Oct 152021
 

Hello Internet People. This is just going to be a bunch of mostly correctly-spelled words (joke’s on me, I spelled “correctly” wrong the first time lol) about our day at Six Flags Great Adventure on Saturday, October 9. I wanted to try my luck at this park one more time this season since the time we spent there on my birthday was underwhelming to say the least.

I was prepared for massive lines and crowds since Fright Fest is going on right now, but really the only thing I really wanted to do was ride Jersey Devil, the new RMC single-rail coaster. It was DOWN the day we were there over the summer and I was determined to ride at least one new-to-me RMC this year, so return we did, we did return.

And to no one’s surprise, Jersey Devil had just broken down when we rolled up to the queue, lol. But then as we were walking away to hit up a nearby coaster with an allegedly “short” wait, Henry noticed that it was running again so Chooch and I were like SEE YA SUCKER and got in the relatively short line. Actually, there was a line just to get INTO the line because they have to check you to make sure you don’t have anything in your pockets. (Henry opted to sit this one out in lieu of getting a locker so we dumped our phones on him.)

We watched this couple get turned away because they had stuff, then walk back over to the security guy, completely cutting in front of us those of us in line FOR THE LINE (so stupid) only to get turned away AGAIN because they still had their phones. I was gloating. Nice try, trying to cut only to get caught with phones. Buy, bitches. But then when we were finally in the real line, Chooch goes, “WTF how did those people get so far in front of us?” and it was same couple who had gotten turned away, but now they were about 25 people ahead of us! They had a kid saving their spot and I think they literally walked around and cut through landscaping and climbed a fence, because I did NOT see them cutting through the line while we were standing there. I was so angry. What fucking assholes.

Regardless, the line was still only about 20 minutes long because the ops on this thing are so good and they were running 4 trains I think. There are always at least 2 trains in the station being unloaded and loaded at all times, and the trains never stop so you have to hop in while they’re in motion. I’ve never been on a coaster that load that way! (Just dark rides or various Wild Mouse-types of coasters.)

Chooch got the front seat only because I let him have it, ugh. I would have actually preferred the back but I just wanted to get on this thing while it was running because  you never know!

Anyway, it kills me to admit this but I found this ride to be slightly underwhelming. Listen, listen, listen…I am still your fangirl, RMC, and I understand that there are elements that may have affected the ride’s potential – weight distribution of the train, the seat I was assigned to, the weather. Maybe it just wasn’t running at its best because it felt kind of sluggish to me. In fact, no one on our train was screaming or anything!

I’m not mad at it or anything, and I swear I am not giving up in it either. I need a few more rides on it to really form an opinion (I was underwhelmed by Twisted Timbers the first time I rode it! TWISTED TIMBERS!) and I’m kicking myself for not going back for any re-rides that day but we had other shit to get done before the Fright Fest masses plunged upon the park.

After a terrible start to the day, I can honestly say that we still managed to have a great time at Six Flags. I guess we are a pretty OK family in that sense. “Wow, was that really only 6 hours ago that Mom threw a pile of clothes onto the floor like a tantrum’ing child and then tried to bite Dad? Seems like forever ago now that we’ve ridden 3 roller coasters.”

Hahaha…ugh.

We got a good ride on Batman! I really have a big appreciation for B&M inverts these days. This one was really fun but too short IMO! The line wasn’t too terribly bad either, maybe about 25-30 minutes? Which, for this park on a Saturday, is pretty decent.

We got to ride the Dark Knight ride this time too – it HAD JUST BROKEN DOWN the last time we were there, literally right when we were walking over is when the guy came out and put down the TEMPORARILY CLOSED sign, lol. July 30th was a very bad day to visit Great Adventure.

In line for this one, there was a guy wearing a shirt that said:

“That’s what.”

-She said.

Chooch and I thought it was mildly amusing and Henry was like, “WHAT. WHAT. WHAT IS? WHAT?” because he is always a million years behind us. We were like NOTHING NEVER MIND YOU WILL NOT GET IT and now he was getting mad and was determined to know who we were talking about so I said it was the guy who looked like him from the nose down.

Because he had a beard.

And it was moderately similar to Henry’s.

So now Henry didn’t care about the shirt anymore, just the fact that I said the guys looked like him.

“I said just from here to here!” I cried defensively, motioning at his mouthal area. Henry gets so mad about other people looking like him, Jesus.

Also, this ride was fun because it was indoors and we had no idea what it was going to be! Turns out it was just a Wild Mouse-type of ride but the theming was surprisingly decent AND Henry got to sit next to a dad who got separated from his family in front of us and as soon as the ride started, he began  talking to Henry which is what we always hope will happen!

“WHAT DID HE SAY TO YOU??” I cried afterward, out of breath with excitement.

“Who?” Henry responded, which is his general response to everything, causing Chooch and me to yell WHO DO YOU FUCKING THINK?? Like, try to keep up, asshole. Jesus.

