Aug 262023

Actually whipped out the ‘good’ camera in Tallinn, Estonia and forced Chooch to have his picture taken a bunch of times. These are those pictures. (That’s his “get this over with” forced smile :))

One of my co-workers kind of made me feel like a basic bitch for taking a day trip to Tallinn, but I swear it was such a highlight for all of us, really. The Old Town was so enchanting, the people were wonderful, the vibes were right. I will definitely say  more about that in future posts, but I’m just really glad that I was able to get some decent shots of Chooch in this great town of marzipan & amber.

Aug 242023

Henry in the lobby of the Tivoli Gardens Hotel. 

Oh my god you guys. Once we got to our room, I took a shower and a quick 60-minute nap and then felt like an actual new person and not like some possessed asshole about to spew pea soup from her dirty mouth.

Henry and I changed and went out for a pre-dinner stroll along the other side of the city near our hotel. Chooch wanted to sleep some more so we abandoned him as usual.

Views from the side of the road that our hotel was on.

Even  though I was almost flattened by a bicycle, I decided that my initial disdain for the city earlier that day was unwarranted and definitely could be attributed to me needing a shower and a major mood adjustment.

We walked for a good hour, taking it all in. In the end, I was back on the Copenhagen Love Wagon. Sorry for my earlier opinions, CPH. It wasn’t you, it was me.

I was really nervous for the 8PM dinner later that night with Coaster Crew and even at one point tried to drag my feet. We did end up going to the dinner and I am so glad I didn’t let my anxiety get the better of me because this truly set the tone of the whole trip for us. I wasn’t sure what to expect – would we be sitting at giant tables, banquet style, taking turns standing up and introducing ourselves? I was frantically rehearsing what I would say JUST IN CASE. YOU NEVER KNOW.

But it turned out it was in the hotel’s dining room, with a magnificent buffet set up, and even a chef grilling outside! Tim was really concerned that Chooch and I would have enough to eat, I  guess we were the only non-meat eaters in the group, but my guy – this was the best buffet I had ever grazed. I could have subsisted solely on the bread alone! SO MUCH GOOD BREAD. And apparently, the chef was even grilling up veggie burgers! Good ones, too! Made with beets and so fresh-tasting.

But wait!! The food part was great and all but something even better happened before we even got up to fill our plates. The three of us had snagged a table for 4 and mere moments after we sat down, a woman came over and asked if she could join us.


Was she dropped on us by the Roller Coaster Tycoon gods??

Of course, Chooch, being 17 and so completely surly, thought that this was going to be awful because going into this trip, he said to me, “I’m not doing this to make friends. I’m not going to learn anyone’s names. I don’t care.” But then by day three, he’d be coming back from the bathroom at a park or whatever and say things like, “I was just talking to Larry and <insert gossip>.”

*BRB, I’m crying again, missing all these awesome people, ugh*

Back to the woman asking to join us. You guys, her name is Pam, she lives in Philly, and she quickly became my favorite person on the trip! She gave BIG Barb Riley energy, for those who remmeber the golden years of the law firm when I worked with the greatest lady ever, Barb. Goddammit, I still her miss her so much. Pam was like if Barb was super into roller coasters. We had very easy conversation with her all evening, and even when Henry and I left Chooch at the table with her when we went back for more desserts like the pigs that we are, Chooch even managed to talk to her rather than sit in awkward silence! I was so proud of him, putting himself out there like that.

Look, these situations aren’t always the easiest, you know? A lot of these people already knew each other from other Coaster Crew events in America, and some of them had even gone on past international trips with the group. So, while we weren’t necessarily the odd ones out like I was so concerned about, we definitely had a bit of a disadvantage. Pam joining us that night gave me the confidence boost that I needed, and I vowed to talk to more people at dinner. So, during one of my buffet prowls, I ran into a woman with a Coaster Crew name tag who was also pacing the food alone. I totally launched myself on her. “Hi, I’m Erin and I don’t know anyone here!” I cried, just basically leaning into my desperation at that point.

I chose a good victim, because Cassie from Indy ended up being so kind and because of this initial interaction, she made sure to say good morning, etc. nearly every day after that. Cassie was there with her friend Sherry, who was also a great lady and I’m so glad to have met them!

Meanwhile, Henry came back to the  table with LICORICE ICE CREAM. “Where did you get that?” I cried, and he told me that some man from our group was standing near him at the ice cream bar and pointed it out, so of course I sent Henry back up to get  me my own bowl. Pam observed this and turns out, she’s a very quick study – she was saying “Poor Henry” by the very next day!

Near the end of the night, a couple from Columbus came over to introduce themselves – Larry and Jean. Evidently, Larry was the one who alerted Henry to the fact that LICORICE ICE CREAM was an option in the ice cream bar, so shout out to Larry! Anyway, it turns out that Larry and Jean are Coaster Crew vets and when I say they went out of their way to make us feel included, I’m not joking. Such great people!!

Can you believe I was so nervous about this?! Not even the first full day and we already made some really great connections. I was so giddy when we went back to the room later and totally rearin’ to go the next morning! I can’t wait to tell you (and maybe you too) about our first park, Bakken!

This is going to take me at least a month to recap everything, buckle up buttercup.

Aug 212023

We left Pgh around 11am on Thursday, August 3rd, then went from JFK –> CDG / Paris –> Copenhagen by 10am Friday August 4th. It was not ideal, we were exhausted, Chooch had a stomachache, there were SCREAMING KIDS on both the long-haul flight* and the short flight from Paris to Copenhagen. I was so frazzled by the time we arrived and then of course Henry was peak annoying when it came time to get public transit figured out, a Danish train guy yelled at us because we weren’t sure if we were getting on the right train — we were struggling. I mean, who is really their best self on a travel day, anyway.

