POCONOS TRIP

As I write this, I am sitting at a computer in the lobby of my hotel. The trip has been a lot of fun! Today is my last day in the Poconos. While I am going to miss the people I have spent the last five days with, I think part of me is ready to go home. I miss my pets. But I gotta say, the trip has bee SO much fun! My counselor for the week, Ivette, is seriously one of the nicest people I have ever met. She is smart, funny, caring, and just an overall good person. I am going to miss her.

So what did I do while I was in the Poconos? Well, to be honest, day 1 consisted of mostly driving. We left our Camp on the Eastern Shore of Maryland around 10, 10:30. It is roughly a 3 hour drive to get to where we were staying, give or take. We made a pit stop in Philadelphia to use the restroom, so that took a little while. Then we stopped off to eat in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I got Roy Rogers. So we checked into our hotel mid afternoon. The Staybridge Suites is a fantastic hotel! I actually feel bad for Ivette. See, the rooms have two full size beds and a pull-out sofa bed. The whole trip, the other camper and I slept in the comfy beds, and Ivette was relegated to the rock-hard sofa bed. I even offered to swap out with her, seeing as I am used to sleeping on sofa beds. They said “No. You paid for the trip. You get the bed.” So that was Monday, day 1.

Tuesday was probably one of, if not, my favorite days of the trip. I am a huge amusement park fan. Anyone who knows me knows that. So Tuesday, we went to Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. It was a hot, muggy day. Dorney Park is split into two areas: the amusement park and the water park, Wildwater Kingdom. Some people went to the water park. Me? I have ZERO interest in water parks, so I stayed with some of the other counselors and rode “real” rides. One ride I loved was Steel Force. Steel Force is a hyper coaster (meaning over 200 feet) and is a PHENOMENAL ride! My counselor and I rode in the front row, and OH MY DEAR GOD! The airtime (that feeling you get when you are lifted out of your seat) was CRAZY! I was almost standing up on some of the hills! Dorney has some great non-roller coaster rides, too. Probably the craziest ones I rode were Demon Drop and Meteor. “What are those rides?” you ask? Well, let me tell you. Demon Drop is a drop ride made in the 1980s. Unlike a lot of drop rides you see today, this one is different. There is the main tower you go up, per usual on drop rides. Then you slide forward and wait for a few seconds. Those few seconds seem a lot longer when you’re up there, though. Then…this is so messed up…the ride drops you and you wind up on your back. It felt like an older ride, too.

Speaking of older rides (I will get to Meteor in a second, bear with me.) one of the campers who went on the trip with us is confined to a wheelchair. So obviously, he was limited on what he could do. So we get to the park’s wooden roller coaster from the 1920s, Thunderhawk. (Yes, you read that right. The ride is 90-some years old!) So we talked the person in the wheelchair to get on it, seeing as it had a transfer ramp and he wanted to do it. We had a little bit of trouble with the park on this one. You see, the company that owns Dorney Park, Cedar Fair, has this policy where if you are disabled, you have to fill out a form that says so. So the person I was going to ride with and I are next in line, like literally on the ride. The staff who was with the camper in the wheelchair calls our coordinator over. Unfortunately, she was the one I was riding with. So we had to get out of the ride, walk all the way back to the entrance, go through the handicap entrance, and “prove” that this guy is actually disabled. What the fuck, Cedar Fair?! Look, I get that it is park policy to do this, but if a guy is confined to a wheelchair, you’d think that would be proof enough. So we had to “convince” park employees that this person can’t walk. After a few minutes of basically arguing with the staff, the park staff pull out a form out of nowhere and go, “OK. Here you go.” I was pissed. So we get on the ride. Our coordinator and I rode up front. The park was close to empty. I assume everyone was in the water park. So here’s why I say I felt bad for the camper. We thought it’d be a fun wooden ride. WRONG! This ride beat the living Hell out of me! And the other camper and his staff we right under the wheels of the car, which makes for an even bumpier ride! He was complaining about being sore after the ride. I really did feel bad for him.

