Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This Is Why P!nk Moves Me!

We are searchlights, we can see in the dark
We are rockets, pointed up at the stars
We are billions of beautiful hearts
And you sold us, down the river too far

Image result for pink what about us

This is why P!nk moves me!  After a post in which I complained that she'd been absent for too long, I now make my repentance.  I should have known better!  From the very first time I ever listened to a whole album of hers, 2001's M!ssundaztood, I was moved by her music, and that only grew with each new record, Try ThisI'm Not DeadFunhouse, and the ultimate, the one that got me to make a silly video lip-syncing to her, The Truth About Love.  

Yup, the master lyricist and overall uber-talent has done it again, perhaps even eclipsing (sorry, I couldn't help myself!) anything she's ever done in the past, and that's saying a lot.   At a time when we all could use a clear head, without all of the bickering, name calling and such, she's given us this gift, this gem of a tune, and it's from all of our perspectives.  

What about us?
What about all the times you said you had the answers?
What about us?
What about all the broken happy ever afters
What about us?
What about all the plans that ended in disasters?
What about love? What about trust?
What about us?

I've heard P!nk say in the past that she doesn't like to tell anyone the meaning behind her words, that she likes fans to garner their own significance from them, but this time there is no mistake.  P!nk has gotten political before, back during the Bush years with the raw Dear Mr. President, with the Indigo Girls.  That time, there was no doubt which side of the political spectrum she was speaking from. She performed the song during the Funhouse Tour in 2009, and when she did she said that she'd been booed while performing it in certain places.  The partisan divide that's ripping this country apart today was already well into big-crack mode.  

Image result for dear mr. president pink

We are problems that want to be solved
We are children that need to be loved
We were willing, we came when you called
But then you fooled us, enough is enough

This time around, P!nk isn't singing from one side of the aisle, though it isn't hard to see from the video to the song that she's still writing from the same perspective.  However, if we can all look beyond what we know to be her views, forget left or right or anywhere else, we can easily see that she speaks for all of us, and maybe if we listen closely, we will understand.

Back in January, Patrick Crowley opined in Billboard Magazine whether the singer would write a Dear Mr. President for Mr. Trump.  She'd been openly vocal about her displeasure with the newly elected President, but at the time there was no hit of any song:

“To anyone reading this: if you think this is a time for misogynistic jokes, or for laughing about voting in a person that doesn't believe in climate change, or humanity. To any of you closet racists, homophobes, sexists..... please block me. Please unfollow me. We do not respect each other. You do not have my respect, and I obviously don't have yours. We are not friends. To everyone else, we shall overcome. Stay on the path of love and tolerance. Hug your kids. Teach them about diversity and about fighting for others, and sticking up for themselves. I will do my part.”

Yes, there is no doubt to how P!nk looks at our President, and things have gotten worse in the seven months since she said that.  But with this song, she's not pointing a direct and angry finger at Trump. The they she speaks of includes virtually anyone who's said they had the answers, made broken promises for our happy ever afters and made plans that ended in disaster.  Sure, that includes our current Commander in Chief, but also past ones, as well as congressmen, senators, Cabinet members, and virtually anyone else who has an R or a D next to their name.    

What about us?
What about all the times you said you had the answers?
What about us?
What about all the broken happy ever afters?
What about us?
What about all the plans that ended in disasters?
What about love? What about trust?
What about us?

Yeah, what about us?  Politicians from all sides have been working for a long long time to create this great divide that is scarily coming to a head, and yet they never do anything really that makes our lives better, fixes our problems, or shows their loyalty to us, the ones who always come calling.  All they've done is point fingers, ridicule, and line their own pockets off the true holders of power, those with money.  And we all suffer the consequences.  

