The Captain Loves Last Minute Trips

Last year Meg and I’s 4th of July weekend was a marathon.  We had friends staying with us from out of town, a Cards-Cubs game, and loft packed full of 20 friends to watch the fireworks.  We had a blast but it was a little tiring to say the least.

Subconscious memories of exhaustion somehow led to a mental block of this year’s holiday.  I made it to the last week of June before I realized that I had forgotten to make any kind of plans for the 4th this year.  With less than a week before the holiday Meg and I quickly discovered that nothing was happening in St. Louis.  Last Tuesday we were trying to come up with something to do when Meg suggested that we sneak out of town for a few days.  That wife of mine sure is smart.

We decided to plan a short trip to America’s #1 vacation destination, Ohio!

I may have made several jokes about Ohio in the past, but there are plenty of great things to come out of Ohio.  Our Florida friends were all originally from Ohio and they were lots of fun1.  Plus, Megan was born in Ohio, so it can’t be all that bad.

Planning the trip took less than 24 hours, which worked out nicely since that’s all the time that we had available.  We loaded up the minivan Wednesday nite2 and embarked Thursday afternoon on an 8 hour drive.  We arrived a little before midnite in Toldeo, or the Las Vegas of the Midwest as I like to call it.  No seriously, we drove to Toledo.  On purpose.

Our actual destination the next morning was Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  Cedar Point is the grand pooba of all amusement parks, and a personal favorite of ours.  I hadn’t been to Cedar Point since my trip with Grellner and Spillman back in 2001, and Megan hadn’t been since that time she almost died.3

As it turned out, the 3rd was a perfect day for an amusement park; the crowds were large but not too enormous and the weather was warm but not too hot.  We had plenty of time to enjoy the best two things in amusement parks: Skeeball

And really crappy food!

We spent most of our time in line for rides.  One hour of time invested for less than three minutes of excitement, with the worst offender being the Top Thrill Dragster.  It’s an amazing ride, and it last 17 seconds.  Damn that’s fast!

While long lines can be boring, it provides plenty of opportunity for a favorite activity of ours, people watching!  Theme parks are the best, with all of the bad t-shirts and worse tattoos. And we discovered something new; apparently parents now allow their 12 year old girls to dress like prostitutes while on family vacations.  Teenage girls used to sneak behind parents’ backs to dress scandalously, but now they don’t even bother to hide their slutty sides.  My sister may have gotten away with a lot of questionable outfits back in the day, but she never tried any of them in front of my mother.  WTF?

The rides were as great as I remembered and were totally worth the trip.  We managed plenty of funny faces for the in-ride cameras, but never funny enough to shell out $25 for a copy.  The Downs were the only ride slow enough for me to snap a picture.

Cedar point wore us out pretty quick so we left before nitefall to return to Toledo.  Saturday morning we headed three hours south to Cincinnati for a Cardinals game.  I love seeing the Cardinals play in other cities.  The Reds’ Great American Ball is now the fifth Major League ballpark where I’ve cheered on the Cardinals.  Too bad I picked such a shitty game.

There was a lite drizzle the entire afternoon that made the day quite unpleasant, and the Reds make quick work of the Cardinals.  Friday nite Albert Pujols hits a grand slam, Sunday afternoon the Cardinals won 10-1 behind Chris Carpenter, and Monday nite my other favorite team, the Phillies, scored 22 runs against the Reds.  But I picked the Saturday game, the one where the Redbirds played like shit and lost 5-2.  Oh well, can’t win them all.

It was still fun to see another ballpark, and we were lucky enought to enjoy the company of our friends Dr. Chris and Susan.  They live in nearby Columbus and drove down to catch the game with us.  Chris is a diehard Cards fan like me, so we had plenty of time to discuss the team while our wives discussed the food at the concession stands.  Even though the game was less than spectacular, I still really glad we made the trip.

We decided that day to drive back to St. Louis after the game instead of staying in Cincinnati.  Our bed just sounded way better than a hotel.  The weather on the drive home was pretty crappy, but we managed to make it home before midnite.  From the looks of things downtown it appeared we picked a good year to skip town.  Watching fireworks on an overcast and rainy 4th would have been a disappointment.

If old age has taught me anything, it’s to leave myself a day after vacations to recoup and regroup.  Sunday was a perfect mix of relaxation and preparation for the busy week I’ve had at work.  This weekend is gonna be even busier with the All-Star festivities and Amir flying in from Florida for a few days.  Speaking of which, I have a ton of stuff to prep for the weekend.  So I’ll say goodbye and wish America a late happy 232rd b-day!

Ciao,

The Captain

1  Except Patrick.  Real stick in the mud that guy.

2  Shout out to my mother-in-law for loaning us her über-comfy minivan for the trip.  Wait, that’s two shout-outs in a row… I guess I am now obligated to make a disparaging remark in my next blog.  Duly noted.

3  Meg was on a trip with her Mom and a couple of friends when a piece of metal pierced the gas tank of their vehicle.  This caused the minivan the four were traveling in TO EXPLODE!  Everyone was able to escape in time, but still, their minivan BLEW UP!  Holy Schnikes!

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