Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas in Taunton

After a packed few days in London Chris and I headed down to the West Country to my parents for the 'Mills/Coles family Christmas'. More mayhem Mum was hosting 11 of us plus 4 more for 'Christmas Dinner' itslef on the 28th. On the 27th (our 'Xmas Eve') all 11 went up to Bristol to see Mamma Mia at the Hippodrome - absolutely great stuff. We ALL got up and danced away during the encore!

The downside to the 2 Christmases-thing is the FOOD - the overwhelming and un-ending quanitity of it. Thankfully Chris and I have kept up the walking, and at the end of the year I'm pleased to say we managed 530 miles - the aim for 2008 is 1000 miles!!
Trouble - with a capital 'G'!!
The Chefs!
The 'Girl' Cousins!
The Men!
The most riduclous number of presents I've ever seen!! (I'm not complaining - my fair share were buried somewhere in this lot!!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day!

All of us outside the Natural History Museum on Boxing Day. The plan was supposed to be ice-skating but a power cut put paid to that. Instead we indulged in the most indulgent hot chocolate I have ever tasted - you have GOT to try this. Gu - OMG. It's amazing - not just chocolatey but sort of choc-brownie rich - yuuuuuummmmmy!

Christmas in London

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We spent 5 days with Chris's family in London. The whole of the UK puts on an incredibly disappointing show of Xmas decorations and lights (bah-humbugs!) Here are a couple of cheerful, festive displays we saw - Covent Garden (where we spent an evening wandering around, watching the buskers and sipping mulled wine whilst grabbing a few last minute presents!), and also Carnaby Street. Christmas means great food and LOTS of it! I love it! These mini chilli peppers stuffed with cream cheese & mint went down a treat...and chicken satay - and that was just the nibbles whilst we worked up an appetite for the main event! (like there's ever room for Xmas dinner?!) I get the feeling here that Call was guarding the dinner - just gorgeous decorations at Helen's house - I think we counted over 40 cream candles burning each evening - just beautiful!
And these are the crazy Chrismas Day swimmers at the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Each Xmas Day morning at 9am they swim the 100 yard dash in the freezing waters. There were probably about 50 of them. It was pretty fresh - the brave souls - the weather was lousy - the only miserable, wet day we had over the Christmas period but we managed a wee walk around the park for a bit before the inevitable mayhem started!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Who said the UK doesn’t have mountains?...Oh – that’ll be me then!! Wales' best offering is Snowdon at 3560ft. Not quite in the same league as the 14ers of Colorado or the +10Ks of California that we were hiking earlier this year, but… All things are relative I suppose.

An early Monday morning in December and the carpark was surprisingly busy – but of course you still have to pay and display! – typical UK. Completely unfriendly and unapproachable park wardens too who basically gave us the impression that if we had to ask about conditions and recommendations then we shouldn’t be doing it! A somewhat different outlook to the US where we feel that it’s the irresponsible ones that don’t ask!

Anyway. We hiked up the Miners track to the peak and returned via the Pyg track. A total of 8 miles and an elevation gain of 2500ft. Most of the trail was quite maintained and built up with stones – almost like paving and it was so wet, and in places mini waterfalls had developed, pouring down them. But actually it was so icy so we were skating around a bit and scrambling around the mountain-side trying to avoid the ice which slowed the progress somewhat! At the peak it was amazingly windy – we were clinging hold of the trig point for fear of getting blown off!! All in all we were so lucky with the weather – most of the hike we had views of the peak with some crazy clouds whizzing by every so often. Great views from the top right down to the coast in one direction, and in the other clouds way below us really giving us the feel of being on top of the world! It was very cold, especially when we stopped for more than a moment so retreated to the nearest tea rooms for warm soup and hot chocolate! (The mulled wine came later!!!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Netherlands

Had a quick escape to the Netherlands this last week. What a great time!! We stayed in Amsterdam with our friends Leo and Annette (these are the crazy Dutch couple we met in Baja California last year who'd cycled from Alaska!! - mentioned on the blog entries back in November/December 2006) - Thank you SO MUCH guys - you are just the most amazing hosts!

