Sep 242022
 

Hello from the second half of our ultra fun day Great America! It was just Labor Day Weekend but they were already setting up for their haunt. I made Henry stand in this tunnel thing so I could photograph him like one of my french bitches.

I think he’s actually opening his little packet of aspirin in these pictures, lol. Can’t ride more than two coasters without it.

For Snack Time, I had this Dole Whip swirl. It was mango and strawberry. It was fine but like, why so much hype for Dole Whip though? Henry got a pretzel for his Snack Time and I had regertz so I gave him the rest of my Dole Whip in exchange for like 3/4 of said pretzel.

In line for the Flash – Henry dislikes Intamin Impulse coasters but I super-love them and he was my riding buddy on this day so SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP.

I always get extremely nervous waiting for the launch but guess what?? It was actually really weak. So weak that I thought they were having an issue but no, it was nervous I guess. Nowhere near as thrilling as my beloved Wicked Twister (RIP baby).

I always enjoy a good fling on the Batman clones! This one looked like it had a really long line but it wasn’t long at all. Really none of the lines were bad all day except for Joker (low capacity) and MaxxForce (this is just problematic and I feel like the line would be long no matter what).

I didn’t get anything from here but thought it was cute, OK.

At some point in the day, Chooch rode his 250th coaster and actually had one of his friends take a picture because I told him MAKE SURE YOU GET A PICTURE because you know me and my obsessive need to document every little moment of his life for the future MOMMY LOVES YOU scrapbook that I’ll be sure to present to him in front of a crowd someday.

OK, I was extremely excited to ride American Eagle! It was Intamin’s first foray into a wooden coaster and all I knew from coaster vlogs is that it is a legit HIKE through this queue, and boy they weren’t wrong. You just keep walking and walking, up and down and up and down, across a ROAD, until you finally reach the station. If that entire queue is ever actually filled, I would be horrified.

Halfway through our leisurely Sunday stroll through the American Eagle queue.

The line didn’t even actually begin until we reached the bottom of the steps leading up to the station. Then we played musical rows because I couldn’t settle on one – we started in the middle row because the only way Henry would agree to ride any of the wooden coasters was if I agreed to sit in the middle and not my beloved back row. But in the end, I had maneuvered my way to the front row and that’s where we stayed. It was right next to the ride op’s room and there were various rubber ducks lining the edges of it which was entertaining to look at it while waiting for the slow AF ops – it’s supposed to be a racing coaster but they were only running one train on one side, which was annoying  but I swear this seems to be the new norm anymore – King’s Dominion, Cedar Point – maybe King’s Island but I can’t remember now? – were all running one side only on their racing coasters the last few times we were there.

Our thoughts on American Eagle:

Henry – it wasn’t that bad, I’ve ridden worse wooden coasters.

Me – I FUCKING LOVED IT. It made me laugh my effing ugly face off so hard, it was ridiculous. Not nearly as rough as it looks like it would be, and the HELIX, YO. THE HELIX. Do not skip this if you go to Great America.

HERE IS A PICTURE OF US EXITING THE RIDE.

WHIZZER!!! Holy shit, Great America – you got a super weirdly-rounded coaster collection! This Schwartzkopf (I am NOT looking up the spelling, sorry imaginary journalism degree) oddity was so unique and felt like something the Brady Bunch would have ridden together and Alice would have been screaming into a kerchief while Marsha was making eyes at the muttonchopped ride op.

It’s a toboggan-style coaster where two people sit front to back on one long seat so I would have had to try and sit between Henry’s legs without jamming my knees into the seat in front of me.  I was super worried that Henry and I wouldn’t fit in one car together so we had to ride separately because I wanted to spare us from the trauma of being fat-shamed.  This was definitely made for two children or a parent and child and I noticed other adult couples were also riding stag so that is what we did too, sorry Henry, I know you were looking forward to squeezing your thighs against my saddle bags. Much erotic.

After this, we passed Chooch and his SQUAD GIRLS! The girls happily waved hello to us like normal functioning humans while Chooch looked like he wanted the earth to open up and engulf him whole. I can’t remember where Henry and I were headed, but we ended up changing our minds and going back to finally face the MaxxForce line which was hovering between 60-90 minutes all day.

GUESS WHO HAD THE SAME IDEA??? Chooch and his squad girls! WOO!! So much to Chooch’s chagrin, he ended up having to live the waking nightmare of standing in the same line with his PARENTS and GIRL FRIENDS for NINETY MINUTES. Yeah, I didn’t even realize we were in for 90 minutes until Chooch was bitching about it later and I was like “There is no way we were in that line for that long?” but he argued that we were, so I checked my phone for receipts because I texted Corey the moment we got in line with them and then I took that picture down there of Chooch right when we were next in line, and yep.

Ninety fucking minutes.

The big TO DO of this line was the fact that Chooch was wearing the same shirt as that guy behind us. His girl friends (Anna and Lexi) were dying over this and I said, “That’s his Dad Shirt” and that made them lose it all over again and Chooch kept making INSANE ORCHESTRAL CONDUCTOR hands motions next to his head like he was willing to swallow a stick a dynamite in order to escape the pain of his Mexico world colliding with MOMMY.

I was super engrossed in what they were talking about, too, but Henry kept gently pulling me back by my shoulders and making a subtle, “Give them space” eye blinks.

UGH.

They were totally talking about CIEE people and I wanted to know!!

At one point, Chooch made eye contact with Anna and then turned and made eye contact with me, and screamed, “STOP LOOKING AT ME!!” and the anguish on his face you guys, the wet glint of agony in his eyes. It was hilarious. Anna was laughing so hard and squealed, “Why do you get so upset when people look at you?!”

Oh, the trials and tribs of Riley J.

(Speaking of, we were very good about calling him RILEY in front of his friends although Anna found my Insta and knows about “Chooch” now so he was like, “And I would like to thank you for that.” LOL.)

THAT FACE THO.

We did not ride Little Dipper for absolutely no good reason. Apparently, Chooch didn’t either and he was pretty salty about it because it’s all about the COASTER CREDS. Guess we’ll just have to go back!?

Somewhere after MaxxForce, we rode Superman and it was excellent (Henry hates flying coasters but admitted it was OK) and whatever their indoor wild mouse is. Gotham something. It was about a 25 minute wait and also the only time all day that I got mad at Henry because I was trying to tell him a really important story and he kept looking past me and I HATE THAT because it makes me feel like he’s not listening to me so then I gave him the silent treatment and he cried and begged me to be his friend again.

Then on the ride, he caught the hat of the guy in front of us and it was probably the most heroic he’s felt since he was IN THE SERVICE.

That ride was actually good too! I think Great Adventure is where we rode the clone and I don’t remember thinking that one was any good because the theming was shit, but this one was SO GOOD. The theming was there and the ride itself was actually really intense and I nearly got whiplash.

Then I demanded Henry buy me a Six Flags sweatshirt because I was legit freezing in a t-shirt and shorts all day. So now I have red Six Flags sweatshirt which was actually a hassle to buy because some asshole family was hogging the whole rack and then I had to ask an employee if they had Mediums and she had to forage “in the back” for one. At that point, I was locked in. Had to buy it.

I have to say though, while Six Flags can generally be so hit or miss (they have major issues, I’m not even exaggerating, basically the Walmart of theme park chains at this point) their gift shop employees have always been EXCEPTIONALLY FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL. Literally every single park.

Anyway, this sweatshirt was a game-changer. Or, mood-changer really. Because I was really getting cranky but now that I was warm and cozy, I felt like I was given a do-over and was ready to get back out there and have fun again.

Got a late night black bean burger at some place in the Raging Bull area of the park. It was OK but they apparently didn’t have the sauce that was supposed to come with it and I get really mad about stuff like that because I LOVE ME SOME CONDIMENTS. The waffle fries were surprisingly good, but the pretzel bun was very dry and didn’t really do much for me. I would have preferred whatever bun Henry had on his meat sandwich.

Running back to try and get one last ride on Goliath before park closed. I LOVE the feeling of being in a park when it’s nearly ready to close. It’s like, romantic or something, I dunno.

We made it in line for Goliath and GUESS WHO ELSE DID TOO? LOL. They were behind us a bit. I let Chooch know we were aware of his location by texting him a picture I took of him from my spot in line, because I read the Creepy Mom Handbook when I was pregnant and it’s gotten me this far without causing a complete and utter relationship severance, so why stop now.

They ended up getting on the train right after us and I tried to get a picture of them coming onto the brake run but I stupidly moved before it was done so it was just one big blur. :(

We talked to them for a little bit after they got off Goliath, while watching the fireworks. Chooch was sure to point out that his night ride was better than my night ride because the fireworks started when they went up the lift hill.

“I don’t know if you guys realized this about him, but he is VERY competitive,” I said to Lexi and Anna, rolling my eyes, and they cracked up because OF COURSE THEY KNOW THIS. Everyone who spends even a few minutes with my kid knows this.

I TRULY DON’T KNOW WHERE HE GETS THIS TRAIT.

Oh also so that ride up there? Fiddler’s Fling? HENRY WOULDN’T RIDE IT WITH ME. Actually, HENRY WOULDN’T RIDE ANY FLAT RIDES. And this park actually had a pretty unique flat ride collection so I was super sad. I definitely need to go back – with someone else!!

The (weak) Flash.

Oh yeah! We rode this earlier too. It was Henry’s first ever 4d Free Spin and he didn’t hate it as much as he anticipated. I was scream-yelling the whole time. I hated this ride the first time I rode it in New Jersey, acquired a newfound appreciation for it in Massachusetts, and changed our status to IN A RELATIONSHIP in Illinois. You and me, Joker. 4 lyfe.

Oh look another ride he wouldn’t ride with me.

Literally one of the most beautiful amusement park landmarks.

Before we left, I blurted out, “CAN I TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU GUYS” and the girls said ABSOLUTELY while Chooch was quickly looking for a vampire to turn him so he wouldn’t appear in the picture.

I don’t know what else to say – I loved this day so much. I loved the whole weekend. It was weird not being with Chooch all day but I also so happy that we were able to arrange this reunion for him and ugh, sometimes I really am such a mom! See?? I do have the maternal stuffs in me. It’s just sometimes buried by my Forever 16 personality traits.

 

Sep 172022
 

The rest of the evening in the Dells was spent doing spooky stuff. Well, some might find the word “hokey” to be more accurate lol. Shockingly, the Dells is kind of like the dollar store knock off of a tourist trap town so while places like Pigeon Forge and ugh shit what is that main drag called in Niagara Falls? You know the one. CLIFTON HILL! While places like that gouge your wallet and practically start in on your organs, the Dells had a lot of really stupid attractions that were only $5! So since we had time to kill, we bit.

