Dec 022021
 

OK Brenda listen up. You know how we’re always sniffing out vegan eateries in whatever town the coasters are luring us to? Well, um…I might have chosen Six Flags Over Georgia PURPOSELY based on its close proximity to SLUTTY VEGAN. Henry alerted me to the existence of this BEAST of a vegan establishment several months ago and I have been obsessing ever since.

They have several locations around Atlanta, but from the YouTube videos I’ve watched, it looks like people line up clear around the block for this joint – one of the vegan YouTubers I watch actually stood in line for 5 hours outside in the winter when Slutty Vegan’s food truck travelled to NYC, and she still said it was WORTH THE HYPE. Also, whatever bacon they use appears to be the benchmark for all vegan bacon because I’m always hearing people comparing vegan bacon to Slutty Vegan’s bacon.

Also, it’s owned by a Black woman and this makes it even more appealing to me because you know how I love to support places like this!

Anyway, after leaving Six Flags Saturday night, Henry was like, “OK, let’s just go there and see if it’s a mess and then we’ll go from there.” I was literally having quiet, contained anxiety attacks about this because I wanted to shove slutty meatless delights into my whore mouth but I also didn’t want to endure crowds of people. LUCKILY, whichever location Henry chose was not the popular one because there was only one other person there!

It was a really small, walk-up location. I’m actually not even sure if you can dine-in at the main location now that I think about it, even though it does seem like it’s a much bigger place.

Right away, it felt like a party. The music was blasting even outside so as we walked down the sidewalk from our car, the vibe was RIGHT. Then we were greeted by the friendliest lady at the ordering counter; she was just BEAMING charisma, I fucking swear to god. There is nothing better and more comforting than going somewhere for the first time and having an employee essentially hold your hand and walk you through the process, which is exactly what she did and I really, really, really wish I had the forethought to check out her name because I would have loved to give her props when I wrote my Google review!

She explained the menu to us, told us what the most popular items were, what her personal favorite beverage is, what types of sauces they had on hand…it was like VIP treatment. The reason I’m really stressing this part of the experience is because it’s not uncommon to get treated like shit at trendy, hipster-run vegan restaurants. It’s almost like they know we’re FRAUDS when we walk in: you have Carnivore Henry, Vegetarian Chooch, and 50/50 Vegan/Vegetarian me.

I eat eggs still, OK?? And honey! SORRY.

But according to the owner, Pinky Cole (who is AN INSPIRATION, let me tell you), the majority of their customers are actually meat-eaters and that is actually amazing because this means that’s at least one meatless meal that these people are eating and it also means that this place is dispelling the myth that vegan food = rabbit food, and that maybe it’s delicious enough to get them to at least CUT BACK on their meat consumption. And that is actually so wonderful to think about.

So maybe this place is super gimmicky, but it gets people through the doors. And then it’s the quality of the food that gets them coming back. Because I am here right now telling you that this was the best vegan “fast food” I have ever had and I am WHIPPED for it. Literally have not been able to stop thinking about it since we left Georgia last weekend.

Oh! And when it was learned that we were n00bs to Slutty Vegan, our counter friend called back into the kitchen that there were VIRGINS in the house and everyone started cheering and banging on the counters. IT WAS SO EXCITING!!! My other favorite part though was hearing Chooch casually order a Fussy Hussy with no tomatoes. And Henry opted to upgrade his One Night Stand to a Menage a Trois, which added the legendary BACON and also FRIED SHRIMP!!! to the mix. I was really excited that he did this because I originally wanted to get the HEAUX BOY but it wasn’t available that day so I opted for the Chik’n Head instead. It is really hard for me to pass up vegan chicken sandwiches. I wasn’t much of a burger-eater in my past meat-eating days, but I could definitely kill a chicken sandwich. In fact, that and the McFish are the only things I ever really got at McDonald’s but that feels like an actual lifetime ago.

(I can still vividly remember the special chicken parm sandwich from Burger King though, OMFG I loved that shit as a kid!! It also felt like such a “grown up” thing to eat for some reason lol.)

Anyway, once our order was ready, we were floated out the door on a ribbon of hilarious and exuberant SLUT chants from the Slutty Vegan staff. It was one of the best send-offs of my life, not gonna lie, fam.

Then we had to endure the 10 minute drive back to the hotel which was EXCRUCIATING with a bagful of tempting, tongue-curling smells as the fourth passenger.

These pictures are shit but look, Linda – I was tryna EAT the damn food not fluff it for Glamour Shots. I dunno what that sauce was on my chik’n sandwich but I’d like to marinate all of my foods in it starting yesterday. Henry and I always get different things so we can share but I really didn’t want to give him half of this, ughhhhh.

(LOL it was Buffalo sauce – I just looked it up. As a vegetarian, I haven’t really had many opportunities to eat food saturated in Buffalo sauce so I’m not sure that’s a taste I would have recognized.)

(FOR INSTANCE: I HAVE NEVER HAD BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP!)

You can see the shrimp and bacon sorta. I should have taken headshots of that fucking shrimp because it was INSANITY. Maybe it didn’t taste SO MUCH like the real thing that it would fool a meathead, but it was pretty fucking close. The  texture was scary-realistic and the taste was half-past shrimp adjacent, more toward shrimp shadow. Like, it was REALLY CLOSE to passing, you guys. I am obsessed with it. There are some faux shrimp products on the market that we have tried and nothing has come close until Slutty Vegan. When can I go back.

And that bacon? Yeah, I get it now. I’m officially IN THE KNOW. That was some delectable fake bacon, Wendell.

And Chooch actually didn’t even want to go there once he saw the pictures because he “wasn’t that hungry” and “wouldn’t be able to eat all of that” and yet…and yet.

Bitch inhaled that burger before Henry even sat down and unwrapped his.

But yeah, that burger. Ouch, my gut, but give me more. They use the Impossible Burger but they add their own spices and secrets to it and whatever happens after that is pure animal-friendly magic. SLUT SAUCE FTW.

I hardly ever write actual online reviews but then I heard that BLUE LIVES MATTER fucker-bitches were flooding Slutty Vegan with negative reviews when Pinky made the choice to stop giving discounts to the Georgia police during the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests, I definitely felt compelled to add my five-stars.

I salivated for mths while watching so many YouTube videos about this place. Finally came to Atlanta from Pittsburgh and was determined to wrap my mouth around one of these slutty creations. I can now say with confidence that Slutty Vegan is worth the hype! Even my carnivorous partner was doing the Homer Simpson moan while devouring his Ménage a Trois! (That shrimp! The texture! The flavor! HOW?!) I got the Chik’n Head and, four days later, am still having vivid, possibly explicit daydreams about it.