Anyway, the dad just asked Henry if he knew what kind of ride it was because he had also never ridden it before.

Anyway x2, I forgot to mention that before we got on the ride, the dad’s wife said she liked my sweatshirt and I thought it was because she knew about the Fear Street movie trilogy but it was just because it has the date 1978 on it and that’s her birth year. Of course, I didn’t hear her say that so when she asked me if it was also mine, I said yes. I mean, it’s only one year off so I don’t feel bad about accidentally lying but I really need to stop trying to answer yes or no questions without actually hearing the question.

The line for Superman was like 120,0000 minutes long so I convinced Chooch to get in line for Green Lantern instead. To me, the line didn’t look all that long but WOW Dear Diary, I understand that age old adage “looks can be deceiving” First of all, we couldn’t see that there were switchbacks on the other side of the station, and also out of all the rides we rode, this one had the WORST LINE-JUMPING PROBLEM. It was fucking out of control. The audacity of some people is actually astounding, because I could never imagine saying EXCUSE ME EXCUSE ME to 500 strangers who are watching you blatantly break the rules while tacking on to their wait time. Like, it’s bad enough when there are people holding spots for their friends (these two girls in front of us had an entire group of 4 join them when we were almost to the steps that lead to the station, it was insane) but the amount of people we watched walk all the way through the line, up the steps, and into the station was actually impressive. Like, the balls on those motherfuckers, you know? And of course, in this day and age, NO ONE will open their mouths and say, “Actually, no, I won’t excuse you” because you don’t know what kind of Crazy you’re facing. I’m not trying to get knocked out in line for a roller coaster, you know? And that really sucks and it’s beyond frustrating as well. Because I can be very confrontational and these are the times when I really want to be That Bitch but I also value my life and the life of my kid.

Ugh, I’m so angry all over again now.

However, one thing that I will say about the ride ops on this ride is that they actually do look out and scan the line, because twice while we were in line they busted people and actually called them out over the speakers. Dude really said, “We see you, we know what you look like, and when you get up here,  you will not get to ride.”

Oh shit, Chooch and I were screaming! When we were closer to the steps, we heard people up in the station burst out into applause and Henry, who was loitering by the exit with the other non-riding parents and low lifes confirmed that it was indeed a tall white man in a red shirt who was ejected from the ride (I mean, not literally, but that would be a great punishment for line-jumpers). Apparently he told his wife, “They wouldn’t let me ride!” and acted like he HAD NO IDEA WHY. Oh OK it couldn’t be the fact that you fucking breezed through 3/4 of the line while the rest of us stood there like obedient drones.

My favorite was the solitary girl in pink Crocs who muttered “excuse me” in a bored sigh over and over while holding her phone up  to her face. “She’s literally not even on a phone call,” Chooch observed.

Wow, what a brilliant line-jumping aid. THE FAKE PHONE CALL. Because no one is going  to step up to a broad talking on the phone.

Another guy line-jumped so fast that we lost track of him until Chooch pointed out that he had not only cut past people, but he was also jumping over railings, so he made it up to the ride platform almost in a blink of an eye.

And the crazy part is that these motherfuckers had to walk past the attendant sitting at the Fastlane entrance without getting caught and they did it every single time. Fucking amazing.

On one hand, it made the wait so much longer but on the other hand, it gave us something to fixate on so that was fun. Also, it’s something that doesn’t cause us to argue because what is Chooch really going to say? “No, you’re wrong, you don’t know their stories. Line jumpers might have a good reason for acting like they’re better than everyone else who has to stand in line. Maybe they just don’t have time to wait.”

LOL Chooch would never.

Surprisingly though, Green Lantern ended up being REALLY GOOD. Like, shockingly so. I was bracing myself for a piece of shit experience because it’s a stand-up coaster and ew, just no. But this damn thing was a fucking delight and I was not mad at all that we waited in line for over an hour even when the Six Flags app said 20 minutes. (We definitely knew that was not going to be NO GODDAMN 20 MINUTE WAIT, MARY.)

OMG OMG OMG then we went over to Bizarro.
You guys. I was NOT expecting to love this ride so hard.

It has impeccable theming.

AND FIRE!!

And what I didn’t even realize until we were on  the lift hill is that there are illuminated and misty Superman rings that you cruise through! I was SCREAMING, “CHOOH! CHOOCH! LOOK!” and he was like, “YEAH OK COOL I KNOW CHILL” and then I was like “TELL HENRY! TELL HIM!” because Henry was sitting on the end furthest away and couldn’t see the rings yet as we were climbing the lift hill and I needed him to know but he is sooooo hard of hearing so finally Chooch screamed at me, “HE CAN’T HEAR. HE’LL SEE THEM SOON ENOUGH. CALM DOWN!”