First, we went to the Haunted Mansion on the main drag. It was….a place. No live actors, nothing super memorable. When we came out, there was a group of people standing on the sidewalk, contemplating. “Was it any good?” they asked. I hesitated MAJORLY and I think that was all they needed, because I could see them glance at other but then I added, “I mean, there aren’t any scare actors in there or anything,” and they all collectively made a FUCK THAT air expulsion and walked away.

We made a quick stop to this river walk thing but didn’t go very far because Chooch was whining about wanting to go back to the room to charge his phone because god forbid he might some amazing message in the MEXICO SQUAD group chat, so we turned around just in time for some man to ask me, and I do mean me because he only locked eyes with me,  “Does this go down to the river?”

I shrugged stupidly and said I didn’t know, then mumbled, “WTF do I look like, the Wisconsin Dells docent??”

Oh I know what happened next – the big fight about ice cream. LOL.

Our hotel had coupons for $2 off this Ghost Outpost thing so we grabbed some and headed on over. I had seen this mentioned on various WHAT TO DO IN THE DELLS YouTube videos and had hoped it would be cool like the one in Gatlinburg.

NO! IT WAS SO STUPID! JUST LIKE THE LAST PLACE! The only good thing is that it ended up being only $3 a person with our SUPER 8 coupons lol.

I dunno what got into Henry but he was like, “Let’s do this one too” and so we walked over to the Lost Temple which…I have no idea wat the point was but it was dumb too. Super low quality but then suddenly, singing tree:

I just honestly have nothing else to say about these two places. Avoid them? There. Two word review!

Finally, it was time to check in for our 8:40 reservation on the GHOST BOAT! I can’t believe I got Henry to sign on to this because he usually like YOU TWO CAN DO IT, I’LL DROP YOU OFF. He really hates spending money on things like, Tight Wads Gonna Wad Tight, you know? But when we were at Mt. Olympus earlier that day, he was like OK FINE and this was like HOURS after I had originally suggested it, and not like right after one of my nagging sessions, so this tells me that it was on his mind of his own accord and that he secretly really must have wanted to do this.

Please note: this wasn’t like one of those $5 haunts – this was an actual river boat ride at night, with a haunted walk. I think it was around $40/pp so this was more of a splurge but when in Wisconsin Dells, amirite?!

First off, once we went inside the Ghost Boat waiting area, they took pictures of each group so I was really stoked because we don’t have many family pictures that aren’t selfies. There were long pew-like benches set up in a serpentine manner inside the room and we were told to go all the way down as far as we could and take a seat. I really liked this set-up because it was ORGANIZED and assured that you were going to get to board in order of arrival. Frequent visitors to this dumping ground of the Internet will note that I am notoriously high-strung when it comes to standing in line, getting good spots, losing my spot, dealing with line-jumpers, etc. So props to the Ghost Boat people for doing the Lord’s work on this one.

HOWEVER!! There was OF COURSE that ONE group who decided that they were going to just waltz right up to the front when it was time to stand up and have our tickets scanned so that we could then walk down to the loading area. They completely skipped past all of the benches and tried to cut through along the side but the ticket scanner, AKA MY HERO, was like “no can do, back of the line for you” and I actually did a fist bump out in the open because I feel like more often than not, people in that position just roll over for line-jumpers! This was a fairly big group too – I feel like there were 8 or so, some extended family sitch, I dunno.

I was happy because not only were we far enough ahead in line to sit on top of the boat, we also snagged the last row of three seats in the very back. I’m a back of the boat/bus/coaster type of bitch, as you know.

The boat ride portion was really fun! Well, for everyone else. For me, I was too busy obsessing over the semi-big spider that was on the move RIGHT NEXT TO ME. I couldn’t lean back and relax like everyone else – I had to sit twisted at an angle, with my back up against Henry’s side, never taking my eyes off the railing. Some spooky recording was playing, relaying the ghostly story of the lake or whatever, but I legit missed the whole thing, my arachnid focus was *that* intense.

However, I was aware of the part of the boat ride where the engine was cut off so that we could glide between a cavern thing which Henry just told me was basically THE DELLS. It was really cool yet incredibly eerie at night. The water sloshing against  the rock walls just added to the vibe, like we were in a live action horror film, at the point where something was going to go terribly awry. To be honest, this part alone was worth the price of the Ghost Boat.

I took this picture earlier that evening when we returned to the river walk and walked the whole way down (I can now go back in time and tell that man that no, it does not actually take you all the way down next to the water). The boat went all the way straight back into the trees and then the dell stuff happened. Henry said he looked at pictures of it online, daytime pictures, and the part where the boat slipped through was “actually really cool, we should do it during the day next time.”

HE SAID NEXT TIME. WE’RE GOING BACK, Y’ALL.

Anyway, the next part of the excursion had us docking and walking up a slight hill where we all gathered outside of a restroom. This bathroom break took FOREVER. It was so annoying. I also got stuck standing near the Line-Jumpers and that was annoying. They thought they were going to be FIRST but guess what? Where they were standing wasn’t actually the starting point of the trail –  it was off to the left and we had to walk down steps. So since I had been standing to the left of them, I got to go before them HA IT’S WHAT YOU DESERVE, ASSHOLES! While we were standing there talking to the guide, someone pointed out that there was a spider on some man’s back. He swept it off and then the guide STEPPED ON IT and I immediately panicked.

“What if that was my spider,” I hissed at Henry, who mumbled, “That was not your spider, wait, I thought you hated that spider?”

“I mean, yeah, but I also spent the whole boat ride trying to make sure it didn’t die and I feel horrible if I did all that just for some bitch to boot-stomp him!” I wailed.

“It wasn’t the same spider,” Henry sighed.

You guys, the actual haunted trail wasn’t exactly “scary” because our group had like 80 people, I swear to god, and the scare actors were fine and all but how scared can you really get when you’re in a group that large? We were toward the front of the group at least so that was good. Literally had no idea what was going on because it was dark, foggy, creepy blue lights were blinding us at every turn…but at some point we entered what literally felt like a cavern and I was seriously concerned about bashing my head off the side of a rock formation.

Henry was very concerned about the safety measurements of the walking portion of the Ghost Boat, as in, were there any?

“How long have they been doing these tours? It doesn’t seem very safe. I could easily see people getting seriously injured out there,” Henry said the next day in the car en route to the next destination. I mean, he’s not wrong. The couple in front of me didn’t realize there was a ramp to walk on and kept walking next to it, ground-level, which appeared to have some sort of drop-off next to it. They realized they were going the wrong way before they turned into lemmings walking off a ledge into a gorge.

I got singled out at one point as usual – no matter how big the crowd, they will always single me out. The person asked the little girl behind us if she knew me and Chooch’s names, and she said, “Um, Dylan and Elenor” and then when the ghost person asked Henry what they were, he said, “Dylan and Elenor” and the little girl was like, “OMG I WAS RIGHT??” and from that moment on, I became acutely aware of her presence and the fact that she never shut the fuck up. Lowkey hated her, especially because she kind of looked like RUTHIE from 7th Heaven.

UGH.

RUTHIE was so fucking annoying!

That who show was so fucking annoying!

We had to walk back the same way we came, which meant going through the weird cavern part again. Chooch said one of the scare actors hit her head on the rock and THE WAY THAT I AM NOT SUPRISED YO.

Of course it ended with a chainsaw guy, possibly the only chainsaw guy in the history of chainsaw guys that ever failed to scare me. Probably because before he went back and grabbed his chainsaw, he was casually walking along with the front of our group, talking to everyone. Of course RUTHIE turned on the dramatics though and screamed shrilly while pushing her way through all of us.

Ugh.

Back on the boat. It was a different boat so I had no way of checking for my spider. This time, the very last row of seats was just a two-seater, so we had to sit in the row directly in front of that. In hindsight, I wish Chooch and I had just grabbed that last row and made Henry sit somewhere else because TWO PEOPLE FROM THE LINE-JUMPER GANG sat there and they were so very utterly annoying. Definitely in their late teens/early 20s, and part of that generation that talks just to talk. Nothing either one of them said had any weight or meaning to it. Just lots of, “Yeah”s and “Same”s and at one point, the girl part of the duo talked about her sleeping preferences while the guy interjected grunts of agreement here and there. And they both had REALLY STUPID VOICES. Like, the voices of stupid people. Sorry if you think that’s mean BUT THIS BLOG IS A SAFE SPACE FOR ME TO PLUNK OUT MY HONEST THOUGHTS. These kids were fucking STUPID. Especially when they were trying to act like astrologists and the guy was like, “I watch <some science show> and am basically a scientist now.” SIGH.

These poor stars. They had so much to say about them.

Anyway, that was the whole boat ride back, trying so hard to not listen to their basic conversations but being unable to get away from it since they were talking at a volume 5x what was appropriate for a nighttime boat ride with strangers.

Then I made Henry pay $28 for a portrait package so now we have like 12 copies of this photo. Guess some lucky people will get one tucked inside this year’s Christmas card.

I do really like this picture even though we look like 3 strangers picked at random to stand in front of the Ghost Boat backdrop. AFFECTION? WHAT IS AFFECTION? I’m actually surprised that Chooch as least smiled but Henry looks like he’s our warden, ready to break out the taser the moment one of us tries to flee. Look at that balled-up fist!

Sep 142022
 

The only glitch to our entire day in Wisconsin Dells was after the rootbeer museum when I had expressed a desire for ice cream. You would think that Henry and Chooch would know by now that my demands, especially ones that involve SCREAMS FOR ICE CREAM.

I had seen a sign for GELATO at one of the ice cream places on the main strip of the Dells, and had wanted to walk back and find it but CHOOCH was being a pain in the ass and peer-pressured me into going into a different ice cream place that was closer and it turns out it was just because he didn’t want to walk past this lady street performer again because she was making him uncomfortable (she was one of those statue people but didn’t do a very good job staying in character). The ice cream place was also a cafe and sandwich shop? I couldn’t tell what was going on there, but they had regular ice cream that you could get anywhere – like Hersheys or something – and then Henry said he didn’t want any and Chooch had just had a root beer float – I didn’t want to eat ice cream alone! So I left in dramatic fashion and speed-walked all the way to the parking lot. To be fair, the plan was already to go back to the hotel to rest because the next thing on our agenda didn’t start until 8:40 and we had two hours to kill.

I acted like a big crybaby on the way back to the hotel though because gotta stay on brand.

Anyway, we ended up going back out a bit earlier because there was a stupid haunted house I wanted to go to (MORE ON THIS SEPARATELY) and Henry was like, “Hey look, you can get your gelato afterward” because the same candy shop that I originally wanted to go to had another location right across the street from the dumb haunted house!

Chooch opted to wait in the car, probably was chatting with his Mexico Squad, so Henry and I went inside like we were impersonating a COUPLE ON A DATE. I guess Henry learned his lesson because he came prepared to place his own order so that I wouldn’t have to eat my cold treat alone like the true loser that I am.

So…I knew from first sight of the case that this was not going to be anything even close to traditional gelato. But nothing could have prepared me for the truly bizarre taste of my birthday cake and…what was my other flavor? Butter pecan maybe? gelato scoops.

