches on Magnum. Yeah, this ride is pretty fucking beautiful. My co-worker Megan told me that she was there one time when people were getting married on it!

I guess it used to be a world record-holder when it was constructed in the late 90s, and it still holds the record for being the longest steel coaster on the east coast. I’m sure this part of this blog post will not age well.

I was annoyed because the one ride attendant who looked like the world’s biggest David Draiman fan made Chooch and I get off the dumb train and run all the way back around and get back into line when we asked if we could just stay on – THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE IN LINE. Ugh, parks and their rules. Whatever. So we had to run like maniacs because we wanted to get on the same one as Henry, since he was still standing in the only line that had anyone in it – the front. We didn’t make it though because a dumb slow couple got in front of us and we were soooo angry.

Anyway, this tiny moment manifested into this huge internal drama where I fucking hated the ride attendant and I was so annoyed because he kept jovially talking to all the people who were in the front row and I was like STOP TRYING TO ACT COOL and then I tried to accuse him (behind his back, because that’s how I do) of not checking my seat belt on our second ride but Chooch said he actually did come back there to my side but I wasn’t paying attention. PROBABLY BECAUSE I WAS SEEING RED.

Then, on our third ride, Chooch and I opted for the front row that time so I sadly had to stand near him.

“OK, I gotta ask,” he started to say to me and I got SUPER TENSE because I DID NOT WANT TO TALK TO HIM AFTER THE INCIDENT*. “Did you get your coat the Cruella DeVille store?”

*(Chooch was over it way before I was. But I didn’t like the way that guy shook his head at us and said, “You have to get off and go back around.”)

Literally, I went years and years without anyone but the one homeless lady who sits outside of the gay bar Images on Liberty Avenue making any type of comment about this jacket when I wear it, but this particular weekend was rife with comments and compliments. (The young girl at Dorney’s gift shop was like I LOVE YOUR COAT and probably thought I was going to say I got it from Forever 21 and not some years-defunct clothing boutique for young sluts. (Contempo, lol.)

I didn’t even bother coming up with a witty retort. Instead, I fake-laughed and said, “Yeah you would think” because YOU WOULDN’T LET US STAY IN THE BACKSEAT AND RIDE AGAIN, YOU DIME STORE ANDRE AGASSI.

I’m sure he’s otherwise a very nice guy. Henry seemed to get along fine with him. But, that’s Henry, the White Knight for all Thoughtless White Men.

Other coasters rode but not shown: Possessed, which is an inverted impulse that I want desperately to call “Possession” instead, like it’s based off pf some imaginary 1980s film noir prequel to “Fatal Attraction” starring Glenn Close. Anyway, it’s a smaller version  to Wicked Twister, a/k/a Spaghetti Noodle, at Cedar Point. We rode this one in the back and it was straight-up terrifying. Henry didn’t ride it because he’s a big baby when it comes to launch coasters, wah wah wah.

We never pass up the vintage cars! Unless the line is long. We don’t care that much.

When we were in line, we witnessed a legit pile-up. First of all, I don’t care how many signs there are posted that say NO BUMPING and STOP HERE – when you’re letting small children zoom off unsupervised, what do you expect is going to happen when they roll up to the station and there is no ride attendant there yelling for them to step on the brake? THEY’RE GOING TO KEEP GOING. And this is exactly what happened when some, I don’t know, 1st grader I guess, came zooming around the bend, ignored the STOP SIGN because he’s like 6, and crashed into the line of cars waiting to go. There was a woman in the process of getting out of the first car in line, and she nearly fell out of it when the crash happened, and then one of the ride attendants was all, OH SHIT, and had to run over to step on the brake because kids are dumb.

I was super worried this was going to happen to us when we were sitting in line waiting to go!

Anyway, the course was really short, but at least we got to ogle some jacks.

Look at dumb Henry, watching us like a proud parent. He also took a video of us cruisin’, which offends me and I cannot post it here because his Instagram account is private like anyone cares enough to creep on him.  People who hate him just lash out at him through me, anyway, so what’s it matter?!

Meanwhile, some Monster Truck event was happening, because Dorney has an entire Monster Truck Thunder Alley which replaced some roller coaster that was probably way better than Monster Trucks but whatever. Anyway, the Grave Digger guy was there and only a few kids were talking to him so I was like, “You should go over there” and Chooch was like, “But I don’t care about Monster Trucks” and I was like, “Yeah, but that guy is here so we should at least pretend.” And that’s how Chooch got stuck having a conversation about the weather with the Grave Digger guy because he had nothing else to say to him.

Nice guy though!!

By now, we were entering the Hunger Zone, and I was starting to sporadically growl the word “CUNT” while spewing demonic pea soup, but instead of sitting down to eat, I decided  to get in line for the last coaster we needed – the stupid Wild Mouse. I guaranteed Chooch earlier that day that it would be the longest line we’d stand in all day, AND I WAS RIGHT. A while whopping 15 minutes. I entertained myself by emasculating Henry via KakaoTalk. The picture above is him reading my texts while his dick folds in on itself in humiliation.

But you guys! All the cars were mice except one, which was a CAT, and we got the cat! That was enough to make me block out the hunger pains!

Yeah boi! View from the top! Look at all those fall colors!

Here you can see “Possession Starring Glenn Close” in the background, and also part of the woodie, Thunderhawk, which was A-OK. I literally don’t remember anything about it.

One last ride on Talon (!!) before leaving and starting the 4 hour drive home. What a great weekend!

Nov 092019

When I first started looking at information on Lake Compounce, their “haunted graveyard” was an optional event so if you just wanted to go to the park without doing the haunt, you could. I thought that would be a good way to get Henry to agree to, um, extending our road trip because he is a Halloween Scrooge and just doesn’t enjoy haunted attractions that much (“no one ever tries to scare the old guys!” he whined once, so there’s the truth).

But then on the way there, I went to their website to buy the tickets and that option was gone. Now the tickets were one price, and it included the haunt. Henry grumbled about this because he’s a tightwad who is always trying to save a buck, but….TOO LATE TO TURN BACK NOW.

When we got there, there were little day-glo clown vignettes set up here and there and I was like, “Oh wow, I’m so glad we paid extra for this.”

Was this it? The Haunted Graveyard?! It was just a small plot of land dotted with tombstones, and apparently there were several scheduled performances of “Thriller” over there during the course of the night too.

It did make for a really cool photo op, though!

Eventually, we found the area where the actual haunt was. Our tickets said that our time slot was 9:30, and we almost didn’t stay that long because it was SO COLD, but then I was like, “Well, it’s included in our ticket, and it’s not that crowded here, so we might as well just go and check it out.”

HOLY SHIT. Thank god we did, because this ended up being the BEST haunt we went to all season, maybe even the last several seasons. In some little amusement park in Connecticut, no less!

We only had to stand in line for about 15 minutes, where I was harangued by a clown who was obsessed with questioning me about my jacket. Do you know that I have had this jacket since…maybe 1999 or 2000? And this was the first time anyone has ever made Cruella DeVille comments?! And it happened again inside the haunt when someone growled in my ear, “How many dogs do you have?” and I missed the perfect opportunity to say, “I brought two of them here with me.” Then a butcher said he wanted me and mooed, haha.

I’m getting ahead of myself though! The organization of the line outside of the haunt was fantastic – they split everyone into corrals so it kept the line moving faster. There was an older couple in front of us (the guy reminded me of Nicholas Cage and had really dorky commentary throughout) and a larger group of friends behind us so I was originally worried that there were too many of us. The lady at the door of the “church” was like, “Enjoy your 45 minute walk through” and we looked at each other, like, “There is no way we’ll be in there for 45 minuutes” BUT WE WERE and every single second of that time counted. I have to save the details for my haunted house journal but the Haunted Graveyard took us through a myriad of different scenes and themes, and each one was filled with scare actors who gave a shit about their roles.

It was le magnifique, you guys. I was sweating by the time we got out of there, and also, the large group we were paired with was hilarious without being annoying and I loved them.

I asked Henry the other day what his favorite part of the weekend was, and without hesitation he said, “Being there with you” JUST KIDDING he said, “The Haunted Graveyard.” That is really saying something!!

Now, please enjoy some photos of our time at Lake Compounce once the sun went down.

Y’all know we can’t go to a park without a carousel selfie.

We didn’t like Henry’s attempt so we got back on again after it stopped. “Who even re-rides the carousel?” Chooch mumbled.

Us, clearly!

Chooch always takes the best ones so we put him in charge.

But that means we have to take the whole “Chooch’s Carousel Photo Package” which always includes a picture of him patting his horse’s butt and usually a close-up of him forcing himself to have triple-chins.

