A BS Excuse?

This post may be questionable and hit home to some of you…particularly men. There are multiple theories as to what actually causes Autism. These theories range from genetics to vaccines to environment and today’s topic…forgive me…circumcision.

And no I am NOT kidding. There was actually a medical study a few years ago that entertained the idea that circumcision could cause Autism. And, unfortunately, like the bullshit notion that vaccines cause Autism, people seemed to buy into this idea.

Well, I for one, can prove this is false. Here is where it gets uncomfortable. So if you want to go ahead and stop reading now is the time. “But Tom, you say you aren’t an expert on Autism” And yeah that is true. But I know my body and my diagnosis.

Story time! I was very sickly when I was born. Men do not come out of women pre-mutilated down there. It is a medical procedure. Well when I was born, due to my medical condition, the doctors advised against having me cut. They thought it’d be too much stress on my heart.

So I was uncut until I was 17 or 18. I was diagnosed with Autism when I was 7 years old. So where is the logic there? I cannot be the only one who was left intact and had a diagnosis of Autism.

Also what about girls, at least here in the US, who have a diagnosis of Autism? Look, I know female genital mutilation (FGM) is a thing in some African countries and I am not taking that into consideration. I am only focusing on male circumcision. Here in the US, an estimated 75% of males are circumcised. That is an absurdly high percentage compared to other countries. Take Germany for example. There the estimated percentage of circumcised males is 33%.

So why is circumcision connected to Autism? Honestly I have no idea. If it was the case, all Jewish men would have a diagnosis.

I brought up American women and Autism in the second to last paragraph. My girlfriend has Autism. And guess what else? She isn’t mutilated.

Why do I keep using horrible words like “cut” and “mutilated” to describe it? Well, frankly, I am against the practice. My reason why is my own and you are entitled to your own opinion.

So what do you think? Is this legit or total shit? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for reading.

-Tom

Beautiful Video

Maybe “beautiful” is not the right word for this. But it is insightful. We all know about Autism at this point…both the good and the not so good. (I do not think there is anything “bad” about Autism, hence the wording).

The afore attached video is set within the mind of an Autistic youth. I do not know if the person who made this has Autism, but I assume (s)he is due to how they portray the Spectrum. As an example, look at how they describe the brain’s wiring in both regular youth and Autistic youth.

Forgive the accent and the spelling. It is a British video. I actually like that about this video. Autism is, for the most part, seen as an American “problem”. Whenever we hear about Autism and it’s statistics, they are usually American statistics. I actually just Googled the stats of Autism in the UK. Here in the US, it is 1 in 53. In the UK, it is nearly half that at 1 in 100. I legitimately didn’t know their stats were that low.

But going back to the video…I pretty much agree with what the video says…mostly. At one point, the video says people with Autism may find things that seem simple for the average person as a challenge, such as making friends. On the flip side, the video also says things average people find challenging (ie math), people with Autism may find simple. There is some truth to this. At least, in my experiences.

Employment is a prime example. Maybe this topic is too “adult” for the audience the video is aimed at. Making friends, for me, has never really been all that difficult. Maintaining relationships and friendships is the harder part. People come and go all the time. I have had people in and out of my life. It is hard, but it happens.

As for math? I am no savant. I can do math in my head to an extent but cannot show my work. It drove my teachers CRAZY! Hence my failing grades on math tests.

I think this video does an AMAZING job portraying Autism, but I still think it could be maybe a little better. It focuses on youth with Autism. That’s all well and good, but what happens when those kids grow up and become adults? What happens when their parents/caretakers leave or pass away? Are they expected to fend for themselves? Where do they get help? That’s the million dollar question.

So in closing, I love this short animated Autism video! It is very insightful and educational. Watch the video attached and let me know what your thoughts on it are. Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Last Day in Tennessee

Yesterday was my last day in Tennessee. We went to breakfast, packed up our stuff, and headed out. We first went to the Great Smoky Alpine Coaster. This is the longest Alpine Coaster in the US at over a mile long.

I discovered in my travels I LOVE Alpine Coasters and Mountain Coasters! They are a little pricey but are for sure worth the money! It’s not like where you pay for a ride and it’s over in like 30 seconds. These things last 4 minutes or longer! The longest one I went on was this last one at 6 minutes, 2 seconds. That is a REALLY long time for a thrill ride!