Unfortunately, she seems to hearken something I've been afraid of for a very long time now, something terrifying that I alluded to in my last opinion post:

  Sticks and stones they may break these bonesBut then I'll be ready, are you ready?
It's the start of us, we cannot come on
Are you ready? I'll be ready
I don't want control, I want to let go
Are you ready? I'll be ready
And now it's time to let them know

Yes, I am with her.  I am ready!  There are a great many of us in this country who recognize the ominous state that this Administration is leading us towards, and I hope to God that it never comes to pass, but if it does, yes, I'll be ready.  I would hope that many will take a hard listen to the words of this song and will recognize that the two sides in this struggle are not necessarily what we think they are.  Though we may think differently, we are all a part of those billions of beautiful hearts and we all just want to be happy.  We need to recognize this and let them know.  Take a listen and a look at this cleverly written piece and accompanying video and you'll realize that P!nk is such a gift.  There's a reason why this song has resonated with so many, but it needs to resonate even more!  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017: Get to The Point!

Boy did we start this trip off with a bang!  After a quick, unplanned stop in Kennywood on our first day, and the wonderful day of coaster riding at King's Island on the second, our third and fourth days were to be the main event with a stop at America's Roller Coast, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Sandusky is only about a four hour ride from Cincinnati and so with an early start we were able to make it to Cedar Point by early afternoon, giving ourselves a whole day and a half of ultimate coastering.  

For those of you who've never heard of Cedar Point, well it is the Mecca for roller coaster enthusiasts all over the world.  It's collection of world class roller coasters of every kind are rivaled by all and beaten by none.  This would be my third soiree to The Point and ultimately proved to be my best visit yet to the park.

There are several talking points I'd like to make about our visit to Cedar Point, but for this post I'd like to focus on the coasters.  If you're a fan and you've never been, then maybe this post will make you want to get there. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!  Take a look at some of the best the park has to offer...


Gatekeeper is the second newest coaster at Cedar Point, opening in 2013 to much fanfare.  The ride is a the park's wing coaster and is located towards the front entrance.  It's structure is imposing, with a cool blue track hovering along the shores of Lake Eerie, slithering through two giant 'keyholes' at the front gate.  The ride itself was much more fun than scary, very smooth and definitely worth it.  Take a virtual ride...

Millennium Force

Millennium Force is one of my all time favorite roller coasters!  It is one of only a handful of giga-coasters and it's one of the best.  Giga coasters are ones that reach heights of over 300 feet and this one rises to 310 feet and with spectacular views and an unbelievable first drop of 80 degrees, this one is simply spectacular.  We got to ride the thing several times, and I can now say with first-hand experience that it is even better in the dark.  This one never lets up on some wicked twists and turns and some great negative G's.  Take a ride...


When you first take a look at Maverick, you think to yourself that it looks just like an okay roller coaster.  It's not very big or tall or anything like that which would whet your roller coaster whistle. But then you ride it and whoah!  This is one wicked ride!  There are a couple of things about Maverick that make it such a great roller coaster, and judging from the wait time, plenty of others agree.  First of all, it is very smooth, and that first drop is a doozy.  That is the kicker that sends you off on a wild two and a half-minute ride through twists, turns and of course some wicked loops, starting with a 0-70 mph launch over a 95 degree, 100 foot first hill.  The first time Rich and I had gone to Cedar Point, we'd waited most of the day to give it a try because it didn't look impressive and the wait was so long, but once we had ridden it, we'd wished we had tried it earlier. Not so this time. This trip to The Point had us riding the thing several, heart-stopping times.  Take a virtual ride yourself...

Top Thrill Dragster

Before there was Kingda Ka, there was Top Thrill Dragster.  Ever on the cusp of the newest technology in roller coastering, Cedar Point broke out with this then unique ride way back in 2003 and at the time it was the tallest in the world at 420 feet, only to be surpassed by a mere 36 feet by the aforementioned King of All Coasters.  The layout is very similar to Kingda Ka...zooming at high speeds (120 mph) straight out to a towering hill, up and over.  The only difference in layouts between these two monsters is that this one does not have another hill after the big drop.  The finale is simply straight back..fun still!  My pal Gary thinks that this one is better than KK, smoother and more fun. Perhaps!  Take a look...


