Sep 152021
 

Hello from a Six Flags that didn’t feel like a Six Flags which is the best compliment ever!!

Six Flags Great Escape is in Queensbury, NY, which is apparently nestled amongst the Adirondacks. I always forget about those mountains! And to be perfectly honestly with you guys (because HONESTY is kind of my BRAND lol ugh gag), I never would have just randomly said one day to Henry, “Hey hon, let’s take a drive up to them there Adirondacks,” nor would I ever call him HON.

Lol ugh gag.

Legend has it that this park was formerly known as Storyland or something like that, a quaint family park, but then Six Flags came in an usurped it. INCREDIBLY, they didn’t fuck with the adorable theming by spraying the whole park with their patented DC Comic jizz. They let the park retain its adorable woodland feel! And the Storybook forest-y shit is still there!!

As soon as we rolled up into the parking lot, I had a good feeling about this joint.

But then Henry randomly got searched and our season passes didn’t scan and the ticket scanner broad was not very nice to us. BUT! Then we went to customer services and a very nice guy named KAI got us all sorted out without making us feel fraudulent. Of course a guy named Kai wouldn’t let us down. Mmmh.

Nice little entrance are thingie with shops, etc. I see you, Great Escape.

So, I already wrote about our first coaster (Flashback) in my post about Henry’s doppelganger, but now let’s talk about the second coaster we stuffed our butts in: COMET.

Straight from the no-longer-there Crystal Beach Park in Canada, which also happened to be the setting of one of my fave books from 2020, Sodom Road Exit. I became moderately obsessed with this park after reading this lovely book and started watching YouTube videos about it. It closed in 1989 and I would give up grilled cheese to be able to go back in time and take a family road trip to this place, eat some of their famous waffles and butterscotch suckers, knock back a Loganberry or two (or not).

Comet was thankfully saved from turning into kindle back in the 90s when Great Escape bought it and gave it a new lease on life

My friend Dawn used to go to Crystal Beach as a kid and she flipped out when she saw this on my Instagram. I hope she takes a trip to THEM THERE ADIRONDACKS and relives her youth on this bad boy, because he is running RULL GOODLY. Talk about an airtime machine! And smooth (mostly)! I rode it three times in a row, in the third row from the back, the very back, and the front row.

This ride is the shit, man. I was expecting some janky lumbar crusher but no – this was excellent. I mean, even HENRY rode it three times in a row! I kept screaming about how pretty the mountains looked from the top of the lift hill but no one was agreeing with me.

Love a classic coaster! And it was a walk-on every time. Two train ops! Already this place did not feel like a Six Flags!

Dummies.

The landscaping and colors in this park were poppin’.

There was this one guy eating a turkey leg and wearing a shirt that said “if you don’t respect *picture of ameriKKKan flag*, then you can expect *dot dot dot, I couldn’t see what it was but can imagine it was probably a gun or fist*”. I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and tell him that I use flag scraps as panty-liners just to see what I could expect, but Henry was like DON’T. I’m 1000% sure I could have outrun him,  though! Dumb mountain man. (The t-shirt guy, not Henry.)

(Although I can see where you might think I meant Henry.)

Aren’t you glad they maintained that storybook integrity??? I am! I love shit like this!

Sadly, their Intamin bobsled coaster was closed for the day (season?), so we walked to the other side of the park and took Canyon Blaster for a spin.

Chooch pointed out that this is literally the same guy that sits on a bench at Kennywood, just with a different paint job! WHO USED THE MOLD FIRST, I WONDER???

(THROWBACK TO 2018)

Chooch barely spoke to us when we were in any line, pick a line, that day so I amused myself by taking selfies with Henry like we are an actual couple or something. Smile Henry, you’re stuck with me.

View of the western town facade thingie from the Canyon Blaster station.

This was one-train ops and one of the longest lines we stood in all day (a whopping 20 minutes, maybe).  It was OK! A runaway mine ride, family friendly, would have been better if there had been a tunnel. I liked it better than the one at Six Flags Great Adventure because I actually felt like I was going to perish on that one.

Chooch and I then rode Steamin’ Demon, an Arrow corkscrew which was SO FUCKING TERRIBLE I CAN’T EVEN…possibly the worst one I’ve ridden. I hate these types of coasters so damn much and would not be sad if they were completely eradicated from every park in the world, but this one was particularly painful. Going around the corkscrew, my head ping-ponged off both sides of the restraint and it caught me right in the jaw, below each ear. If I was in a Looney Tunes skit, hummingbirds and stars would have been undulated around my head like a YOU LOSE crown. Ugh, nope. Never again. We took that credit and ran. Well, I staggered.

Fuck you.

Next up, we cajoled Henry to ride the log flume with us.  It was good! Except we were behind this extended family of hillbillies and I was pretty turned off. “Not to be an asshole, but I feel like they were inbred,” I whispered to Henry later on and he was like OMG but didn’t disagree. So.

OMG they were so loud too and acted like they were the only people in line and then I saw the one guy grab one of the girls’ asses when they go into the flume and that whole time I thought she was his daughter…but I guess she still could have been. Never mind.

Oh, the log flume? It was fine! I liked that there was an inside part before the big drop, and it had a little “men cutting logs, etc” scene happening. I was worried that we were going to flip over though because the ride attendant split us up as two in the front, one in the back, and Henry was like ME BIG MAN, RIDE WITH ME WOMAN IN FRONT and I thought for sure this was going to throw off the weight balance, but the ride attendant didn’t even flinch and sent us on our way.

Surprise, we survived.

Now that we knocked out all of the coasters (Chooch ended up with 8 credits on this trip and I think that puts him to 181!), it was FLAT RIDE TIME, BITCHES! So Chooch and I went on the Condor! He was like, “We are NOT sitting together” because one of us would have had to straddle the other and that’s fine for hillbillies but not so much us. So Chooch got in the car behind me but before the ride attendant started making his rounds, I made Chooch move to one across from me so we could “wave to each other.” LOL you can see how thrilled he was in that picture!

I was stoked, though! This ride went up high and spun in circles. It was pleasant.

The ride next to the Condor, however…not so much.

It’s called the ADK Outlaw and it is fucking terrifying. It’s the newest ride at the park, debuting earlier this season, and I had seen some videos of it previously. Going in, I was firmly rooted in my I AM NOT RIDING THIS stance. But Chooch kept saying that he was going to ride it. And the more I looked at it, the more thrilling it appeared. And somehow, the closer we got, the more…doable it seemed. Like, for me personally. I could do this. It would be fine. Let’s do it.

So we got in line, which wasn’t too long but because of the way the ride is set up, only 8 people can be loaded off and on after each cycle. So we had plenty of time to listen to the broad in front of us scream about how she should have brought her sweater into the park and wow she could really use a sweater, boy it sure was sweater weather, OMG maybe so-and-so who is not in line will go to the car and get my sweater, *shouts to so-and-so about her sweater 3x before he hears her*, now so-and-so is going to the car to get her sweater, hope he comes back before she gets on the ride, oh there’s so-and-so in the parking lot!, so-and-so should be coming back soon I hope, it’s almost our turn and still no sweater, OH HERE HE IS WITH MY SWEATER, *catches sweater tossed over railing from so-and-so, *makes big production yanking North Face sweater down over her big ADK peaks*, OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE MY SWEATER RIGHT AS WE’RE GETTING ON THE RIDE YAY.

Literally, the worst. STFU.

So, this ride was…wow, just wow. It whips you up over 200 feet (I think? I don’t feel like looking) into the air and then you flip all over yourself in your seat at the same time and it’s miserable yet exhilarating and between you and me, Internet Diary, I kind of wanted to do it again.

The most terrifying part though is when the other side of the ride is unloading and reloading, and you’re stuck at the top trying to distract yourself by looking at the mountains and the Martha’s Dandee Cream across the street so that you forget that you’re essentially just a landing pad for, I dunno, hawks and eagles. AND CONDORS?

(Speaking of, Henry thought he was so cool and nature-y for point out that that other ride was called Condor but it had eagles depicted on it. Cool story, Henry the Zoo Keeper.)

Um, I dunno, watch this video if you want a better visual than I am able to conjure with words alone:

Guys look! There is a cool little ghost cave that you can walk through for no reason!

It has a waterfall going over the side of it! I love Great Escape!

There was an indoor Scrambler there called Blizzard (the building was shaped like an igloo, nice touch) and here we have Chooch being miserable in line because we were behind three pre-teen bitches and one of their little sisters who was six, and I know this because before the mom left them alone in line, she repeatedly reminded them that, “SHE IS SIX, OK? SHE IS SIX. BE NICE TO HER.” Lol, oh they were nice to her alright.

Wow, this ride was SOMETHING. First of all, the ride operator, GENE, was very meticulous with his seat assigning and took a very long time going around to make sure everyone was secured in place. Meanwhile, this song about COME AND TAKE ME AWAY was blasting and at first I thought this was a great song choice – it sounded like the Beatles maybe?? If my friend Megan was reading this, she would probably unfriend me for not knowing. It sound like it was from the 60s or 70s, OK?!

Gene started the ride up with no warning and Chooch was being SUCH AN ASSHOLE. First of all, we were sitting in the wrong position so I was the one getting crushed, and he was purposely pulling himself away from me and then letting go so he would slam into my side with full force. It was the rudest and I was screaming. Then he made me smash my finger between my leg and the side of the car and I thought my fingernail was going to fall off for like a FULL DAY even though Henry kept saying, “You are not going to lose your fingernail.”

Anyway, this ride rotation lasted so long and that same song kept playing and I was screaming, “YES, PLEASE COME AND TAKE ME AWAY, GOOD LORD” and Gene was all, “Woo hoo motherfuckers” except that he was way too pure to say motherfuckers and I felt like I was in hell. It was actually hell. I’m convinced.

Right after this, we went on another flat ride called PANDEMONIUM and right when it was on our turn to ride, one of the ride attendants was replaced by…..GENE!!!! I kept trying to get Henry’s attention so he could see Gene, my new favorite ride attendant, but of course he was too busy staring off into space, waiting with all of the other parents while The Kids rode Pandemonium. Chooch really wanted to kill me on this ride I think because I was SO GIDDY and when Gene asked, “Is everyone ready?” I expected everyone to scream so I unleashed a guttural YEAHHHHHHHHHH like I was opening my mouth for all of Hell to purge in a fiery death metal torrent…

…and no one else said a word. It was just me and my big fat YEAHHHHHHH driving away the birds in droves. The parents standing along the railing waiting to take pictures of their children all smiled at me, like, “Aw, that giant child is having fun, she is cute” while probably thinking I was there on an asylum field trip.

Then Gene got on his speaker and said, “HEY EVERYONE, CAN YOU GIVE THE CLOUDS A…..HIGH FIVE?” so of course I had to try and then I started screaming, “I’M DOING IT! CHOOCH, I’M REALLY DOING IT!” and he was like, “omg plz fuck off.”

The best part was when the ride ended and Chooch’s restraints didn’t unlock so….GENE HAD TO COME OVER AND HELP HIM!!!!!!!!!!! I loved every second of this! Chooch was not having fun!

But then he got to play games, so he was happy.

There’s an Alice in Wonderland walk-thru! It starts out real strong!

But then it gets boring.

I told him to stand here and HE DID.

Oh! There was a kiddie coaster in the kid section so Chooch and I meandered over there to see if we could ride it. There was literally NO ONE IN THAT SECTION, but the young ride attendant was like, “I’m sorry guys, you’re too big for this” and even went through the motions of pulling out his measuring stick (lol). I did an exaggerated “aw shucks” motion with my arm and said sarcastically, “Aw man, we needed that credit!”

He took me seriously and said, “If you cross over that bridge, you’ll find plenty of rides that you guys can enjoy.”

Totally rejected. It was mildly embarrassing but luckily no one was there to witness it. He really thought we were broken up about it though.

Some people count these Larson loopers as credits but Chooch doesn’t and that is fine by me because I will only ride these if Kirk is the ride operator.

And that was pretty much it for us. We got to do everything we wanted except for that bobsled coaster, and managed to get out of there early enough to go and get dinner outside of the park. We will pretty much do whatever we can to avoid having to pay for full meals at amusement parks, especially Six Flags!

Snapped one last shot of ADK Outlaw as we exited the park.

You guys, this place is so underrated. It is absolutely beautiful here. The staff is great. (Especially GENE. He’s a LEAD, whatever that means. It said so on his NAME TAG.) The ride collection is quirky and fun. I’d like to see them get a really good B&M (literally, Chooch kept jokingly saying, “So, where’s the B&M?”) or a modern hybrid woodie. I think they could demolish that awful corkscrew and put in some total showstopper babe right there that can be seen from the road. This park has so much potential, but obviously I do *not* want to see them become another corporate Six Flags clone. Keep that humble ambiance, Great Escape!

Sep 132021
 

Before I get to the full Six Flags Great Escape review on here, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the best thing that happened during our entire Labor Day Weekend, and it happened within the first 30 minutes of arriving at Great Escape.

Chooch and I headed straight for the boomerang – Flashback – in order to get that credit out of the way. Boomerangs are definitely not my favorites so I’m never excited to line up for one.

The park wasn’t very crowded so the line was almost to the station by the time we took our places in it. The next train filled up right before it got to us, but we were stoked because that meant we’d get our choice of front or back once it was our turn. This also had us waiting in line right at the entrance to the station platform, so we were able to look across at the park goers, and watch as doting family members walked up the exit steps to the other side of the station in order to take pictures of their LOVED ONES in the train, ready to depart.

“I wish he’d be a good FAMILY GUY and walk up there to take pictures of US,” I said dejectedly, like Chooch and I were two orphans forced to eat cold, congealed gruel while watching loving parents chuck sugar plums and figgy pudding at their kids on the Flashback.

Just then, Chooch shouted, “OMG LOOK—” and I looked across the platform just to see Henry pop up.

“Wow,” I thought, “he’s actually here to take our pict—” and then, “—wait, why did he take off his hat? Wasn’t he wearing a different ugly plain shirt? EW IS THAT A HARLEY DAVIDSON HOODIE?” And then the rest of Chooch’s sentence registered in my ears.

