There must be intelligent life down here

Excelsior Day 4

We started at the hotel in the morning, which was a nice hotel with good toilet flushing power compared to the other hotels. We then headed straight out to the Mall of America, the biggest mall in the country. I had my doubts, but upon seeing it in person, I’m pretty sure it’s the biggest one. It’s pretty big.

We parked in the West Garage on the Texas level. Apparently, all the floors of the garage are named after states. And went inside. They had lots and lots of stores. One of the first things we saw was the Nickelodeon-themed theme park that’s smack in the middle of the mall. We checked out all the roller coasters there and decided to get some ride points so that we could ride a couple of rides. There was one that was themed after Spongebob named “Rock Bottom Plunge” with a drop of some kind, and we rode that. It took us up to the ceiling, turned 180 degrees, and dropped us. There were a couple loops and some wild coils toward the end. It was a bit of a rough ride, but fun still, just like some of the rides in Cedar Point. That ride was pretty cool to find inside of a mall.

Excelsior Day 3

On Day 3 of our trip, we started in Indiana at our hotel close to the Indiana Dunes National Park. We went there after a somewhat subpar continental breakfast at our hotel. The Dunes Park was pretty cool, with lots of sand and a view of the lake. It seems like a beautiful recreation area for people who live nearby. You could see Chicago across the lake.

It was interesting how people sat close to the water, which you would not see at an ocean beach due to changing tides. However, as Riley points out, the lakes are deadly with lots of rip tides, making it dangerous to go out in the water. The lifeguards seemed happy to just leave you to die, as we overheard them on the way out. There were sand slides near the beach, which would have been fun to slide down with waxed boards like we did at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.

Excelsior Day 2

In the morning, we got up from the hotel and found that there were no bath towels. We had to dry off with only hand towels, of which there were two. We managed to dry off and get out in the morning and decided to head to breakfast.

There was a location called Juneberry that was touted as the best breakfast place in Cleveland by some places anyway, so we headed in that direction. When we got there, the wait for Juneberry was an hour, which was a lot more time than we wanted to spend waiting for food before we got on with our day. Since we had passed a donut shop called Goldie’s on the way there, on the same block, we went to Goldie’s, and both got long johns, chocolate covered top with vanilla cream filling, and I got a coffee. It was totally fulfilling, and as we walked past the Juneberry on the way to the car, we laughed at the people standing around waiting for their truly frou-frou and bougie experience in their fancy breakfast place.

Excelsior Day 1

We set out on our cross-country road trip in our rented Jeep Compass. We used to set a trail through using all of our destinations. We chose several destinations for our first day on Saturday. We thought we would stop at Hershey Park to see Chocolate World, not to go into the park itself, but just the making of chocolate, as a quick stop between our destinations to break up the long travel day. We also added a couple of other stops, including Falling Water, Ohiopyle State Park, and the abandoned PA Turnpike Tunnel with a stop in Pittsburgh, just to have seen Pittsburgh. There could be another stop on the way to Cleveland, our final destination, to see a co-worker race his car in a demo track run.

Unfortunately, we could not get tickets for Falling Water on such short notice, and having Ohiopyle as a destination took us an hour out of our way on an already long driving day. So we skipped those two destinations and instead hit some of the other sites we intended to see that day. We did make it to Hershey. Hershey’s Chocolate World has changed a lot from when I was younger. Riley and I had a good time walking around their gift shop, looking at some of the t-shirts with old Hershey ad campaigns, like “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” Ultimately, we got on that ride to see how they make chocolate. There were samples available at the end of the ride. Riley got a chocolate bar, and I got some Twizzlers, a company that Hershey had apparently acquired a long time ago.

Blind Pull

It’s been a pretty challenging couple of weeks. Saturday before last, I returned home from a work trip to Columbus to celebrate my birthday with the family. We went out to Founding Farmers in King of Prussia with my mom and Nana, and it was generally a good time. They gifted me a bidet. That’s a whole thing, and a story for another time.

On the Sunday after, we found out that the hot water heater was leaking. Thankfully, the heater itself was still under warranty, but the basement carpet was soaked, and tons of random things on the basement floor were steeping in soggy carpet. We spent a good bit of Sunday and Monday moving things to the dry half of the basement and sucking up the water with our now-copious wetvacs.