Galveston, Texas – May 2019 – Beach and Bay

Galveston is located on an island, just off the Texas coast. While there is a major freeway crossing the bay onto the island, we chose the more interesting route by taking the ferry from the Bolivar Peninsula.

The Gulf of Mexico was angry this day, with a very rough surf, and red flag warnings for all to stay out of the water.

One the ocean side of Galveston there are the typical beach town activities such as an amusement pier.

One of the fishing piers shows how rough the surf was.

A monument to the victims of the 1900 storm is on the beach.

The bay side of Galveston is all business. An off shore oil rig construction company is located on the mainland side.

The Houston Ship Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the country.

The tall ship Elissa is located in Galveston. Built in 1877 it sailed under Norwegian and Swedish flags before being located in Galveston and after extensive restoration, is used for tourist and training of young would be sailors.

Another view of Galveston Harbor.

Like Morgan City, Louisiana, Galveston has a historic offshore oil rig. Unlike Galveston, this one has much corporate sponsorship. We passed since we had seen the ‘real thing’ a couple of days earlier.

One harbor was filled with shrimp boats.

Galveston has always been a point of origination for cruise ships, as was evidenced as one was in port ready for departure.

Brooklyn, NY – May 2018 – Coney Island Lunch

Since we were in the area and I have never been there, we stopped by Coney Island for lunch at Nathans!

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After our nutritious and delicious lunch we took a walk on the boardwalk.

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Even though it was a beautiful summer day (the day after Memorial Day) the place was empty for 1 PM.

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They even have a palm tree on the beach (which is actually a misting palm tree)

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Having seen photos of Coney Island my entire life it was cool to see it in person, with the tall apartment buildings in the background.

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The pier appears to have been recently refurbished.

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We continued down the boardwalk past the various rides, shops and restaurants

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Ending up at the iconic Coney Island subway station.

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Put in Bay, OH – August 2014 – Islanders for the Day

While I have been nearly everywhere in Ohio, as of August 2014 I had not been to any of the islands in Lake Erie. Since the weather was nice, and the lake was calm this was the day to fix that.

We made the drive from Akron out to Port Clinton where we caught an early Jet Express Ferry to Put In Bay. The Jet Express makes the 13 mile trip in 25 minutes.

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Passing by a house made out of an old Freighter.

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Arriving in Put in Bay, we immediately secured our transportation for the day, a golf cart.

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Our first stop was Perry’s Column, a monument to Admiral Perry’s decisive victory in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. This monument is 352′ high, with a commanding view of the Ohio islands, as well as those in Ontario.

We were close enough as soon as I got to the top my phone said ‘Welcome to Canada’.

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You could see all the way to Cedar Point

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The rest of the day was spent touring Put in Bay, which plays up the ‘tropical paradise of Ohio’ marketing ploy…

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We returned to Port Clinton just as the evening drinking crowd was arriving. From there we took the scenic route back along the Lake Erie shore, stopping in Marblehead at the lighthouse, where we were unable to go up because they were hosting a wedding!

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This point offered a great view of Cedar Point across Sandusky Bay, as well as the crazy jet skiers blasting across the waves.

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Just to complete the entire lake experience we stopped in Lorain where there were a couple of tall ships docked for the evening.

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Aurora, OH – June 2008 – Death of an Amusement Park

Geauga Lake Amusement Park Obituary: The grand old amusement park called Geauga Lake was first opened in 1887 alongside a lake of the same name. By the late 1800s rides had been added, with the legendary Big Dipper roller coaster added in 1925.

While many amusement parks closed over the years, Geauga Lake hung on, continually adding and expanding, despite being an hour and a half away from one of the great amusement parks in America, Cedar Point.

Situated across the lake from Sea World of Ohio, the two parks worked in harmony providing a destination for millions of people over the years.

In the early 2000s Six Flags purchased the park, added more rides and operated Geauga Lake, as well as the acquisition of Sea World in 2001.

In 2004 Six Flags was losing money on the park, mostly from an apathetic approach to the customers, when they decided to sell the park to Cedar Fair, the owners of Cedar Point. Many believe this was just a ploy on Cedar Fair’s part to buy out the competition, which was confirmed 4 years later when the amusement park portion closed for good, while the Sea World portion became a large water park, sans attractions like the dolphins and whales. It too closed in 2016.