“—that guy looks just like Him Man*!”

*(That’s what the cats call Henry, so now Chooch and I do, too, in case you are NEW HERE.)

You guys. I completely lost my shit at this point, standing in line for a shitty boomerang called the Flashback, not even caring that the people in line behind us were totally peeping my laughing hysterics. We have seen a lot of people that resemble Henry, usually because they too are wearing non-descript shirts or have beards or are eating a soft pretzel while grimacing at their family. But never, EVER have we seen a man who looks THIS MUCH like Henry. I was crying at this point, and having to squeeze my thighs together in order to activate the PEE DRIBBLE COMPRESSOR.

He wasn’t even standing there anymore but I couldn’t shake the image.

The people behind us for sure at this point were probably like “the fuck is a Him Man?” because I couldn’t stop screaming about what we had witnessed, this lightning-in-a-bottle doppelganger appearance. Now we were in even more of a rush to get the fuck on this ride so we could hurry up and try to find Henry v.2 to show our OG Henry. Except that Great Escape has the slooooooo-ho-west ops this side of…[insert big name river here]. The restraints aren’t automatic so the ride attendants have to go from car to car and manually release everyone from their seats, so the people standing in line can’t enter the station until each one of those assholes has exited the entire ride and let me just tell you, those ride attendants are chatty motherfuckers so they took their good ol’ time like they’re meandering about the bayou with a book of poetry up to their noses.

I mean, super nice guys! But slow AF.

So it took them forever to load our train, which gave Henry time to ACTUALLY WALK OVER TO THE FENCE AND WAVE TO US so we started screaming THERE IS A GUY THAT LOOKS LIKE YOU!!! and we were frantically trying to point in the direction we saw him walking (it looked like he had actually gone into the Flashback entrance) but Deaf Henry was like, “hahaha what” and looked terrified as usual because Chooch and I together can be quite terrifying, especially when we’re seen laughing conspiratorially over something.

So Henry just kind of nervously laughed and walked away.

And then we had to go through the whole ARE YOU READY I CAN’T HEAR YOU rigmarole, but I did find it charming that once our train had been pulled all the way up the lift hill, the one ride attendant got on his little microphone and did a countdown for us. That guy was cute in a “dorky sidekick in a John Hughes flick” kind of way.

Henry actually came through and took our picture after all!

The people behind us hated us so bad, I know it. Sometimes I try to imagine what we (OK, I) look like to bystanders when I’m suffering through a laughing fit, but then I quickly have to think of something else because I start to feel mortified.

OK so the ride itself? Not the worst boomerang I’ve been on! Didn’t bang my head, but the backward portion was so terrifying. I know that’s the whole point, but holy shit it gets me every time. I think the one at Morey’s Piers was the most intense one I’ve been on so far though.

Luckily we were in the front row so we got released first and practically fell over top of each other trying to race out of the platform and tell Henry about his twin. At the exact moment we caught up to Henry, HIS TWIN APPEARED RIGHT BEHIND US!! He apparently had been waiting for people who were riding the same cycle as us so he never left the area, THANK THE GOOD LORD! My hands were shaking so bad and I was juggling my phone like a hot potato, but I was able to snag THIS PICTURE:

THAT GUY COULD BE HENRY’S BROTHER. OMFG I CAN’T STAND IT. I was actually having stomach pains at this point and could feel my throat growing scratchier with every forceful vomit-like laugh that was blowing through my body. My eyes were watering and I could feel my face heating up but I could NOT stop laughing. Chooch wasn’t even really laughing that hard anymore, but I had reached the point of no return and felt deceased.

Meanwhile, Henry was like, “He doesn’t look at me at all, you assholes.” You guys. Henry’s hair looks like that right now when he takes his hat off because he needs a hair cut. Their glasses are almost the same. They have the same nose. LOOK AT THE FURROWED BROWS!!! He looks like when Chooch and I tried to make a Mii of Henry back in the Wii days. Granted, I never see the resemblance when people say I look like someone* but I honestly don’t know how Henry can deny this. He looks like the better version though, like the other Henry spends a lot of time in the bar and in front of poker machines and probably actually listens to Ted Nugent.

*(Once, some friends sent me a picture of some girl on a sign for a circus in Germany and were adamant that it was my doppelganger. I went along with it but did not see even the slightest resemblance and felt it was an insult to the girl in the ad, honestly!)

“DO YOU THINK HE REALIZES THAT HE LOOKS LIKE YOU?” I screeched and Henry was like, “NO BECAUSE HE DOESN’T.” But he definitely knew I was taking this picture, that’s for sure! I wonder if those kids with him did the same thing to him?!?! SURELY THEY APPRECIATED THIS UNCANNY RESEMBLANCE?!

Oh fuck, you guys. This damn thing had me cackling toward insanity, I swear. Even a week later, I’m sitting here screaming over this picture!! I spent the rest of the day texting it to people with no context. Wendy was like, “is this real?!” And then she asked if we talked to him, as if Henry would have ever let that happen!

Sep 122021
 

Since Seabreeze was such a small park, we decided to just do a half day there and then drive another hour or so away to Sylvan Beach, a small little resort village on Lake Oneida which is similar in some ways to our Conneaut Lake Park in that the area is pretty but the amusement park is janky AF. Sylvan Beach’s park was even smaller than Conneaut’s but I ended up loving this place so much more. The vibes were solid.

And the colors were poppin’!

This is one of those places where you can either pay for a ride-all-day wristband (not worth it unless you’re a small child because the bulk of the rides were kiddie rides) so we just calculated how many tickets we’d need to knock out the rides we came to ride: the carnival-scale roller coaster called Galaxi, the Rotor, Laffland (a Pretzel darkride!!!), and one or two flat rides. SADLY, Galaxi was closed because it’s being repainted – no idea why they wouldn’t wait until the off-season to accomplish this, but you do you, Sylvan Beach. And the Rotor was also inexplicably closed. So, that was sad but we still managed to eke out a good three hours at this place, somehow, and had a lot of fun.

There was a sign on the ticket booth that said something like, “Just stand in front of the ride you want to ride and a ride operator will be over shortly.” It was that kind of a place, lol.

The first item on the agenda was FOOD. We didn’t eat at Seabreeze and were running off of vegan donut-fumes at that point. Henry went right up to some old man and asked him where he got the pizza that he was in the process of raising up to his lips, way to be a rude-ass, Henry. The guy pointed us to KAHUNA’S, where Henry went hogwild and ordered a whole cheese pizza and fries. Wow, don’t hold back, Big Guy. But then we had time to kill so we went to the nearby arcade, which apparently isn’t affiliated with Sylvan Beach but sure does enjoy that prime location right smack in the middle of this place.

You guys, I am SO SICK of Chooch’s obsession with arcades. When will it end?? Will it just eventually morph into a gambling addiction? Are Las Vegas benders in his future?? And there were like THREE separate arcades here too, I wanted to die.

Some older man walked past us at one point and dropped a quarter. Henry picked it up and tried to hand it back to him, but he dropped it again and said with a creepy, puddin’ face, “It’s for the kids.” We were like OK buddy but Chooch was like, “Wait, really??” and noticed that some young child was following in the guy’s wake, snatching up the purposely-discarded questers, so then Chocoh decided to get in on this action too and started beating the kid to the punch.

Wow, Chooch was getting some DEATH GLARES from that little kid.

Anyway, turns out that that kid was the son of the Quarter Dropper, so good fucking job, Chooch, you thief.

Meanwhile, Henry kept saying, “How hasn’t he run out of quarters yet?” OH FOR GOD’S SAKE, HENRY, KEEP UP!

Henry’s fries were done before the pizza. We stole a bunch before Henry sent us off. “GO RIDE SOMETHING WHILE WE’RE WAITING FOR THIS PIZZA!” he demanded, because he was sick of us, I guess. Even the Henrys of the world need some quiet time.

I wanted to ride this contraption called Tip Top, which appeared to be something akin to Tea Cups, but nope. So much worse. First, though, we had to wait for the ride operator over at the Tilt-a-Whirl to finish her cycle before coming over to operate the Tip Top.

Oh also, it took forever to even start the ride because two little girls were standing on the ride platform looking lost so  the ride operator came over and was like, “Hello, please sit down” and the older of the two was like, “She wants to sit in the blue one because blue is her favorite color, but…” and then pointed the already-occupied blue one. So the ride operator was like, “Aw, well how about this nice pink one right here” and the older one was like, “Blue is her favorite color” and the younger one was on the verge of crying and I kind of wanted her too because sometimes I think I feed off of children’s disappointment. Anyway, this went on forever and I was like, “COME  THE FUCK ON I WANT TO RIDE THIS THING AND EAT MY PIZZA JUST TELL THE BITCH THAT THE PINK ONE IS A RARE SHADE OF BLUE” but they ended up getting off the ride like little bitches.

Idiots.

OMG this ride was so scary. First of all, it started out Teacup-esque, where it just spins in a circle while you make your own car spin too. But then the whole platform (which was basically made of PLYWOOD) tilts up and does all kinds of other tilt-y, unsafe things and I was SCREAMING. Mostly because I felt v. unsafe and then I thought Chooch was going to fall out of the opening in our car and so he started purposely flailing around and I was like THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE and the ride operator wasn’t stopping the ride after like 55 rotations WHY WASN’T SHE STOPPING THE RIDE.

It was a JOURNEY.

Meanwhile, the pizza was done and Henry had already housed half of it by the time we were done having our Tips Topped.

Ew.

But not-ew was this pizza! It tasted like roller rink pizza and I was so happy about it! Also while we were eating, whatever radio station was playing announced that JACKSON WANG was coming on air in a bit, STRAIGHT FROM CHINA, to answer some of the listeners’ questions. I started freaking out! I love Jackson Wang! He was/is in one of my favorite kpop groups, GOT7. Not sure what their future is looking like as a group because none of them resigned with their agency, but they also won’t say that they’ve disbanded.

Anyway, that was a nice surprise! Of course I didn’t get to actually hear him because we were done eating by then.

For as fly-by-night as this place was, I really couldn’t get over how colorful it was. I can tell that it must have been a very nice place at one time, and it feels like they’re trying to bring back some of that magic. I think they can do it!

The fact that they have preserved this piece of amusement history is worth supporting Sylvan Beach. I am a big dark ride fan and even without the prospect of getting that +1 credit (I just learned this term! It means when you go out of your way to a small park that only has one dinky coaster just to get that credit), I would have definitely suggested that we factor this into our NY road trip, because it is a CLASSIC PRETZEL DARK RIDE.

When I was a kid in the 80s, Le Cachot was one of my favorite rides at Kennywood. Back then, I didn’t know shit about ride manufacturers and “pretzel cars” but Le Cachot had them and if you’ve been on a ride like this, you will know that there is a certain electric-zapping-whirring sound that the cars make as they whip around corners. Hearing this sound again that evening, in Laffland, was like have a bucket of ice cold nostalgia dumped on me.

Literally NO ONE was in line for this. The young guy manning the Fun Slides right next to Laffland came over and told us to hold on while he fetched the ride operator – this super friendly woman who was delighted to send some patrons through her ride.

Henry and I rode together and Chooch went in after us. He said that while he was still standing outside, he could hear me screaming through the whole thing and it was “embarrassing.” Lol.

But OMG it was wonderful! I fucking LOVE DARK RIDES. Not those newfangled shooter ones. I want the old shit! I want the hokey animatronics and the strobe lights. I want the tilted floors and laughing witches.

Ya gotta come to Sylvan Beach for the Laffland. It costs like 3 tickets. I think each ticket was $1.50 or something. It’s worth it, I fucking promise you. The sounds and the old-timey stench alone will make you remember all the best parts of being a kid and whoa, OMG – I am totally one of those Elders pining for the past.

OH BOY ANOTHER ARCADE. This one had skeeball and games that were similar to Fascination but poker-themed or something, I didn’t understand it.

AND ANOTHER ARCADE. I couldn’t stay in this one long because the guy had country music blasting and it was too much.

The ride area is basically akin to a local church carnival set-up. They don’t have much going on there, especially once you take the coaster and the Rotor out of the equation. I think the ride-all-day wristband was $25 or $35 and that was just really not worth it. We bought about $25 worth of tickets for the three of us to ride Laffland, and Chooch and I also rode that Tip Top thing and whatever that one ride is called that looks like the Zipper and a Ferris wheel had a baby. It was OK. We couldn’t get our cages to flip all the way though and I was too scared to be any more forceful with it than I already was because Sylvan Beach was cool but I didn’t want to die there.

SPEAKING OF DYING THERE, apparently some employee did just that many years ago in the Playland arcade and it’s allegedly haunted. They do after-hours ghost tours  (I will back for that, trust) and one of those dumb ghost hunting shows filmed an episode there too. I can totally see a place like this being haunted. It’s  been around since the late 1800s! Plenty of time for spirits to collect.

Then it was Carousel time! Since the carousel is independently owned, we had to buy separate tickets for it. The horses didn’t go up and down either, but it was still a fun ride.

Fascination was closed and Henry was so sad.

 

The rides looked so much better at night, lol.

We left Chooch in the arcade and walked over the lake. I had never heard of Lake Oneida before but it sure was pretty. I learned lots of geography-ish things on this trip! Like, we drove near the Finger Lakes, which is where my friend Alyson loves to go and get wine, and I had NO IDEA that was where they were in NY. Mind blown.

Also, we were in the area where my friend Val lives. Also had no idea until we drove past an exit sign and I recognized the name of her town! We didn’t have time to give her a heads up, but we will be back and I hope she is prepared, lol.

I think this trip has turned me into a lake person even though we didn’t actually do lake-things at all.

“Let’s pretend we’re a couple.”

Before we left, Henry wanted to get ice cream. I didn’t want any but said I would just have a bite or two of us. He was like, “What do you want me to get, blueberry?” and I was like, “Ooh ok” AGAIN, FORGETTING THAT HE DOESN’T LIKE BLUEBERRY LOL. So I had two bites of this and then he was left to sadly finish the cup on his own, all the while imagining he was eating the butter pecan that he actually wanted (I would have been happy if he had ordered that instead because I love me some butter pecan).

