I remember sitting in a diner with a friend casually chatting about rollercoasters. The conversation quickly went from which were our favorite to B&M vs Intamin. I surprised myself with the amount of random coaster knowledge I had in the back of my head. Thankfully, this friend is also an enthusiast otherwise the conversation may have gone left pretty quickly.
For several hours (and cups of decaf) our conversation went into ultra nerd territory. I soon realized that while I had the know a lot, I still lacked the experience. No amount of watching Discovery and Travel Channel specials are a substitute for the real thing.
I am not sure where I stood on the GP vs Enthusiast Scale. What I did know was that it was finally my turn to experience some of the legendary thrills firsthand.
I planned my first trip for the next month. It was early spring and the parks were starting to open for the year. I took a portion of my income tax return and purchased my very first Cedar Fair Platinum Pass. March 30th, 2019 I threw a backpack in the car and set on my first CHEAP trip.
I used Booking.com and found a hotel in Ruther Glen, VA about 10 miles from the park. I was #SUPEREXCITED, I thought $127 for a two-night stay was a steal.
After stopping for several hours in Washington D.C. where I mostly took pictures with the cherry blossoms and walked around aimlessly It was time to hit the road. I got to the Quality Inn at about 10 pm. I was exhausted the night auditor gave me the keys to the room. I know it was off-season for the community especially since the biggest draw had only opened for the year on the day I arrived.
The hotel seemed less than stellar and far less than it appeared online. Outdated carpet and furniture, stains, smells, and the saddest looking empty pool I have ever seen. I reminded myself of two things. 1st ‘Josh you finally have a coaster trip and 2nd you get what you pay for!
Little did I know I, I hadn’t seen the worst of this place. I got to my room, entered the key card, opened the door. Suddenly I heard a voice from the darkness say “Whattaya want?” with a hybrid Brooklynese by way of Alabama accent. I closed the door in a panic. I couldn’t believe it they gave me the key to someone else’s room.
I went to the front desk embarrassed over the ordeal. The maintenance man who witnessed the mishap berated the night manager. We ended up getting a new room. I was left to wonder, however, would the next guest check into my room?
I adapted quickly though. I didn’t let it affect the rest of the trip! I made to Kings Dominion the following morning and it did not disappoint! The one regret I had was the fact that I had been to BGW multiple times by then and never Kings Dominion. My expectation of a world-class super park was shattered by the sad reality. They have a really strong lineup. But the coasters I’d heard about and seen on TV Shockwave, Hypersonic XLC, and Volcano the Blast had met their demise by the time I finally made it to the park.
This visit was, however, the beginning of several firsts for me. First Giga coaster, first RMC, and the first time I realized that traveling the country checking out theme parks is something I could do.
I learned one thing for sure. Being cheap has its benefits and its drawbacks. I had a weekend away for less than $200. I almost caught a strange couple doing the ‘wagon wheel watusi’. But meh, gives me something to write about.
Within the year I would add another 80 credits to my count. That is another story though.
I have a lot of stories to tell, like the time I lost my Latinx cousins at Sesame Place because they looked like all the other children or the time a slide at Morey’s Piers gave my mother and me second-degree burns.
In time we shall see how this blogging thing goes! So far, I like it! Thanks for check it out feel free to leave a comment or reach out!
Love and Respect,