austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Just a castaway, an island lost at sea

We had an ambitious Saturday planned: two amusement parks. Story Book Land in the morning, and then Gillian's Wonderland Pier, in nearby Ocean City, New Jersey, in the evening. We'd wanted to get there, not least because of rapidtrabbit's many kind words about the place, and it's so near to Story Book Land that they make a natural pair.

The Wonderland Pier's web site didn't give really good directions. They're, literally, ``Follow signs to Ocean City; Look for the Giant Wheel!'' The web site also suggests that ``sunglasses, a camera and film would top off a list of recommended items'', for everyone visiting the park in 1998. But, hey, I had the car's satellite navigator estimate of the park's address. And even if we were only nearby, how could we miss a giant Ferris wheel?

As we drove in, so came a mist. A surprisingly heavy, slightly chilly, mist. bunny_hugger feared it was starting to rain and the evening would be spoiled. I supposed that maybe it was just from the temperature drop and would clear up soon enough. We got to Ocean City, and pulled up to what sure looked like the row of houses just past the boardwalk, and through the mist saw: nothing.

A lot of nothing. Oh, beach houses, yes, block after block of beach houses. But no, you know, piers. Or Ferris wheels. Or lights, or amusement park noises, or anything. Not even something that looked like it might be the pier's business office. Just houses, and a dune, and a vast grey misty nothingness.

I picked a direction, north, and started driving, supposing that maybe we'd see something, somehow. And we kept driving, even as the road merged with another and then split off again. We started to despair; somehow, in one of the small shore towns, we were going to miss the amusement park because our street address was just wrong and the mist kept us from seeing a giant Ferris wheel from maybe one block away. Until finally --- aha! A Ferris wheel! Some roller coasters! We were there!

It wasn't giant giant, like looms over Cedar Point, but that was all right. They had a smaller base and if there weren't so much mist it'd probably be easy to see from the edge of town. At least the west edge of town. I pulled over into the first parking lot I could find, where the attendants took $15 for the rest of the day. After a trip of free parking and municipal parking lots that felt odd. But we ventured out, and then ventured right back to get our hoodies because it was kind of chilly in the mist. But we ventured out again and ... couldn't exactly find the way into the amusement pier. Which was on the shore side of the boardwalk, but what the heck.

We walked several blocks, getting farther away from the roller coasters without seeing any signs for Gillian's and then had to ask: what the heck is going on?

bunny_hugger was, as often, ahead of me on this. The roller coasters and the Ferris wheel we'd seen and all that were not part of Gillian's. They were part of another amusement pier, Playland's Castaway Cove. Formerly Playland. No connection to Rye. And I realized, oh, I had seen that as a nearby park when looking up Gillian's on the Roller Coaster Database. But didn't think of it as anything to pay attention to; it seemed minor, and only two little roller coasters, and ... well ... so where was Gillian's?

I went to one of the boardwalk police to ask where Gillian's was. And prepared to hear it was a couple miles down the way (I expected it to be a little south of where the satellite navigator first took us), and that we'd have to eat the cost of the parking spot. No such dire news: it was only five blocks farther along the boardwalk. We were in reasonable walking distance after all.

And ... we had another, unplanned, amusement park we could visit.

Trivia: The United Kingdom dropped more than 29,000 tons of ``highly active radioactive waste'' into Atlantic waters about four hundred miles west of Land's End, an area around nine thousand feet deep. Source: Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, Simon Winchester.

Currently Reading: The First Space Race: Eisenhower and the Quest for Aerospace Security, Nicholas Michael Sambaluk.

PS: Who doesn't like a parade?

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Still from my Halloweekends parade movie: Vampire Woodstock, which has some canonical basis because there was that storyline where Peppermint Patty was telling vampire stories to Woodstock and Snoopy and giving them nightmares.


Another still from the Halloweekends parade: candy and discount Oompa Loompas and wait a minute, those candies.


And one more still form the Halloweekends parade: isn't one of them Duke from Dutch Wonderland? That's the Kennywood amusement park chain, not the Cedar Point chain. The heck?

PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: What I Talked About, a list of 26 essays plus a link to 78 other essays.

Tags: cedar point, fifth anniversary trip, halloweekends, new jersey, playland castaway cove

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