Anyway, wow! What a quaint little place. I was so obsessed with it that I demanded we swing through on our way home on Labor Day. I think Sylvan Beach could really get back to a poppin’ nature with some extra TLC and it does look like the owners are trying based on the fact that they’re repainting their coaster. I’d definitely go back to get that Galaxi credit, ride Laffland again, and inhale some of that pizza. And DEFINITELY eat at the Pancake House again. I dunno why I grew such an attachment to that place. Oh, because I’m Erin Rachelle Kelly, that’s why.

We left Sylvan Beach around 9 that night and drove for something like 30 minutes to the nearby Utica, where we stayed for two nights at Red Roof Inn which actually wasn’t too bad except for that stupid headboard that almost knocked me out. The next day was SIX FLAGS GREAT ESCAPE so check back for that scintillating recap, hahaha ugh. Sorry this is basically just an amusement park blog now but I’ve got little else going on!

Sep 092021
 

Hello. Last Saturday, we went to a small amusement park in Rochester, NY called SEABREEZE. It’s right on Lake Ontario and it was a pure delight. We opted to go to smaller-scale parks since it was a holiday weekend and Covid is running rampant. I didn’t want to go somewhere that would be super crowded and run the risk of catching that shit. Turns out, our mini NY road trip was perfect, and Seabreeze really kicked it off well.

I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about this place. Oh! Magnets. They didn’t have them! And you know I collect magnets from everywhere we go! So I had to buy a postcard and a sticker instead. Ugh.

The first coaster cred of the trip was the historic Jack Rabbit! When it was built in 1920, it was the FASTEST IN THE WORLD! There is only one coaster in the country that’s older than this one and that is Pennsylvania’s own Leap the Dips, which is also the oldest in the world (allegedly) and Chooch actually got this credit when he was like…2 or 3??

Anyway, this bitch is so old that a ride operator has to manually brake it with these big levers when it comes back to the brake run. I thought that was fascinating.

I really love experiencing history on such a tangible level.

Henry and I went back later to get a second ride on it before we left and Son of the Year actually left the arcade to take a picture of us on it.

I didn’t ride the kiddie coaster because I don’t care that much about credits, but Chooch pocketed his pride and strode right up to the station. The sign actually said that you can’t ride this over a certain height unless you’re accompanying a kid, but the ride operator was probably only 2 years older than Chooch and did not give a fuck at all about the rules, so he walked right on and claimed the last row.

I love how it looks like he’s holding this little bitch in his lap, lull.

“That actually had some decent pops of ejector air,” he said sardonically when he rejoined us.

I liked this area here with all the games and food stands.

OMFG this ride!! It was built in-house by the park owners and it, well, SLAPS. (I watch a lot of young guys on YouTube talking about roller coasters and I can’t help it if I talk like them now too please kindly step off.) It had the longest line in the park and for good reason.

(Because it, you know, SLAPS.)

When we were in line, Chooch nudged me and motioned toward the ground where some dollars had dropped out of the pocket of the man in front of us. He gave me approximately .000003 seconds to react before shoving past me and saying, “I’LL JUST PICK IT UP MYSELF” and then in a polite tone he goes, “Excuse me sir, you dropped this.” The man acted like Chooch was a goddamn hero and kept thanking him and I was like, “OK it was $11 calm down he didn’t lift a car off your kid for Christ’s sake.”

Chooch sneered at me after the man turned back around and I spat, “Well, if you had given me more than a millimeter of a second to react—”

“DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW TIME WORKS?” Chooch screamed, well Henry was mumbling about how, “No, that’s not it, Erin.”

“I was hoping he would just let me keep it,” Chooch admitted later. THERE HE IS! THERE IS THE SON THAT I KNOW.

Before the BIG MONEY DROP, but after some kids were talking amongst themselves about how they LIKED MY SHOES.

Chooch was desperate to get the Suisse car and of course it worked out that he did because he’s Chooch and he gets everything, but Henry and I got the Jamaica one and I was happy with that because really I just didn’t want the stupid USA one ugh kill me.

But yeah, this ride was so much fun and if the line had been shorter, I would have marathoned the shit out of this. As it was, it was only about a 25 minute wait but nearly everything else was a walk-on and we had another place of amusement to patronize later that evening.

This is my crooked HENRY IS ACTUALLY RIDING THE MUSIC EXPRESS WITH ME smile. I think the last time this happened was probably in 2002 when he was still desperately trying to keep me.

HERE ARE THE SHOES THOSE CHILDREN LIKED.

“Yeah, probably because they’re VELCRO, for BABIES,” Chooch scoffed, because he hates when anyone likes my stuff.

Chooch’s 4th and final credit was this crazy mouse-esque ride which we assumed was going to be like the one at Waldameer which is similar, which spinning cars.

But this fucker ended up being INSANE. The spins were out of control and I was screaming my face off and laughing so hard. It was incredible! Until the end, when the ride stopped but I couldn’t get my eyes to stop bouncing from side to side. This one almost took me out of commission! Yet somehow I agreed with Chooch that it was my favorite ride there, lol

Carousel time!

So happy about it!

This was when we realized that Chooch and I were both wearing Warped Tour shirts (his is from 2018. mine is from 2008) so I made Henry take this picture, much to Chooch’s chagrin.

I dunno which #carouselfie I want to use for the wall!

Chooch was super annoying with arcade shit as usual. He cashed in his tickets for candy and some stupid jar of slime which he kept jamming his fingers into when we were in the car and the slurpy/sucky noises emanating from the backseat were so disturbing and I was screaming at him to stop, ugh. I hate slime.

OMG wahhhh.

The last ride we went on was the Screamin’ Eagle which was similar to our beloved Aero 360 at Kennywood. We got stuck in one of the inner sections though and I hate sitting there because you have to face the people across from you and in our case it was two women who were probably younger than me but had that Responsible Mom air to them and that is something that I lack. Anyway, the one lady JUST HAD A BABY 10 DAYS PRIOR TO THIS which I know because her friend said, “I can’t believe you just had a baby 10 days ago” and I was like OMFG how are you HERE? Aren’t you like, leaking entrails and placenta residue??

(Look, I didn’t major in BABY-HAVIN’ OK??)

Anyway, this park was a real cutie. The only thing it was missing, in my opinion, was one really good, old dark ride. I wonder if they used to have one back in the day? I would love to revisit someday and spend some time near the lake too, maybe eat at one of the restaurants nearby. The town of Seabreeze looked adorable from what we saw of it in the drive to the park.

Sep 062021
 

In lieu of live blogging, I want to just check in and talk about how much I adore Sylvan Beach, a tiny resort town on Lake Oneida in New York. We stopped here for a few hours Saturday night, after leaving Seabreeze Park, because there’s a little carnival-esque coaster and a dark ride that I wanted to go on. Sadly, the coaster is currently closed because it’s being repainted (why they didn’t wait until the off season is beyond me but you do you, Sylvan Beach!) but we ended up liking it here so much that I begged Henry to stop here again on our way home today so that we could eat breakfast at the Pancake House, which I became inexplicably obsessed with when I saw their website before coming here.

We were seated right away but it took nearly an hour to get our food because they were so busy. Luckily, the staff was really friendly and the atmosphere was delightful, but most importantly they were playing 80s music (two Phil songs played while we there, plus OMD, Flock of Seagulls, and Cutting Crew so who can be mad with all that massaging your aural passages??).

We shamed Chooch for ordering two glasses of chocolate milk (these teenage boy years are fascinating) but then the SHORT STACK of French toast. I was like OK but you’re still going to be hungry.

Henry got MEATS and EGGS and BISCUITS doused with MORE MEATS.

I got the daily special: orange pancakes!! They were divine! Subtly orange flavored and topped with mandarin oranges, and I got the cream cheese icing on the side so I wouldn’t get sick. It was perfect. Of course I only managed to eat one and then Henry and Chooch finished the rest lol.

One of the waitresses liked my shoes! Chooch hated that part of breakfast.

Oh and the hostess here was the most pure being of all time, I really think so.

Loved it. 5 ✨.

Then I wanted to walk down to the lake because if there is one thing I have learned from Korean culture, it’s that walking after a meal is good for digestion and it is so much better than getting right back in the car for four hours!

It is SO PRETTY HERE. I’m obsessed with it. Chooch? Ambivalent as always.

I let Henry get in a picture with me even though I’m still mad at for him for his callous response to me hitting my head off the headboard this morning at the hotel. It was the third time this weekend that it happened because it has A LIP ON TOP OF IT and is actually pretty low so it’s super easy to hit your head if you’re sitting up in the bed. Anyway, Henry the Gallant said, “most people learn from their mistakes” and I just lost it. I mean I was already trying not to cry from the pain of smacking my head against a sharp wooden edge, but now he’s LITERALLY ADDING INSULT TO INJURY and, well, 20 years with this guy! Congratulations to me.

Then Chooch wanted to get a picture of the Galaxi Coaster so we ditched Henry and walked one to the amusement park, which was closed but is ungated so we could just walk right in. Still, I didn’t want to creep around so I asked one of the employees if we could walk over just to take a picture and it ended up being the lady who was running the dark ride on Saturday! She was so nice! She said we could certainly do that, but not to climb over the fence, and I was like, “oh I don’t think I could do that anyway” and she laughed and then I laughed and it was so pleasant. It made me remember that I used to like people!

They also have a ROTOR there which also sadly was not operating. But this just gives us a reason to go back someday!

Sylvan Beach is pretty fucking amazing, and I’m so glad our amusement park addiction brought us here!

Sep 042021
 

Chooch and I (definitely mostly Chooch) matched these two walls today at Sylvan Beach so I couldn’t pass up the photo op.

Anyway, day 1 of our Labor Day weekend is in the bag and it was goooood. Well, except for first thing in the morning when we left because I hate leaving the cats. :( We got vegan donuts at Misfit Donuts in Rochester, NY, spent most of the afternoon at Seabreeze Amusement Park also in Rochester, and then drove out to Sylvan Beach to cap off the day at a pretty janky carnival-esque park but the people there were super friendly and everything was totally colorful which is, as you know, TOTALLY MY STYLE.

Now we’re at a Red Roof Inn in Utica, but part of the R is burnt out so it looks like Ded Roof Inn. Henry told us numerous times how NICE THE GUY WAS at the front desk like OK HANK WE GET IT. There is a woman a few doors down who totally lives here. She has plants in the window and just had groceries delivered when we arrived.

Anyway, I’ve never been to this part of NY before so I’m living for the new-to-me views!

Aug 202021
 

Ok, Mary here’s the story: we went to thirteen (13!!!!) other amusement parks this year before finally going to our home park Kennywood.

Which is like, 25 minutes from our house.

(OK, it’s longer when I drive because I take the NOSTALGIC route of my childhood, through West Mifflin which means fuck all to anyone reading this who doesn’t live in Pittsburgh but basically I go the way we used to go when I was a kid living in a completely different part of Western PA, lol.)

But hey Ted, let me tell you why I was dragging my feet: Kennywood has been changing, and not for the better. Can it go back to being family-run, please? I have no idea what the plan is but the dumbos that are in charge now removed FOUR FLAT RIDES this season: the Paratroopers, the Bayern Curve, Volcano (which will always be the Enterprise to me), and the MOTHERFUCKING KANGAROO. Literally, the ride of Kennywood’s mascot, Kenny Kangaroo. Those are four rides that I would ALWAYS take for a spin on my visits too (sometimes not the Bayern Curve though because there’s a horn that would occasionally blow and it always bothered me) and I am pretty gutted over this. And so was the park, as evidenced by the literal gaping spots of nothingness left in the wake of their removal.

I just hate it.

Didn’t they hurt us enough when they removed the Log Jammer?! Sure, we got that record-breaking….thing called Steel Curtain, but if we’re being honest, that coaster is just OK. Come on. It’s OK to admit it.

AND THEN?? They replaced the waffle place with a fucking MILLIE’S. Literally, the UPMC of ice cream shops. Every time I turn around, MILLIE’s. I used to be a huge Millie’s fan girl but the last several times I visited, I was met with subpar service and not-great scoops, so after years of screaming the virtue’s of Pittsburgh’s premier creamery, I unfollowed them from all social media and put all of my stock in Sugar Spell Scoops (the couple who own that biz are WAY more deserving of my attention anyway, AND their vegan ice cream is incredible).

And also! Kennywood’s admission is astronomical for what they offer these days. I felt so angry when I ordered our tickets online.

It was just Chooch and me who went last Tuesday – Henry was like NO THANK YOU when we asked him to take the day off and go with us. I know I complained a lot up there, but it was actually not all bad. I will recount the day’s events in bullet-form because that’s what cool people do.

  • Chooch and I arrived at the park right as the gates were opening. Our traditional routine is to go straight to the Exterminator because that line pops off even on a light crowd day. It’s an indoor crazy mouse right, so most of the line queue is in a cement-block of a room that feels like a large jail cell and and honestly, even during NON-pandemic times, it’s horrible to stand in there. There is NO air flow and you’re at the mercy of the people freely farting and BO’ing all around you. Ugh. Kennywood recently reinstated their mask mandate for indoors, including Exterminator, but who knows how many people would actually abide by that? Judging by what we saw throughout the day any time we were in a gift shop, bathroom, or food-place, not many! So when we arrived at the Exterminator and found that no one was in line yet, I felt blessed. I don’t think we have ever been the first ones on the Exterminator before! And when the ride officially opened at 11, we ran past the ride attendant holding a box of disposable masks since we are mask mandate-abiding citizens and brought our own, and ran all the way through the queue while everyone behind us walked like Normals. I’m pretty sure we got on the ride and went through the entire cycle before anyone else caught up and got on  the ride, lol. We are fucking maniacs.
  • Phantom was A FUCKING WALK-ON for the back row. Goddamn, this is literally the only reason I keep coming back to Kennywood after they consistently disappoint me and break my heart with the cruel decisions they make in their sterile boardroom.
  • In line for the Racer, there were three older teens behind me talking about how they were going to take the back row and in my head I was like, “LOL, try it.” The group in front of us ran for the front and Chooch and I breezed right into the back row. Two of the guys got to snag the back row in the other train but their friend was left to dejectedly sit alone in some dumb row, lol. Anyway, I still think the Racer is fucking boring but I have to admit it’s smoother than most of the other racer-types we have recently ridden, fo’ sho’.

