Definitely a Six Flags Day
We were up early this morning, around 7AM, and out of the house by 9. We made a couple of stops in Pittsfield that turned out to be big helps later. Our first stop was Price Chopper, her local supermarket, for sandwiches and snack food. She got ham and cheese and low-salt Kettle Chips. I went with roast beef on wheat and Honey Nut Chex Mix. We stopped for gas at Sunoco after leaving Price Chopper, then hit the road.
It was cloudy as we drove to Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, NY, but by the time we were on the Interstate, the sun was starting to peep through big, fat clouds. The clouds were almost gone as we drove around, looking for a parking lot. Lauren had "preferred" parking, but even by quarter of 11, the "preferred" parking was full. We ended up in an ordinary parking lot that wasn't too far from the pedestrian bridge leading to the main gate.
(We were parked in the Lot 4, the Starburst lot. The parking lots were all named after candies. I also saw Skittles, Snickers, and M&Ms.)
Much had changed in Great Escape since July 2007, the last time we were there. Several new rides had been added and a couple removed, the big Arcade rotunda was closed, and a new area for the littlest guests, Wiggles World, had opened near the Fest Area. To be honest, few of these newcomers interested us. The big new ride in Great Escape is the Sasquatch, which lifts you at least 60 feet in the air before dropping you several times. Uh, not for us, sorry. We're not roller coaster/drop rides types of girls. Lauren gets motion sickness pretty bad, too.
Lauren's favorite ride at Great Escape is the Raging Rapids. It was the only ride we rode twice. The Raging Rapids is your basic rapids ride. You climb in, you click your belt over you and anyone sitting next to you, and you hang on as the ride bangs across foaming waters. They've added more sprays and fountains and one last shower spray before you go back to the turning dock at the entrance/exit. Helped that we rode with fun groups. Two college-age boys joined us on our late morning ride. A trio of late-teen girls got wet with us in the afternoon. They were all hilarious and surprisingly well-behaved for their ages (no hands out of the car or trying to lean out).
Most of the other rides we hit were smaller, more kids-oriented. We rode the bumper cars (the longest line we hit today). That may have been the worst ride of the day. The college-age boy in charge of the ride kept letting kids that were probably too young to be riding on their own in single cars, and they held up everyone else while they went in circles, trying to figure out how to get moving.
Having lunch at the car was a really smart idea. Lauren parked right next to a grassy area. I sat in the back of her parents' van and had my (gristly) roast beef sandwich, an apple, my Chex Mix, and a blueberry muffin from yesterday. She sat in a camp chair she'd had in her car while enjoying her ham and cheese, chips, and Vitamin Water. We had a relaxing, inexpensive meal with a great view of the surrounding mountains and the Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park and no need for standing in line for food that wasn't all that great anyway.
(We did end up buying drinks in the park later in the afternoon, but we never bought food.)
Our other excursions were more relaxing. We took in three rides meant strictly for observation in the late morning and right after lunch in the mid-afternoon. We admired the park by air on the "Magic Carpet Ride" sky ride. (Daffy Duck waved to me at the Looney Tunes meet and greet under us!) The Swan Boats took us around the Storybook and Looney Tunes areas by water, and the Great Escape Railroad took a similar route by land.
Thunder Alley was noisier and a bit more exciting. It's Great Escape's version of Disney's Tomorrowland Raceway in a smaller, 50s-themed form. I got some pictures of Lauren driving our little pale-blue coupe - my favorite was the one with her against the backdrop of the huge Technicolor tulips.
One "ride" wasn't even a real ride in the traditional sense. The Looney Tunes National Park kids section has a "Rabbit Season Walk Through" that's apparently Great Escape's adaptation of an older jungle-themed walk-through attraction that had been in the park since it was known as Storybook USA in the 50s. The walk-through is mostly resin Looney Tunes figures interspersed amid trees and greenery. You walk across wobbly "rope bridges." The last one's so wobbly, I was still wobbling when we finally left the ride!
We were both getting pretty tired by around 4PM, so we decided to hit the games and win us some stuffed animals. The games at the Fest Area were a bit too busy, so we hiked past cute little fairy tale character houses and the western "Ghost Town" (both holdovers from the 50s Storyland USA) to the Ghost Town Games. Lauren hit the jackpot at a ball toss game. They had a buy one game, get a second free sale, so Lauren got two baskets of balls for $10. She won two big tigers in sunglasses (one orange, one bright neon yellow), two neon fish with teeth, and a pig in a shirt that says "Sweet and Sour." I didn't have nearly the luck she did. I played the ball toss, the ring toss, and the skee ball, and all I won was a big green fish.
We briefly stopped in the small gift shops around the International Village. Lauren found three more big stuffed animals, Marvin the Martian, his green dog friend K-9, and Gossamer, the red monster in the sneakers. I just bought two much smaller versions of Foghorn Leghorn and Pepe Le Pew.
We were dead tired and hauling a bag of huge stuffed animals. Time to find somewhere to eat. Unlike previous years, when we ate at an expensive Uno about five minutes from Great Escape, we wanted to eat somewhere small, cheap, and well away from the Lake George area.
We found a nice truck stop about a half-hour from Lake George, just off the I-87 ramps in Wilton, NY. Scotty's Restaurant was really a diner with a fancy name. It was a great place. It was big, clean, the waitresses were really nice, and the place is open 24/7. My pancakes were huge, and the sliced tomatoes and green lettuce I had was fresh and probably local. Lauren said her fried clam strips were really good, and the French fries were home-made and fried.
We went straight home after that, driving past Albany and Troy and into Massachusetts as the sun went down, looking like purple-peach fire in the summer evening sky. I jumped in a much-needed shower as soon as we'd shown our purchases and the menu for Scotty's to Lauren's folks.
We're now sitting in her room, watching Good Eats episodes and chatting with each other, on and offline. Tomorrow, we're going to relax in the morning, then pick up a co-worker of Lauren and head to Connecticut for the Jeff Dunham show at Mohegan Sun.