Friday, July 13th, 2007

I decided to sleep in on Friday morning since whatever I decided to do, I knew I didn't have to be there early. I eventually got up at 10:00, showered then called Kevin to ask him for directions to Seaside Heights. I had breakfast while I talked to apple left over from dinner last night, a fruit cup, a juice box and a package of Nutter Butters. Breakfast of champions, I tell ya. He was using Google Maps to get my directions, and they seemed relatively straight forward, especially considering that I was gonna be cutting straight across the middle of the state instead of going back to a major highway.

The pillow I'd slept on that night was insanely comfortable. So I decided that I wanted to keep it and would offer to buy it from the hotel. So I packed up all my stuff, including the pillow, and went to check out. When I asked the desk clerk how much they would charge me if I wanted to take one of the pillows, he said that they didn't sell them so he didn't guess I'd get charged. So I said "Ok...I just wanted you to know that I'm taking the pillow. So you're not gonna charge me?" Then suddenly he's like "Well if you take a pillow out of the room, we charge to $20." Uh, did I not *just* ask you how much you'd charge me if I took the pillow? I was expecting him to maybe say $10ish, which would have been fine, but I didn't feel like paying $20 for a pillow! So I brought it back in to him. He was acting pissed off about it, but I couldn't figure out why...I mean, I clearly asked how much he was gonna charge me! I wasn't trying to steal the pillow!

Anyway, once I left, I wanted to find a CVS or Walgreens or somewhere so I could pick up some bottled water. I turned right out of the hotel, and almost immediately passed the street I needed to make my first turn onto to get to Seaside Heights. But I passed it, noting where it was so I could find it again once I found a CVS. Well, I never spotted a CVS, and I ended up driving for FIVE MILES before there was a break in the center divider where I could make a left/U turn! FIVE MILES! That's ridiculous! Who builds a street where not only can you not make a left out of any of the parking lots, you have to drive five miles before you can make a U-turn?! Someone should be shot over that.

Eventually I made my way back to where I needed to turn and was on my way. Well, to make an extremely long story short, I don't think I have ever gotten so lost in my life! My first instruction was to just stay on a certain street until I saw it intersect with another street. Well after miles and miles of not seeing the intersecting street, the street I was on dead ended at a T with another street that wasn't the one I was looking for. I eventually ended up spending close to three hours on the phone with Kevin as I tried desperately to find where I needed to be. The highways kept turning, but there were no signs indicating that it was turning. And almost every major intersection I would come to would have NO street name signs! By the time I had gotten to my first stop, Blackbeard's Cave, which was only supposed to be around 40 miles away, it had taken me 3 1/2 hours!!!

Exhausted, I finally pulled into Blackbeard's, which is really just a mini-golf and kiddie ride FEC. They had some cute rides though, and some nice looking mini golf.

I got just enough tickets to take my ride on the Dragon Wagon, and seemly as soon as I walked in, I was ready to leave.

The Dynoden...pretty much just one dino in the den this day!

I was really wishing that it had taken longer just so I could have a break from being lost! On the way out, I was hungry so I stopped at a Roy Rogers for lunch. I'd never eaten at one before, so I got the grilled chicken sandwich and mac and cheese...two fairly hard to screw up items. They turned out to be really good! Too bad I didn't find another Roy Rogers for the rest of the trip!

Back on the road, I surprisingly didn't get too turned around trying to find my next stop, Funtown Pier. I did get pulled over by a cop though! As I was approaching the shore, I spotted the Ferris wheel off to my left, but I was in a right turn only lane that had just split off from the other lanes. So rather abruptly, I pulled my car into the little striped median between where the right and left hand turning lanes split and stopped. A cop was coming up behind me when I did it, and he slammed on his brakes like I was pulling out in front of him, when I was actually stopping. Once we were both stopped, he waved me in front of him then pulled me over! I explained that I had stopped, and that I wasn't cutting him off, and that yes, ideally I shouldn't have been driving on the striped median, but that it had taken me 3 1/2 hours to go 40 miles because I was so lost! I was almost crying when I said "I'm just trying to get to Funtown Pier!!" Obviously that wasn't the first time he'd heard that, so he let me go, just warning me to be mindful of all the one way streets in the area.

Just a few blocks away, I found a parking lot that was almost directly at the entrance to Funtown Pier. It was $6 to park, but I didn't feel like driving around to see if that was a fair price or not. I just paid it. Hope I didn't get ripped off.

Finally, I'm at Funtown Pier!

I wandered around a bit before buying my tickets so I could check out what rides they had. There were three coasters I could ride, plus a Ferris wheel and a Spongebob dark ride that I might be interested in. The total cost of tickets for those rides was more than the cost of an armband, so I just got the armband.

I went for Cliff Hanger, their big looping coaster first. I had this awful sense of dread as I went up the lift hill, just praying that this coaster wasn't as bad as the Pinfari at Beech Bend! It turned out to be not that bad at all...quite enjoyable actually. And the setting was great too, being right over the ocean.

I went for the kiddie coaster next, and it ended up being really fun, and really smooth for a coaster of it's size.

Finally I went for Mighty Mouse, the wild mouse with the track that looks like Coke cans covered in tin foil. It's not very often that I get scared on coasters, but I was pretty scared on this one! It had the kind of cars that tilt out when you round a turn, not to mention that the whole thing looked like it was made out of last week's recyclables! It was frightening! And towards the end, it slammed my right arm into the side of the car, which resulted in a big bruise on the back of my arm. Once was more than enough for Mighty Mouse, that was for sure!

Next, I took a ride on the Ferris wheel, and got a good look at how far away Casino Pier was. I figured that there was no need to move my car and pay to park again when I could just walk there and enjoy the boardwalk along the way.