  • The same guys ended up being in front of us for Steel Curtain and the ride attendant cut the line off at them since there were three of them and only two more riders were needed for the train that was queueing up so the ride attendant told Chooch and me to go ahead of them AND WE GOT THE BACK ROW AGAIN LOL. I felt kind of bad. Especially when….
  • ….WE BROKE DOWN ON THE BRAKE RUN! So then they had to call up the out-of-shape maintenance guys who noodled on up in their golf cart and then like, 6 other Kennywood manager-looking people in polo shirts walked over from their secret underground headquarters. They got us back into the station in under five minutes (it was much less worse than the time we broke down on the Gatekeeper brake run) but then of course they had to shut down the ride for a bit to test it so those poor guys had to wait even longer. They probably really hated us then.
  • Speaking of the Steel Curtain, it’s been running one-train ops FOREVER now. Like, what the fuck is the issue? Actually, I think I used to know and then forgot. But anyway, for one-train ops,  I do have to give lots of credit to the Steel Curtain crew because they fucking HUSTLE and even try to  to call out single riders in order to fill all the rows, which is something that I don’t see happening very often.

  • This little kid photobombed us in line for Jack Rabbit and then excitedly blurted out, “I photobombed you!” and I thought that was really cute and Chooch was annoyed because we’re supposed to hate all kids together and he doesn’t like it when I find exceptions. Also, I love the fucking Jack Rabbit. I REALLY stopped and appreciated it this time around, having been on so many different wooden coasters lately. This bitch is 101 years old (the coaster, not me, though I am aging rapidly these days) and still so fucking smooth. I’m mad at CORPORATE KENNYWOOD but I have to say – they take excellent care of their coasters. They know they got a good thing going!

  • Right about the time we were ready to eat, it started to rain. We were SO SMUG about this because for the last several years, whenever we go to Kennywood sans Henry it has been our tradition to eat at Johnny Rockets because they have a veggie burger. Plus, it’s indoors, whereas when we’re with Henry, we get pizza and have to eat it at a table outside. This is FINE but not when it’s raining. Well, since we got to Johnny Rockets right as the rain started, it hadn’t yet been deluged by people seeking shelter so the line to order wasn’t very long at all. In fact, there were only several groups ahead of us. But while we were standing there, I happened to glance at the menu. Then I did a second, longer glance. Then I walked closer to it and squinted. CONFIRMED: THE VEGGIE BURGER NO LONGER EXISTS IN THE JOHNNY ROCKETS WORLD. I’m not sure if this is just a temporary covid thing, an economy thing, a FUCK VEGETARIANS thing, or what, but it threw us for an actual loop because it was now STORMING and the only other indoor eating place had a line coming almost out the door.
    • Which brings us to that portion of the bullets: THE PARK CAFE ALSO HATES VEGETARIANS portion. First of all, congratulations for being literally the longest line we stood in all day, Park Cafe place. Also, congratulations to the whole lotta Yinzers declining to wear their masks indoors while in line and not eating. Cool. Cool cool cool. Anyway, I was panicking because my eyes are bad and I couldn’t see the menu and didn’t know if there were any options for me (Chooch said he was getting the mac & cheese dinner and I 100% did not want that). Chooch walked closer to the menu and reported back that they had a veggie wrap. Now I was happy! A veggie wrap sounded like JUST WHAT I WANTED.
    • Then I had a solid 30 minutes to stand in line, panicking about WHERE TO SIT once we got our food because 75% of the motheryinzers up in that piece were rain-averse sissies looking for shelter and not actually eating at the Park Cafe. For instance, we were standing near this one FEMALE who was taking up three (three!!!!) tables with her little brood of brats and they were eating snacks she had brought with her in ziplock bags. She was sitting there staring at everyone, while eating crackers. LITERALLY BEING A BITCH EATING CRACKERS. I watched her drop a crumb on her lap and then lazily pick it up and eat it. I HATED HER BIGLY.
    • When we got to the ordering portion of the line, I confidently screamed through my mask that I would be having a veggie wrap, please and thanks, only for the sandwich counter broad to come back and say, “I’m sorry we’re out of veggie wraps.” SO I SAID “OK NEVER MIND THEN I’M GOOD I GUESS” and ended up just getting an order of fries from the HOT FOODS counter and I was sad about it because first of all, I didn’t want fries, and second of all, if I did I would have gone to the POTATO PATCH BECAUSE HELLO WHO GOES TO KENNYWOOD AND THEN EATS NON-POTATO PATCH FRIES?? I guess a lot of people because I was seeing fries on many trays.
    • THEN I ALMOST SHANKED AN OLD BITCH WITH MY EYES ALONE WHEN SHE CUT IN FRONT OF ME IN THE DRINK LINE. I only given the guy my drink order and Chooch was right next to me waiting to get his drink too but after the man handed me my water (#CheapBitchAlert), this old bitch went right on ahead with her bad self and ordered pink lemonade. I looked at her and ACTUALLY made an “UGH” gasp sound and she shrugged and said, “I’m sorry, but he looked at me so I ordered!” Later on, Chooch white knighted her and I disowned him.
  • Oh! We saw Aaron in Johnny Rockets! Apparently his brother who now works with Henry was also on his way. Henry excitedly texted me about this because that’s his Work Son and he knows everything about him. He definitely talks to Henry more than Henry’s actual sons do LOLOLOL.

  • Is there even a more Pittsburghy picture? I mean, sure there is. But man. This is iconic. Steel shit in the background and good ass coasters in the forefront. Love that for us.
  • Ugh, I stupidly put a temporary moratorium on my Millie’s ban because their KENNYWOOD EXCLUSIIVE flavor is a lemon thing with Eat n Park smiley cookies so I got that and it pretty OK for the first couple of bites but then I just felt sick and also remembered that I don’t even really like smiley cookies that much anymore but now I had wasted my KENNYWOOD SWEET TREAT on stupid ass Millie’s when I should have stuck with Golden Nugget. I was SO SAD. (Yes, I considered doubling up on ice cream but my stomach rejected that idea before I even had a chance to think the full thought.)

  • It was still raining a little bit and because of nearby lightning, the coasters were still down. So we got in line for the Whip because it was running. While in line, there was a group of four kids in front of us, and the one girl who was maybe 13 was being SUCH.A.CUNT. She was evidently very offended and personally affected by the fact that one of the people with her had the AUDACITY to wear a mask. He looked like he was maybe 15, I dunno, I can’t tell ages. She kept screaming at him to take it off, the ‘rona’s not real (HATE when people call it that, btw) and when he failed to do her bidding, she ripped the mask off his face and threw it over the railing of the queue!!! Then she got in his face and coughed dramatically and with much vigor. OH BOY if that was my fucking kid she would HAVE GOT IT. I half-expected this guy to scream back at her but instead, he calmly pulled another mask out of his pocket and put it on. I mean, good for him for being the bigger person, but if I were under the age of 18, that bitch would have had her hair yanked out of her white trash head. You know she learned that shit from her parents, too! Ma and Pa are probably still proudly flying that TRUMP 2020 flag from their trailer. Of course, I took a picture of the bitch but I will be MATURE and not post it here also because I don’t want to get in trouble lol.

  • she might be in the background though.

  • When we got off the Whip (which was extra whippy and fun in the rain!), I saw that the Swings were testing so Chooch and I got in line with all the GP, like wow how hard-pressed we were for action in the rain. Also, I was NOT leaving the park just because it was raining. Rainy days are the best times to go to Kennywood. So, we stood in line waiting for the Swings to reopen and when the unsmiling worker took away the CLOSED FOR WEATHER sign, we cheered with all of the little kids and their mommys. Then a bunch of people walking by were swayed by our cheers to also ride the Swings. The power of choral cheers,  you know?
    • We also stood in line for quite a while waiting for Musik Express (which was previously supposed to be closed for the whole day) to be cleaned and tested.

WE HAD NOAH’S ARK TO OURSELVES.

  • We did eventually get back on Phantom’s Revenge. Man, this baby was running SO GOOD, and then right after it rained? Wow. Anyway, we were in line for the back as per usual when I noticed that the Bitch Eating Crackers was also in line with her Kids Eating Crackers. “Look,” I whispered* to Chooch. “There’s that bitch from the Parkside Cafe who—” when she looked at me and said, “Do yinz want to get in front of us?” and I finished my sentence by saying, “Oh wow, yes, thank you so much!” We took the spot in front of them and Chooch looked at me and said, “Wow, right after you called her a bitch.”
    • *I always wonder if my whispering is loud, tho.

UM IS THAT A SEATBELT FLYING IN THE AIR OMG LOL

  • They redid Garfield’s Nightmare so it’s more like how it used to be….kind of? Chooch was mad and wants them to bring back Garfield but that’s just because he’s from a generation that only knows this ride as Garfield’s Nightmare. I thought they were restoring it to the original Haunted Hideaway but they just gave it like, a modern update. I dunno, but they gave it a confusing storyline and I wasn’t sure what was going on.

  • Oh! We rode Steel Curtain again later in the day because the line was very short, like maybe 20 minutes, and of course the eccentric old man in front of me turned and started jawing off to me about how it’s his favorite ride in the park and he’s ridden it over 300 times and he’s aiming for 500 and blah blah blah. I was trying very hard to be conversational with him but it was hard because, and I swear I’m not exaggerating for the sake of being a mean girl, but he only had one bottom tooth and it was so hard to understand him. Then he turned back around and Chooch said, “That’s totally not blood on his shirt though, right.” OMG I THINK MAYBE IT WAS??? Anyway, the ride operators totally knew him and called out to him by his name and I felt kind of cool since I was standing next to him. LOOK I AM HARD-UP FOR ATTENTION and even second hand attention by a 20-year-old ride operator at Kennywood is something for me to write about it in my diary.
  • Over a week later and I still regret my decision to choose Millie’s over Golden Nugget. I will never let that happen again, if you take me back, Golden Nugget. Please say you will take me back.
  • My Sharona was playing at one point as we were walking around and Chooch asked, “Oh, is this the actual song? I thought it was the Weird Al version at first and thought it was weird that they would play that here” and I admitted that I not only forgot that Weird Al did a parody of that song, but that I forgot he existed in general. Then later that night, I had regular TV on for some reason in the background and THIS HAPPENED:

Well, that’ll do it. Kennywood was annoying but also fun. I still hate Thomas Town even though I went through a HEAVY Thomas the Tank Engine phase in high school and signed yearbooks with a Thomas stamp (don’t ask) and I hate Steelers Country and all the missing FLAT RIDES and fuck Johnny Rockets and Millie’s, but one ride on Phantom’s Revenge can make me forget it all.

Aug 172021
 

Ugh, I have been trying to drag this out for as long as possible, but sadly (though happily for anyone still coming back to this thing), we’ve arrived at the last day of the vacation thing.

Henry and I woke up early again and went for one last walk. I wanted especially to get a picture by the WILDWOODS sign when it wasn’t overly crowded and it turns out that 7am is a good time to accomplish this though even then we had to hang back a bit and wait for other people to have their chance. Um, I know that this concrete beach ball is barely even that high off the ground but my heart was PALPITATING. I had to call upon my inner Suni Lee for some balance inspo.

#TOKYOOLYMPICS2020 #NEVERFORGET #WATCHEDITINEVERYHOTELWESTAYEDAT

But on the real though, I will always associate the Olympics with this vacation now!

I think I already mentioned this in my BIRTHDAY POST but some grandma was pushing a grandbaby in a stroller when we were doing our dumb photoshoot and she was adamant about taking a picture of the both of us but it was really awful and she cut a ton of the sign out, lol.  I preferred to be as far back as possible so as not to ruin the picture with my cringe.

I was starving when we got back to the room so we woke up SURLY CHOOCH and made him get ready for breakfast. He actually remembered to say Happy Birthday so that was cool. You would think I would have wanted to go somewhere to have a big fancy birthday morning meal but no – I was dying to eat at the restaurant below the OLYMPIC BEACH RESORT or whatever the Olympic is called now. So, just basic diner-ish food but I was cool with that, just for the chance to be THAT MUCH CLOSER to the inside of the OLYMPIC.

Henry was really over this whole OLYMPIC thing by now. And I don’t think Chooch even realized what was happening.

YESSSS.

I had French toast because it was my birthday. It was OK! I was just happy to be eating said French toast IN THE OLYMPIC. And the hostess thanked us profusely for coming in so I thought we were real VIPs for a second until she said the same shit to people who came in after us. :(

Afterward, I started to harass Chooch for coming to the beach and then…not going to the beach.

“I didn’t come to the beach,” he mumbled. “I was brought to the beach.”

WOW OH WOW JUST WOW, we are such sinister parents. Can you believe the GULL we must have, dragging this poor, precious boy to the JERSEY SHORE against his will? I know I’d rather be sitting in my dark bedroom playing MINECRAFT or whatever with internet friends.

“OK Bobby,” I said cheerfully, “take off your shoes, we’re going to the beach while your FATHER packs.”

Speaking of Back to the Beach (literally  try to reference this as much as possible IN THE REAL LIFE), when we were on the boardwalk, there was a picture of a young Frankie Avalon getting ice cream at Kohr Bros and Chooch grumpily muttered, “I don’t even know who that is.”

“IT’S FRANKIE AVALON,” I cried. “FROM BACK TO THE BEACH!” I bet he really wants that movie to be what he’s remembered for, lol. But I was a kid when that came out and literally had no idea who he was, just that PEE WEE HERMAN was in this movie and I had to see it, oh my god, so my Aunt Sharon took me to the theater, neither of us having any idea what the actual movie was about, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. I recorded the song that the cast sings at the end with the microphone of my old ass Fisher Price tape recorder, memorializing it on my first ever mixed tape (it was translucent yellow with a rainbow on the corner!) when I was in grade school. That tape will always live on in my heart.

