We had, by any standard, the park to ourselves. There was a slight crowd, and the whole day ahead of us. We ate, first. We'd headed out with only a quick snack from Wawa and that was already two years in the past. We got pizza (``Uncle Sam's Pizza'') and that brought to mind how the Brooklyn-influenced pizza of New Jersey is just different from mid-Michigan's, even if it isn't explicitly a different style. Also I soaked my slice in pepper for the first time in forever.
We went to the roller coaster for our first ride. It was the highest-priority thing, of course; if it went down later we'd not forgive ourselves for missing it. In 2006 the park installed Crossbow, a compact but perfectly respectable roller coaster. It's on a hill, looking down on the park and dominating its view, remarkable, considering there's even greater hills beyond it. This just makes it look larger, somehow. The ride's only 55 feet tall, but it's a good-looking ride and evokes Kennywood's Sky Rocket, possibly because of its colors and prominence. We walked on, naturally. The ride operator noticed my Cedar Point shirt --- I think I was wearing the Corkscrew ride shirt --- and he was interested to hear word of this distant park. I forget if he said he had been there, or whether he just hoped to get there. It struck me also that ride operators interested in other amusement parks is one of those signifiers of a good park. One with people who want to do good amusement park work.
And then we went to the carousel. It's not a golden-age-of-carousels antique, but it is an old Chance Carousel. Old enough that its maker's plate has been rusted and painted over and there's no making out its serial number any longer. It's worth some attention.
And we took in the setting, the atmosphere. Even though the park was not closed it had some things no longer there, such as the Speedway. This is the antique-cars ride, the one where a car rattles around a track that goes past scenery. There was no sign that cars were ever there, apart from the gas pump, and the track that the course had followed, and the queue gates that open on to nothing anymore. And the statues: decorations meant to be driven past. Some of them were the heads of garbage bins, the ones that look like ducks or lions or whatnot, taken off and set on the ground where the car might see it. It gave us thoughts of Conneaut Lake Park-style amusement-park scrappiness, of making do with what they had.
The former antique-cars ride wouldn't be the only way to see those statues, though, or the other decorations and open space and that whole odd side of the park. There was also a miniature train ride. At least, there were miniature train tracks, and what turned out to be the station that we approached from the wrong side, stepping over the tracks where objectively speaking we had no place being. We waited a while, without seeing the train, and we never would; if it ran at all that day, we never saw it. Maybe it was the fault of our being there on a Tuesday, and that ride would go on the weekend or a July or August day instead.
We did take, for the heck of it, a ride on the Dragon kiddie coaster. One might ask why a couple of childless adults would ride a tiny ride the duplicate of zillions of others in kiddielands. And might accuse us of doing it to get the credit for riding as many roller coasters as possible. But what was on our minds was, you know, why not? When are we going to be back? What are we saving by not riding? Plus, of course, we like dragons. The ride operator for this was less interested in tales of exotic amusement parks than the one at Crossbow was. So?
We kept circling around the Musik Express, finding it closed each time we approached, although it showed signs of maybe getting staff and going through test runs? We had hours left before we planned to leave, and had got to the most important things at the park anyway. So we went back to Crossbow for another ride on the roller coaster. And there, on the lift hill, looking down onto the parking lot that's off the main road --- behind the strip-mall portion where we had left our car --- I saw the enormity approaching.
Trivia: Egypt's King Ptolemy VIII was known as Physcon, or ``potbelly'', for his girth. Source: An Edible History of Humanity, Tom Standage.
Currently Reading: Time Travel: A History, James Gleick.
PS: And the last of my good pictures from the ballpark minigolf from when they replaced the outfield grass last year. I've got way more, which is why I can't fit all my pictures on my laptop anymore.
Another panoramic view, this one from home plate, showing what a wonder a panoramic view can do to angles because look at that baseball diamond, huh?
Spoiling the magic: the bulletin boards inside the Lugnuts dugout. Yeah, they're illegible. On the left side is the roster and current statistics and stuff. On the right is a printout of an e-mail with rules for the home run derby against Michigan State and the schedule for when the home run derby's to be and when the ceremonial first pitches are out and all that. (``For post-game, we are planning on a dinner for both teams in the Chevrolet Terance (right field concourse). Will be nice to have both teams mingle together and enjoy a meal.'')
PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: N-Sphere/N-Ball, one of those simple things that turns into my longest of these essays yet.