It was truly alarming. The texture was like moist, frozen playdoh and the taste was SUGAR. And ARTIFICIAL. And FREEZER BURN. It was all of these things with a suggestion of whatever the flavors were supposed to me. Recommended to enjoy while thinking of your chosen flavor.

Tastes best with power of suggestion.

Somehow, it started to grow on me. I mean, I would never in my life go back there for a replay, but it wasn’t so grotesque that I couldn’t eat it. Henry had similar feelings with his choices, which I can’t remember now what they were. He had originally asked to try the banana but immediately wrote it off after realizing that it tasted like “cold nothing.” I’m glad he didn’t choose it too because the way it looked in the display case, it was wet and oozy like a pile of melted yellow popsicles. Totally unappealing.

“I mean I knew it wasn’t going to taste like real gelato because WISCONSIN but this also doesn’t taste like ice cream,” I said, holding a spoonful up to the light like my tastebuds had phoned my eyeballs for help decoding this gelato mystery.

For every scoop this place sells of fake gelato, an old man in Italy crashes a Moped.

Meanwhile, I was sitting in front of GREEN M&M and that was the third time in two days that she had come up in my life! WHAT DOES IT MEAN. One of the times was because one of the characters in a book I had just read admitted to thinking she was hot.

I guess I can see it….

On the way out, there were new suckers perusing the gelato case and I heard the scooper say, “It’s more like frozen yogurt.”

OK, that’s a very generous comparison.

Right after this, we went back to the main Dells area to prepare for our RESERVATION and when we walked past this REALLY COOL ICE CREAM SHOP that I somehow missed earlier, Chooch suddenly was ready for Ice Cream Part 2 and went in for a cone.

Dude, I was so pissed! I would have much preferred an ice cream cone from this place!!!

What an asshole.

Of course he ended up with ice cream on his shirt too right before our RESERVATION (I dunno why I’m acting like there is going to be some reveal, it was just a boat ride / haunted walk thing).

OK, this has been an ice cream interlude.

Sep 132022
 

I don’t know what’s wrong with me but every time I sit down to recap Labor Day weekend, I start getting all wet-eyeballed and weirdly sentimental for something that JUST HAPPENED. Like, it’s barely even a memory yet?! I think time/age is really starting to terrorize me and I am hyper-aware of the fact that Chooch will soon be in college and definitely not trying to hop aboard the Oh Honestly Road Trip Express anymore. So I’m just trying to live my best life & do the most while we’re still a trio.

And sure, that means spraying dolla dolla bills into the mouths of some of the most questionable tourist traps in Wisconsin Dells! But first, food.

I sincerely don’t know what’s going on in this picture. We had just parked in a (shockingly free!) lot and had to cross over a busy street on a crosswalk with no traffic light – one of those HONOR SYSTEM pedestrian death traps where you’re supposed to step right out into oncoming traffic with all the confidence of someone who is not in a position to be pancaked onto the asphalt. I think I was probably yelling at Chooch here for not waiting for me. I HATE CROSSING STREETS!

Me: I want to kick this and break the glass.

Henry, somberly: You’d probably end up doing more time than he ever will.

Just like every other touristy town we’ve been to lately, Wisconsin Dells was chockful of disgusting Trump merch in all of the souvenir shops. So grotesque.

The first thing on our agenda was DINNER. Henry chose a bar called Monk’s because it had NOT JUST A VEGGIE BURGER, but a black bean burger as well. Hold me back.

We (and Chooch is not included in that collective, so you can hang up with CPS now thanks) rarely drink when we’re out but I felt inspired to get something so I chose this local blueberry beer and selected something that was banana-flavored for Henry even though it wasn’t what he wanted. I’m glad I chose the blueberry for myself because his tasted too beer-y. I mean, mine did too and I should have stuck with cider like I generally do but I felt like trying a BEER. It took me the whole entire meal to finish it and also I kept pouring it into the glass without angling it so the foam was overflowing and it was making Henry so uncomfortable, haha.

Chooch, meanwhile, was bitching because all he wanted a grilled cheese but they didn’t have it. C’mon, Monk’s – THIS IS WISCONSIN and you can’t make a kid a fucking grilled cheese?

So he got the veggie burger and I got the black bean burger which came on a pretzel bun and had a tortilla chip layered in it. It was pretty good. The waffle fries were good too. It was all good. Except for the asshole kids who belonged to the table next to us but instead sat at the arcade games situated IMMEDIATELY behind Henry and me. They kept pounding on the buttons and making this terrible music play and I was really pissed off. Their lazy asshole mother just sat at their booth staring off into space, periodically picking up the SIPPY CUP that the BABY BROTHER kept pelting onto the floor.

I was getting loudly passive aggressive about my dislike of this situation until the mom finally caught on and called the idiot kids back to the table. God they were so annoying. Thankfully they left before our food came but still – it was enough to put me on edge.

Chooch was mad because the parents left a really small tip too.

Oh! And the waitress had to run outside and try to catch them because of course they left the SIPPY CUP on the floor despite all the times MOM and what appeared to be GRANDPA hollered to the older boys to PICK UP YOUR BROTHER’S SIPPY CUP.

They always bond over claw machines for some reason. Chooch can be deep in the bowels of Teenaged Surly Town when suddenly he’s presented with a crisp dollar to lose in a claw machine and it’s like someone pressed a button in the nape of his neck to reanimate him.

They did not win anything.

Monk’s Bathroom Selfie.

Calling his mommy.

We went out the back exit and I was oddly excited about this.

Then we stumbled upon this little courtyard which reminded me a bit of Gatlinburg, TN crossed with Sugarcreek, OH. The cuckoo close was telling the story of the pied piper!!

Then we went to the root beer museum! Well, we didn’t actually go into the museum portion because THERE WAS AN ADMISSION FEE god forbid and none of us cared that much but I’m certain my dad would have forked over the cash for it (it was only around $5 I think) because he is OBSESSED with pop. He always had glass bottles of Barq’s stocked in a vintage soda machine when I was growing up. He probably still does!

We got a flight to share and they were all wonderful – I rarely drink soda/pop/sugary bevs but I do love me some root beer. I admittedly could not tell the difference between any of these until the SODA JERK (is that what soda jerks are!?) described them to us and when he said that one of them had honey in it, I could suddenly taste the honey.

I’m real easy like that. My mind is a whore ready to be finessed and wooed by any ol’ John.

Chooch, meanwhile, opted for a root beer float except that he doesn’t like root beer? So every time he’d get down to where there was just ice cream left, the SODA JERK would snatch his cup and refill it. Chooch was not immediately OK with this but then he went with it and kept trying to get the guy to give him a different root beer but the SODA JERK got real weirded out by this request and muttered about not usually mixing root beer.

I mean, it’s root beer, not chemicals in a beaker, but OK my guy.

Then he and Henry bonded bigly over the Amish farm in Landcaster that sells really gross homemade root beer in unmarked jugs from their barn. I vaguely remember buying a small jug of this years ago and thinking it was totally poisonous.

So that was a fun pitstop! I still like root beer just the regular amount though. It wasn’t life-changing for me. I haven’t enrolled in any Dad’s secret societies or anything.

Yet.

Can you believe that Henry didn’t humblebrag about moving around pallets of FAYGO ROOT BEER as his OCCUPATION?

Total missed op.

Henry gave Chooch a dollar to put in the stupid animatronic outhouse next to the TRUMP fortune teller thing. It was a total waste of money and I know you just slapped your knee and screamed in disbelief.

Stop back for PART 2 when I tell you about the haunted shit we did next. Henry was super amenable on this day for some reason and let us actually do stuff.

Sep 082022
 

Originally for Labor Day Weekend, I tossed around the idea of going to Missouri to hit up the Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks out that way. But then when Chooch was in Mexico, he made friends with a group of kids and some of them live near-ish Chicago, so I was like NO, WHAT ABOUT SIX FLAGS GREAT AMERICA and Henry was like “Whatever” so I told Chooch to ask his Illinois-based squad members if they wanted to meet up with him there and the two main girls were like YES DEF and now you’re like OK cool, but what does Wisconsin have to do with this.

WELL IF YOU WOULD HOLD ON A SEC, I WILL TELL YOU!!

Way back in the beginning chapters of the Erin & Henry saga, we had gone to some farm town in Wisconsin for a hard rock festival, specifically because one of my favorite bands of all time, COLD, was performing. This was one of our first road trips, pre-Chooch, back when we both worked at the shitty MEAT PLACE.

Driving back through Wisconsin on the way home, I have a VIVID memory of passing a giant Trojan horse with a go-cart track built around and through it, and then as I looked around, I saw ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS everywhere. Approx. 87 road signs were telling me that we were in WISCONSIN DELLS.

I begged Henry to stop but he was like, “ALL THIS SHIT COSTS MONEY” and kept driving so I threw an epic fit and at the next rest stop, I got out and sat in the backseat where I proceeded to hurl insults and death threats at Henry while assassinating his character in my vacation journal.

It remained a point of contention for YEARS.

Then, once we eased into our current COASTER ENTHUSIAST niche, my favorite coaster vloggers started posting MT OLYMPUS content. MT OLYMPUS is the amusement park with the TROJAN HORSE!! And not only that, but they have 4 wooden coasters that are infamous for being weird and ride-at-your-own-risk.

“Henry, hear me out,” I started after we had decided for sure that we were going to Six Flags Great America. “What if first we drive THRU Illinois and go to WISCONSIN.” Henry bristled at this suggestion, but I prevailed. I barely even have to work on him anymore, he’s like permanently worn down.

We left last Friday as soon as I was done with work at 5:30 and drove until nearly midnight, stopping for the night at an actually not so bad Baymont in FT. Wayne (I think?) Indiana. I didn’t live blog because nothing too exciting was happening – Chooch slept in the backseat and Henry and I briefly went down the screamo/post-hardcore rabbit hole on Spotify because Pierce the Veil has a new song but after about an hour, my earholes were begging for Hangul to hug on to, so I put NCT127 back on.

I can’t stray from Korea for too long!

All I remember about the hotel is that there was a gross drunk couple laughing sleazily on a bench outside of the lobby while Henry was taking forever to check in and they were making me so uncomfortable. Also, there was a weird wrap-around balcony above the lobby that I was obsessed with but Henry and Chooch thought it was dumb.

We got up super early Saturday morning to continue the drive to Wisconsin. It was about 4 hours I think. Originally, we were going to detour to Green Bay because there is a free park there that has a coaster called Zippin Pippin that was Elvis Presley’s favorite coaster. It’s a moderate bucket list coaster for me, but we ended up scrapping the idea that morning because we wouldn’t get to the Dells until that evening which seemed dumb. Also, it’s for the best, because it was raining up that way and for all we know, the coaster may not even have been running!

