Thursday, July 29, 2010

Grumpy Summer Vacation, Day 15

Today we were at Lagoon.

What is Lagoon, you ask? I personally think it’s Utah’s best kept secret (disclaimer- to my knowledge, neither I nor anyone I know has any financial involvement whatsoever in Lagoon).

It’s an amusement park north of Salt Lake City, which has a remarkably good collection of roller coasters of all different kinds, and an assortment of other decent vomit-inducing amusements. The park is privately owned, with a friendly feel you don't get at generic Six Flags places.

For the record, I’m an amusement park person/parent. I know most people hate going to them with kids, but not me. I love going on wild rides with my kids, shrieking with them, and doing all the corny amusement park stuff.

Wicked, in particular, is a great ride. If you’ve never experienced sphincter dysfunction before, the first 10 seconds of this coaster is a great way to do it.

Another ride is simply called “Roller Coaster”. It’s from 1921, and is the oldest roller coaster in the Western U.S., 7th oldest in the world. Although the ride is tame compared to it’s newer cousins, it has the added thrill of being made of entirely of wood, which flexes in all directions during the ride. This gives you the exciting impression that the whole thing is ready to collapse at any given moment, burying you in a pile of toothpicks.

The park also includes a variety of other features not normally found at amusement parks. This includes a waterpark, accurate 1800’s pioneer village with a museum-quality set of antiquities (medical geek that I am, I spent time in the old pharmacy, which also sells ice cream), a campground, and surrounding hiking trails. All of this is set on the side of a mountain, with some spectacular views. The park has so many trees that in some areas you feel like you’re on a roller coaster in the middle of the forest.

And the lines are nothing compared to Disneyland. The locals bitch if the line is 15 minutes long, and have no idea how lucky they are. Even better, unlike the greedy bunch that runs Disney parks, Lagoon lets you bring in your own food and picnic. You can also buy a giant soda jug with endless refills. Which is just perfect for me.

We haven’t been here for a few summers, back when the kids weren’t big enough for all the attractions. That year one of the ride-height-Nazis carefully measured Marie and proclaimed that at 45 and 7/8 inches she couldn't go on a 46 inch ride. This guy actually took a freakin’ credit card out of his wallet to see if he could slide it between the top of her head and the 46 inch height marker.

Craig, who loves to swim, absolutely HATES getting wet when he isn’t swimming. In spite of this, he loves going on water rides, as he has a bizarre belief that he won’t get wet (no matter how many times this has been disproven). So we went on the river ride.

This time, however, his luck held out, as we all got soaked except him. UNTIL we passed through the area where people watching can plug in quarters to set off water bombs as rafts go by. So as we floated past Craig stood up and yelled at them that they BETTER. NOT. GET. US. WET!

Bad move, Craig. I hope you learned a lesson.

While on the sky ride one of Frank’s flip-flops fell onto the roof of a building. Fortunately, they sell flip-flops at the pool shop there, and I suspect the sky ride is a regular cause of business.

Around mid-afternoon Mrs. Grumpy ran into some old friends, and abandoned me to my fate left with them. So the kids and I continued the rides on our own.

And then it happened.

We were on the log ride, and as Craig waved his arms wildly, he hit me. And my glasses snapped cleanly in two. Then both halves fell off the ride, into the water far below.


I’m so near-sighted it’s unbelievable. I travel with a spare pair, but it was back in the hotel. And I couldn’t reach Mrs. Grumpy.

Double shit.

So, setting the problem aside for later we finished up on the rides as I let the kids drag me around (the crazy leading the blind).

And then I faced the big challenge: finding the car.

Triple shit.

I had only a vague idea where we parked, because Mrs. Grumpy had moved the car when she went to get lunch out of the cooler. And in my current state the parking lot, which is pretty damn big (and full) was a collection of many fuzzy blobs of various colors and sizes. I couldn’t read license plates from more than a foot away.

So in a desperate attempt to find our car, I hoisted Frank (because he's the tallest) onto my shoulders. I used to carry him around that way when he was younger, but now he’s 11, and pretty damn heavy. I told him to look for the car, and guide us there.