Valravn is Cedar Point's newest coaster.  It's what they call a dive coaster, that is, one whose train is wide, sitting ten across, over 200 feet tall (this one's 223), and perches at the top of the lift hill, dangling riders perched over the drop for a perilous few seconds before plunging downward into a wild frenzy.  The ride opened up in 2016 and stands as the tallest, fastest (75 mph) and longest (3,415 feet) of its kind in the world.  Loved it!  Take a ride...  

Well, that was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great coasters at Cedar Point.  At the risk of posting too many videos and commentary, I've left out great rides like Magnum XL-200, an old favorite of mine, Raptor, Gemini, Wicked Twister, Rougarou, and more.  Check 'em out on YouTube is you so desire.  In the meantime, stay tuned for more about our Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017, including a relaxing spot on the shores of Lake Eerie, Niagara Falls and Toronto.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Good Riddance to a Former Friend and a Conservative Hater

It happened, something that I really hoped wouldn't, but it did. After about seven months of President Trump, I finally lost a Facebook friend over my political views and to me it epitomizes the state of our world, and our United States, today.  It's sad that things have come to this, but I, like many others, are beginning to lose my patience with some of these people.  

Though I do have strong political views, I'm always very careful about what I share and where. Sure, every once in awhile I will write a post on here, but that's rare. As for social media, I use Facebook and Twitter for different purposes. Twitter is where I post a lot of the political stuff I read, as well as making comments concerning news and politics (you can see my Twitter feed on the bottom right-hand side of this page). I haven't many friends there, mainly followers (around 1800 of them, too!), and so that's my politico go-to.

Facebook, on the other hand, is a place where I interact with people I've known from all facets of my life.  Because of this, the only real political actions I perform there involve liking a post here and there. On occasion I will share something, but normally without commentary.  There's no need to ever rile anybody up, especially in these times.  I never try to engage anyone there out of the fear of creating animosity or even worse, public argumentation. That way, I keep my friends, regardless of their political affiliation.  I mean, they are friends for a reason, right?  I do have a few friends out there who do post political stuff from the other side, and when I do read what they write, it often takes great restraint not to engage. Thus the case with this so-called friend.

I'm going to call her JD.  She used to be a fellow writer on Associated Content and Yahoo Voices, and we got to know each another through there, commenting on one another's pieces and such.  For quite a few years, JD and I interacted a lot.  She is s talented writer, and eventually we became FB friends.

Though I never was aware of her political views before, her page clearly showed that she had abandoned liberal ideals in favor of conservative ones during the last election cycle.  That's putting it mildly, really, because from her posts you could see the transformation from her previous, likable demeanor towards a brash, in-your-face, outright liberal basher.  Her posts often made me grimace, but out of respect for friendship, I always just kept on scrolling.

About two months ago, JD posted this to her page:

This post disturbed me, and the comments that followed, including phrases like locked and loaded'and oh, they're gonna find out what real anger is, really got my blood boiling.  Those remarks were her own replies to her friends' own incendiery remarks on the post made it all just totally appalling to me.  I didn't know what to do, so at first I saved it and then sat on it for awhile.  I so much wanted to engage JD on this because to me this was serious stuff.  Advocating Civil War? For Donald Trump?  Pretty scary if you ask me.  

I decided to report the post to Facebook.  I didn't really care if she found out or not, but I thought this was too disturbing to leave alone.  Within a week, Facebook contacted me to let me know that the post didn't infringe on any of their rules.  Sigh!  More about this another time...

So after this incident, which happened in May, JD and I continued to be on one another's friends lists, but hardly interacted.  I believe that she unsubscribed to my feed a long time ago when she saw my political leanings, but I kept hers on mine.  It's always a good idea to know how the other side is thinking.  Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, you know.  