Had a wonderful time just strolling the city. Must admit had some TERRIBLE weather - we got so completely soaked through a couple of times but of course there's plenty of cafes and bars to retreat to and warm through with a nice glass of hot chocolate. Our contribution to culture was a visit to the Anne Frank House which was great in a sombering kind of way - can't believe she was only 15 when she died. They hid in the house on the side of the canal for just under 2 years before someone grassed them up. Anne herself died in a concentration camp just one week before it was liberated by the British Army.

Leo & Annette did introduce us to Indonesian food. Can't believe I haven't had this before. NEED to have it again soon! Rijsttafel is an indonesian buffet which we all ordered. I counted 15 mini dishes laid out on our table and I'm sure I didn't get to sample them all (if only the American culture of 'doggy bags' was somewhat more accepted here!!)

And in no particular order here are some of my favourite photos of this lovely, colourful city;

Friday, November 30, 2007

Jolly Ole' England!!

SO. England. So far so good. We've been back 3 weeks now and we've only been out walking in the rain twice!! Unseasonably mild and dry - but it's England. It's bound not to last. But we have been making the most of it. Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth!! Since we've been back we've walked 77 miles. This is us keeping up with our latest fitness regime (something else that's bound not to last!!) Start the day off with a 4 mile walk, trudging round the English countryside - great!!

So with the mild weather we even managed to get the top down in our 'old' SLK!! My folks kindly put us back on the insurance for us to drive while we're here (actually less of the 'us' - they wouldn't insure me due to 'age unacceptable' - go figure! Still being chauffeur-driven isn't so bad! This is the view from 'up the hill' looking down on Kingston St Mary - the village I grew up in, and where my Mum & Dad still are. Looks far more 'romantic' here in B&W than it ever was when I was here!

And - FINALLY we found some autumn!! After missing it all in the States there are some remnants here. And plenty of leaves!! (Picture taken 28 Nov in Kingston)

Yesterday we had beautiful weather and so took an afternoon trip out to the seaside with my Mum & Dad. One of the nearest places to us on the South coast is Lyme Regis in Dorset. I remember all the fun trips I took there as a teenager with friends staying in a beach chalet and generally running riot - the promendae is all tarted up and looking rather different, but the old cottages and 'the Cobb' (was used for filming in the movie French Lieutenants Woman) protecting the harbour never change. Strolled along the shore, stopped in a little English tea-rooms for cream teas, hot chocolate, buttered crumpets and mulled wine! - Ahhhh - tis good to be back!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

One day to go!

Time is counting down. This time in 24 hours we'll be on a plane back across the Atlantic. For our last few days we've based ourselves in Conroe, TX - about 35 miles north of Houston. Great place, great campsite and a perfect place to prepare for home, prep the RV for 5 months of winter storage and pack. Looking forward to seeing our family and really excited about 'going home for Christmas'.

The trip is on hold now for 5 months. This is not the end. We have return tickets booked for mid-April!!

'Old Baldy' - seen in Hill Country, TX - Yes YOU Backhouse!!!

Whilst in Austin we also caught up with Marty and Tom - a couple we'd met when visiting the Four Corners Monument (in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah - take your pick!!). Finally after all our plan changes this year we visited their home and had dinner with them - also in Austin, TX! Great to see you both!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Time with old friends

A couple of shots of Chris with his old buddy from RAF II Squadron days - 'Geordie' Sparrow - now all grown up, retired from the RAF and mature he's better known as John! Had a great couple of days staying with him and his family - Michelle, Kate & Callum in Austin. They took us to the MOST fabulous Texas BBQ joint - The Salt Lick restaurant. HUGE plates of BBQ ribs, sausage & beef brisket served family style with heaps of beans, bread, pickles, potatos, sauce. Oh wow - just fab stuff and all you can eat so we all waddled out a couple hours later to listen to the live music playing in the garden of the resturant!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

39th State

This is our USA states sticker map. It's stuck on the door of the RV and we peel off and stick on the states as and when we've visted! Vague criteria qualify a state for sticker status - we have to have stayed the night and 'done' something (for example driving 2 hours through Arkansas 2 years ago didn't qualify much to Chris's irritation, it wasn't until last month that it actually got it's sticker (And soaking for 2 hours in a Hot Spring and hiking was good enough in my book!)