*(The banshee on this flight actually made me feel like I was about to snap – I have NEVER heard a toddler (I believe that’s what it was) SHRIEK as much as this fucking kid for NEARLY THE ENTIRE FLIGHT – I was so pissed; I kept hissing, “HOW IS THIS HUMANLY POSSIBLE??” to Henry, who just shrugged it off because no sound of any sort outside of the voices of Chooch and me bother him.)

I know this but it still really distorted my opinion of Copenhagen and most of the day was….meh. I won’t lie and act like we were living our best lives on that day, you guys. We were hot messes and I actually broke down and cried dramatically in the lobby of the hotel because Chooch jammed the revolving door with his luggage, which caused a ruckus and he tried to blame it on me and all I wanted to do was wash my stupid face and eat my first cinnamon roll of many.

In the airport shuttle before jet lag and TOO MUCH TIME TOGETHER in TOO MANY PLANES tore our family apart.

I did wash my wash my face in the hotel bathroom after we stored our luggage in the EARLY BIRD suitcase repository, but I was still HUMMING with EMOTION.

Then we set off to…nowhere because I was being a big crybaby still and yammering on about how we had “no time” since our flight came in an hour later but it was still only around noon at this point, we couldn’t check in until 3, and our Coaster Crew welcome dinner wasn’t until 8pm that night. I always go into panic mode when we travel because I’m afraid of running out of time, missing essential sights, not “doing” it right. All the travel vlogs I watched, all the notes I took, all the Top 10 Must Do lists I read – my brain ran it all through a shredder.  I know deep down that is impossible to see it all (we’ve been to Korea twice now and came back both times realizing that OH SHIT, WE FORGOT TO GO TO <xyz> or whatever. So I really try to remind myself that just being there, being in the moment, looking around, slowing down – these are the things that matter. But you think that stops me from throwing hyper-fits? Ha! I was a real hornet that day.

Tivoli Gardens!! This was the second part on our Day 1 Coaster Crew agenda but it’s located in the middle of the city, right near the train station, so we couldn’t help but walk near it and get a sneak peek from the street.

First, we just walked around aimlessly until Chooch stepped up and asked, “Tell me the place you wanted to go to and I will get us there.” I was still pouting and kept saying “Forget it” but he finally got me to say Nyhavn. I knew that by this point, it was going to be packed because it’s one of THE tourist spots of Copenhagen but I’m sorry, I’m just basic enough to really want to see the iconic colored buildings and canal, OK?? I am human after all! Chooch figured out how to get there but then we had to rely on Henry the Bumbling Transit Guy to figure out the rest.

Henry kept trying to get tickets from the thing for the trains even though I kept saying, “That is for the train” and then he would say, “It is the same thing” and then I would say, “The train and the metro are different my guy” and he would say, “No they are not.” And we went round and round like this to the point where the sight of a middle-aged man pressing a disheveled woman with her blouse unbuttoned and bra pulled down against a pillar in the middle of the train station did not make me as giddy as such a sight normally would. But I still had the light-hearted “Oh Europe” thought in my head.

Anyway, finally Henry listened to me, and we found the entrance to the metro, where he was then able to get our tickets and we set off to whatever stop Nyhavn could allegedly be found.

Taking a pause from trying to mansplain transit shit to me.

Anyway, we got off wherever Chooch said to, and we saw these glorious sights:


We just kept walking and walking and walking and the whole time, Chooch kept muttering something about how Google said that Nyhavn was permanently closed, and I spat, “Um, I don’t think an entire iconic section of town is permanently closed???”

Chooch led us to basically a large body of water and was like “OK we’re here” and I know my eyes are bad, but this looked nothing like the famous views of Nyhavn that I have seen for like, half of my life? I didn’t even take any picture, so I have nothing to show for it, but I was so confused. Chooch goes, “It’s a bar, right? I told you – it’s not here. It’s permanently closed.”

NO, IT’S NOT A BAR?? Apparently when he googled Nyhavn the first thing that came up was the address for a bar that no longer exists. I will leave off the part where I threw a fit and declared that I was just going home (like, home to Pgh, not the hotel) all because of one stupid misunderstanding. I’m telling you – I am not fun on travel days. I never have been.

Anyway, Chooch got the right address locked in and we started walking again – it was fine, Copenhagen is pretty walkable (as long as you’re being conscious of the millions of dinging bicycle bells around you ugh) and we got to see some more cool shit on the way to the correct locale.

I would live there.

Anyway, we finally made it and it was, as expected, a huge tourist trap, full of pushy people trying to get The Shot for the ‘gram. Sucks that we didn’t get in as early as we were supposed to because my initial plan was to hit this spot up ASAP to beat the crowds, but whatever. Veni vidi vici, etc.

It was still really surreal to see it in real life, crowds aside.

I think it actually wasn’t THAT crowded. I imagine weekends would be even worse.

Anyway, that was whatever. Cool to see!

And then we just walked around a bunch. Looked at all the old-ass shit. Contemplated buying a plate but then worried about traveling with it (spoiler alert: I ended up bringing so much glass home in the end anyway; shoulda bought the stupid plate.) Tried to not sprain our ankles on cobblestones or get knocked over by the droves of distracted tourists.

I will say though that the girl we talked to at the Reinh van Hauen bakery was super sweet! I asked her to choose her favorite pastry for me and she selected that chocolate icing thing on the left, which was filled with cinnamon and so good – a great choice and I thanked her for it before we left! Taking time to sit down at this bakery was exactly what I needed though. I really need to try to be a slower tourist! I’m also so harried and wanting to run run run.