The vibe of Slutty Vegan really elevated the experience – it felt like walking into the friendliest, most inclusive party, and when the person at the ordering counter found out we were VIRGINS, she happily navigated us through the menu and made helpful suggestions. I wish I had gotten her name because she was SO GREAT!

I have eaten at some vegan places where everyone acted like they were 2 cool 4 skool and it really took away from the experience but that was not the case with Slutty Vegan. I’m obsessed. This was the best, most indulgent vegan food I’ve ever had and I’m so sad that I’m back in Pittsburgh, hundreds of miles away from my new crush, Slutty Vegan. :(

Oh man, get me back to Georgia STAT. I need to eat my way through this menu! I want Pinky Cole’s autograph. What a gem.

Nov 302021
 

I didn’t feel like liveblogging on our drive last Friday but here are the highlights from Twitter plus whatever else I remember. I’m 42 now. There’s not much room left in my head for memories, considering how thick my skull is. I apparently didn’t tweet very much:

  • Oh here we go. Henry BEGGED me to drive for two hours so I did and now that it’s his turn again, he’s bitching about how I allegedly drive “LIKE A MANIAC.” But did I shave a bunch of time from our ETA??? Yes so I’ll take that as a THANK YOU.
  • Ugh Henry just bought really disgusting gas station trail mix and it tastes like I ate a handful while walking thru a fish market.

Yeah, so I drove for two hours two the NEW RIVER GORGE area of West Virginia which is never-ending, I fucking swear to god. I listened to Pierce the Veil while Henry and Chooch slept. It was fine. But then once Henry took the wheel, it was HUNGRY TIME and we just happened to be near Dolly’s Diner which I became obsessed with the last time we traversed this route on my birthday trip last summer.

(Side note: I love Pierce the Veil so much and haven’t really listened to them in so long that some of the songs were really hitting hard. I was glad that I was the only one awake because I was EMOTING.)

The food was nothing to write home about but I vividly remembered their famous BUTTERSCOTCH LUSH and I would be FIBBING if I told you I hadn’t thought about straight motorboating a wedge of that heavenly sugar-pillow ever since the first time a forkful of it splayed itself across my tongue. So honestly, I didn’t give a fuck about the actual dinner portion of the evening. I was there for the main XXX event.

As soon as we walked in, I was in approximately everyone’s way and apparently forgot to turn down the dimmer on my CITY FOLK PASSING THRU neon crown on my head. “I WANT TO SIT IN THE SAME BOOTH WE SAT IN LAST TIME” I stage-whispered to Henry, who elicited a smirk of disapproval immediately. But then Chooch, who is sometimes on my side, said to the hostess with full confidence, “We would like to sit at Table 11, please.”

She was a young, surly girl who looked PISSED to be working on a Friday night and even more annoyed at the audacity of these CITY FOLK requesting a specific table. But she sighed in a tenor that translated to, “OK weirdos” and lead us straight to our specifically-desired booth. I had no idea that the table numbers were so visible on each one, not that my poor eyes could see that from the front door anyway.

TABLE 11 BOI.

We unfortunately did not have the same older woman waitress as last time, which is a shame because that broad was awesome. Instead, we got a young girl with little personality who was very matter-of-fact about everything. Like when Chooch had the gull to order pink lemonade and she was like, “Sorry we only have the yellow kind” and why was this so fucking hilarious to me?? Everything from the fact to Chooch going rogue and wanting an off-menu pink bev, to the waitress nipping that want in the bud immediately.

Meanwhile, some older man was walking around the joint, stopping to open up window blinds here and there. When he was kneeling across the seat of the booth behind us to reach the blind on that particular window, he turned to us and your standard WV greeting of HOWDY FOLKS and we were like, “YAY SOMEONE IS BRAVE ENOUGH TO TALK TO US OUTLANDERS” or maybe it was just me who reacted as such by returning his greeting with giant Pittsburgh gusto. (Whatever that means.) He asked if we had been here before – a solid query since none of us were wearing suspenders, trucker hats, or any type of WV PRIDE garment. Since Henry doesn’t talk to WAITSTAFF and Chooch was too busy fiddling with his RUBIK’S CUBE (his latest obsession, help me, so sick of hearing about algorithms), I became the default spokesperson of TABLE 11 and said, “NO, WE HAVE BEEN HERE ONCE. WE CAME BACK FOR THE BUTTERSCOTCH LUSH” and the way I said it might have had slight rabbit-in-a-pot vibes to it. The crazed look flashing in my eyes might have contributed a bit to that vibe too but who can be sure. I just get really AMPED ABOUT DESSERTS and it’s hard for me to hide it.

My exuberance was clearly an invitation for him to turn around in the booth behind us and lean in between Henry and me (!!!) in order to start pointing out various menu items. “You like Philly cheese steak?” he asked, giving me absolutely no chance to respond. “Cuz this here is the best thing on the menu. WE DEEP FRY THE BUN.” I was trying not to laugh because Henry had pointed that out earlier, but not in a way that expressed any interest in trying out this deep-fried bun for himself.

“Wow,” I said, trying to push the word out as an exclamation but it fell flat. “You should get that!” I nudged Henry obnoxiously. And then the guy (Mr. Dolly? He had “owner material” written all over him) continued making his rounds, but I noted that he did not give any of the other diners as much time and undivided attention as the VIPs of TABLE ELEVEN.

By the time the waitress came back with Chooch’s YELLOW bev and flipped open her order pad, Henry had somehow convinced himself that he was now obligated to order the Philly cheesesteak even though it wasn’t what he wanted. I laughed. When don’t I laugh.

Chooch got a grilled cheese and I just went for the egg and cheese sandwich, which was supposed to come on a BISCUIT but the only option the waitress gave me was TOAST, and then when it arrived, the eggs were scrambled and there was no cheese on it! It was the most pathetic breakfast sandwich ever, but that’s ok because its only purpose was to coat my stomach before I stuffed a plate of whipped creamy LUSH down in there.

Waitress displayed mucho ambivalence toward us until Henry called after her, “Wait can I also get cole slaw?” And suddenly the fact that Henry wanted a side of slaw endeared our table to her. The way she stopped in her tracks and sing-songed over her shoulder, “Yeaaaah! Small or large bowl?”

Henry chose the small bowl and then was like, “I wonder how big the big bowl is,” just as another waitress began to walk toward us with a large bowl on her tray. “There’s your cole slaw,” I laughed, but it was really just soup for another table and Henry’s cole slaw ended up coming a few minutes later in a standard side bowl.

Cole slaw action shot.

