Cedar Rock: Closed Mondays

When driving through Iowa, I wanted to visit Cedar Rock, a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  I went on a Monday.

So… don’t do that.  ‘Cause they’re closed.

Oct 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

Travel Tales: Cedar Point, or The Loneliest Day of My Life

If you don’t live in the American Midwest, you might not have heard of Cedar Point.  It claims to the “The Best Amusement Park in the World,” but they do have an asterisk next to that statement, so even they might be unsure.  As far as roller coasters go, though, it’s hard to top Cedar Point.  For all those hardcore Coaster Peeps (I just made up that nickname—not sure what to call them), this is their Mecca.  On the website, Cedar Point ranks their coasters according to intensity, the highest level being “Aggressive Thrill.”  So, at least you know going in you’ll be physically and emotionally abused.  With names like Mean Streak and Magnum XL-200, that helps clue you in, too.  So when I was in high school looking at Midwestern colleges with my parents and I wanted to visit this “assault on your senses” theme park, I wasn’t surprised when my parents passed.  I was going to fly solo, something I had never done before in a theme park.  After what I learned that day, I vowed never to do it again.

Being a sixteen-year-old kid, at first I’m thrilled I don’t have to slow down my pace for my parents.  I’m zig-zagging through the crowds, getting to each roller coaster much quicker than I would have with adults.  But then, when I get in line for the roller coasters, I start to realize how boring it is to be in a theme park by yourself.  You have no one to talk to when waiting in line, and waiting in line takes up the majority of your day.  The groups in front of and behind me in the lines are having a blast talking about all the fun stuff they’re going to do, couples are engaging in disgusting Public Displays of Affection, and here I am just standing there.  And this was before smart phones, mind you, so I couldn’t even read the news or play a game as I waited.  I think some famous writer once said you can be surrounded by people but still feel alone.  I don’t know who said that, but it’s true.

So the day keeps going the same way, me getting in line alone and riding a roller coaster.  At one point, I go to one of those “Guess My Weight” games and win a teddy bear.  A cute, very furry, teddy bear.  I think, “This’ll be a great present for my mom” (I’m adorable, I know).  But what I don’t consider is now I have to carry around basically an itchy sweater on a 90 degree, humid, July day.  But I carry it around nonetheless, because I’m a good son (I’m really adorable).

It’s getting to be closing time, and I decide to treat myself to a frozen yogurt waffle cone.  Why not?  I deserve it.  I managed to get through a day without talking to anyone.  To a sixteen-year-old, that’s worth a frozen yogurt.  I get my waffle cone and sit down at an empty table with my teddy bear.  As I start eating, I notice two cute teenage girls looking my way.

TEENAGE GIRL 1:  Aww, look at that teddy bear!
TEENAGE GIRL 2:  I want one of those!

Now, me being a post-pubescent boy, I want to respond to these potential girlfriends of mine.  I want to tell them in a Fonzie-type way exactly where they could get the teddy bear and maybe see if they want to go on a few rides together.  But, I hadn’t talked to anyone the entire day, and adding in my excitement of talking to girls, this is what came out:

ME: T—teddy bear?  Yeah, I got—I got teddy bear over there!  Guess My Weight.  I won Guess My Weight!

The girls look at me—this boy eating a massive waffle cone alone, holding a teddy bear, probably with frozen yogurt on his face—and think the only thing they could think: I am mentally challenged.  They smile politely and speak in that condescending tone people use when addressing children.

TEENAGE GIRL 2:  Thank you.

I knew asking if they wanted to ride a roller coaster with me was out of the question.

So, yeah.  Not gonna do that again.

Sep 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

Midwest, Travel Tales, USA


The Cool Bus

The Cool Bus

I saw this bus when I was at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.  There’s definitely a story behind that bus, and if I may quote the majority of ‘80s standup comics, I think it went a little something like this…

A BUS DRIVER excitedly runs into the BOSS’ office.

BUS DRIVER:  Hey, boss!

BOSS: What is it now, Gary?

BUS DRIVER:  I got a great idea!

BOSS:  Is it anything like your last one?  I’m still getting calls from concerned parents about why you added airplane wings to a school bus.

BUS DRIVER:  I thought it would eliminate drag.  But this idea is even better!

BOSS:  You gonna turn a school bus into a submarine?

BUS DRIVER:  No.  (deep in thought, then)  But if I… no.  One idea at a time, Gary.  Boss, I’m gonna make… a Cool Bus.

The Boss stares at the Bus Driver for a long while.

BOSS:  What the hell’s a Cool Bus?

BUS DRIVER:  Well, you know a school bus?

BOSS:  Yes, I’m pretty familiar with school buses, Gary.

BUS DRIVER:  I’m gonna make one a Cool Bus.

BOSS:  I have a lot of stuff I gotta get done, so if you could get to the point–

BUS DRIVER:  I’m going to scratch out letters to make “School Bus” say “Cool Bus”!  And I’m going to paint the bus purple.

BOSS:  Purple?

BUS DRIVER:  The coolest color we got in the rainbow.

BOSS:  Are you going to dangerously alter the engine?  Add rocket fuel to the gas?  Install horizontal spikes on the tires like Roman Empire chariot races?

BUS DRIVER:  Nope.  Only gonna change the name and paint it purple.

BOSS:  Okay.  Fine, Gary.  You can do it.  Just stop bothering me.

BUS DRIVER:  Yeah-yuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The Bus Driver leaps in the air as we FREEZE FRAME.

Aug 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

Midwest, Pictures, USA


Field of Dreams: more than a baseball field–it’s also a movie site!

They still have the “Field of Dreams” movie site in Dyersville, Iowa.  Kevin Costner may not be there anymore, but if you like movie sets, baseball, Shoeless Joe, or a relaxing vacation in the country, this is the vacation spot for you.

Mar 2010
POSTED BY travelbugrobert