I know this probably seemed like a super negative post but I really wanted to be real about how subpar the first part of arrival day was. It drastically improved once we went back to the hotel for check-in at 3pm, met Coaster Crew’s leader Tim (I saw him sitting in the lobby talking to some dudes and I said, “WE HAVE TO GO AND INTRODUCE OURSELVES, MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION” because I was dead set on not lurking in the shadows on this trip) which went very well, and then took an hour nap in our super cute Tivoli Garden hotel room.

Part 2 will be much more upbeat, I swear! And then pretty much every day after that will be a 10/10.


Aug 202023

5 countries 🇩🇰 🇸🇪 🇳🇴 🇫🇮 🇪🇪 (7 if you count layovers 🇫🇷 🇳🇱), 13 parks (+1 run-down carnival thing in the middle of Tallinn), 65 coasters, 4 pounds gained from a 2 week diet of licorice/rye bread/cinnamon rolls, 1 Depeche Mode bar, dozens of new friends made, getting caught in what was apparently the worst storm that Scandinavia had seen in over 20 years (Storm Hans, which derailed – or ‘deferried’ as it were – a portion of the Coaster Crew itinerary but managed to become the best memory), and now we’re home! Sad for it to end but so happy to see my cats (shout out to my mom for keeping them company!) and to give my body a rest and start stalking the channels of the coaster YouTubers on our trip so we can relive the chaos!

That may have been the wildest trip of my life (SO FAR!). I love Coaster Crew. I love roller coasters. And I love that this is something we do together as a family! (Even though we fight 80% more than usual while traveling – families tho, right?)

Our travel day yesterday was…fine. Taxi picked us up right before 4am (ugh), first flight was at 7am to Amsterdam, then to ATL, then home. The flight to ATL was pretty annoying. The flight attendants were so unfriendly and unprofessional. I was not a fan. But I’m also not a fan of flying, either.

I always hate the end of vacations but I can honestly say that I think even one extra day would have been too much. We were already pushing it by tacking on those extra 5 days at the end and while it was definitely worth it (Finland and Estonia were absolutely wonderful), it really took a toll on us especially considering that part of the trip we were on our own. LOTS OF PUBLIC TRANSIT, people. We got a lot of use out of our Helsinki pass, that’s for sure.

Now to start editing photos and shoving recaps at your eyeballs! STAY TUNED!

P.S. it took me forever to arrange all those park maps up there for one stupid picture and then like 3 minutes later Henry strides over and says, “I found this Linnanmaki park map, do you need it?”


Aug 182023

After packing, Henry and I went out for one last walk around Helsinki. As with most places, I wish we had more time to spend here and I would love to come back one day! I mean, there *is* another park here that we didn’t make it to, so….lol.

Here are some photos I took during our walk.

We stopped at Fazer’s Cafe (the original location, apparently!) and I had an ACTUALLY GOOD chai latte and my last salty licorice (salmiak) ice cream fix. :( I know I’m in the minority here but goddamn I love that shit. Henry and Chooch think it’s disgusting and won’t come anywhere near it, haha.


Anyway, we’re at the Helsinki airport now, Saturday morning, 5:18am, waiting for our 7am flight to start our long trek home. This trip was so exhausting but in the best way. I say this all the time but I really want to make a scrapbook!!

Oh and I tried to actually record some stuff and Chooch allegedly is going to help me edit everything so maybe someday I will have something that I can share here?!

Aug 172023

Checking in from the ferry to Tallinn, Estonia! This is the first time of the whole trip that it was warm enough (for me, anyway) to wear shorts. I tried to shave in the tiny shower of our Helsinki apartment last night and just realized now that I missed half of my right leg so that’s great. I know, I know, normalize hairy lady legs etc etc but it bothers me personally. I’m about to buy a razor on this ferry and dry-shave in a bathroom stall, lol.

We should be in Tallinn in about an hour and I’m so excited! Aside from the coaster crew portion of the trip, this is my most anticipated excursion so I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Aug 152023

Hello from a train traveling from Turku –> Helsinki. This morning was absolute chaos because Henry is literally the biggest dunce when it comes to traveling and single-handedly took everything I had planned for a half-day in Turku and set it aflame. It’s fine. Chooch saved the day as usual because he actually understands how various modes of transportation work.

But anyway, all of that is to say to that I really really really miss Coaster Crew and the organization that came with the trip. I know it can be better to travel outside of the confines of a tour group when it comes to flexibility but sometimes the convenience is unmatched.

Yesterday was our first day without the group and I was really feeling it. I miss them so much you guys. When we came back to the Sheraton after Gröna Lund on our last night, everyone kind of hung out in front saying goodbye and it was beyond emotional (well, not for Henry – he didn’t make any friends).

Here’s me and Pam in the luggage room at the hotel! She was hands down my fave person that I met. Real Barb Riley vibes from that one.

Then Tim and I made each other tear up twice – he said we’re a sweet family and in my head I was like “you must have missed the 728394 bickerings we had this whole time” lol.

After we got settled in our room, Henry and I walked to a pharmacy to get contact solution for me and fries for Chooch at McDs, then we went down to the hotel bar to hang out with Pam and Sherry, who were being hit on by some guy named Hans who wanted to go to Pam’s room to “exchange email addresses.” I was dying. Sherry had this look on her face like “STOP ENGAGING WITH THIS CREEP.”