There were only two downsides to the whole experience at Lake Compounce: it was really cold and I was woefully underdressed (I only let Henry get this close to me because I was that cold) and the s’mores stand, which cost us $12 for two s’mores while a group of morons shuffled around behind the flames, half-assedly toasting marshmallows, running out of Hersheys bars and then leaving their station without telling the customers what was happening, and then serving up s’mores that had no semblance of gooey, melty, campfire goodness. I took one bite out of mine and gave it to Henry. “I’m not wasting calories on this,” I said, and then pouted for a few minutes but I recovered quickly because everything else about the park was so nice and inoffensive.

No line-jumpers!

No weirdos!

No broken down rides!

They even had this county fair food trailer thing that apparently was seen on Stranger Things, Season 3!

The kiddyland area was closed for the season, but it was appropriately clown-themed and I was obsessed.

WTF lol.

DID YOU KNOW that Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously-operated amusement park in the US? Well, now you know, thanks to my blog and my mediocre Wiki-reading skills.

I love riding the little cars in amusement parks to begin with, but it’s even better during the Halloween season!

I’d like to go back sometime during the summer and see what the park’s like during the day, maybe ride some water rides, but I think we got a pretty good feel for Lake Compounce during our 6 hours there last weekend and I would definitely recommend it, ESPECIALLY if you’re a ho-bag for wooden coasters like myself. Boulder Dash is just really on another level and I would even say it’s worth the price of admission—I think we paid $32/person because we had a $5 off code, but prior to the day we were there, I saw on their website that you could pay $29.99 if you were only going to the park and not attending the haunt, so I’m not sure what their regular season deals are like. Plus, it’s in a general proximity to other parks, like Dorney in Allentown, PA, and Six Flags New England in Massachusetts.

Another unusual thing is that there was no one there that pissed me off. Usually, at every park, there is THAT ONE PERSON that acts a fool in line or makes loud nose-noises or whatever I deem offensive at that point in time. And then naturally I see them 87 more times throughout the course of the day. But I guess Connecticut has OK peeps.

(Except for that Sandy Hook motherfucker. We passed signs for that town on the highway and it made me incredibly sad.)

Goodbye, Lake Compounce!

After we left, we drove for about an hour and stayed at some Super 8 in Danbury, and the hotel itself was actually fine and clean but since Henry is the king of waiting the last minute to book a room, the only thing they had available was a room on the smoking floor and Henry took it, thinking it would be fine, but my whole entire overnight bag still reeks of cigarette and I had to mouth-breathe until I eventually fell asleep because it felt like the pillow was smothering me with smoke.

I really liked the blue walls, though…?

Nov 082019

We already had decided to go to Dorney Park in Allentown during the first weekend in November, because it’s included in our Cedar Fair passes, still open for Halloween festivities, plus we were on a quest to get Chooch to 100 coaster credits by the end of the year. This was a pretty easy one to convince Henry of, because Allentown is only about a 4 hour drive.

But you know what’s only another 3 hours away from that?

LAKE COMPOUNCE in Connecticut!

My reasoning was that we were already going to be out “that way” so why not tack on a second park!? Henry was like, “THEY ARE NOT CLOSE TO EACH OTHER AT ALL.” But I just kept nagging and harping and whining and then I had that really Bad Halloween which wasn’t even really that bad but you know me, Queen of Hyperbole.  Finally Henry declared defeat and so we went to Lake Compounce on Saturday, yay! I’m a spoiled brat!

The reason I wanted to come here is all because of one roller coaster – Boulder Dash. It always comes up in various lists for the best wooden coasters and everyone knows wooden coasters are my favorites. But then Chooch apparently watched a video about Boulder Dash on his own, so he started to bug Henry about wanting to go here too and Henry was convinced that I put him up to it (I didn’t, but that’s definitely not something that’s beneath me); sorry, Henry, you live with two coaster enthusiasts. You lose.

Anyway, we rolled up to the park about 30 minutes before they opened at 5:00pm and there were only about 20 other people there. This was our first time ever coming to Lake Compounce, so I wasn’t sure what kind of crowds to expect, but as it turned out, it never really got very crowded as the night went on and most rides were a complete walk-on.

Some young guy in line with us had on navy pants imprinted with sail boats. Oh, Connecticut.

Chooch wanted Boulder Dash to be his 100th coaster, so we had to go on two other coasters first.  Phobia was first on the list and we were the very first ride of the day! And we were the only people on it too which was creepy. This coaster was pretty much exactly like Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and I forgot how terrifying it is.

Even Henry rode it because I think he’s going through some sort of midlife crisis where he’s trying desperately to be more a part of our lives and less of a bench-sitter? I mean, he even has his dorky safety-strap for his glasses just so he can ride coasters with us, what a team player.

Ugh, the second coaster of the evening was Zoomerang, the park’s Vekoma boomerang. We were also the first people to ride this one, and Chooch and I were the ONLY ONES ON IT which made it all the more terrifying. Henry sat this one out because he knew it was going to be a rough one, and boy was he smart to do so. This piece of shit was so rattly and jerky that I was honestly unsure if we were going to make it around for our return trip to the station.

I posted this on Instagram and my friend Veronica was like, “Girl you know it’s true” and a more perfect comment has never been crafted.

But yeah, there’s a fun fact for you guys! Who knew?!

OK, finally it was time for Chooch to snag that #100 so we ran over to Boulder Dash which was honestly the only ride in the park that had any semblance of a line that we had to stand in. Chooch and I immediately got in line for the back row because back row is the best row, le duh.

This was a bucket list coaster of mine and I couldn’t believe I was getting a chance to ride it! Boulder Dash is famous for being a terrain woodie – the lift hill is flush with mountain. On the way up, you have beautiful views of the actual boulders that dot the terrain, and the rest of the ride is practically a collision-course down and around the side of the mountain. Hence the name Boulder Dash, y’all.

I definitely felt out of control on it, and the train seemingly jumps the track through the entire ride so the danger-factor is there in full force.

This wasn’t my favorite wooden coaster but it’s definitely earned a spot in my heart for being unique and just flat out wicked!

The sun was already starting to set so it was hard to get any pictures of Boulder Dash, but you can see part of the track on the hillside over there.

We rode it 4 times that night – twice in the back, once in row 5, and I think the longest we stood in line was probably 25 minutes when we wanted to sit in the front seat. I always recommend the front row for night rides, because there is really nothing like seeing an expanse of utter darkness whirling past you, totally throwing off your orientation and bearings.

I think the peak ride for me was when Henry and I rode together in the back at night and the climax of Zedd’s “Clarity” was playing in the station when we came back in. I was so pumped!

Also freezing. It was very cold in Bristol, Connecticut on that November night and I needed approximately 4 more pairs of socks and to swap out my cute-yet-thin cow-print jacket with an Alaskan parka.

When Chooch and I were in line for the front, he decided TO TAKE OFF HIS JACKET to prove to me that it wasn’t that cold and I was like “YOU ARE CRAZY AND ALSO EMBARRASSING” because it was fucking knit-hat weather that night, you guys. I was kicking myself for leaving my gloves in the car (Henry said I wouldn’t need them!!) and here’s my weird kid flexing his hot blood in line for a roller coaster. Everyone there was bundled up but then I stupidly pointed out that some kid who was currently in the train waiting to go was only wearing a t-shirt, so that inspired Chooch to ROLL UP THE SLEEVES OF HIS SHIRT SO IT LOOKED LIKE HE WAS WEARING A TANK TOP. I can’t with this stubborn kid. I just can’t. He kept his shirt like that during the entire frigid ride in the front seat too.

Anyway, here he is on his 100th coaster! Also, I was too cold to put my arms all the way up. And could Henry look any angrier?

One of the times Chooch and I rode without Henry, there was a young couple in front of us in line and the girl said to the boy, ‘I appreciate you” and then was trying to get him to wear her gloves because she was so concerned that he was too cold. I remembered this last night and was telling Henry about it.

“I was like, ‘WTF is happening right now.’ It was so weird.”

“It’s called LOVE,” Henry spat and then gave me his signature “what is wrong with you” look that, now that I think about it, everyone seems to keep in their back pocket, ready to slap on, when they talk to me.

Chooch thought the left seat of the fifth row was the best for some reason, so he rode there alone while Henry and I waited for the back. I don’t know what he’s doing in this picture – pantomiming putting on exam gloves?

The only other coaster at Lake Compounce is Wildcat, a smaller, family-friendly woodie. It was….OK. Not as rough or painful as I thought it would be, but it also didn’t have us running back in line either.

Henry thinks he’s so cool.

I really liked Phobia a lot, and it was a walk-on every time we rode it (one of the times they let us just stay on). But I think Boulder Dash was just wonderful and it was a solid, classic #100 for Chooch!

