Cedar Point and the Sandusky KOA

First of all, the KOA!  I have to admit, there have been several times in my life when I thought “why would I ever stay in a KOA?”  Call it camp snobbery or something, but my assumption was that if I couldn’t be backpacking, I’d want to be as far from an “organized campground” as possible.  That even if the campground were well-appointed, I’d want it to look like it was primitive.  I’m now re-thinking that.

It was actually pretty cool, and served our purposes well.  They’re clearly used to folks like us rolling in with their homes on wheels and rolling right back out, and they ensured we were up and running with everything we needed within 10 minutes.  The location left a bit to be desired.  It was hard not to flash back to My Cousin Vinny after the freight train rolled through in the wee hours.  “She’s s’posed to come through ten after 4!…”  Some day I’ll have to figure out why all the horn honking on those things, and whether they do that for their entire route or only when they pass sleeping people.

I was also surprised to see how many people seem to spend months at a time at KOAs, or at least at this one.  Some of the setups people were sporting implied very long term stays (actual porches built from lumber, satellite dishes dug into the ground and wired, etc).  I tend to see the KOA more as a fine solution to the temporary problem of “where do I sleep tonight?”

Cedar Point.  Another very cool place within very specific parameters.  It sits on a peninsula (used to be an island) that juts out into Lake Erie, and is basically a mega amusement park and resort with an emphasis on roller coasters.  There are 16, and just about all of them would qualify as the flagship ride at any other park.  I think we lucked out with the weather again.  It was low 80s, perfectly clear, and low humidity.  Cedar Point strikes me as the kind of place where you get a lot of summer thunderstorms and rarely dry off.  Not so today.

Amusement parks tend to be a mixed bag for us these days, given the kids’ ages.  Inevitably we (parents) need to split up due to the girls wanting to ride different rides than Keeper (and us).  Lots of texting and checking phone battery life. “where are you right now?”  “getting on in 5” “I’m down to 16%” “meet you in front of that fried Oreo shop”  I’m struck once again by how impossible the task of herding any sized group must have been just a few years ago, before we could tell each other exactly where we were moment by moment.  Also, and I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but my career choice notwithstanding, there are lots and lots of rides that make me feel like crap.  Even roller coasters.  Too much twisting & inverting?  I need an hour to let my head settle.  Head banging back and forth?  Sore for half the day.  Anything that swings?  Fuggedaboudit, I’m scrambled and done.

But, again, the roller coasters there are spectacular, and there was plenty for the kids to do.  Firebolt and Woodsprite were even able to up their coaster game a bit too.  Firebolt has been uncharacteristically tentative in the thrill ride department.  The last time she rode a roller coaster (at Universal in Florida), she calmly told us thereafter that “I didn’t enjoy that.  It made my heart scream.”  Fair enough, and I love your choice of words!  We did manage to find a semi-thrill ride we could all ride, that was new to me.  Basically it simulated a half-pipe and had about 40 of us in one big car that was allowed to spin freely as it rocked back and forth along the half pipe.  It was sportier than it looked from the ground.  The kids all loved it; I was about 2 minutes from puking.

I think the best ride is pictured up above, behind Keeper doing his I’m-not-the-least-bit-nervous face.  It’s called Top Thrill Dragster, and shoots you via linear induction to 125 mph, then up and over that huge vertical hill.  I guess on occasion it doesn’t quite make it over the top and comes back down in reverse.  Unfortunately we made it over the first time.  Quick ride, but intense the entire time.  I could’ve done it all day.  Keeper got to do it twice in a row due to the “parent swap” option they offer you, which, if you’re a parent of young kids and don’t know about this, by all means check it out. When I pointed out to him that a cat shot on an aircraft carrier gets you to almost twice that speed in the same distance, he responded “sure Dad, but you’re not open air and not nearly as close to the ground, so the sensation of speed isn’t the same.”  Very good point!

Another highlight was the Millennium Force, which was easily the smoothest coaster I’ve ever ridden, with nearly constant G force (from zero to ?) and a good bit of speed.  After Tacco got off she said that it was fantastic, but she was pretty sure she had greyed out at least once. (!)

Overall it was a good, if busy, day.  I think we’re all still finding our stride and trying to catch up to all the change.  It’s moving fast, and it’s taxing to stay a few steps ahead so that we’re not just reacting to everything.  There’s been no relaxing yet.  The next few days may be challenging, as I’ll be commuting to work for the first time from the road and flying for a couple days.  I’m not thrilled about leaving them behind, but it’s something we’ll all clearly need to get used to.  Working out the logistics was daunting, as we’re planning to stay at a State Rec Area in Michigan about an hour north of the Detroit airport and my flight leaves at noon, so we need to break camp here in Ohio, drive up to the campsite there, set up very quickly, and pile everyone back into the car to drive back down to DTW and drop me off.  That means dawn patrol, at least for me.  I’m hoping I can get everyone right back to sleep once we get on the road.

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