This is the story of a father/son trip to pick-up a pinball machine.
I wasn't going to document this, but a few folks who read through the pick-up story of my 1964 Bally "Hay-Ride" voiced an interest in having me documenting my next acquisition. I doubt anything will compare to that 4-day family road trip, but here goes anyway.
This all started about a month or so ago during my first trip to the White Rose Gameroom Show in York, PA. I was excited to play a lot of the EM games, woodrails specifically. I've never owned a woodrail before, but my interest in older games is growing. Anyhow, I systematically made my way down woodrail row, playing each one of those beautiful restores. (Thanks to everyone who brought one!) However, one of them in particular captured my attention:
I was really taken by the Roy Parker artwork (not just the fifties filly, but also the smart use of geometric shapes, color, and typography), the unconventional layout (no Italian bottom here), the middle pop-bumper (for those occasional and exciting back-from-the-dead moments), the short ball times (with busy lives, my wife and I rarely have time to camp-out on games anymore), and the uncommon 4-player woodrail (there are 3 of us in our family and it's nice to be able to all hop on a single machine, should the interest arise). As the lady says:
Anyhow, as I mentioned, I was pretty smitten with this game. Every person I met at the show was another excuse to play it.
"Hey, have you tried that woodrail over there? Wanna grab a two player game? Here's how it works."
I even met the owner, Pat, and shared a game with him. He was a very nice fellow who reminded me of the fact that it was for sale. I thanked him for his gentle suggestion, but told him that I didn't think it would fit in the overhead compartment, as I flew to York. I did, however, find out that Pat lived just outside of Pittburgh, PA, about half-again as close to my home in Michigan as York. *Note to self*
My York weekend continued with periodic stops to visit Score-Board. Sometimes without, but mostly with a partner in tow. By the end of the few days, I told myself, "If it doesn't sell by the end of the show, I'll contact Pat and see if we can make a deal." I got busy moving bingos in the final hours and by the time I came back to woodrail row to investigate the status of the Score-Board, 90% of the games were gone. I didn't know the status of the game (packed-up, sold, other) but I had Pat's contact info, so I made a point to get in touch with him a couple days after the show.
Once I got in contact with Pat, he told me the good news; Score-Board was still in his possession and still for sale. The only problem was that I was maxed-out on space. Something had to go. Since my wife never really warmed up to our 80's-tastic John Trudeau masterpiece, a Gottlieb/Premier "Monte Carlo":
...that went on the chopping block.
I told Pat that my purchase of the Score-Board would be contingent upon me selling my Monte Carlo. He said that was fine and to let him know when I made the sale. It was gone in under 72 hours:
I immediately called Pat and let him know that I had cash-in-hand and we started working out a pick-up date.
Quick addendum to the purchase deal; Pat received a couple calls on Score-Board the morning after I called him with news of my Monte Carlo sale. *phew* Just in time! ...and to Pat's credit, he did not act on the other interested buyers. Thank you, Pat!
ANY-how, fast-forward to last weekend and my son and I embarked on our trip to Butler, PA:
...by way of a healthy number of stops for my 3-year-old son.
Just before we got onto the highway, we spotted an exciting sight:
If you have a son, you know the allure of big machinery. So that started our trip on the right foot. Off we went.
In short order I started singing, "On the Road Again," and I asked my son if he'd ever heard that song before. He hadn't, so I pulled it up on my phone and piped it through the car speakers:
New Willie Nelson fan. "On the Road Again," was an often repeated request throughout our journey.
Our first stop was about an hour down the road at Big Boy's Restaurant:
...where we built our all-you-can-gorge breakfast of champions:
We got ourselves back on the road after our customary departing "pee-pee in the toilet." Mommy bought us a new book before we left:
Which came in handy, both as reading material to pass the time and a sun visor:
It wasn't long before we crossed state lines:
...and arrived at our next destination another hour from our breakfast stop, the hands-on science museum in Toledo, OH:
It's called the Imagination Station:
...and it had more exhibits and activities than we could see in our 2 hours there, like this bowling ball pulley that, when dropped, launched a tennis ball multiple stories into the air:
...or the optical illusion room:
...or a gigantic piano:
...or the tilted room:
We even constructed this little "house" together:
I swear I'm only showing you, like, a tenth of the activities we did, too. It was a great stop.
By design, my little dude was exhausted at the end of our science museum excursion, and I deliberately timed our departure with his nap-time:
He had a monster 2.5 hour rest, which brought us into:
Right after he woke-up, I found a rest stop, so we could go...
...and run around. Thankfully this rest area had a wide open grassy knoll...
...where we raced from tree to tree until he told me,
"Phew! I think I'm ready to sit down!"
So that made the final half-an-hour really easy. We made our way through bridges and wooded hills and areas that just seemed quintessentially Pennsylvanian to me.
We arrived at Pat's place to a warm greeting and he showed us to that gorgeous machine:
My son got to play it for his first time and approved of our new purchase:
Even the wires on it looked shiny and new:
Pat was just the coolest. I can't over-emphasize what a smooth transaction this was from start to finish. He even showed my son a few of his other toys and brought out a milk crate so he could play with them:
I wish we could have stayed longer. Pat was such a gracious host, but eventually we packed-up "Score-Board" and secured it for the ride back home:
We pushed on for another hour, which got us back into Ohio around dinnertime. Before we left I found a Chuck E. Cheese in Youngstown, OH with a hotel less than a mile away.
It was the perfect reward for my little dude being such a tremendous travel companion.
We woke up the following morning and grabbed some breakfast at the hotel before experiencing more highway vistas:
...and rest stops:
...with nary a pinball machine.
I'd planned on going back to the Imagination Station as we double-backed through Toledo on our way home. There was still so much stuff we hadn't seen! However, after having some conversations in the car I was told that we should go back to Chuck E. Cheese, not the science museum.
*shrugs* His decision, not mine.
Finally, we crossed our home-state line:
...and delivered Score-Board to it's new resting spot.