(I also taped “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell from the TV at my Pappap’s house using the same method and I thought I was a fucking genius, probably.

Anyway. The beach. We went to there. I think Chooch had regERTZ for not actually wanting to spend more time there sooner but oh well, maybe listen to MOMMY next time, she knows best.

Chooch: who cares about the beach

Also Chooch: *compulsively makes a mess in the sand like a toddler*

Ugh, then we checked out around 10:30 (I will actually admit that the GOLD CREST was OK even though it wasn’t THE OLYMPIC and that maybe I would stay there again only because I don’t want Henry crapping on my good childhood memories and traditions with his dumb snoring and blank T-shirts or whatever.) From there, we drove to Six Flags Great Adventure, which was only about an hour away and look, I know I said that we had nixed this from the original itinerary because El Toro is closed for the season and then the brand new RMC single-rail – Jersey Devil – went down for maintenance, but listen Linda: the Jersey Devil ended up opening up again and I wanted to ride a fine-ass RMC on my motherfucking birthday, OK?

I figured it would be crowned, but it would be worth it to me to just go there, ride the damn thing, and then leave.

Also, I kept waking up throughout the night because the TV was playing commercials for Jersey Devil literally all night long. Like it was an omen.

LOL, but then we got there and it was CLOSED. And so was Nitro, the third most anticipated coaster I wanted to ride. So basically, the park’s top three (not even exaggerating, these are legitimately the park’s premier attractions) coasters were DOWN that day, which meant that even though it actually wasn’t that crowded, everyone was funneling into the other lines so some of the coasters had two-hour waits.

So that was a big let down, but I will say one thing: the atmosphere here was the best of the three Six Flags I’ve been to (well, four if you count that now-defunct Geauga Lake one in Ohio that Henry and I tried to have “a date” at in the salad days of our relationship lol. Ugh.

I mean, it’s not the Wildwood boardwalk, that’s for sure!

Anyway, I was super sulky and pouty about my shitty birthday luck (but at least we didn’t pay to get in!), so I just wanted to leave right away after finding out the bad news. But Chooch was all, “Can we just, I dunno, mosey on over to Kingda Ka, just to see?”

That was definitely my LEAST ANTICIPATED coaster of the whole park because I hate hate hate Top Thrill Dragster and this one is even higher (it’s actually the launch that I hate because it’s honestly so unnecessary, no one should ever want to feel like that). But fuck fuck fuck, the wait time was only about 30 minutes so I let him drag me on it and we got the back row and I honestly had a hard time walking after that; my legs were made of Jell-o.

You can see that piece of shit in the background  – that big tall dumb looking thing. It’s a strata coaster, so it’s over 400 feet high. I just hate it. I hate sitting there waiting for it to launch, it’s like waiting for a death sentence.

But in the forefront is EL TORO. It had a pretty terrible maintenance issue / accident in June when the back car of one of the trains partially derailed (no one was hurt). It happened early on in the ride so a shit ton of the track got busted from the derailed wheels scraping along the course. Needless to say, this bad boy is going to be down for a while and I’m gutted because this is such a bucket list coaster for me, and I’ll tell you why: it’s the closest thing to my beloved T-Express in South Korea’s Everland that I will ever get to until I go back to Korea one day. T-Express completely shattered my idea of what a roller-coaster – especially a wooden one – could accomplish. I just never really cared that much about coasters when we went to parks – I would ride them, but I was always on the prowl for crazy flat rides and unique dark rides. I mean, I was a card-carrying member of the Dark Ride & Funhouse Enthusiasts club, lest you forget.

The T-Express is an Intamin pre-fab coaster and it broke records when it was constructed. Then Intamin (with the help of RMC!!! DREAMTEAM) built El Toro several years later and EVERYONE gushes about El Toro. It’s in so many enthusiasts’ Top 10 and I am so sad that I will likely have to wait another year before finally experiencing it. The silver lining to this is that some of the coaster YouTubers I watch say that this coaster was running pretty rough and slowly over the last few years and that getting retracked is probably the best thing that could happen so HERE IS HOPING.

Other things we managed to ride that didn’t have terribly long lines:

  • Runaway Mine Train thing (so fucking rough and awful but that part of the park was very pretty)
  • The Joker, pictured above: Chooch’s and my first 4D free spin and it was not great and the line moved so slowly. I’ll take the good old, tried and true Zipper over this any day.
  • Harley Quinn’s Crazy Train or something, which was a surprisingly fun family coaster.
  • Skull Mountain – a really fucking shitty indoor wild mouse type coaster that had next to no theming and was basically just a half-dark warehouse with like, junk laying around.
  • Hall of Justice League – super long wait for a shooting ride, but the video they had playing during it was actually pretty entertaining even though I do not care about DC comic superhero stuff at all, and the ride itself was SHOCKINGLY fun for a shooting ride, which I usually hate.

Standing in line for Skull Mountain and having no idea how let down we were about to be, lol. Also, if you were following along on my birthday week adventures, you may recall that Chooch started repeating his t-shirts and that’s because we stupidly let him pack for himself and he thought we were only going to be gone “until Monday.” Luckily, he had some extra shirts but Henry to go to a Dollar General on our first day in Wildwood to buy him socks and underwear lol.

We left Six Flags around 3 or 4 (and I got yelled at by a custodian cleaning up puke by the exit for trying to go around him, which seemed on par for this lame birthday) because we were driving home that same day (WHO PLANNED A TRAVEL DAY ON MY BIRTHDAY, HENRY) and didn’t want to get home at like 3am. The drive was super boring and full of me being a big crybaby because nothing is ever good enough for Princess Erin. There is some additional stuff in this post that I wrote in the car when I was pointedly ignoring Henry. We got home around 1am and the cats didn’t even care because they hung out with my mom all week so they didn’t miss at all.

And I have been floating in post-vacation depression ever since.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, BYE.

Aug 152021
 

Last week, Cedar Point announced that Wicked Twister (otherwise affectionately known as Spaghetti Noodle if you live in my Oh Honestly house) would be retired this season, with the last cycles happening on Labor Day. At first I took solace in the fact that Chooch and I got to ride it twice in June because we do truly enjoy this strange coaster. But then I looked at Henry and said, “I mean, we could go this Sunday and just ride Spaghetti Noodle and leave DOT DOT DOT.”

Henry sighed and of course eventually agreed. Thank god for those Cedar Fair passes though because otherwise that would have been an expensive farewell to Spaghetti Noodle.

Anyway, that’s what we did today. We left the house around 6am in order to get to the park before 9am for early entry so we could at least get a ride on SteVe while we were there.

Of course half of early entry was spent watching SteVe being tested but I’d rather wait in line for 45 minutes than 150 minutes during regular park hours that’s for sure.

Henry opted to use his early entry time on Maverick instead and for some reason this was a Big Deal to Chooch and me because it’s funny to think of Henry going off and doing his own shit at a theme park. You know?

Just really funny.

Henry’s Big Early Entry.

Then Chooch and I got in a mild argument because he said he doesn’t really think SteVe is that worth it, and ow my heart. We are truly a house divided: he’s cuckoo for B&M gigas while my heart lies with RMC hyper hybrids.

I am seriously beholden to those Rocky Mountain Construction beasts. If Kennywood got an RMC, watch me get a season pass.

Anyway.

We managed to get on before the FAST LANE people made their mad stampede into the queue and that in and of itself felt like a huge win.

Then we reconvened with Henry and made our way to Millennium Force just in time for the park to open up to the GP and honestly after that, almost everything had between a 90-120 minute wait but we expected that since it’s a Sunday in August.

I had to bat my eyelashes at the ride attendant because he was assigning seats on Millie and I really wanted the back. He hesitated and I whined, “Puh-lease?” and he sighed and said, “ok go ahead.” Henry rolled his eyes but I was like THANK GOD I CAN STILL SOMETIMES WIN BOYS OVER.

Millie was nice. She is not my favorite giga but I do really enjoy that view of Lake Erie from the lift hill. It’s weird but I think I actually prefer hypers over gigas.

YOU CARE.

Then it was time for Spaghetti Noodle! Henry promised that he would actually ride it for once (and last).

Here’s me being said it’s my last ride on it and Henry not caring (chooch was too busy texting to get in the picture):

Usually this bitch is a station wait but since CP announced that it’s getting rid of it, people suddenly care about riding it so we had to wait a whole ass 30 minutes. Where were you people before??

I know it’s not a world-class ride that’s going to bring people to CP, but man, I truly do enjoy it!

Afterward, Henry said he could take it or leave it. “Well, I think it’s exhilarating!” I enthused.

You’re exhilarating,” Henry said and I noted a pinch of sarcasm.

“Yeah I know, you’re not the first person to say that about me.”

“I bet,” he muttered.

For some inexplicable reason, Chooch’s season pass account received a free Fast Lane Plus to use on any one ride, so he chose to use it on Top Thrill Dragster; while that was happening, Henry and I pretended like we were on a date (lol no) and rode Gemini. Henry hates Gemini because the last time we rode it, the lap bar fell down as he was getting in the seat and he tripped and hurt his poor leggie awwwww. But I begged him to ride it with me today and he was all GODDAMNIT YOU OWE ME like he hasn’t been saying that to me for the last 20 years hahaha.

I’m sorry, but I think this is a fine ride. I screamed and laughed through the whole thing and yelled at Henry when he refused to slap hands with the people on the other train as they passed us because he “didn’t want to touch people’s dirty hands” and ok fine I guess I will give him a pass because it’s a pandemic still but show some enthusiasm, boy!

I really wanted to get this for Henry but I didn’t have my credit card because I never bring anything other than my phone to amusement parks, and Henry was in the Sweet Spot buying cookies at the time OH WELL.

(I kind of wish I had gone back and bought it for myself though because that design is rad.)

I know that I shouldn’t still be concerned with Bosco Sticks now that I know it was CHEESE ON A STICK that Carrie said is her favorite Cedar Point treat, but my stubborn side has me determined to eat a fucking Bosco Stick inside Cedar Point now. This time it was actually opened so I thought WOW THIS IS HAPPENING ITS REALLY HAPPENING. REALLY. REALLY REALLY.

Oh except that THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY. Come on Cedar Point! You can order that shit from Amazon. There is no excuse for this Bosco Stick deficit!

It was around 2pm at this point and that’s when we loosely decided we were staying til, and having accomplished all we came to do in several hours, I think we all felt that we were ready to leave. It was a good day, actually! I got a SteVe coffee cup and then stared dreamily at him for a bit before I determined that I was definitely ready to go. Please enjoy some photos of this bad ass big boy.

Oh PS before we left, Henry had to buy cookies and when we were leaving the Candy place, some elderly lady in a motorized wheelchair was trying to get out so I opened the door for her.

“Wow. Did she have a cat or a squirrel on her lap? She must have for you to actually help a human,” Henry the Comic said. Wow he’s so funny. Catch his next act tonight at the garbage dump after I drop off his body.

Then immediately after this some guy practically thrusted his phone at me and asked me in a very THIS IS NOT UP FOR NEGOTIATION tone to take a picture of him and his family. I mean, I did it but man…that was too much Peopling for me in a very short span of time. I was definitely ready to leave after that!

After we left, we went back to that Big Ed’s Soda Shop in Vermilion where we ate last time. That place is so quaint.

My dad would probably go into conniptions if he ever came here. He LOVES old shit.

Well, now we’re about an hour and a half away from home so I’m going to go and make Henry talk about coasters while Chooch ignores us from the backseat.

(Proof that he was with us today lol.)

Aug 142021
 

Thursday, aka Birthday Eve, was supposed to be our “relaxing day” where we didn’t have to drive for hours just to spend even more additional hours in a blacktop jungle surrounded by coasters with massive lines. We started the day off by rising and shining for an early AM walk on the beach. And by “we” I certainly only mean Henry and me because Surly Teen could not be stirred from his deep seaside slumber.

Wow. What a vision. Grumpy with a side of Get Off My Lawn.

As I said before, we’re not beach people in the sense that we’d ever be content with lugging chairs & towels & umbrellas, and whatever other beachy accouterment comes with the territory but I do enjoy walking along the water. Same with rivers and lakes – you won’t catch me doggy-paddling inside an innertube, but that wet nature just lures me to it.

Even though I may lose interest rather quickly.

After an invigorating morning stroll, Henry walked over to the OLYMPIC WHICH IS WHERE I STAYED WITH MY FAMILY IN CASE YOU MISSED THE PREVIOUS 87 TIMES I MENTIONED THAT and brought back some coffee and breakfast breadstuffs for us. Then we woke up The Surly One and took a drive over to Cape May because I was obsessed with revisiting it as an adult to see if it was still boring and I’m happy to report back that YES, CAPE MAY IS STILL FOR BORING PEOPLE who enjoy walking very slowly and buying ceramic things.

We drove around for a bit and I was honestly not inspired at all to park and do much of anything else.

“Why did we come here again?” Henry wrenched open his perm-frowned lips long enough to ask.

There was always one day on our vacations when my grandma would INSIST that we go to Cape May. Back then, it always seemed like it was so goddamn far away and I would sulk the whole there in the backseat, knowing that it was going to one fucking boutique and novelty shop after another, waiting for my grandma to boost the local economy while the rest of stood on sidewalks staring into space.

One time I bought Mexican jumping beans at some toy store there, and a pair of wooden domino earrings. That was the only semi-positive memory I have of this place. I think this is where we took a dolphin-watching boat tour one summer too and even in that picture, I look like I belong on the cover of a straight-to-VHS Firestarter sequel.

Anyway, what a boring drive. Congratulations Henry: you somehow made Cape May even more boring than my grandma did.

Came back to the GOLD CREST – DID I MENTION WE DIDN’T STAY AT THE OLYMPIC. Henry and Chooch “played ping pong” briefly before we walked to lunch. Quite possibly the shortest game of ping pong that ever pinged and ponged.