And thus, the Geauga Lake Funeral – auctioning off the assets of the park – in June 2008.

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And the final hammer swung on Geauga Lake

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Santa Clarita, CA – June 2005 – Magic Mountain Amusement Park

While we were in Southern California, we spent a day at Six Flags Magic Mountain Amusement Park in Santa Clarita. While it is a norm now, this was the first park I had to pass through a metal detector to get into, but once we did it had much the feel of any other amusement park.

While it had a great collection of roller coasters in my opinion it comes up short of Cedar Point, mostly I think because of ‘the Points’ unique location along Lake Erie, and the more efficient approach toward crowd management they have.

Regardless, it was a nice day at Magic Mountain.

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Sandusky, OH – June 2005 – Cedar Point Amusement Park

Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio has been going strong for almost 150 years. While many of the old parks disappeared in the 1950s and 1960s, Cedar Point has continually expanded throughout.

These photos were taken in 2005, causing me to want to go back and document how much of what I captured then is gone now. In my opinion Cedar Point was, is and will likely always be the best amusement park in the world.

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Top Thrill Dragster – 400′ high, and 0-120 in 3.8 seconds.

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Max Air – A Giant Frisbee Ride

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The Ferris Wheel – 136′ high

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The train and Mean Streak coaster meet at the beach.

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A portion of Millenium Force

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A jumble of coasters.

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Raptor from the bucket ride with Sandusky Bay in the background.

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Max Air in action.

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Mantis – Stand Up Coaster

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The classic Wild Mouse

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An aerial view from the top of the rotating elevator. The smugs on the right are from the dirty windows, but the view of the ferris wheel and Wicked Twister make it worthwhile.

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Wicked Twister with Lake Erie in the background.

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Raptor and the harbor.

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The classic Corkscrew. This ride has been flipping people upside down since 1976.

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The Blue Streak. Built in 1964 and named for the local high school sports teams.

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Top Thrill Dragster.

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Pittsburgh – August 2004 – Kennywood Park

Kennywood Park is a classic old amusement park located in the Monongahela Valley just east of Pittsburgh. They have kept much of the old feel of the park, while interspersing new rides. This is another place I need to get back to for an update, since it has been 13 years.

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With the hilly terrain a couple of roller coasters start by going down a hill directly out of the station. The Phantom’s Revenge is their premier steel coaster, however it has a lift hill to start.

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There are many classic old time rides.

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Situated in the Monongahela Valley, the presence of the steel mills provide an interesting backdrop for the steel framework of the coaster.

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Everyone loves an Elvis band.

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The Thunderbolt – As mentioned before this coaster starts out by going down a hill directly out of the station.

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The Jackrabbit. An out and back coaster built in 1920.

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Johnstown & Altoona, PA – July 2004 – Curves and Hills

Lakemont Park in Altoona had a low price special for an all day ride ticket, and given that it was next door to the Altoona Curve AA baseball team park, and they too had a home game we made a trip over, but first we made a stop in Johnstown,

Johnstown, Pennsylvania has the misfortune of having been the location for one of the worst natural disasters in American history, having had a flood in 1889 that killed over 2000 people. The flood was a result of a poorly made dam that broke sending water down the narrow valley. Johnstown has had a number of other significant floods over the year as well

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The Johnstown Inclined Plane was built as a means to quick;y evacuate the city in the event of another flood; which it has served that purpose in 1936 and 1977. The Incline Plane is advertised as the worldest steepest vehicular inclined plane, going up a grade of 70 percent.

To fully experience this incline plane, we indeed put our car on it.


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At the bottom of the hill is Point Stadium, a 1926 era park that has survived some of the floods. Ironically, and without plan, I managed to capture a photo of the park in it’s last season before it was torn down and fully rebuilt.

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We eventually arrived at Lakemont and enjoyed our day at the park. With our all day ride pass we rode the classic roller coaster The Skyliner numerous times.

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Lakemont is best known for having the the Leap The Dips, billed as the oldest operating roller coaster in the world, having been built in 1902.  It is the last known example of a side friction figure eight roller coaster in the United States and is recognized by coaster enthusiasts worldwide to be the oldest standing roller coaster in the world.

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Our day ended at the baseball game with the Altoona Curve AA team. The team is named for the famous Horseshoe Curve railway curve in the mountains above Altoona.

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The view of the Skyliner at sunset was fantastic.

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