“I’m going to scream really loud when we go through them!” I shouted to Chooch as we crested the top of the hill, and then I did, too! I screamed my goddamn ugly dog-face off. I screamed, “YEAH! OMG HERE IT IS! YEAHHHHHH!” as we barrelled down the first hill and tore through the rings. And then when the fire part happened, I was shrieking. Oh shit, I just screamed and laughed through the whole fucking ride and Chooch was like, “OMG YOU ARE SO EMBARRASSING STOP!!!!” but I couldn’t, I physically could not get myself to calm down!

And then when we were pulled back into the station and the operator asked if we had a good ride, I was the ONLY PERSON WHO “WOOOO!!!!!!”d on the whole train, and you know how much Chooch loved that shit!

Meanwhile, Henry said he didn’t hear me screaming at all. That man really needs a hearing aid. Also, he said he was a rough ride and I was like, “OK fragile bitch.”

Is Bizarro actually my favorite ride in the park? OMG I THINK IT IS.

(Keep in mind that I still not have not stuffed my ass into a seat on Nitro or El Toro, so that could change, lol.)

MMMM.

I think Chooch should get a summer job at an amusement park because he would be ruthless when it comes to handling line jumpers. We were talking about how parks should plant plainclothed employees and have them line jump periodically on different rides, so that they can get called out by a staff member and then be made an example of so people will be like, “Wow, they take this shit seriously here, I will just wait in line rather than get busted and dragged out of the park by security” but Chooch said, “No, they should just get shot.”

Like, OK Squid Game much.

Oh and speaking of Nitro, by the time we got off Bizarro, it was after 7pm, the sun had set, and the park was POPPING OFF. It was significantly more crowded than it was before we got in line for Bizarro (a line that no one cut in, I should add) and the line for Nitro was clear out of the queue and spilled out into the main walkway. I REALLY wanted to ride this and we didn’t have anything else to do that night, but the fact that it came so far out into the main area like that made me nervous that it would be even easier for people to cut because it was just an unorganized mass of people waiting out there and I became very frustrated thinking about it.

We have to go back at least once next year when El Toro is fixed, so I will ride it then. You and me, Nitro. You just wait. You and me.

We didn’t do any of the haunt stuff because some of it was extra which is fucking ridiculous, and there were so many people there. This was expected though, and it’s not why we were there, so I wasn’t crying about it.

I did enjoy the ambiance, but I gotta say: Cedar Point was better.

We left around 8 and were going to find a non-amusement park haunt to go to but GODDAMN haunted houses in NJ are $$$. Like, we’re talking $50-$60 a person!? Nope. No, thanks!

Anyway, that is my Six Flags Great Adventure story. Second time was definitely more charming than the first, but here’s hoping the third time is the ultimate charm! I gotta get in some more rides on Jersey Devil too. Kicking myself for not getting in a night ride while we were there but I honestly forgot all about it because I couldn’t stop talking about Bizarro and ranting at how there was NO BIZARRO merch there! None!!

Also, I learned that Bizarro was the very first floorless coaster in the whole entire world! Back when it debuted in 1999, it was called Medusa, but was later painted and rethemed to Bizarro. I can’t wait to ride it again. <3

Oct 012021
 

Non-apologies in advance for this forthcoming photo dump. I have reached a point in my life over the last several years where I am in a constant state of panic about RUNNING OUT OF TIME. Chooch is 15! In 10th grade! We are lucky that he still even wants to go places with us even when most of the time he acts like he’s strapped to a dentist’s chair when we DARE speak to him in public. I know that life will go on for us once he’s off to college but I really want to milk all of the family fun I can get out of these KELLY/ROBBINS udders while there’s still time. So I have been very adamant about taking tons of pictures at these parks, having Henry take pictures of Chooch and me riding barf-inducing contraptions, forcing Henry to ride the milder flatrides that he would usually skip.

I just want TO HAVE ALL OF THE FUN WITH THESE PEOPLE even though they are the two people who piss me off more than anyone else in the world. I love taking these little trips with them and I hope that Chooch grows up and does the same stuff with his future family! We may bicker like brats but at the end of the day, we really do have so much fun together. Ew, there. I said it. Gag me.

Of course we only lasted twenty minutes into the day before one of us got yelled at for running.

This time Chooch was the runner caught red-footed, and it was on the platform for Cornball Express (best name for a coaster, honestly) when he was jogging to the back row after handing Henry his phone. Ride attendant was like, “Please don’t run or you’ll fall on your face” or something like that, in a super smug “overcompensating for my braces” tone. Chooch was like, “Excuse me?” because he was barely even jogging and was like, “Surely this bitch isn’t talking to me.” So the dude repeated it in the same bored cadence and I really didn’t like him. We saw him later when we came back for a re-ride and he was TOTALLY trying to be all suave while checking the seatbelts for these two teen girls in the back row and then when they exited the ride, he said, “Have a good one, guys,” in this slick rick way and I had second-hand embarrassment hardcore.