Shit I already forget the name of this place. Sea Side Diner or something? It was on the way to the boardwalk which is where were heading after lunch. Henry thought our waitress was rude (she was just young) and Chooch was like WHY DON’T YOU TELL HER TO SMILE MORE but then he had to jump to clarify that he was joking because sometimes Henry is dumb.

Anyway, here is a series of pictures of Henry eating, courtesy of Chooch:

We almost matched, I hate when that happens.

Not me looking the most uncomfortable.

After lunch, we went back to the boardwalk because we promised Chooch that we’d play stupid mini golf.

I actually used to love mini golf when I was younger but lately, I do not have the patience or attention span for it. I get so bored when it’s not my turn! However, Henry was doing horribly for some reason so now that he was losing, I was suddenly inspired to give it my all.

He hit the ball way out of bounds at one point which is VERY OUT OF CHARACTER for him, and Chooch and I are usually the ones co-opting the Happy Gilmore title. Chooch and I had to do our patented pee-squat because we were laughing to the point of pee-drops as usual. Henry losing? LOVE TO SEE IT.

Then we went to MISTER SOFTEE which I had become obsessed with the day before when I learned that they had a Fruity Pebbles thing so I had tunnel vision after that and would not consider any other ice cream establishment. But then once we were there, my obsession spread to encompass the entire vibe of the place, which I would later go back to the room at the GOLD CREST, ALREADY KNOW to write about it on the same day because I was that stupid-excited. 

Of course right as we were walking over to it, three old broads swooped in like septuagenarian sea gulls from the left and cut us off, so now we had to wait for the Granny Brigade to fuck around with their reading glasses and CHANGE PURSES.

“God, go back to Cape May,” I mumbled under my breath, and Henry, having just experienced the drowsiness of that place that morning, actually laughed.

Henry like, never laughs at anything I say. Well, I mean, NO ONE does but you’d expect your life partner to toss you a rewarding chuck, gig, or chort every now and then.

Then we gave Surly Son a wad of cash for the arcade and went off to buy souvenirs. I mean, maybe I’d have hated Cape May a little less if my grandma had had the same courtesy, YOU KNOW. I’m sure there was a Pac Man machine somewhere in Cape May.

A really strange thing happened though. As Henry and I were walking along the boardwalk, there was a family below us riding bikes on a sidewalk. A little boy was screaming his sister’s name over and over, and the mom was like, “OK WYANT STOP YELLING YOUR SISTER’S NAME.”

So I sneered, “Yeah, Wyant, you dumb bitch.” Because that’s the kind of sweetheart I am when it comes to stranger children. But then in my head I thought, “What an uncommon name for a kid,” you know? You don’t really run into many Wyant’s these days. And then also in my head I started repeating the name of the girl he was screaming. And suddenly, I was like, “OMG IS THIS WESTLEY’S FAMILY.” Because there is a neighborhood kid that Chooch used to hang out with when he was still at his old school and I remember thinking it was funny that the boys in the family all had names that started with a W (there’s an older son too who has a W-name), but then the youngest is a girl who does not have a W-name. I knew for sure that the two younger boys are Wyant and Westley because how do you forget those names, but I texted Chooch and asked him what Westley’s sister’s name is AND HE CONFIRMED THAT IT WAS THE NAME THE LITTLE BOY WAS SHOUTING AND WHAT ARE THE ODDS THAT THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ANY OTHER FAMILY WITH KIDS NAMED WESTLEY, WYANT AND GEORGIE.

So I was like, “Congrats, they’re here in Wildwood” and of course Chooch was like, “WTF” because he and Westley ARE NOT BROS ANYMORE. And honestly,  thank god because I was lowkey jealous of the mom who apparently was a REAL MOM who was always baking cookies, dusting, feeding Chooch grilled cheese, etc etc. I got such a complex about her that I flipped out one day and accused him of wishing she was his mom so that year for Mother’s Day, he gave me a card that said “P.S. Fuck westley’s mom.”

AW.

Seriously though, I eventually met her at some school function and she seemed really nice. But apparently, Wesley turned into a jerk so Chooch is no longer friends with him and that’s probably for the best because they had a Trump flag in their yard last year.

So.

(Also I changed their names slightly lest I get in trouble for this blog again.)

I’m a sucker for good signage.

You know, I have never actually been on the tram car! At least, not that I can remember.

Chooch and I only did the rides on Wednesday, but Henry still had his ticket card so our plan was to hang out on the boardwalk until it got dark, put some credits on the card and take the Great White for a spin at night. Until then, we just enjoyed our time shopping for souvenirs and taffy and letting Chooch suck our wallets dry like the money-hungry arcade vampire that he is.

I just couldn’t get enough of this lighting package!

Chooch had pre-decided the day before that he would be dining on Hot Spot mozzarella stick pizza for dinner, so we sat with him while he ate and then went and got our own slices at Mack’s.

I don’t remember if we ever ate here when I was a kid, but I watched enough YouTube videos to understand that Mack’s is a big favorite among the Wildwood purists, so we definitely wanted to form our opinions through mastication.

Um, yes. Yes, this some good-ass motherfucking pizza, friends. I got a slice of plain (ONLY BECAUSE I DIDN’T SEE THE OPTION FOR BLACK OLIVES UNTIL AFTER FML) and one slice of white, and I can honestly tell you that Mack’s was the best slice of white pizza (NOT PICTURED) that this dirty mouth of mine ever did meet. Boardwalk pizza is so fucking good and I would actually be surprised if I found a slice anywhere there that I didn’t like, to be quite frank, and my new goal is to go back there next summer and try them all.

I’m a THIN CRUST bitch.

 

We were walking past this one arcade when I noticed that there was a sign in the back that said FASCINATION and Chooch loves that game. So we went inside and it turns out it was some vintage arcade and so goddamn cool.

Also, I’m not saying this is a sign or anything, but clearly, I am living in the past with my obsession with the Olympic Motor Inn and have name-dropped it 234679827 times during this vacation recap (actually, now that I think about it, I even have some old pictures of it that I posted some time ago on here!), the summer Olympics were on-going while we were here so we ended every night with watching the latest from Tokyo in whatever hotel room we happened to be in that day, and then I just noticed that the Fascination sign has an OLYMPIC FLAME on it.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN.

I say this all the time but motherfuck, I wish there were word lotteries.

I would really like one or 5 of those chairs, please.

Oh, let’s talk about “It” some more, you say? I wish I could put this in my backyard.

Actually…one would fit quite nicely in my mom’s yard…

I think the worst (and only bad) moment of the day was when Henry and I were walking along and suddenly we heard, “*THUMP THUMP THUMP* what’s up guys?” as Chooch came casually striding up to us with the stupid ass basketball he traded his tickets in for.

“Yay,” Henry deadpanned. “A $60 basketball.”

Ugh, he’s always trying to win basketballs.

The sun had finally set so Chooch and I got our back row night ride on The Great White, and while waiting in the station I heard the previously mentioned Bush and Fuel song’s of my 90s past and wow. I literally could not have asked for a better end to a wonderful (don’t get too excited Cape May, I’m just pretending like you didn’t happen that day) Thursday.

On the walk back to, well, you know where, little pebbles were scattering around Henry’s feet. After finally reaching his limit, Henry spun around and yelled, “STOP KICKING ROCKS AT ME!” to Chooch the Pest, who calmly corrected, “I’m THROWING them at you, actually.”

Aug 132021
 

Chooch and I went to Kennywood on Tuesday, which I will recap with way too many words sometime soon, OH DON’T YOU WORRY ABOUT THAT, but until then, here’s the latest dumb on-ride souvenir picture that I deemed a must-purchase because memories, etc etc.

So, it was our third or fourth ride on Phantom’s Revenge that day. We were in the backseat as usual – I can’t remember the last time I sat anywhere other than the back or very first row on this daddy, now that I think about it…this is the EPITOME of back-row coaster for us, but we also like night rides in the front. There, now you know. Everything seemed regular until we began our ascent up the lift hill and the lady in front of me did one quick flick and shake of her hair, and suddenly the majority of her mane had encroached on my personal space. Her Disney Damsel locks were so incredibly long that they were straight up grazing my thighs.

I had no idea what to do. Gather her hair into a bushel and dump it back into her own seat?? I made a THE FUCK?? motion with my hands to Chooch, who started cracking up while watching the ends of her hair lap against my legs. I took off the hair elastic from my wrist and pantomimed wrapping it around her hair, which made Chooch crack up even harder. I kept trying to scooch back in my seat but there was no escaping this modern day Crystal Gale.

But then suddenly we had crested the top of the lift hill without me even realizing it, and as the train dropped, her hair came up like a sheet, crashing against my face. I kept my mouth clamped shut for fear of inhaling any tendrils which were now flying around my face willy-nilly like hair noodles. Out of instinct, I put my arms up in the air, as one does on rollercoasters, but my fingers became ensnared in her follicular garden and the thought of Stranger Strands coiling around my hands made me want to fucking die. Hair is so….INTIMATE. I did not want to have any sort of RELATIONS with this broad, especially behind her back.

Literally!

The frizz flagellation was relentless. The way this ginger sheath was whipping and slapping against my face, I felt like Cinderella being bitch-slapped by a mop, like a car going through a car wash, like a wall being pelted by cooked pasta.

And Chooch never stopped laughing at my…wigging out.

Eventually, I had to cover my face with my hands to protect myself from any additional lock lashings.

And my plight was captured on film for posterity.

Of course, I had to buy it at that point because even though the idea of having that much extended contact with some broad’s hair is utterly disgusting to me and is actually making me dry-heave days later as I relive it through this writing, my pain was so hilarious to Chooch that it became funny to me too.

One confused look from the Kennywood photo cashier and $15 later, here we are.

I sent it to my brother Corey who scream-texted, “WHAT IF SHE HAS LICE” which added new layers to my horror. But then he said that it was almost as good as THE best Kennywood on-ride picture ever of Janna and the deodorant model. I still think my favorite is THE INFAMOUS GIGGLE PICTURE.

But can we talk about how the other girl is sitting like this is her senior picture? HOW DOES SHE LOOK SO CALM AND COLLECTED ON THE PHANTOM’S REVENGE? This is some kind of fucking sorcery.

Aug 122021
 

We capped off our first night in Wildwood by closing down the boardwalk. I definitely don’t think we ever did this when I was a kid! I know whenever I say that I’m just going to do a photo dump, I always end up pairing it with 2000 words but I swear I’m going to try and be chill about this. Like, let’s look at some night time pics from a cool ass boardwalk, no big deal.

We have barely been able to enjoy any amusement parks at night this summer, what with how early most places have been closing lately. I guess because of staffing issues. But it really sucks because we live for night rides on coasters! And really just the overall ambiance and bright lights, so it was AMAZING to be here at night. I just wanted to stuff my entire surroundings in a snow globe to keep FOREVER and I do mean that in the creepiest way possible.

I hope I never grow tired of the Musik Express! I love when they also go backward, and this one did! The one at Kennywood doesn’t (at least it didn’t when we were there on Tuesday and now I can’t remember if it ever has!) and that’s lame AF, TBQH.

THE VIBES.

Chooch tries to avoid the camera now and I pretty much fucking hate that. I told him it’s his obligation to pose for pictures since I brought him into this world and I have every parental right to take pictures of him, whether he’s mid-bite of a veggie burger or riding on the fucking Tilt-a-Whirl, say cheese mothercheffer.

Can you tell I was a little obsessed with The Hot Spot??

I wish I knew what happened to Hot Spot B.

Chooch spotting the mozzarella stick pizza which he would (SPOILER ALERT) have for dinner the next day.

‘It’ was the last ride we rode that night, right as everything was shutting down. It was exhilarating! Like my beloved CLAW from the Butler County Fair, but much more scenic and that LIGHTING PACKAGE, oh my lord, I want my house to light up like that (so do my neighbors, I bet).

Chooch should just get a job there.

I’d have grabbed a veggie wiener if they had one.

We got some Curley’s fries before heading out. I’m kicking myself for being so vehement about my dislike of crinkle-cut fries when we were hanging out in Cincinnati with Christina and Katie in July because I have since had NOT ONE BUT TWO great orders of curly fries (one was that very same day, like less than hour after I turned my nose up at the very mention of them lol). Actually, we only stopped here because cry baby Chooch was whining about wanting lemonade and then Henry had the audacity to order fries for himself without consulting with us!

We showed him though because after he came strutting over with “his” fries, I incredulously asked, “Wait, you didn’t get any special sauce?!” So while he was dejectedly ordering a $2.50 tiny container of whatever the special sauce was because god forbid I should just use ketchup after I had already seen SPECIAL SAUCE on the window (I can’t remember what it was called now), Chooch and I scarfed nearly the whole cup of fries. And then when Henry came back and started complaining, we were like, “Well, you should have ordered the bigger size I guess.”

I took this on the way out: LOOK AT THE MOON BEHIND GREAT WHITE.

I almost had over 30,000 steps that day but we didn’t get back to the hotel until after midnight so my stupid Fitbit stopped at 28,000ish for Wednesday and then put the remainder on Thursday, ugh. LOL, what a dumb thing to “ugh” about. But yeah, we went back to the GOLD CREST NOT THE OLYMPIC BECAUSE HENRY IS NOT MY PAPPAP and crashed. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep immediately after getting into bed, worn out probably mostly from all the crying and temper-tantruming I did earlier that day OH THE TRIALS & TRIBS OF ERIN RACHELLE.

Aug 112021
 

I WAS SO STOKED FOR MOREY’S PIERS!! Also, I was super worried that it wouldn’t be a magical as it was when I was a kid and obviously I expected that it wasn’t going to be same because a shit ton of rides are gone (RIP Castle Dracula and Keystone Kops). But it still felt the same in my heart, you guys. It still felt the same. I am crying right now.

This bad boy, The Great White, was built several years after my last visit but honestly it looks like it has been there forever. I was so excited to ride this later!

We started out on Mariner’s Landing, because the other two piers don’t start running their rides until 5pm. Our main focus was to knock out all the coasters while it was still pretty uncrowded to ensure that Chooch would get all  the creds. Luckily, everything was running that day!