So 39 States in 34 months. And what with our flights back to the UK booked for less than 2 weeks time this is all we can achieve for the time being. So 39 - not bad (we could sneak in a couple more on that figure given that we've both been to Hawaii, and I've been to Kansas & Massachusetts but not on this trip so disallowed! - Yes, yes - I'm strict with the rules!) Poor old West Virginia is out on a limb a bit so we might never get that one! New Mexico I haven't 'really' been to. We went to the 4 corners last year and put a limb in 4 states which I admit is stretching it a little (OK, since I'm short it was stretching it a LOT) but anyway, Chris did do his bike trip there last year which MORE than qualifys him!

Snuck in to Oklahoma this week (mainly to bag a final sticker before we go!) Went to the beautiful Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Went off merrily for our morning hike. All very nice, although I was grumbling along about how thick the undergrowth was making it tough going. Well that became the least of my worries when a very dodgey geezer in camo-gear informed me that it was 'Black Powder' (whatever the hell that means) season and I looked like a white-tailed deer (something about the cream sweater I was wearing rather than my natural grace and elegance) and was highly likely to get shot at. Nice. We beat a hasty retreat and stuck to the roads to the sound of guns going off all around. Chris re-assured me by saying that if I heard the shot it missed me. Mmmm. Thanks for that. Also in Oklahoma did a mammoth Christmas shopping spree - with the $ at $2.08 to the UK£ it can't be bad - spend, spend, spend!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Track time...

You know how women have those pamper day thingies? Well today I had a men's pamper day; it was me, my bike, a race track in the middle of Texas and a whole bunch of like mided bikers!

The track day organised by Buell, (my bike is a Buell) and 'Private Track Time' a company that hires race tracks for private use, and when I'd seen it advertised a couple of months ago I conveniently 'steered' us to be in this area at just the right time...

The track was open from 9 am to 5 pm and each hour was split into three groups of twenty minutes for novice, intermediate and advanced riders so throughout the day everyone had seven twenty minute sessions. (Which is actually more than enough for most people!) There are expert coaches throughout the day to either follow and critique or lead to show you the right lines for this particular track; they are free and well worth it as it would take half the day to learn the track without their local knowledge.

Buell were there with a fleet of their new pre-production model which won't be available in the showrooms until next year; anyone with a license could sign up for a test ride so we all got the chance to put it through its paces on the track; this is a very rare experience and quite a privilege; it's not uncommon to not be able to test ride a bike before buying anyway so getting to test one you're not buying, on a race track really is something.

We parked the RV in the pits area so with Helen on hand to rehydrate me and clean my visor in between sessions I even had my own 'brolly-dolly'... And of course she got to watch all the action in close up full colour live timing; bored? surely not!

The whole day cost $100 and included lunch, a T shirt, knee sliders, (if you don't know you won't understand!) and the much appreciated marshals and medical cover - which thankfully wasn't needed! Of course the bikes get a much harder time than normal so my new tyres have several hundreds miles of worth of wear on them, but the day was an absolute bargain for a day of playing GP racers!

One of the others I'd met at the track was a guy from Florida called Norm who had a house within the track grounds, (and yes I am envious!) who invited Helen and I to have dinner with him, a friend, Brad also riding and their respective wives, Maggie and Cinda So a fab day was finished to perfection with a great evening enjoying cold beer and Maggie's wonderful cooking in thier lovely house overlooking, (literally) the track.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Whizzed across a few state lines since I last wrote. We had a quick night out in Memphis. Visited here over 2 years ago near the start of our trip and did all the attractions but happenned across a wicked bar on Beale Street with the most increadible pulled pork BBQ sandwiches and since we were 'in the area' we had to go back!! Just as good as we remembered, and a good night (if rather wet) out in Memphis!

