TR: Hamburg Family Fun Festival (6/19/2015)

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Why am I at a small fair in Southeastern Michigan? Well, reasons. There’s always reasons. I’ll be honest; I didn’t go for the fair. I often proclaim my dedication to liking rides as my driving interest in my participation in this hobby, but this, this was to go meet a friend. Sean’s a good guy and I haven’t seen him in a couple years because of diverging things, but he was in Hamburg with the Eyes of Freedom Memorial, and that’s not far from my house, so why not meet up, get some dinner, and since there’s rides here….

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TR: Cedar Point (6/13/2015)

Having attended yet another disastrous opening weekend but having also had the sense to not spent much money to do so, we were free to return for another weekend at the park in Mid-June. Mid-June is our favorite time to go because everything operates and not everyone is at the park yet, making it a highly appealing proposition. This meant we’d finally get to hit some of the big coasters we skipped due to them not working back in May and re-ride other favorites. Continue reading

TR: Holiwood Nights and Kentucky’s parks (5/29-5/31/2015)

2011 was the last time I stepped foot in Holiday World. That time, my wife and I made the trip together to participate in Holiwood Nights, the spiritual successor to Stark Raven Mad, one of the coaster enthusiast world’s most iconic events. An olympic games cycle of years later, and I’m back. This time though, it is a solo journey. Meredith opted, instead, to travel to Orlando and take in a long weekend with her mother at Universal Studios and SeaWorld. Her reasoning: Holiday World isn’t that good. Most everyone I would expect annually to show up to the event also skipped. For this, a year where Holiday World’s first really significant steel coaster was opening, there was a lackadaisical attitude to the proceedings from my peer group…or at least the old guys I historically have talked to on the internet about rides. Why go then? Because coasters. That’s always the reason. Continue reading

TR: Mom Weekend 2015 – Jersey Shore (5/23-5/27/2015)

20 years after my mom and I first visited Wildwood, NJ, we returned triumphantly for the 2015 edition of the “Mom Trip”. Spurred on by a willingness to try to take every domestic carrier regardless of how crappy via cheap and excellent routing, the idea came to us as a rational extension of the trips we’ve always taken together – there would be amusements, there would be other activities, there would be opportunities to rest – all those things that are the hallmarks of our touring. And so tour we did.

Since there was a lot of back and forth in Wildwood, I’m going to eschew the typical narrative style that trip reports often follow and instead opt to go park by park and review some other stuff after the parks. The bulk of what will interest readers is the talk about rides, not anything else.

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TR: Cedar Point Opening Weekend (5/8 – 5/9/2015)

So why are we going back to Cedar Point this upcoming weekend? I know the answers are bad ones: We have had fun in the past, we want to believe it is still fun, we think it will be much better with different weather later in the year; just stuff that denotes us as dumb marks willing to spend our money badly. Look, I want to have fun really really bad, but at this point my expectations are set so low that so long as I’m not raped at knife point, I’ll probably give it a thumbs up.

Two years ago, Meredith and I swore off Cedar Point opening weekend. It is terrible, we decried! The rides barely work, the weather is awful, and the employees inefficient! And yet, here we are going back again like we hadn’t learned our lessons. Or had we? Rather than risk staying in a hotel on its first night of operation by selecting the Breakers, we opted for an outside motel, the Motel 6 Sandusky-Milan to rest. And instead of blowing out a bunch of money on a whole weekend, we opted to take a couple of hours off work, go to the first Cedar Point passholder night ever, and then visit the park until, well, whenever we were ready to depart. The only question – when would that be? Continue reading

TR: Cleveland City Fun (4/25 – 4/26/2015)

Our travels have taken us to many of the greatest cities in the United States and Europe to do a wide variety of things. And yet, with all that we’ve done, we measure our experience with what we have yet to do. When plotting what might make a really fun anniversary trip, we admired several different places and ideas, most of which we had been to before. Then an idea – what about Cleveland? Yes, what about it? The “Mistake By The Lake” is a punching bag of coastal superiority, but this year has seen the return of LeBron and an Indians team that isn’t terrible to represent it to the rest of the nation. But like Detroit, Cincinnati, and so many others, there’s a lot more to it than that. Continue reading

TR: Peru Trip 2015 Pt. 7 – Lima – Cuisine & Conclusion (3/14/2015)

Our final day in Lima, Peru was like most of those that Americans have – a day filled with activity simply because you have no choice but to be. Flights into Lima generally land very late at night, and more often than not, those same planes are refueled and sent back to the States approximately 90 minutes after landing, filled with passengers. We knew this going in and it was my job to plan accordingly. To wit; I arranged for us two light adventures to occupy our day, fill our stomachs, and venture into the center of the city.

At 9AM, we went down to the lobby and waited for our guide Arturo to appear. He was the owner/operator/guide of Lima Tasty Tours, a well regarded tour operator according to Tripadvisor, and his mission on this particular day was to take us around Lima to see the sights and get us fed. Privately setting up a tour was something I wanted because my wife is a vegetarian and it seemed like the best way to make sure her needs were met and we had things we could both enjoy. Before leaving, I was also able to obtain a 6PM check out from our hotel room – then we’d have a few minutes to freshen up after the tour. How civilized. Continue reading