Monday, June 23, 2008


Nobody we know got hurt, none of our possessions were lost and my family didn't waste any significant amount of money--yet our last trip to the Kings Dominion Amusement Park near Richmond Virginia, was probably the worst thing, we, as a group ever encountered.

Three years ago we were vacationing in Virginia and decided to make a side trip to Kings Dominion. It was a 90 minute drive...mostly south on interstate-95. I remember it was a marginal weather day and we were sweating it out that the rain would hold off. We must have wished to the right person because it indeed didn't rain BUT...

Twenty-five miles north of the park, in Fredricksburg Virginia we got caught in a traffic tie-up. What was so unusual was--we were at a complete stop. Occasionally we'd move up a few feet but there were other times, that I could have put the car in park.

This went on for over an hour with no end in sight. My son was eleven and anxious for a big day of fun...I gave him a lot of credit because he understood our plight and managed to make light of it. Finally in the distance we saw a temporary sign. It took an eternity to get close enough to read, "ALL VEHICLES MUST EXIT."

We had gone about five miles in two hours when we finally exited. Still we forged south on Highway-1 which ran parallel to 95. Unfortunately, we were competing with everyone else getting off the interstate--including eighteen wheelers. The little one-lane road couldn't accommodate that volume of traffic--so our predicament hadn't changed. We went another five miles in an hour and gave up at 2:30PM.

We made a U-Turn. In a strip-mall, we found a crumby Italian restaurant. The waitress told us that there was an auto accident that caused a truck hauling HAZ-MAT chemicals to crash. Acid spilled onto the roadway and burnt-off huge chunks of pavement.

For us, it was a waste of a day. Maybe if they had posted signage further north, alternate routes could have spaced the traffic better or given us the opportunity to turn around earlier. The Virginia Roads Department certainly had plenty of time to get the word out--that accident happened at 1:AM...ten hours earlier.

In the big picture, the story gets worse because at the time of the crash, innocent passersby stopped to help out. They were unaware of the great danger and stepped into the acid. Some of them were injured when their shoes melted.

In all, we went 10 miles in three plus hours...and the food stunk in that restaurant.

For three years I've been wanting to make-up for that fiasco. My opportunity came a few days ago so Andrew and I went and everything went RIGHT! It was 80 degrees and sunny, we found a supermarket with two-for-one discount tickets and the park was virtually empty, (impact of the price of gas)?

Kings Dominion has both dry rides and a waterpark. We hit the wet rides first. After a four-flight walk up, the ride called The Tornado put us together in a giant tube. We plunged straight down, into a four-story funnel on it side. Zooming down you climb the wall of the funnel, come down, up the far wall etc...great rush. We went had one of the few lines (15 minutes).



Another water slide, we walked up a five story platform. You just lay on your back and speed through a blackened twisting tube like a human roller-coaster.

After a five other water rides, we had lunch. The pizza we got not only looked good but was tasty too. Unfortunately it laid in me and didn't agree with Andrew either.

We did a couple of roller-coasters and I knew I was done with them. Andrew seemed to be worse off. We concentrated on more mundane attractions and slower rides. We even had a blast in the Scooby-Doo Haunted House. While driving through the fun-house, it offered an inter-active target shooting game. 800 points was the beginning of the highest category, Andrew got a 1040, I got a 690. Then we went into the Action Theater and put on 3-D glasses to watch Sponge-Bob track down an escaped pickle. Don't laugh, this is the attraction where your seat gyrates and you seem to have a million near miss accidents plus, things like power saws buzz inches from your face.

Our day was winding down and Andrew was considering a last hurrah on the Volcano...a twisty upside roller-coaster.

I considered the 5-hour drive back to Jersey and said, "I don't want to take a chance on getting sick."

Andrew thought better of it and/or chickened-out.

Later, we saw what we thought was an exhibit called Paranormal Protection Agency. It had no line so off we went. In a warehouse-like building made to look like an Area-51 hangar you walk up to a flying saucer. We had no idea what we were in for as we continued up into the ship. Even inside, we had no idea. Up more steps into another room we finally heard the screams! We asked some guy on line and he said its a super fast indoor roller coaster. Andrew was spooked because the riders exit in another room and it gave the impression that they vanished.

The ride was FAST upside down, twisty etc. Andrew got off exhilarated, me...not so much. I really had to run to the bathroom and sit down. Afterwards, I still needed to sit still for another ten minutes. Like clockwork, when I said I was OK, it hit Andrew.

The park closed at 8. We were already in the car at 7:30. Andrew was still pukey so I suggested he close his eyes. Fifteen minutes later, he was asleep. My "wingman" woke-up about five times for a few seconds during the entire 5-hour trip.

The first time was a half hour in. Black clouds, NO very black clouds gathered in the distance. Soon extra large raindrops splattered the car. Within seconds the car plunged into a storm of biblical proportions. I had to turn on the hyper-speed wipers and they weren't getting the job done. Luckily there were few cars and everyone got down to about 20MPH. There was no thunder or lightning, no hale stones, just torrential rain. Every few seconds, a ping from a raindrop on steroids hit the roof and reverberated the whole car. That's what woke-up Andrew.

A normal rain lingered for about forty minutes and an hour later there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Andrew stirred at tollbooths and then in Delaware, I woke himself for a final pit stop.

At home, Andrew woke-up feeling fine the next morning. So, with a slight rainy bump in road, we had righted the "Fredricksburg HAZ-MAT Wrong of 2005" in fine style. Hopefully, that'll be the worse thing that happens to us... EV-VER !!!!!

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