So just yesterday, JD posted something about how George Soros, liberal-leaning millionaire, was behind the whole Charlottesville thing.  My jaw dropped, but as per my own way of acting on FB, I said nothing, but I did see that there were like 60 comments, so I began to peruse them.  There was this one guy, another liberal friend of hers, who challenged her theory, asking for facts, to which she had none.  He was polite and non-threatening in his remarks and he even posted links to prove some of the points he was making.  

The now-famous right-wing talking points came up...libtard, snowflake, fake news, blah, blah blah, and every time she responded with a very condescending attitude, name-calling and at one point she even told him to f**k off.  The guy never lost his cool, though.  I've gotta give him credit for that.  He even mentioned in one of his comments that if he was so wrong, then why did some of her friends like his comments.  (I was one of them!)  She had nothing to back up her claim.  

Next thing you know, she posted one of those word boxes that are so popular these days saying that she was itching to clean her Facebook of dumb-ass liberals and how she wanted to get her friend count down to 1,000.  Who's she trying to impress?   A couple of hours later I received a notice that I had lost a friend.  Guess who?  Ah well!  F**k off  JD!  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Which Sign to Follow...

Image result for road signs

Everybody's got their own shit to deal with.  We've all got problems.  I think how we deal with our problems dictates how happy or not we are in our lives.  Me, I'm never satisfied with my life.  I'm always looking for something, anything, to change it from what it is right now to, well, I really can't say, but better.

Like anyone else, I have good days and I have bad days.  I find that the worst thing for me about summer time is that I have too much time on my hands.  There's no structure.  I don't eat regularly or even well. I'm up at all hours of the night, and I waste a lot of time on my phone or on the pc.  On those kinds of days, which usually only happen when I have nothing going on, I live with a cloud hovering in the background of my mind, reminding me that I should be doing this or I should be doing that instead of the nothing that I am doing.  But it never affects me enough for me to do anything about it.  Before you know it, it's like 5 or 6 in the evening and that's when I go about the one regularized habit that I keep over the summer.  I work out, take my daily walk, get some coffee and then lose myself in pc-land until I'm weary and ready for bed sleep.  As I drift off I always tell myself that tomorrow's going to be better.  Then tomorrow comes.  

On those types of days, which happen at least once or twice a week, I'm not dealing with any of my problems, paying a bill, making an appointment, taking care of things.  I'm just avoiding them, and being self-destructive at the same time.  I smoke too many cigarettes.  I'll skip two or even all three meals.  I keep phone calls short, sometimes avoiding them altogether.  I keep to myself, lost in a world of nothingness, really, and inside I beat myself up for just letting time, precious time, slip away for nothing.  For no damned reason but my own avoidance issues.  

But that's me.  Do I sound like any of you out there?  Perhaps, and though it's not a. good way to be, it's not terrible.  There are far worse ways I could deal with my issues.  I could be drinking or gambling or doing drugs.  That doesn't make my avoidance issues any better, it just tells me that maybe changing the way I deal with things is not such a hopeless task. I speak of this now because a recently a good friend of mine, and the way he's dealing with issues, has been causing me to look inwards.  

This friend is a good friend who I've known for about five years.  He and I have had our ups and downs, like any friends do, but lately we're on a down.  This friend is a very isolated soul.  He keeps a lot inside, and you can always see, even on his brightest days, that he's got demons he won't share with anyone. Over the course of the past two years, this friend has gone through a lot of changes. Events in his life have caused him to change his living situation and the potential for that being a positive change has all but vanished at this point.  I think he's close to bottoming out and I'm afraid for him. 

