Friday October 11 2013

Busch Gardens (Oct 11 2013)[i]

Waking up bright and early at 9:30 a.m. Ana and I have a big day planned ahead of us with Elliott, Michelle, William Clark, and Jon Reynolds. Busch Gardens Crew 2013!

Coffee. Almond Flax Granola Bars. Orange Juice.

After scooping up Jon Reynolds from Starbucks I stop at a 7-11 to fill up the gas tank. The credit machine at the pump didn't print out a receipt. I go inside and ask the woman clerk for one.

Me: "Yeah, it didn't even ask me."

"What's this world coming to?" she replies with a smile.

Me: "I don't know."

We're already behind schedule and of course we can't drive out of the 757 without getting trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic at the Bridge-Tunnel. We ooze along the interstate like molasses, entertaining ourselves with comedy radio and the laughable behavior by the neighboring motorists. One guy grooms himself thoroughly, combing his hair with focus and trimming off arm hair with nail clippers. An hour or so later we exceed speeds past 55 miles per hour again.

Arriving at Busch Gardens. Fueling up with Peanut Butter Sandwiches.

Waiting in line for our very first roller coaster of the day: Apollo's Chariot. And by waiting I mean no waiting hardly at all, just a few minutes. Because one of the theme colors is purple we joke about how this ride is an extension of my car and how there should be a Chinese food themed roller coaster with big chopsticks as harnesses, the smell of Chinese food spraying around the track, and fried rice getting thrown at you towards the end. 

Flying Machine at Busch Gardens (Oct 11 2013)

Demons Only at Busch Gardens (Oct 11 2013)

We couldn't have picked a more perfect day to come here. No sun. No rain, except for the scarce drizzle. Overcast and gloomy, the way it should be for October. No lines. No lines. No lines. We find ourselves riding coasters again and again. 

Ana is somewhat of a virgin to roller coasters, as she hasn't ridden one since she was 8 years old. But we're all determined to start a revival in her. She's willing to try every single one with our care and encouragement. The first one she was practically crying on the whole climb up and had her eyes closed most of the time. I had never heard Ana curse until today. I can't forget one desperate line that she screamed on Verbolten: "Mother fucker! What am I doing with my liiiiiiiife?" But in time an appreciation and adrenaline is instilled in her, everything open to the thrill and excitement roller coasters can bring.

Ana at Busch Gardens (Oct 11 2013)

After getting off Verbolten we inspect the video/photos that were taken of us during the ride at the kiosk.

Almost immediately an employee commands, "You're not allowed to take photos or videos of the screen!"


He repeats himself.

Me: "Uh...why?"

Employee: "Because we want you to buy the DVD."

I look at the price on the sign: $29.99.

Me: "Sorry, that's too expensive."

At The Festhaus. Will and I drink very expensive beers while Elliott clobbers down a very big pickle. Watching an amusingly corny musical called The Casket Club in the style of a Halloween macabre.

Sharing platters and side dishes at a Smokehouse in Old France. Ribs, Chicken, Brisket, Mac n cheese, Green Beans, Fried Pickles.

I iterate to everyone, "I only eat this kind of thing like once a year."

Considering this is a Europe-themed amusement park I contemplate out loud, "Do you think they have an America-themed amusement park in Europe? Like, Oh let's go to North Dakota to ride that farm coaster."

As soon as the clock strikes six we watch as ghouls, goblins, and ghastly creatures run out behind corners and frighten passersby with fake chain saws, knives, and scare tactics for Howl-O-Scream. The whole park is littered with ghosts and jack-o-lanterns hanging in trees. Everywhere you turn there's a costumed character roaming around waiting for the right moment to scare the pants off you. One area has a deejay dressed as a demon imp with wings perched atop a graphic skull structure playing a really mediocre collection of dance music. Oh, Halloween. It's all very impressive. The nighttime falls. The fog machines create huge white clouds that make us blind when we walk through them. Multiple haunted houses and walkthroughs open up. We try out as many as we can, in between repeat roller coaster rides.

Howl O'Scream at Busch Gardens (Oct 11 2013)

Victorian Swings at Busch Gardens (Oct 11 2013)

At the wheel, driving us all home. Our legs and stomachs are exhausted. While eating some Gourmet Chocolate Truffles with Ana I put on an appropriate song to represent our day.

"Oh my goodness. This is perfect."

Back home. There's miscellaneous things going on the house.

Ana crashes on the bed with contentment. I snack on Goldfish and sip on Chamomile Tea. In reflection.

[i] All images by me.

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