We drove from our home near Chicago, headed for the first destination on the road trip that I had dubbed “Coasters, Falls and Halls.” After our evening arrival at the KOA in Sandusky, Ohio, we pitched a tent and headed out for dinner. Upon returning to the “kampground,” it was discovered that the bag which I had so carefully packed in advance of our trip had never made it into the van. I had the clothes I was wearing, and not even a toothbrush more. A quick trip to the Sandusky Meijer yielded a tee, underwear and a toiletry kit. The next morning, before Cedar Point opened, the local Goodwill was the source of several souvenir tees, one of which conveniently promoted our upcoming destination of Cooperstown. And that evening, I found a sale on shorts at Old Navy. All was good. (Well, all except for these three words: carpet of mayflies.)

Cedar Point had been a road-trip destination several times in high school and as an adult. One of my great memories of the place is being there late with my high school youth group — when the park had mostly cleared out — and my friend and I riding the Gemini about 10 times in a row. We’d get off the ride, exit the platform and run right back around to get on again. On this 2013 visit with my family, though, I discovered that age and derring-do had at some point crossed each other in my life. No longer could I look at a coaster like Millennium Force and scream, “Yeeaahhh!!!” Instead what I found myself saying was, “Why in the world would I want to ride that?”