At one point, the waitress asked we needed anything in passing, and I was concerned because she didn’t call us YALL like she was calling everyone else, and I just wanted to be INCLUDED. But then later she did call us YALL and I felt better.

When it was time for dessert ordering, I asked in a very hyperactive, desperate yell, “DO YOU HAVE THE BUTTERSCOTCH LUSH?” The waitress was like, “Yeah of course we do” and the came back a few seconds later to say, “I’m sorry, we don’t have any butterscotch lush.”

I WANTED TO DIE. LITERALLY. I almost screamed, “WE CAME ALL THE WAY FROM PITTSBURGH AND YINZ DON’T EVEN HAVE ANY OF IT?” but instead I popped an imaginary pill and calmly asked, “OK what else do you have?” As soon as she said, “Pumpkin lush” I cut her off and said, “OK I’ll take that!” and that was dumb. I should have listened to the options. Because the pumpkin lush was not it, fam.

All the other parts of the lush were exactly as I remembered them to be, but the pumpkin part was kind of gross. The texture was too viscous and it was kind of sour. It was reminiscent of the kind of filling in those Little Debbie pumpkin cookies – but less sweet and, I dunno, wetter. If it had been more like a pumpkin pie puree, it would have been bangin’. But I don’t know what they used in there. I should have went with the cherry one or, anything else, really.

Chooch had a German Chocolate Cake which they clearly nuked before serving, as evidenced by the wafts of steam billowing off his plate. His was pretty good though. I remember the last time, he ordered the coconut cake and that was really good too, so we know that at least three of the desserts are good, which leads  me to believe that the pumpkin lush was just a poor choice and I should not write off Dolly’s.

I mean, believe me, I ate every last crumb off that plate, it wasn’t INEDIBLE, people.

Oh! While we were in Dolly’s, that old song “My Guy” came on and I got all dreamy-eyed. “I always associate this with ‘Days of Our Lives’,” I sighed. Henry the Dunce asked why, forcing me to adopt my “indignant teenaged disgust” voice. “Because of when it was sung to ALICE HORTON??” I cried and the way Henry’s eyebrows levitated off his forehead and contorted into a foating question mark said it all.

Fun fact, when I was a kid, I wrote a fan letter to the actress who played/plays Jennifer Horton AND SHE SENT ME SIGNED HEADSHOT. I still have it somewhere I think.

Obligatory gas station bathroom road trip selfie. This was at a Flying J either still in WV or in VA. All I know is that I was the only one there wearing a mask and got some really classy glares. I love this divided country!

Three hours later, and I still couldn’t stop thinking about “the yellow kind.” WHY IS THIS SO FUNNY.

And then, while Chooch “I’m so tired, I work all the time and wake up at 4:45am to go shopping on Black Friday, boo hoo hoo” slept the rest of the night in the backseat, Henry and I had a very pleasant drive to our Friday night destination of Sweet Water, TN. We listened to A Perfect Circle and I made barfing noises when we drove past a giant church cross.

The end.

Nov 282021
 

I wasn’t going to LiveBlog because we woke up late and now we can’t do all the fun stuff I wanted to do on the way home (ok it was just one fun thing and I wasn’t really married to the idea but whatever).

But I’m bored and need something to do so here we are.

It’s 10:30 and we just stopped at this place screaming about PEACHES PECANS AND FIREWORKS. We went there specifically to see if we could find any good deals on peanuts for the squirrels (lol my life) but they only had bags of RAW p’nuts which are not good for my Buddys and Grays!

Instead we spent $40 on deep fried peanuts, strawberry peanut brittle, locally made soy candles, lip balm, and beard balm. And something called Divinity that Henry tried to not share with me but I ripped it out of his hand.

I could have spent more money there, easily.

I didn’t see any real peaches there and made the mistake of saying so, and now I’m enduring a spiel from Farmer Hank about how peaches are out of season. I wonder where he hides his Farmers Almanacs.

Omg henry is so annoying. He keeps changing the route while he’s driving in an effort to bypass anticipated traffic. “This will put us through the top of Tennessee,” he said. “What’s the top of Tennessee?” I asked. “Not the bottom,” he replied. I MEANT LIKE WHAT CITIES BUT OK MR LITERAL.

Hi it’s almost noon. Henry and I talked about LGBTQ+ issues, nutrition, and Slutty Vegan for like an hour in case you were wondering why I wasn’t updating lololol. Now we’re at a gas station and Dunkin’ Donuts in Athens Georgia because why wouldn’t we have left Georgia yet. I had an annoying gas station bathroom experience thanks to a loud mom and her 12 children. Also I broke a nail last night when pulling down my restraint on Georgia Scorcher and I need a nail file but have not found one at any place we stopped. Also my macchiato (“macchiato” – very LOOSE definition) tastes like hot water. Henry tried to stir it by shaking it and sprayed “macchiato” everywhere so I yelled about how I “try to keep the car clean but then YOU PEOPLE–”

“Is ‘you people’ me and Chooch?” Henry had the audacity to interrupt.

“ANYTIME I SAY YOU AND PEOPLE IT ALWAYS REFERS TO YOU AND CHOOCH” I yelled. Because hello really??

Twenty five minutes later. In Tennessee. We just drove past a giant cross. I blurted out, “Giant crosses are pathetic” and I dunno why I said that other than the power of Satan compelled my tongue.

Also, earlier in the drive I was fixated on the fact that we don’t pronounce sugar soo-gar and now Henry says “SOOGAR” every time he sees a sign that has sugar on it. So that’s a cool linguistic monster I created.

1:11pm and I was just vocalizing how I imagine Henry would be right now if he’d never met me: sitting in a tattered recliner in a sweat-stained wife beater, shotgun propped up against the side, long greasy hair, knife in a holster of his belt which also features a huge belt buckle since he’s an OTR truck driver, eating a HUNGRY MAN tv dinner while shotgunning a generic beer and watching–

“NCIS?” Henry cut me off with a sigh.

“No, GRACE UNDER FIRE,” I shouted, choking on laughter. “And who’s that other asshole…JEFF FOXWORTHY.”

“I used to listen to him before he was famous,” Henry said and I think he meant it as a brag???

“Wow congrats. You were a redneck hipster.”

1:51: THIS JUST IN–at a Pilot somewhere in Tennessee and THERE WERE FOUR OF US BROADS IN THE BATHROOM WEARING MASKS. I felt like I was with MY PEOPLE.

2:25pm: had a fight about maps. Chooch actually defended me by pointing out that HENRY can’t even read a map. Thanks, Backseat Son.

Anyway here are mountains. Maybe the Smokies? Who can be sure. No one can read a map.

Also just passed a billboard for HEAVENLY STITCHES: a quilt store. Cool.