While the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster was for sure fun, I found it was a little bumpy. Like it had a few “jolts” in it that were a little uncomfortable. It was probably my fault, though, as I was going full speed down this thing. Actually, come to think of it, a lot of the Mountain and Alpine Coasters were like that.

After that, we went to the Mountain Mile shopping area. I wanted to do the Mountain Monster free fall ride, but it didn’t open in time and we had to leave for the airport. I was pissed! But if anything it gives me an excuse to go back. We did get lunch here, and it was REALLY good! I got moonshine chicken with broiled Brussels sprouts. This meal, much like all the other meals I had in Tennessee, was AMAZING!

After lunch, we headed to the airport. The Knoxville airport is really small, so it made it convenient to get to our gate. We took the same flight path as we did coming to Tennessee. Meaning we flew from Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia to Baltimore. I am still a little confused by this path. Atlanta is South of Knoxville, and Tennessee as a whole. So we flew further South only to fly North past Tennessee to get home. Hmm…where’s the logic there?

Our flight to Atlanta was smooth and went off without a hitch. And it was a quick flight, too. It took about 40 minutes to fly from Knoxville to Atlanta. From there, we had a 2 1/2 hour layover in Atlanta. Then it was a 1 hour, 30 minute flight to Baltimore at 7:55pm…at least that was the plan. We were sitting on the runway for 40 minutes due to a passenger mixup. Some passenger got on the wrong plane and had to be sent to the right terminal. Then we had to fuel up. You could tell people were getting annoyed.

So finally, after all that, we left Atlanta at around 8:40pm. Which meant our plane landed around 10pm. Then we had to take a shuttle to get to our car. But again, we ran into an issue. The damn car wouldn’t start! We were worried we would have to leave the car or get a hotshot. And actually, we did pull out the jumper cables at one point. But, of course, just as soon as we were about to hook up the cables, the car started up.

So we had a little adventure of our own just getting home. So after all this, we got home around 11pm. We were beat! I fell right asleep. Then my cat, Bella, woke me up around 5am by licking me in the face. I managed to fall back asleep and wake up around 8am.

So here I am now, back home in Baltimore, drinking my coffee, writing about my experiences. It was a GREAT time!…for me, anyway. I don’t think my Mom or Aunts enjoyed it as much as I did. I managed to have a GREAT time! That’s my trip experience over 4 days in Tennessee over 4 posts. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did typing them! Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Gatlinburg Day 4

Today was a busy one in beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I woke up early this morning and went to get my free breakfast from the hotel we are staying at. From there, I walked to the Gatlinburg Space Needle. I was the only one up there. It was really neat being the only person hundreds of feet above Gatlinburg. I felt on top of the world!

From there, my Mom dropped me off at Ober Gatlinburg. This place was neat! It’s essentially a mini amusement park on top of a mountain. They had a Mountain Coaster up there, and if there is one thing I learned about myself on this trip, it’s that I LOVE Mountain Coasters! There was something different about this one though. It is taller, longer, and faster than the other two I did. It was a lot to handle. If you know me, you know I love roller coasters and going fast. But this thing was fast even by my standards…and that is saying something! If you know about Mountain Coasters, you know the only thing keeping you from flying out and dying is a belt. This Mountain Coaster absolutely FLEW down the track! I actually got worried about flying out. You’d think an adrenaline rush like that would be enough just once. My idiot self did this thing three times…and each time it felt even faster! My last ride was right after a torrential downpour so that made the track slick and made the ride go faster than it usually would.

Ober Gatlinburg also has this thing called an Alpine Slide. It is basically a fiberglass trough and a sled. It was fun. I’m glad I did it but it was kind of a one and done for me.

However what WAS fun and something I could not get enough of was the Summer Tube. You get on a conveyor belt and slide down a steep hill into astroturf. I rode this thing about 5 or 6 times. It was SO MUCH FUN!

