“I don’t where I’m going but I sure know where I’ve been…”
Not that true about me and traveling! Especially the big 6 week trip I did last year to the US, I knew what I was doing all the time every day. Due to unforeseen circumstances planning this trip wasn’t as much of a military operation as a bunch of fuck-ups and let downs. So much of it was done so uncharacteristically late and I felt the effects. This wasn’t the dream trip of yonder year, this was the one that affirmed I’d always been right in my approach to trip planning before. Plan A, Plan B and Plan C should be in place and you should book well in advance otherwise you’ll pay through the nose for it. Sometimes I wonder how other people do it, but then I remember they haven’t done it my way before.
So this time, I kind of knew where I was going but I did some stupid shit. Not booking until a day before for a hotel… in Los Angeles… in the middle of July. Where was my mind? I think my love for Twisted Colossus clouded my judgement of everything. In the words of the book version of Jaime Lannister “The things I do for love” (he also says that in the show, but the show turned him into a rapist).
The journey started out with the longest flight I’d ever been on, Hong Kong to LAX. It was made much more comfortable with a free upgrade from Cathay Pacific to Premium Economy. Best airline I’ve flown with, most comfortable seats, best free headphones (noise cancelling!!!!), definitely the best airplane food I’ve had, great service. Not a bad thing to say about them. It comes at a good time that I’ve found a decent long haul carrier as I’ve completely fallen out of love with Virgin Atlantic, everything has gone downhill and all the prices have gone up. From now on, if the price is competitive, I’ll definitely be booking with Cathay over Virgin (and always over British Airways, even if I have good friends who work for them).
Wow that’s already a lot of words! I landed bright and early, with a little bit of sleep but not much and was nicely picked up from the airport by my roller coaster buddy before he headed off to work (yeah it was really fucking early). Shockingly, I went straight over to Knott’s Berry Farm, which is also where the first hotel of the trip was (the theme park hotel and probably the only good deal I got on a hotel the entire trip, the two airbnbs I stayed in were much better than the hotels for their respective prices).
I could see Ghost Rider from my window, which was the first ever wooden coaster I had ridden back in December 2003. That was the last time I was here and this is one the places where the roller coaster obsession got its feet. Knott’s is as famous for it’s boysenberries and fried chicken as for the rides (Boysenberries were amazing but I didn’t enjoy the fried chicken at all). I was too excited to sleep, so I decided on a couple of rides before I had a nap. So a few hours in the park, nap time, then it was time for Carrie to get here and we’d go and meet Judd later at the park.
Got a little misty eyed for a couple of reasons. The trip to California and Las Vegas where we visited Knott’s was the last holiday for my family before my dad died. Especially got a bit weird on the Calico Mine Ride, which I’d completely forgotten existed, thinking the last time I was on that I was sitting right next to him. This has gotten a little sad for a post about a theme park, huh.
I liked Knott’s more than I remembered. Great coaster collection including the old and the new and other rides that are interesting enough to keep you occupied in between. My over-riding memories from the previous trips were: that it was a rainy day in SoCal (so rare it’s magical), that I went on my first drop tower (and have never been so scared in my life) and getting up the bravery to go Xcelerator, alone despite being so afraid. I remembered how it felt to let an opportunity pass because I was too afraid (sounds deep, but I’m talking about not going on The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure).
Knott’s is one of those parks you wish was your home park. Just a great time, not too crowded, a lot of stuff to do, things that make you want to go back again and again. I know there’s Disney nearby and Six Flags a drive away, but give Knott’s a shot if you’re in the area. It’s certainly less stressful than a visit to Disneyland and better run than Magic Mountain.