Look at the corn on the sides of this coaster! Which, by the way, is one of the most fun woodies I have ever ridden. That thing is a maniacal! If you’re even a moderate woodie enthusiast, Indiana Beach is worth the visit. Both of their wooden coasters are entwined with each other – it’s just a jumble of tracks!

 

How did Chooch get so lucky to end up with us dorks as parents. He was THRILLED AS ALWAYS to take pictures of us.

OMG I had to take a picture here!

“Do you feel better now?” he asked sardonically, after I giggle-snapped a picture.

“YES, ACTUALLY. YES, I DO,” I wheezed. It’s the little things, you guys, especially when they’re SERVICE RELATED and since we were in Indiana, where he lived while SERVICING, the weekend was chockful of chuckles.

Preparing for the day he eventually does have to cart our asses around.

That’s the track for Hurricane Hoosier!

Henry hates being chauffeured, lol. Professional Driver Things.

FRANKENSTEIN’S CASTLE IS MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS PARK!!! I wrote about it more extensively the last time we were there so I will save you from the extra words. But just know that this is the best haunted walk-through in an amusement park that I have experienced (and no, I never went in Castle Dracula in Wildwood because I was too scared when I was a kid and now it’s gone!).

This is a $3 or $3.50 (can’t remember) upcharge to the regular park admission but it honestly is worth it and also helps preserve the integrity of the structure. It also means that there probably won’t be a line! There wasn’t one for us when we went through BUT we did catch up with the family in front of us at one point because there is a room with trick doors that takes a bit to get through and even though we knew that, we were still like, “COME ON, ASSHOLES.” But then it turned out to be parents with a young boy (maybe 6 or 7) who had REALLY HAD IT WITH FRANK AND HIS CASTLE at this point because we kept hearing him crying and screaming several rooms ahead of us after that. They ended up being in line behind us for the antique cars afterward and witnessed their talk therapy session which lasted the entire twenty minutes we  were in line.

That kid probably had to wear diapers to bed that night.

It made me laugh though because I sometimes forget how different Chooch was from other kids when he was younger. I mean, bro was watching Spirit Halloween walk-thru videos on YouTube every night before going to sleep when he was 2 and walking around moaning, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara” after watching Night of the Living Dead for the 8th time as a toddler.

He had a Lost Boys cake at his third birthday party, lol!

The best room in Casa d’Frank.

WE ALL MATCHED THE MUSIC EXPRESS. Also, there was a kid in front of us who started vaping and it went right into our faces so that was great.

Den of Lost Thieves is a really cute and quirky dark ride BUT adults have to ride alone or with a kid under a certain height, so all three of us had to ride separately which was sad and Henry tried to duck out of line, but I said, “NO,  YOU DIDN’T RIDE THIS THE LAST TIME EITHER” so he begrudgingly stayed in line and thank god or else I wouldn’t have been able to get this beautiful picture of him exiting the DEN, lol.

Also, the ride operator here was SO NICE and talked to me about my tattoos while I was sitting alone in the car ready to be sent into the darkness.

I love this ride because it has that old-timey musty stench attached to classic dark rides.

HASHTAG BLUE.

HERE WE ARE BEING SCRAMBLED.

The Hoosier Hurricane was…definitely a storm to be braved. That bitch was hauling! It wasn’t painfully rough, but it also wasn’t…..NOT painfully rough….? It was definitely forceful and I probably wouldn’t be able to marathon it but we did ride it twice. Chooch tapped out after the second spin on it though, lol. It’s B&M or GTFO for him.

OK Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain is insane. If you like learning about the history rides, I would 100% recommend that you watch this video by my FAVORITE COASTER YOUTUBER, El Toro Ryan:

Problematic is right. Since we had already experienced getting stuck on this ride the last time we were there, we weren’t surprised when we arrived that day and there was no line for this. The ride operator saw us looking confused, wondering if it was running, so she waved us on up. “The train is stuck inside so I’m just waiting for the guys to get here and give it a push,” she said matter-of-factly and if I had been a n00b at this, I MIGHT have turned around at that point. But this coaster is notorious for stopping at the same part of the ride inside the cave and maintenance has to come and give it a push, lol.

Just…watch that video. I promise you that it’s interesting!

I took this accidentally when handing Henry my phone but kept it because Shadow Erin is way better looking that Living Flesh Erin! Also because I’m high-key with my Vans. #VelcroTeam

I can’t believe I didn’t take pictures of the two new credits Chooch obtained, but one was Tigg’r which is a Schwartzkopf death threat, I swear to god. I really thought our little car was going to tip right off the track. I’m pretty sure I rode this alone the last time we were there because while Chooch was tall enough for the other coasters, I think he didn’t meet the height requirements for this one? Dot dot dot?