When my ride was done, I decided to check out the Spongebob dark ride. When I approached it, two ride ops were sitting in the front car eating their lunch! haha Had it been busy I might have thought something of it, but you could tell that no one had ridden their ride in quite some time! As the ride started, the girl said something like, "You'll see Spongebob for 15 seconds" and she wasn't kidding! The ride made, like, three turns, had a few paintings of Spongebob characters that lit up, a couple of horns then it was done! Literally 15 seconds worth of ride! haha It was novel to say the least but I'd have been pretty pissed if I'd paid full price to ride a 15 second dark ride! haha

I knew I couldn't fit my fat rump into the Go-Gator they had, so I didn't even try. Didn't want to have to post my own TR of bailing out of a Go-Gator! So I started the walk down to Casino Pier.

Being the first time I had ever been on a real boardwalk, I thought it was pretty cool! (No, Disney's Boardwalk doesn't count, and Santa Monica Pier seems to shi-shi to really be in the same category as Seaside Heights!) I didn't stop to play any games, but they had everything from arcade games to beer pong to shoot the geek paintball! It was completely unlike any place I'd been, and I was really enjoying the whole vibe of the place.

Once I got to Casino Pier, I looked at the prices and again tried to decide if it was better to get the armband or the tickets. I asked the lady at the window if she happened to know how much it cost to ride each of the coasters and she said that it wasn't much since there were only two. And I said "No, you guys have four coasters" to which she replied "Honey, we've only got two coasters here." haha I wasn't about to have the "It's a credit, it's not a credit" conversation with the ticket sales lady! hahaha So I went ahead and got the armband since I didn't feel like standing there and calculating the cost otherwise.

The first coaster I rode (which was sitting right next to the lady at the ticket window! Guess she never noticed that it was a coaster?? haha) was Hot Tamale.

Then I moved over to Pirate's Hideaway. At the time, I didn't realize how new this coaster was, but it actually just opened a few months before the trip. It's sort of this pseudo-wild mouse, wanna be dark ride type thing with a spiral lift. The facade and first couple of drops are pretty cool, but then it goes behind the facade and just sorta goes back and forth a little before reaching the station. Seems like they could do so much more with it if they'd theme the back half of the ride. It's just sort of a psuedo-wild mouse in half a box as it is.

Heading towards the back of the park, next I rode Star Jet the Jet Star. I wasn't expecting much from this ride but it turned out to be really fun! It had some great drops, and the entire first turnaround was almost completely over the ocean! What an awesome view!

Casino Pier is a Coke park...this chicken told me so!

Anyone wanna bet that a man painted this mural?

Next I took a ride on the Wild Mouse, which was pretty standard any way you look at it. I also rode the Disk-o, which I love! It was only the second Disk-o I have ridden, but they're such a blast. The skies were starting to get dark at that point, so I grabbed another ride on Star Jet, this time in the back row, then started the walk back to my car.

Um...creepy...lets get out of here!

Once back at my car, I collected my thoughts as I perused the directions to Jenkinson's Boardwalk. I started off in the right direction, went for the approximate distance that Kevin told me, but I didn't see it. Knowing that I was past where I should have been, I followed the next sign I saw for the Garden State Parkway and decided to scrap Jenkinsonís. I hated to do that, but I was just not in the mood to be lost again! Luckily the rest of the way to Allentown was smooth sailing. At one point, I was following signs for Staten Island, so I had to call my friend John who is from Staten Island and say hi. Of course I got his voicemail, d'oh!

Once I got to Allentown, I found the hotel remarkably easily (could have been my keen sense of direction...but more likely it was Kevin on the other end of my cell phone directing me there with Google maps!). I had gotten the Crowne Plaza Allentown on Hotwire for $49 a night plus tax, which I thought was awesome!

I got checked into room 516, and it turned out to be a very nice room! It came with nice amenities in the bathroom as well as a sleep kit that included ear plugs, fresh linen scented spray for the sheets, a sleep CD and...

...a free blindfold! hahaha Never gotten a free blindfold in a hotel before!

Almost immediately I looked at the room service menu since I just didn't want to be out driving around any more after the day of driving hell I'd had in Jersey! I saw a buffalo chicken cheesesteak sandwich that sounded great, but decided to go to the restaurant and order it as takeout to avoid the delivery charge. I'd gotten a coupon for a free drink in the restaurant, so after I placed my order, I went to the bar and got a glass of wine. A guy next to me commented on my wristbands, saying that I must have really been out partying a lot to have two of them! haha Yeah right!

A few minutes later, the guy I'd placed my order with said that they'd messed up my order and that it would be a few more minutes before it was done. Then he said that for my trouble, he'd give me another free glass of wine! Woo! haha It really didn't take long for them to fix the order, so I left with two glasses of wine, a chicken cheesesteak sandwich and fries for something like $8!

Back in my room, I polished off everything. The sandwich was fantastic...I'd never had anything like it before but it was phenomenal! The wine was nice as well :-) While watching some Man Vs. Wild on TV, I got a call from my friend Allan wanting to see how I was, and to finalize plans for meeting up at Dorney a few days later. We chatted for quite a while until Kevin beeped in. I ended up talking to Kevin for quite a while as well, and he was happy to hear that I had made it to the hotel without getting lost again haha.

When it was time to go to bed, I noticed that my bed had NINE pillows on it! Who needs nine pillows on one bed? haha Maybe the two glasses of wine made those nine pillows funnier than they really were! I'm not sure what time I got in bed, but it was relatively early.

Get lost on day 4 - Knoebels Amusement Resort
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