You have no idea how many other people have white minivans until you try to find yours. In Utah family transportation comes in 2 sizes: Minivan and Ford Excursion. I think Frank led us to EVERY SINGLE FREAKING LIGHT-COLORED MINIVAN except ours, until Marie noticed it as we passed it heading for another one.

By that time my shoulders were killing me. And they still hurt.

Driving back to the hotel, in my prescription sunglasses, at night, was not fun (regardless of what Corey Hart may have told you), but we made it. The kids enjoyed hearing me swear at the pompous GPS bitch-voice.


Helen said...

Awesome - although, being extremely nearsighted myself, I feel your pain.

I remember taking two vehicles on a big family excursion to Frankenmuth, MI as a kid, and deciding to ride back with my cousin and uncle. Somewhere along the way we got separated from my grandpa and the rest of the family. For about an hour, all you could hear was my cousin and I screaming, "there's a grey van!!" and my uncle swearing violently. We finally found them at a Cracker Barrel.

Maha said...

Dare I ask which sphincter(s) dysfunctioned?

Losing my glasses would be a horrific nightmare - I too am freakishly nearsighted and have spent good money on spare specs.

I've been literally laughing my ass off catching up on your vacation exploits! I heart you and your family :)

middle child said...

So I'm guessing Frank's favorite ride was the last one,....Daddy's shoulders. You actually drove with your sunglasses on? You're a crazy man. Why your "name" is Grumpy, I will never understand. Again, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I'm very nearsighted myself. I wear contacts, but even then, I'm afraid I might be swimming or on a water ride and one might fall out.

As for your GPS, I bet I can guess what kind you have. Yeah, I've sworn at mine quite a few times.

Angela said...

LOL! Ouch!! I learned the hardway as well that water parks and 'script sunglasses don't mix! oi!

lol glad you at least have a spare!


Mira said...

I'm so glad you had prescription sunglasses in the car. What a nightmare!

A few years ago I realized that if anything ever happened to my glasses, I would be helpless. Whenever my cats knocked them off of my nightstand I would have to feel around on the floor until I found them. Not fun.

I finally bit the bullet and visited a fantastic eye doctor. After extensive testing I was ruled ineligible for laser surgery (too blind) but a good candidate for implantable contact lenses. It was scary, and the surgeries had to be two weeks apart, but it was completely worth it. ^_^

I went from having a prescription of -9 and -11, to -0.5 and +0.5. HUGE difference!

So, um, long personal story to basically ask if you've ever considered corrective surgery. ^_^

WarmSocks said...

I'm sorry to hear about the broken glasses :(

If you're still north of SLC and have time to spare, my kids really enjoyed the Golden Spike National Monument. My kids are a bit odd, so no telling if anyone else would like it or not. If you go, arrive before 9 so you can watch the engines come in.

evitafjord said...

When I was in middle school/junior high, Lagoon was a our end-of-the-year reward day. Preseason, only a couple of other schools around until at least midmorning, the lines were nonexistant and the operators would let them last longer too. It was glorious.

Our epic road trip ends in 2 days on day 20. I'm so ready.

KateA said...

Lake Winnie for short. The lines are short, the food is cheap (and you can bring your own), and if you don't want to ride the rides, you don't pay a ginormous entrance can either buy a wrist band that allows you a free pass on the rides or you can buy little tickets and use them to pay for rides.

Glad you didn't have an accident driving in the dark on dark. Which is worse for you, no glasses or sunglasses at night?

Marco said...

My stomach is dropping just *Looking* at that picture!

Kit Halsted said...

Just curious: why do you wear glasses when there's LASIK? I have no financial interest in it at all, but having it done was probably the only good investment I ever made.

Anonymous said...

Recalculating....damn gps!

I love amusement parks as well, and eating everything that is bad for me while at said amusement parks. Great fun! However, I also love Disney (world, never been to land). Love it. I know it's expensive, but I love everything about it. Of course, we always stay at the campground, in our own camper...we bring our hotel room with us! Much cheaper that way.

