Girls Only Trip

Maddie and I recently returned from our 2009 Girls Only trip. For those of you who aren't familiar, this is an annual event for girls in the Rader and Croyle families. My best friend, Vicky, and I have held this trip for 3 consecutive years. Vicky has 4 children, with three of them being girls, just like me. The rules for the trip are: You must be 8 years old to participate. Other than that, there are no rules. This year, the only other Croyle child that was old enough to go was Zoe. She is 11. Her and Maddie are great friends, despite how different they are.

These trips have historically been jammed packed with fun and activities. We barely take time to sleep, and strive to make every moment an adventure. This trip was no exception.

Maddie and I started our trip by driving to the Croyle's house Maryland. We arrived shortly after midnight, and promptly went to sleep. (Well, I went to sleep. Maddie spent an hour or so prowling the house doing heaven knows what).

We were up bright and early the next day. We all loaded our suitcases (some of which were significantly bigger than others) into the Croyle's giant van, and off we went. Our first stop was Lakemont Park in Altoona, PA.

We experienced great luck and fortune thru out the trip, and this day was no exception. As it turns out, Wednesdays were 'dollar days' at Lakemont Park, and it only cost $3.00 per person to get in. And no, that is not a typo. $3.00. It cost a total of $12.00 for all 4 of us. (Much better than the sticker shock at other amusement parks -- it cost our family over $250 to go to Dollywood for a day, and some of the children were FREE!).

Anyway, Lakemont Park is famous for having the oldest roller coaster in the county. Leap the Dips was built in 1902. It is the only "side friction" roller coaster left in the U.S. What that means is that it doesn't have an extra set of wheels on the underside of the coaster cars to prevent them from coming off the tracks. It's a little scary to think about. Most people consider this to be a tame ride (after all, it's maximum speed is only 10 mph), but after seeing the car return to the station without being on the tracks several times - I declare this to be a rather frightening ride. The ride attendants had to lift the car up and return it to the tracks on more than one occasion. There are no reports of the cars ever flying off the tracks, or people being seriously injured on this ride, but it's still a little scary.

Never the less, we rode this coaster twice. The girls may have wanted to ride it more, but the lines were prohibitively long. They only use one car at a time, and the car only seats 4 people. Given that other lines in this tiny park were incredibly short, the girls much preferred to direct their energies elsewhere.

Here are some pictures of the coaster:

This picture shows the ride attendants watching carefully after returning the car to it's tracks.

Returning to the station.

The view from below.

The girls loved the other coaster in the park - the Skyliner. The lines for this (and everything else in the park) were very short, and we rode this coaster at least 10 times.

The girls also loved all of the spinning rides. Vicky rode some of them, but I opted out of all. The older I get, the sicker they make me. Luckily, I got some great pictures!

The girls went on the Round Up several times in a row. How they managed to do that, I'll never know.

This was the strangest roller coast that I've ever seen. You climbed into a small cage built for two, and then rode at a 90 degree angle up a giant tube. Once at the top, you burst into the air and rode in a corkscrew fashion to the bottom. The ride ended with a few small dips. It was a short ride, but the girls only rode it once. I'm not sure how much fun it was, but it was certainly interesting.

Maddie says that this was her favorite ride. She rode it several times. This is your typical octopus / spider ride.

Another ride that I wouldn't go on. It looked like everyone was having fun.

This was another monster / octopus / spider ride. Although Maddie LOVED the yellow one, this ride practically did her in. If you look closely, she doesn't look too happy with that. Poor kid.

Our day did not stop there. There is just too much to talk about in one blog entry. Although this park is tiny (you can see the entire thing from the road), it was great fun and provided enough activities to keep those girls busy for an entire day.


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