After spending a tidy sum on a new car and leaving it largely garage’d for the winter, this summer has gotten us plenty acquainted with our vehicle. My wife suggests she has Stockholm Syndrome related to those endless drives and only feels comfortable on epic, long mileage runs. I understand. We’ve had some pretty heavy driving summers before, but I can’t remember any quite this over the top. This weekend trip coincided with move-in week for Michigan State University. It wasn’t necessarily intentional when we chose it, but more or less a feature to be happy about, as we’d miss all the madness around our house. Actually, this was the only Saturday night available at The Wilds for a yurt when we went looking way back in mid-March. That’s crazy. Also means they must be a little successful.
I’ve done a bunch of Cedar Point trip reports, and so has everyone else that writes these sorts of things. We all know what to expect from the park and have personal opinions about things there. I’m not going to breakdown the attractions and rides this time, but more or less talk about what differences I see now versus previous trips and what I see coming down the pipeline.
After living in Michigan for several years now, you’d think by now I’d have some mastery over the amusements of the region. On my own, I found plenty of stuff that’s pretty much not charted anywhere; DAFE still doesn’t list the Haunted Depot or the Mackinac Island Haunted Theater, and I documented those in trip reports 7 years ago. But even with all the leg work I’ve done and info I’ve compiled, things come out and strike me. Appearing on RCDB for the first time last year, Funland in Houghton Lake proved that there was still a permanent roller coaster in the state that either my wife or I hadn’t been on, and in no less than a part of the state we knew practically nothing about. Subsequent exploration discovered a tourism video displaying not only the small Funland, but a second family entertainment center (FEC) style attraction that was possibly larger – Lakeland Recreation. A day was chosen, and the weather cooperated with us in the best way possible.
It is July, and what better time for the annual Michigan’s Adventure trip than now? Meredith has soured on the place, and she skipped out, preferring to spend the day with her mom relaxing at the cottage and enjoying a relaxing day of playing puzzles and reading used books purchased the day before. I, meanwhile, was driving off to Muskegon to partake in Michigan’s largest amusement park and, I guess, my home park.
Like many visits there over the years, there wasn’t any interest on my part to ride things such as Wolverine Wildcat or Thunderhawk. Been there. Done that. My concentration was on the rides that were things I hadn’t been on before which looked appealing and the one coaster there everyone knows about. So, two rides.
Trip planning around our household is sometimes a bizarre process. A trip to Hong Kong can just as easily become a Caribbean cruise on a whim. Eventually, something just leaps out and commands our attention. We are helpless to that which ultimately demands our attention. This trip, thrown together two months ahead of travel, is the perfect example. Why Maryland? Why not? For only $147, two of us were able to fly round trip to Wilmington, DE prior to the Detroit route being ended. That’s an insane price in the current environment. And that airport is the perfect jumping off point to head east to the shoreline. Ocean City is a place we’ve been before and had a great time at, thus making it an ideal place to center this test drive of a new airline and new airport.
Motorsport is an entity encountering change and a frightful future. On land, various series teeter between life and death with regularity. A reversion to the past – one of rich men circulating around race tracks for their own entertainment – is seemingly unstoppable. The connection with the average fan is being tossed away with changing attitudes about automobiles, sure, but more important to that, the new commercial landscape in which we live. No longer do companies see 200 mph billboards as being a solid way to generate consumer interest – why bother? Google and Facebook have metrics on visitors that gear products directly to the people who want them, bypassing not only television networks, but racing as well. As horrifying as this is for those who race on two and four wheels, the fears are exponentially greater for those who’s contraptions float.
Initially, when word went out that Goliath at Great America was going to be delayed for the 3rd time and putting it off our Midwestern driving trip, my reaction was really negative. Why bother, I said? Screw this park for not getting their ducks in a row and treating the guests with a degree of disrespect. I’m skipping this. Then I went on Outlaw Run and…well, I do have the season pass. Can I get in and out without spending money? Then I don’t have to be concerned with returning for a while. That’s what this weekend was about; cancelling out some of the larger costs in favor of going back and sprinting through the park, along with some new stuff.