2:53: GUYS. WE JUST WENT TO PAL’S SUDDEN SERVICE. I have been OBSESSED with this fast food chain since we saw one Friday night when henry abruptly pulled off an exit to go to Dunkin’ Donuts and one was right next store. I AMOST forgot about it until today when Henry was saying stuff that I wasn’t listening to as usual and then casually added, “and then you can go to Pal’s” and I was suddenly ERECT WITH ATTENTION.

The exit sign is A POINTING HOT DOG!!!

I got a toasted cheese!!! I made Henry get a Mello Yello so I could drink some because I didn’t want my own!

Henry tried to pay at the ordering window and the girl LAUGHED AT HIM and said, “oh no, you pay at the pick up window” like Henry had asked to see the basement. It was such a highlight.

Here are pictures I took Friday night:

I need a Pal’s t-shirt SO BADLY NOW.

6:00pm: HENRY made me drive for the last TWO HOURS most of it was GRIDLOCKED TRAFFIC in Virginia, while he slept like a precious WHITE MAN. My nerves are shot now. I pulled over to switch with him RIGHY BEFORE the dumb toll thing which I had to drive through on Friday too and it was so annoying because we have EZ Pass but were behind CANADIANS who had to dig around their car for change and I was very unhappy with our NEIGHBORS TO THE NORTH in that moment.

Anyway did I mention that I’m in a bad mood now? Because I am. Fuck off Henry. If you even ever read this!!!!!

Omg he just had the audacity to say something about me complaining about driving when he still has to drive for 3 hours and 45 minutes and I was like, “yeah and you got to sleep for 2 hours so I dunno why you’re complaining!” But now he’s saying he wasn’t?? Um I’m sorry but when he bitched about the remaining time left he has to drive, that was him LODGING A COMPLAINT. Fuck off!!

6:25: Hi. My other dream was to go to Tudor’s Biscuit World & get a motherfucking biscuit since all my other biscuit dreams were crushed on this trip. Now we’re here but we got stuck behind an elderly couple who just materialized from outer space and we’re ecstatic to order human food except they had no idea how. But at least they’re wearing masks!

OK REPORT’S IN: BISCUIT WAS WORTH IT.

I loved our experience at Tudor’s was amazing and I am very happy. My favorite part was when Henry accidentally threw away all the plates into the garbage can:

And then couldn’t find anyone to tell because they were all outside smoking. So when he found them on our way out, the one lady was like “oh it’s alright. We’ll just leave them there” and the other lady said she wouldn’t tell. Henry’s such a chump.

Also, I feel like I missed out by not ordering the CAPPICINO:

8:25pm: I just changed Henry’s Waze profile to this and I’m crying and he’s in the drivers seat going WHAT. WHAT. WHAT DID YOU DO. STOP FUCKING WITH MY STUFF!!!

I just spit on myself trying to hold in another round of hyena-level laughter.

I just signed him up to be a Waze carpool driver and I’m crying.

I’m nice but don’t like to talk much unless it’s about military airplanes and the TV show Monk.

I gave myself a stomach ache.

I’m so overheated from laughing that I’m sweating. I tried to show Chooch my hard work and he said I DONT CARE. Meanwhile Henry is over here panicking, wondering what damage I’ve done to his impeccable Wave profile.

9:06: we still have 90 minutes left *SCREAMS INTO A PILLOW EXCEPT I DONT HAVE A PILLOW SO THIS IS JUST A REGULAR FULL-VOLUME UNSUPPRESSED SCREAM*

9:20: Listening to my old COCK ROBIN jam and I said, “I’m not sure how I ever knew about this song. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it on the radio.” And, with a SMIRK, Henry said, “probably from one of those dumb CDs you used to buy.”

LOLOLOL: he means all the COMPILATION CDs I used to get via MAIL ORDER using my mom’s credit card lol.

https://open.spotify.com/track/3d6zRaJbLV2XvxY93Yow1l?si=6EtYY8nTQ1KAX2Wo4sOwTA&context=spotify%3Asearch%3Acock%2520robin

I guess I will post this worthless account of nothingness now. Will update if anything interesting happens??

UPDATE: I only accumulated 2500 steps thanks to basically driving non-stop all day. We got home at 10:35 tonight and I was DETERMINED to meet my daily goal of 12000 (I usually get way more than that but 12000 is what I have FitBit set at). I walked/jogged in place from the moment I walked in the door, pausing only once for a pee break, and I met my goal WITH TWO MINUTES TO SPARE. You can ask Henry–he was sitting on the couch staring at his phone the entire time.

Ok. Trip’s officially over. Happy to be reunited with my insane, attention-deprived cats. Taking my contacts out now thank god. Peace out all-gendered scouts.

Nov 272021
 

Hi hello how goes it. We are in some Tennessee town outside of Chattanooga and we have on some incredible radio station that played JACKIE BLUE and then this INSTRUMENTAL song came on and I was in so much pain because I wanted to snap my fingers along to it so bad but I cannot snap my fingers, in case you didn’t know. I was born without the ability.

Anyway, I became instantly obsessed because it made me picture all my squirrel Buddys on the porch having a peanut party and I couldn’t stop laughing. But then I went to this band’s wiki page and it’s actually SAD because the song was actually an instrumental b-side to the a-side song which featured the lead singer Cliff Nobles’ vocals, but it was the INSTRUMENTAL that took off and became a huge hit, peaking at #2 on Billboard in like 1968 or some other old-ass year.

Cliff Nobles ended up working in construction after his music career ended which makes me sad because now he is dead and will never know that I have become obsessed with him and a song that he had no part in.

Also we ate breakfast at Donut King which I picked only because it has a cute logo BUT NO MERCH.

It was just ok but I wanted an egg & cheese on a biscuit on they were like NO BISCUIT, CROISSANT so I had it on a croissant instead and the whole time I ate it, I wondered why no one wants me to have a biscuit on this trip because at dinner in WV last night I also ordered an egg sandwich which was supposed to come on a biscuit but it came on TOAST instead.

Also they put like a THICK SHEATH of pepper in the middle of the eggs this morning and I was almost having an allergic reaction.

Now we’re on our way to Atlanta!

Oct 122021
 

I was so excited when I went to bed Friday night because we were going to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey the next day. You know how when you’re a kid and you get that Xmas Eve bellyful of butterflies? That’s how I feel on nights before amusement park visits, lol.

“ONE MORE SLEEP UNTIL SIX FLAGS!” – says 42-year-old Erin, lol.

