We had been despairing of getting to Cedar Point at all this year before Halloweekends. We were figuring to go on Labor Day when we learned that the following Friday --- the 11th --- the park was going to be open for a strange little four-hour thing. The 12th and 13th the park was closed to the general public for some kind of buyout, but that scrap little Friday night ... they weren't going to do normal operations. They would instead do Roller Coaster Appreciation Night. The park's seventeen roller coasters (according to their current count, and I intend to explain why I'm saying 'according to' later on) would be operating, but nothing else. There'd be promotional stuff for their next roller coaster --- still, at the time of Roller Coaster Appreciation Night's announcement, formally secret. Roller coaster enthusiasts with the ability to search for trademark filings had worked out the essentials.
It would be a mad sort of day trip: a drive of at least three and a half hours there, and back, the same day, for a whole four hours in the park? On the other hand, it would be going for a weird day, one very unlike normal park operations. This was interesting. This would be worth going to. And it might also be our chance finally to take the car ferry over Put-In-Bay to to see the antique carousel they had there. We keep meaning to get over there, but we never have the chance. In summer day trips we don't have the time for a couple hours diversion. In October Halloweekend trips the ferry isn't running and so the carousel is basically inaccessible. This would be a perfect chance: we could go down early and see the ride.
The Put-In-Bay plan was dashed when our pet rabbit got ill, though. He was recovering dramatically by the day before, and we felt comfortable leaving him for the twelve hours or so we'd need to to get down to Cedar Point and back again. But stretch that to fourteen hours, or sixteen, or more, and we were less sure, especially since he was on medicines to be injected on eight- or twelve-hour cycles. There was leeway in the cycles, yes, but how much? Twelve we could be confident in --- the vet had assured us it didn't need to be that exact --- but sixteen? So Put-In-Bay will wait, we hope, for us to be ready for it.
We drove down through light rain that turned to heavy rain that turned to the kind of rain that makes you wonder if the Ohio Turnpike runs through Lake Erie. We hoped that the rain would get all this out of its system because while a wet track may make a roller coaster go a bit faster and feel a bit wilder, a light rain also smacks you in the face repeatedly with little stingy pellets moving forty, fifty, maybe even more miles per hour. Or it shuts down roller coasters entirely. While driving a total of seven hours in one day to ride seventeen rides may be daft but understandable, driving seven hours in one day to find the park closed would be crushing.
But we found something to do that was novel and park-related and that we could hold up as A New Thing Done even if the park were closed. For several decades the French fry concession at Cedar Point was held by the Berardi family. They also ran a number of rides and redemption games, until Cedar Point decided that having outside contractors running that sort of stuff was too old-fashioned for the way they work. Though the Berardis have been out of Cedar Point for a generation now, they still have a family-owned restaurant that it turns out is barely off the shortest path from the Ohio Turnpike to Cedar Point.
And that's where we ate: at the place that gave Cedar Point its French fry recipe, basically. It's a decent midscale restaurant, the kind with $7 grilled cheese sandwiches where the outside of the bread is dipped with cheese so that glazes too. We ate, and watched for signs of maybe the rain was letting up, and tried hard not to hear people chatting about how the park couldn't possibly run anything in this weather.
Trivia: Packaging for Cadbury powdered cocoa in the 1890s noted that ``Among the Cocoas that do not answer to this description [ of purity ] are those of foreign make, notably the Dutch, in which alkalis and other injurious colouring matter are introduced''. It did not help win back customers from Van Houten cocoa powder. Source: Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between The World's Greatest Chocolate Makers, Deborah Cadbury.
Currently Reading: Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate, Diego Gambetta.