The coaster you have pictured here looks like something I'd maybe not want to go on. 20 years ago, yes, but I'm old now. :o But who knows, maybe. Would depend on my mood.

In March we were at Myrtle Beach and went on a coaster. My son has cochlear implants in both ears. As we're going down a hill, one of his processors starts to fly away. These processors cost about $10,000 each. ACK! My son, 8 years old,grabs the processor in mid air and holds it onto his head has tightly as possible and doesn't let go. He saved his processor! He is good!

skidmark said...

Another of my favorite bloggers attended Lagoon recently. He especially recommended a particular ride for the level of comfort the seating provided - unless you were built like a normal adult male.

Any chance you rode that contraption and just don't have the stones (anymore) to tell us about it?

And you walk about with only the one pair of glasses you are currently using? Shame! Fie! You deserve everything that happened.

stay safe.

Christine said...

Ugh, I feel you on the glasses. My vision was 20/800 up until last March.

I usually wore contacts, but at night, my cat would knock my glasses off my nightstand and under my bed. Dear God, no! Took forever to finally feel them out.

At work one day I rubbed my eye and the contact came out. I panicked and looked desperately on the floor for it. I could not find it anywhere. Everyone was trying to figure out why it was such a big deal. I kept saying, "You don't get it, I can't see at all!" I figured I'd be wearing my prescription sunglasses indoors the rest of my twelve hour shift.

3 hours later someone found my contact. I cleaned it the best I could and rehydrated it with normal saline. Then I put it back in my eye. To this day, everyone is amazed I didn't get MRSA in my eye.

Experiences like those, and fear of one like yours happening was key to me getting LASIK last March- something I thought I would never do. No regrets now, though. I think the severely nearsighted appreciate it the most.

stacey said...

I don't own a GPS because I often end up arguing with them (is that a turn or a curve?), but when I am in rental cars with them, I always change the language to Italian... Nothing like a sexy Italian womans voice tellin' you where to go....Even if you don't understand every word...

Jamie VanBeekum said...

I love Lagoon, especially Wicked! We missed going this year, but next year, I'm taking the kids, even if it means I have to go without my husband. I love your blog and am a long-time reader. Just wanted to say Hi from Utah!

mongolian yak said...

maybe you should have carried marie instead of frank, i bet she's at least 5 pounds lighter, and, apparently, girls have better ability to notice things than boys :p

Anonymous said...

A few days before leaving on a trip abroad, I realized I'd donated my son's spare pair of glasses to the Lions Club, although, I think I'm more near-sighted than Dr. G, my teen-age son nearly rivals my near-sightedness, so this was one of the elements of a nightmare as we traveled on the barely heated train through a country that might not be able to grind a prescription very quickly should one's glasses fall off one's head. Best to never voice these thoughts aloud, as they might possibly happen.

kate sweeten said...

Can I come on vacation with you guys next time? These entries have been hilarious!

misanthropicobs said...

If you and the family like animals & are still in Utah you might want to visit Best Friends Sanctuary, website is

They are probably the largest sanctuary in the country, around 2000 animals live their - parrots, other birds, mules, horses, goats, dogs, cats, wild rescues, pigs. They are in the golden circle of parks around Kanab Utah in the southern part of the state. Located in Angel Canyon on a few thousand acres. Yes they do schedule tours, have cabins on the grounds for sleepovers with the some of the animals, etc. It seems to be quite a few peoples vacation of choice, one of my friends goes every year.

Rothase said...

A couple days ago, my right eye became irritated (heaven knows why) and I had to remove my contact. I went to put in new contacts, but I only had a left contact! I am out of right ones! So I tried to put on my glasses. I found them on my cluttered dresser, but evidently my children had found them first. The metal frames were all bent and crooked, so that if one eye could focus, the other one was blind because the lens was sticking out funny. And part of that little nose pad was missing. So here I am at work with one functioning eyeball. ACK! I feel your pain, Dr. Grumpy!

Unknown said...

I went to Lagoon this year after a several year hiatus (in which we visited Disneyland multiple times), and was surprised by A) how short the lines really are, even the one for Wicked and B) how few rides I can even go on before I feel completely nauseous, even with Meclizine. I made it on Jet Star, Wicked, and Colossus/Fire Dragon before I was pretty much done. While the only rides I can't do at Disneyland are the circle ones.