Tim and several others were also hanging out in the lounge so I was really soaking up as much as I could. I hate saying goodbye to people! (I’m crying on the train now lol.) I have so much to recap once we get home in a few days and it is going to take so long and will 100% not do the trip justice.

I know some people might think it’s weird or a “waste” to travel for theme parks / rollercoasters but we had the best time, saw some crazy shit, made time for tourism, rode some bucket list rides, rode out the worst storm that the region had seen in the last 20 years when we were in Denmark (Storm Hans), survived a 13 hour overnight bus ride to Norway when the ferry was canceled, and did this all with so many nice/crazy/interesting people who I hope to see again one day. I will never regret taking a chance and signing up to do this trip, knowing no one from the group, having to take a loan out against my 401k to afford it because it was something that just felt worth it, and that turned out to be true.

I will never forget it. And it ended so fittingly with me and Chooch in the back row of Monster with Sam and Dewey, last train of the night, everyone on the train screaming “Coaster Crew! Coaster Crew!” when it came back to the station.

Ugh my goddamn stupid dumb heart. Ow.

Aug 132023

There was a car show outside of our hotel this morning! I walked over to snap some photos for my car-enthusiast dad and was excited to see some Saabs because when I was a teenager, I wanted a Saab in the worst way because OJ Simpson’s daughter had one lol.

Chooch and I were kind of standing off on the side at first but some guy came over and said, “Come look, come look!”

Plus the trolley!

Also, I’m sad because this was the LAST BREAKFAST with the group. Pam sat with us so it was good. But now we’re on the bus back to Kolmarden for more ERT on Wildfire and people moved around again so it’s disorienting.

Aug 122023

Today is Saturday I think. It’s currently 10:30pm and we’re unwinding in our hotel room in Norrköping Sweden after one ultra long day. First of all, we had to check out of the glorious Curiosa Hotel in Gothenburg after two wonderful nights, and be on the bus for a 6:20AM departure for a small park called Skarra Sommerland for three credits. We almost all passed out as soon as the bus left the hotel. I was mad because it was a new bus and it made me feel disoriented!! Some people changed seats and I didn’t approve. Anyway, we were almost to the park when Tim came on the speaker and said that he had found out via email THIRTY MINUTES before we were expected to arrive that the main attraction, the coaster we were supposed to have ERT on, was DOWN and they were trying to get a part from another park.

We still went because we had already driven out of the way for the +3 credits so we had to make the best of it. Then another coaster was down, plus a major flat ride. So we rode a spinning wild mouse and they opened some stupid flag ride in kiddie land for us. It was a let down but we all made the best of it. I was laughing because after we left there to go to Kolmarden, there was one part where the bus was swaying because the road was so rural and wonky and someone behind me said, “Wow this is the best ride we rode all day” and someone else yelled, “put your hands up guys!” This group is awesome.

I will recap that part of the day more thoroughly when I do the park recaps, but I wanted to share some pictures from the town we’re staying in tonight. It’s about 25 minutes away from Kolmarden (which we will be returning to tomorrow morning for 2 hours) and SO CUTE! It’s only our second legit European style hotel on the trip so far (ie not a park resort, etc) and I am awash in nostalgia from my childhood European trips!

First though we had to get up to the rooms and it was a huge cluster being such an old hotel because there were only two elevators and everyone kept piling in and setting off the WEIGHT ALARM so then only 3 people could go up at a time. It was a whole thing so when it was finally our turn, Henry went in with Mark and someone else so Chooch and I pushed our luggage in with him and said we would just go and find the steps. Wow, that was an ordeal – super hard to find.

We tried taking the steps when we left our room to go exploring, but Chooch took us out the emergency exit and set off the fire alarm. One of the younger guys from our group, Hunter, joined us a floor or two down and we were like, “Um what is that sound?” and Henry was like HE SET OFF THE FIRE ALARM and we were like, “UM, AWKWARD” so we ducked into an elevator and pretended like it wasn’t us, lol.

Views from our room:

I love this cutie room!

Our nighttime stroll was really nice (Henry might have a different opinion lol). Chooch kept saying he was bored but I really thought this town was very quaint and beautiful. I had never heard of it before, so thank you Kolmarden for not budging on a group discount and forcing Tim to find a hotel offsite.

We walked to a nearby grocery store because I needed saline solution (didn’t have any) and the cashier was so nice and asking us where we’re from and what we think of it here. Honestly? Fucking love it. Sweden in general has been chef’s kiss. Of course I don’t love it as much as SK (as in, I haven’t imprinted with it) but I definitely fell in love with it and can see myself already being desperate to return, ugh.

I’m super attached to the people in our group though, even the ones that I never talked to, and I am not ready to say goodbye tomorrow night. I’m happy that it’s only the first half of our trip that’s ending, but sad that we’ll be on our own starting on Monday. And also sad that we’ll be leaving Sweden on Monday, too!

It is going to take me months to recap everything. I even have been trying to record more video this time too because that is one of the many things I regret about our SK trips – I took barely any video.

Of course we all still have at least one argument a day (usually food-related or because someone is gaslighting) but I am generally very happy with how things have gone so far and I know I have probably said these words 894x here, on Instagram, in my handwritten vacation journal, Twitter, or out loud to anyone who will listen, but I am so happy we took a chance and put our faith in Coaster Crew and maybe spent more than we could afford, but it has been worth it so much for this experience, friendships, and memories! I’m so happy but also ready to cry, lol.

Even the parts of the itinerary that didn’t go as planned because of weather or technical issues haven’t been enough to ruin the trip or even the day. Everything has been an adventure. NO REGERTZ.

