TR: Valravn & Cedar Point Opening Day (5/6-5/7/2016)

I’m not going to go into a ton of depth here with this TR, but hopefully there’s enough to it to be of value.

We planned on going to Season Passholder Preview Night and it was an insane mess. Traffic was backed up the causeway well into the evening. Perhaps if we went at 9PM or after, we’d have gotten in without a long wait and been on something like Raptor and had some fun. However, traffic on US-23, I-495, and the Ohio Turnpike caused us to end up arriving an hour and 15 minutes after we anticipated to be in town. That was a real bummer. As such, rather than go straight to Cedar Point and run into a wall of cars at 7PM, we just got dinner at the Sandusky Berardi’s location and looked across the harbor from Sandusky’s downtown. We ended our evening getting enormously fatty confections at Kalahari and taking in what the interior looks like post-renovation (nice!).


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TR: Toronto (1/22-1/24/16)

When I don’t go to Toronto with my wife, I sleep on a couch. That’s just how things are in my life.

(In fact, writing that made me realize I still had my friend David’s sleeping pad. I need to get that back to him. Whoops.)

Back to business: the rare opportunity to see the band Sleep came up thanks to the wise spotting of my buddy Nash, and he wanted to go. And I wanted to go. And Nash had friends we could crash with, which meant I wouldn’t spend money on a hotel room. Plus I could meet people. This seems like an incredibly minor detail, but it’s only now that I enter my mid-30s that I recognize that I don’t actually dislike people as a concept, but just particular people. There’s constructive types whom by being around them, you personally grow and so do they and there’s a mutual thing that’s really wonderful that happens as a result, and then there’s the opposite. Nash has, without doubt, been one of these constructive types for me personally (I hope I reciprocate!), and generally those sorts of people know other people of a similar ilk.

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TR: Niagara Falls & more (1/12-1/14/16 & 2/26-28/16)

How often do I find myself in the same place twice in two months this far from home? Well, judging from this blog, it happens with some degree of regularity. I went to Orlando twice in consecutive weekends within the last three years, so Niagara Falls being a place I could drive – well, that’s obviously somewhat easier. Trip 1 was taken in tandem with my friend Joe, a blogger extraordinaire and future Cedar Point lifestyler. The second was with my wife. The first was impromptu; like so impromptu we didn’t book a hotel until just a couple of hours ahead of time. The second was actually a replacement for the Mall of America on 24 hours notice, which got canned because, hey, the weather looked bad, OK? It was all a bit disorganized looking, perhaps? Continue reading

TR: Southwestern US, Phoenix/Vegas/etc (12/30/15-1/4/16)

This is yet another in a storied (?) history of doing non-narrative trip reports about trips to go visit my father and stepmother in Arizona. For much of the trip, we were in Avondale doing Avondaleish sorts of things. Sometimes we weren’t and we did nonAvondaleish sorts of things. Our plan of heading to Yuma for a boat ride and some light hikes ultimately got canned at the last second, and my wife and I wound up heading over to Vegas for an overnight instead before returning to Arizona and my Dad’s. Continue reading

TR: Asia Trip 2015 – Part 15: Haw Paw Villa/National Museum (10/31/2015)

Boarding the subway on our last day in Singapore, we still had a healthy number of options of things to do with the city. One thing we wouldn’t be doing on this last full day of vacation? Spending a lot of it at the border. We bandied about the idea of heading over to Johor Bahru, Malaysia, just across one of the bridges connecting Singapore to mainland Malaysia, for Legoland. Ultimately, while this is actually conceptually easy, the difficulties of dealing with lines on both sides and being “trapped” at the park for hours waiting for the return bus seemed exceedingly unappealing. On the other hand, with the city itself, there were plenty of things we could do and see without the potential of spending 3 hours in various queues surrounded by armed military.

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TR: Asia Trip 2015 – Part 14: Singapore Zoo (10/30/2015)

My blog makes it quite clear: my wife and I go to many zoos. Zoos here, zoos there, zoos just about everywhere. We like them. Singapore, we’ve heard many times over, has a zoo. Not just a single zoo either: there’s really four zoos, each separately gated, each part of “Singapore Zoo.” I didn’t totally understand that until I was, well, at the gates. We arrived at those somewhere around 11AM after grabbing some breakfast up at the lounge of the Marriott and I had been down the street to Tang Plaza to haggle over a charger for my camera battery. Shopping in Singapore is most assuredly a contact sport if you want a decent deal. Continue reading

TR: Asia Trip 2015 – Part 13: Universal Studios Singapore & Sentosa Island (10/29/2015)

After the cruise ship pulled into port, we were off to the races. Self check gets off the ship first, and after the process of departure, we wanted as much time as possible to try and make it to Universal for opening. As time started to back up on the boat and off in the lines, I began to think that perhaps we’d move the Universal day back to Friday and do the zoo. Ultimately we didn’t make up our minds until we were in Orchard metro station, free of bags and without a hotel room to get situated in. Screw it – we can make Universal!

Making one’s way to Sentosa Island is a process – there’s a walkway that’s free to use, but for the sake of saving ourselves a few steps, we used the monorail. There’s also buses and a cable car as options, but none of those will get you as close to the Universal Studios entrance. Ultimately, that was the goal here, not really anything else this hour of the morning. Even with all the changes and learning the metro system (a lot like Dubai’s, for what that’s worth), we managed to make it to the gate just in time to see a significant crowd built outside and 5 minutes remaining to turnstiles spinning. Continue reading