From there we crossed into Arkansas and our 38th state. And with a city name of 'Hot Springs' how could we resist?! It's also a National Park (And we like those!). This is actually a city park and the national park is there to preserve and protect the hot springs which flow around/through the town centre. In the late 1800's it became a popular spot for people to visit the therapeutic healing hot waters and by the turn of the century it was quite the place to come to 'take the waters'. Theres a whole row of grand old bath houses which the NPS are currently restoring. The visitor centre is in one of them - the Fordyce Bathhouse and you can tour around inside and see how it was in it's heyday - the changing rooms, bath hall, massage rooms, vapour rooms and even a funky old fashioned gym full of equipment! 3 doors down is the Buckstaff Baths and these are the only functioning baths. For $50 we had the 'full monty' bath - about 2 hours in total. Men & women bathe on separate floors. You take the elevator to your floor and get met by a locker room attendant, you takes your clothes and wraps you in a linen sheet toga-styel. You start with a 20 minute whirlpool bath. Your own private bath attendant scrubs you down with a loofah mitt then you sit back and relax. From there you have a 'sitz' bath - which is a small sit-in tub with extremely hot water which is good for lower back pains. Next is a vapour cabinet (weird thing - I had a head-out thing which felt very strange, Chris was in a more conventional steam room), then I laid on a bed and had hot packs positioned wherever I wanted them and sweated out for 20 minutes or so. Finally it was into the needle shower for a rinse off before settling down to a swedish massage. Pretty good stuff! Hot Springs town is quite small and surrounded by hills - we got in a couple of hikes before we felt we'd earnt the bath treatment! (we're aiming to complete 350 miles of hiking before we head home to the UK in 3.5 weeks time)

Now we've just crossed the state line into Texas. We're heading for Dallas where Chris has a track day on the bike next Tuesday.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Motorcycles....lots of them

I know how to show a girl a good time; "Fancy a romantic weekend away on the bike dear, stay in a hotel for a change?" I knew one of us would have a good time!

What I had in mind was a 550 plus mile round trip to spend all day at the 'Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum' in Birmingham Alabama. I'd seen the museum raved about in a bike magazine a year or so ago and regretted not knowing it was there when we passed through Birmingham near the start of this trip, so when I realised we were 'so close' it seemed criminal to miss out again!

The museum is an open plan, five story monolith and holds the largest private collection of bikes in the world with 750 on display at any time and another 350 in the basement either awaiting restoration or space upstairs - they try and rotate through the models every month or so. (Best go back next month then!!!) The guy who owns them is the boss/owner of a large ice cream company and has been collecting for 20 years which is quite some feat considering what he's managed to get hold of.

The display was truly phenomenal with bike ranging from the early 20th century to today with many famous race bikes and one off prototypes and special editions. I'll do my best not to alienate bikers here but I'm sure names like Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Kenny Roberts and Joey Dunlop will be recognised by most people as masters of the bike racing world; there were the very bikes that these guys had made history on in amongst everyday bikes that were/still are popular with the rest of us. The bike Steve Mc Queen rode in 'The Great Escape' was there as was a replica, (the original was wrecked in the film) of the bike Dennis Hopper rode in the iconic 'Easy Rider'.

There was also plenty of nostalgia for me seeing so many of the bikes I'd grown up drooling over, (including some I'd owned myself over the years) in 'as new' condition; many in fact were actually unused and as old as they were, had zero miles on the clock! I know I couldn't be that disciplined; if I had my own private collection of 1,100 bikes, garaged within the grounds of one of America's best race tracks, (that I also owned) I don't care what the bike's history is, there's no way it would find a place in the museum until I'd taken it for a few laps myself first!
And the ride there and back was pretty good too; six hours across the rolling countryside of Tennessee and Alabama in late summer is as good as any way to spend the day. Despite being mid October, the weather is as warm as an English summer day; cool and fresh in the morning, balmy and hot in the afternoon.

As for the romance... well we did have the novelty of cable TV to keep us occupied at night!
Ooops, I nearly forgot 'old Jack'; we took a detour to stop in at the Jack Daniels distillery for a tour on our way south to Alabama. Last time we were in Tennessee it was just a brief visit to Memphis to see the home of "The King" (you know, him with the blue suede shoes) and Lynchberg would have been too far out of our way. With hindsight I'm glad we didn't make the trip as Jack Daniels is the only brewery/distillery tour I've eve been on where you don't get a sample!

