austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

See the Great One rise before us

After the painkiller and a bit of rest I was ready for the park. We suited up, dressing as warmly as possible. One thing we've learned for Octobers at Cedar Point is: long underwear. Also, t-shirt and hoodie and jacket, at minimum. Lots of warmth. I was not at my most flexible best, but I fit within the restraints of all the rides, which is important.

The place was packed. It wasn't the sort of record-setting day like that time the whole Causeway was lined with parked cars and people were going back crying, ``don't waste your time'' and the cell phone network was crashing. But it was busy. Most of the rides we might go on were too long for our tastes, although the high-capacity rides like the Cedar Downs racing carousel were good. And we could enjoy the fun of being in such a busy, raucous place. There's a thrill to the amusement park crowd that goes beyond riding stuff, and of course, the park was beautiful too.

Still, crowded. We wanted to get dinner at the Midway Market. It's a buffet restaurant, and indoors, and the best food-for-money value in the park. We thought it might be busy. It was packed. There was a line out the door. It took us about 45 minutes to get seated and really, sensibly, we should've bitten the bullet and gotten fries or cheese on a stick or something instead. We happened to be in line in front of a very chatty, friendly kind of guy who was apparently on his own, and he wanted to talk about stuff like the bathrooms near the midway that exist behind some conceptual filter because everybody forgets they exist. (They're well-positioned for the pavilions, for those who rent out pavilions, though.)

As best we could make out, it was a staffing issue. I don't think they had enough people at the restaurant to clean tables. A lot of the time we could see plenty of tables, and seats, available, but covered with the trays and soda cups and silverware of departed diners. It's surprising they weren't better able to match staff to need, but it was a busy late-October night. Anyway, we made up for it by stuffing ourselves, even if they ran out of the good desserts in the little window of time when we were ready for desserts.

We didn't have any realistic hope of getting to the haunted houses, although we've been to almost all of them in past years. We did stop in on one of the shows, in the saloon just before the start of the Frontier Trail. They'd had a show all summer celebrating rock songs of the 80s. For Halloweekends, they had a show of ... vampires celebrating rock songs of the 80s. Also women in the outfits steampunk cosplayers put on before their copper corsets and hoop skirts. The place was packed. We found spots on the upper level. bunny_hugger got a seat. Some kids abandoned seats near her but there wasn't any way I could get over there without shoving people around, or walking over other people. So with this crowd of people standing around the balcony there went a couple seats, right up at the edge of the balcony, and nobody used them.

The saloon also had a bunch of the canvases and posters that formerly decorated the CarnEVIL walkthrough haunted area, the thing one of the Camp Snoopy parts turns into after dark for Halloweekends. The area had a new theme for this year, a nursery-rhyme scheme, so it was nice to see the old decorations being used rather than left in storage or discarded entirely.

As the night drew on we were able to start getting on rides, with the vague goal of making sure we got to at least all the roller coasters and the major interesting rides at least once this season. (We wouldn't get on Top Thrill Dragster; the ride would either be down or have too long a line for us. That roller coaster has speed and height, but it isn't much of a ride anyway.) We got on the Mine Ride roller coaster, for example, which for some reason was loading only the front half of the train. No idea.

Our last ride of the night was on Gemini, which for a wonder had both the red and the blue trains racing. And they were offering re-rides, too, magnificently. So we sat comfortably in our mid-train seats and took in a string of rides all of which we lost to the red train. (The outcome of a racing coaster like this is basically, whichever train has the heavier load will win. So, whichever train has more occupied seats is the one to bet on.) And then we realized not only were both blue and red trains running, but two trains were running on each track.

So we supposed that it was very likely Gemini would eventually not have enough people to send out the train ahead of us, and that we'd have to walk ``down'' from the braking area to the station. It had happened to us the last weekend of the 2014 season and now we knew what to look for. That's just what happened, too. The ride operators explained roughly what was going on, and some folks sitting in the row next to us weren't sure what to make of it. So we offered our advice as veterans of one (1) past Gemini walkdown.

It wasn't anything dangerous. We just had to get off, one row at a time, and walk along a narrow but perfectly safe wooden walkway maybe twenty feet to the station. And then give our names and our home towns to the ride operator because that's the procedure for this stuff.

So we walked, giddy with the thrill of doing something a little bit awry on a roller coaster, back to the hotel. I did some more stretching and had a nice, quite sound sleep.

Trivia: Psychologist Thom Verhave claimed to have trained pigeons to identify misshapen or defective capsules on a pharmaceutical company production line in the 1950s. He reported the pigeons had 99 percent accuracy after a week of training, but that the company concluded no one would buy pills from a company that had pigeon quality control inspectors. Source: Superdove: How The Pigeon Took Manhattan ... And The World, Courtney Humphries.

Currently Reading: The Great American Hoax, Alan Abel. Most surprising about this, so far: the number of people who recognized the hoax Society for Indecency to Naked Animals' president ``G Clifford Prout'' as Buck Henry, but (apparently) accepted flimsy explanations how that could be. It reinforces my believe that the Clark Kent disguise would work because people are just like that.

PS: Reading the Comics, December 11, 2015: So, That Didn't Work Edition because I didn't get all the way up to December 11th's strips.

Tags: amusement parks, cedar point, halloweekends
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