Halfway through the day, I left the park for lunch. I got lunch and headed back to Ober Gatlinburg. One thing I failed to mention is that there are two ways to get to Ober Gatlinburg. Sure you can take the boring way and drive up…OR you can take the scenic way up. There is a suspended cable car that takes you 2 1/2 miles up the mountain and offers stunning views on the way up. Once you are up there, you can pay per attraction or buy a $50 wristband that includes everything minus the cable car. One catch though. There is a one time use on the Alpine Coaster and Alpine Slide. After that you need to pay to do them again. But everything else is included.

And at the very top, which you have to take a ski lift to get to, the views are spectacular but you will be up and down in about 5 minutes.

One thing about the cable car ride down. It was POURING! It made for some cool visuals of the Smoky Mountains though. Thank God the car was enclosed!

From there, my Aunts, Mom and I went to dinner. We went to a local pizza place. They had hands down THE best garlic knots I have ever had! SUPER garlicky and swimming in melted butter! That was enough to fill me up, but I also ordered spaghetti. I couldn’t finish it, I was so full from the garlic knots.

After that, I walked back to our hotel. I like that most everything in Gatlinburg is within walking distance of our hotel. Aside from Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, everything is a two miles or less from where we are staying. Its super convenient.

Tomorrow is my flight home. I love it here but I am kinda ready to go home. So that was my day today. In 3 days, I walked about 18 miles. My feet are sore but everything has been so well worth it!

Smoky Mountains Day 3

Today was my third day in the Smoky Mountains. It was also my second day at Dollywood. I kinda knew what to expect this time but Dollywood was still amazing! My first stop was Lightning Rod. I only got one ride on it this time around but it was just as incredible as it was yeaterday! I swear that ride never fails to disappoint!

After that I got two rides on Daredevil Falls. One was a solo ride. This wafer ride gets you soaked! But since it was humid I was not complaining.

After my two rides on Daredevil Falls, it started raining. Not just rain but torrential downpours! So I figured I’d see a show. And what a show it was! I saw a group called The Hall Sisters. These sisters were INCREDIBLE! They were a folk/country group from North Carolina. To my surprise they sang You’ve Got A Friend In Me from Toy Story. That brought back some memories!

After enjoying some music, I headed to Tennessee Tornado. This ride was great as always. Plus riding it in a downpour definitely made it more memorable.

After Tennessee Tornado I rode a new ride for me. The ride was called Firechaser Express. The ride launches you at around 30 mph then goes into a lift hill. From there you zip around until you get to the shack. The shack is filled with explosives. From there, you blast out of the shack backwards and finish the ride going backwards.

After Firechaser Express, I walked over to Wild Eagle. It was a 10 minute wait so I figured “What the Hell?” The ride was fun but not particularly forceful.

After Wild Eagle, I rode Drop Line, the drop tower. This is a forceful drop ride! Its not the tallest or fastest drop ride out there, but what makes this one unique is that it rotates on the way up and gives you a 360 view of the park and Smoky Mountains.

I then decided to walk around and take some pictures. Dollywood is essentially one giant photo op. No matter where you turn, there is something to take a photo of. It’s a very picturesque park!

I decided to give Thunderhead a try again. After a torrential downpour, the wood was soaked. As a result Thunderhead was HAULING! Seriously it felt a Hell of alot faster than it did yesterday! I seriously love this ride!

From there, I went to the newest area of the park, Wildwood Grove. This is the area more aimed toward families and kids. Having said that, this area is great! Their biggest ride is Dragonflier. Dragonflier is a suspended family coaster. It actually packed a decent punch for a coaster aimed more towards younger ones. I was surprised by that. They also had this weird, bizarre ride where you could ride a bear around a track. Like I said it was weird. But I still did it.

After that I left the park. From there, my Aunts, Mom and I headed to the Gatlinburg SkyPark. You have to take a ski lift to get to the top. Once up there, the views are stunning! The Skybridge is up there. This was cool! It is the longest suspended bridge in North America. It is 680 feet long and has glass panels halfway across. Meaning you are looking straight down from a few hundred feet up. That was neat! The ride down was scenic too. Panoramic views of Gatlinburg.

From there I walked to the Gatlinburg Space Needle. This thing is TALL! The views were amazing!

After 20 minutes at the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle I decided to make one more stop at the Hollywood Car Museum. This place was freaking cool! They had cars from a lot of Hollywood films. Like actual cars, not replicas. I got ny photo in the Flintstones car. That was neat.