Believe it or not Moore County, (Lynchburg and therefore the JD distillery is in Moore) is still a dry county left over from the days of prohibition! Old Jack himself bought the rights to the iron free natural spring back before prohibition but was stopped from making whisky for some 30 years; prohibition itself had ended but Moore County stayed dry. Eventually it was agreed that the distillery could open again as it was good for local labour and the economy, and it operated for many years without ever being able to sell it's product locally. Much later, and I already forget the date, a local law was passed to allow the distillery to sell whiskey in its own shop (but still only special edition bottles, not regular retail stuff) although the whole of Moore County is still dry!
The whiskey starts at 140 proof before it gets filtered through 10 ft of charcoal whereby it drops to a mere 90 proof; our very funny and quite mad guide, (either mad or overcome with fumes from all the tours he does) insisted on rattling the (locked down) lids of the filtration drums to let the aroma out - and what a smell it was! As the lone foreigners in the group the guide took an instant (moon?)shine to us and thought it was wonderful we'd come all this way for a distillery tour where we couldn't even get to sample the end result.

Jack Daniels is the largest producer of whiskey in the world and perhaps unsurprisingly the UK is the largest importer; perhaps this was why the guide felt a certain affinity to us! They still make it the same way they did in the beginning from the same underground spring and to assure quality they are the only whiskey producer to make their own wooden barrels and use each one only once - if you buy a barrel which is 240 bottles, you get to keep the barrel and each bottle comes with its personalised embossed medallion. All a pretty good detour for 2 hours spent on a freebie tour with no sampling!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

When in Nashville...

Who'd have thought we'd be clapping our hands and toe tapping our way through not one, but TWO nights of live Country Music. When in Nashville.... After lots of good gen from a super friendly info centre we headed into downtown Nashville. We parked just half a dozen blocks from the action on a busy main road but it was free, unmetered parking (and at the end of a great evening it was staggering distance back to bed and we stopped the night, drifting off to sleep to the sound of disel engine buses chugging their way round the late night bus routes!) First stop was the strip of Honky-Tonk bars on Broadway. Plenty of bars, plenty of choice and more country music than you could shake a stick at. They were all free cover so we could drift in and out at will depending on the music. ALL had live music and cold beer - what more could you want?! After a while we went in search of food and after a certain amount of wandering we ended up in BB Kings Bar (OK so not entirely country music here) Again great live music - a crazy keyboard player - dressed up in platform white boots, phscadelic shirt and with permed long blonde hair - he was SO out of a 70's rock band but was awesome entertainment even if he was in a blues bar!!

Tonight it was a night at the Grand Ole Opry. This started out as a simple radio broadcast back in 1925 and is now a full live-entertainment show, the self procalimed 'home of country music'. ALL the famous names have been performed there. The show is almost variety show -like in organisation. You don't actually book to see a particular performer you just book your seat on a date and are one of an audience of thousands on the recording of the Grand Ole Opry 2-hour radio show. There are 8 different performers and each do a set of 3 songs (in between sets we did have to sit through the radio presenter talking his way through a very scripted radio commercial for the show sponsors such as Cracker Barrel Ole Country Restuarant). We got lucky - Carrie Underwood was performing!! We'd been quite into a couple of her songs playing on the radio a lot here ('Before he cheats' is great!) At the show we realised that she was actually shot to fame by her success on American Idol - but now is making a respectable name for herself in country music - a gorgeous, petite, blonde in amongst a show full of male singers on the night we were there it's hardly surprising! A great night at 'The Grand Ole Opry' - what a Nashville thing to do?! We polished off the night with another American classic - TGI's (it's tacky, expensive, and the 'proper' food is awful, but the cocktails are great and the bar snacks and appys are tasty!) Tongiht we went upmarket - no street-side camping for us. No tonight we found a Camping World shop carpark right alongside the interstate to cosy up in (my husband takes me to ALL the best places!!)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Amish Country, Ohio

Have had a great couple of days and we haven't been outside of the RV!!! Checked into a nice little campsite in amongst the peace and serenity that is Berlin, OH; which is right in the heart of Amish Country. We have had the most atrocous weather for the past two days but the good bit of it is we have Wifi. This shouldn't normally be cause for too much excitement (we're not normally THAT sad!) but it's been a while - the last few weeks we've been just grabbing odd minutes here and there parked outside hotels!! So surfs up!! And we've just discovered the joy and ultimate time-wasting wesbite that is Facebook! So the weather has been lousy...

