Bubala, Mumi & Max

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Life Has Been Such A Whirlwind Since I Saw You

My recent trip to upstate New York was nice. I started the week off in the Rochester/Buffalo area. I spent my first night there riding a few coasters at a nice little amusement park in Rochester right next to Lake Ontario called Seabreeze. They have an awesome spinning wild mouse coaster called Whirlwind. Their wooden coaster, Jack Rabbit, is nice too. The Jack Rabbit is 87 years old this year. I think that is one of the things that I like so much about riding roller coasters. Some of the rides have so much history. So many people have ridden on those same rails as me. Some of them are still living. Some of them are gone. But, we all shared that two minutes of sheer and utter joy/madness/terror... whatever it is for you. We all have that in common. It's all very special to me.

The next day, I jetted on over to Darien Lake in Darien Center, New York. Darien Lake is a larger park. Very spread out. It is not laid out all that well either. There are a lot of paths that lead to nowhere. Of course, being a man, I absolutely refused to pick up a park map to navigate my way around the park, so I ran into most of the dead ends at some time during the day. Darien Lake had five brand-spanking-new (new to me that is) roller coasters for me to conquer. Fortunately, the crowds were light and the lines were short, so I didn't have to wait very long for any of the rides. So, I rode all of the Darien Lake coasters at least once and then I moved on along to the next park.

Next stop on the Great Upstate Coaster Tour was Martin's Fantasy Island up near Niagra Falls in Grand Island, New York. Fantasy Island is another smaller park with only two roller coasters. One of them is another spinning wild mouse. The other is a nice double out and back wooden coaster called the Silver Comet. The Silver comet is what is called a hybrid coaster. The tracks are wooden, but the support structure is steel. Whatever it is, I liked it. So, I rode it twice.

There was also a Double Shot tower ride at Fantasy Island. I'm a big fan of tower rides, so I went on. As I was ascending the tower, I looked out, and I could see another amusement park off in the distance. It was Marineland over the border in Ontario, Canada. There is only one roller coaster at Marineland, so I hadn't made any plans to visit. Also, I was under the assumption that I would need a passport to cross the border. I would later find out that a passport was not needed to get into Canada.

By this time, it was about 4:30pm. I had ridden seven coasters already today, so I decided that it was time to quit coastering and check out the local sights. I was only six miles away from Niagra Falls and I had never been before, so I hopped in the car and headed North.

Niagra Falls was a blast. I took a ride into the falls on The Maid Of The Mist. While on the boat, I got to talking to a family from Ohio. They informed me that I did not need a passport to get into Canada like I had previously thought. They told me that a driver's license would be all that I needed. What?!? No passport??? Well, hell then. Canada, here I come!

The Canada border patrol police were certainly not the friendliest Canadians that I have ever met. One officer in particular kept asking me what brought me to the New York area.

Of course, my first response was, "An airplane."

He was not amused.

He asked me again. I answered very matter of factly this time that I was in New York to go to a few amusement parks and ride some roller coasters. Obviously, that wasn't the right answer either, because he asked me again, more sternly this time, what brought me to the New York area.

"Um, I've never been here before? I'm here to see the falls and check out Canada, Eh? And all that stuff?"

Wrong again!

Okay, I was completely stumped by now. I was about to call it quits and just give up and go back on home to America when he asked me one time what brought me to the New York area.

"I'm on vacation," I blurted out. "I'm just trying really, really hard to have a nice vacation and I thought that it would be fun to visit Canada while I'm here."

That must have been the right answer, because the unfriendly Canadian border patrol officer tossed my driver's license back in my face and very un-welcomingly invited me to come on in to Canada.

I have to admit that it really wasn't worth all of that hassle and humiliation to get into Niagra Falls, Canada. It was okay. A lot of touristy stuff. Haunted houses, souvenir shops, restaurants. I'm glad I did it once, but I don't feel the need to go back any time soon. To add insult to injury, I had to pay 50¢ to get out of Canada and back into America! That seems like much more of an American thing than a Canadian thing to do... Charge a toll just for people to get out of your country? Jeesh!

Anyway, I headed back across the border and back to the hotel to get some sleep before my big drive to the Albany area for the final leg of this amusement park trip.

The next day, bright and early, I was off to Great Escape Fun Park in Lake George, New York.

Great Escape is another larger park. It was originally called Storytown USA when it opened in the 1950's. There are a lot of fairy tale related props and stuff left over from the old days scattered throughout the park. The place reminded me a lot of the old Enchanted Forest here in Maryland. I had a great time for sure, but five more coasters later, I was really ready to head back to the hotel and get some rest.

All in all, I rode fifteen new coasters at four different parks in three days. Including air travel, I logged over 1,400 miles on this trip. As you can probably imagine, I was more than ready to hop on a plane and get my tired, old, nerdy roller coaster riding ass on home.

Of course, as soon as I opened the front door at home, my mind was already plotting out a new amusement park adventure. Like Mumi keeps saying to me though...

"Augustus... save some room for lay-tuh!"

I really am starting to believe that I have a serious problem here...

(P.S. I'll post some pics later!)


Blogger DiamondFistWerny said...

You knew there was something rotten about me? Thanks. And here I was reaching out to you, because you were talking about how you had no local buds to hang with.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Donn said...

Wow, Jason what a great adventure (no wait you did not go to that park). Sounds like an awesome time!! You do not know how much I'd love to shed this corporate shell and break free and drive and have fun. See there's that big kid in me who has the action figures coming to surface again. Anyhow glad you had a great time.

12:09 PM  

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