(MOVIE PLANNING VIEWING: WITNESS & EVERY EPISODE OF GLEE!)
Chapter 1: Getting out of Cincy in Search of Horse & Buggy
It was my turn to drive today and instead of the 3.5 hour zoot up the interstate to Sandusky, we thought we’d take the scenic route from Cincinnati to Sandusky to check out the countryside that houses the largest population of Amish people in the world. This itinerary would add another 2 hours to our trip but we thought it would be time well spent, especially to see something different to interstates and food chains off the exits. We headed off the interstate and onto the country roads. The road works afforded us the opportunity to really sloooowww down and check out the scenery around us. But to be honest, besides being leafy, there wasn’t much to see! Except for reading signs that sent us into fits of giggles eg “You are entering Licking County”, soon followed by a church announcement board which read “God’s Favourite Word – Come”. Come, God wants you to come in Licking County, hee hee – you know our Australian sense of humour! The back roads took us via Berlin in Ohio which is where the Amish were to be found, so Kel’s position as the passenger was to be on buggy lookout duty when we started to see the road sign’s telling us to chew tobacco and dodge horses with buggy’s. We popped into a ‘tourist information centre’ near Marshville and there was no one there to answer questions, but lots of brochures for us to inform ourselves! A cheese factory called Guggehiem claiming to be the home of the ‘original baby bell’ took our fancy, so we headed off in that direction. Kelly also informed us that we should be on the look out for vendors selling produce and pies on the side of the road as the Amish were famous for their baking and fresh fruit and vegies. unfortunately we did not encounter any open road side stalls as as it was getting close to 5pm and all good Amish should be home in bed by then! Guggies, as we had christened the cheese farm, had plenty of advertising informing us that we were not far away so we made a b- line for it, passing a bakery that I missed on the corner with lots of gorgeous hanging baskets that seemed to be a tradition for Ohio. At Guggi’s, Justyn sampled some local icecream and Kelly & I went to the cheeses for our samples. In their little gift shop they had some other interesting food items including the most amazing peanut butter wheel that I worked my way through and some ‘bog frogs’ that were sensational! We thought we should head back to the bakery as it was just creeping past 5pm and we know those Amish people go to bed early as they have to be up early, but the bakery was closed! No yummy pies for us today. But we did find out where all those Amish people go when they close up shop at 5pm – not to bed but to Burger King! We saw a horse and buggy with an Amish family drive into the Burger King, get out and go in! (It would have been funnier if they had of taken the buggy through the drive though!) By now it was nearly 6pm and according to Simon, we still had about 2 hours drive ahead of us to reach Sandusky and Cedar Point so while our hunt for the Amish did not turn up what we expected, we did learn something new about them! The rest of our drive to Sandusky was pretty uneventful until we arrived at the park and did a few blockies trying to work out how to get to our hotel which was actually in the amusement park itself! But we made it, checked in and our room on the 4th floor had views of the rollercoasters – pretty cool hey!
Chapter 2: The Happiest Place in the World & 19 Thrill Rides in One Day!
Cedar Point! It was the most out of the way amusement park up on the banks of Lake Erie in north-western Ohio, but Cedar Point was worth it as it is the biggest in America; the biggest in the world! With 17 rollercoasters listed, we had to make sure we had a plan to get through the rides that were counting towards the tally of 40 coasters on this trip. And by staying at Hotel Breakers, the resort within the park, we were entitled to entry at 9am – one hour before the rest of the public. With great excitement (well I was excited, Justyn was dealing with a backache and something had not agreed with Kelly from TGIF the night before) we skipped off to the resort entry into Cedar Point. The first ride we encountered with the big one – Top Thrill Dragster. A ride that throws you forward at 120 mph (more than 200 kph) reaching a stratospheric height of 420 feet (128 metres) into the sky – and it’s all over in 20 seconds. Justyn & Kelly sat on the bleachers while I queued to ride coaster #13 on my own. And what a ride! The launch just took my breath away and my screams did shatter the air until we were down the other side and my body had caught up with the rest of me! Top Thrill Dragster would be tamed again before the day was through! Check out the video of the ride here: By now, Kelly thought she had regained her coaster legs and was ready to ride some. We moved around the park and hit ride #14 Mantis which was a fun coaster that you were strapped in standing up with some loops and corkscrews to throw you off kilter! And then we found Millenium Force. This coaster was celebrating its 10 anniversary, so it had been thrilling riders since 2000 and it became ride #15 on the quest. What an awesome, awesome buzz!!!!!!!! This is a 310 feet (95m) mountain of steel which set 10 world records when it was built was my absolute favourite. From the moment you launched, and then you can’t see the track below at its height, it was a fast twisting and turning ride that didn’t go upsidedown or throw in loops and corkscrews, it just went fast fast fast!
In the last 10 years, this ride has been voted First or Second in the top 10 rides of America. It has my vote! I want to live in Ohio and just ride Millenium Force all day long! But good things come to an end and there were many many more coasters at the Coaster Capital of the World to ride! Number 16 was Maverick, Cedar Points newest coaster which was launched in 2007. We had a slight delay getting aboard this ride as there was a clean-up job involved(!) but it was also a pretty cool ride that is the seventeenth roller coaster built at the park since the Blue Streak opened in 1964. Maverick riders are launched up a 105-foot (32m) lift hill with the first drop at 95 degrees (5 degrees past vertical) and travels at a top speed of 70 mph (110km/h). Moving on through the park, ride # 17 was the Mean Streak, the most violent wooden coaster we have encountered – we thought that we’d bounce right out of our bras (and maybe one of us did.... but we'll never tell!) With a duration time 2 minutes and 45 seconds, the Mean Streak is the longest ride of any roller coaster in the park. And we felt every single second! Ride 18 was Magnum XL-200 and #19 the Corkscrew (exactly like the Corkscrew at SeaWorld on the GC). And then it was the half-way point, ride #20. We chose the Raptor, a ride that includes zero-G rolls, cobra rolls, and helix's – all while hanging down underneath the rail! The final ride for the tally at Cedar Point was the Wicked Twister - #21. It is currently the tallest and fastest inverted rollercoaster in the world (although it is NOT complete circuit) and it was a lot of fun. K & I also managed to get a few more rides in amongst the ‘official’ tally and we went back to the Top Thrill Dragster as Kelly wanted see if she could conquer her trepidation of the height of the ride – she succeeded! During the ride I was waiting for cries or giggles or swearing but there was nothing for the whole ride! When I asked her at the end why was she so quiet, she said she was still processing and would let me know later if she was going to have a quiet breakdown! (She survived). Our last ride for the day was Millenium Force which is where we encountered Single Rider Bob. Bob was a bloke in his 50’s who was wearing a fluro t-shirt proclaiming his name and the fact that he had ridden Millenium Force over 1300 times in 2009. Considering Cedar Point is only open from late May until mid-October, this was a pretty big accomplishment. And he informed us that since 1pm that day, he had ridden it 17 times and was aiming for 20 by the time the park closed at 8pm and it was 7:45pm! I think he is more whacked out than me! I loved Cedar Point – it holds the world record for the most roller coasters in a single amusement park (17), and is also the only amusement park with four roller coasters that are taller than 200 feet (61 m). As of 2010, Cedar Point has more rides than any other amusement park. Officially dubbed "The Roller Coaster Capital of the World”, I dub it the "Happiest Place in the World" (sorry Disneyland....) Hopefully I’ll be back one day.....maybe to ride 50 coasters for my 50th birthday????