I got really excited when we drove past Chicago. I love that skyline so much, but then I was just instantly sad because I wish we had time to spend there. I have been in and around Chicago so many times but only really did semi-touristy stuff once so I would really like to go back with NO OTHER AGENDA – no concerts, no amusement parks. Just Chicago stuff.

FUN FACT: Did you know that back in 2001, I was considering moving to Chicago?

Then I met Henry. Sigh.

Ugh.

Anyway!

It was dreary all day in Illinois and Wisconsin! We drove through some heavy rain for a rain but luckily it wasn’t raining at all in the Dells, it was just chilly and overcast all day. I was kicking myself because I usually always bring a light jacket with me, especially to put on in the car because I’m always freezing, but I packed REALLY STUPIDLY this time around, and ended up bringing a bunch of stuff that I didn’t want to wear BUT I did stuff in one long-sleeved shirt in there, thank god. So I changed in a gas station parking lot.

Wow, such important details.

Before I changed though, we stopped at Mouse House for cheese curds and souvenirs. Henry took that terrible picture up there and we had a moderate argument about how much he sucks at taking pictures.

Then it was Mt. Olympus time! Which I will get to in a separate post, so we can just call this THE PROLOGUE.

[Also, this was a new “state credit” for Chooch, lol. I started to count all of the states he’s been to but I have an NCT127 vlog on (Fill It Up ep 2!) and it’s distracting me so I keep losing count.]

Sep 052022
 

While many of you are off and enjoying whatever Labor Day is, I will be over here diligently working to give future me a detailed and acuítate memory of our million hour drive home to Pittsburgh.

It’s 8:58am (central time) and we’re waiting for dippy Henry to check out. The first thing that happened when I woke up around 7 was that I opened Instagram and found out one of the ex-pat vloggers living in Korea that I watch died of leukemia and even though I didn’t know her, I INSTANTLY started to cry. Her name on YouTube is HojuSara (she’s Australian and hoju means Australia in Korean) and she was sooooo full of life and love for Korean culture, spoke Korean fluently, and was one of the first channels I started watching back when I became obsessed with Korea. She and her Korean boyfriend had recently gotten engaged and had gone back to Australia last winter to visit her family when she started feeling off, and that’s basically when it was discovered that she had leukemia.

I’m just sad. I didn’t know her, obviously, but sometimes you can tell when a person is one of the good ones and that was my impression of her.

Ok wow depressing start to a live blog!

9:36am: I hate being this close to Chicago and not stopping!!

9:59am: Another embarrassing Dunkin drive thru experience because Henry is soooooooo bad at relaying our wants and wishes. Chooch and I are mocking him and now Chooch is trying to hide in the backseat. They asked what kind of donut chooch wanted and Chooch was like “any kind” so Henry was yelling, “pick the worst one!” into the window after the girl walked away, and then when she handed Henry the bag, he threw it really hard into the backseat without even looking and it was pretty funny but I guess you had to be there.

Meanwhile, Henry gaslit me and said they didn’t have croissants which is all I wanted and I said oh that’s weird because I’m pretty sure I’ve had one from there and also weird that it’s a bread choice for the breakfast sandwiches but ok, you know everything Henry. So I was pressured into getting avocado toast which held up the drive thru line and meanwhile YES SIR THEY HAVE CROISSANTS so I was crying about that and accused Henry of gaslighting and Chooch piped up from the backseat to tell me I don’t even know what that means which is REAL RICH coming from Gaslighter Jr.

11:07am: Henry brought along all these different Tupperware containers of various trail mix type stuff for car-snacking. I opened one that had granola in it and instantly recoiled as it hit my tongue.

“What is this, from the ’80s?? It tastes like it come from someone’s storm shelter.”

“First of all,” the White Knight started, adjusting his medieval jockstrap. “How many things have you eaten from a storm shelter?”

3:08pm: time changed somewhere back there and now we’re in Toledo for food and wow this place is supremely ugly no offense if you live here but I high key hate it.

3:23pm: WE’RE HERE AND JACKIE BLUE IS PLAYING AND THIS IS MY KIND OF PLACE I LOVE IT.

CHOOCH IS ASKING THE GUY IN THE GIFT SHOP WHERE THE TED NUGENT SIGNED HOT DOG BUN IS. THE REAL MVP.

I made Henry come over to the Ted Bun so I could get take his picture for Alyson and he was a big bitch baby about it because THERE WERE PPL EATING AT A TABLE 10 feet away. God, cry about it. This is literally why people come to Packo’s–for the signed hot dog experience!

I mean, I’m guessing!

Chooch: I don’t know who any of these hot dog bun people are because I’m not over the age of 70.

LOL.

Pierogies.

Chooch got a veggie dog with vegan chili and I had slight ordering remorse.

I made Henry order the paprikas dumplings as his side even though that’s not what he wanted lol.

The food was fine but the ambiance was exactly what I had hoped. I love restaurants that look like this, while also offering some kind of road side attraction schtick to reel you in. I’m here for it every single time.

CHERRY STRUDEL BABY.

It was decent! I have Yugoslavian and Austrian heritage though so I grew up eating some of the best apple strudel in the world, HUMBLE BRAG. So most strudel I have at restaurants is still delicious but not like the kind served at a local fire hall baby shower, if you know what I mean.

Also there wasn’t enough of it!

Packo Bathroom Selfie!

Then we bought some shit at the gift shop – Chooch got a pickle pen (apparently Packo’s is famous for their pickles and Henry said they’re even sold at our local Giant Eagles which I wouldn’t know because I probably go to a grocery store maybe 5x a year). I got a magnet, obviously.

<3

On the way out, crybaby Henry saw that chocolate chip cookies were for sale near the bar and he sulked because he wanted them but didn’t want to put $2.50 on the credit card so he came back to the car and cried some more but then Chooch said he had a $10 bill so Henry said, “GIMME IT” and legit snatched it from him and ran back in to get his fucking cookies, so Chooch kept saying, “COOKIE!!!” in a Cookie Monster / caveman voice and it was especially funny when he was saying it as I watched in the rear view mirror as Henry stormed back to the car with cookies in hand, like some fucking war hero.

Anyway, you’re welcome as usual, Henry and Chooch, for having the novel idea to eat there. I always have the best ideas.

5:05pm: Packo’s has a bunch of M.A.S.H. memorabilia because of the Toledo connection I guess – I actually had to ask Henry because I didn’t actively watch that show since I was YOUNG but my dad watched it so I know some stuff, like the basic gist of it and various actors who were on it. This pushed me down the rabbit hole because I was like WASNT ONE OF THEM THE DAD ON PROVIDENCE and Henry was like I DID NOT WATCH THAT but Mike Farrel was the second name he offered up as an answer and I was like THATS IT so I started reading the Providence wiki until I landed on the PICKET FENCES page because holy shit I forgot that was a show!?

I never watched it. Henry said he sort of did whatever that means.

Ugh it’s 6:49pm and we still have an hour to go because we’ve stopped so many times for pee breaks etc. All you’ve missed is shitty Starbucks and my obligatory once-a-road-trip rant about BTS’s mediocrity. I guess I will just post this now because who cares bye.

Sep 042022
 

One of my favorite things to do before going on a road trip is look for restaurants in the area. I have a very particular set of requirements so it’s good to be proactive. If we’re going to a bigger city, I will for sure look for vegan joints but small towns have me looking for the greasy spoon time capsules. If a review is bad because the place is outdated, it goes on the list.

If it’s quirky or novel, borderlining on roadside attraction, here comes Erin. (See: Mr. Happy and Pal’s!)

These are the very important duties I task myself with, in case you were wondering what I do when I’m not getting yelled at by attorneys at work or walking my feet off because I’m a slave to my step goal.

So when I came across Mr. Pancake, housed in a structure shaped like a river boat and family-owned dating back to the 60s, I refused to leave Wisconsin Dells until we ate there.

Especially after watching some local news story from 12 years ago highlighting the breakfast spot loved by tourists and locals alike.

That clip of the food-faced bitch getting floaters all up in her apple juice made me dry heave though.

But I was otherwise reminding Henry by way of FACE-SCREAM that we were going to eat at Mr. Pancake and he was like “ok” while pushing past me to finish his chores and Chooch would just curtly say, “I don’t know what that means” and then acted like it was NEWS TO HIM when we drove past it yesterday while going to our hotel.

Anyway, we almost had to scrap the plan because they’re only open until noon so we would have had to go Sunday morning except that we still need to drive to Chicago-ish to go to Six Flags and prefer to get to new-to-us parks when they open because we’re always on a mission, you know.

I’m sure Henry and Chooch were less then thrilled with my declaration that we’d just have to leave the hotel earlier than intended and get to Mr. Pancake as soon as they opened at 7.


We were the first ones here! We arrived at 6:53 and Henry was like I AM NOT SITTING IN THIS PARKING LOT IT WILL MAKE THE WAITSTAFF NERVOUS so we had to drive around the still-sleeping Dells. When we got back at 6:58, the lot was still empty and I told Henry to park right next to the door and he was like I AM NOT PARKING THERE I WILL PARK OVER HERE AWAY FROM THE BUILDING. What a weirdo.


Then I got out and ran over to the door but the CLOSED sign was still up even though it was now exactly 7 so I got nervous but JUST THEN the hostess came over and flipped the sign while smiling at me through the window of the door.

I ran back down the steps and yelled, “SHE CHANGED THE SIGN TO OPEN!” to Chooch who was like “yes I know I’m standing right here, I saw, you’re so annoying.”


MR PANCAKE SELFIE! WE WERE THE FIRST PATRONS! Our waitress’s name was Paula and she was amazing and really helped us navigate the tricky menu.

(It was not tricky but she still held our hands and promised us that we would never walk alone while in her care.)

(Fine. She didn’t hold our hands but her soothing tone implied that was spiritually braiding her fingers into ours while leading us down a path of tulip petals and housemade maple cinnamon syrup.)

FIRST ONES BEST ONES!

Chooch is in the Blocking His Face From Mommy’s Camera stage of his life.


You guys!! I got a blueberry waffle which came with lemon butter! When Paula checked in on us later, I blurted out with such urgency that her face flashed with alarm, “I didn’t know the butter was going to be lemony!” But then I gushed, “I love it!” so her face relaxed into her standard cheerful Wisconsin visage and she proudly declared that it’s made in house. JUST LIKE THE SYRUP.

A few years, two bitches from some local supper club took the reins of Mr. Pancake from the family who had been running it since the 60s. The history on the website says that they kept the OG recipes but added some stuff to the menu and I told Henry I bet the BARISTA section of the menu and the fancy house made butters and syrups were their doing. But for some reason I said it is a disparaging, snippy tone like these uppity supper club broads were really leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth for literally no concrete reason that I can give you to back up my intentions. Sometimes I JUST BE LIKE THAT.

