Showing 11 - 17 of 17 posts found matching keyword: vacation

Of course, the whole reason Trey, Leslie, and I went to Ohio was so that Trey could attend a professional soccer match between the Columbus Crew and the visiting Chicago Fire.

Chicago Fire 1, Columbus Crew 2

I have to admit that I had more fun at the soccer game than I had thought I would. The atmosphere was enjoyably electric, and even the soccer match was unusually exciting so far as soccer games go. (The first goal was scored within the first 9 minutes, preventing the 0-0 tie I was expecting.) The Columbus fans were friendly and reasonably well-behaved, the exception being their children. Those little bastards went largely unsupervised and seemed to enjoy throwing their Pepsi cups and other trash between sections. Clearly, they are future Ohio State University students.

Naturally, with no preference between teams, I chose to root for the Crew. Trey claimed to have no favorite MLS soccer team, but Leslie insisted that he is secretly a Chicago Fire fan. The Chicago fans made the Columbus children look like amateurs, throwing smoke bombs and bottles on the field. There was even a fire in the parking lot after the Fire lost, an event I don't consider a coincidence. I'm sure that Trey felt like he was attending a Philadelphia Eagles game.

So that was my first soccer game. Would I do it again? Yeah. Maybe next time, we can go to a stadium that serves Coke.

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After leaving Sandusky, Trey, Leslie, and I headed south to Columbus. With some time to kill before the soccer game would start, we decided to follow a lead provided by our party planner, Brian. We headed directly towards the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, or as Brian described it, "Jack Hanna's zoo." This nickname is a little misleading; as I was disappointed to learn, you won't find Jack Hanna in any of the cages.

Yeah, we're out there having fun in the warm Columbus sun.

It was well over 90° in the midday sun, and most of the animals were smart enough to be lounging in whatever shade they could find. Naturally, our first objective was the polar bear enclosure.

The polar bears are very pleased that the Columbus Zoo is attached to the Zoombezi Bay water park.

Surprisingly, the polar bear was one of the only animals in the zoo that seemed completely indifferent to the heat. Perhaps that's because they had their own water park, fully stocked with toys and snacks. The other bears at the park, including the sun bear (seen below), had to settle for water misters. Personally, I'd take a swimming pool over a Willy Water Bug any day.

View of the Midway during an Icee break.

The zoo was full of exotic animals I'd never seen before, but from the pictures I took, you'd think it only had bears. There are red pandas, Asian lions, West Indian manatees, and Komodo dragons, to name just a few. But really, the highlight of the zoo was the great apes, the gibbons, gorillas, and bonobos. Many of the zoo's primates are very human, some making a sincere attempt to communicate with the visitors, while others just pointed and laughed. Generally, I'm no fan of the ape, but I have to say that the Columbus Zoo's apes acted more human than some of the visitors.

More pinks in Ohio.

Even with every creature great and small napping, the visit was still very much worth the time and expense ($15 per person, plus $7 parking). In hindsight, I wish we had more time to spend.

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Trey and Leslie's first trip to America's Roller Coast. Ride on!

For the Memorial Day weekend, Trey took Leslie and me to Ohio. Our first stop was Sandusky's Cedar Point amusement park, still the most awesome place on Earth. Trey and Leslie had never been before, and I'm sure they enjoyed themselves as much as I did. For the record, I'm not getting too old for this.

As I did for my last visit to the park in 2010, here's a trip summary in postcard-sized chunks:

Trey and the T-Rex
The new "ride" in 2012 is "Dinosaurs Alive!", the old riverboat retooled with dinosaur animatronics replacing animal animatronics.

Magnum ascending
Magnum heads up its lift hill into the clouds.

View of the Midway during an Icee break.
The Midway as seen from a shady picnic table behind the Dodgem pavilion.

Pink's slips into Ohio.
New since last visit: Pink's on the Midway.

Roller Coaster twilight.
A last look at the Millennium Force before nightfall.