I love this area! Tomorrow we are headed to Ober Gatlinburg. I’m looking forward to that! I will check in after tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Dollywood Review

Yesterday, June 6, I took my first ever trip to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Right off the bat I have to say this may be the best amusement park I have ever been to! It is right up there with Cedar Point! Sure Dollywood doesn’t have as many big, tall roller coasters but the “fun” factor is beyond legit! Today I will walk you through what my day at Dollywood looked like.

I arrived at Dollywood at park open at 10am. The first ride I headed for was Lightning Rod, the world’s first and only launched wooden roller coaster. This thing blasts you uphill at 40 mph and reaches a top speed of 70 mph. It is nonstop standing airtime! The wait time was posted at 45 minutes when I arrived and I was fully prepared to wait that long. But then I discovered a little secret I didn’t know. Lightning Rod has a single rider line! And there was NOBODY ELSE in that line! Which meant my wait was closer to 10 minutes. And believe me, I took full advantage of that line throughout the day! I rode Lightning Rod five times over the course of the day!

After my beyond amazing ride on Lightning Rod I went to the Grist Mill for the one thing most people know Dollywood for…THE CINNAMON BREAD! I had heard nothing but rave reviews about this stuff and it MORE than delivered! It was so good in fact that I went back when I left to get more. If you ever find yourself in Dollywood do yourself a favor and GET THE DAMN CINNAMON BREAD!

Dollywood is also known for its world class shows. I only saw one show yesterday and that was the Wings of America bird show. This show was great! It showed various birds of prey throughout America, including a Screech Owl, a Red-Tailed Hawk, and for the finale, a Bald Eagle. The show was educational and it was cool to see the birds! Dollywood has the largest collection of non-releaseable Bald Eagles in the US and release any chicks back into the wild. I commend them for that.

After the Wings of America show, I rode Blazing Fury. This was more of a dark ride than roller coaster but it did have a few drops. It was a fun ride.

Once that was done I went to Tennessee Tornado. This thing is FAST! I expected a decent looping coaster but this thing SHATTERED my expectations! Once you reach the top of the lift hill, you drop into a tunnel. You reach 67 mph and pull an amazing 4G`s! So what does that mean exactly? Well as an example I weigh 150-160 pounds. 4g’s means that 4 times that is being exerted on me. So about 600 pounds. That’s insane! Not gonna lie, I started graying out at one or two points.

After Tennessee Tornado I rode Wild Eagle the park’s wing coaster. This means that instead of riding on top of the track, you ride on either side of the track. The ride was fun but I think what “made” the ride for me was the ride operator. To entertain the people in line, he started singing and got the whole station to sing along. It was really entertaining!

After Wild Eagle I headed for Mystery Mine. This ride has two vertical lift hills, a vertical drop and goes upside down twice. This was probably the most disappointing ride I did. That is saying something because it was still a decent ride. What made it disappointing is the fact that the damn thing broke down when I was next in line. AND it was pouring buckets! Thank God I was inside! So after close to an hour the ride reopened. I got off the ride and thought it was kinda rough. So that was a one time ride that day.

The next ride however more than made up for it! Thunderhead, Dollywood’s “regular” wooden coaster, was a total walk-on all day. I have no idea why this is! This thing is spectacular! Glass smooth, a long ride, and TONS of ejector airtime! My kind of ride! I rode this thing about 10 times over the course of an hour! It was that good!

After marathoning Thunderhead I went to Drop Line, the park’s drop tower. This ride is tall, and it rotates on the way up. You get a birds eye view of Dollywood…then you drop. Fun.

I then went to Daredevil Falls, the park’s log ride. Except this one gets you SOAKED! I was amazed at how wet I got! Plus they have water geysers on the drop to get you even wetter.

The second to last ride I did was Barnstormer the swing ride. It was short but sufficient. The angle of the swing felt like you were going upside down.

The last thing I did was the train ride, Dollywood Express. Let me just say I really applaud Dollywood for keeping their steam coal train running since the 1930s. It may not be eco-friendly but it is a piece of American history. Plus it was nice to get off my feet for 20 minutes and just relax. The train had AMAZING views of Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains too. Absolutely stunning.