Going to amusement parks became so much more fun once Chooch finally came around to the idea of keeping track of his coaster credits. Now it’s like a game, one that even Henry likes to play!

Oct 312019

I think that King’s Dominion really flies under the radar with the general public. Its coaster lineup is definitely worth the trip no matter where you live, and we had no qualms about driving 7 hours to stuff our asses on rides like Dominator, Intimidator 305, and Twisted Timbers.

Let’s talk about Twisted Timbers first, because this was my most anticipated ride and the first one we ran (fast-walked – running is against park laws at King’s Dominion!) to on our first day. You might know by now that I am an RMC fan girl through and through and it JUST SO HAPPENS that this is an RMC! Originally, the park had a wooden coaster called The Hurler, which was themed to Wayne’s World back when Paramount owned the park. I never rode this (this was my first time here), but from what I heard, it was painful, rough, and just all-around not great.

Then Cedar Fair decided to give it the RMC treatment, which means that they hired Rocky Mountain Construction, now notorious for refabbing pieces of shit woodies and turning them into mind-bending works or engineering wonders, to come in and re-track the damn thing, converting it to steel and adding in elements that are just inexplicable, even after you’ve experienced it for yourself.

The theming on this was meant to insinuate that something had fallen from the sky, like a meteor, into the middle of an apple orchard, which was like, strange. But I appreciated that the queue had some shit in it and wasn’t just like a slab of asphalt (that was my only gripe about Kentucky Kingdom – their coaster collection is INSANE but they have absolutely no theming and the park just isn’t very attractive). We had to wait about 30 minutes for our inaugural ride, so it wasn’t utterly bad, considering this is still a pretty new ride for the park.

My initial review was, “……OK. That was….good.” This is my 4th RMC and the other three are real forces to be recognized with: Storm Chaser, Lightning Rod, and Steel Vengeance. I think Steel Vengeance (Steve<3) is my #1 but I only got to ride it twice. Lightning Rod is definitely my #2 but could go back to #1 RMC for me at some point, we’ll see how much Cedar Point fucks us next season. And Storm Chaser is #3 because it is just sheer insanity, so forceful, actually scary.

If I hadn’t already ridden those three, I think I would have been way more impressed with Twisted Timbers.

But, this was only my first ride, and we would go back the next day and revisit it.

But first….

Intimidator 305!

OK, I shouldn’t like this ride because it’s themed after some Nascar dummy, but I like the Steel Curtain and that’s so fucking Steelers-themed that the only way it could be even more Steelers-related would be if the track was modeled after Ben Roethlisberger’s intestines.

God I hate football so much.

Anyway, this beast is a hyper, which means is stands at over 300 feet. I daresay, I liked it much better than Millennium Force and after riding it, I now get why the enthusiasts call Millie “Millennium Forceless” – Intimidator is so much crazier and I had such wicked greyouts each time I rode it that I was actually concerned I might pass all the way out, lol.

(We were telling Janna about this the following weekend and she was like, “IS THAT GOOD?!” Lol, what a n00b.)

I started referring this bad boy as “Daddy” for the rest of the weekend and it made Henry uncomfortable I think, but possibly less so once he realized that I wasn’t calling him Daddy.

Because, um, that would not be something I would do. Ever.

This kid was literally one of the slowest ride operators I have ever watched. This picture is from day 2, but he was also there the night before, when Chooch and I made a very poor life choice by deciding to get into the line for the front row, which has its own queue and I don’t really get it because the back seat is by far the best, however – we wanted that dramatic front-row night ride.

And that is how we ended up standing in line for 90 minutes (maybe 2 hours??) for a ride that only had a 30 minute standby time for every other row. The line didn’t look that long, OK? And it probably wouldn’t have been so bad if ride ops weren’t slower than Trump’s reading comprehension skills and we weren’t behind a quad of ultra-annoying boys who I would guess to be 9th graders

The people behind us were like, “THIS WAS THE WORST IDEA WHY DID WE GET IN THIS LINE” but honestly, at the time, it seemed like it would be OK because the main line was moving so quickly and the line for the front seemingly only had about 50 people in it and they were running two trains…

But goddamn it was so slow. I would place a large portion of the blame on the riders though because it was insane how many people just don’t follow directions. “Oh, there aren’t any bins here in the station? OK well, I’ll just hand all of my shit to the ride attendant – OMG the ride attendant won’t take my personal belonging and claim responsibility for them? ARE YOU KIDDING?”

Yeah seriously. So then all the restraints have to be unlocked because of one dumbass who has to now try and stuff all his shit in a pocket or whatever, and then all of the restraints have to be RECHECKED by two employees who do not believe in living a fast-paced life and are clearly mistaking this ride platform for a Louisiana bayou on a hot summer day. They were professional meanderers.

Chooch was so angry and kept saying, “Let’s just slip under the railing and get back in the regular line” but I wouldn’t budge. We had already wasted enough time in our quest for the front row and BY GOLLY I was going to slam my fat ass in that seat and enjoy the sensation of the wind drying out my contacts.

And it was worth every goddamn second we stood in line. There is nothing better than a motherfucking night ride on a roller coaster, especially one as threatening and, well, intimidating as Daddy. This ride is EVERYTHING.

Meanwhile, Henry wasn’t even concerned that we had been engulfed in the bowels of a passenger queue for nearly 2 hours and was just like, “Eh, I figured you chose the front row,” and shrugged it off. He was probably just happy to sit on a bench and read Reddit threads about wives being caught cheating on their husbands in Costco parking lots.


We rode it several more times the next day and I honestly cannot say enough good things about this ride. In fact, Henry made it onto an earlier train than us, and actually got back in line to ride it again afterward! And when he realized that he would be able to snag the second row right behind us, he actually RAN to claim his spot.

This is a first. Henry NEVER runs. Especially not at amusement parks! I think we’re like actually becoming a real family now or something. All of this bonding we’ve been doing has practically turned us into the Waltons.

(They were wholesome, right?)

Stupid Nascar shit.

Anaconda was pretty forgettable but I thought the ride itself was really striking. The colors were so vibrant and I liked that it was basically hovering over top of some weird swamp area.

Look at it!

We only rode this once, but the thing that sticks out the most to me is that we had a super annoying family in line behind us who let their kids do gymnastics on the railings and that the guy in the queue next to us had really cool Nikes that looked like the 1980s in shoe form so when we got off the ride, Chooch worked up the nerve to approach him and ask him what style they were and the guy had to actually look at the bottom of his shoe to answer him and now I already forget what they are but they started with a P I think in case you’re really like, “OH NO DON’T LEAVE US HANGING OVER THESE MYSTERY SHOES.”

Racer75 was MY SHIT. After riding the Racer at King’s Island, I had very low expectations for this one, but it was an airtime machine! It was so much fun, and we rode it at night so you can see Intimidator looming in the distance and it was really menacing and, you know, intimidating.

Even Henry was like “THIS WAS A GOOD RIDE. I LIKED IT.”

Apparently, it was recently retracked which explains why it was so smooth. The only downside is that they were only running one side so the racing element was missing, which was a real bummer. It wasn’t running the next day either so maybe they just shut down one side after the regular summer season? I DO NOT KNOW. I DO NOT RUN A PARK.

The next day, we were there for early entry and only one old man was able to beat us to Twisted Timbers, but then a handful of fast lane douches encroached on us and made it to the front row before us. I think we ended up being on the third train of the day because we insisted on trying out the front row while it was still early and the line was short but of course that’s where all the fast lane douches went too. Henry thought he was so great because he got in line for the third seat and was like, “BYE SUCKERS” when he got to ride before us. Whatever Henry.

This ride was so much better than the day before! So much so that we got off and walk-ran right back on and got the back row this time. We unfortunately were in line with some know-it-all coaster enthusiast who was like, “Just so you know, the fifth seat on the left side of the blue train has tighter restraints than any other row” and then kept talking about all the times he’s been on Steel Vengeance and in my head, I was like, “WHO ARE YOU EVEN TALKING TO?” He had a dumb hipster beard so I immediately discredited everything he was saying.

Anyway, after three rides on this bad boy, I can now say with much satisfaction and confidence that it is a GREAT RIDE. It has wicked airtime, barrel rolls, trick tracks, hangtime – it was worth the drive to Virginia and makes me do some daydreaming about how Kennywood could add an RMC to their lineup. I don’t think they would give any of their current coasters the RMC treatment since they’re all legit classics, nor would I want them to, but it would be so amazing to see how RMC could work with the limited space and crazy terrain that Kennywood has, much like they did with Lightning Rod at Dollywood. Can you imagine a quad-down hugging the side of a West Mifflin ravine??

I’m not a super big fan of floorless coasters but B&M’s Dominator really won me over. We only rode it twice – once at night in the back row, and once first thing in the morning on our second day (it was the only ride aside from the kiddy coasters that opens right away) in the front row with Henry, and I have to say, I enjoyed both rides very much!

