austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Kissing the old year out

My father's father always viewed World War II as a personal slight. In addition to all the world's reasons to hate Adolph Hitler, he had the personal grudge that Hitler chose the 1st of September to start the war, spoiling his birthday forever. What I want you to understand is there is a family history of taking the impersonal forces of the cosmos as specific attacks.

We learned why there wasn't a hotel room to be had within any sane distance of Louisville. If you can remember back as far as mid-May, back before the world ended, you might have worked out why. There was an event going on there. It was the National Rifle Association, holding its convention so as to make sure that our lives were worse. The Friday we were driving down, in transpired, Donald Trump had shown up to declare that he was the most outstandingestly greatest gun ever and you can try prying him from his own huge tiny little-bitty fingers.

Kentucky Kingdom, the amusement park we wanted to visit, is right at the convention center where all this gunning was going on. One of the reasons the Six Flags chain stopped operating Kentucky Kingdom, in fact, was because they had to share the convention center's parking lot. And as it's in the heart of downtown there's no practical way to buy new parking lots or anything. So driving to the park would be not just an hour's hike but might well end in there being nowhere to actually park the car, based on how big the gun crowds were.

If it was possible to drive in. We found reports of how the NRA and Trump combined to make downtown Louisville a complete, thorough, magnificent, mind-boggling, fake-gold-plated clusterfluff. There were people reporting themselves becalmed in traffic for three hours. I clung uncharacteristically to my optimism: Saturday would not have the downtown-business traffic adding to the flood of people. People who were coming from out of town to the convention would be in town, and need far less road time. (Admittedly it'd be roads right where we wanted to be.) The convention was supposed to open at 9 am, while the park wouldn't until 11 am. There would be 100 percent less Trump in the city, always a good sign. If the mass of people got to the NRA convention at or around opening the traffic might not be too hopeless. As best as I could tell the local traffic forecasters didn't project anything too terrible ... but I couldn't be sure either.

So we looked into alternatives. What might we do in the area that would be an acceptable consolation prize? ... Why, what about the Lousiville Zoo? That would be a fine spot to attend and they even have an antique carousel, something Kentucky Kingdom (opened 1987) could not boast.

The Louisville Zoo is right next to Kentucky Kingdom and the convention center, in the heart of downtown Louisville.

We could go farther afield. There don't seem to be any pinball museums or the like in the area. But we did find a hipster bar that's got a dozen or so tables, and even a weekly tournament, on Tuesdays alas. But it looked eerily like the Louisville equivalent of our local hipster bar, or possibly the one in Grand Rapids. And that one's just off the University of Louisville campus, which is ... right next to the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Kingdom, and the convention center.

So based on our investigations, Louisville is a huge city consisting of maybe four blocks of stuff and then a bunch of Interstates leading up to it.

The alternative would be to write off Kentucky Kingdom and do two days in Holiday World. Or spend Saturday doing the tourist attractions in Santa Claus that aren't Holiday World. The town was near one of Abraham Lincoln's childhood homes and there's a fair bit of historical interest for that. And there's Christmas-themed stuff around that we didn't get the chance to do last time because we didn't have the time. So that would be possible. So the Santa-themed mini-golf place has, by reports, been victim of a lot of deferred maintenance adding a sad seedy aspect to its kitschy origins. We're Conneaut Lake Park fans. We're kind of into that.

This set our plan, then. We would aim for Kentucky Kingdom. But if traffic didn't allow, or if we got indications that the park was just a hopeless cause, we would accept this and return to Santa Claus and do something else while telling ourselves it was all for the best.

We settled in to our hotel room. The bed's headboard had fallen off one of its wall mounts, and even when correctly mounted the base leaned on the alarm clock's power cord, making it too likely to get knocked out. We plugged the clock in on the other side of the room and faced what would be a too-early and possibly enormously disappointing day.

Oh, but we did get some good news in too.

Trivia: In 1962 Edward Teller warned the Soviet Union might develop Project Plowshare, the plan to use atomic bombs for geoengineering and mining purposes, before the United States, and ``announce that they stand ready to help their friends with gigantic nuclear projects''. Source: Sun In A Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking, Charles Seife.

Currently Reading: Walt Kelly's Fairy Tales, Walt Kelly, Editor Clizia Gussoni or someone at least as good.

Tags: amusement parks, kentucky kingdom
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