Anyway, I also had my eyes on the Iowa Corn Pancakes (?!?!?!) because they were filled with corn and corn meal!! But I cannot eat three pancakes and there was no down-sizing option. However, Henry got an omelet which came with two pancakes and Paula said that he could substitute any of the specialty pancakes for a small upcharge so I told him to get the corn ones and he did and they were SO GOOD. Actual corn kernels plopped out when he cut into them. I mean, it wasn’t like a pouch of corn cooked into the cakes but more so just interspersed throughout. I love corn stuff, especially when it’s surprise corn like in Korea, where they love to sneak handfuls of kernels in where you’d least suspect it, like pizza and lattes.

음ㅁㅁㅁㅁ, 옥수수 🌽.

By the time we left, Mr. Pancake had filled up with patrons filling up on carbs before a day of water-parking, including a family with a really fucking bratty toddler that proceeded to scream its face off immediately upon being seated and at one point the mom yelled YOURE BEING BAD and I am going to start publicly calling Chooch out for being bad too. It’s what he deserves.

Mr. Pancake gets an A- from me though because I didn’t like their souvenir T-shirts and they didn’t have coffee cups for sale!! I would have bought one for sure. They should make white ones with a red outline of the Mr. Pancake river boat thing.

끝.

Aug 252022
 

[Sidenote: I’ve been stalking Morey’s to see if they ever posted our group picture and apparently the used a cropped version of it on their 2023 Coastin’ By the Ocean registration page – yes, you can already register for next year! They don’t waste any time. Anyway, I’m laughing being the annoying coaster ‘tuber got cut out of the picture. You can see me in the back!!]

Look, you’re tired of hearing/reading about it, I’m tired of writing about it (j/k I’m loving these recaps because it’s like I’m still there when I am actually just in dumbo Pittsburgh ugh), so I’m going to try and zip through the last installment of the Coastin’ By the Ocean 2022 series, OK?!

Sunday consisted of 11-12pm ERT on the rides at Morey’s Piers, and then we moved on over to the Adventure Pier where we got ERT on all of the extreme rides which are normally an upcharge of $20+ per person, but were all included with our pass! That didn’t delight me very much because some of these extreme thrill rides are a bit too much even for me. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

The guy in the patterned shirt is the one who called out my Gemini tshirt the day before – he was so cool! Anyway, you can kind of see Chooch and me on the Sea Serpent even though Henry always wants to stand as far away as possible so we’re just blurred smudges in a sea of strangers.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the Sea Serpent sucks. It does not. It’s iconic and forceful!

Can we talk about Morey’s Music? Just like last summer, my aural experience was excelsior, literally the best summer soundtrack. I even opened my Notes to jot down some of the stuff we heard Saturday morning on Surfside Pier, which was playing most stuff from the late 1990s:

  • Sweetness – Jimmy Eat World
  • YOUR WOMAN – WHITE TOWN!!!!!
  • Shimmer – Fuel
  • Inside Out – Eve6

Of course, we heard some Cure and HOWARD JONES too, and “How Soon is Now” by the Smiths. I have noticed that the era of music varies depending on which pier you’re on – for example, Mariner’s Piers stays true to the pure 1980s nostalgic ear worms and I love them for that. Unlike most parks where you’re guaranteed to have, I dunno, Party in the USA or some Taylor Swift blah blah beat into your ‘drums, Morey’s puts THOUGHT into their playlists. I need to meet the person in charge of this at some point because they are truly doing the lord’s work.

LAST YEAR, WE HEARD HEART AND SOUL BY T’PAU AND IT WAS LIKE THE GHOST OF 8-YEAR-OLD ME HAD RUN UP TO THE DJ AND REQUESTED IT JUST FOR ME.

OK moving on! Let’s just mostly look at some pictures, because Morey’s is a beautiful spot.

I feel like Flying Galleons was the longest line we waited in all weekend and it was only about 20 minutes and I will tell you why it took long – the ride op was letting in some PEASANTS who weren’t sporting the special Coastin’ By the Ocean wristband! He did turn some people away but we couldn’t figure out what his thought process was.

Looking for my birthday present to the right….

…to the left….

NO, I DO NOT HAVE IT BECAUSE YOU NEVER GAVE IT TO ME, TRY AGAIN.

Look at Great White over there, creeping up along the beach!

Missing his Mexico Squad, boo hoo *in Spanish*.

Praying for me to stop asking about my birthday present. (For those following along at home, wondering if I ever got it, I’ll spare you the suspense: N-O. Maybe next year LOL.

That “LOL” was passive aggressive, in case you couldn’t tell.

In line for Whirlwind Whizzer lol.

I wanted to ride the balloons but then forgot that I wanted to ride them and am just now remembering as I look at this and now I’m sad.

Buncha thoosies.

Um, I have no idea what he was signaling to us here. “I JUST REMEMBER THERE’S NOTHING IN HERE, MY HEAD IS JUST AN EMPTY SHELL.”

Us in line for Whirlwind Whizzer, alternate angle.

The ride op was so fucking cheerful on this one. I mean, they all are and it’s really unique because Morey’s has some kind of international summer work exchange program or something where people from all over the world come here to work the piers and their name tags all tell their home country –  my favorite was the kid from Malaysia who was running IT on Saturday. You get to interact with friendly, cool people from all over the world and they really give you the best customer experience possible. It’s a stark contrast to some of the other parks where the ride operators look like they’d rather drink acid than smiling at riders.

Every single Morey’s ride operator waves to you too as your ride starts up, and it’s fucking adorable and so much fun to wave back.

On Saturday, I was like, “Oh yeah, I forgot they do this here,” while dusting off my best jazz hands.

Getting some dumb pineapple drink in between piers.

Over on Adventure Pier, I rode this piece of shit extreme ride with Chooch and it was an actual hellscape except hundreds of feet in the air instead of in the scorched earth.

It was similar to that asshole ride at Six Flags Great Escape, except only two people can sit on each end and it was somehow way worse / scarier than the other one. The ride op asked me if I was excited and I was like DO I LOOK LIKE IT and she was all, in her Russian accent, “Oh, this is the BEST ride on the WHOLE boardwalk! I ride it every morning! It’s fun you will LUFF it!” and I was like, “Mm we’ll see about th—–OMFG UGHHHHHHH CHOOCH I HATE YOU, I’M GOING TO DIE, THIS IS SO AWFUL!! CHOOCH *PAUSES TO CHOKE ON TONGUE* I’M GOING TO PEE MY PANTS CHOOCH *GAGS ON FEAR* NO SRSLY CHOO—-AHHHHHHHH OMG HOW IS THIS LEGAL???”

Yeah, it was an absolute fucking nightmare. Especially when it pauses you at the top while the people below are being let off and you can feel every single movement that they’re making down there, and it’s like, “Just look at the scenery, enjoy the scenery. Beautiful oce——OMFG IT’S GOING BACKWARD NOW?? OMG IT’S LIKE WE’RE CAREENING FACE FIRST INTO THE CONCRETE, CHOOCH!!! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK THIS IS AWFUL!! LET ME OFF!”

And he’s just over there smiling like a derelict. Honest to god though I was laughing and crying at the same time, but then my laughs would get snagged in my throat as my body periodically did a full shut-down into preservation mode.

My heartrate is actually accelerating a little bit at the memory of this.

Anyway, once the ride was done, the girl asked how I liked it and I was like IT WAS SOMETHING and then slinked out of the seat.

“Could you hear me screaming?” I asked Henry, who was like, “Um, YES. EVERYONE could you hear you screaming.”

“Even the part about how I was going to pee my pants?”

“Yep, even that part,” he said with a frown.

Then Chooch and I rode Great White twice in a row because they let us stay on!

OMG see the guy in the pink outfit? He was part of the event and I was OB-SESSED with him ever since watching his video from, I think 2019 when he also attended this event as a guest of one of his friends who is an ACE member. He was just so cool in his video and on both days this year he was wearing really amazing summer rompers.

Henry said I should have just talked to him. He was too cool for me though :(

Since I rode that Skyscraper shit show with Chooch, Henry took one for the team and got in line for the Slingshot thing.

 

One of the ladies from the event came over and said to me, “You’re sitting this one out too, huh?” and I was like, “Look, I went on that stupid thing over there so I paid my dues!” She looked at the Skyscraper and said, “OMG I won’t get on that thing either!”

Smart woman.

Although…now I’m kind of craving another go on it?!

Did you guys know that Chooch and I are such avid smoothie bowl fans that we are currently open to any and all sponsorship opportunities? I WILL SELL MY SOUL FOR A SMOOTHIE BOWL HOOK-UP, TRUST.

Anyway, Henry stood too close to this smoothie shack and I said, “OMG ARE WE GETTING SMOOTHIE BOWLS??” and he was saying no, I was giving him my order, and then Chooch wanted one, so then Henry sighed and even got himself a smoothie too! (Not a smoothie bowl though, he’s not sophisticated enough for the things that go into and on top of a smoothie bowl.)

God yes, my body was like NOURISH ME, SEMPAI after the pizza blitz from Saturday.

Henry finally got his lime rickey. I didn’t like it. It had too much rickey to it.

Next time, I want to eat at Snow White! It has such an iconic sign and there’s a recording of some old guy reading off the specials that plays all day long. (Wait, I think that’s at Snow White! Do not quote me. #FakeJournalism)

Couldn’t leave without Curley’s!

Ugh, this was our final memory of Morey’s Piers 2022. I still can’t believe that last year was my first time back in nearly 30 years, and then we came back this year too! I suggested that we buy a beach house there and Henry was like “OK Fake Attorney.”

I am trying to push for an extended stay maybe next June, where we make Wildwood our home base for like 4 nights and then hit up all the neighboring boardwalk parks.

Right before we left, there was a brief moment when I thought Henry was proposing to me on the Wildwood boardwalk after 21 years but he was actually just kneeling down to tie his shoe. 🤷🏼‍♀️ A very Oh Honestly Erin ending to the weekend.

Also, I just realized that it would have been right next to a garbage can so I’m glad it wasn’t actually a proposal although it would have been so apropos. An aproposal, even. #noringforme #couldaputitinthelimerickey

Aug 242022
 

I woke up last Sunday morning feeling LIKE MYSELF again. Still a little tired, but we didn’t have to be back at the boardwalk for Day 2 of ERT until 11, so we got to take it easy. And by take it easy, I mean that I woke Henry up bright and early and made him walk with me to get coffee.

We picked this adorable cafe a few blocks from our hotel, called Goodness on the Go and arrived JUST AS AN ENTIRE VAN OF MORMON-esque broads came tumbling out with their vacant stares and ankle skirts. We managed to get through the door while they were still out doing roll call or bowing to the prophet, who even knows.

The two ladies working there were A DELIGHT. Super friendly and helpful. “Oh no, she’s looking at the flavors, you better tell her now!” the one lady said to the other, and I guess they were out of FRENCH TOAST syrup.