And here we have Chooch and me on the backseat of Racer75 on our second day!

In total, we rode every coaster except for the dumbest of the two kiddy ones, so: Twisted Timbers, Apple Zapple, Grizzly, Flight of Fear (which Chooch hated at King’s Island but loved at King’s Dominion even though they’re identical but this one didn’t break down three times while we were in line, so maybe that’s why), Backlot Stunt Coaster, Avalanche (a really cool bobsled ride but not as fun as Flying Turns at Knoebel’s), Intimidator 305, Dominator, Woodstock Express which killed my knees, and Anaconda. This brought Chooch’s coaster count up to 97! So if this weekend pans out right, he should have 100 in no time. Fingers crossed!

Oct 232019


Being a family of three makes going to amusement parks kind of annoying because someone always has to ride alone (lol usually Henry, come on now). Usually, we try to arrange it so that we’re at least all riding at the same time, which involves basic math and sometimes social skills when you have to ask the people behind you if they want to go ahead so that you can match the riders with whatever line your other party is in. Such a hassle!

However, we counted incorrectly when in line for Grizzly and Henry ended up going on the train after us and was surly about it because, for some reason, the line for this was SO SLOW. Operations were awful, one of the ride attendants was wearing an eye patch and we thought it was for Halloween but Henry said he saw him take it off and his eye was all fucked up, so that’s cool. People were bailing the whole time we stood in line for this, but we were committed because Henry expressed interest in riding it and he NEVER suggests deviations from my airtight amusement park agendas.




Also, some asshole kid behind me had NO concept of boundaries and his parents certainly didn’t care to teach him, so he kept jabbing me in the back with his faux-hawk so when it was our turn to ride, we waved smugly at Henry as our train departed the station and then I don’t remember a single thing about the ride because my little dickhead son pretended as though my phone fell out of his pocket and I didn’t know he was joking until the end of the ride so I spent the whole duration screaming ARE YOU SERIOUS until I eventually burst into tears.

Anyway, I think this ride awakened something inside Henry because, after that, he didn’t try to ride anything with us anymore – he just went and sat where ever he found an empty seat instead of trying to line up with whatever seat we were in line for.

Henry’s Journey To Independence.

Here’s our favorite manservant standing alone to ride Racer 75. He had some kind of camaraderie with the guys behind him and wouldn’t tell Chooch and me what was going on which I thought was rude and I hate it when Henry has interactions with people that don’t involve me. I monitor him pretty tightly and I need to know these things so that I can someday in the future twist them around into some accusatory pretzel of paranoia.

By the next day, he was fully emancipated from Chooch and me and rode Twisted Timbers once in a seat that we didn’t want him to sit in and then again on a train that we weren’t even on! HERE HE IS WITH HIS NEW FAMILY.

(Side note: the guy in front of him was the sweetest! He was talking to us when we waited for the  gates to open Sunday morning and has gotten Chooch all gung-ho about Planet Coaster, but true to dude-form, he was subtly condescending when we were talking about the new ride at Hershey and I said, “It’s called Candymonium” and he said, “Yeah…I’m not sure what it’s called” because I’m a GIRL and like most places in life outside of Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood, THERE IS LITTLE ROOM FOR BROADS IN THE COASTER COMMUNITY but that’s OK I’ll just surf my way out on a wave of testosterone.

Later, we rode Intimidator and Henry was like, “Deuces, you losers” as his train pulled out of the station while we were still in line for front row (the back is arguably the best row but you gotta sit in the front too at least once for the experience), leaving Chooch and me gaping in his wake. We were still in line when he got off the ride and he actually walked all the way around and got back into line, and even RAN when he realized that he could snag the seat behind Chooch and me right as the train was loading! HENRY IS BECOMING…SOMEONE WHO GETS EXCITED!


OK how to even start this story. Well, I guess it starts the same way they all do: I became obsessed with this one YouTube channel that features a group of guys who go to amusement parks and carnivals and vlog about it, but sometimes, the friend of one of the guys shows up and for some reason, I have really taken to him.

In an effort to keep my blog out of search engines, let’s just call him Fleece Radkins.

Now, Fleece sometimes shows up in the vlogs of his friend, Flint Yesvac. Their home parks are King’s Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and actually, one of the Busch Gardens vlogs was the first time I saw Fleece. I liked him because after every ride, he would stoically and confidently state, “That’s my favorite ride in the park.”

So then Janna was visiting one time and Chooch was like “JANNA WATCH ME PLAY FORTNITE CAN I HAVE YOUR GAMING COMPUTER” and I was like, “JANNA CHOOSE AN NCT127 BIAS AND WATCH THESE ROLLER COASTER VIDEOS!” so I showed her one of the vlogs that featured Fleece and yelled, “ISN’T HE FUNNY” and she was like, “I guess?” and I was like, “OMG JANNA LIKES FLEECE!” and then Chooch abandoned Fortnight in an effort to help me harangue Janna mercilessly like any other Saturday night in Hell House and we decided that we needed to hook them up.

So the first step, naturally, was to find him on Instagram. I did, but his profile is private and he doesn’t have a lot of friends so I didn’t want to request him.

“I feel like he’s much too young, though!” Janna pointed out, which means that she was at least considering it.

Anyway, on our first day at King’s Dominion, we were walking to Grizzly when Henry casually asked, “Hey, wasn’t that one of the guys in those videos you watch?” and I was like, “Huh? Who? Where? Why?” because I am the most unalert when it comes to other people while I’m walking. I mostly keep my eyes on the ground so that I don’t trip.

However, when I turned around to look, even from the back and with eyes as jacked as mine (and I do not mean jacked as in muscular, my eyes are basically saggy orbs that are close to serving as just facial decoration) I recognized one of the passersby as FLEECE RADKINS.

“Holy shit!” I screeched to Chooch, and we were frozen, watching him walk away with his group of friends.

“Was it really him?” Chooch asked, and there was only one way to find out: CHASE HIM SUPER STEALTHILY AND STARE AT HIS FACE FROM CLOSE RANGE.

We caught up with him just as he walked up to the Wayside Grill, so I stood right next to him and said, “HMMM, LOOKING AT THE MENU” while,  you know, looking at the menu. Then Fleece walked away and sat down on a wall while his friends stayed in line, and at that point, I was 99.9% confident that it was him so I made Chooch pose for a fake picture.

FLEECE RADKINS, ladies and gentlemen!

I sent the picture to Janna.

She was a bit less enthused than I expected her to be. I guess I wanted her to be upset that she wasn’t there but she seemed pretty flippant about it, what a bitch!


Henry didn’t know that Fleece was behind him, so Chooch ran up to Henry and whisper-screamed, “DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU BUT FLEECE RADKINS IS RIGHT THERE” and I was standing behind Fleece close enough to see that Fleece’s eyes were honed in right on Chooch and he totally had to have known that he was the subject of their DON’T TURN AROUND conversation.

I never did approach the guy because he’s not even a part of that YouTube channel, he’s just kind of like an occasional tag-alonger so I would have felt uncomfortable being like, “HEY I HAVE SEEN YOU IN THREE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE AND I HAVE CLEARLY WATCHED THOSE THREE VIDEOS ENOUGH TIMES FOR EVEN MY BOYFRIEND WHO ONLY HALF-WATCHES THE VIDEOS TO RECOGNIZE YOU CAN I GET A SELFIE?”

Yeah, no thanks.

Back at work (a/k/a The Place Without Roller Coasters), Glenn thought this was such a great story that he made me tell it in our weekly meeting and absolutely no one was shocked that I was stalking some guy that I kind of know from 3 YouTube videos. So, your typical Tuesday meeting.

Oct 212019

We’re* on this quest to get Chooch to hit the 100 coaster milestone by the end of the year because I love living my life like a rabbit in a perpetual chase with a carrot on a string so I always need some type of inane goal to strive for — and now I’m dragging Chooch down into my, well, rabbit hole with all the strung-up carrot medals I’ve caught over my lifetime.

*(And just so you know, that “we’re” up there does not even remotely include Henry.)

It’s really cute though because Chooch has a legit Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the coasters he’s ridden, and we’re all nerdy about manufacturers and all that extraneous information that normal people don’t give a shit about. Additionally, Chooch has quickly learned the nightmare that is Excel, so welcome to the club, sonny boy!

So what happened was: two weeks ago, Chooch off-handedly mentioned that he didn’t have piano lessons that coming Sunday, and I didn’t have my language exchange hang-out that Saturday, which meant: FREE WEEKEND! Not that either of those things are drags, but since we didn’t have any obligations, I yelled, “WE SHOULD GO SOMEWHERE!” *looked at list of Cedar Fair parks within driving distance* “LET’S GO TO KING’S DOMINION!”