But then I woke up early as instructed by Road Trip Dad, and talk about WRONG SIDE OF THE BED times 18979312. To say I was in “a mood” is putting it mildly. I was basically on a rampage, prepared to have a terrible day, determined to shred my self-worth to shreds, refusing to let any rational thoughts or reasoning sink into my furious brain. So instead of leaving at 6am like Henry wanted, I threw a 2-hour-long fit, oscillating between I’M NOT GOING to WHY DON’T YOU CARE ENOUGH TO MAKE ME GO to I WISH I COULD RIP THE FLESH OFF MY BONES I HATE MYSELF SO MUCH.

I don’t know why I get this way.

Oh wait, yes I do. Bi-polar.

And an eating disorder/food phobia/body dysmorphia. Lol.

Anyway, two hours later and I had calmed down enough to put myself together and we set off (also because Henry already paid for the hotel and we were past the cancellation deadline lol). But my whole point in telling you all of this is that I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and even though the morning SUCKED and I hate feeling out of control, something good came out of it.

Because a few hours later, we stopped at a rest area near Bedford, PA and as we were walking across the parking lot, I heard someone say, “Erin?” At first it didn’t even occur to me it was actually me who was being addressed, but then when I noticed a woman walking toward me I went into FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT mode.

Then my eyes focused and I realized it was my friend Bridget, who left The Law Firm several years ago to move to Texas! It was honestly a really sad day when she left and I remember trying to avoid saying goodbye to her until the final hour when my friend Lauren came over to my desk and said, “OK look, you have got to tell her goodbye. I’ll go with you.” I might try to act like I’m all cold-hearted and partially agoraphobic, but I am a huge sap when it comes to saying goodbye.

Anyway, Bridget recently moved back to Pittsburgh and she and her husband were actually en route to Lancaster for the weekend, so it was a super happy coincidence that we happened to be traveling at the same time and in the same direction, and that we ran into each other at some rando rest stop!

Henry is angry at himself for missing the opportunity to harangue Bridget for endorsing Magic Spoon cereal because ever since she convinced me to give it a shot last spring, I have been hooked and that shit is not cheap (for cereal). Henry makes all kinds of sarcastic comments to Chooch, like, “No, you can’t get new shoes. Your mother has to buy her expensive cereal.” And “Wow, my cereal costs less AND I get so much more in a box.”

I don’t care, I love this stuff! The satiety factor is so good that I don’t want to eat  my arm off an hour post-breakfast like I usually do with anything else. I even bought the official Magic Spoon spoon!

And from a design standpoint, the boxes are so eye-catching and fun! Here are the fall flavors that I am almost out of and just told Henry I need to buy more at which point he mumbled about IT’LL HAVE TO WAIT because this cereal is apparently A LUXURY EXPENSE and not like when Chooch needs milk and Henry drops everything to run to the store.

Ugh.

Wow sorry. This somehow turned into a SPONSORED POST. j/k I have no sponsors.

Anyway! It was amazing to see Bridget but it made me sad also because I miss the way things used to be at the law firm, but I guess even then I was missing the way things used to be EVEN BEFORE, because we’re never happy in the moment ARE WE?

This was also hilariously the second time I’ve run into a former LAW FIRM friend at a rest stop. The other time was my friend Mary at a rest stop in Ohio on the way home from Cedar Point. WHO WILL BE THE THIRD, AND WHAT AMUSEMENT PARK WILL BE INVOLVED??

After that, we continued on through Pennsylvania, where I was desperate to find a Sheetz before entering the dreaded Wawa Zone, but the only one that was close was smack in the middle of Ren Faire land and traffic off of the exit ramp was a disaster.

So, no Sheetz (or lunch) for me. Henry and Chooch bought snacks at pretty much every single rest stop 7-11 so they were fine but I was going back and forth between I NEED TO EAT and STARVE YOURSELF, FAT GIRL. Saturday was a really good day for me. Lots of self love.

The rest of the drive was completely boring. I went back and forth between listening to an audio book and telling Henry that I hate him which he knows translates into, “I hate myself so much that the hate is overflowing and splashing onto you, I will probably apologize to you for this tomorrow but right now: I HATE YOU AND THINK YOU ARE SO DUMB AND YOU HAVE RUINED MY LIFE, FUCK OFF. P.S. YOUR HAIR CUT IS STUPID.

I am so pleasant!

Then we got to Six Flags Great Adventure and I funneled all of my hateful energy onto the copious amounts of LINE JUMPERS we encountered, so Chooch and Henry enjoyed the several hour reprieve from being on the receiving end of my wrath.

Six Flags stuff up next. Ciao for now!

Oct 102021
 

Hello. We are in Princeton, NJ about to make our way home from our time at Six Flags Great Adventure. Last night, we were out looking for War of the Worlds roadside attractions because apparently this is the area where the Orson Welles radio show happened. That was kind of a fail because we couldn’t see anything at night, but!! we drove past a shopping center with a sign for Woori Mart, which made me do a double take. “IS THAT A KOREAN MARKET” I screamed. It felt like it was the romanization for 우리 which means “our” in Korean. Sure enough I was right and I love being right!! It was closed but we stopped this morning after checking out from a Quality Inn that had music softly pumping out of speakers near the elevators, such as INFORMER BY SNOW.

Anyway, Woori Mart was cool. I bought a case of some type of beverage endorsed by Korea’s MC Yoo Jae Suk. And we got black sugar milk tea flavored Choco Pies and some other snack items, and good grapes. But we didn’t want to buy too much because we had already planned on stopping at an H-Mart in/near Philly, and that is where we are headed now, woo!

It’s now 11:07 and we’re leaving H-Mart. Henry was so annoying in there and spoke to me with no sincerity in his voice at all. Then he accidentally took someone else’s shopping cart and she was like excuse me this is my cart and I was like OMG GREAT JOB HANK because of course it was at a moment where he had handed the card off to me.

Here’s a selfie of Chooch and me inside Artbox!

I took it for Veronica because she is going to H-Mart in LA today.

Now Chooch is trying to retrieve his Apple juice from under the seat using the backscratcher he won at an arcade in George, NY over Labor Day weekend.

Props to Henry, I would never want to drive in Philly.

We made it! No one would order when the lady came to the window so I was like OMG CAN WE HAVE TWO VEGAN CHEESESTEAKS AND ONE VEGAN NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN. For gods sake, THESE PEOPLE!!

Anyway holy shit both sandwiches were good but that chicken was AMAZE. Unlike Eden Burger’s korean chicken sandwich, this one actually was coated in sauce we could taste and the fake chicken itself was delightful.

Did not enjoy sitting next to the road though.

Then we walked around for a few blocks because I didn’t want to get in the car right after eating. We went into a small pet shop and got Drew & Penelope cat nip bubbles and made friends with the shop cat, Marvel.