The second credit he (and I!!) got was for Steel Hawg, which wasn’t running during our prior visit. It was looking like we were going to be 0 for 2 with this bitch until later in the afternoon when I spotted it testing while we were on the SHAFER QUEEN boat. Of course we ran right over to it immediately upon docking, where a small group had already congregated. We waited a good thirty minutes before a security guard came over and said that they were currently looking for ride operators, but it was “tricky” because they have to be of a certain age so I guess they were trying to shuffle staff around. We eventually left the line, but acted like fucking strung-out coaster junkies every time we saw a ride operator walking in that general direction.

It wasn’t until about 2 hours later, about an hour before the park was scheduled to close, that Henry saw a train on the lift hill WITH PEOPLE IN IT. We fucking ran, NO RUNNING rules be damned. We needed this elusive cred! Henry is an idiot and opted to sit this one out, which I thought was really stupid. Chooch and I entertained ourselves in the (short) line by trying to guess who manufactured Steel Hawg based on the track.

I said it was either Premier or S&S, and he said Gerstlauer. In the end, I went with Premier as my final answer, and we were BOTH WRONG because it ended up being S&S so I should have fucking went with my gut because that layout was so goddamn strange, just like Steel Curtain, another S&S. Of course Chooch tried to argue that he was the one who threw S&S into the mix at first so we had a Big Fight about that.

But that little coaster was sick! I’ve definitely never been on anything like it, even though I though I knew what it was going to be like. But, nope. This jungle of steel is nuts!

Steel Hawg – Indiana Beach

Photo courtesy of Indiana Beach’s website.

Ugh, arcade time.

Ugh, annoying arcade boy.

OH SHIT, this ride!! It was nuts. I thought it was going to be like the Spider or Monster or whatever those rides are called, but this thing….did some unexpected shit. It was really fun the first time, so later on I suggested that we ride it again, but, well, maybe once was enough.

Trying to keep my eyeballs from popping out.

Trying not to puke.

Henry would rather hold pink teddy bears than go on flat rides.

Anyway, that about does it for our day at Indiana Beach. Do not write this place off, people. The staff is great. The rides are quirky and unusual. The setting is SO PRETTY AND LAKE-Y.  I think this was the 18th park we visited this summer (!) and definitely one of the most unique.

Sep 282021
 

Oh ho ho, if you thought the Indiana Beach posts were all dried up, you were wrong because I’m back with another and it’s nice and MOIST.  That doesn’t even make sense. I just wanted to type “moist” since it’s so triggering.

A few years ago, Chooch learned about the game of Fascination at Knoebels Amusement Park and has been, OK I’m going for it, FASCINATED by it ever since. If you’ve never had the odd experience of playing Fascination, or spectating Fascinators in action, it’s like a cross between Bingo and skeeball. I hear that Fascination parlors are very rare these days, but we have been to FIVE places this year alone that have a parlor: Knoebels, Morey’s Piers (there is a super cool antique arcade hidden in the back of a regular, modern arcade), Sylvan Beach (their parlor was closed though), Indiana Beach, and we didn’t know it at the time we were there but Six Flags Darien Lake also has one. Super random.

So far, Knoebels has the best Fascination parlor. Indiana Beach’s was nice because it was air-conditioned, but it was run by two teen guys who were also playing double-duty behind the prize counter, so the games weren’t being run as efficiently AND no one was on the horn doing play-by-plays and making everyone nervous by spotlighting the table number in the lead. But! Props to those kids were taking it seriously and hustling as best as they could.

Obligatory FAMILY FASCINATION RELFLECTION SELFIE but my phone covered most of my face. PROBS FOR THE BEST.

I really appreciated this relic of the HEAVY PUBLIC SMOKING past. Henry had to show me how it worked and it aroused a long-slumbering slideshow of SMOKING IN RESTAURANTS AND SHOPPING MALLS AND OLIVE GREEN WOOD-PANELED STATION WAGONS AND CIGARETTE MACHINES IN LAUDROMATS.

Whew, time-travel makes me tired.

Just like Fascination makes these two guys tired, I guess. (Side note: Henry said he’s never seen someone yawn for such an extended period of time and now I’m sad that I missed it. Maybe if we had locked eyes, he could have passed a demon onto me. DAMMIT.)

I wonder if Chooch’s next spreadsheet will be one to keep track of all the Fascination parlors he visits in his lifetime.  The only ones left in the US that he hasn’t played are:

  • Looff’s Lite-A-Line in Long Beach, CA
  • Geneva-on-the-Lake in Ohio
  • Funland in Seaside, Oregon

Plus the ones at Sylvan Beach and Darien Lake. Looks like this will be a pretty small spreadsheet, lol.

I wonder if Henry played Fascination with his SERVICE buddies.

He won a round and Chooch was so pissed, but I was happy because Henry’s virtual tickets got scanned onto Chooch’s Indiana Beach arcade card and I HAD MY EYE ON A RING IN THAT PRIZE CASE.