Henry was very “…………………” about this impromptu plan, and then used his frown as a jump rope when I said, “I’ll help you drive” because he knows THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN. How can I liveblog or look for the faces of Kpop idols in the clouds if I’m stuck behind the steering wheel?! But then he eventually came around because he wants nothing more than to see his precious family happy. LOL, also he’s afraid of us.

Anyway, we had a wonderful weekend at King’s Dominion! Buying those Cedar Fair Platinum Passes was the best idea ever and I’m so glad it was mine (sike, it was actually Henry’s if you can believe it). Here are some pictures of the scenery and our dumb mugs! Ride recap will be separate.

I was obsessed with the fake chandeliers hanging from the fake Eiffel Tower so I took a picture of it pretty much every time we walk by.

Don’t mind me.

Coasterhead sefie. I think this was when Henry was in the bathroom because he immediately had to pee as soon as we got there which was annoying since we hate waiting for him.

It was such a beautiful day! The temperature was perfect pumpkin patch autumn degrees, whatever that would be. High 60s? Sure! Let’s go with that.

So, King’s Dominion is the sister park to King’s Island, but I thought this one was much prettier. Maybe it was the heavy Halloween-vibes that helped but it was just a really pleasant atmosphere. Also, Virginians are grossly nice so that really added…something.

CANDY APPLE GROVE! How fucking adorable. I love apples and I love candy but I do not love candy apples. However, this area of the park was just too precious, even with all the killer clown shit set up.

(Clowns don’t scare me, sorry!)

This area was really cool at night.

Unlike Cedar Point though, their Halloween soundtrack was NOT great. I’ll let that slide though because I’m feeling generous.

“Stand over there by the cartoon penises, Son.”

I mean, “mushrooms.”

After this picture was taken, I mentioned that we had basically gone all day without fighting but then Chooch was like, “You and dad literally fought the moment we got here” and that wasn’t a real fight, that was just me talking to Henry in the tone that I always talk to him with: exasperation in a coat of disgust topped with a beret of repulsion.

But honestly, it was because he took a dumb picture that I didn’t like so I had to take some time out of the day to berate him. It wasn’t a fight!

You would think that the combination of haunted houses and amusement parks would be like the ultimate October orgasm for me but honestly, when I’m at these parks, the rides win out! I do enjoy experiencing the foggy atmosphere at night though, but not enough to wait in 2-hour lines for so-so haunts. I’m really picky when it comes to haunted houses!

I do wish that the line for the antique cars wasn’t a billion years long though because they had actual scare actors along the track!

Chooch wasn’t impressed with Grizzly the coaster but he loved Grizzly the Stuffed Bear in the gift shop and demanded that I take his picture even though I was trying to hide from Henry, but whatever.

Ugh, I love it.

LOL hey look who’s back.

Some weird musical performance called Heads Will Roll which was cool for a second but then felt a bit too High School Musical for me and I realized that I was wasting precious rollercoaster-riding time standing there.

Oh snap, I forgot that I got mad at Henry here too for not being able to take pictures in the dark.

Me firing off death threats at Henry through gritted teeth.

OH HELLO AGAIN. I loved how sinister it looked at night!



Waiting for one of the sections to open so we could not-run to Twisted Timbers. There’s a “no running” policy at King’s Dominion and people ACTUALLY OBEY IT!? Chooch and I actually got yelled at by a janitor when we were fast-skipping to the Bad Apple ride.

“No running,” she mumbled so we slowed to a walk for a second until she was past us and then continued running because we’re hoodlums.

I don’t why but this picture makes me laugh because we look like robots that just had their batteries die.


“So, if you lean, you automatically win?” Chooch mused out loud when we walked past this game.

“What?” I asked, trying to figure out how he got that misinformation.

“Like, if I just go over there and lean over the side, I’ll win?” he asked.

“No!” I laughed. “Is that what you think ‘forfeits’ means?!”


That clown in the white dress on the see-saw looks just like some bitch I went to school with.

On Day One, Henry was wearing one of his super ugly Rip-It work shirts and I was so embarrassed. On Day Two, he wore a plain blue long-sleeved shirt, Michael Myers-approved, so I was much less embarrassed to be seen with him.

Had to make time for our traditional carousel ride.

I don’t know how this started, taking family portraits on carousels, but I think it’s so much fun and I’m glad that we do it!

I only started riding carousels a few years ago because I’ve always had a fear of getting stuck on the horses. In fact, when we went to Dollywood in 2011, I was paralyzed with fear when the ride stopped and Henry had to practically pull me off the horse. I honestly thought I was going to fall off on my head.

We get along sometimes.

What a great weekend! I’ll be back with more pictures of some coasters and some highlights but honestly, aside for ridiculous food prices (I had a garden salad at one of the pizza places that cost $12 and it was the same kind that Henry buys me at Aldi’s for $3), I have no complaints about this park. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to go back next summer too!

A few days later, I tried to gaslight Henry into thinking that I drove home for an hour that day and he was like, “… you didn’t” and I said, “Yeah, I did, you just don’t remember because you were sleeping in the passenger seat” and I think he actually started to believe me for a split second but then came to his senses.

Oct 162019

Hello and welcome to my love story about Millie and Steve, two rollercoasters that the general public may know as Millennium Force and Steel Vengeance. I will try to keep this PG, only because I couldn’t get Fabio to pose for the cover.

I’ve always been super into amusement parks (and county fairs until I almost died at one) but even though I like roller coasters, I never really considered myself an ENTHUSIAST. Then I rode T-Express at Korea’s Everland and, for a wooden coaster, that thing impressed me more than any crazy-ass steel multi-inversion Jojo-rolled contraption ever has. It made me want to seek out other crazy wooden coasters, because up until then I equated wooden coasters with rickety old back-breakers. I started binge-watching rollercoaster videos on YouTube, becoming more and more obsessed. That’s how I started learning about the different manufacturers, but the one that stuck out the most to me was Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC). I was fascinated by the way they take old, rough woodies and refurbish them into these head-spinning feats of engineering magic. The first one I got to ride was Lightning Rod at Dollywood and it was a game changer for me, I have been on a mission ever since to ride all of the RMCs. I am an RMC fan girl all the way.

Look. When I find something that I like, I don’t just LIKE IT: I LIVE IT, I BREATHE IT, I DREAM IT. And, I watch YouTube videos until my Roku crashes, I read Wikipedia and personal blogs, I search Instagram hashtags, I adjust our budget so we can do weekend amusement park road trips (STOP GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE, HENRY – WE DON’T NEED FOOD WE NEED COASTER CREDITS. THIS IS THE GREATEST DIET EVER). It becomes my driving force, the thing that gets me through the work week and gives me something to anticipate.

I never had much of a burning desire to go to Cedar Point until last year, when RMC refurbished the old Mean Streak into Steel Vengeance. So when we finally went a few weeks ago, I was practically salivating on myself at the thought of riding this bad boy.

Because this coaster is still new-ish and world class to those who know some things about the coaster scene, the line for this was between 90-250 minutes all weekend. We kept putting it off and putting it off, but finally, around 8:00pm on our first day there, I told Chooch, “Look, if we want a night ride on this bad boy, it’s now or never, bud.”

I think it said it was an 80 minute wait when we got in line, because by that point, all the haunt attractions had opened so most of the people in the park were in line for those things. Well, 80 minutes was a lie. They must have changed the sign to 120 minutes as soon as we walked past, because we stood in that queue—which winds around underneath the tracks so you’re like, majorly cut off from the rest of civilization when you’re in that line—for so long that I started to forget what Henry looked like (he opted out) which is either good or bad depending on what kind of day I’m having when you ask me.

Luckily, they have TVs in the line, so we got to watch clips of horror movies, fight with each other over trivia, and watch random music videos while eavesdropping on people around us playing Heads Up (this one girl was SO LOUD and also extremely stupid—some of the things she couldn’t figure out were maddening to us bystanders). There was a mom in front of us with her elementary school-age son and an older boy who I think was in college and also may be have been a Spanish exchange student? Look, we had a lot of time to spy on people.

So yeah, after standing in line for…I lost track but I want to say it was about 90 minutes, then it happened.

I will never forget it because we had made it to the last part of the serpentine path, all the twisty-windy parts of the queue were behind us, and we were finally on the lone path to the station. (Granted, that lone path still had some turns, a metal detector, and steps, but still!) We were standing right next to the giant billboard that had the Steel Vengeance character on it along with all the record-breaking stats.

This is where we were standing when the dreaded THIS RIDE IS CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE announcement came out of some hidden hell-speakers and we could barely hear it over the loud roar of idle conversation around us, but it didn’t matter because we KNEW.