Until today; today we had to get out. Took the motorbike out to a neighbouring town of Sugarcreek where they were having their annual Swiss Fesitval. A kid's parade and lots of people wearing swiss national dress (I assume it was anyway..) Sampled some local Ohio wines. Bought some local Ohio wines (you know how it is!) and sampled (and bought) some real (Ohio?!) Swiss cheese. Ate Deep Fried Swiss cheese-on-a-stick (markedly better than it sounds) and Bratwurst and drank more Ohio wines...

Then strolled around the local town of Berlin. This is just such an Amish part of the country. Lots and lots of buggys out on the road and many Amish people who are quite distinctive in their dress. Check out this photo - love it...the equivalent of the Amish Supermarkt on a Saturday afternoon - total gridlock in the supermarket carpark (and you say you have problems parking in Tesco in Bishops Cleeve Pat?! - you ain't seen nothing!!).

And finally - this is Donkey tied up at the 'horse rail' next to an Amish buggy - he's fitting right in don't you think?!?!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cedar Point Part II

More about Cedar Point - it deserves a good write up! It was Halloweekends at the park while we were there which was fun! It was all decked out with spooky decorations and come nightfall there were some themed attrations. 3 Haunted houses and 4 spooky 'walk-throughs'. Let me just say that Cedar Point rates all it's rides on a 1-5 basis with 5 being a extreme thrill experience. One of the houses we went in was rated a five (normally reserved for the radical coasters). As you walked through there were creepy decorations (spider web stuff hanging down in your face etc!), mostly it was pitch black so you really had to feel your way step by step along the floor. Lots of hanging curtains and nooks and crannies that 'things' could be hiding in/behind. And there was a cast of real live people all dressed up as ghouls, witches and dead people etc, and jumping out on you shouting, screaming and rattling cans and generally making you jump sky high. The adrenalin was going like crazy but it was funny too - when people had succeeded in making me scream I couldn't help but laugh out loud at myself!! There was also one of those tunnel things. It's a straight through tunnel with fixed walkway, but there flashing lights in a tube all around and they moved in a circular motion so your brain tricks you into thinking you're moving. This we were in stitches over - it REALLY felt like we were up on our sides on the walkway, clinging on for dear life - hysterical!! Actually even funnier when we walked right through to other side then watched the people behind us falling about - of course from our vantage point it was a straight, still walkway!!!

The haunted walk-through was also great. Amazingly it was on one of the main thoroughfares in the park to get to a whole host of roller coasters so there was no choice but to walk through it, given it was rated a 4 it was hardly surprising that one of the common sounds accompanying the 500 yard walk was the sound of kids crying!! This didn't open till 8pm so it was nice and dark. They filled the air with stage smoke/fog and had lots of eerie lights penetrating through casting a strange glow over the whole place. Whereas the street would normally be lined with nice flowerbeds these had been replaced with halloween themed graveyards, skeleton people scenes and the like. And along this haunted walk there were people, again, dressed up and running at you, shouting, wailing, rattling cans (this was the worse in fact!), stalking you, scaring you! So funny! (but again totally spooky high adrenalin stuff)

I think I may have met my match in a roller coaster theme park - this one had me beat. There was a ride that I WAS NOT going on - no way jose! The dragster ride - it propelled you at speeds reaching 120 mph along a dragstrip and then vertically, (quite literally!) up a 420ft rise which crested briefly and then came back down vertically - I don't know the exact height of the tower but it had aircraft hazard lights on the top (and that was a pretty good gauage for me - the fearer of heights - if it had lights on it I wasn't going on!) Chris was well up for this and I was ready to queue the 2 hours with him but honestly, we ran out of time. He did get me on the Power Tower which lifted us 240ft in the air then freefalled us back down same said tower - it had me whimpering and shaking and Chris then excused me from any other ridiculous ride that went too high (it's the height, vertical drop thing that freaks me - give me a game old roller coaster, vertical loops and I'm happy - just not a vertical drop!)
So Cedar Point was incredible - America's Roller Coast it was. If you ever had time to glance at the view from the top of one of these rides it was quite picturesque - a slice of land jutting out into Lake Erie and surrounded on 3 sides by water. We saw a beautiful sunsest through the old wooden slats of the Mean Streak roller coaster and a glimpse of a big ship sailing past, silhouetted against a red sun. Just great!