Speaking of stunning…Dollywood as a whole feels very homey. It’s the atmosphere and ambiance that make this park for me. The park is spotless and clean. It’s a big park, too. The employees went above and beyond for their guests. I am going back to Dollywood today and based on yesterday’s experience, I’m gonna love it even more!

So those are my thoughts on Dollywood. For me this is a freaking perfect park! I know I will come back at some point! Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Tennessee Day One

As I write this I am sitting in my hotel room drinking a beer. I am currently in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This is only Day 1 of 5 on the Smoky Mountains “tour” if you will and already it has been one Hell of an experience!

My Mom, Aunt and I left our house in Baltimore County at around 4:30 am to catch a 7am flight to Atlanta. From there we had a one hour layover and a connecting flight to Knoxville, Tennessee. After landing we went to get the rental car.

Knoxville is roughly an hour away from Gatlinburg…normally. There was SO MUCH TRAFFIC but our GPS gave us an alternate route which saved us about 20 minutes. We stopped off to eat at a pancake restaurant. I opted for biscuits and gravy with sausage and it was DELICIOUS!

After brunch we made our way to Gatlinburg. It was here I got to experience my first ever mountain coaster. This thing was INSANE! I expected it to be fun and all, but this thing shattered my expectations! Going 30 miles per hour down the side of a mountain in an open cart with nothing but a seat belt securing you? A little unnerving. But Goddammit was it FUN!

After riding the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster five times (I got a reride wristband) I walked to Rowdy Bear, about a block away. Rowdy Bear has yet another Mountain Coaster but there is something a little different with this one. There is a freaking SUSPENDED RAIL coaster here! Rowdy Bear has a regular Mountain Coaster in addition to the suspended one. So what one do you think I did? Both DUH! The traditional Mountain Coaster was fast and felt similar to the other one. However the suspended one was downright WILD! You are secured below the rails dangling. And the curves are flat so you swing side to side. The heavier you are, the more you swing. It feels completely out of control! Like I swung horizontal to the rails and my life flashed before my eyes.

From there I went to Anakeesta, a park on top of the Smoky Mountains. This might have been the biggest disappointment of the day. Usually they have a gondola or chair lift to take you to the top. It would have been cool to do that, but neither was working. So everyone had to take a jeep\bus hybrid up. And it was MOBBED! It took forever to get on the bus! The bus was open-air as well and we saw a bear on the way up so that was cool!

Once you get to the top of Anakeesta, the view is stunning! It is amazing up there! I sat on a rocking chair drinking a beer just admiring the views. And what do I see when I get off the bus? A bear cub climbing a tree. It was neat seeing a bear in the wild as opposed to seeing them behind glass at a Zoo.

After a few hours, I waited in another horrendous line to go back down. There was one more thing I wanted to do since everything is in a pretty narrow radius. There is this haunted walk through attraction called Mysterious Mansion. It was a little pricey at $17 but I’d say its worth it. For one, it sits all by itself so it has this sort of aura attraction surrounding it, almost, well, mysterious. Then you go in and it takes about 25 minutes to complete. It wasn’t your typical haunted house, though. It was more like a giant Escape Room with people who jump out at you. It was very well done!

So after all that I am finally back at my hotel for the night. Like I said, I did a lot in just 12 hours and I love it! Day One down and I can’t wait to see what else will happen on this trip!

Trip Anticipation

Well we are coming down to the wire! One week from today, I will be on a plane on my way to Tennessee. Specifically Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I am going to Dollywood for a few days. And believe you me, I am BEYOND EXCITED! I have been researching the Hell out of the park and how to tackle it. I have even been in touch with some fellow YouTubers through the comments section on rides. So if that doesn’t tell you how hyped I am, I don’t know what does!

But it’s more than just Dollywood. I am a scenery buff and photographer. I am Uber excited to be staying in the Smoky Mountains. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about how stunning the scenery is in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. That plus I am dying to see a bear in the wild. I was watching videos on YouTube of bears just casually walking across the street and even through stores. I’d LOVE to experience that!…without getting mauled, obviously.