“Huh, that train didn’t have anyone in it,” the guy behind us noted as an empty train soared past us. We were in the part of the line now that had an excellent view of the first drop.

Yeah no shit asshole, if you would stop talking about dumb video games for a second, you’d have heard the announcement! As people finally started to figure out what was going on, a small exodus happened and because of this, we kept moving further up in line.

Chooch and I kept waiting for the other to cry uncle and suggest to leave the line, because neither of us wanted to make that call. All I kept thinking was that it would be our luck that it would start running again after we got out of line.

Long story short (LOL yeah like my stories are ever short), we opted to stay in line and after about 30-45 minutes, the damn thing started running again and everyone cheered and fuck if it didn’t feel like we were REALLY A PART OF SOMETHING, you know? Like, the Donner Party.

No, not the Donner Party.

Maybe a hostage situation, though. But then the hostage guy ends up having a squirt gun so we can all laugh about it later as the popo haul his soiled ass away.

Something like that.

Anyway, we rationalized that we had moved up in line just as far as we would have if the ride hadn’t broken down, so it was all the same, really.

The ride attendant at the top of the steps was assigning people seats but we thought, Look, we stood in line for this long, what would it hurt to just ask if we could snag the back row?

So we asked.

And the broad was all, “Eh, sure go ahead.”

And we had the most epic, glorious, whirlwind night ride on what is now my TOP ROLLERCOASTER BAE OF ALL TIME. I’m not even going to try and describe it other than it whips you around with ungodly force and everything happens so fast that you can’t even wrap your mind around the logistics of it and then when you think you’ve gotten your bearings, you’re suddenly being lurched through an inversion that makes you feel like dish water being sucked down a drain, and then suddenly you’re back in the station, fingerbrushing knots out of your hair and looking at your riding companion like, “IS MY FACE IN ONE PIECE!?”

Chooch actually ran his hands through his hair and made this wild-eyed I’VE HAD AN EPIPHANY expression like he was about to convert to the Kabbalah or some shit, and honestly, I personally nearly wept.

It was that good.

I felt like Steel Vengeance had actually rescued me from a burning building or something and then, oh god, oh no, was I getting a crush on Steve?!

Meanwhile, Henry was sleeping on a bench like a regular old back-alley wino, just kidding, he was actually awake and not at all concerned even though we had been missing in action for two and a half hours and he had our phones so we had no way of telling him what was happening, but since this was Cedar Point, he assumed that the ride had broken down because that’s what rides do at Cedar Point. So I guess he probably just ate a bunch of soft pretzels and scrolled through Reddit on his phone, because somewhere along the way I didn’t pay enough attention to him and he turned into the type of person who loses himself in asinine threads of Internet memes. Coo-coo-cool.


The next day, Henry wanted to see if Steve was all that we made it out to be, but as you might be aware, our plans of getting in a morning ride on this bad boy before the crowds rushed in was dashed when Steve was closed during early entry.

And then he proceeded to be down for most of the day it seemed. We kept tracking him through the Cedar Point app and sprinted over to him as soon as the status changed to “open.” It said that the standby time was 45 minutes.


We 100% stood in line for nearly as long as Chooch and I did the night before. This time, right as we shuffled past the Steve billboard thing, an announcement came on.


But it turned out that it was just a “slight delay” while they added another train.

We exhaled.

Not more than 10 minutes later, another announcement cut through the gaggles of groups engrossed in Heads Up and the weird mom and son who were arguing with each other the entire time they were in line.


“You have to be fucking kidding me!” I cried dramatically. I could actually feel the synapses firing inside me and I imagined peeling my skin off and shooting into the air using nothing but the sheer force of my anger.

“You guys can leave, you’ve already ridden it,” Henry said calmly, but I noted a twitch in his ‘stache. “I’m invested at this point.”

Well, I wasn’t leaving! I had major FOMO just thinking about Henry riding Steve without me. So we all opted to stay in line. People started exiting in small waves. A ride attendant walked past us, en route to the entrance where a CLOSED sign needed to be erected (lol). “Just so you know, this isn’t just a small problem,” he monotoned to everyone within earshot. “It’s probably going to be at least an hour.”

We all exchanged looks. Even more people left, so we moved up significantly in line and shrugged.

Henry and Chooch argued about every single thing.


But then, less than 30 minutes later, they sent a test train. Everyone cheered. Then, they sent a fully-loaded train, and everyone REALLY CHEERED. The line started moving for real. Of course, they opened the Fast Lane right so loads of people filed through on that side and I was SO PISSED because the rest of us had demonstrated extreme levels of patience and endurance by waiting this out and Cedar Point could have rewarded us by at least keeping that line closed off for a few more minutes, goddammit.

I have never been the type of person who would stand in line for THAT LONG for a RIDE so I must really be thirsty for Steve and his wood. Henry and I snagged the back seat and as we buckled ourselves in, I yelled, “YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THIS!” and he was just like, “WE WILL SEE ABOUT THAT” because Henry does not know how to have fun or display any sort of emotion aside from exhaustion, irritation, and disgust. Maybe envy whenever he sees someone wearing a better beverage t-shirt that him.

But when we hit the midcourse break run, he looked at me and mouthed, “WHAT THE FUCK” and I was like, “RIGHT?!!!?” Holy shit, this ride. It’s everything. I was so fucking annoyed every other hour during our weekend at Cedar Point, but THIS RIDE was redemption. I would go back to Cedar Point every fucking weekend and be jerked around by the shitty operations if I knew I could ride this at least once each time.

It’s that good.

It’s world class.

There is a reason why so many of the experts and enthusiasts rank this as #1.


Meanwhile, Chooch’s favorite ride that weekend was actually Millie, a/k/a Millennium Force, though he said it was difficult to choose between the two. The first time we rode Millie, on our first day at Cedar Point, we had the back row and I experienced a pretty good greyout, to the point where I ran down the exit ramp in search of Henry, who had ridden on the train before ours, just to excitedly scream, “I GREYED OUT, DUDE!!!”

I have never greyed out on a ride before, and it was so awesome!

Millie is pretty fucking beautiful. My favorite things about her, aside from that wicked first drop, was the cool 1970s space-y soundtrack that plays in the station, and the killer views of Lake Erie that the lift hill offers. Honestly, for as many times as that park let me down that weekend, I can’t deny that the atmosphere is unbeatable. I mean, it’s not at DisneySea’s level of beauty, but it is pretty fucking close. Oh, and the ride operators on Millie were phenomenal. They were entertaining (on our second ride, one of the operators asked, “Who knows the manufacturer of this ride?” and Chooch and I screamed, “INTAMIN!” before anyone else could answer even though we knew there wasn’t a prize but we were born to be first, OK; the ride operator was like, “FRONT ROW GOT IT!” and we rode that wave for a good 45 minutes) and super efficient. They had three train ops down to a science.

Chooch and I had a good ride in the front row on our second day, but I think I preferred the back. We are definitely backseat riders for the most part, on most coasters, but I do really love front row at night. We unfortunately didn’t get any night rides on Millie, so clearly we have to go back at some point. Like, this weekend. OK, probably not this weekend. I think Henry will murder me with his eyeballs if I even ask, lol.

I think I actually might be in love with Steve. Sorry, Henry.

Chooch just ran by and I said, “Chooch is there anything you want to say about Millie?” and he said, “Uh yes!” in a way that I expected a saccharine sonnet to come wisping out of his mouth, but instead all he said was, “It was good.”

WOW. Just so you know, he teared up looking at it from the car window when we drove away, so.

Oct 112019

The title of this blog post was Chooch’s idea and he was so pleased with himself when he came up with it. “Get it? Because it has two meanings?!” Yes, Chooch. We get it.

I woke up that Sunday ready to go with my G-Dragon shirt. My only goal for the day was to get one more ride in on Steel Vengeance, so we strategically parked in a different lot by the water park, which is near an entrance to the park that’s closest Steel Vengeance.

We arrived a bit after 9, so we had some time to look at the lake. Chooch found some little yellow Nerf ball thing in the sand and, I don’t know, imprinted on it or something, and that motherfucker stayed with him ALL DAY LONG. Which wouldn’t have been a problem if he kept it in his pocket but HE HAD TO FUCK AROUND WITH IT IN EVERY LINE WE STOOD IN and the number of times he dropped it was staggering. At one point, I hissed, “If that fucking thing rolls onto the track, the whole goddamn ride is going to shut down and everyone is going to hate you, me most of all!”

Wish a seagull would have swooped down and pecked it out of his hand.

After this, we got in the short line at the entrance. They had us spread us into four lines, and we were in a line behind a family. I was fucking READY TO GO. The pee-jigs were imminent. My pulse was steadily increasing.

