Given the number of times I've mentioned it won't surprise you that our next stop was Kennywood. It makes a logical post-Pinburgh stop, after all. Last year we took MWS and K to the park. We had worried that MWS enjoyed but didn't feel strongly about Kennywood. (K definitely fell in love with it.) But he was enthusiastic about going again, which, great. And the post-Kennywood visit is threatening to become a major pinball event. JTV and CVK heard about what a great park it was, and --- as amusement park enthusiasts who don't get many chances to go to any --- were eager to see the place. I was worried about the logistics of getting five people through a park --- the bigger the party, the more fiasco-like the park visit --- but it all turned out very well.
MWS, bunny_hugger, and I set out first, trusting that we'd somehow meet up with JTV and CVK. This let us get there at the gate's open, roughly a half-hour before the rides would open. And to get to the Exterminator. It's the roller coaster that always gets the longest queues. It's also the ride that was down as far as we can tell the whole time our visit last year, so MWS missed the chance to ride it. This time it was open, and after the Entry of the Gladiators opened the riding day we got inside. There was already a line; maybe they opened ahead of the 11:00 hour. The queue is set up as an old power plant's control room. It apparently used to have a replaying video about reported monster rats taking over the power plant. There's a big emergency button hanging there and someone thought to press it, triggering a buzzer and a flashing red light that we never knew was there. We'd never thought to press it, and apparently pressing it doesn't always trigger the alarm. Which is good because the thing would cause insanity in the waiting queue if the only thing to press in the room always set off the alarms. But as an occasional thing, and a surprise interactive feature like that? Great. Kennywood's always great but a little thing like that makes it better yet.
And the ride went well too: I think the number of interactive scenery bits, the pop-up rats and the crews trying to flamethrower them out and all, have been working more and more reliably of late. MWS had his first ride on the Exterminator and it was a good one.
bunny_hugger and I took the chance for the adjacent ride, the Whip, because we can't resist that. MWS resisted, not wanting to press how well the motion sickness pills would work by testing them on non-essential rides. Fair enough.
The other nearby and generally-long-queue ride was the Phantom's Revenge, the tallest steel roller coaster there. And we chose to use the early hours on that. We also waited for front-seat rides, though a bit of division showed we three couldn't all have front-seat rides. So we split up, bunny_hugger and I one ride, MWS the next, and met up afterward. I know we were hoping to get to see his face after his first front-seat ride on Phantom's Revenge.
And after that we moved out of that corner of the park. Which I should mention is Lost Kennywood, the only themed section of the amusement park. Its theme? Amusement parks. Specifically, the old-fashioned early-20th-century Dreamland-style amusement park. The place was designed to evoke Pittsburgh's ancient, and long-since-closed, Luna Park. I would buy a book about Luna Park and the photos there were uncanny; they really nailed the look of a circa-1908 amusement park. And, sheesh, think of a park that makes an amusement-park-themed area.
Anyway, we moved out of Lost Kennywood --- the newest expansion of the park, by the way --- and to the antique carousel for a ride on that. And that's when we saw JTV and CVK coming in. We were to not just accompany them, but to guide them in the history and wonder of the park. Mostly bunny_hugger did this. I just offer details, like pointing out the cages they had that in the 30s were used to showcase rabbits and squirrels and animals like that. The park used to do that, and they kept the cages for decades, just to use them as decoration far above the pizza stand, in case someone looks up and should see something besides ceiling. bunny_hugger could offer more substantial information, like how long the carousel had been there, and where the former carousel building was. (It's now a Johnny Rocket's.) You might wonder just how much fun it could be walking around a park with one and a half people telling you seventy years of history behind everything, but you know what? Sometimes it works.
Tomorrow all going well I'll tell you about the kangaroo.
Trivia: Ahead of the English Civil War most soap makers in the country threw their weight behind Parliament, as King Charles I established a monopoly right on the production of soap that spoiled their livelihood. Source: Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed History, Penny Le Couteur, Jay Burreson.
Currently Reading: Flash Gordon: The Lost Continent, Dan Barry. And the spurned genius musician who fled an unappreciative world to found his own utopian colony governed by hypnotic music that keeps everyone in step, at least until he launches an attack on Earth that causes all sources of noise to become so loud they rattle themselves apart, and Flash Gordon intervenes on the colony-world by freeing one person from the hypno-music and the jazzman uses a conch shell to lure all the people out of their trances and I'm sorry, I'm still stuck on the spurned musical genius taking over even a colony world? Also the heck with this sonic weapon?
PS: Pictures from visiting my parents back in January. We're up to 2017!
My parents' current living room, decorated in its Christmas livery. If you look close you can find a picture of me, pre-beard, in there. Also elements of my father, who doesn't do beards.
View out the balcony of my parents' apartment. I trust it feels warm considering it was early January. We never saw anyone swimming there.
My parents' remaining two cats, sisters or half-sisters. I think they remember me fondly!
PPS: How Drunk Can We Expect The Greatest Generation Podcast Hosts To Get? A podcast-adjacent adventure.