Back in 2011 I was lucky enough to spend six weeks travelling around the USA. It was my first international trip and one of the most anticipated destinations for me was the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.
To get there we hired a car in Chicago, a Mitsubishi Outlander (or whatever they were badging the Outlander as in the States at the time) with only a few thousand miles on the clock. It was a nice car with enough space for three of us and our excessive amount of luggage.
Unfortunately the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car, which seems to be a common problem over there. Added to their insistence on driving on the wrong side of the road and I found myself concentrating harder than I had in years.
The drive began simply enough, as the first few roads from where we collected the car were all one-way. I was glad for this as we were right in the heart of downtown Chicago and I didn’t want to get shot for doing something stupid.
From there it was open interstate highways almost all the way, with some easy B-roads into Sandusky.
I adjusted pretty well aside from a few moments of drifting across lanes because I felt like I was positioned “wrong” in my lane. Also, we stopped a couple of times during the six-hour trip and every time I got back in the car I instinctively tried to put the car into reverse or drive with my left hand. Of course, all I did was hit the drivers door instead.
Despite these adjustments we made it to Cedar Point on time and alive without any damage to the car or it’s passengers.
The self-proclaimed rollercoaster capital of the world did not disappoint and we spent two days riding some of the biggest and most thrilling rides in the world.
Staying at the historic Breakers hotel was a great choice. The old building packs plenty of charm and by staying there we were able to enter the park an hour before the general public. Not all rides were open, but there was still fast access to half a dozen major attractions including the multi-award-winning giga coaster Millenium Force.
Our first day was chilly and sporadic light showers were accompanied by low fog. The second day was sunny and clear but still fairly cool.
I remember many of the rides quite well as much research and planning had gone into this trip to Cedar Point. Mean Streak (before its Steel Vengeance makeover) was a painful experience, to the point where the rattling wooden coaster was actually making my rib cage vibrate. Otherwise it was a fun coaster. Maverick was a fast, low coaster packed with action and high-G elements. The monumental Millennium Force delivered massive airtime. And Top Thrill Dragster was just about as much fun as you can have with your pants on, even if the whole thing was over in about ten seconds… which coincidentally is the same amount of time some people need to have fun with their pants off… not me, of course.
Once the fun was over it was off to Cleveland to catch a flight to our next destination. All I remember was it was early (we left he hotel at around 3:00am) and the hour-ish drive to the airport was dark, foggy and mainly on back roads. I was concentrating so hard on staying on the right side of the road that I was physically exhausted when we got to the airport.
It’s safe to say three days of sporadic driving was not long enough for me to adjust to comfortably driving on the other side of the road. I need more practice!
Sadly, almost ten years have passed since this visit and I am yet to return. In that time Cedar Point has added a host of new rides and attractions, so hopefully I can get back there one day to experience all the latest thrills.