After passing through security, we made it to the early entrance and we were IN FRONT FOR THIS. More and more people kept arriving though and the line was getting jacked, but I was like, “BITCH YOU’LL HAVE TO STAB ME DEAD STEP OVER MY LIFELESS BODY TO GET IN FRONT OF ME.” My feet were PLANTED. I had to endure some jackhole nastily snorting and sniffling, but I was like, “YOU GOT THIS ERIN. THIS IS WHAT YOU TRAINED FOR” and when they finally pulled aside the gates, the Running of the Bulls commenced and I am PROUD TO SAY that I was the only broad among a gaggle of coaster bros running like maniacs toward Steel Vengeance and I held my own. Even Chooch eventually fell back a bit, and Henry didn’t run AT ALL. But I was like, “I WILL NOT GIVE UP” and then I started laughing because, as I mentioned in my last post, my co-worker was running a 10K that day, and I GUESS I WAS RUNNING SOME TYPE OF A K TOO.

I don’t know what the actual distance was, but it wasn’t short and sweet. So when I finally reached the area of Steel Vengeance and saw the Cedar Park girl sitting in a chair and holding a sign that said DELAYED FOR MAINTENANCE, I literally felt sparks shooting out of my ears.

WHAT THE FUCKKKKKKK?!!?!? It was me and a bunch of dudes, pacing in a circle with our hands on our heads, screaming.

OK, Plan B – Maverick, which is Steel Vengeance’s neighbor.


FUCK YOU, CEDAR POINT!!! WHAT THE FUCK?!!?!?!? By now, Henry and Chooch had caught up and I flipped out. “This park FUCKING SUCKS!” I screamed. “I HATE IT HERE!” and I felt validated in my feelings because literally everyone around me was shouting the same thing so take that, Roller Coaster Capital of America. Pfft.

Before I publicly bitched about this though, I checked social media. “I’m going to feel like a fucking asshole if they said it wasn’t going to be available for Early Entry,” I said, even though we checked their website for the list numerous times before leaving that morning.

Oh, they posted alright.


We were already en route to Millennium Force by then. I was so pissed because Chooch and I wanted to run to it but Henry wouldn’t run with us, so I started calling him Deadweight Dad and he was like, “FUCK YOU, GO BY YOURSELVES NEXT TIME!” I mean, we might as well!

He didn’t want to ride Valravn so I was like, “Take pictures of us on it” and he did pictures of the WRONG TRAIN so good job, Deadweight Dad.


He was too busy taking selfies on my phone!!

Then we got off Valravn, which was just OK and I’m glad that the line was only about 30 instead of the 60 minutes that the standby time was posted at and also broke down literally RIGHT WHEN WE WERE WALKING DOWN THE EXIT RAMP (I like Griffin at Busch Gardens Williamsburg better), AND HENRY WAS GONE! He had our phones so we couldn’t check the app to determine were to go next and we were stuck standing in the middle of the walkway like two lost puppies and I was SO ANGRY when I eventually saw him meandering over to us from a distance.

“I had to go to the bathroom,” he shrugged. OMG DO THAT ON YOUR OWN TIME!!

Then he did it again when we were on Raptor (it was a walk-on!!). We got off the ride and he was gone for EVEN LONGER THIS TIME. I was fuming. Five minutes later, he came strolling over to us with a big fat sugar cookie, which I wrenched from his paws and took a huge, greedy bite because that’s what he gets for deserting us and not bring anything back for us!

OK, I got all the complaining out of the way. The rest of the day (save for ANOTHER Steel Vengeance break-down) was actually pretty fucking great. We were able to get a bunch of coaster creds in spite of half the park being broke down at any given point during the weekend (Gatekeeper was actually down for pretty much the whole day). The only coasters we didn’t get to ride were Maverick (this is the only one I was really bummed about), Blue Streak, Iron Dragon, and the two kiddie coasters (they count as credits so we ride them, shuttup!).

Dumb me and Deadweight Dad.

I wanted to go back to wherever Henry got that glorious hunk of a sugar cookie because I wanted my own, but instead I opted for this iced candy corn sugar cookie which was OK but not as good as that original one, I always choose poorly! I think the process of buying cookies was just as frustrating as trying to ride a damn ride in that park. There were what seemed to be enough people working there, but there was NO ORGANIZATION and people just entered the line form whatever end they felt like it and we kept getting skipped over and then someone finally helped us and left our stuff next to the register and that was another whole process of trying to flag someone down to just ring up our fucking cookies already WE WERE RUNNING OUT OF TIME AND I WANTED TO RIDE MORE THINGS BEFORE WE HAD TO LEAVE, GOOD GOD PEOPLE RING A BITCH UP!

This derby-esque carousel ride is one of the few memories I have of previous trips to Cedar Point. I remember the first time I rode it as a kid, I thought it was just a regular carousel and was completely startled at how fast it actually goes.

Chooch accumulated a fork at the cookie place after asking to try a sample of fudge, so now his stupid yellow Nerf ball thing had a friend.

Anyway, I’m obsessed with collecting family carousel photos now, lol.

Broke-down Gatekeeper.

I had to laugh because when we decided to go to Cedar Point, I distinctly remember saying, “Oh and since we have passes and can go back whenever, we can just take it easy and enjoy ourselves without rushing around trying to fit everything in.”

You guys, have you met me, though? This is the complete opposite of what happened. From the moment we parked the car, I was in RACING MODE. Adrenaline was already pumping, my arms were akimbo so I’d be ready to elbow linejumpers (there were A LOT OF THEM at Cedar Point), and I kept screaming WHERE IS THE MAP?!?! I live everyday like I’m on an episode of Amazing Race (if I were actually on that show, I would probably have a stroke during the first challenge because my entire body consists of nerves, impatience, and competitiveness). There was no way I was going to stroll about this park beneath a lace parasol, stopping to sniff the Halloween gourds.

Sigh. It’s not easy being me.

Henry was concerned about how wasteful this was and probably started dreaming about all the soups and purees he could make with Cedar Point’s October decor.

Henry makes some REALLY GOOD SOUPS, you guys. I once tried to get him to open up a soup stand in our front. He could refurbish one of Crazy Larry’s dead cars into a walk-up immobile food-truck type thing. Daily vegan options, too!  Buy a serial killer greeting card while you’re here!

If it weren’t for Steel Vengeance and a small handful of others (Millennium Force and Magnum, and probably Maverick if I had had a chance to ride it), I’m not sure I’d be in much of a hurry to go back. I’m about to start gushing about Steel Vengeance but I will stop myself here because as I mentioned before I want to have a separate post for that and Millennium Force, which were the two main highlights of an otherwise up-and-down experience.

I have to say though, for as many frustrating moments that the weekend held for us, I still left this park anxious to come back because of the aforementioned short-list of perfect rides and also being next to the lake was so scenic and those views from the coasters were breathtaking. The whole experience felt like being in an abusive relationship, though! All it took was one ride on Steel Vengeance and I magically forgot about all the shittiness that this park had delivered prior to that. I can’t hate you, Cedar Point.

Oct 102019

I was looking forward to our Cedar Point weekend for, well, two weeks because that’s all the advanced planning we did with this one. Typically, I would NOT go to a park of this caliber on a weekend, let alone during a holiday event, but we purchased Cedar Fair platinum passes for the 2020 season and they’re available to use for the remainder of the 2019 season too. You have to go to one of the parks to get the physical cards and CP is only 3 hours away so we figured why not just go, make a weekend of it, and even if it’s super crowded, we can just go back whenever we want since we have the passes (which includes free parking and early entry too!).

I was fully anticipating a park at capacity but look, we’ve been to three Asian theme parks at this point and you do not know the true meaning of “park at capacity” until then let me tell you. I mean, a three hour wait for the Viking ship at Lotte World is next level.

And that was just on a random Monday!

Fair warning: my moods swung faster than any of the pendulum rides there that weekend, but I didn’t want this blog post to be all stabby & crabby so I waited a bit to sit down and collect my thoughts, and I realized that the good outweighed the bad and I’m already jonesin’ for a return trip!

Instead of dwelling on the negative, I’ll just get it over with before diving into the pictures and good times: rides were breaking down left and right all weekend long, starting with the very first one we were in line for! Look, I understand that it was late in the seasons, the rides were tired, the mechanics of modern rides are so computer-driven that the slightest deviation will shut down operations — I APPRECIATE THIS BECAUSE “SAFETY FIRST” AMIRITE? But when it happened 5 times to us on the first day (Maverick, Blue Streak, Magnum, Gatekeeper, Steel Vengeance), it was just very frustrating. I didn’t have a problem with waiting in lines for these rides, but when I’m 45 – 60 minutes into it and that dreaded announcement comes on, go fuck yourself Cedar Point. A park of this size and stature better have maintenance men living in bunkers beneath all the rides, you know what I mean?