Actually, Chooch was the one who (GRUDGINGLY) cashed in his tickets on this ring (and later, a popsicle ring of my choosing!) and it was the most pathetic moment of my life, watching  my own flesh and blood be annoyed that he had to “waste” 35 tickets on a ring for his MOTHER when he could have used that on a Tootsie pop. Anyway, when I picked out the one I wanted, Yawner actually looked at Chooch and asked, “Is that OK?” like, excuse me but give a bitch her ring. Don’t ask the KID. Yes, it’s OK because I’m his mother and if he says no, I’m ripping that ticket card out of his hands and feeding it to the carp in Lake Shafer! NOW GIVE ME MY FUCKING RING.

Jesus Christ.

So, that’s Fascination. I’m not into it at all because it makes me nervous, but those two love it. I actually went outside and sat by myself on a bench the last time they ducked inside for a round. I felt sad, just sitting there watching families have fun on the bumper cars. It’s OK. Don’t cry for me, Indiana Beach.

Sep 262021
 

Henry actually fed us at Indiana Beach! I know, I’m just as shocked as you! Usually we are lucky if he buys one soft pretzel for us to share. And thank god, because I got hungry almost immediately after arriving, OK fine, we had been there for an hour but there is something about riding four roller coasters in a row on a sizzlin’ day that makes me want to sit down in an air-conditioned room and inhale greasy pizza. You too?

We opted for Earl’s Pizza and slid into the counter to order RIGHT BEFORE a large-ass family who entered right after us but from an entrance that was closer to the broad patiently waiting to take pizza orders.

Here we are after shouting our desired pizza orders at Henry and then abandoning him at the counter. I was excited because we all unknowingly matched that day, but then I realized how stupidly patriotic we looked and then I was just disgusted. Also, when I sat down to write this today, I challenged myself to try not to swear at all and I had to backspace 29 times already. I’m really bad at this, and also I’m very irritable this weekend for some reason. I think because we purposely didn’t make plans and free time makes me anxious. Just some BEHIND THE SCENES thoughts for you.

YOU GUYS, this pizza was legit! I’m not normally a fan of thick crust, but this personal pan pizza was delicious – the dough was springy and the curst was just crispy enough around the edges without making the whole thing dry, the sauce was well proportioned and tasted like fresh  tomatoes, and the cheese was nice and greasy. Good job, Earl! (Apparently this joint was new for 2021 and I approve. I can’t remember what we ate the last time we were there but I assume it was probably also pizza and apparently not very memorable.)

Hello. You might remember the last time we were at Indiana Beach, Henry was being a bitch-baby about tacos. He wanted one but was acting like a fucking (dammit) martyr because Chooch and I wanted pizza and I was like, “But you can still have tacos” and he was all, “NO. JUST FORGET IT. I WILL EAT WHAT MY WOMAN AND CHILD EAT.” Well, this time he opted to just share my pan pizza with me (Lord knows I probably could have housed the whole thing on my own but then I wouldn’t be riding anything after that, and that is the damn truth) and then he treated himself to a taco! EXCEPT THAT HE DID IT WHILE CHOOCH AND I WERE RIDING THE SWINGS! So the whole time we were cruising perilously over Lake Shafer, I had a bird’s eye view of that mustachioed fucker (I give up, self-challenge unaccepted) masticating a taco by the lakeside and I was not there to photograph this event. I was screaming (also because these were the scariest swings I’ve ever been on and Chooch, afterward, was like, “Duh, why do you think there was also a seatbelt that went across your torso?”) because I

NEEDED

TO

TAKE

A

PICTURE

for mocking purposes. Come on, you know this about me! Imagine how excruciating this was for me to witness from afar with no way to memorialize it!

Man, I almost bowled over the two dumb ginger preteens who were casually strolling through the exit in front of me after getting off the ride, but by the time I made it back to Henry (ignoring all of the NO RUNNING warnings spraypainted onto the ground) he was already so finished with the taco that digestion had officially begun.

“REALLY YOU ATE THAT WITHOUT ME?” I screeched.

“Yeah, it wasn’t that good,” he said calmly.

“OK BUT DID I ASK?” I cut my own self off to cry. “You know I wanted to take a picture of you eating it!”

Henry reached into his back pocket and pulled out his Tired Face. No, wrong one. Try again. OK, there it is – the Confused Face. “I didn’t know that,” he said innocently.

“Well go back and get another one!” This was the perfect solution, I thought, but he wouldn’t do it because he didn’t think it was that great.

“It was cold,” he said, now wearing his Concerned Foodie Face. “It was weird.”

Henry used to write food reviews for the Air Force ‘zine back in 1985, did you know that? “The pork-n-beans were good. I ate it all. I patted my belly after. Mm.”

Later, Chooch wanted to get something from the Kona Ice truck. Child has obviously never made his own snow cone before because his first attempt left 3/4 of the shaved ice untouched by syrup.

“You have to put more syrup in it so that it soaks all the way through,” I coached from the sidelines.