(Look at me writing this like it’s the end of the chapter. Still one more full day with Coaster Crew left! And five more days with just the Oh Honestlys, trying not to get lost in Finland and Estonia.)

Aug 102023

Yooo, we arrived in Gothenburg last night around 9pm after about a 3 hour drive from Tusenfyrd in Norway.

Tim hooked us up bigly with three nights here at the Liseberg Grand Curiosa. I was actually really surprised when I saw that this is where we’d be staying because this is a brand new hotel and it is legit supreme. Actually, Tim has been hooking us up with every hotel so far – even when our “hotel” was the bus for one night – he went out of his way to make sure we were as comfortable as possible. Tim for President, honestly.

The Cure organized their own music festival one summer in 2004 and it was called Curiosa, so you know I love this place doubly.

Chooch’s private suite, lol.

I’m going to miss this hotel when we check out on Saturday, that’s for sure!

We all took showers since we were ripe after 8 hours at a park / 13 hour bus drive /8 more hours at another park / 3 more hours on the bus, and then headed up for a stroll around 10:30PM. Chooch and Henry were annoyed with me because I was being a crosswalk drill sergeant. Sorry but I don’t want to be Those People who jaywalk in another country!

We found a 24hour McDonald’s and decided to check it out. They had vegetarian and vegan options!! Chooch and I both got the McVegan.

Henry was being embarrassing with his ordering so we left him and went to get a table. Henry is literally the most embarrassing person even in other countries. Even just like, Canada. Embarrassing. South Korea was probably the worst though. Like when he would confuse “hello” and “thank you” and it didn’t even matter because he wasn’t saying any of them correctly anyway.

It was OK.

Right when we were finishing up, a whole group of the young “popular” guys from our group came in and I felt really bad for the McD’s employees at that point because this crew is wild and chaotic, lol. Some of them spotted us in the back and pointed and waved, so I waved back and of course Henry, who had his back to the door, was like “WHO IS IT??” because he always has to be part of everything. So then Chooch, Mr. “I Don’t Care About Anyone’s Names,” started rattling off the names of the people who walked in, ha.

Then we went to a convenience store for drinks. Literally one of the best parts of traveling!

We came back to the hotel around 11:30 and crashed. I cannot say enough how much fun this trip has been so far! Obviously the coasters are what we came for, but the people have made it so much better. I’m obsessed. I can’t believe I was so afraid that we wouldn’t make friends.

Anyway, we’re just chilling in our room after dinner, getting ready to back to Liseberg (our hotel is on park property) in a bit for more exploring, and then our ERT on Helix starts when the park closes at 11pm! I really wanted to do better at blogging while I’m here so I wouldn’t have a ton to post when I get home, but this is not working out very well because I have been so busy and then by the time we get to the hotel, I’m too tired to do anything but collapse! Not everyone’s idea of a vacation, but this is so my style. Gimme this over laying on a beach any day!

Aug 082023

Hello from a Tuesday evening on the bus! A lot has happened but in an effort to keep up with my micro-blogging of this trip, today’s small word bundle will be about Idiot Chooch’s 130 feet free fall on Sunday evening. Tivoli Friheden has a SCAD tower which I did know about going into this but didn’t really think much about it until that day when Tim said that it was included in the park admission for our group if anyone wanted to do it. Chooch was like, “what is it, I’ll do it” and I was like “oh great. I am so excited for my son to fall off a 50m tower into a fucking net, every mom’s dream.”

Love that the only thing he really has to say about it is that he hurt his knee again.

In “Now” news, we are in the midst of an itinerary shakeup. Starting yesterday, the weather has been real rainy and windy. Yesterday was mostly just a rain issue and luckily all the rides were open, but unforch, the forecast for the next several days were bad enough Re: wind that the ferries canceled their service so our ferry for Norway scheduled for tonight was canceled. When we got on the bus after Djurs last night, Tim broke the news to us and told us that we have two options: scrap Tusenfyrd, or drive 13 hours overnight by bus.

It was so dramatic and started to get semi-verbally hostile between some guys up on the top floor of the bus (where we are) and then some guys started shouting the pros of keeping Tusenfyrd and honestly I was in favor of the overnighter too because I want to go to Norway. Anyway, Tim had to walk around while everyone covertly showed him their vote on their phone and it felt like Survivor, like someone was getting voted off the bus. There was an overwhelming majority for OVERNIGHT so that is what’s happening and there are APPARENTLY at least two people who are very unhappy about this and are planning on leaving us in Copenhagen. (Yes, we were all the way super north in Denmark but have to drive all the way back to Copenhagen, get a new driver, cross the bridge to Sweden (which could be an issue depending on how windy it still is when we get there) drive up through Sweden to Tusenfyrd in Norway. Not the greatest but at least we’ll still get there.

Anyway, after we left todays park, Henry made some dumb joke to the bus driver about “can’t you maybe just fly us there? Maybe if we got some winged?” And it was SO UNCOMFY. i asked him to never do that again, his weird “flirting with another professional driver” voice, ugh. Then we stopped at IKEA so Tim could buy us pillows and everyone ate in the cafeteria.

Oh just 70 people unexpectedly storming IKEA 30 minutes before they closed. That was interesting. But it was so nice of Tim to get us pillows!!

Aug 062023

Hey guys! It’s Sunday and we’re on the bus leaving Copenhagen for the next destination. Yesterday was so much fun but exhausting. Here are some pictures of breakfast at the Tivoli Hotel and other assorted photos from the hotel. We sat with our new pal Pam! We met her on the first night at the hotel dinner and I felt so relieved because I was worried that I wouldn’t make any friends here! But it has been really great so far.