Traveling down, this road
Watching the signs as I go
I think I'll follow, the sun
Isn't everyone just
Traveling down, their own road
Watching the signs as they go
I think I'll follow, my heart
It's a very good place to start


I'm currently teetering on the precipice of a dilemma when it comes to this friend.  I'm looking at signs on this particular road, and I don't know which one to follow.  I don't know if there is a sun to follow here, but I know my heart is telling me something I don't want to hear.  It's giving me a choice, either I dive as deep in as I can to help him, or to I just let him go.  The first choice would be the one I'd usually make.  It's part of my nature, to want to help people.  That's why I'm a teacher, and that's why I think I have a lot of people in my life who appreciate having me around.  

The second choice would be the hard one to make.  It goes against my nature and would be a difficult detour to take, but maybe it's the right one.  I've come to learn in this life that the only person who can really effect change is the the person who will be making the change.  No one else can do it for them.  There have been events in my friend's life these past couple of years that would have caused most people to wake up and do something about, but they didn't cause any positive change at all.  In fact, they've lead to a more gradual change in the other direction.

Through it all I've been there, or at least tried to be there, for him, to make things easier...lending an ear, offering advice, giving refuge when it was needed, and sometimes even just a little company.  I'd like to think I helped, but I was just putting little bandages on a bigger cut and not fixing anything at all.  

A couple of weeks ago, things came to a head between him and I.  He'd been distant the past few months in a way that I'd always known was an avoidance of facing me with something he had done, or not done, that affected me in many ways.  He lied to me, which really hurt.  I had been very patient to this point, but eventually I had no choice but to confront him with everything I'd been observing. The avoidance had run its course. 

I wrote him an email, detailing the many issues we'd been having, and avoiding, and how I thought his way of dealing with his own problems was the source of it.  His own demons had changed him in a way that he was indirectly punishing not only himself, but me and really all of the people around him. I shared the hurt I'd been feeling at the way he'd been acting.  I reminded him of the dreams and goals he'd always talked about, but never pursued.  It was a difficult email to write, a lot of painful stuff to dole out, and it was even more difficult to send.  After having the draft for a day, I finally hit the send button.  

I believed, or hoped, that this would be his real wake-up call.  I had told him in the email that the way he responded could affect our friendship, which I know was a major card I had to play.  He knows I am one of the best friends he's ever had and his life is better with me around.  I don't want to not be around either, but maybe this is the sign I need to follow.

At first, it seemed that the email had at least some sort of positive affect.  He acknowledged all that I said was true, and he made mention of change.  But it was something I'd heard before.  In the time since, he's messaged me here and there, albeit tentatively.  He understands that things are shaky between us, and I've kept our conversations to a minimum to remind him of that.  I have seen that his demons have not gone away, though, and I'm afraid that at this point there is nothing I can do.  He's made his way towards the abyss and right now only he can pull himself up from that.  All I can do is wait, and hope.  Ugh, these damned signs!  Well, I think I'd better get working on my own...



Monday, August 7, 2017

Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017: King's Island's Great Coasters

It's no coincidence that King's Island has been a destination point on our road trips in 2012, 2014 and again this year.  It's sister park, King's Dominion in Virginia, has long been a favorite of me and my buddies, but this Midwest sister is that much more.  The cleanliness and beauty of the park, the friendliness of its staff, and of course the roller coasters make it my second favorite amusement park in the world (for my first, stay tuned! Wink wink.).  Rich, Gary and I headed out bright and early our first full day and more than got our fill of these great rides.  Check it out what we enjoyed of what King's Island has to offer:

Mystic Timbers

Image result for mystic timbers

Mystic Timbers is King's Island's newest coaster, debuting on April 15th of this year.  What's in the shed? is some sort of mysterious advertising gimmick that I guess was supposed to get people getting even more excited about the park's new coaster.  After one ride on it, we were all questioning what the big deal was.  We were maybe expecting some sort of elevated drop like on Verbolten in Busch Gardens, Virginia, or something.  Without spoiling it for anyone, I'll just say it wasn't all that.