But then the moron drowned the poor ice and there was nothing left to soak up the syrup, so it started spilling over the sides. It was a fucking mess. I was embarrassed to be his mom. We had to take it to the nearby arcade which had tables to eat at and he left a huge trail of Kona-blood on the way through, right as a janitor walked by with a broom, giving us MAJOR CUSTODIAL SIDE-EYE.

“Great, now he hates us!” I hissed at Chooch. But dude clearly had bigger spills to sweep because he didn’t stop. Henry, meanwhile, was on  the hunt for napkins to help sop up some of the syrup flood. I had to actually change tables because I was so afraid this shit was going to start sluicing off the table edge and onto my white shoes. Fuck that shit. I take pride in keeping my shoes clean! Joke’s on me though because even all this, it was STILL CHOOCH who got my shoes dirty, all the way at the end of the night when his oafish self stepped on my foot. I wanted to cry! Henry was all, “It is OK. Calm down. Take it easy. You should smile more. I will clean them when we get home.”

Well, guess who’s been home for a week now and my shoe still has CHOOCH-TRANSFER-DIRT on the toe?

 

Here’s an example of how authentic and real Indiana Beach keeps it. Love those olive booths!

And for all of your caffeine cravings, there’s actually a pretty legit cafe at Indiana Beach, too! I’m not going to lie, I was expecting gas station swill, but instead Chooch and I got professionally handcrafted iced lattes made by the nicest lady and the other nicest lady who was being trained by the first nicest lady. I can’t remember the last time I went somewhere and willingly engaged in so much small talk, but these people at Indiana Beach were incredibly down to earth.

They also had a delightful assortment of baked goods, which eventually lured us back in later that evening, where we filled up on cookies and a raspberry bar. Chooch originally walked in and confidently announced that he wanted the charcuterie plate because he’s a weirdo and they were like, “We’re actually all out of those!” and Henry was like, “That’s OK, he just wanted to say ‘charcuterie.'” Which was 100% true, but I think Henry was secretly happy when Chooch went rogue and asked for one, knowing that he would get to throw back all the meat-stuffs that Chooch would be picking around. Sorry, Henry. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get salami grease on your fingerpads, though.

Another thing we didn’t know about the last time was the FREE 30 minute Shafer Queen boat rides! Look, this guy was the…boat driver!

I wanted to sit up top but Chooch the Elder was like IT IS TOO HOT, WE WILL SIT DOWN BELOW so he claimed a seat first and then I was like, “I WANTED TO SIT ON THE END” and then Henry was like, “Let’s change rows because there is a railing in the way” so then I got to sit by the water because I made it to the next row first and Chooch was going to stay behind us by himself but then a mom with like 878 kids came and tried to sit there but there wasn’t enough room so they got up and were wandering around looking for a place to sit. We made Chooch be a Big Boy and move to our row so that they could have his row and he was so pissed.

Look at him pouting! I mean, once you get past Henry’s future-salami-greased finger tip that looks like a penis. I was going to crop that shit out but it makes me so uncomfy and I want it to make you uncomfy too, Internet Diary.

Also, the guy in front of Chooch was the CAPTAIN. He knew the old couple in front of us so he sat down with them and they talked about the good ol’ days and I dunno, savings bonds probably.

The boat ride was pretty boring but we got to see some semi-fancy lake houses and then I started screaming because we had been stalking this one coaster, Steel Hawg, all day but it wasn’t running and then I saw it TESTING!!! This was one of two credits that Chooch didn’t get the first time we went and I thought for sure we were going to be batting 0 for 2 on that tip but seeing those test cars being sent gave me hope. Also, it made me panic because now we were literally stuck in the middle of a lake, totally at the mercy of the Shafer Queen, instead of pacing around the base of Steel Hawg like crazy people.

OK, I’ll end this here and be back with another post about rides or something maybe. I dunno how I dragged this out for nearly 2000 words. I’m lonely, I guess. Haha ugh.

 

Sep 252021
 

Maybe you remember last year, right after the pandemic started, I reposted my old Indiana Beach blog posts as a tribute to the park after it was announced that the 2019 was the last season and they were officially shuttering. I was gutted over this! Sure, Indiana Beach isn’t Six Flags-level by any means but I remembered it to be a really quaint and quirky park, perched on a scenic lake, laden with Midwest charm and friendly staff. Back then, we had been lured there by the promise of dark rides, and it did not disappoint in that department.

I had barley even finished pouring one out for this lakeside park when it was announced that some rich-ass businessman in Chicago, Gene Staples, had granted the wishes of thousands of thoosies around the country by writing a check and saving this park’s ass. (And also a park in NJ and NY too! Gene Staples, you da man. Wish you had bought Conneaut too, since whoever the asshole is that “saved” that place has been busy selling off rides left and right. Asshole.)