Anyway, on the bus yesterday, we mostly just listened to everyone around us talking until I heard someone behind us mention South Korea and T-Express. Chooch said he thought to himself, “Oh god, no.” I looked at Henry and said, “I’m going in!” Then I turned around in my seat and explained, “I LOVE T-EXPRESS!” The one guy was like “….” but the cooler guy was open to my insertion and we started talking for a bit so that was fun! Then this morning I saw the other guy who was like “….” and I said good morning! And he just looked at me and kept walking. Chooch started cracking up and I was like, “wow that hurt” lol. Most everyone else has been very welcoming though!

Anyway, I will post more thoroughly when I have time. This trip has been very go-go-go so far and I haven’t even read any of my book!!

Oh wait, here are also some pictures of our after dinner walk on Friday!

Christiansborg Palace:

Tivoli at night! We would spend the entire next evening there but this was a nice little sneak peek!

Ok, now I’m going to go back to being nebby on this bus ride. Justin is pummeling Josh with technical questions about ride attractions and it’s really interesting.

Aug 042023

Hello just checking in to say we made it to Copenhagen in case anyone is tracing us for nefarious reasons, now you know.

It was such a long and shitty travel day. I don’t know how I feel this city yet but I do know that I miss my cats, Air France is not great, and I am very cranky. I think I need to eat lots of vegetables.

Thank god tomorrow is the true start of this trip – two parks on tap! And we met the president of Coaster Club in the lobby and he is very nice so I feel a little more calm about this. Our group dinner is in 30 minutes though so we’ll see if there are any bestie candidates!

Jul 132023

I found some more old-ass vacation pictures from the 90s and thought, wouldn’t it be useless/pointless to post a picture in conjunction with the utterly worthless shit I wrote from that same day in my vacation journal? I read some of it out loud to Henry last night and his expressions of sheer disgust and annoyance was the only answer I needed. Just a reminder that Sharon was my aunt (mom’s older sis) and that I will be transcribing this exactly as written to stay true to Erin v.1993, so “wuz” instead of “was,” etc.

Buckle up, buttercup. This is going to be a train wreck.

Today, Sharon woke me ↑ at 6:30! So I had to rush.It’s 7:20 now & she’s still in the shower. I’m watching some business conversation on the Super Channel. I can’t open the windows :( Hurry up, Shar!

God, Sharon’s in a mood. She came in & I jokingly said, “Can I light a match?” and she said, “NO!” & closed her eyes & shook her head like she does. Then she blames me for her stupid hairdryer blowing out. Oh darn, she can’t dry her precious hair (that looks like a horse’s tail! Ha ha!)

We just came back from breakfast  & there wuz no one there! :) I had a fig, fruit cocktail, bacon, eggs, a French toast thing, a bite outta some kind of sweet bread that tasted awful but Sharon liked it. She’ll eat anything.

Now she’s yelling at me for not bringing my own hairdryer. Maybe it would help if I had my own hairdryer to bring! God, it’s not my fault it didn’t work. It worked fine for MOI. Maybe it’s be’cuz she uses it too long on her horse mane. I’m leaving. Goodbye.

Ugh – I was probably only gone for 5 minutes. 10 at the nmost. This hotel is so boring! Not like the Anglo-American Hotel in Florence. That was classy.

“Alice in Wonderland” – a Spanish cartoon – was just on. Alice looked ugly! She had straight red hair.

Sharon makes me do all of her dirty work. had to go check what time we leave. Which is, by the way, 9:30. Does Sharon even thank me? Noooo!

Me & Sharon were pondering after breakfast about why I always get white spots on the backs of my legs. She said she never noticed them before but they’re probably from the time my mom tried to bleach me when I wuz a youngin’. Har har, Sharon.

“Tiny Toons” is on in Spanish. It’s the one where Hampton’s on a diet & all kinds of food is saying “Eat me” to him & he goes insane.

Whoa! It’s a miracle – Sharon’s ↑! Every day after breakfast, she has to sleep. Then I’m stuck trying to amuse myself & there’s not much to do here in the hotel. Oh yeah, she has a “horsetail” on today. U G H! Megabeast.

[2023 Erin here: I have/had this theory where anytime Sharon and my one friend back then, Spring, wore their hair in ponytails, they were bound to be assholes that day. Totally set the tone. Also, I got “megabeast” from the movie Drop Dead Fred which my brother Ryan and I were obsessed with.]

It’s about 9:30 & we’re on the bus, Before, I was sitting in the lobby w/ Sharon & the one lady we walked with last nite. Then Shar left me & all these really tall people from the other tour group flocked over & I got scared. I told Sharon & she yelled at me. How rude.

Our guide’s name is Ima (short for Immaculate Conception, so she said we’re in good hands) & she’s a very good friend of Dave’s.

[2023 Erin again: Dave was the tour guide that we had for the whole trip we were on, but sometimes we would have local guides that specialized in whatever excursions we were going on, etc.]

Thank god, Sharon said we don’t have to go to the bullfight tonite. How swell. I don’t wanna see any animals killed in front of me!

They have orange trees here to make marmalade. Ooooooh…All the pigeons here are white.

We just stopped at the Spanish Pavilion & Sharon was in her glory cuz there were so many tiles. She was actually nice to me! We stayed for 10 Spanish minutes (20 American minutes!).