The ride, however, was great!  It's got a nice, left sweeping first drop of about 54 degrees and the coaster hits about 53 mph as it careens through a series of nice twists and turns before coming to a halt right before entering...you guessed it...the shed!  You can see in the video below what does or does not happen in the shed, but really the ride would be just great without it.  A nice addition to the park!  Check it out...


Banshee was the new coaster at the park the last time Rich and I visited and back then we liked it, but we only rode it once because the lines were too long, and because even though we liked it, we didn't love it.  That changed a bit this time around.  You see, Banshee is an inverted coaster, and Rich is not a big fan of those because you really can't see where you're going while you're riding it.  But for our second turn at the coaster this time around, Gary had an idea to ride it from the front car.  Big difference!  

Banshee was built on the former site of the notorious Son of Beast, towards the front of the park and is an imposing structure all on its own.  The lift hill travels straight through the second, vertical loop on the ride, as you can see in the photo, and the rest of it is well, wild!  Banshee is the longest inverted coaster in the world, with a length of 4,124 feet of track and it moves through seven inversions at speeds of almost 70 mph.  I can tell you that it's much more terrifying  from the front seat, and oh, that Banshee screech when you reach the top of the lift hill.  Hella scary!  Take a virtual ride...


Hyper coasters, those whose lift hill is more than 200 feet, are my favorite.  Aside from the thrill of that first, death-defying drop, they offer lots and lots of airtime.  King's Island's Diamondback is their version of the hyper coaster, and it is a doozy!  Reaching a height of 230 feet, this monster flies through the hill after hill, with lots of nice negative G's to give you that tickle in your stomach.  It even finishes with a nice splashdown over a small lake and is always fun to ride!  Oh, and the way the seats are arranged, each rider gets his own unique perspective on the ride...cool!  Check it out...


When we first visited King's Island back in 2012, I had never heard of this one, but till the day I die I will never forget it.  This ride is pretty unbelieveable, a flying coaster where you start out on your back facing the sky, all the way up to the top of the lift hill where it turns your body 180 degrees so you are facing the ground...flying...and then all hell breaks loose.  Rich and I have a history with this thing ever since that first terrifying ride back in 2012.  The thing was so scary we only rode it once, and when we returned in 2014, we gave it one more ride for old times sake.  It was early in the morning and poor Rich lost his wallet somewhere along that 3,000 feet of track.  Poor guy, it killed the day for him, but luckily he was willing to give it another go this time.  Well, what are roller coasters for?  Yes, scaring the bejeezus out of you.  Take a ride...(psst, fast forward to about the 1:30 mark!)

Flight of Fear

inside the cue

waiting our turn

I wrote about this one back in 2013, well the one located in King's Dominion in Virginia, which is the same.  Here's what I wrote back then...

Flight of Fear is an indoor coaster, many of which I do not like.  All the ones I've ridden before, except Space Mountain in Disney, were disappointing at best, but this one is freaking awesome!  
You would never know from entering the building what's inside, but soon after the darkness of the place and the sound of screams up ahead are excitingly intimidating.  Throw in a fun ride operator, who took pleasure in enhancing the experience for the most scared of riders by teasing them before releasing the linear induction coaster into the darkness, and a whole new element of fun is added to the experience.

Yeah, this one's still a great ride, and though it doesn't get much fanfare, it is popular with park goers as there is almost always a bit of a wait with this one!  I just had to take a quick video of the launch.  Check it out...3-2-1...blast off!

The Beast

Finally, we come to my favorite roller coaster in the world!  To me, The Beast is the ultimate roller coaster.  Long before I'd ever ridden it for the first time in 2012, I dreamed of riding it...literally.  The ride first opened in 1979 and has been giving roller coaster enthusiasts thrills ever since.  It's not the newest or tallest or even fastest, but this wooden coaster gives riders more than four minutes of death defyingly awesome twists, turns, hills and tunnels, (ooh the tunnels!), traversing 7,359 feet of track through heavily wooded terrain, making it the longest roller coaster in the world.  