After calling Henry out for ogling numerous lingerie / bondage shops, we went into a comic book shop and the “saxophone guy in a thong on the boardwalk” song from The Lost Boys was playing but Dumb Chooch didn’t recognize it.

Oh yeah and we stopped at Dottie’s Donuts (also vegan) because we parked right across the street and I took it as a sign so we stopped in and got a hibiscus and blueberry jam-filled. Haven’t tried it yet because we’re still full from lunch but I’m sure at some point during the drive home we’ll be digging into them.

1:34pm: on our way out of Philly we passed Laurel Hill Cemetery and I was whining about how I always wanted to go there, and Henry was like OH OK REALLY? HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW ABOUT IT like I WASNT masquerading as a goth for like 4 years of my life. I started naming off things about it.

“And it’s a really popular place for photo shoots,” I finished.

“Ok let’s never go there,” Chooch piped up from the backseat.

2:23pm and we just left the PETER J CAMIEL rest stop. Henry needs to find another rest stop because “there were too many people in the bathroom” and he needs “to sit down.”

You’re welcome.

Wait! More rest stop happenings. We decided to taste test the two donuts from Dottie’s (I was like WE ARE JUST GETTING TWO BC EVERY TIME WE GET MORE THAN THAT ITS GLUTTONOUS).

Hibiscus: v. good & light, the glaze is v.v.v.sweet though, with just the right amount of floral. Into it.

Blueberry jam-filled: DELECTABLE and visually pleasing. I had to make Henry take it away from me so I didn’t inhale the whole thing.

Meanwhile, some dude was getting out of his car and Henry noted, “That guy gets out of his car the same way I do. Let’s see if he’s limping when he walks—oh! He is! Let’s see if his wife makes fun of him–Nope, she’s holding his hand and helping him! Wow. You just slam doors in my face.”

Omg we’re at another rest area you’re shocked. We checked on the popsicles that we bought a thousand hours ago at Hmart knowing damn well they’d be melted even though they were in a cooler with ice but that’s HOW FROZEN STUFF WORKS I guess. But henry was all THEY WILL BE OK WHEN WE PUT THEM IN THE FREEZER.

Chooch ate…er…drank one and said that, contrary to Henry’s optimistic assumption, there is no way they will refreeze and be ok. Then Chooch & I cooed over a corgi who was being walked over by the garbage can where we were throwing away wrappers of Korean snacks.

When we got back to the car after that, Henry was all LOOK AT THE CORGI and we were like WE KNOW BUT NICE TRY. Then I told him that Chooch said the popsicles probably won’t be ok when they refreeze and Henry barked, “WHO said that??”

“The corgi, henry. The corgi told me that. He is a fucking Popsicle oracle.” My god, CHOOCH SAID IT, HENRY!! TRY TO KEEP UP! Fuck.

Hello from the last rest stop in PA at 6:21. Henry had to pee SO BAD but chooch and I stayed in the car. Thank god henry was kind enough to park with this wonderful BLARING view of the sun.

I want to kill him, honestly.

It’s 7:04 and we’re on our street. BYE!!

Sep 262021
 

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

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

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

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

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

NEEDED

TO

TAKE

A

PICTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sep 252021
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 212021
 

A few years ago (2014, I think??), we went to Indiana Beach in Monticello, IN upon my insistence and relentless begging. We stayed in a town called Logansport which was not on my radar at all, until we randomly ate at a family-run fast-food establishment called MR. HAPPY BURGER and I became o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d that I demanded we eat at the second location as well AND I bought a commemorative t-shirt. I know, everything in this paragraph sounds so unlike me!

We semi-spontaneously revisited Indiana Beach over the weekend and I was almost as excited to go back to Mr. Happy Burger! It wasn’t that the food was amazing, but they did have grilled cheese on the menu which is almost unheard of for a burger-centric fast food joint, so that was a huge plus for me and Chooch, but it was mostly the VIBES, you guys. You know I’m all about the VIBES.

Sadly, the owner of Mr. Happy Burger recently decided to retire and put one of the locations up for sale. We drove past it and I will admit that I had a fleeting desire to buy that bitch up and rebrand it as Miss Happy Veggie Burger, the vegan mistress of Mr. Happy Burger.

But, I don’t think  that would be very well-received in that part of Indiana, lol.

Oh shit bitches, get ready to grill up some cheeses, because we’re back.

(I tried so hard to get Henry to order a Mr. Pib with his burger but he wouldn’t do it. The cashier was not amused. She had this dour, “Just fucking pick a bev” look on her face.)

There was a small group sitting a few tables over and one of them had just completed an 8-scoop ice cream challenge, not sanctioned by Mr Happy Burger.

“And he ate a double burger, too!” one of the people in his party exclaimed for everyone within earshot.

“Now I gotta go and drink some beer,” he said, completely unimpressed with himself, as they left the building.

Oh, Indiana.

There is something about orange and green as a color combo that is horrific and nostalgic all at once.  I declared that I was going to keep one of the fry wrappers and made a big production of dumping all the crumbs and salt specks onto the table, and then smoothing it out tenderly. I left it off to  the side, on the table, but then HENRY THE OBLIVIOUS put it on the tray with all the trash and I unknowingly threw it out, THANKS HENRY THE OBLIV.

I got really upset about this and he was like I WILL FIX IT, HOLD PLEASE and went back to the dour cashier and went through this whole awkward and confusing exchange before she finally understood what he wanted and he proudly returned to me with a clean wrapper in his hand, like a Viking returning home to his fur-wrapped woman, waving the head of the enemy on a spear.

Cool story, Henry.

I also wanted to get an orange version of the Haps shirt, but Henry just frowned and of course I didn’t have my wallet.

Their grilled cheese is better than most grilled cheeses I’ve had at diners and other restaurants. For instance, we were recently at Hyde’s in Cincinnati and the grilled cheese we both had there was so fucking pitiful, I can’t even believe they charged us for it. It was like they made it with scrap bread slices, and split one entire piece of cheese between mine and Chooch’s. I mean, I could make a better grilled cheese and we all know that’s saying a lot!

But Mr. Happy Burger serves up a substantial grilled cheese with a decent bread:cheese ratio. The bread is thick and buttery, and the cheese is actually thoroughly melted and not just a limp, cold slice between two half-toasted bread rejects.

I Just Said No to ice cream all day at Indiana Beach because I remembered that Mr. Happy has an ice cream parlor in the location that remained open. I dunno why but at the last minute, I happened to see a small menu of froyo flavors taped to the ice cream display. My eyes flickered across the “banana pecan” option and I thought, “bitch why not” so that’s what I ordered, and then almost immediately had remorse but I returned to our table, determined to live with my choice.