LOL our first ride, a stupid SBF Visa spinner. These things are pretty terrible but this one was good because….Wildwood, and also because the ride operator was 1000000% more animated than the one who was running it at Waldameer, PLUS Duran Duran’s “Rio” was playing and the day was beautiful and the ocean was RIGHT THERE and the sea gulls were so cute and everything was fucking perfect.

Actually, let me take a minute here to gush over the impeccable music selection of Morey’s Piers. It was ALL 80s, and not bullshit 80s either, but fucking Depeche Mode, the aforementioned Duran Duran, ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN, Talk Talk (their original version of “It’s My Life” and not the shitty No Doubt cover!!). Two fucking Cure songs!! “Boys Don’t Cry” played when Chooch and I were in the station for the Great Nor’easter, and then later that day, “Friday I’m In Love” was playing as our train was being loaded on The Great White, which was located on a pier that was playing primarily 90s music. The next night, as Chooch waited in line for a coveted back row night ride on this bad boy, Bush’s “Chemicals Between Us” and Fuel’s “Shimmer” came on and I was nearly openly weeping. Especially because I had just recently fallen down the Bush nostalgia spiral thanks to the Fear Street movies.

And that Fuel song. Oh god, that Fuel song. That was like my Summer of 1998 but make it a song so that I can lose my mind and cry every time I hear it for the rest of my life while also feeling the uncontrollable need to scream the lyrics until my voice gives out.

And at one point during the day, I am not kidding, Henry and I were walking to the gift shop when suddenly (or, my favorite Korean word: 갑자기) the opening drone of my beloved rollerskating jam, HEART AND SOUL BY T’PAU, sizzled down from the heavens. I grabbed Henry’s arm dramatically and yelled, “STOP. WAIT!” And then pointed up at the sky. When it was clear that Henry had no idea what was going on, I hissed impatiently, “THE SONG?!”

I am 100% sure that he still had no idea what was going on because the song hadn’t even yet fully kicked on and also it was buffeted by screaming sea gulls, the motors of rides in motion, people laughing, modern day boardwalk carnies on loud speakers reeling people in with false promises…my ears are actually super human when it comes to detecting a song beneath layers of miscellaneous cacophony. Henry can never hear the music over the din of talking and silverware scraping plates in restaurants, but I am always ready to scream, “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS SONG IS PLAYING.”

Anyway, this Heart and Soul was playing and I had to make Henry sit down a bench with me while I listened to it because I was so obsessed with this jam as a kid that for two years in a row it was my “birthday party song request” at the VIP Roller Rink. It was also one of the first records I bought at National Record Mart and I remember so vividly not knowing who sang it so whoever took me to the mall, probably my mom – I guess I’m not remembering this as vividly as I initially boasted lol – told me to go ask someone to help me so there I was, some idiot elementary school kid probably wearing a corduroy jumper and knee high socks, telling the NRM associate, “I don’t know who sings it but she looks like Tracy Ullmann” BECAUSE I USED TO WATCH THE TRACY ULLMANN SHOW LOL.

It was almost like someone called Morey’s Piers and told them I was coming so that they could play the literal soundtrack to my childhood summers in Wildwood.

Phew. OK now that I got that out of my system, let’s look at some pictures of rides!

Rollie’s Coaster was Chooch’s second credit at Morey’s and it was more fun than we expected! I loved the vintage aesthetics.

The infamous Sea Serpent. I was TERRIFIED of this ride as a kid and never did ride it back then. I was actually kind of dreading this even now because it’s a Vekoma boomerang and I hate boomerangs. They’re usually so painful and kind of worthless!

That guy is totally ranting about how BIGBANG has not yet had a post-military comeback in any capacity.

“I MEAN, CAN G-DRAGON PUT DOWN THE NIKES AND PIC UP A MIC??”

Here’s Chooch and me in the fifth row, I look so thrilled, lol.

OK I’m not just saying this because it’s Wildwood but I really think this was the least worst boomerang I’ve been on. It was surprisingly smooth, but still terrifying. Also, I didn’t know this until recently, but the Sea Serpent is the very first Vekoma boomerang built in the US! Did I run back in line as soon as I got off? I mean…no. But it was still really satisfying on some nostalgic level to ride this coaster that looms in the background of so many old Wildwood pictures.

Goddamn. Life was really good in that moment, as simple as that sounds.

Chooch and I rode this seagull pedal ride thingie and it was fun but he was pedaling too fast and I was trying to enjoy the scenery.

We had to stop because an actual seagull was on the track!

View of the Great White from my perch on the suspended seagull.

When Chooch wasn’t being summoned by the arcades, he was cruising the piers for carnival games to play. This was definitely his scene.

Henry the Tight Wad got a ticket card and put enough money on it to ride the carousel and Great White, what a Dad.

LOVE THIS NEW ADDITION TO OUR CAROUSELFIE WALL!

Runaway Tram!

WATCH THE TRAM CAR PLEASE. I can’t believe it’s the same recording as it was in the 80s. I can’t even be annoyed about it.

This ride was just the absolute cutest! I think it only opened very recently, like in 2019 or 2020. It’s an adorable addition.

Oh god, an SLC (suspended looping coaster), another of my “favorites.”

Another major plus for Morey’s Piers is: THE RIDE ATTENDANTS AND OPERATORS ARE FUCKING AMAZING. Like, Disney-levels of enthusiasm. They smile and wave as every ride starts and you can’t help but feel inspired/obligated to wave back. Well, unless you’re Henry. And they have a program where students from other countries can work there so you get to interact with people from all over the world and it’s just really cool.

It’s been a long time since I went to Indiana Beach, but from what I remember, they have a similar situation  there too. I remember talking to various ride operators with Eastern European-sounding accents and thinking that was so odd and cool since we were in some remote part of Indiana.

But yeah, everyone we encountered from the rides to the pizza parlors seemed genuinely happy to be there.

Even their Wild Mouse is adorably-themed!

OK so as mentioned earlier, I really miss the old dark rides that used to be so synonymous with Morey’s Piers (was it even called that back when I was a kid?!? I can’t remember! I do know that they had more piers back then, that’s for sure). There are three there currently, but two are closed for the season (because of covid/staffing, I assume). Dante’s Dungeon was open though and it was so good! From the creepy ride operator in a pagan-ish robe who whispered, “Are you ready?” before sending our car into the dungeon to the person who jump-scared us from the shadows on  the other side, this was a dark ride that would make any purist happy. And if you remember, dark rides are really where my heart lies, not coasters. So when we find a place that has a good coaster collection and dark rides? Henry, hold my phone. Mama’s going in.

The last coaster we needed was Great White and I was so stoked for this!

I love a good wooden coaster, and this one is an actual delight. Plus, it goes off the boardwalk and onto the beach. What more can you ask for in a wooden coaster? Of course we didn’t wait for Henry so Chooch and I rode without him, leaving him waiting in the station, lol. We were dying because he ended up having a riding companion – some equally-as-old dude who talked to him the whole way up the lift hill and Henry told him about the trip we were on. Henry said, “he’s an enthusiast, too” as he regaled us with the detail of their convo, and Chooch and I were like, “BUT DID WE ASK.”

After this highly anticipated ride that did not disappoint, we walked back to the GOLD CREST NOT THE OLYMPIC BUT THAT’S OK to rest for a bit and then came back for some night action.

God, I love reliving this but it’s also making me mucho sad-o.

Aug 072021
 

But first! Here’s a mirror selfie from the lobby of whatever hotel we stayed at in Williamsburg the night before. I remember it being moderately decent so thank you Henry for considering my standards when booking this place. Also, I look like a crazy person here, probably because of THE LOCH NESS MONSTER run-around from earlier that night, omg just read the previous post if you have no idea what I’m talking about, god!

On Tuesday morning, we had plenty of time for once so we eschewed the complimentary hotel breakfast and had The Mama Steve’s Experience which was quite honestly a BIG HIGHLIGHT of the trip for me. You just never know what obscure feature of an itinerary is going to thoroughly tickle my obsession bone.

After my hyper-exciting Mama Steve’s visit, we began the hour-ish drive to Doswell, Virginia for some King’s Dominion action. We were recently here in 2019 so there are no new creds for Chooch to snag, but this park is too amazing to pass by, especially when we have Cedar Fair passes that give us free parking and entry. I mean, why the hell would you willingly skip a park that has one of the best B&M gigas, and a world-class RMC hybrid coaster?! Literally two of our favorite types of coasters!

We arrived a bit before gates opened, around 11:00am, and it was already a scorcher out there. That’s what I remember the most about waiting in that line:  feeling the rivulets of sweat sluicing down my back, ugh the horror.

Hilariously, once the gates opened and the line started to move, some bitches had the audacity to try to cut in front of us when we were next to go through security. Their excuse was that they had been standing near the front of the line but got out to go to the bathroom and when they came back, the line was moving. I said, “Oh well” and angled my body so they couldn’t squeeze in. I’m just so fucking sick of it. Go stand in line like everyone else! I swear to god we did not experience this bullshit at any amusement park we went to in South Korea or Japan. Maybe if we only went to one or  two parks a year, it wouldn’t make me so angry when you go to as many as we do and you see it happen at each damn place, the entitlement and 눈치 없다 (LACK OF CONSIDERATION) really starts to wear on a person.

Furthermore, yes they were letting us inside the park but only the front section is open and the rest of the pathways are cordoned off until noon, so what the fuck is the damn rush anyway, get to the back of the line. And it clearly didn’t take them that much longer to get inside, because once we walked to the path we needed for Twisted Timbers, they showed up less than 5 minutes after us. P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.

Anyway!! We did not have to suffer through the National Anthem at 11:58am. Instead,  the security guard manning the gate at the path we were on yelled out a bunch of rules or whatever, and then (slowly!!) opened the gate for us. A handful of people ran but I had already proclaimed that I was not running since it wasn’t even that crowded to begin with, and it turned out we didn’t even need to because only one old Super Coaster Fan and a group of 5 teenaged boys beat us to the entrance of Twisted Timbers, which of course WASN’T EVEN DONE TESTING YET so we had to wait AGAIN.

I was super annoyed because the guy stationed at the entrance of the line sat there like an oaf the entire time, knowing full well that the kids in front of us wouldn’t be able to go through the line because they were wearing fanny packs and some coasters have a new-ish rule where all items larger than phones, wallets and keys have to be stored in a paid locker, and then once you get near the ride station and go through a metal detector, you’re directed off to an area of free complimentary lockers to stow away your small items. I love this new system and hope more parks start using it because it makes the actual ride ops go much smoother since people aren’t having to climb over the seats to put their shit in a bin on the other side of the platform, or worse – they’re trying to smuggle their phones on the ride and then slowing down the process because now they’re being stubborn and arguing with the ride operators. UGH. Just follow the goddamn rules – no one wants to get their teeth knocked out when you lose your grip on your phone because you’re trying to record a TikTok on a rollercoaster.

Honestly!!

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that this employee stared at these kids for the full 20 minutes they were standing there waiting for the line to open up, only to wait until he unchained the entrance to say, “You have to get a locker for those.” If he had said something to them earlier, I would have gladly let them back in line, especially because only one of them would have had to get out of line to do that, and the lockers were right across from us. Also, because they weren’t annoying me and it was kind of endearing because two of them had never ridden Twisted Timbers or anything remotely like it (one even said “what’s that?” when one of the friends mentioned airtime), and I really wanted them to get on this ride and love it!

So now, the older Coaster Enthusiast (who was in the Fast Pass line) was pretty much already at the station, while we were being held up behind a group of boys frantically trying to figure out what to do. Some dad got out of line to come over and tell them to just stash their stuff behind a bush, but surly unsmiling Twisted Timbers line guardian monotoned, “You can’t do that.”

FINALLY one of the guys took one for the team and said, “Here just give me your stuff and ride without me. I’ll get a locker.”

The Ultimate Sacrifice. The Henry of the Group.

What a hero!

By now though, no one else had joined Older Coaster Enthusiast (Henry said, “That guy probably comes here alone every day, rides his faves then leaves.” WHAT A LIFE!) so he got to ride the first train, alone and in the front seat! I WAS SO JEALOUS!!

But we got on the second one. Also taking one for the team was Our Henry who took all of our phones with him through the line and got the free locker, which caused him to fall behind us but he still managed to get on the train right after us and then called us assholes because we never wait for him and your whole group is actually supposed to leave the line together in order to get a locker but we were like BYEEE SUCKER.

Oh shit you guys, I can’t believe that the first time I ever rode this bad boy, I was underwhelmed. It was running SO GOOD on this day, and Chooch and I immediately got right back in line (without Henry lol). If you’ve never ridden an RMC, ya gotta get yourself on one. It will change your whole idea of what a roller coaster can be, IFSTG. Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point is still my favorite, but Twisted Timbers is probably my second. I’m dying to go to Poland and experience Zadra which looks like it COULD be the one to dethrone SteVe, ugh Covid please kindly fuck off.

The rest of the day was spent re-experiencing other faves, like Back Lot Stunt Coaster which might be run down and old at this point, and the effects don’t work anymore, but it’s still a fun time. AND we rode it with this super entertaining group. One of the guys behind us screamed really loud and high-pitched at the end when the train comes tearing out of the building and underneath the ride queue, and it was hilarious. Then he said something about how he hoped he wasn’t going to lose his voice since he had to be on TV the next day, causing Chooch and me to exchange silent “Ooooh?”s with our eyeballs. I bet he’s a news person, he had a news person voice.

As with almost every other park this year, staffing is an issue so tons of food places were closed for the season. The only ice cream place that was opened was a hard-packed ice cream joint and I just wanted soft serve. So that left Rita’s. Which, you know, was fine. Custard is good and their sprinkle mix has purple ones in it! That doesn’t happen often!

Sometimes I think I get soft serve just for the sprinkles. But don’t get it twisted (timbers) – I don’t like just ANY sprinkle. I’ve had some really gross ones before that have ruined the whole experience for me. These ones were pleasant though.