Ugh, it’s 1:00 & we just got back on the bus from one Hellish tour! Sharon was rude & had that Stop-What-You’re-Doing-&-Listen-To-Me-I-Know-It-All attitude whenever she talked to people. When Jill asked me my name, Sharon told her. Then they were talking about that little guy that’s in the Duncan (sic) Donuts  commercial  & they couldn’t think of his name but I knew it. [2023 Erin: DID I THO???? I certainly don’t know it now. Then Ima asked me where I’m from & Sharon pushed me out of the way after I said Pgh & she said TWA. What a loser. Then just now she asked if I wanna go on a ferry ride (no) & I said, “Yeah whatever” so now she’s getting on me. Whenever I talk to her she always says “Huh?” & I HATE repeating myself, just like my mom. [2023 Erin: First, TWA was the tour group we were with; second, I STILL HATE REPEATING MYSELF. *side-eyes Henry*] I can’t wait till Aug 1. It’s not the same w/o Pappap & Grandma.

God it’s 96° out! Ugh! I don’t feel good now.

Dave says that our hotel in Tangier is facing the ocean :)

Ah, this is the life! Sharon went to the bank so I came back to the hotel by myself & now I’m maxxing & relaxing. I’m sure Sharon is probably socializing right now. That really sickens me. [2023 Erin: lol ok sociopath, calm down.]

Oh my gosh! Right after I wrote that [insert arrows pointing to ‘maxxing and relaxing’], Fresh Prince came on!

Sharon left about 30 min ago to check out the menu at some restaurant. I tried to sleep but that was unsuccessful. Oh yeah, Sharon’s wising up & now she’s being nice. She even took me to the bar for a Black Russian. Ahem.

[2023 Erin: I have to hope I was being hyperbolic, lol.]

The Super Channel isn’t very super. “The Mix” is on now & me & Shar haven’t even heard of any of the songs or singers. But when she left, “Numb” by U2 & “What’s ↑” by 4 Non Blondes cane on. And “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak (I only know it cuz it was on a movie) & a song by Lisa Stansfield.

[2023 Erin: To this day, when I hear that 4 Non Blondes jam, I think of watching the video in Spain, and also lol @ “on a movie.”]

Yea! It’s 10 to 4 & the grocery store opens at 4:30 so Sharon will probably stop.

Sharon came back at 4:00pm & she took me to get ice cream. How sweet. But actually I think she just wanted to go back cuz she thought the guy that worked there wuz cute. She got tutti-frutti (ew) & I got raspberry sorbet (yum). Now she’s sleeping.

Oh yeah, it’s 102.2 F out there! [insert sweating frowny face]

Bliss….Sharon brought Coke back :)  I think deep down she’s still mad about the hairdryer cuz she’s letting her hair air dry right now!

I’ve been watching “On the Air” since about 4:30pm & people are calling in to sing. Some of them are pretty good. They’re playing decent videos too. Aw it’s 6:10 & this is over at 6:30 :( We  leave for the flamenco at 7:10 tho.

I just wrote a letter to Clive Pearse so I can win an “On the Air” t-shirt :)

[2023 Erin: Fun fact, I didn’t win the t-shirt but I did receive an autographed picture of Clive for my efforts!]

It’s 20 to 7 & we’re ready. Well, Shar’s still “primping.” Spare me. Her hair seemed to have dried FINE w/o a dryer. She used my moisturizer cuz she didn’t feel like getting hers, ugh!

Well, it’s 10:30 & the flamenco was “perty” cool. Me & Nick were one of the only non-dressy people. I think the guy dancers were kinda queer [2023 Erin: *slaps 1993 Erin*] but Sharon kept saying they had nice butts. Some people left early to go to the bull fight. When it was over, Shar decided that weren’t going on the bus & that we’d just go straight to McDonald’s. But she went the wrong way & I kept saying, “Sharon, isn’t it back there?” So finally, she turned around. After we ate, we were gonna go back to the hotel to get money, then go for ice cream. We crossed the bridge & we were at the Rio Grande Restaurant that we saw last nite. Somewhere after that, Sharon led us the wrong way because we were so far off it wuz pathetic! We were in the Spanish projects! [2023 Erin: wow, this paragraph has it all. Maybe there’s some upcoming ableism for a pretty tight trifecta.] All Sharon would do wuz pretend she wuz a flamenco dancer. I kept saying, “Let’s get a cab.”

[2023 Erin: Friendly reminder that I was the 13-year-old and Sharon was my adult guardian responsible for my safety on this international vacation.]

Then she saw a Ford dealership & said, “We’re on the right track.” So we’re walking & some guy says something to Sharon & start FOLLOWING US. So Sharon kept saying, “Walk faster.” Then he gave ↑. Finally she asked a guy for directions & by that time we were so far off it wuz unbelievable. We saw a tennis shop tho. [2023 Erin: 1993 Erin had clear priorities.]

Then we asked 2 ladies & when we did, we saw the church that’s by our hotel. But then we couldn’t see it anymore. So she asked this guy & he was gonna DRIVE US to it. We started going that way but then Sharon decided she didn’t trust him so she asked a cop & the same man walked past & said, “Left. Believe me.” And he was right.

[2023 Erin is having a tough time following this sequence of events, though she does remember being lost at night in Spain and references it about once every 3 years and Henry acts like he’s never heard thr.e story before.]

But Sharon had her doubts. BUT I saw the Renault dealership & I just knew we were going the right way. Then SHE saw her stupid Ford place & she was really ticking me off (she was giddy) so I walked ahead of her & found the hotel myself, after being lost for ONE HOUR. I think I saw more of Seville today than I ever have cared to.

Now she’s insinuating (again) that it’s MY fault the wacked hairdryer doesn’t work.

