After a few delays — only in NJ would Department of Motor Vehicle offices close two and a half hours early, turning away a line of people who had waited hours in the rain to get license plates and new vehicle registrations (after four months of closure) — we were finally able to begin our westward journey yesterday morning.
After cleaning up the never ending construction site that is our backyard a bit and figuring out where I could install the boys’ car seats, we headed out after a nice send off from our friends and neighbors, the Sosas. Ron gave me some much needed backing up guidance to avoid knocking over the stone wall that has stood in front of our house for 100 years. Lucas was ecstatic to learn that the only spot for his car seat was the front passenger seat next to me. Will was equally happy to be seated at the dinette table where he could draw and read.
Our first destination is Knoebels Family Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA. The boys love this park mostly because it features among its food fare pierogis, polish sausage. and potato pancakes and has both a haunted miner ride and haunted mansion. My favorite part is that you can walk from the campsite to the park in five to ten minutes, which makes it easy to come back for a little recovery break in the middle of the day and avoids a lot of midday and early evening kid meltdowns.
The boys had a great time. Masks are required everywhere in the park except when you are eating or on the log ride or larger roller coasters. It takes a little time to get used to seeing everyone in masks at an amusement park and having to shout your food order through the mask 2-7 times before they can hear you over the din from the rides, but it is great for the kids to get to do some of the fun little things we do every summer.
The highlight of the day for Will — beside his usual preoccupation the haunted miner ride (five trips the first day) and haunted mansion ride was the marionette show. Ever curious, he had lots of good questions for the puppeteers. One of the puppeteers stayed behind after showing the other kids the basics of how the marionettes worked to give Will and Lucas a little private lesson on how to make them do life-like complex movements and even showed them a few new marionettes he way making for a future show.
Lucas, of course, loves the thrill rides, although he was a little annoyed at me after I took him on a wild roller coaster ride called the Phoenix, which was voted America’s best wooden roller coaster. My favorite picture from the day came from the log ride photo camera. He is one intense and fun-loving kid. I assume this is the look he will have on have on his face when he runs the high-risk trading desk at Goldman.
It was great to make a deposit in the normal childhood account after so many days of making withdrawals over the last five months. Hopefully, it is the beginning of many more over the course of the next month plus as we head west.
We finished off the night with a faux dinner of chips and minute-microwave brown rice, some drawing, and little Sponge Bob Squarepants The Movie viewing before bed.
Here are a few more pics from the day.