Quassy Amusement Park hasn't got very many rides, which is part of why we felt comfortable getting there surprisingly after noon. We eased into the park still, not running directly for its Grand Carousel or its junior wooden roller coaster, the Wooden Warrior. Instead we went to the Music Fest, a Himalaya-type ride with psychedelic-rock theming. In that area there's also a helter-skelter that we assume we were too big to ride; from the park's web site apparently we would've been allowed on, had we really wanted to slide. So it goes. We did ride the bumper cars, though, and that I note just because while we were waiting we overheard some folks talking about their love for the park and this sort of summer day and that's always so happy to hear.
We also took the chance to ride the Paratrooper ride. That delighted us just for how wonderfully casual the ride operator was about everything, and for how old-fashioned the ride mechanism was. It was actually controlled by levers, just like you see in old-fashioned pictures of amusement park rides, and while things were in order he was just sitting back on a box, foot pressed onto one of the levers. It was just the way you'd set the scene to portray a park with a relaxed operating attitude.
There's a lot about the park that feels casual and relaxed. There's also a lot that gave me the feeling of Jersey Shore pier amusements. Part of that is the way stuff that's visually striking and in good enough shape has just been left around. Atop the arcade building, for example, is a Humpty Dumpty egg. Why? No obvious reason. There aren't sculptures for other fairy tales or nursery rhymes or such around. It looks as if they just had this around from some earlier, lost project, and figured there was no reason to throw it out as long as it didn't need to be put back together. Inside the arcade is the sign for a Mad Mouse ride. Quassy had a Mad Mouse roller coaster from 1982 to 2010 (and a Wild Mouse from 1960 to 1983, says the Roller Coaster Database, so there were two years where they were positively mouse-rich, if both were operating).
We ate at the Quassy Restaurant, despite the attractions of the Potato Patch and some other spots. This one is on the lakefront, and had vegetarian burgers. I didn't notice til after lunch they had packets of tartar sauce, which would have been preferable on my burger and fries to mayonaise, but, too bad. We did watch the water, though. There's a boat, the Quassy Queen, that does a forty-minute tour of the lake, though we didn't find the time to ride it. They also have paddle boats, rentable by the half-hour. And there's apparently no restrictions on where you can go, in them. No roped-off area or anything, not even a lifeguard whistling at you for puttering off into the distance. We were able to barely make out a couple that had paddled their boat to the great distance, barely visible specks. Good luck to them, trying to reach the Long Island Sound.
The arcade was mostly redemption games, with a shooting gallery and a couple of video games. They did have one pinball machine, but it was South Park. Not my favorite game. I don't like the theme and don't like the gameplay. But we did want to support parks putting pinball machines in arcades, so ... we couldn't put coins in. The arcade games all run on some prepaid card scheme and if there's a way to get just one or two dollars on a card it wasn't obvious. And anyway we couldn't work out whether the South Park card reader was actually working; its miniature screen wasn't working. I did ask one of the attendants about it, and was directed to ask another attendant, who wasn't around.
But there was a windfall anyway. Someone abandoned a pack of two hundred redemption tickets. After making a good-faith effort to find whose they were, we kept them. At the end of the day --- literally; we got back to the arcade as they were closing up and they had to think about whether we could redeem them --- I bought a very cheap Quassy Amusement Park clock with it. It's a little thing with painted-plastic amusement park scenes on it, and a clock that's not actually set so that 12 is up top. It's chintzy and we haven't put in a battery to see if it actually works. But wouldn't using it as a clock really be missing the point of the thing?
Trivia: France banned the import of cotton in 1686. Source: Big Cotton: How A Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America On The Map, Stephen Yafa.
Currently Reading: Moon Bound: Choosing and Preparing NASA's Lunar Astronauts, Colin Burgess.
PS: Reading the Comics, October 1, 2015: Big Questions Edition, some mathematics comics plus a Zeno-type paradox involving basketball for you.