Yo, they actually blend up their froyos on the spot, boy! I watched that young ice cream princess cut up a banana and everything. And that was one BITCHIN’ cup of froyo, and also a flavor combo  that I wouldn’t have immediately paired together on my own. Apparently, the ice cream girls aren’t used to getting that as an order either because they had to double check with Henry after I sat back down and they made an unsure, “hmm, ok” face.

Henry for some reason also went the low fat froyo route and went with pineapple coconut. OH SHIT, YOU GUYS, that was motherfucking divine too! I took several hearty spoonfuls of it and felt like I had been personally transported to a beach in a first class seat on the Mr. Happy Burger train. Refreshing! Tropical! Exotic! Without even leaving Logansport, Indiana.

Dang, Mr. Happy Burger, please don’t leave. Surely someone in the Mr. Happy family wants to see the legacy live on!?

Oh, I contemplated bringing my Haps shirt on the trip but is that adjacent to the tackiness of wearing the band’s shirt to their concert? Sike, I don’t really care about that but I just truly forgot to pack it, lol.

 

Um, I never actually realized how lumpy that HB logo is. Is it supposed to be a burger? Mr. Happy himself? A potato??

Sep 162021
 

I’m not going to lie: I was HANGRY by the time we left Great Escape. I mean, we were in the middle of a line for the little antique car ride thing and I cried uncle. I just needed to leave and stuff food in my maw.

Surely someone out there can relate to this, but I often get so HUNGRY that I actually don’t even register the hunger and go straight to crimson-vision Murder Town where the only thing that seems tasty to me is lacerating the feelings of everyone around me with my silver-tongued vitriol.

Well, that’s what was happening Sunday evening when Henry rolled up to the pre-determined diner of his choice and we made it as far as the vestibule before I shouted about not wanting to eat there and stomped back off to the car.

TRAVELING WITH ERIN! The sign-up sheet is behind Todd’s desk.

(Sorry. That’s where they always put the sign-up sheets food parties at work BACK WHEN WE SHARED OFFICE AIR AND FOOD, I barely remember.)

Henry, you would think, should be used to this by now but he still gets a bee up his butt when I show signs of distress or discontent. Like hello maybe try harder to impress and satisfy me while simultaneously squashing my hunger, bitch. So he started to just angrily drive aimlessly around this foreign part of New York while Chooch was in the backseat mumbling, “Here we go.” Ah, family road trips!

He drove back past Great Escape.

Past the road he should have taken to get back to our hotel in Utica.

Past some annoying Outlets which had Chooch screaming because OMG Adidas.

Past…wait—these mini golf places are fucking cool.

IS THAT A SMALL AMUSEMENT PARK OVER THERE.

I actually gasped out loud at one point, to my horror, because Erin-Pouts-A-Lot was still very much in the throes of The Silent Treatment portion of that Sunday’s tantrum du jour.

Ah yes, my friends, Henry had unknowingly driven us right into the tourist trap of LAKE GEORGE. I had never heard of this so-called LAKE WITH THE MAN’S NAME but from the car window, it appeared to be a Pigeon Forge Lite and I desperately needed Henry to stop the car, but instead of just asking him to, you know, stop the car like a regular, functioning grown-up would, I had to play my little baby games with him by saying things like, “Wow OK cool you just passed up like 7 places where we could have eaten, but sure, just keep driving” and “A real man would have parked the car by now” and “Oh wait, I keep forgetting that you’re too cheap to take your family to a place like this.”

LOL wow it’s really amazing that he didn’t park the car in the middle of the street solely to dump my body in the lake.

Anyway, we went back and forth like this for a while, with him saying, “I SAID I AM LOOKING FOR A PARKING SPOT” and me saying, “OH JUST FORGET IT” and then him finally finding a parking spot and me complaining because I wasn’t wearing nicer shoes for the LAKE GEORGE EXPERIENCE and Chooch saying, “Hello, remember me? The growing boy who sincerely needs to be fed?”

Things calmed down very quickly once we parked, but I found it odd that while we were standing in front of the parking meter, two separate old guys basically pushed us out of the way so they could use it, and they were dumping POCKETSFULL of quarters into that thing while complaining about how it didn’t work?? One of them came back and asked us, “Did you get it to work?” and Henry was like, “Uh yeah, I used the app.”

Dumb old people.

And then right off the bat, we lost Chooch to an arcade.

We were all so hungry but I wanted to walk around while it was still light out.

I never would have thought of myself as A LAKE PERSON but I liked what I saw and now I’m desperate to go back and do LAKE THINGS as long as I don’t have to actually GO INTO THE LAKE. I want to go on one of the big boat cruise things they have though!

This reminded me so much of Europe! Probably the closest I’ll get to that in a while, fucking covid.

There’s a lot of Native American history ’round these parts. Maybe if we come and go on one of the BOAT TOURS, we will learn stuff.

Chooch spotted some Italian restaurant called Mezza Luna and his taste buds imprinted on it immediately. We had no choice but to dine here, and it was pretty decent!

MIRROR SELFIE.

There was some King of Queens asshole sitting in a nearby booth bragging to his date about how much his collectible nerd toys cost (Chooch whipped around in his seat to look at him when he price-dropped something in his collection and it was SO OBVIOUS, thanks Chooch). I couldn’t wait for him to leave because he kept doing a powerful trucker-sniffle and I cannot stand that shit, ugh.

I haven’t had pasta in a hot minute, yo, and I was pretty happy. Chooch and Henry both got different personal pizzas and our some-kind-of-European-accented waiter DENNY brought us plates to share.  Then he dropped a plate over by the bar and Henry and I both murmured, “Good job, Denny” at the same time – I hate when we’re on the same wavelength when I’m still trying to be mad at him!!

When we got the check, we marveled over the fact that it was only $10 more than the total from when Henry and Chooch had dinner at lame-ass Eat n Park several weeks ago. Look, Eat n Park, you ain’t worth all that, ok.

THEN WE WENT TO THE HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN!! Usually Henry frowns upon these things but he actually was like, “Fine, let’s do it.” I think Henry is really changing, you guys. It’s almost like he WANTS to have fun now??

I took this by accident but thought it was cool. I bet that snot-suckler at Mezza Luna knows how much these monster figurines are worth.

Anyway, this place was so much better than anticipated! You just walk through and peer into various windows to have your mind blown with the macabre, you know?

The only bad part was when the family behind caught up to us because they were practically running past everything instead of taking the time to really let the sinister vignettes simmer into their system. The patriarch (dad? grandpa?) of the crew was practically leering over Henry’s shoulder and it was so uncomfortable. Like, just go around us, assholes! We were actually trying to enjoy what Frankenstein had to offer.