It’s around 11PM & we’re calling home :P

I just talked to Corey & he said “Erin go ↑ in airplane. I go on helicopter.” Grandma doesn’t want to talk.


And then that day’s entry just ends. It’s weird reading this now because it makes it seem like we were sitting in the hotel doing nothing all day, but from what I remember, we had a few hours in the late afternoon to chill before that night’s activities. Also, I have no idea who the aforementioned Nick was other than just someone in the tour group, but what schmucks we were for not dressing up for the flamenco!!

Jul 062023

Who keeps dreaming up these chaotic, long-haul road trips?! Oh, lol. But listen, Linda – it was my dream to ride ArieForce One in its opening year. I mean, sure, it’s all the way out by Atlanta, we live in Pittsburgh, etc etc. But I had it all planned out! We would leave as soon as I logged off from work on Friday, so around 6pm because we never leave exactly when scheduled, drive as far as Henry could manage that night, get a hotel, wake up early, continue driving, arrive in ATL, eat lunch at Slutty Vegan, go to Fun Spot, imprint on a new rollercoaster, sleep somewhere, wake up and drive home.

There. Planned! The Oh Honestly Erin Travel Agency gets another job done.

Man, these evening road trips always make me so goddamn slap happy and CHATTY. For instance, I think most anyone who has ever even casually glanced at this waste of space word-dump can testify that I have been planning my imaginary never-wedding for approx. 20 years.  But now that I am a bona fide ENGAGED BROAD, I have barely given a thought to this alleged wedding that presumably will happen at some point (dot dot dot question mark, print out the page, punch it into a ball, set it aflame, blow its ashes off a cliff in Siberia?).  It’s like all of my ideas have been zapped from my brain and implanted into the womb of an Alaskan virgin so look out, the next coming of Oh Honestly Erin in person-form might be spotted walking some disgusting polar tundra one day, being wildly ignored and a general waste just like this blog.

What was I saying?

OK, so since we were en route to Georgia, I started thinking about our last trip there, Thanksgiving weekend of 2021. (Actually, I think we drove through on our way to Florida last year? Maybe?)

(I think I have heat stroke.)

It doesn’t matter, just that I was remembering on one of our previous drives to Georgia, a song came on some local Tennessee radio station called THE HORSE and I became, you guessed it Steve, obsessed. I had to immediately put it on Spotify and engage in convulsive interpretive dancing to it.

Henry was like, “OK” and Chooch was like, “But did I ask.”

While it was playing for the second time (maybe it was even a remix at that point, who can be sure),  I couldn’t stop picturing Henry and I, freshly wed, totally stinking of matrimony, walking back down the aisle to this song while riding those stick-horse things.

You know, those stick-horse things.


I excitedly shared this idea with Henry.

“But people wouldn’t get it unless they knew the name of the song,” Henry joy-killed.

“Yeah, but we’ll have programs,” I said in that incredulous key of almost-hysteric woman that Henry fucking adores so much, he put a ring on it.

“I knew it,” Henry sighed. “I knew that was coming.

And the programs will have pictures of us doing very anti-Erin/Henry shit together, activities that we’d never do, like here I am in an apron cooking his breakfast, here we are riding vintage bicycles down a dirt lane.

Flying kites.

Country line-dancing?

“And then I can wear a veil [because up until this point I had never considered wearing a veil] for sure so then when you (or whoever the groom is) lift it, I’m actually Howie.

Henry gave BIG FROWN ENERGY in response.

Another day, another Days of Our Lives reference unappreciated (until I tweeted it and Monica gave it love!).

Don’t worry, I’m still stirring this thought-stew in my brain. I’ll come up with something.

Who would have thought that THE HORSE would have been the answer to unblocking my constipated wedding planning bowels. Anyway, I guess this means I will probably have at least something small as opposed to the “nothing” I had previously been settling on.

Janna, if you’re reading this: congratulations, you have an official role in our wedding – handing me my Hobby Horse on which I will gallop away, either with Henry or away from him depending on how I’m feeling that day.

I guess Chooch can hand Henry his? In my mind, I see Chooch chucking it out of Henry’s reach and saying, “Go fetch, Father.”

Here we are driving Henry crazy at the second Sheetz of leg one. This one was a small Sheetz somewhere in West Virginia. West Virginia takes forever to drive through!! I feel like I had an incident in the bathroom where there were no paper towels and I was forced to have a conversation with my sink partner about it. Talking to people in pubic restrooms makes me uncomfy.

We didn’t get to the Ramada in WYTHESVILLE, VA until around 11pm along with everyone else, it seemed. We had to stand in line for like 15 minutes which seems petty to complain about after the fact but when you have been driving for hours and just want to crash into a bed, it feels like time is running backward.

When it was our turn to check-in, Henry’s DAD JOKE mode was activated totally out of the blue and it was SO EMBARRASSING. When the young broad asked, “Is the second floor OK?” Henry asked for the THIRD FLOOR BECAUSE THERE WASN’T A THIRD FLOOR. I wanted to fucking melt into a puddle of I’m Not With Him. Seriously so lame, god help me.

Anyway, we got our key and Chooch and I immediately ditched Henry, leaving him to carry all of our bags to the room alone, haha.


Me, the next morning, before checking out and Henry setting the ball of suck into motion by choosing to go to some local cafe called THE GRIND which had like no breakfast options that were satisfactory to me, so I threw a mini-tantrum and then ended up only getting hot coffee which I then RUINED by asking for a shot of brown sugar cinnamon syrup which made it entirely too sweet and I legit was so surly about this for the next, oh, 4 hours.

Thank you. This has been “Friday In the Car.”