If we have time, there is one thing I desperately wanna do. It’s called Cades Cove. It’s an 11 mile loop that goes through Great Smoky Mountains State Park and apparently is full of wildlife, including black bears. You can hike certain parts, but I am NOT hiking 11 miles! That’s for damn sure! You can drive it, which sounds like a better option.

Anyone with a fear of birds might wanna stop reading at this point. Another point of interest in Pigeon Forge I am hoping to hit is Parrot Mountain. Parrot Mountain is a bird sanctuary where a large majority of large birds (parrots namely—go figure) are out in the open for people to interact with. No cages, no barricades, no fences, no nothing. I love animals so I am looking forward to doing this! As long as none of the birds poop on me.

If you know anything about me, you know I love roller coasters! But there is something Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are known for…aside from Dollywood. That something is its abundance of mountain coasters. Think a sled that goes 30 mph down the side of a mountain and you will get an idea of what these things are. I am beyond eager to do these! Yes they are a little pricey (roughly $15) but they are LONG rides! So you get your money’s worth.

I am looking forward to the sightseeing. Anakeesta is one area my Mom and I are excited to explore. At Anakeesta, you can take a gondola or ski lift to the top of a mountain and explore up there…and then take a mountain coaster back down. My Mom doesn’t really do rides, but even she thinks the mountain coasters look like fun. Who knows? Maybe she will do one with me.

Another thing I am looking forward to is the ambiance. I’ve been to Florida and one or two other States down South and I’ve realized Southern Hospitality is a real thing. And yes, I realize that seems like a stereotypical statement. But in my experiences, I have been treated very kindly in, I’m going to use Florida as an example because I have been there quite a few times. People have gone out of their way to make me feel at home and welcome, and not just a tourist. I think that’s what the appeal of Southern Charm is. I am looking forward to seeing how Tennessee people compare! I’ve heard they are friendly, but having little experience in that state, I don’t know.

I love to travel. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have been on my radar for years, particularly Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. I am really looking forward to my trip and the two days I have at Dollywood! I will do a follow-up blog when in Tennessee letting you know how the trip is! Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Another Great Day!

Yesterday, May 15 2021, was my 4th trip to HersheyPark as a Season Pass Holder. But yesterday I did something different. As I pulled into the park, I noticed it was PACKED! So after waiting an hour and 15 minutes for the first ride, I decided this wait time crap was ridiculous. I opted for HP FastLane Plus. Look, it was expensive ($120) but for as packed as the park was, I’d say it was worth it!

As I said, Candymonium was the first—and only— ride I did without FastLane and it was a miserable wait! After a front row ride, which was AWESOME by the way, I went and splurged on the FastLane. From that point on, my day got a Hell of a lot better!

After Candymonium, I hopped on Comet, the park’s classic wooden coaster. For a roller coaster that is 75 years old this month, Comet is running exceptionally well! It may have a few “bumps” here and there, but it is remarkably smooth for its age! I’d compare it to a fine wine in that regard. Oh, and the queue was about an hour, but with my FastLane, I was on and off in about 10 minutes. Again, in the front row.

After Comet, I decided to ride SkyRush. SkyRush is wild! If you ever ride this beast, do yourself a favor. RIDE IN THE BACK! Seriously! If you do the back row as opposed to the front, you will not regret it! Plus the front row takes forever to load, so I would much prefer getting a few rides in a better seat as opposed to waiting the same amount of time for one ride.

When I was done with SkyRush, I used my FastLane for a back row ride on SooperDooperLooper. Again, the queue was full, which would have meant at least a 30-45 minute wait, but I hopped on and off in about 5 minutes.

Since it was a nice day yesterday, I decided to ride Coal Cracker, the park’s log ride. I don’t know what it is about this log ride, but I love it! Maybe it’s the fact that there is a bump after the drop that throws you out if your seat…with NO RESTRAINTS! Usually I am a hands-up kind of rider, but I found myself hanging on to the side of the boat for dear life!

After surviving Coal Cracker, I went to ZooAmerica, Hershey’s Zoo. This Zoo is free with admission which is nice. It was crowded in there so I didn’t stay very long. However, I did see a porcupine climbing a tree. I had no idea porcupines could climb trees!

