This is an email I sent to Mancuso’s Country Lane Pet Hotel where we board our dog Penelope. We have always taken Penelope to Mancuso’s Country Lane and my experience with their pet limo driver solidified our decision.
I just wanted to send a note about the pet limo driver I encountered last week in Point Breeze. I was riding my bike through a school zone and noticed a car behind me who wasn’t passing me. I was going close enough to the 15mph speed limit. After we were through the school zone, the driver waited until there was no traffic in the oncoming lane and passed me safely.
I just wanted to let you know how refreshing it is to encounter a company vehicle driver that treats other road users with respect. All too often I encounter company vans with their names painted on the exterior who act as though they own the road. We are all potential customers. Some of us already are. That’s why as a customer, I was reassured that my wife and I made the right choice in choosing Country Lane as Penelope’s home away from home.
I had my 2004 Toyota Matrix inspected today and the only things it needed was a wiper blade and a pair of tires to replace the flat I had. I have a feeling I will own this car for a long time to come. It has never given me a single problem outside of standard wear and tear on the brakes, it gets good gas mileage and I can jam all if my stuff into the back of it.
I was shocked the other day when the news casually mentioned that Pittsburgh was #2 behind Los Angeles for most polluted city.
Could have fooled me.
I have been to LA and Phoenix and have seen the clouds of smog than linger over them. I was in Joshua Tree National Park and saw the huge cloud of smog that prevents us from seeing as far as we once were. I have been to Philadelphia, Cleveland, New York City etc, these cities are far more filthy. But this study article points out air pollution measurements, and the saddest thing to me comes from this statement.
Although much of the country may have a stereotype of Pittsburgh as a blue collar, steel mill town, Leikauf says that’s no longer the case. According to him, more than 80 percent of western Pennsylvania’s particulate matter actually drifts from Ohio power plants.
80% of our air pollution comes from another state. That pisses me off.
I am listening to the Sirius Satellite Reggae channel and it is reminding me of our cruise vacation this year. What an outstanding trip. During the cruise I was starting to get a little claustrophobic in the evening and wanted to get home. But now with the weather dipping below 40° all I want to do is go back.
We snorkled in Hondorus, floated through giant caves down a river in a Belize rain forest (it actually rained a lot) and saw Mayan ruins in Mexico. Where else can you do all that and drink un-pasteurized Red Stripe?
After some trouble with the local roads, and entering through one of the wierdest entrances to an amusement park ever I finally arrived at Lake Compounce. I paid my $5 for parking and found a spot in the gravel lot. You can’t really see the park from here which is pretty neat but once you go under the bridge/tunnel though you are greeted with a pretty unique looking midway.
I wanted to visit Lake Compounce because of Boulder Dash and while on my way to the ride I had huge smile on my face, I was really wishing Monica had been able to come. I stopped for a ride on Wildcat on my way and discovered how odd they run their coasters. I walked into an empty station after the train left and found a chain preventing me from walking up to my seat of choice with no ride operating giving me any direction at all. So like a good boy I waited at the chain and waited for the ride op to come and let me in when a gaggle of kids came running under all the queue railings. They were asked to return into the line and the op let us all in. I got into the front seat and found Wildcat to be a pretty fun ride. Much more fun than the video makes it out to be. I would have like to get a backseat ride, but by the time I came back I was exhausted and late for my trip back to Boston so I skipped it.
Boulder Dash was next up and it had a one train wait! Awesome. I got into the back car not knowing what I was getting myself into. Out of the station, up the steep mountain side lift and off I am! Slow, slow, slow then all hell breaks loose. I am getting pushed from side to side, kicked out of my seat and generally having a great time. Next thing I know I am at the turnaround thinking the train is going as fast as it can go. Man was I wrong. The turnaround hits and the train picks up even more speed. This is probably the most intense element on a wood coaster, comparable to anything Raven’s last section. Airtime, airtime and more airtime on the return trip and then the brakes. Damn, great ride. Its in my top ten, maybe my top five. Its great.
I ended up with six rides on Boulder Dash in various seats, but I think the back was my favorite. By the end of my sixth ride my neck and back had enough. I can’t even imagine what a night ride would be like and would have loved to stay for one, but I had to get back to Boston.
There are two sections of the ride that absolutely need work in the off season. They are during the out section and it felt as if the train hit a two ft. pot hole it jarred my back so bad. Other than those two rough spots the ride was as smooth as you can expect when running steel wheels on steel track at 65 mph.