Then Henry and Chooch got ice cream and I was going to as well but the dour girls working the scoop zone didn’t inspire me much. I have slight regertz now though because Chooch let me taste his ice cream and it was really good and he raved for the rest of  the night about how it might have been the best ice cream he’s ever had, but it was definitely the best waffle and I was like, “OK I GET IT, I FUCKED UP. TOO LATE NOW.”

Chooch kept saying this in a leprechaun voice, like “pray to me god” instead of “pray to my god” and I couldn’t stop cracking up over it.

Then we drove back to the ice cream place across from Great Escape so I could get this supposedly famous Dandee Creme that was featured on the Today Show.

Of course Henry picked the slowest line because we were behind a group that all ordered milk shakes. That was OK though because I kept wavering on what flavor I wanted and at the last minute went with raspberry and chocolate twist with sprinkles.

It was OK! I’ve had a lot of soft serve and custard in my days so I’m not sure if this really has that write-home-ability to it but it got the job done. This was a SMALL size though and I wish I had known they were that big so I could have went with the kid cone because woo-wee. That put a lot of junk in my trunk at 9:30pm at night. Yikes.

Then we had to drive nearly two hours back to our hotel in Utica, so that was tons of fun for Henry, haha!

But overall, wow Lake George, way to salvage an evening that was quickly going south! I am so dead-set on returning that I already had a travel guide mailed to us, haha. Let’s gooooo.

Sep 152021
 

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

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

Lol ugh gag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dummies.

The landscaping and colors in this park were poppin’.

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

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

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

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

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

(THROWBACK TO 2018)

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

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

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

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

Fuck you.

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

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

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

Surprise, we survived.

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

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

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

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

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

Literally, the worst. STFU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But then it gets boring.

I told him to stand here and HE DID.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 132021
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

“—that guy looks just like Him Man*!”

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

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

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

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

I mean, super nice guys! But slow AF.

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

So Henry just kind of nervously laughed and walked away.

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

Henry actually came through and took our picture after all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 122021
 

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

And the colors were poppin’!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Idiots.

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

It was a JOURNEY.

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

Ew.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fascination was closed and Henry was so sad.

 

The rides looked so much better at night, lol.

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

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

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

“Let’s pretend we’re a couple.”

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

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

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

Sep 092021
 

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

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

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

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

I really love experiencing history on such a tangible level.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Because it, you know, SLAPS.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HERE ARE THE SHOES THOSE CHILDREN LIKED.

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

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

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

Carousel time!

So happy about it!

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

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

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

OMG wahhhh.

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

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

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

Sep 072021
 

Before we went to the amusement park on Saturday, we stopped at a vegan donut joint in Rochester called Misfit Donuts. Henry and I always cruise YouTube for some vegan food vids local to wherever we’re planning on visiting next, because…well, why not.  Anyway, we watched some super low-quality vegan foodie n00bs shove a bunch of donuts from this particular establishment into their holes and even without all the bells and whistles that the more pretentious YouTube vegans serve us, I was sold. Plus, it was very close to the park and around noon by the time we arrived, so…lunch?

We got raspberry glaze, matcha (this one was all mine because I run with fools who hate matcha), apple cider, Mexican hot chocolate cinnamon roll, and whatever a “Big Bird” was supposed to me – lemon and something?

OK so my impressions of the donut place itself? It was pretty non-descript. I’m not saying these types of places need to be Instagrammable, but they usually are (see: pretentious vegans) so when they’re not, I get scared. The girl who waited on us was neither nice nor rude. She just…was. Even though we were all wearing masks, I could tell that she wasn’t smiling.

They also have a full vegan lunch menu and I kind of wish we had also got a sandwich, but after demolishing nearly this whole box between the three of us, best that we didn’t, lol.

I thought each donut (and the roll) was an absolute delight. The matcha and the Big Bird had some type of sweet putty-like filling that I couldn’t quite place, but I liked it. Chooch was a big baby and said he was very unimpressed and only kind of liked the raspberry and Big Bird.

“The Mexican one was spicy, it was weird,” he said, and Henry and I cried in unison, “THAT’S BECAUSE IT WAS MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE?!” like the unified front that we are.

I ate a lot of these and I didn’t feel too disgusting afterward. I don’t know what that means. Henry and I both liked them a lot and I would like to go back again to try different flavors and also get one of the amazing-sounding sandwiches they have on their lunch menu. And hopefully get waited on by someone else because the more think back on this, the less I like that lady.

Oh, and bonus points to them for requiring masks regardless of vaccination status. I noticed recently that some of the Sheetz around us have put up new signs strongly suggesting the same, but sadly it doesn’t seem like many people are following suit. (FWIW I still wear my mask inside.)

On our way home yesterday, we basically backtracked and I consulted my trusty ROADSIDE AMERICA app to find some fun and quick sights to see. I’m a sucker for water-y thngs so when I saw that there is a WATERFALL in some river in Rochester, I was mildly into it, but then when I saw that some goof in the 1800s allegedly jumped over Niagara Falls & survived, then tried to do it again over these ones in Rochester and died in front of an audience of 8000, I was like HENRY, ADD A NEW STOP TO THE ROUTE. #coolstorybro #butdidyouask

First we went to some parking lot which had a really awkward overlook-that-was-more-of-a-patio, and there were two people eating lunch at a table there and watching Chooch and I skulk around, so that was kind of uncomfy. But then I looked over and saw that there was a big ass pedestrian bridge across the way so I screamed to Henry (who didn’t even get out of the car) that he took us to the wrong place, ugh.

So then Henry brought us to the Pont de Rennes bridge. There were all kinds of historical facts along the bridge but I was only interested in the waterfall that some goof jumped over.

Me, after wiki’ing him: Wow. That’s actually really sad. Now I feel bad that I called him “some goof.”
Henry: good job.

APPARENTLY, he actually survived his first jump but the audience was like, “BOO YOU CAN DO BETTER” and essentially PEER-PRESSURED him to do it again from a higher platform!! What motherfuckers!!!

ANDREW JACKSON NAMED HIS HORSE AFTER HIM. (“Sam Patch,” not “Some Goof.”)

(Oh btw, his name was SAM PATCH. lol.)

Maybe next time we come back, Henry can go here and GIT SUM BEEEEER.

I asked Chooch if he thought it was cool and he said, “No it wasn’t cool! You knew I had to pee so bad, so what did you do? YOU BROUGHT ME TO A GODDAMN WATERFALL!”

Lol. Oh yeah.

He got to see geese and deer though, so it wasn’t ALL BAD.