I mean, I was actually just planning on getting a hot coffee with no flavor but sucks about the French Toast syrup! When I asked for Splenda with my coffee, the one lady was like, “We have some SUGAR FREE SYRUPS, if you’d like to hear ’em?” and you know what? Yes, I did want to hear them. They had sugar free pumpkin. Fall flavor in the middle of summer at the beach? Let’s do it.

I really appreciated the suggestion, actually!

By now, the coven had entered the building, as well as some additional people, so we felt really blessed that we got there when we did. Was Sunday the Lord’s Day, or OUR Day?

Henry got an iced coffee or something, who cares. But we both agreed that it was some good coffee. I felt ready for the day. Thank you, Goodness on the Go! Your cookie was good too!

We woke up Son of the Year when we got back. He seemed to be in an OK mood because he had finished his book (Bullet Train) at some point during the night and was riding that high because I guess this is his current favorite book??

I had been jawing off since the day before about wanting to eat at Hot Spot for breakfast to the point where both Henry and Chooch were screaming in unison, “OK WE KNOW! WE GET IT! WE GOT IT! HOT SPOT. BREAKFAST. DONE.”

We sat outside so we could breathe in that ocean air  give scraps to the sea gulls lol.

I packed a bunch of Chooch’s coaster nerd shirts since we were doing a real life thoosie event and of course on the first day, he wore some random F21 shirt but I made him wear his Voyage shirt on Sunday and this would come into play later that night at a completely different park, which I will get to in another post so you will just have to believe me for now that it was an awesome moment.

Still no birthday present. It’s fine. I just wanted a waffle by this point.

Sunday’s breakfast was so much better than Saturday’s! I had been craving a waffle ever since I stupidly went the savory route at that other place. I appreciate that it came topped with FRESH blueberries and not a compote.

So far, Sunday was off to a great start. My waffle was just what I needed, the view of the beach and Morey’s Pier was stellar, the company was so-so. But then two separate families arrived with kids who seemed to be competing over who could get their screams closest to DOG WHISTLE territory without crossing over into it. So effing loud and shrill, go away!!

We had some time before ERT was starting so Henry went back to pack and check out while Chooch and I cruised the boardwalk, looking for the place that had a particular Bad Bunny shirt design that he wanted to buy for one of the MEXICO SQUAD MEMBERS. We ended up going into the wrong one – they had some BB designs but not the one his friend liked, so we were about to leave but THE WORKER MAN accosted us and was like CAN I HELP YOU and Chooch is worst than me when it comes to declining a shop clerk’s assistance, so he said YES DO YOU HAVE THIS ONE and showed him the design on his phone, and the dude was like NO BUT I CAN GET IT and used his phone to find the image from Chooch’s phone and at first I was like IS THIS MAN GOING TO MAKE YOU A TSHIRT USING A PICTURE OF AN IMAGE TAKEN FROM YOUR PHONE but no, thank god, he was just using it to look it up on some BOARDWALK IRON-ON image repository, I don’t fucking know.

Meanwhile, Chooch’s friend (ANNA) was like, “I was just kidding please don’t buy me a shirt” as if he was even the one doing the buying, please Anna. But Chooch was like, “Look, we are in this deep now. You are getting a shirt” so then she was like fine and chose one of the other Bad Bunny designs that the guy already had on the wall! So now Chooch had to stop him from doing whatever he was doing on his computer, thinking he was going to make it easy by picking a design he already had in his inventory, but the guy was like, “OK that’s fine but I am still going to add this design to my store because I like it” lol give Chooch a finder’s fee discount then.

From here, it turned into “what kind of shirt / what color / what size” and thank god Anna was responding in real time because this was a stressful process.

There was a sweatshirt that I wanted to get but at this point I was like I WILL JUST GO TO THE STORE WHERE I ORIGINALLY SAW IT. Basically all these shops are the same – they all have similar iron-on designs and you just choose what kind of shirt or hoodie you want it on so I wasn’t exactly MARRIED to this place. But then he was like, “AND FOR YOU?” and there was just something about this man that was so earnest and nice, UGH I know he was basically just a boardwalk charlatan treating everyone like he only had eyes for them in order to make a sale but I still willingly fell into his web, OK? THE ATTENTION WAS NICE. Especially when he said mine would be 1/2 off. I mean, come on.

So I got a Wildwood sweatshirt, which you can see if you go back and read my MONDAY LIVE BLOG!

Um, I will say though that my debit card DECLINED here even though I had sufficient funds (don’t worry, I had backup) and then someone from the FRAUDULENT CHARGE DEPT of my bank called the next day and left a message, which I never returned, and then that same card was declined tonight too when I tried to pay for dinner at Mad Mex so um….maybe I should call them back lol.

What kind of business are you running, Boardwalk Charlatan?? Also, how long before Anna’s and my shirts disintegrate into sand.

Is it weird that I, a 43-year-old woman (with no present from my partner to commemorate this new older age) felt like Chooch and I really accomplished something big without Henry!? WE WALKED IN THAT SHOP, TOLD THE MAN WHAT WE WANTED EVEN THOUGH HE TRIED TO FORCE HIS OWN CHOICES ON US (like I appreciate that you think I can fit into a small crewneck, bro, but I would prefer to be able to move so when I ask for the MEDIUM let us PLEASE go with that), AND THEN WALKED OUT WITH A BAG CONTAINING TWO (2) PIECES OF APPAREL.

We made that happen. Snaps to us, if I could snap.

Wow that was a lot of words and none of the riding even happened yet.

Aug 232022
 

Hi babes – OK, that didn’t work. Let’s never do that again. I was trying something and it made me squirm in my uncomfiness.

Anyway! The second half of Coastin’ by the Ocean, day one was A MIXED BAG OF FEELINGS. It started when we went back to our hotel and I convinced Henry to walk to the Wildwood Historical Society with me because they were having a Castle Dracula comic book event where the the creator of the book was there doing a signing and some old cast members were making an appearance as well as I believe the guy who had created the old Castle Dracula attraction in Wildwood? If you don’t know the story, it was this IMPOSING STRUCTURE on the boardwalk that had two options: a walk-thru or a BOAT RIDE.

I don’t recall myself being a mega-wuss in general and I for sure grew up on a HEALTHY SERVING of horror movies, but there was something about this attraction that scared the crap out of me and I refused to go into it. I have a memory of my parents doing it one summer and actually fearing for their lives?! I went on like every single other darkride but this one! It had the most foreboding music that wafted out onto the pier like the smoke-version of Dracula himself waiting to penetrate your ears.

This shaped many of my nightmares back in the 80s but to this day, one of my greatest regrets is NOT EXPERIENCING THE INSIDE OF THIS. Greater even than dropping out of high school, etc etc.

And I’ll tell you why this is a regret: because some dumb asshole boys BURNT THE WHOLE THING DOWN in the early 2000s. IT NO LONGER EXISTS. But it is legendary, man. If you know you know.

I’m positive that I have written about this on here before because it is one of those things that is very much a part of my childhood.

So yeah, Henry was like, “Sure thing little lady, love of my life, recipient of an imaginary birthday gift, let us walk to this joint together and get you a copy of this relic.”

It actually took much longer to walk and we arrived RIGHT before the place was supposed to close, but they had a healthy crowd and the elderly woman in a black mourning dress who greeted us inside the door didn’t seem to balk at our late entry, but instead spent a good five minutes explaining to us what delights we could find inside the historical society, and I giddily told her that I bought vintage Wildwood postcards from their eBay shop several years ago.

She seemed super impressed.

j/k.

Anyway, there were several people in line to have their book signed, and people were chatting away with an old man whom I assume was the aforementioned creator of the Castle, and for some reason, my social anxiety kicked in BIGLY. Like, I was in fight or flight mode and wanted to flee ASAP. Henry was like, “Why? We’re here. Get the book,” and I was like, “I CAN’T DO IT. I CAN’T GO OVER AND PICK IT UP. THE PEOPLE! THE TALKING PEOPLE!” I was just so worried that by getting too close to the action, someone would ask me to tell a memory of the Castle and I would have to say THAT I NEVER WENT INSIDE BECAUSE I WAS TOO SCARED?

So I was like, “Forget it I’m leaving” and tried to leave but more people had come in and now Mourning Gown was giving the new people the same spiel and blocking my escape, and in the meantime, I noticed that there was a display case with CASTLE DRACULA COFFEE CUPS and I figured I could at least get one of those without having to coversate so while I waited for some guy to get out of the way, Henry emerged from the SCARY ROOM with a copy of the comic for me and said, “I didn’t have to stand in line to have it signed or talk to anyone, I just picked it up and paid for it” and wow, ISN’T LIFE SO FUCKING EASY FOR HENRY THE HIM MAN.

I got my things and I am mourning the loss of this dark attraction all over again. :(

I got really cranky(ier) on the walk back. I was exhausted, clearly, but maybe also hungry, definitely slightly dehydrated, and also WHERE WAS MY BDAY PRESENT so all of these things were chipping away at my patience.

We stopped at a Mexican bakery though so that was nice. Got back to the hotel, Chooch ate his Mexican baked good and then he and Henry took a nap BUT I COULD NOT, AND NOT FOR LACK OF TRYING. Henry was snoring so hard and I was really wired.

This all must have been from around 4:30 to 5:30, because then Henry finally woke up and he and I went back to the boardwalk to ride some stuff before dinner, while Chooch continued to nap.

It was mostly a nice time! Henry rode the Sea Serpent for the first time and was like, “Cool but never again.”

Ugh all of this is so iconic.

This was on some revamped dark water ride themed after Wildwood.

It was cute but not the greatest. I wish they would bring back the oldies like Keystone Kops or Koppers, whatever it was called. I fucking loved that ride when I was little.

Then I had a MISTER SOFTEE while waiting for Chooch to join us because it was almost time for the catered event at 7pm.

Me getting mad again because where was my present. I dunno, ask Henry.

Looking for my present?

Chooch did eventually meet us but when we went to the pavilion where the catered picnic was happening, there was a long line of enthusiasts waiting and I dunno man, my nerves were HEIGHTENED. I had that “who will we sit with?!??!” middle school cafeteria concern and finally Henry was like, “We don’t have to eat here, you know” and so we didn’t but maybe we should have, I dunno! The Morey’s people were so awesome, but I didn’t get a real sense of inclusivity from many of the attendees. Cliques be non-impenetrable, you know?

So insert OLYMPIC FLAME dinner here.

I’ll tell you what, after eating, I could barely keep my eyes open. The last time I can remember being THAT tired in public was being JETLAGGED in Korea. I said that I wanted to go back to the room and sleep and it’s a good thing I did so because it was the only way I was able to go back later that night for midnight ERT on Great White!

While I was in the bathroom taking out my contacts, I couldn’t help but overhear the LOUD FAMILY on their porch in the hotel behind ours because our buildings were practically flush against each other and I would have been REALLY annoyed except that the convo was so scandalous because evidently, some guy affiliated with them, whether another family member or just a friend is to be determined, had told the woman who was clearly the Alpha of this group and did most of the talking, that he wanted to kill himself and this was SUPER INCONVENIENT AND ANNOYING to her, like AW COME ON, GET OVER IT, you know? So she’s droning on and on about how no one should really believe this and all of the guys on the porch are being really quiet but then another broad chimes in that someone should SLIP HIM SOME PILLS.