The park as a whole was really nice, but there was something not quite right. I loved it, but it seemed more like a Conneaut lake than a Kennywood. I spent some time walking around, put my feet in the lake, enjoyed plenty of free soda and water and took it all in. Its a neat place. The skyride was really amazing too, I had no idea it was so long and that the view would be so great.
All in all, I would visit again with a point on enjoying the waterpark and getting some night time rides on Boulder Dash.
Monica and I had plans to camp at Hershey this weekend, but her company had other plans for our us and sent her to go to the ASAE conference in Boston. We decided to make the best out of it!
Six Flags New England
After a ton of trouble with Thrifty care rental, we got our car (an upgraded Jeep Liberty) and headed out to Six Flags New England early Saturday. This would be our second visit to the park. We paid our $15 for parking and drove to what was almost the very back of the lot. We could have waited for a tram, but the one that was loading as we walked up to it was packed and there wasn’t another in sight. In fact, we made it to the gate before the one tram that was running started making its trip back. How annoying it is to pay $15 for parking and not have a good parking amenities? No one guided us to a spot and we would have waited a long time for a tram!
We arrived at the gate and there are huge lines to get through the metal detectors, we get through that and there is a line for the FlashPass! The park is packed. There were lines for the bathrooms it was so busy. We wandered over to Mr. Six’s Pandemonium and saw a two hour line. There is a single rider line, so we walked up and both of us were on within five minutes. Mr. Six’s Pandemonium is one fun ride, I would have liked to ride it with Monica, but that line was just too much to handle.
I saw Catapault had what seemed like a short line, but as Monica would tell me, it was a 1/2 hour for me to wait two cycles of the ride. The ride was pretty fun, but there was way too much pressure on my head at the bottom. I don’t think I will ride it again.
We left this area of the park leaving behind the poorly maintained and run Cyclone, only one train!?, past the hour line for Thunderbolt, only one train!?, past the two hour line for Superman…it was really busy.
Walking through the park we remembered why I liked it so much. There is tons of charm, I love the layout and all the themeing. The only issue I have with the park, besides the fact that it is run like a Six Flags, is capacity.
We arrived at Batman and saw an hour wait and said, screw it, we are going to have to wait at some point and got into line. They were meeting their intervals fairly well, but could have been faster and the people in line were fairly well behaived even though the line is hidden from anyone of authority. We got into the train after a slightly longer than an hour wait and had a good ride. I see what people say about the vibration, but I don’t think it took away from the ride at all, good times, but probably my least favorite floorless. We were planning on seeing the parade and got off Batman five minutes after it started…and it was over. A five minute parade? Is this really worth advertising?
I am honestly not sure what we did next but we ended up at the beer counter and enjoyed the pricey adult beverage at the games midway outdoor food court area. The whole area was disgusting, seriously. No one was around in the 20 minutes to pick up any mess, and the customers certainly didn’t help any by cleaning up after themselves.
I was hoping to get more than one ride on Superman, but the two hour line was way too long for us. After dealing with just a few line jumpers and minimal security to enforce the rules we made it into the station. I was excited. We got a seat in I think the third car, second seat. From the second we went over the first drop I had a smile on my face and couldn’t stop laughing. Superman did not disapoint at all after two years. There is just so much airtime, speed and laterals to not love it.
We made Superman our final ride for the night and made our long walk back to our rental. Monica had a long day ahead of her on Sunday and I had Lake Compounce and Boulderdash to look forward to. More on the rest of the trip in another post!
I have a busy couple of weeks coming up! I will be going to Boston for four days where Monica has a conference to attend. We are going to Six Flags New England on Saturday to ride one of the best steel coasters in the world, and I will be driving to Lake Compounce to ride Boulder Dash on my own while she is at her conference. I will then be working from the hotel room Monday and Tuesday, enjoying the city at night.
The following weekend we will be going to Geauga Lake’s bring a friend for free day on Saturday. and have a Pittsburgh Pug Fest planning meeting on Sunday. We are then off to Florida starting Wednesday morning where Mo has another conference to attend. I am going to go to Bush Gardens Africa while she is working, then we are driving to Orlando to stay at Port Orleans for the weekend. We are planning on visiting Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach for the first time as well as just relaxing at the resort.
It feels like my summer is just starting and its almost over!