Made them ride the Racer. It was…not as fun as I remember, BUT it was memorable because the one ride attendant was a girl named Ty and she was SO JOYFUL. Henry and I were in the last row and she hung back there and engaged in conversations with every single person, including this one equally-chatty preteen who was telling her some long-winded story and Ty was being so polite that she almost got in trouble because she was supposed to be checking restraints – don’t worry, she checked them! She was just waiting for the girl to finish her story. Lol.

The chatty preteen told me she liked my Marcy tattoo and thank god Chooch was out of earshot because as you know he hates when I receive compliments. SORRY I AM NOT A PLAIN MOM.

I laughed when I saw this because my squirrels make that same pose as Henry sometimes! They sit up and look at me, one paw on their chest, as if they’re saying, “Who, me?” God I missed those kids while we were away! And the cats too obviously but I knew my mom was feeding them and playing with them while we were gone but I worried she wasn’t paying enough attention the squirrels. :/

I still don’t get why people love this ride so much, I truly thought I was going to die on it.

King’s Dominion is so beautiful. I think King’s Island has a SLIGHTLY better coaster collection, but King’s Dominion is the prettier of the two. And everyone there is so nice.

Halfway through the day, we had just gotten off a family ride on Apple Zapple when Chooch started to get real snotty. I can’t even remember what we started arguing about but it had something to do with where we were going to eat there and he just always has to have the last word which doesn’t work in this household because I’m the OG House Member and I am the one who has to have the last word. So then Henry Buttinsky had to get involved and I didn’t like the fact that he was on his OWN side and not defending me so I just fucking lost my shit and screamed, “THANKS FOR RUINING MY DAY. WE’RE LEAVING.” And then I proceeded to storm off without them, all the way back to the car. When they finally caught up with me and Henry unlocked the door, I got in and slammed the door while Chooch was trying to apologize but you know what? BY THIS POINT IT WAS HENRY WHO I HATED so when he opened the driver’s side door I started screaming in his face about how he undermined my parental authority when he’s the one who always says, “If you have a problem with Chooch you need to handle it” like oh OK thanks dad, can you leave the parenting manual behind while you kindly go FUCK YOURSELF STRAIGHT TO HELL.

I don’t know if anyone was around in the parking lot for this but if they had been, they surely got a free show because my temper was making ALL OF MY VEINS pulsate and then I started full-on sobbing which is my body’s Code Red response to anger (we’ve yet to reach the Code Black response yet, which is surely murder). So now Henry had adopted his soothing therapist voice and Chooch was in the backseat profusely apologizing and I was hiccuping, “I hate both of you, you ruined my life!” But then I started laughing, dried off my face, and we all went back into the park where we managed to have a wonderful second half of the day.

Chooch had to pose for every picture I wanted After the Fight.

We rode Intimidator three times. I love this beast so much but holy shit, it is so forceful and rough – I grayed out so bad on one of the rides that I was actually concerned I wasn’t going to come back lol. The last time we rode it, there was a man in front of Henry who was SO EXCITED and he kept screaming about how many times he’d ridden Intimidator that day and how he was going to get right back on it. He was so pure. Be that guy.

I just asked Chooch if he has anything to add before I publish this and he said, “Hot. It was hot.” You can always count on Henry Jr. for scintillating reviews.

But yeah, it was hot. My face was MOIST with sweat puddles all day. It was so hot that we willingly went on Boo Blasters and Flight of Fear just for the A/C.

Love ya, King’s Dominion!

We decided to leave around 7 and get dinner outside of the park and miraculously we found a place about 30 minutes away that had veggie burgers!

Yo, Tito’s.

Yelp said that they were open until 9 and it was 7:45 when we got there BUT GUESS WHAT they actually closed at 8. We asked the waitress and she was like, “Yeah it’s OK though, you’re fine!” but I still felt bad. Luckily there were still people eating by the time we left so we didn’t actually close the place out.

You know we had the Heat Exhaustion when neither Chooch nor I could finish our meals. We ended up taking them to go and Chooch almost immediately started eating it in the car, oh to be a teenaged boy.

No, never mind. I do NOT want to be a teenaged boy.

It’s definitely still bizarre eating in restaurants again but I can tell you that after this trip, we are back to strictly take-out for the time being thanks to all the ANTI-VAXXERS making this pandemic worse for all of us again. It was wild while it lasted, but see ya on the other side, restaurants.

Anyway, after Tito’s we made our way to Baltimore, which is where we were crashing for the night before heading to WILDWOOD on Wednesday morning! Henry got us a room at a shitty LaQuinta because he loves to terrorize me with his cheapness but it turned out to be mostly OK I guess. All I want is to be able to sleep in a room without hearing screaming and (probably paid) fucking.

Aug 052021
 

We knew that at some point on Monday, the sky was going to piss on us. What we didn’t know was just HOW LONG this storm was going to last! About an hour prior to the very first drop of rain, the park started playing an announcement over and over about how some park operations were going to temporarily stop until the inclement weather passed. Then it changed to ALL PARK OPERATIONS. And SEEK SHELTER.

I’m not going to lie, it was pretty exciting. We snagged a bench under some large alcove in the Irish area and it was surprising how few people took refuge here.

We chilled there (lol it was 95 degrees but cool on, Erin) for a good hour and all three of us even fell asleep for parts of that duration too. I mean, not surprising that Henry did. But wow that storm made me drowsy.

We were sitting right next to a door that opened to some SECRET EMPLOYEE room where Camp Busch Gardens kids were hanging out. Every time they opened the door, a glorious sheath of AC wafted over us like a scentless fart from an ice fairy. I dunno what they do at Camp Busch Gardens but everyone seemed to be having fun each time the door opened and I felt left out.

I’d like to also take this moment to PRAISE BE that no one fucking annoying or scream-y was in our shelter spot. It was actually a pleasant, but boring, experience.

After about an hour, the rain mostly stopped so we emerged from hiding and strolled around the nearly empty park. Everything was still shut down but all the shops and opened.

Even soggy and wet, this park is amazing.

I dunno why I took a picture of this. It holds no significance for me.

Listen Linda, I hate drop towers but even I can admit that this Mach Tower is GORGE.

Post-storm Verbolten is sizzlin’ – no really, look at that steam! It was SO HOT that day.

I was obsessed with this snappy German pop song but Chooch ruined the video by acknowledging the video.

OK. This is where things got depressing. We walked down by Loch Ness Monster and you guys, I can’t even remember if this coaster was that great or not, but I do have a vague recollection of liking it and I was sincerely looking forward to riding it on our highly anticipated return to the park. Earlier in the day, I attempted this TWICE but for some reason, the line was long both times and Chooch was being a big entitled bitch about it. OK cool, almost everything else was a walk-on, but I still wanted to ride this thing!!

#CoasterHistory

It’s actually super creepy down in this area. It’s right by the water and I don’t think many people use this as a thoroughfare because it requires you to walk up steps to get back to the main park area. God forbid. We were the only people there, so couple that with the post-storm dreariness and it felt extra desolate. I fucking loved it.

OK I will try not to be super-wordy about this next part but it was A BIG DEAL to me for some reason. It was around 6pm at this point and none of the rides had reopened yet. However, we noticed that there were small lines formed at some rides, so Chooch and I decided to see if anyone was waiting for Loch Ness.

Two guys ended up walking in with us and I said, “I’m not sure if it’s open,” and  the one guy said that some of the smaller rides were testing, so we decided to press our luck. There were a handful of people in the station! Chooch and I claimed the empty last row and we proceeded to eavesdrop on the conversation that some of the people in line were having with one of the (kinda nerdy but adorable) ride attendants. I wish I had gotten his name! Someone in line asked him how long far away the storm has to be before they’re allowed to restart the rides, and he said he wasn’t sure but that was what Dispatch was there for, to watch the storm. He basically kept giving vague answers, insinuating that the rides were not going to run again that night but that the park wasn’t going to officially call it because then they’d have to issue rain checks.

His partner was sitting over at the controls, looking thoroughly bored. Eventually, she said she was going to “take her 45.” I was confused because I thought that the park closed at 7 so why was she taking a 45 minute break after 6:30??

While she was gone, one of the ride operators from  the nearby Finnegan’s Flight came in and took Nerdy Guy’s place, who was now sitting at the control booth thing. New Guy was so awesome!! I think his name was Jhordan?? I can’t remember but it had a cool spelling and he was TOTALLY CUTE and chatty.

But then, THE PHONE RANG. Nerdy Guy answered and we all got so quiet.

He hung up and Jhordan was like, “WELL??” and Nerdy Guy was like, “They said to cycle it.”

It was about 7 at this point so I thought, “Oh, I guess the park is staying open longer to try and get the rides started” but apparently it was always open until 9 and I was just confused as usual!

I turned to the guys who followed us into line and gushed, “I feel like we were really a part of something there!” I LOVE FEELING LIKE THAT! I think because I don’t often feel like I’m part of a group or anything, so whenever I get to experience something that brings strangers close together, it’s exciting to me. (I mean, as long as it’s not a tragedy.)

Anyway, it turned out that Nerdy Guy didn’t actually know how to get the ride started so Jhordan had to call out directions to him from the other side of the platform, so now I was A BIT SCARED.

But they went through the process of pushing down all of the restraints and then Nerdy Guy shakily did his thing at the control desk and they both put their thumbs up. As the train left the station, the whole building erupted in cheers and applause. It felt SO SPECIAL.

While waiting for the train to do its cycle, Jhordan came over and stood by me.

“Did you see that?” he asked me. “I swear I saw a flash of light out of the corner of my eye.” We both turned and looked out of the station and over to where the Griffon and Alpengeist tracks were.

I did. I saw it. It was definitely lightning, I thought.

While this was happening, Griffon and Alpengeist were cycling test trains too and someone said that the flash of light must have been from the on-ride camera flash. Jhordan did NOT seem to accept this theory though, but still, when the train came back, the restraints came up and the gates opened. Once again, we all cheered as we boarded the train. They had JUST LOCKED OUR RESTRAINTS when the fucking phone rang again.

It was Dispatch reneging on their previous “all clear.”  MOTHERFUCKER. But Jhordan was so relieved. “I knew in my heart that was lightning!” he said. “It did not feel right sending this thing.”

So the restraints came up and we all had to get back on the platform – some people completely exited but at this point, I was invested. All in. Every last egg in this fucking Loch Ness basket. And hilariously, we had now been in line for an hour, so probably longer than we would have waited earlier in the day but noooo, Mr. Impatience wouldn’t do it.

Jhordan taught me about the various color codes that the park implements for storms.  Currently, they were back up to a CODE RED which means no rides can operate. One of the colors means that rides under a certain height can still operate (I think yellow?) and CODE BLACK is basically SHUT ‘ER DOWN AND TAKE COVER, NO ONE CAN LEAVE. He said that actually happened one time accidentally, when it was just drizzling, and it sent everyone into a panic.

Now I really felt like I was part of something special! And it was exciting to see them doing the X with their arms and saying “Cross” every time they had to climb across the track to get to the other side of the platform – even when the rides are down, they follow amusement park law!

Then the phone rang and we all held our breath. When Nerdy Guy hung up, we were like “WELL???” and he said, “Wha—oh, it was nothing important.” My favorite part was when someone squawked over a walkie talkie something that sounded like “code green” and we all froze. Jhordan mouthed, “the fuck???” so Nerdy Guy had to get back on the phone with Dispatch who confirmed that no, it was still very much Code Red. I mean, it wasn’t raining anymore but there was still thunder.

Girl Operator came back from her 45 and we were laughing at how much she missed while she was gone. With her being back, Nerdy Guy got to leave since his work day was technically done. But all he did was leave and come back in a white t-shirt with headphones around his neck, role-playing as a member of the general public and asking if the rides were going to start back up at all. Jhordan was like, “Naw dude, I highly doubt it, you better just leave” and I felt like all three ride operators at this point where sending us signals so we’d stop wasting our time, because as Jhordan told me earlier, they’re not allowed to flat out tell us to leave the line. But I really felt that this was them taking pity on us.

Our friends in the queue next to us had already left and now hardly anyone was still waiting. Plus, Jhordan was now over at the control desk and Girl Operator was standing next to us but she wasn’t conversational like the other two so it just didn’t feel the same anymore. At this point, we had been standing for AN HOUR AND A HALF I think. I looked at Chooch and said, “OK, I’m calling it.” So we dejectedly left the Loch Ness Monster station to the tune of sad trombones and thunder.

Meanwhile, Henry was hanging out under a small pavilion with some other people and was like, “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY ALMOST LET YOU ON THAT WITH ALL THIS LIGHTNING” and then he showed me the following video he took which is actually less bad than the bout of lightning that happened prior to him filming:

This video is super small because Henry’s phone is dumb.

So, that was my Loch Ness odyssey. We walked around the park for a little bit and bought some souvenirs. I bought several postcards but decided to keep this one for myself as reminder of my supreme stubbornness and also the bonding time spent with strangers staring at a parked roller coaster train.

It was 8pm at this point and it seemed like none of the coasters were going to be cleared to run again so I sadly and with major POUTING LIPS said, “Fine let’s just leave.” And of course, as soon as we walked through the parking lot to our car, I turned around just in time to see fucking Griffon running.

Fuccccccckkkkk.

I comforted myself with  the reminder that this place isn’t THAT far away and we will be back again for Pantheon anyway, so I can ride Loch Ness Monster until I require a neck brace.

OMG wait I can’t believe I failed to mention this in my last post! But after the second time we attempted to ride Loch Ness, Chooch wandered over to the nearby lockers after we got out of line. I didn’t really pay much mind to this at first because I was busy bitching to Henry about how he wouldn’t wait in line. But then I was like, “The fuck is he doing?”

Here, one of his friends from a Discord chat group he’s in was at Busch Gardens a few days before us and left him a note hidden behind a wall in those lockers. So he was looking like a common criminal, retrieving drugs probably and not a note from an Internet friend inside a Ziploc bag. Don’t ask him who it’s from exactly, or what it says, hoooo boy, you’ll be sorry. #ChoochsSecretLife

Anyway, I’m coming back for you, Nessie.  You just wait.