Julie's Vacation on a Stick!

Day 5 - Conneaut Lake Park

July 14th

The 14th was the day I was planning to drive from Pittsburgh to Toronto, making stops at Conneaut Lake Park, Waldameer Park and Darien Lake.

I woke up around 8:30, and was treated to breakfast courtesy of Kim's dad. I chatted with her parents for a bit while she was still asleep, and they are some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet! They loaded me up with bottled water, ice for my cooler and some fruit for the road! Before I left, I woke Kim up to tell her goodbye, and I headed off on my way. So I wouldn't get lost, her dad even drove his car to the interstate I'd be taking and let me follow him.

The drive to Conneaut Lake, PA took about 2 hours, which put me there at just a little after 11:00. The park didn't open until 12:00, but luckily there was a Walmart there at that exit. I went ahead and left another big batch of my digital photos to be printed, and would come back and get them after I was done at the park. I also took down some trip report notes and tried to straighten up the car as best I could (it was really a disaster area by this point, having virtually lived out of it for 5 days).

Which begs the question...what weather *do* they control?

At noon, I drove over to the park, which was easier to find than I anticipated. I parked at the back entrance (if you can call it that) near the Toboggan. I only saw one other car in the lot, so I knew it wouldn't be too crowded! When I walked in...it really looked like a dump, to be totally honest. There was nothing happy or magical about this place at all. The rides just seemed to be plopped down on street corners...like maybe someone acquired a few blocks worth of property, and decided to build an amusement park. But instead of making it look like a park, they just left it looking like streets.

Tree roots popping through the asphalt were common at Conneaut

I wandered up the main road through the park, and stopped in a gift shop to peruse. They had some ok merchandise, but some of it seemed pretty redneck...not something I'd experienced this far north before! I asked the clerk where I could buy an armband, and she said she didn't know. I later found out that there is only one place anywhere near her to get an armband...you'd think they could inform their employees of that.

I got in line to get an armband, and waited about 20 minutes for it. There was only one person in the booth, and she was playing ticket taker and information giver-outer all at once. Once I got the armband, I headed for Blue Streak, which was the only thing so far I'd spotted that I wanted to ride.

The Blue Streak...the only thing about this park worth saving!

Blue Streak looked pretty interesting...very old, but decently maintained. It has hand brakes...

...and also this mural type drawing with bulbs that light up as the train passes certain parts of the track. Pretty cool. The whole place had a strange smell...just like it had been stored in my grandma's attic for years, and had just been taken out to run again. The ride itself was good...a classic little woodie that's worth the effort to save in my opinion!

The rest of the park...that's another story. Half the rides seemed to either be dismantled or at least they didn't open with the park that day. Not all the apparently working rides seemed to have ride ops either. I had to go to the bathroom, so as I passed the entrance to the water park area, I ducked into a bathroom. AAACCCKKK!!! The toilet was brown and rusty and looked absolutely nauseating! No way did I want to even humor the thought of using a toilet that dirty! I proceeded on, hoping to find a better one later.

I went to the real main entrance area of the park (why was I directed to the back entrance?) where they had a nice looking set of flyers.

Ok, so these are worth saving too I guess :-)

There was only me and two kids riding, so we seemed to get an extra long cycle. I could get them to do a little bit of a snapping motion, but couldn't get any noise. I'm still learning though :-) The flyers were great...wish I could say that about other stuff in the park.

I headed back towards the main area of the park since nothing else up near the entrance appealed to me (and the Ferris wheel didn't seem to have a ride op). I walked towards the kiddie area of the park, where I passed the Devil's Den.

Devil's Den, just plopped down on the curb

It was sitting on a curb, and right around the corner from it, there appeared to be some regular houses...so strange to have a park in the middle of a neighborhood like that. I wanted to ride so I could see the gum wall and decide for myself if it's a coaster or not, but opted out since haunted houses scare the bejeebuz out of me.

Ahhhh!!!! Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts! Find a happy place!

I went into the kiddie area (passing two freaky clown masks with no eyes along the way...scary!!!) in hopes of riding the Little Dipper. Well, it was closed that day, and even if it had been open, I probably couldn't have ridden it because of not having a kid with me. The kiddie rides looked pretty standard, if dirty and run down. I decided that I'd had just about enough of this dirty, nasty park, so I headed back towards my car. I passed an arcade along the way, so I ducked in for a little skee ball. Over half the games were out of order, but I found a skee ball lane that was working ok. I think I played $3 or so worth of quarters, and got enough tickets to get two hair ties and a tiger print makeup bag hehe.

I really had to pee at this point, so I found one more bathroom...which was equally as disgusting as the first! How the patrons of this park find the bathrooms acceptable is beyond me! I was hungry too, and thought about grabbing a slice of pizza...but based on the cleanliness of the bathrooms, I just didn't feel sure enough that the kitchen was sanitary!

The Toboggan...it was all fun and games until it tried to put my eye out.

I decided to just get my Toboggan credit and get the heck out of dodge before I caught something communicable. The ride op was flirting with me, which would have been great had I been in a better mood! The vehicle seemed to be smaller than I remembered them, and it was so tight that it was cutting off the circulation in my legs. During the vertical lift hill, I was going to take a picture, but something fell in my right eye! No doubt it was a bit of crud from the chain that hadn't been cleaned off in years. After that, I couldn't get out of the park fast enough.

On the way out of the lot, I called Kevin to just try and put in words what a crappy dump Conneaut was, but I barely could! We talked until I got back to Walmart, where I promptly went in and used the bathroom! Ahh, a relatively clean bathroom! I was never so happy to see a Walmart toilet in my life. I was hungry, but I'd done so well about eating at new places thus far, that I didn't want to just buy something at Walmart for lunch. The only thing I saw at that exit that was new was a Red Lobster, but that seemed a little too expensive and time consuming. My pictures turned out really well, and pretty soon I was on my way to Waldameer.

Click here for Waldameer photos