After ZooAmerica, I rode Great Bear. Again, with FastLane in the front row with minimal wait. This inverted coaster (where you hang below the track) might be my favorite inverted coaster ever! It is not as tall, fast, nor as crazy as some other inverts out there, but it was my first ever inverted coaster so it holds nostalgia for me. Plus you get an awesome view of the area so that’s cool.

I walked over to the Hershey Triple Tower drop ride(s) and used my FastLane to my advantage. I walked right on! No wait whatsoever! The launch up the tower is filled with airtime (where you get lifted out of your seat) and the view of Hershey from the top is stunning!

From there, I walked towards the back of the park. I saw that another water ride, Tidal Force, was open. This is not another log ride. No…it takes you up and drops you at an incredibly steep angle into a pool of water. You get DRENCHED! I was soaked from head to toe! But did I stop there? Oh no! After a few rides, there was NOT ONE PERSON in line for the ride. I got this thing all to myself! And I have a photo to prove it.

After getting soaked three times, I decided the best way to dry off was to ride another roller coaster. Unfortunately, that coaster was Wildcat. I don’t get the logic here. Wildcat opened in 1996 and is almost unbearably rough. Even in the front row, this thing will compress your spine like an accordion. The back row will probably give you a concussion. I want to know how is it that Comet, a ride three times older than Wildcat, runs smoother? I’d love if someone could explain that to me.

After my painful ordeal on Wildcat, I limped over to Laff Trakk, Hershey’s spinning indoor coaster. This was by far the longest line I waited in, clocking in at about 20 minutes. Still, compared to what the regular line was, that’s nothing!

After a ride in Laff Trakk, it was getting close to closing time. So I walked back towards the front of the park. I used my FastLane for one last closing time ride on Candymonium. This time I rode in the back. I am torn as to whether I prefer the front row or back on Candymonium. The airtime is a little stronger in the back, but there are two trim brakes that slow the ride down. You can actually feel the train lose momentum if you are in the back. On the flip side, the front offers the views but not as strong airtime.

It was about 7:10 when I got off Candymonium. I had one more thing I wanted to do: GET MY GRAB BAG! With my King Size membership, I got a free grab bag with a souvenir cup, a drawstring bag, and a lanyard. I love that Hershey does this for their elite Season Pass Holders. A little compensation for their money.

After getting the grab bag, I met my mom, Aunt, and family friend and we headed home…sort of. We made a pit stop at Primanti Brothers in York, PA to eat. I got a root beer and a HUMUNGOUS sandwich called When Pigs Fly.

The sandwich had turkey, ham, bacon, a fried egg, and provolone cheese on it. It was DELICIOUS! So after eating, we went home. All in all, it was another amazing day at HersheyPark and I can’t wait to go back many more times in the future! Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Aliens?

This one is gonna be a little out of my usual realm of posts. But we all know those people who think there are aliens out there. UFO conspiracy theorists. Well I am not here to prove those people wrong. I can’t prove nor disprove their existence.

But let me put a spin on this. Look at all the animals that have been here since, well…forever. Sharks, whales, turtles, insects, birds, etc have been around for millions and millions of years. Like hundreds of millions of years. Humans have been on Earth, from what I could find on Google, for “only” seven million years. Actually between five and seven million years. So…why am I bringing this up? Has it ever occurred to you that to the creatures that have been here since the Earth formed might see us as aliens? Seriously.

And let me take this a step further. Maybe the animals we have as pets see us as slave masters. We essentially took animals out of their natural habitats (still do!) and train them to do what we want. Look at dogs for example. We train them to do things merely to make us happy. And yes, while dogs seem happy with positivity from their “masters”, I can’t help but wonder what is going on in their heads.

Cats are the same way. Now cats are more self-sufficient and independent than dogs, but we still basically altered them and their existence and DNA for our own company. Reptiles are the same way. We take wild animals out of their homes and keep them in our own homes as pets.

Maybe this is turning into a post for PETA, but I have to think. Do the animals who were here before us and didn’t go extinct, do they think “Where the Hell did these weird-looking things come from?!” Actually, maybe this is one giant 360. Maybe the space aliens are subconsciously telling us what to do and we, in turn, are doing the same to animals here on Earth. Maybe one day everything will be explained. But who knows?

So what do you think? Are we the aliens here or is this a crackpot theory? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

-Tom