Since Michigan's Adventure was so un-packed we could use time going to stuff we never visit. The Loggers Run toboggan ride, for example. This is an old-style, 1980s-vintage log flume ride, the sort that's about bringing you up to a height of like fifty feet and then dropping you. It's a peaceful ride --- it's surprising how peaceful you can be, considering the flume is in the middle of the park and Michigan's Adventure hasn't got the tall or dense network of trees that would make the place more silent. (The park was hit by the May 1998 tornado-and-derecho, and the trees still haven't fully recovered.) The ride dates back to before Michigan's Adventure needed line queues. One's been retrofitted against the fencing, but it still looks like a hack. In midsummer, the queue is needed. Labor Day, it was wildly unnecessary.
We also went to the miniature golf course. Every time bunny_hugger and I have visited the park since 2009 we've remarked how we should play there sometime. Why not this time? We had the course to ourselves, the first time we can remember that ever happening anywhere we'd been playing. And again, even though the miniature golf course is just a tiny bit removed from the main path of the park, it was surprisingly quiet. We could see much of the park from novel angles. Also we could play surprisingly lousy miniature golf. I had to wonder if we've gotten over-trained to the course at Kokomo's in Saginaw, and were just no good at other layouts.
The miniature golf course is on the edge of the lagoon. Once long ago, a then-friend of bunny_hugger's (not her starter husband) actually pitched his ball into the lagoon, but recovered it. They've put up fencing since then that makes that little problem impossible. It's sad to lose the possibility, though.
Prowling around let us find some surprises, such as a signup sheet for a trip to Cedar Point. It'd be a long one, too, leaving Michigan's Adventure at 6:30 am, spending the day at Cedar Point, and then leaving Cedar Point at 11 pm to return to their home park at 5 am the next day. It's hard to imagine what that would feel like although not having to drive would seem sweet. On the other hand they'd be leaving an hour before the park closes.
We also got a good view of the Daily Operational Report being filled out for the Chance Carousel. It records more or less what you'd expect: ridership, alternate access, Fast Lane access, cycles, that sort of thing. The carousel was logged with from 50 to 90 people per hour the whole day. No alternate-access or Fast Lane access. (Well, there's not a Fast Lane entrance to the carousel. And the alternate access to the carousel platform is the same as regular access, although maybe slower.)
We had a fine surprise on Zach's Zoomer, the wooden junior roller coaster. Because it's a junior wooden roller coaster it's just too small for two adults my and bunny_hugger's size to fit in. But park management has an instinctive aversion to rides you can slide left-to-right in. (That's not a quirk unique to Cedar Fair management --- you'll see warnings about ``no single riders'' in many parks, especially on older rides --- but they have got a heavy case of it.) Earlier this summer they'd put in a vertical loop and required not just that riders put on a seat belt, but that the seat belt go under the vertical loop. Besides making the ride less fun, this also made loading people onto the ride incredibly slower. Seat belts are already slow things because they're surprisingly hard to find and to snap tight. But a seat belt that has to go over the rider and under a loop? That's powerfully slow even before you remember that most of the time kids are supposed to do this.
But in defiance of the expectation that stuff is just getting worse, stuff got better. The vertical loops were removed this time, with no sign they'd ever been around. The ride loaded rather quicker and yes, it is more fun when you slide a little bit side-to-side. So there's some good stuff developing yet. The steel looping roller coaster, Thunderhawk, also seemed to be less head-banging than usual this time.
We'd take our last ride from Michigan's Adventure on a traditional one for us, Shivering Timbers. This is their big wooden roller coaster, the one that's over a mile long and that parallels the entrance and the parking lot. We just missed the final ride of the night, but had a good, back-seat ride to enjoy.
Trivia: In 1971, ahead of the containerized cargo port's open, the Port of Singapore Authority estimated that it would handle 190,000 containers in 1982. In fact it handled over a million boxes, and was the world's sixth-largest container port. Source: The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, Marc Levinson.
Currently Reading: The Laser in America, 1950 - 1970, Joan Lisa Bromberg.