It’s Thursday morning. Everything has been taken care of, I’m all packed and waiting for the car from Sharon’s car service to come pick me up at 9. You know, the same service who drove me to my hotel on Sunday evening?
And the clock turns 9. And then 9:10. 9:15. At 9:20 I go to call them again and ask where they are. I call them every other minute for 20 minutes but no one picks up. It’s the only type of taxi service in the area, and I’m 20 minutes away from the car rental place. Frustrated I go to the front desk where Roger has been working all night, the very kind man who helped me on Sunday night when I got there from the hospital. I tell him about my problem and after he’s tried calling the car service a few times he tells me that he gets off at 10, and that he and his girlfriend Heather can drive me there then. I had not expected him to offer that, but I’m so grateful he did because I have no idea what I would have done otherwise. So instead I got to ride with them, in his cool old pick up truck and talk about movies, books and Harry Potter the entire way. A much better deal! Sometimes people take you by surprise, and them offering to drive me 20 minutes out of their way after having worked an entire night just amazed me. There is a lot of good people in this world.
So I picked up the car, drove back to the hotel and packed everything into the car. It wasn’t the easiest stuffing Elsa into the trunk, especially since it hurts a bit to lift heavy things with my hand, but I managed. And I was on my way!
It didn’t take too long getting to Indiana, only about 2,5 hours, but I enjoyed the ride. And I especially enjoyed driving up all those hills! And the car had a usb thingy, so I could connect my phone and rock out to Taylor Swift the entire ride. Sweet!
Shortly after crossing into Indiana, I arrived in Santa Claus and Santa’s Lodge, the hotel I’m staying at. After checking in I walked the 10 minutes to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, the amusement park nearby. I paid $60 for a two day ticket, a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. The plan was to spend the afternoon at the water park, and it turned out to be such a good decision. The water park is huge, it has a lot of different slides, and on most of them you ride multiple people at the same time on a float. They also have two water coasters, which is like a roller coaster but in water and in floats, but they go up and down like a regular roller coaster. Okay, that was a bad explanation, but still. They were amazing! Unlike anything I’ve ridden before. These had a “single rider” option, so whenever there was a group that couldn’t fill up a float, I got to ride with them. One of of these rides, the second one I went to, I got to ride with these three kids. I didn’t know where to put my feet (we sat in a row), but the guy in front of me showed me to put them under his arms. I told him I’d try not to kick him and at the same time the two girls in front turned around and said “it’s fine if you do.” So that’s when I found out that they had humor.
After the amazingly fun ride we got off, and they turned to me and asked which one I was headed to next. As they were three and I was one, we made a great team (and we went under the 600 pound limit that most rides have!) (yes, they weigh us before we get on!) and that’s how I ended up spending my afternoon with Autumn, Cassidy and Riley, three cousins visiting the theme park. We tried all of the water coasters, we went on the regular (but enormous!) slides and just had an absolute blast. They didn’t care that I was an adult, I didn’t care that they were kids, we just all enjoyed ourselves immensely. I told them about the adventure I was on and they were amazed, Autumn and Cassidy immediately made plans to do something like that themselves when they grow up. Such sweet kids. Also they helped guide me through the park, since I couldn’t wear my glasses on the rides and was half blind as a result… I totally lucked out meeting them, they made my day perfect.
The water park closed at 19, so I packed up and walked back home, completely beat. But oh, so happy. I love traveling alone. It forces me out of my shell, out of my comfort zone and it makes me talk to people I would have never gotten to interact with otherwise. I love it.
After a night filled with thunderstorms and lightning, it was time to head back to the park and this time try the roller coasters.
I tried all of the rides, but their newest one called Thunderbird (the red one) was the best one by far. I rode it 4 times, but after the first time I had to go buy a strap for my sunglasses so I’d actually be able to see everything, and not have to put them in my bag. A very good 2 dollar investment.
After I’d ridden all the rides several times it was getting way too hot, so I once again spent the rest of the afternoon at the water park instead. I got talking to so many nice people, both kids and adults. Americans are really very outgoing, even young children starts talking to me and ask me questions. It’s a lot of fun, and very different from Sweden.
Girl working there: Are you from around here?
Me: I’m from Sweden, so no.
Girl: Sweden?! Wow. I don’t think we’ve never had anyone from Sweden here before…
I guess Indiana isn’t the first place people think to go when they travel here. Too bad, it’s great!
At the park they have both free drinks everywhere, water and soft drink, and sunscreen stations. SPF30 available and encouraged to be used several times a day. But I’ve discovered one downside of traveling alone: it’s really hard to put sunscreen on your own back… and it’s just way too awkward to ask someone else to do it for you. I hope I’m not burned too badly…
When the clock was getting close to 15 in the afternoon, storm clouds gathered and they started telling everyone that they we’re closing all the rides until the storm had passed. I was feeling pretty finished by then, so I packed up and went home. The moment I stepped into the lobby the sky opened up and it’s been raining all afternoon.
I’ve had a really great time here in Santa Claus, Indiana, and I’m so glad I found this place. Tomorrow I’m packing up again and heading to St Louis! I’m really excited about that too, it’s so much fun being a tourist after weeks of mostly just cycling.
See you in Missouri next time!