This place was operating like every pathetic piece of shit park I ever tried to construct on Roller Coaster Tycoon, where I spent the whole time picking up my maintenance guys and dropping them off on whatever ride was smoking at the time.

OK, there. It’s out of my system now. I had my hissy fit inside of the park too (Magnum went down while we were in the station and then two dumb bitch lesbians totally line-jumped and I tried to stop them but they were too busy jamming their hands into each others’ back pockets to care and the other people who got line-jumped were too engrossed in their phones to care and I just fucking lost it and left the line like a fucking toddler because that’s where I am emotionally these days. I’m waiting for my second serving of pureed peas, Henry) and so we left in the afternoon so I could cool off and come back down to earth with the stable people.

Here are some highlights from Day One though! (The two biggest highlights were Millennium Force & Steel Vengeance so I will sing my ode to them separately.)

A Korean food truck inside an amusement park, shut up and take Henry’s money.

Chooch and I both had the Tofu Cup and Henry ordered nothing because he knew he was going to have to eat our leftovers. I was so sure that I was going to finish all of mine though but as usual, eyes bigger than stomach, blah blah blah. Look, my lunch at DisneySea was definitely postcard-to-home worthy, but this was a real close second as far as amusement park lunches go. I was so content. (I mean, until right afterward when we were in line for Blue Streak and it broke down right when we were the next group to get into the station BUT I SAID I’M DONE COMPLAINING THOUGH.)

Chooch’s review: “The cabbage was surprisingly good.”

Before I threw a fit.

I took this picture while waiting for Henry and Chooch to catch up to me when I was storming out of the park, lol. God, I love being dramatic. If only everyone knew the real me haha.

We came to  the park around 6 that evening. These passes are great because you get free parking so leaving and coming back AIN’T NO THANG.

Except that now we had to park a trillion miles away but hey, we’re walkers so this was fine.

Now that I was calm and plied with pizza, I was able to really see this park. No, I mean, REALLY SEE IT. Like, it’s pretty fucking beautiful. Not DisneySea-levels of beauty, but fuck if Lake Erie doesn’t trick you into thinking you’re actually beachside. Like, with a real ocean. I always forget how great that lake is.

Chooch and I immediately into line for Gatekeeper, which was right, well, by the entrance gate, because the app said that the wait time was only like 30 minutes. I think it was actually less time than that, though.  Since Gatekeeper is a wing coaster, the line eventually splits so you can choose which side of the ride you want to sit on. Chooch was adamant about choosing the line that would put us on the lake side so he started to go to the left but I’m a Big Dumb and went to the right, thinking that it was the line that would put us closer to the lake since it was, well, closer to the lake, forgetting that the ride MAKES A TURN when it leaves the station.

So Chooch was correct and he cried out, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” and abandoned the left side to fetch me, but now it was too late because we were both in too deep in the non-lakeside line. Sorry bud.

Luckily, THE RIDE FUCKING BROKE DOWN as soon as we made it back to the break run, and now we WERE on the lakeside. So while we sat there, stranded, for 25 minutes, I leaned over and said, “There’s your fucking lakeside view, buddy. SOAK IT IN.”

Yep, we figured it was par for the course that we actually get stuck on a broke-down ride. I mean, the odds were in our favor at that point.

Meanwhile, Henry the Good Parent was on the ground somewhere, waiting for us. He said that he heard the THIS PIECE OF SHIT RIDE IS BROKE DOWN announcement ,he waited for us to come filing out of the line with all the other people and when he didn’t see us, that’s when he realized, “Oh shit, they’re on the ride.” LOL yep that was us, just restrained and hanging out against our will, while the sun was setting and the cool lake air was chilling us to the bones.

Nicholas, my favorite ride operator, came  to visit us several times to give us canned updates (“Sorry guys, we’re waiting on maintenance”) and basically take the wrath of angry park patrons while the other guys were inside the operations booth tossing a football back and forth. Assholes.

Nicholas was super nice though and I didn’t fault him for this at all. He was really scrambling out there, trying to make everyone happy. So definitely one of the things that helped balance out my disdain over the unpredictability of the rides was the friendliness of the staff. Visiting other parks as often as we do always makes the surliness/blankness/ambivalence of Kennywood employees so much more apparent. I love Kennywood, it’s my home park, but I really wish they had friendlier staff.

Henry took pictures with my phone while we were stuck on Gatekeeper.

Cool pic, Hank. I think we all know what the subject of this picture is

You would think that I would have been on the hunt for desks to flip by the time we were released from Gatekeeper, but I was just numb to it all by then so when Chooch was like, “CAN WE FINALLY GO ON SPAGHETTI NOODLE*???” I mumbled, “Sure why not.”

*(This is what he called Wicked Twister all weekend.)

The standby for this was only 5 minutes and we got front row.

Wicked Twister is an impulse coaster, the kind that launches you and sends you up a twisting track to the dark heavens, drops you back down so you’re flying backward into the station and then up the twisty track on the other side. It does this like three times and IT WAS TERRIFYING. I don’t usually get “scared” on roller coasters, but this one gave me fucking chills and I screamed like I was in labor. There was a guy behind us who laughed, “Damn, these bitches be SINGING!” and I fucking KNOW he was talking about me, lol.

Look at the dumb noodle fucker! I just shuddered at the memory.

We don’t normally go to amusement parks for the Halloween shit because I’d rather go to a regular haunted house, but even though we didn’t do any of the haunts here at Cedar Point because the lines were outrageous (we expected that though!), it was still a lot of fun being there at night with all the creepy displays and fog. Plus, they were playing REALLY DOPE music too, like shit from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Midnight Syndicate was even performing there! EVERYONE KNOWS THEY MAKE THE BEST HAUNTED HOUSE SCORES.

And I heard two different Cure songs too while we were there. Cedar Point, you killed it in the ambiance department. Mwah!

And now you have to imagine three hours of nothingness because that would have been the time we were in line for Steel Vengeance. YES IT BROKE DOWN WHILE WE WERE IN LINE. But, Steel Vengeance will get his time to shine in a separate post, as I said before. Ahem.

The rest of the night, what we had left after the Steel Vengeance time-suck that is, was spent giddily riding Magnum twice (I forgot how phenomenal this coaster is, it’s been so long since I last rode it!) and SCREAMING at how creepy/awesome the lake looked from that ride at night, dragging Henry on Gemini where he tripped and fell getting into the seat and hurt his back and leg and made sure we didn’t forget about it for the rest of the weekend (#HenrytheMartyr), and then even got a last minute ride on Top Thrill Dragster! (I hate that name so much.)

This ride usually has enormous lines all day, but we were walking past it on our way out at 11:30 and it said it was only a 30 minute wait. The employee at the ride entrance said that as long as we were in line, we’d get to ride it even if it was past the park’s midnight curfew. So we were like, “Well shit, yeah!”

And the line ended up only being about 15 minutes long!

And then we were on it, listening to the damn thing revving, and suddenly I was like, “HOLY SHIT WAIT LET ME OFF I CHANGED MY MI———————————————————————————————nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd” as we were launched 120mph in 12 seconds.

Yeah, this was also something I’d file under SCARY AF. The launch was so forceful that I couldn’t even scream and then I wondered, “If I piss myself, will it just get pushed back inside?” But the best part is that I spent so much time that day, every time we walked past, dwelling on the launch, fixating on it, letting it fester in my imagination, that I never even considered the second part of that fucking ride — coming down off that towering top hat. IT IS REALLY TALL AND YOU GO STRAIGHT UP AND THEN PLUMMET STRAIGHT DOWN THE OTHER SIDE.

It gave new meaning to the phrase “I was shook” that is FOR SURE. I couldn’t get my body to stop trembling after we got off this damn thing!

Oh yeah, Henry didn’t ride it. Apparently he was going to but he had to go put his MAN PURSE in a locker and we left him because we didn’t know he wanted to ride it with us LOLOL.

Now it was 11:59PM and we for sure were on our way out of the park, but one of the monsters of one of the haunts was all, “Hey, psst, you guys wanna come in here? You can be the last group of the night!” so we did and it was pretty cool but again, amusement park haunts tend to not scare me that much because it’s so big and commercial. It was still fun though! The scare actors did a good job for it being the end of the night.

I had to take a picture for my coworker who was running a 10K that weekend because that’s her last name and I was like “Hope this isn’t an omen!” She’s only been in our department for a few months but she has already learned that I’m kind of a jerk. She seems OK with it though.

We went back to our hotel room and fucking crashed after that. I was glad that the second half of the day picked up or I would have been so sad. But oh don’t worry because the next morning would change all that. Cedar Point was like surfing Sybil’s brain waves, I swear to god.