Like, roofie his Cheerios with some crushed up lithium?

Man, this was some real Jersey Shore shit. If I wasn’t so tired, I’d have continued sitting on the toilet with the lights out, filling my head with ripe gossip in the Key of JWOW.

But thankfully, I was actually able to go to sleep for a few hours because the a/c provided the perfect blanket of white noise.

Henry and Chooch came back around 10 I think and I was somehow STILL MISERABLE when I woke up??

We tried to get Chooch to go back to the boardwalk with us for the Great White ERT, but he was “reading his book” a/k/a on a group call with Mexico Squad whom he had been texting all day because they are all really into Bad Bunny and a lot of the boardwalk shops had Bad Bunny merch and some places were even playing Bad Bunny – we will talk about all of this in the “tomorrow post” though.

Anyway, once I got back on the boardwalk, Normal Erin started to come back and I was back to being excited about Wildwood Things.

Henry really wanted a Lime Ricky but it was after 11pm and he was afraid to order one because it looked like the girl was cleaning up the LIME RICKY counter, I dunno, I wasn’t paying attention.

Getting ready for that BABY BACK THERE, DO YOU SEE HER?!?

It wasn’t quite midnight yet so they were still letting general public ride and it was a walk-on. We shrugged and got on a train with all the commoners and man, I forgot from just last summer how great this baby is. I never rode it before it was retracked though and I heard it was a miserable and very forgettable experience back then. But Morey’s has really been putting in the work and TLC and it shows.

We were pretty much the LROTNOGW because right after that, they shut down the queue line while getting all the plebs the eff off the pier. So when we got off, there was already a little bit of a line of the event goers forming at the entrance. When I say that the air felt electric and charged, does that sound corny?! Because that’s kind of how it felt, I’m not gonna lie or try to be TOO COOL to admit something like that. My feelings of inadequacy and unbelonging while standing in the catering line just slipped away and I was way too stoked to think about anything other than that we were going to ride this beautiful wooden majesty, next to the ocean, at midnight, on a pier that was closed to everyone else.

AND THEN THEY SHUT THE LIGHTS OFF! You can’t even tell in that picture up there because the moonlight was so illuminating, but we were actually cruising over those tracks in PITCH BLACKNESS.

There was this kid in line behind us who I kept seeing all weekend long and I just thought he was so precious ESPECIALLY when he called his mom, who I guess bowed out of this portion of the event (she was clearly just there for him – I don’t think I saw her riding anything), and said, “Mom, they turned the lights off! I’m going to ride the ride in the pitch dark!”

The way his pureness regenerated some of the blackened crannies of my heart.

We were on the third train of the event. The first one actually got stopped on the lift hill and they had to temporarily turn the lights back on! I guess that what you get when half of the train is drunkenly scream-singing Backstreet Boys as the train left the station.

We had already ridden it in the back on the last ride before midnight, so this time we just went for a middle row, then got right back in line for front row. It was clear that not many people had come back out this late because most of the rows were a walk-on. We only had to wait for a few minutes for the front and it was excellent. There is something really special about riding a coaster on a boardwalk, ocean air whipping at your face, spinal column getting truncated – ahhh.

It was nearly 1am by that point and we surely didn’t need to stay for the whole duration, so after our three rides, we started our walk back to the hotel and, while there were still some boardwalk stragglers, it was eerily quiet and peaceful!

Ugh, Wildwood. I’m crying right now. I miss you lots like tater totsCurley’s Fries.

WAIT OMG I JUST REMEMBERED SOMETHING! Another huge reason why I was being a fucking shit that day was because MY BLOG QUIT WORKING. I know, you’re thinking, “wow erin rly get a fucking life no one reads it anymore?” but regardless of stats, comments, readers, views, this blog is my lifeline! I don’t use physical journals anymore so everything, my whole life, is H E R E. I had really wanted to be able to post little micro-blogs while we were away so it wouldn’t be over a week later and I’m here trying to catch up as usual, but Henry wasn’t able to get things fixed until the next night. Overall, not a complete disaster, but I genuinely love to blog so I was getting the SHAKES and couldn’t stop thinking the worst.

Sometimes I hate myself lol ugh.

Aug 202022
 

When we registered for the Morey’s Piers Coastin’ By the Ocean event last spring, we knew that we wanted to stay near the boardwalk but it was also extremely hard to find anything with reasonable rates since we were booking that close to the start of the summer season.

But then I (yes, t’was I, the one that Henry never lets anywhere near the booking process) found one that wasn’t too exorbitant (I mean, it wasn’t cheap either but you don’t go to Wildwood without expecting to pay those beach rates). And it just so happened that it was directly across from the pier where we needed to register at 9am Saturday morning.

You.Are.Welcome.

I thought it was ok! I mean, it’s no Olympic but we went through this last year too. So, you know. Expectations were low.

But Henry immediately bonded with the owner, probably because he had tons of Pro-Police propaganda pasted up around the office, which caused Henry to nose-dive into his WHITE KNIGHT armor as soon as I pointed this out in a disparaging tone.

Honestly, we were only there to crash for a bit during the afternoon in between coaster schedules and to sleep.

I liked that there was a live DJ at the pool too. Not that I went anywhere near the pool with my body dysmorphia, but it was comforting to listen to all the people splashing around and having fun while we recharged in our room that afternoon.

Also, you can see the boardwalk from our door!

Also, the proprietor let Henry stay parked in the lot before we checked in on Saturday and after we checked out on Sunday after Henry explained to him that we were still going to be on the boardwalk for the event.

What a nice guy (except for the BLUE LIVES bullshit)!

Good job finding this place, me!

Aug 202022
 

You guys! Baby’s First Coaster Enthusiast Event! I was so giddy when we strode right past the “SURFSIDE PIER IS CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE EVENT” sign with the air of people who BELONG and went to the guest services counter to register. I couldn’t have imagined any place better to attend our first coaster event than at my beloved Morey’s Piers! I had watched some videos from coaster YouTubers who attended this event in the past and it just looked so cool and casual.

Immediately, one of the Morey’s guys called out to me from behind the counter, “Are you the reason I keep seeing those shirts all over the Internet?” and I was like, “I HAVE BEEN SEEN BY A MOREY’S PERSONNEL!!” He was so cool too!

Then I noticed right next to us was a coaster vlogger whom I follow on Instagram and sometimes watch his videos so I had to elbow Henry and he was like, “Ok. Cool.”

Anyway, here was the agenda!

So the reason why this is so cool is that the piers don’t officially open to the general public until noon (Adventure Pier opens at 2pm) so from 9:30 to noon on Saturday, we had free reign of the rides listed up there for special ERT (early ride time / exclusive ride time).

We were the first train of the day on the Great Nor’easter – a trainful of true thoosies! It was a really cool experience because, and I mean this in the best way possible since I’m talking about myself also, but to be a true coaster thoosie, you gotta be a little bit psycho! So imagine a trainful of us assholes, totally screaming our lungs out and just LIVING FOR IT.

And goddammit, this is STILL the best Vekoma SLC IN THE WHOLE WORLD. Literally the ONLY one worth re-riding. Morey’s Piers puts so much TLC into their rides and piers, and their ride operators are just TOP NOTCH – it really elevates the experience.

Oh I should mention that last year, Henry didn’t get a wrist band (we weren’t there for the event last year, this was just a regular day) so the only things he rode was the Great White once and the carousel once. This time, he got to ride everything!

I kept calling Dante’s Dungeon “Dante’s Inferno,” which IS a ride but just…not one at Wildwood. Chooch mocked me which is basically his sole purpose in life these days.

I love love love me a darkride.

Chooch was “not scared” at the real life person who comes after you at the end. They totally got me, though!

Runaway Tram is such a fun family coaster! You would never know it by Henry’s stoic stance.

Now, brace yourselves for a series I like to call Before the Tilt-a-Whirl Tilted and Whirled Our Breakfast.

Me, on the cusp of realizing that Chooch is taking bursts.

Me, starting to sense that something is wrong.

Me, desperately asking for my phone back.

WHY DOES HE TROLL ME SO HARD I HATE IT.

Chooch and I went back for more Nor’easter rerides before ERT ran out. We walked right onto the front, and then they let us re-ride on any unoccupied row of our choosing and the backrow was open so we snagged it! I realized that the front is waaaay rougher/more intense than the back. The back is where you want to sit to get a nice, smooth ride where you can walk off without your brain feeling scrambled!

Gathering our bearings after a ride on It, which is like the Claw ride that is so ubiquitous in traveling carnivals. It’s fun but WHOOO BOY between that and the Tilt-a-Whirl all before 11am, it was a bit much for me and my baby stomach.

OK, that made me sound like I was alluding to pregnancy. That ain’t it.

Um, OK Boardwalk King.

This was before my WHERE IS MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT, YOU PROMISED ME THAT I WOULD GET MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT IN WILDWOOD / lack of sleep / probably a bit of dehydration breakdown that would happen later that evening. Who, me? Throw a temper tantrum? Pfft, never.

The last thing we did for this portion of the ERT was the Zoom Phloom which we didn’t ride last year and I can’t remember why now – either it wasn’t running or we just didn’t care?? But I am here to tell you that if you are a log flume aficionado, and even if you’re NOT, do not skip out on this. First of all, don’t worry about getting drenched. I mean, yeah, you’re gonna get a little wet but not like, excessively so. Plus, if you’re on the boardwalk in the summer, your ass is gonna dry up REAL QUICKLIKE.

But look, this log flume has an amazing layout where it weaves around and interacts with the waterpark slides and the Great Nor’easter. It’s REALLY cool in that way. And after one of the drops, it literally puts you through a tunnel under the boardwalk while UNDER THE BOARDWALK plays around you! It’s not the Bruce Willis version sadly (aka the BEST version) but it’s so wonderful, nevertheless.

I couldn’t stop gushing about this!

Then at noon, everyone gathered for a group picture. Numerous shots were taken and I have been OBSESSIVELY checking the Morey’s Piers socials but nothing has been posted yet. I am desperate for a copy of this picture because if you know me, you know that I love being a part of a group and even though I hate having my picture taken, I am ALL ABOUT THE GROUP PHOTOS.

We had a bunch of free time after that, which I loved because I would have been sad if we were back in Wildwood with no time to soak up all the boardwalk vibes.

I didn’t get any Polish Water Ice last year and it was on my agenda this time around because I had a vague memory of Kennywood possibly offering something like this back in the 80s, to the point where I could imagine how this was going to taste and it was 100% the same as in my taste buds’ imagination! Henry and I shared this because even though I always think that I can house something all on my own, chances are my belly will step up and remind me of my limits.

