Dumb Betty

I wanted to tell you a funny story from a few weeks back when Beau was here.

We got some friends together and hopped in the Scion to visit Kings Dominion, just outside Richmond. I had initially looked up directions on Google and saw it would take, theoretically, two and a half hours (ugh). We pulled out of DC with about that much time to spare before the gates opened, but I had forgotten the actual physical address of the park, so I just searched for it in the GPS index, found it, and set our destination.

We set out feeling laughy, happy, excited. We named my GPS Betty because she has a sort of librarian-like tone in her voice when giving instruction, and she's awfully insistent. Betty estimated the trip would only take slightly longer than an hour--and we were so thrilled we didn't even think why.

When we were about five miles away, with an hour to spare before opening, we opted to pull into a rural Dunkin Donuts. Across the street were two individuals selling "BBQ and Fish" they were cooking inside what looked like big trash barrels. It was just after 9 am. Let me reiterate that. The line inside the middle-of-nowhere Dunkin was nearly out the door and stayed that way the entire time we were there. So we sat, enjoyed some scalding hot coffee, devoured donuts and such, and then drove off on Betty's recommended side streets to what I assumed was a back entrance to Kings Dominion, since we couldn't see it.

"Turn Right in point-two miles," Betty said suddenly, "and arrive at destination on right in point-two miles."

We looked around. We were in the midst of one of Virginia's famous McMansion developments. A man in a ratty t-shirt and boxers shuffled out from his front door to grab the Saturday paper, his eyes just half-slits. A kid rode by on a bike and looked at us like alien creatures, which I suppose we were.

"Nice driving, Betty," someone said. I pulled over, half in denial of not being at the park, and half because I wanted to ring Betty's little librarian neck.

Then, it began to rain. As if matters couldn't get worse. Rain on theme park day is like finding a pube in your french fries, but a little sadder, because more people are affected.

Everyone whipped out a Blackberry (it was a fully Blackberried or Motorola Q-d car load) and began browsing for the correct address. When I finally got it and plugged it in, Betty realized we still had about an hour left. Everyone groaned. We wove our way out McMansionhood and crossed Jefferson Davis Highway (for real, that's what it's called) back onto the interstate, where, an hour letter, Betty told us we had arrived at our destination--this time, we knew it was true, as we were centered in an enormous, nearly empty parking lot, but it was Kings Dominion's parking lot, and then we were there.


  1. You are the BEST story teller! I forgot about Betty. Though, I wanted to call her something else. I guess she shall remain Betty. You will have to do another installment of Kings Dominion :)

  2. How is King's Dominion? We live in Richmond, and we pass it a lot as we drive out, but we've yet to go (my girlfriend and I) in the year that she's been here, and I never went in the 3 that she wasn't here.

    Some traveler I am.

  3. I once had a summer job at King's Island, the Cincinnati version of King's Dominion. I was a greensman and worked in the greenhouses, propagating thousands and thousands of brightly-colored alternanthera cuttings (used to construct the "living mosaic" plantings scattered throughout the park). On odd days, I drove a water truck through the park and watered the monstrous hanging baskets. The truck played a calliope tune. Endlessly. Oh, and I learned to drive a bulldozer and a forklift.

  4. Is The Grizzly still there? How about the Rebel Yell? It's been ages since I've gone.