My birthday was a few days ago, and it was a great one. I met the 3 Rivers Model A Ford Restorers Club at Kennywood (the local amusement park) early in the morning, and we all drove our antique cars onto the park grounds so that the patrons could see them. We were invited there as a part of Kennywood’s “Celebrate Pittsburgh’s 250th Anniversary” week, so everyone in our cars got in free, and each car got an additional 4 free day passes to use another time. It was a total coincidence that it fell on my birthday, but I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

We were led onto the grounds by a staff member in his car, and it was like our own personal secret parade, since the grounds were still closed and no one was watching. Once we were parked, the club members all took turns watching the cars so that people could get out and enjoy the rides and other things going on in the park. It actually worked out better than I had expected. Some of the older members in the club really just wanted to hang out by the cars anyway, so the younger members were free to go on rides. It was awesome. We had to be back at our cars by 5:00 to exit the park, but if we had wanted to we could have re-entered with a hand stamp.

Kennywood is a great park. It’s not very big, but they have done a fantastic job of packing in the rides. There are a ton of roller coasters in addition to all the other kinds of rides. There are only two steel coasters, all the rest are wood, and can be a little abusive in the way they rattle you around. I now understand why Kennywood is the favorite park of my coaster-enthusiast friend Chris LaReau. He prefers the rides that knock you around, so there is plenty of action for him at Kennywood. My favorites were Ghostwood Estate, a modern day version of the interactive shooting gallery, and the Exterminator, where your car actually plays the role of a mutant rat that scurries around and twists and turns in the dark. Amazing.

On the way home it became painfully clear that I had not yet succeeded in fixing the exhaust leak in the engine of the Model A. Lenore and I both arrived home with Carbon Monoxide headaches and a little nausea, so I vowed that I would not drive the car again until that was fixed. On to another Model A maintenance saga….