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.
After last year’s opening weekend debacle, we chose to not go then. And subsequently, we also didn’t go for a month after opening day because we had other plans. Things happen, and chief among them is our own lack of interest in having a sub par time at Cedar Point. Our first trip of the year would then be in mid-June, with weather that would probably be warmer and sunnier and less likely to offer ice falling from the sky, winds exceeding the hilariously paltry tolerances of Cedar Point’s rides, or the larger crowds of Memorial Day.
Our morning started off right: free breakfast with our rate at the Courtyard Rockford was delicious. We left the room on time. Cameras charged up. Weather looking pretty solid. Everything was working out. Except for, as alluded to in the last trip report, Google having given us a bad address for House On The Rock. Add in an hour of driving time, and we were kinda bummed out about how the rest of the day would unfold because of what it potentially meant us needing to trim. We just had to agree: what’s done is done. We must move on. And into the hills we went, past Madison, past a bunch of other towns that I don’t remember the name of, and then to the strange flower pots that are on either side of the House on The Rock’s driveway.
3 1/2 hours to the north of Kansas City lies the city of Des Moines, and with it, the small amusement park of Adventureland. Having altered this and the following day multiple times during the trip, we had cancelled our plans to give Des Moines a more than cursory look, and instead booked it straight to the park, and then…well…we weren’t entirely sure. We had a hotel booked in Cedar Rapids, but we were willing to change things if necessary. Like in Kansas, driving on the freeway isn’t an exciting experience, nor are you likely to see much of anything. Aside from deer in fields far away, nothing gets the heart racing out here.