A Mid-Summer’s Odyssey
As this story unfolds you will draw comparisons to Odysseus’ journey home in Homers Odyssey.
July 26th started out great. I booked a job in a remote region of Ruther Glen VA. From Alexandria, it would take me the same amount of time to get there as Odysseus took to make it back to Ithaca. As this was a paying gig I was as excited as Penelope was to see Odysseus when he returned home.
The spoils of war are often plentiful and the King of Ithaca and I, we praised in good will. I was recently given a pass to Kings Dominion. Because I was only about a 5 miles away from Kings Dominion after my inspection I decided to run down to KD and settle-up my season pass paperwork. I buzzed on down and completed my paperwork and decided to just head home. As I turned and started to walk to the car, I thought NO. You are already down here, and you have not been to the park in over 20 years. I decided to entertain the idea of walking the park, to see what has changed in the last two decades.
I entered the park and was immediately brought back to the days of yesteryear. Oh things have changed, (i.e. The addition of Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Panda Express, Cinnabon) sure. But man I was instantly a kid again, and I was in love. The smells, the sounds, and the sights were just as I remembered. I decided to just work off my memory and take one loop around the park and see all the changes. I headed in in a counter clockwise route, all while reminiscing about the little shop on the corner where I used to get 80oz of Surge and be JACKED UP!!!!
I continued to move around texting my sister all about the things that have and have not changed. When I came about The Grizzly roller coaster I had the brilliant idea to ride it and video the ride as a vestibular therapy like I have in the past. I walked up and checked the lines and thought since I am just walking the park if the lines were long, I would just keep moving. I walked right up and sat in the front seat, and after one failed attempt to record the ride I went around again and got the video. Stoked with my accomplishment I continued on, and noticed a lot more has changed. The Rebel yell, I am assuming due to the racial undertones, is no longer the rebel yell and only goes forward no longer backwards. They have added a lot of rides, changed a few, and even took out the shockwave all together. Things were going really well.
I know what you are thinking. Odysseus’ 10 year journey was full of problem so far you seem like a spoiled brat whom has had the opportunity to hang out a theme park mid day after work. But I assure you things take a dark turn in the second act. As I am rounding the back half of the park on my way back to the start, I see one of the most intense roller coasters I have ever seen. The Intimidator 305. I was drawn right in like a tractor beam. I headed straight for this beast. I walked up and was shocked to see that I was only 3rd in line. I loaded in and was ready to go, I would subsequently read that they have had to put drag fins on the carts because the G’s you pull in the first turn will put you on the verge of black out. I went on the ride started to see black on that first turn but loved the speed and turn. I got off the ride with a grin from ear to ear. I started my way down the exit ramp when I reached for my phone and at this moment realized I was about to be in a world of hurt. I did not lose my phone on the ride, but my car keys were no longer in my possession.
I immediately turned and yelled to the cart attendants that my keys were missing. She informed me that I had to exit the platform. They were single carting the ride so if my keys were in the cart, they were gone the moment they sent that cart off. My world had just come crashing down, because I knew I was going to have to ask my Penelope to drive from Alexandria 80 miles each way to bring me my spare set of keys. I was on the verge of tears because I was going to have to call and inconvenience her in a huge way to make up for my mistake. Alas I called and explained the inconceivable amount of idiotness to Elizabeth. UGH. As amazing as everyone knows she is, she went into crisis mode and we came up with a plan. I would just have to wait six hours or so until 8pm-ISH for her to get down to KD. It was roughly 90+ degrees outside; I was wearing my long twill Dickies, and a thick cotton polo shirt because I was just at work about an hour ago.
After sulking a bit, and some pep talks from my Telemachus I realized that I might as well keep riding the rides because I had six hours to kill. Next on the list is the drop tower, and I can usually keep it together on rides. I like them because I love how they can loosely resemble the turns and flight path of fighter jet in Top Gun. To that you will mostly find me giggling. So I went up to the drop tower and watched a poor young lady really fight fear. She did not want to ride it but was talked into it by her friends, she had tears streaming down her face. She went up and down and I don’t think will ever be the same. Me and the rest of the next crew climbed up and went through the buckle process before being shuttled up very slowly. I believe they lift you slowly so you can really get a feel for how high up you are. Shortly after reaching climax, they cut you free and you free fall a few hundred feet before the fall arrest system takes over and slows your descent. I yelled out loud the entire fall. Uncontrollable yelling. Wow that is a strange sensation. I have always thought that I would love to skydive. Maybe nearing 40 my perspective might be adjusting my outlook on these types of behaviors.
I continued on down the road, I noticed that they have changed “The Hurler” coaster into the updated “Twisted Timbers”. I went along for the ride and was prompted that to ride this ride, you must walk through a metal detector and if you have a cell phone and keys you must zip them in a secure bag in front of you. WHY THEY FUCK is this not an option on the other rides? I would not have lost my FUCKING keys. I ride this one too, and if I am honest this one is too much. It could have been that I had not eaten to this point in the day, and I was hot and riding rides. I knew this was a good stopping point and time to get a bite to eat. I left and went over to the area where I saw a Subway on my way in to the twisted timbers area. To my dismay a 6” sub is $12. They must have dyslexia. It is supposed to be a 12” sub for $5 see, they just read the pamphlet backwards. I rightfully said FUCK that and decided to go wash my hand before setting off to find something else to eat.
Washing my hand as it turns out was another bad idea. While drying my hand on the blow dryer, because they do not offer paper towels, I turned with full force away from the dryer allowing my hands to linger just a second longer under the hot ass cheeks air blowing onto them. And with my full weight and momentum driving away from the dryer, my ring on my ring finger got caught on something and as I pulled my body away my ring stayed stationary. I jerked backwards toward the dryer. I looked down at my hand and realized, this is going to be a problem. The skin was so “dented” I tried to flatten it back out which only opened the wound, and I saw meat inside. Then the blood started to flow. I quickly walked over to the very clean (insert eye roll) Boardwalk fries and napkin’d up. I hot footed my way to the guest services desk to inquire the where-abouts of the medical office, to which she informed me that it was right where I had just come from. Across the god damn park. An hour, and a few butterfly “stitches” later I am leaving the medical office.
Well shit, this is not going very well now. I thought what the hell, lets ride the Dominator ya know it is right here. And I did, before I walked around and saw monster trucks. KD has them on display there right now, and can even ride in one around a little kiddy track. You do not get to drive it though. I have never seen one up close before they seem so much bigger on TV. I mean they are big do not get me wrong. But on TV they seem enormous. By now my stomach was really itching for some food, so I walked over to the little pizza shop on the corner, in the same building I used to get my 120oz Surge and ordered 2 slices of cheese and a bread stick combo. And as everyone knows bad things come in 3’s. On my way out of the pizza place, the guy in front of me let the door slam on me and I dropped my pizza and bread stick on the ground before even taking one bite. Trifecta complete.
All is well that ends well though, the sweet lady behind the counter allowed me to exchange my pizza and bread stick. She even gave me bigger pieces this time around. I filled out a lost and found ticket for my car keys, and you would never have guessed it but the next day they found my keys at The Intimidator and called me to inform me so. Shortly after I had a belly full of non dirt filled pizza. The love of my life, my own Penelope, my own Athena arrived and rescued me from the bowls of hopelessness. Ithaca was at piece again.