So Meteor…Meteor is this ride where all it does is flip you upside down a bunch of times…slowly. The ride was dizzying, but it was fun! Now I mentioned Dorney has a water park. But in the actual park there are three water rides. They are a log ride, which we did not do, Thunder Canyon which is a rapids ride, and a splashdown attraction. Since it was hot some of my group decided to get on the splashdown ride. WE…GOT…SOAKED! And then after that, we decided to do Thunder Canyon. We were just starting to dry off, and got drenched all over again. Thunder Canyon wasn’t exactly smooth, either. It was bumpy. My back hurt after I got off it.

I also rode a roller coaster called Hydra. Hydra is a floorless roller coaster, meaning there is no floor…DUH! It has a unique beginning to the ride. Instead of going right to the lift hill, you roll out of the station and very slowly turn upside-down. Then you go up the lift and into the main ride. It was a fun ride, and I wish I could have done it again, but unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to.

We also rode the park’s inverted roller coaster, Talon. “Inverted” means you hang beneath the track. I had ridden these rides before, so kinda thought I knew what to expect. Talon was a lot more forceful than I remember. I remembered Talon from the first time I went to Dorney as a fun ride. We were hauling during this ride!

The last roller coaster was a launched roller coaster called Possessed. It doesn’t really do much. It shoots you up a twisted spike, comes back down, goes backward up another spike, and drops down again. It does this a few times. I remembered this ride as being really fun last time I went. This time however? I don’t know what happened! It shook the whole ride and honestly gave me a little bit of a headache. So that was Dorney.

Oh, one other thing about Dorney Park. We ate lunch at a place called Coasters Drive-In, which is essentially a 1950s theme diner. The food was not that good…at all. I got a burger and fries. The burger was cooked the wrong way and the fries were kind of cold. I am usually never one to throw away French Fries, but in this case…yeah.

The next day, Wednesday, we woke up, met in the lobby, and drove to Lehigh Valley. Lehigh Valley is in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania and they have this train ride. It’s called the Lehigh Valley Scenic Train Ride. It was a fun, relaxing ride. The train is this old coal train. We saw signs that warned us of black bears, but we didn’t see any. Shame. I want to mention the seats on the train. I don’t know why I was so interested in these seats, but I was fascinated by them! The seats on the train are on a hinge track and can switch directions. That was the coolest part about the train ride to me. After the train ride, which was almost an hour long, we ate lunch at PJ Whelingham’s. The burger I got was fantastic! It was a bacon burger on a pretzel bun, and the fries were hot and perfect too! (Not like Coaster’s the day before). On our itinerary, it said we were supposed to go play mini golf. That didn’t happen. It was raining. However, we did venture out in the rain to the Moor Stroudsburg Inn. We had an all-you-can-eat dinner in an open-air pavilion and listened to live music. The musician’s name was Christian Porter. He was good! We left after his first set because we were all tired and done eating.

Our second-to-last day, Thursday, we were supposed to go swimming. The hotel pool is only five feet deep, but because there is no lifeguard on duty, we omitted that. We did eat lunch at Dairy Queen, though. After Dairy Queen, we went to the Shawnee Theater Playhouse to see Mama Mia! The show was ok. It wasn’t my favorite thing on the trip. However, I have to give credit where it is due. The girl who played Donna, the mother of the main girl Sophie, was AMAZING! Her voice was awesome! The show started at 2pm and didn’t end until around 4:45. Keep in mind that included an intermission. So after the show, we went back to the hotel to rest up for a little while. We went back out to the Deer Head Inn for dinner and jazz music. The musicians were good. The drummer I thought looked like Billy Joel. So we got back to the hotel around 10 and I crashed!

So that brings up to today, Friday. I assume today will consist of breakfast and a lot more driving. But we will see. As I said, it has been a fun trip, but I am looking forward to getting back home. That’s my take of my 5 day trip to the Poconos. Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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