austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

It was not just my life out of control

The roller coaster. I'd mentioned that in passing. I also mentioned the carousel at Quassy a couple times. I'll take that first.

The Grand Carousel is housed in a round building from 1927, although the ride itself is a modern Chance-made fiberglass carousel. Quassy's web site says they installed it in 1990. These facts make it sound like they had a Golden Age Of Carousels carousel, sold off in the big carousel craze of the late 80s and replaced with a sadder replica. I can't find evidence of that, though. If it is the backstory then the park apparently managed, like Waldameer Park, the rare trick of selling off its antique carousel and then surviving more than a couple sad years.

Despite being a standard model, though, this is an interesting carousel anyway. It's all in the painting. Most fiberglass carousels go for bright, reflective, sparkling painting. There's good reason to. But Quassy's carousel is more understated, more pastel, less garish. It looks almost more naturalistic, to the extent that word applies to a split-tailed hippocampus. The paint scheme makes the carousel look a bit more dignified than usual. I don't know if this is a deliberately considered look or if the mounts have simply gone so long since painting that the fiberglass has faded. But the wood looks fresh-varnished, and the carousel center certainly bright and solid. There isn't evidence of the park skimping on paint elsewhere in the park. So maybe they just want their carousel to be more interesting than the usual.

And now finally let me talk about the Wooden Warrior. As with Roar-a-Saurus, this is a junior wooden roller coaster. It's not very tall; the Roller Coaster Database lists its greatest height as 35 feet, and greatest drop as 45 feet. The ground isn't perfectly level but I don't think it's quite that far off level. Still, it is a small ride.

It's also a fantastic ride. Again like Roar-a-Saurus, this is a ride that does a lot with its speed, giving a lot of very satisfying drops and bunny hops. It has a good number of twists, as well. It's got a footprint not so convoluted as Roar-a-Saurus has. Wooden Warrior has a layout that looks more like a T. If it isn't the basic footprint of a wooden roller coaster from the Golden Age of Such, it ought to be. It feels timeless.

We had a moderate wait the first time through, when the park was crowded, but it was never really a bad wait. We were able to get several rides on, which only reinforced how great the roller coaster was. The question of which is the better ride, Roar-a-Saurus or Wooden Warrior, is a tough one. If forced to pick, I think I would come down on Wooden Warrior just for having a more traditional layout. They're so similarly delightful that choosing between does have to come to which one better meets inessential aesthetic grounds.

The ride has a plaque, thanking ``the elementary students listed below'' for the naming of ``this Marquee Attraction''. And it names several dozen kids from a fourth-grade class in Middlebury Elementary School and a fifth-grade class at R M T Johnson Elementary. And then it goes on not to explain the naming process, of course. It's easy to imagine that local elementary schools were surveyed to give names, but then, did two independent classes come up with ``Wooden Warrior'' and they both deserved recognition? (I can't believe that two top candidates were merged together, since while ``Warrior'' might do, ``Wooden''? No, nobody submits that as a name, and it doesn't stand out in the pile of candidates.) Also, even if Mrs Zafrin's class voted to submit ``Wooden Warrior'' as a name, did every student vote for that name? What was the opposition name? And then are kids who voted against the name commemorated on the plaque? Or are there names not on the plaque who were in those classes?

Just what kind of ``warrior'' the roller coaster is doesn't get exactly explicitly named, although you don't have to try very hard to figure it out. The logo features a feather-quilled arrow. And the train has a shining metal arrow mounted on its front, just as if it were a ridiculously dangerous 1960s hood ornament. So it skirts around using American Indian iconography without getting at the troublesome parts. (One might complain about the use of ``warrior'' as an icon for an amusement park ride. But aggressive roller coaster names are so embedded in the culture it's almost shocking when a new major coaster isn't aggressive. We've come a long way since a roller coaster might be named Chase Thru The Clouds.)

But they're making room for trouble anyway. Outside the ride is a comic foreground where you and a friend can put your heads atop the bodies of coaster-riding General Custer and I Dunno, Some Warrior Brave Or Something. (The Indian is shown wearing a rides wristband. Custer's is presumably hidden under his cuff.) Well, it's their annoying fight to have sometime, not mine.

The roller coaster is fantastic. We would close out the day here, just as we had with Roar-a-Saurus at Story Land. We did get at least one front-seat ride. And we were among those on the next-to-the-last ride of the night, at 8 pm. The park closes early, almost Michigan's Adventure early.

We'd have taken more hours there, if available. But it'd be ridiculous complaining about this. We had a magnificent day, one of our greatest single-day park experiences ever. The park was beautiful, a great mix of older and newer attractions. The crowds were lively but not too much. The weather warm and sunny without being hot. The roller coaster we most wanted to get to, we did, and found it to be better than we had hoped. This was the best day of the New England Parks Tour.

Trivia: The guidance computer on Minuteman II missiles, in the first half of the 1960s, used over twenty types of integrated circuits. The Apollo Guidance Computer, designed in the same era, used one type, though about five thousand of them. Source: A History of Modern Computing, Paul E Ceruzzi.

Currently Reading: Symmetry In Mechanics: A Gentle, Modern Introduction Stephanie Frank Singer.

PS: Reading the Comics, October 5, 2015: Boxes and Hyperboxes Edition, more comic strips, with some hyperspace.

Tags: amusement parks, new england parks tour, quassy
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