Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend Getaway

Looking back at some of our travels over the past year...


My daughter and I decided to get away for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  We don’t usually travel on that weekend specifically because it seems like EVERYONE travels on that weekend, but we both needed a break and the timing was good.

We waited until after rush hour on Friday, which allowed the traffic to completely unlock itself, and we headed north from Baltimore up to Hershey.  Chocolate World was open until 11pm that evening, so we enjoyed a ride through the factory, which is free, and then loaded up on chocolate gifts.  After that, we drove to our hotel and crashed.  It was midnight when we shut off the lights.

We got up early, found a Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then drove to Dorney Park, in Allentown, PA.  We had never been to that park before, but it was a part of the Cedar Fair family of amusement parks.  We have season tickets which gives us admission to all Cedar Fair parks, including Kings Island in Cincinnati, Kings Dominion in Virginia, and Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, among others.

The park was crowded, but most people seemed to be headed to the attached water park.  We quickly found out that this meant there were no lines for any of the coasters!

We rode most of the roller coasters, including Talon, Hydra, Thunder Hawk, Steel Force, and the Wild Mouse.  Steel Force was easily our favorite.  It is a very smooth-riding steel-tracked coaster, and seemed a lot like the Magnum XL 200, a coaster at Cedar Point.

It was a really hot day, and we found ourselves drinking water like it was going out of style.  At around 3pm, we decided we were done, so we left the park and headed over to our hotel.  Since it was still early, we decided to backtrack to Shartlesville, and we stopped by an old favorite attraction, Roadside America.  Roadside America is a huge model, with houses, buildings, landscapes, cars and roads, and moving features, laid out in a large room almost as big as a warehouse.  It's looking old, but it's still pretty cool, and we spent a good hour just walking around and admiring the detailed models.

We headed back towards Allentown, and, on the way, we decided to get some dinner at a Red Robin.  Dinner was good, as always.  My daughter, anxious to do more, had me looking for the nearest bookstore, and there was a Barnes & Noble at a mall not too far from our hotel.  We decided to go.  After more browsing, and some ice cream from Coldstone, we crashed at our hotel.

We were up kind of late, missing the free hotel breakfast, so we went to a diner nearby after checking out.  It was pretty good.  Then we headed for home.  We meandered through the countryside towards Lancaster, where we stopped at a few of our favorite haunts, then continued on home.  

We hit a tremendous rainstorm as we entered the Baltimore area.  the Baltimore Beltway moved very slowly, and there was a lot of lightning.  When we reached the interchange for I-95 South near Catonsville, the roadway was flooded.  Already in 4-wheel drive, our Jeep easily forded the deeper than expected water, and we continued on home.

Upon arriving home, we heard the terrible news that Ellicott City, MD, had been flooded for the second time in less than two years, with tremendous damage worse than the last time, in July 2016.  Ironically, we had had just returned home from a vacation on that day, as well.

It was a sad coda to our trip.  We watched a lot of news that evening, praying for the folks in EC.  We slept late the next day, thankful to be home.