So I decided to surprise my wife with a weekend getaway to Virginia Beach as part of the celebration for our 1st wedding anniversary. It was a ridiculously long drive down I-95 earlier this evening, even with the HOV lanes. There has to be a better solution for commuter traffic in this area of the country…but that’s a story for another post. After we finally cleared the traffic jam just south of Fredericksburg, we passed by Kings Dominion. For a brief second, I remembered one of the brighter moments during a turbulent time for me. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Kings Dominion trip.
How I first came across this moment? Me ending up at Kings Dominion all started with the fallout from The Community Planner breakup. I had a tough week in the office while trying to work through what happened. I had planned on going to Six Flags America that Saturday…plans I shared with the augmentee that worked in my office. She said that Six Flags was good but Kings Dominion was better. Then she invited me to tag along with her and her supervisor’s daughter. I accepted and off we were on that Saturday morning for the trip down I-95 from Joint Base Andrews.
What it meant to me then? At the time, in late June 2011, the Kings Dominion trip was exactly what I needed. It was reprieve…a chance for me to laugh, smile, and just have fun. I was in the beginning stages of a very testy, tumultuous summer and that 8 hours was what I termed in Triumphs & Tribulations XI as “a pause”. I had fun in International Street, where we rode front row on Dominator and I acquired a giant Pikachu by winning Quarter Toss. I enjoyed The Grove section (now known as Candy Apple Grove), where we took on Hurler and the Gyro Drop. The most fun I had was in Congo (now Safari Village), where I got on Anaconda, the Backlot Stunt Coaster, and Intimidator 305. It was a great day. The three of us had plenty of laughs, plenty of food, and got plenty of value for our money. I returned home to Waldorf that night feeling a lot better than I had at any point over the previous 8 days.
What it means to me now? I haven’t been to Kings Dominion since that trip in 2011. At some point, while Mercedes and I are still close, we should go. The Kings Dominion trip in 2011 resonates with me. It gave me hope that I could get through that tough summer and make it to Tokyo without having some kind of a nervous breakdown. But the trip also brings about a sad moment. About 7 months after that trip, one of the people I shared that great day with died in a horrible murder-suicide. She was 19 and left behind a 2-year-old son. She had such a bubbly personality and I never got a chance to really thank her for brightening up my mood during such a terrible time for me in the Summer of 2011. On my next trip there, I’ll find some way to honor her memory.