Rest in peace, Wildcat.
Passing by the remains of the Wildcat. The space is being cleared for an outdoor "Luminosity" laser show.

After we left Sandusky, we headed south to Columbus, Trey's real destination. More on that later.

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My mother and I just returned from a trip to Savannah, GA. We arrived in town on Saturday along with the rain, which dampened any hope we had of doing much outdoors. Determined, we set out on a two-and-one-half hour self-guided tour of Savannah's northern squares. Ninety-six degrees and one hundred per cent humidity later, we might as well have gone to a sauna.

The sundial in Johnson Square is always hidden by the foliage. Best to bring a watch.

Shortly thereafter, an argument broke out about where to eat. Mom wanted cheap, and I wanted no crowd. We both lost. On the upside, we discovered that Uncle Bubba's Oyster House has some fantastic cornbread. Highly recommended.

Tybee: it burns.

The next day, we set out for the beach at nearby Tybee Island. I was hoping for this:

Solitude by the sea.

Instead, I got this:

Fun in the sun.

But even those crowds weren't enough to detour us. The heat was, though, and Mom had us retreat to the car earlier than I would have liked. She did get a bit of a burn on her delicate Southern features, so I have to concede that maybe mothers do know best.

Before returning home, we dropped by Forsyth Park in Savannah. I'm pretty sure when Yankees think of the South, they pictures rednecks and scenes like this.

Trees by Oglethorpe. Moss by Spain.

The park's beauty is unparalleled, but it's not really what I wanted to see. I had been promised a trip to some cemeteries in Savannah. While the Park's Memorial to the Confederate Dead is impressive, it's not what I had in mind.

It'll be very hard for the South to rise again with large concrete monuments built over them like this.

It's been 20 years since I was last in Savannah, and the cemeteries were there then. I sure hope they'll wait around another two decades when I schedule my return trip. Don't get impatient, dead people. I'll be back.

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Welcome back, those of you who avoided Superman Month. You're just in time for a slide show of my summer vacation!

Now on this next slide, you'll see my cousin and his fiance, a beautiful (but a bit chunky) girl from Mississippi, who we ran into at a quaint internet cafe down the street from the residence once commandeered by the district wartime governor.

Wait, come back! I can't afford to lose any more readers! Fine, no slides! How about if I just post some pictures I took of Cedar Point instead? You can pretend that they are postcards! Ok? Whew. Crisis averted.

In case you are unaware, Cedar Point is an amusement park on the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. Cedar Point is the second oldest existing amusement park in America, and it is home to more roller coasters than any other amusement park in the world. This year's semi-annual pilgrimage marked the 10-year anniversary of my first trip to the park for the unveiling of Millennium Force, at the time the tallest and fastest coaster in the world. I would like to hope that I have aged as well as that coaster.

Ferris Wheel by the lake.
Giant Wheel and Wicked Twister define the shore of Lake Erie as seen from Space Spiral.

Millennium Force ascending.
Millennium Force crests its second-tallest hill as seen from the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad.
(Footnote: This image was taken by my friend Michael Foster, though it was my camera so I am taking credit for it.)

Who needs 6 flags?
Max Air proves that good parks don't need 6 flags.

Sometimes the old ways are still the best ways
View of Dodgem bumper car pavilion with inset of sign lit for night.

Raptor never sleeps.
Sky Ride passes by Raptor as seen from the Midway at dusk.

Wildcat, King of the Park.
Composite view of Wildcat, the greatest little coaster in the park.

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Back from Ohio. The Top Thrill Dragster is all it's cracked up to be. Damn. If you get a chance, go for it; it's quite a rush. (Once you get past the recurring technical ''reasons'' and LONG lines, I mean.)

And the Matrix was excellent. I've said it before and I'll say it again: keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed. It was the best action film ever. (In fact, we decided that it's the best JLA film ever made.)

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I'm off to Cedar Point in Ohio. Top Thrill Dragster beckons me.

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To be continued...

 

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