The Beast was what made me excited about returning to King's Island and it was awesome to see my friend Gary, who'd never had the pleasure, enjoy this one.  By far this was the coaster we rode the most times that day and each time was as thrilling as the last, and oh boy, it's a killer at night!  I wrote about this one on the last trip, and you can check that out here.  In the meantime, take a virtual ride on this monster...

So yeah, that was our day at King's Island...a great start to a great trip.  I hope this whet your whistles if you are into coasters because if you ever have the chance, you must get there.  They have even more coasters than the ones I've talked about, like Vortex, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Invertigo, The Racer and The Bat.  Yeah, King's Island is a world-class coaster destination.

Stay tuned for more of this years Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017, with even more thrill rides and a World Wonder, coming soon!  Here are some more pics from our day...

Me n Gary



Entrance to The Beast

Be sure to check out the first entry:

An Unplanned Stop in Pittsburgh and Kennywood

Friday, August 4, 2017

Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017 - An Unplanned Stop in Pittsburgh and Kennywood

Road trips can be a lot of fun, and when you add amusement parks into the mix, then they can be super fun, especially for roller coaster nuts like me and my friends.  This year was my pal Rich and I's third Roller Coaster Road Trip and we had some new company this year, fellow coaster enthusiast Gary.  Now every time we do one of these things, I'm usually the one who comes up with the plan...it's kind of my thing, and this year all I knew was that I wanted to include a little bit of Canada.

Since Rich and I loved King's Island, near Cincinnati...and home to The Beast, and Gary had never been there, we made that our first stop.  Next it was on to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  Cedar Point is the Mecca for roller coaster enthusiasts and this one wasn't hard to decide upon since we all love the place.  Niagara Falls, Toronto and Canada's Wonderland would round out the trip.  So after much planning and preparation, on July 23rd we were on our way.

Now here's one of the reasons why I love these road trips...unplanned pit-stops.  Our first destination was an AirBnB place in Cincinnati and the route our GPS was taking us was through southern Pennsylvania, a route Rich and I had taken before, right past Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh was one of our stops on the very first Roller Coaster Road Trip and we enjoyed the city and of course its nearby theme park, Kennywood.  We had a pit-stop to make!

We had discovered Primanti Brothers on that first trip and since we arrived in the Pittsburgh area a little early for the evening run at Kennywood, we decided to give it another go.  Primanti is a Pittsburgh staple.  All of the restaurants sandwiches come on sourdough bread, with some french fries and cole slaw inside...interesting and tasty!  

After a cheers to the beginning of our trip and a quick Primanti, it was off to Kennywood, one of America's oldest theme parks. The place has been providing entertainment to people since 1898 and it is quaint and beautiful. They've got six coasters, three classic woodies, a dark mouse ride, and two steel monsters: Skyrocket and Phantom's Revenge, and we got our first five coasters in the check column! (We skipped Exterminator, the indoor mouse coaster.)

Now, Skyrocket, Jack Rabbit, The Racer, and Thunderbolt are all nice rides, though I found the latter a bit rough.  Phantom's Revenge, formerly known as Steel Phantom before a renovation to remove some four rough loops back in 2000 (check out this video on the history of the coaster), is da bomb!  It's one of the reasons I love roller coasters so much.  This one is unique in that it's second drop is higher and steeper than the first.  That's only possible because of the hilly terrain of the area and the fact that this particular drop careens through a ravine, straight through the structure of Thunderbolt!  Wicked!  Oh did we ride this one a few times.  Check out a video I took of the coaster: 

Anyway, this was a great, unplanned start to our trip.  Kennywood is a great place to spend a few hours, especially to ride Phantom, and now we had King's Island to look forward to.  Stay tuned!  In the meantime, check out some pictures from our evening at Kennywood...


Phantom's Revenge

                 Me n Gary