Random Henry Shot.

Chooch passed on the water ice and opted instead for boba.

We went to a really sad arcade inside the Boardwalk Mall. It was…really sad but also full of character. The elderly lady running the place seemed like a true Boardwalk installation. Someone came to visit her, presumably her daughter (?) and brought their dog, who the elderly lady later told us was named Boardwalk Bob. I LOVED THIS WHOLE PORTION OF THE DAY.

GOD LOVE HER.

PROTECT THIS BOARDWALK BROAD.

Well, I think I will end the first portion of day 1 here.

Aug 162022
 

We had so much fun riding coasters all weekend but the thing living rent-free in my mind right now is all the glorious boardwalk pizza we devoured. Last year, we only had Mack’s pizza and I was totally sold on the hype. (Chooch went rogue that year and had Hot Spot though and loved it which doesn’t surprise me because Hot Spot is totally amazing, although when I used to eat there with my fam as a kid, I don’t think I ever had pizza – I feel like it was always a hot dog??)

Anyway, if you don’t know this about Wildwood, there is a long-running debate over who has the best pizza and the two that have garnered the most popular votes are Mack’s and Sam’s. I was determined to try a slice from each this time to see where my allegiance lies.

We stopped at Mack’s first on Saturday for a lunchtime slice. Last year, I had a slice of white pizza and still maintain that it was the best goddamn slice of white I’ve ever masticated in my whole entire life. But this year, I wanted to go the olive route because that is my go-to topping like, when I die, if you feel so inclined to visit my grave, forget the flowers just bring a fistful of black olives to sprinkle on my tombstone.

Hoo-boy, Mack’s did not let me down. I was scared that last years’ experience was a fluke, but Mack’s secured their spot in my pizza palate for the second year in a row. I can’t explain it, but it’s the thinness that I love, a sweet-ish sauce, and SUPER GREASY. I love a greasy slice, I can’t help it.

Chooch was like, “It’s ok,” about his plain piece, because he rarely gets stoked for anything anymore (at least, not when he’s with his PARENTS).

I dunno even know what Henry got. Sausage probably. He liked it.

Almost immediately, we walked down to Sam’s for slice #2 (I wish I could say we ate our way down the boardwalk, but I know my finicky digestive system and gave myself a two-slice limit, sigh). Sam’s is much bigger than Mack’s and feels less intense – it’s hard to explain but with Mack’s you have to kind of shoulder your way past the crowded counter to the very small dining area and then you have pay cash after you order and I always feel panicked like we’re going to mess it up or something??

But Sam’s is larger and has a huge dining area, and it just felt way more calm somehow. Mack’s is CHAOTIC but so worth it.

Right off the bat, Sam’s lost points because they don’t have black olives as a topping. I got a slice of plain which was fine. I think though that I expected it to be difficult to choose which place I liked better, but I knew without a doubt as soon as I took the first bite:

It’s Mack’s for me, fam.

Look, I’m not going to hate on Sam’s because that pizza was fine! If I hadn’t already experienced the sweet, greasy glory that is Mack’s, I would have been completely satisfied with Sam’s. It was like your standard quick lunch fare, comparable to pizza I’ve had at various amusement parks.

But because I’ve had Mack’s and know of the super serious age-old MACKS v. SAMS competition, I was actually floored that anyone would choose Sam’s. I said this to Henry in my fanatical UP IN ARMS manner and he hesitated, like maybe he wanted to choose Sam’s but was scared??

Chooch opted out of second lunch, making me feel like a glutton. But he did try a bite of Henry’s and was not impressed because he’s suddenly a pizza snob.

However, he and Henry both had a slice much later that night at Olympic Flame, which was chosen on a whim. I noticed that they had a framed certificate in the front declaring them the 2022 winner of the best pizza award. Mu curiosity was piqued but I had too much cheese for one day and instead ordered a kalamata olive pita which was DELICIOUS, might I add. But don’t worry – that didn’t stop me from trying some of Henry’s green pepper slice and OK, Olympic Flame. I see you. That was a FINE SLICE, indeed, and in my opinion, worthy of that highest honor piece of paper.

It wasn’t as thin or as greasy as Mack’s, but still had a sweet-ish sauce, and the crust was sooooo soft and not the opposite of dry (M O I S T). I was a believer. Did I like it more than Mack’s? I DON’T KNOW! Probably not. I need to go back again next year and eat nothing but pizza. For science.

Chooch had been going on all weekend about the “corner piece” he saw but couldn’t remember where. We kepy saying, “You mean square slices?” and he would just say, “Corners.” Um, OK. He kept running up to every place we walked by in order to ogle the pizzas at the counter, until he finally found his coveted corners at Franconi’s.

The corners in question.

Here he is on the move with his piping hot corner which he declared the winner. I tried a bite, much to his infernal resistance and disgust, and it was pretty good! I think I would rank it right below Olympic Flame and much higher above Sam’s. I think now I just want to hate Sam’s on principal. Like, what kind of person actually thinks Sam’s is the best, I’m so confused about this!

“You like Sicilian pizza, then,” Henry said to Chooch.

“No, I like corners,” Chooch argued.

“Yes, Sicilian,” Henry pushed, and really, why do we set ourselves up for this frustration?? We should know by now that you literally cannot tell Chooch anything without him turning into Riley, Riley, Quite Contrary. Disagreeing with us is what gives him life, I’m convinced.

It’s now Tuesday and they’re still arguing about Sicilian pizza.

“I used to like Sicilian pizza a lot when I was a kid,” Henry mused on our nightly walk and I called him a cunt because I had no other response.

I gotta get back to Wildwood next summer because now I regret not also trying a slice at Hot Spot, ughhh. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t have any on Sunday, it’s because I had a boardwalk smoothie bowl for lunch (listen Linda, I love me a fucking smoothie bowl and I had to put a moratorium on the grease intake until an hour later when I had some Curley’s fries.

Vacation, amirite. Now I’m back on that oatmeal and exercise grind!

Sigh.

Aug 152022
 

Yo yo yo. Here I am, Erin-Not-Kelly, coming at you live with some updates from the road. It’s 6:12p currently and we are finally on our way back to Pittsburgh after a weekend full of coasters and cry-babying (I didn’t get enough sleep ok??).

We went to Six Flags Great Adventure yesterday after leaving Morey’s Piers and had our best visit yet – it was actually absurd how good it was. I’ll recap that in full later but just to show you how much of a blast we had marathonning El Toro at the end of the night, here’s what my elbow looked like this morning:

I’m glad it’s just a bruise because I was worried that I actually chipped my elbow bone lol ugh.

We stayed in a Hampton in Horsham (LOLOL) PA which is near Doylestown which is where Anthony Green from Circa Survive lives! I know, you’re really fascinated by that. Anyway though the hotel was actually quite decent.

I wanted to go for a walk while Chooch was showering because I’m in this Workweek Hustle FitBit challenge and since I got late start this morning, I was in last place (gasp!). So we told Chooch we were doing this and Henry also grabbed most of our bags while he was at it since we were going outside. The walk itself was uneventful, but when we got back to the hotel, we ran into Chooch in the lobby, holding a plate of breakfast in one hand, a yogurt stick in his mouth, and his carry-on in his other hand, looking utterly lost. He thought we checked out I guess because he wasn’t paying attention to us as usual. He said he got everything out of the room but Henry was like I WILL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT and went back up. He left his Holiday World Voyage shirt and a brush there, plus Henry said the shower wasn’t even turned all the way off.

“It was like he killed someone and ran,” Henry muttered when he came back down, tossing Chooch’s shirt at his face.

So surly.

The breakfast buffet had little cornbread bars which was a nice surprise. I love cornbread unless it’s bad cornbread. This wasn’t the best but it was MOIST and more like a cornbread cupcake tbh.

Then we left for Hershey Park and I will obviously write about that later DON’T YOU FRET, but I will give you a bigly spoiler and say that it was another U G H experience there – not as bad as last year but meh enough that I will not be going back unless the RMC rumor is true because at this point it will take a RMC to motivate me. I just don’t think the coaster lineup there is worth the hype. Is it just me?! Because it seems like it’s just me. I like ONE COASTER there enough to willingly stand in line for it and it’s not even one of the ones all the enthusiasts circle-jerk around (Great Bear, if you’re wondering).

We did go to the Hershey Chocolate Experience thing afterward though to get some gifts for Blake since he checked in on our cats three times in the last month-ish. Chooch and I did the Chocolate ride while Henry shopped. This ride has better ops than any ride in the actual park, IMO.

And now we’re on our way home. I am so tired!! I think being an Old Person is finally starting to affect me. I woke up with a headache Sunday and today.

(Lol Henry just turned up the radio because Saturday Drip – NCT Dream came on and that is his BOP.)

We just stopped at a rest area with a 7-Eleven and it was the most chaotic we’ve been as a family unit in quite some time. We kept slamming into each other and openly bickering and then I got hit with a wave of drowsiness so great that it made me crash into a display of sunglasses (only one fell off thank god) and then when the cashier asked Henry if he wanted a bag, he said NOOOOOOOoooooooo like she tried to hand him herpes and I appreciate his environmental love even if it was performative but the way he said that really bugged me so I spat, “Why did you say it like that??”

“I can say it however I want,” he shout back with a haughtiness that didn’t sit well with me AT ALL and the cashier CHUCKLED so now she can get fucked too.

Now Chooch, he is still pouting because Starbucks was closing right when we got there, is doubly-pouting because he wishes he had got a hoodie in Wildwood – this after just bitching because he can’t feel the a/c in the backseat – and it reminded me that I got a Wildwood sweatshirt so now I’m wearing it.

“Wow you’re so cool,” Chooch mumbled. Lololol.

Buying this yesterday was a whole ass experience. I don’t feel like getting into it right now though.

I don’t know why this trip feels so much more exhausting than others since we we’ve only been gone since Friday night but when I say I am wiped out, I truly mean it. Saturday and Sunday were both exceptionally long & action-packed days. Good god.

But now we only have 90 more minutes until hooooooome!

Aug 142022
 

Hello from Wildwood! We got in around 7a after a night of very little sleep – the hotel was fine but I kept waking up because I was straight freezing and CHOOCH was on a call with MEXICO SQUAD until the wee hours so that kept waking me up too.

Too early to check-in, so we parked near our hotel (Island Breeze) which is right across from Surfside Pier so super convenient since that’s where the Coastin’ By the Ocean event registration and ERT was happening from 9a-12p.

So we used our free time to get breakfast at Andy’s (we all got an omelette variation and I had immediately regertz because I had been heavily leaning toward a waffle but then Chooch ordered first and got a spinach and feta omelette so then I thought IS IT SAVORY ME FOR ME TOO? and changed my order to a mushroom omelette at the final hour and I shouldn’t have done that).

Then we just walked around until it was time to check in to the Coastin’ By the Ocean enthusiast event. More later!

Henry doing the bare minimum, FYI.