Because I am constantly in a state of panic about RUNNING OUT OF TIME, I suggested rather spontaneously that we revisit this cute boardwalk resort and Henry was like, “OK fine twist my arm” because he is actually really into going to amusement parks lately – I think he’s having a midlife crisis if we’re being honest, and if he would rather work that out by riding rollercoasters instead of throwing down for a Mustang or a Harley, then I am happy to hold his hand through this…season of his life.

(The A Beautiful Mess broads use that saying for everything and I want to scream. “We gave up on our AirBNB dreams because it just wasn’t the right season of our lives” – OK if that’s how you want to sugarcoat zoning issues, cool. Cool cool.)

So anyway, that’s why we were in Indiana last weekend! We left Friday as soon as I logged off work, stayed overnight in Dayton, and then made it to Indiana Beach right as they opened at 11. (After driving past miles and miles of cornfields and wind turbines, literally like the good folks in Indiana decided to construct lifesized dioramas of  my nightmares for my window-viewing pleasure. I was screaming! Chooch even googled it because he thought for sure this had to be one of the most wind turbined-areas in  the US but it apparently Indiana only has a combined 2000-some, whereas the state that takes the top spot, Texas, has over 30,000. I’m gagging. You just can’t see me.)

Last time we visited, we knew NOTHING about this place, but since joining the Coaster Community, we learned that we parked in the wrong lot last time. For some reason, GPS will always lead you to the side lot which is NOT the main entrance. The good entrance has you crossing over a swaying bridge across Lake Shafer, with the most excellent views of three of  the park’s coasters. It was beautiful. If you ever go there, ignore the GPS and get yourself to the main entrance instead! (I actually don’t know how Henry got there, I was too busy listening to Taemin.)

One of the unique things about this place is that rides are built on top of each other, on top of snack bars, literally in the lake….it’s just a jumble of tracks and supports and it’s really crazy to see!  I actually forgot about that.

It was like 87 degrees and I definitely forgot to stay properly hydrated. Kids, drink your water. Don’t be distracted by all of the RIDES like I was. Also, Henry: be a better guardian. Thanks

There was a healthy crowd that day but I have no idea where everyone was going or what they were doing because nearly every ride, coasters includes, were walk-ons or station waits. There must be some townie secret that I was not privy to. Also, this “boardwalk” was adorable but was it as nice as WILDWOOD? No, Mary. The answer is NO.

I just loved the color scheme here! I took this picture from the train, which winds all around under coaster tracks and goes next to the antique car route and through a tunnel cut into Frankenstein’s Castle and right along the lake. I mean it was still kind of boring because it’s a train ride but it was cool to see the park from that perspective.

LOOK AT HOW THE  TRACK GOES RIGHT OVER THE LAKE!!!!??? I was so confused and then Henry started to explain construction things to me and I was like, “yeah I’m not actually that interested but nice try. Put the protractor back in your pocket, buddy.”

The website is all AND COME SHOP AT THE BOARDWALK SHOPS but there really wasn’t much I wanted to buy, lol. Not quite my aesthetic.

This crow in 1930s men’s swimwear is their mascot! (I guess at the year, I have no idea but I know men used to wear strange two-piece suits at the beach back in the olden days because I have eyeballs and have seen photographs. And that is what I pass off as “research” on these pages.)

I’ll do separate posts for the rides and food and whatever, but I took so many pictures of just the park itself that I really wanted to designate one entire post to just that, especially after we had that PARK IS CLOSED FOREVER scare in 2020. I’m super obsessive about MEMORIES and DOCUMENTATION and even if Indiana Beach does go belly-up at some point, at least I can contribute to the pictures that remain floating around in its honor.

I wish that my family took more pictures of the boardwalk all those times we went to Wildwood because most of those rides are gone and I think at least one or two of the actual piers are gone too. I also wish I had more pictures from Kennywood from the 80s and 90s. It’s so different there now and definitely not in a good way. :(

The park closed at 7 (7!!! OK fine, I guess it is technically off-season now.) so I didn’t get to capture any good night shots with the lights on but it sure did look pretty at dusk, I also had to laugh because Henry acted like we were only going to stay for a few hours and we closed that bitch down. Chooch and I got the last ride of the night on the Flying Bobs, which I found myself heavily fixating on the motor and the wheels that run seemingly haphazardly along the track next to the ride.

But it’s so pretty, even with the threat of perishing!

Of course Chooch and I fought no less than a dozen times but it sure was a pleasant day, regardless. Henry keeps telling me to just ignore him when he gets in his shitty moods and I am trying but I am a Leo and I eat shitty moods for snacks. So this arrangement doesn’t always play out well. It is my nature to thrive off the negative vibes of others.

Oh wait, this isn’t my paper diary. K, bye!

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 perma-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 way 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 us 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 which I wore this one time my grandma took me to play BINGO. (The only time she took me to play BINGO lol.) 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 we 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, YOU 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 very 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 own opinions through mastication.

Um, yes. Yes, this was 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.”