Spent the rest of the day at Lagoon-a-Beach and eating corn dogs and caramel apples. I must be getting old.

Sav said...

Doc, you're in my stomping grounds! EPIC!

Love from Provo :)

The Mother said...

Guilty of swearing in the car, in front of the kids. Their vocabularies were enriched by it, I claim.

I sneaked past the height Nazis and got on several roller coasters at Disneyland preggars with the Engineer (I could have just been fat, right?). If I scrambled his brains at all, it is probably just as well--he's almost insufferably brilliant.

Wait, scratch the almost.

SarahRx said...

I'm with those recommending corrective surgery. When my neice was born 2 years ago my entire family wore glasses. Two weeks later I had laser surgery. Two months after that my brother-in-law had it. No one in my family wears glasses anymore - we just laugh at the old pictures of all of us wearing glasses!

The incident that pushed me to get my surgery: I dropped a chair on my face while unstacking them (serves me right for volunteering at church on a saturday night) and broke my glasses, gave myself a black eye and got a huge cut on my face from the broken glasses. I spent most of the night in the emerg and then had to go into work the next day looking oh-so-professional. I actually had a patient ask me if I'd been in a bar fight the night before! Oh, and my glasses were taped together in order to stay on my face.

Bob in Tampa said...

cataract surgery fixed my I only need reading glasses. Wonderful!!

We refer to the delightful voice emanating from our GPS as "Bonnie the Beeyach" after my brother's ex!

The Observer said...

No GPS for me. I just argue with myself, especially when I've turned South and I wanted to go North...

As far as glasses--I have been nearsighted all my life, and except for a brief period from 17-23 have worn real glasses without being too bothered. (The contact era was cut short by allergies in the eye--the lenses started drying and falling out, constant irritation yada yada) But now I must take my glasses off to read and use the computer. What a pain! The next pair will have to be bifocals.

As far as amusement parks, I like waterslides the best. Oceans of Fun here in KC rocks. (Except for the price--expensive!)

Anonymous said...

Dr Grumpy! You were about ten minutes from my house. Had I known of your dilema I would have come and taxi'd you and the kids back to the hotel--that would have been the coolest thing! Next time give Utah a heads up.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Utah and am now a midwesterner. Reading this made me miss Lagoon. *sigh* Cedar Point is awesome, but just not the same. Glad you had fun.

jamiegirl said...

I read this last night and didn't have time to comment. As always, living vicariously through you makes me laugh Dr. G.
It sounds like a vacation you and the kids will remember forever. In that strange "did we really do that," kind of way. Thanks for the laughter.

Bessie said...

Wearing glasses on rides was one of the banes of my young existence. I would visit amusement parks a few times a year with school or with my youth group. Our bespectacled compatriots have a couple of options to choose from when riding a roller coaster --
1. Always bring a small backpack and glasses case to the park. Put the glasses in the bag and the bag next to the ride attendant a few moments before roller coaster takeoff, and just pray that no asshole is going to steal it. Ride blind, and enjoy the sheer physical sensation of combined height and speed while not focusing on the blurry concrete ground that would crack your skull should the roller coaster fling you off.
2. An alternative for the ladies - remove the glasses and stick them under your shirt, looped around the center of your bra and nestled in the safety of your cleavage. Works like a charm.

I'm sorry to hear about your glasses, Dr. G. This nearsighted fool commiserates.

(On another note - I have a friend who, on losing his only right contact at the beginning of a weekend-long conference out of town, went out and bought a black eyepatch to cover the disadvantaged eye. All weekend long he played the pirate.)

Marie said...

He broke your glasses. While they were on your face.

Why oh why do we have children?

Eliza said...

I love hearing my dad swear at the GPS! Oh the wonders of family vacations!

Jen in Cincinnati said...

I used to be just as nearsighted as you... one word: Visian. And no I don't own stock in the company. Had surgery 2 years ago, best 7 grand I ever spent.

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