We had a really good day of introducing JTK and CVK to rides, and reintroducing bunny_hugger to them. I think the first roller coaster we made it to was Thunderbolt, which would briefly become maybe the oldest roller coaster JTK could remember riding on. Maybe because Thunderbolt in its current configuration is merely fifty years old, but about half the track had been, as Pippin, around since 1924. It's a wooden roller coaster, as something from 1924 would need to be, and it starts with a drop right out of the station, hugging the level of the ground. It has a lift hill, but halfway through the ride, over the point where Pippin's old structure gave way to new Thunderbolt's. I forget whether bunny_hugger challenged JTK and CVK to tell where the change from old to new was. It's almost what you might expect, though, from taking a good look at the track.
Thunderbolt's reign as oldest roller coaster they'd ridden lasted under an hour, since Jack Rabbit dates to 1920. And like Thunderbolt it has its lift hill in the middle; it's just got a little bit of a turnaround before the first drop. We talked about the wildness of the ride and how if you were lucky you might get a backseat ride, where the ride is its most wild and crazy. And by good fortune --- there's no waiting for a specific seat --- our whole group was nearly at the front of the line for our train. The people ahead of us went to the front, and we delighted at our good luck. CVK and JTK, though, maybe scared off by our talk of how wild it could get, went for the middle, and I worried we had over-hyped it. They enjoyed what they did have, though; it's hard not to. Still, the backseat (or for me, the next-to-the-back seat) was fantastic.
Just past an arcade and a couple game booths from Jack Rabbit is the Racer. It was also, I think, the longest line of any of the roller coasters we got to, but I at least was worried if we didn't go now we might miss it. As the day got on, after all, people would be coming out of work and maybe going to the park. And the Racer closes early, to allow for the laser-light show. So we swallowed the wait and accepted this and noticed the American Coaster Enthusiasts banner hanging on the fence. We split up almost naturally between the red and the blue trains. But we never did get back to the Racer to ride the other side. This would be slightly inconvenient: over the course of the day our companions got into the idea of counting the roller coasters they're on, and the alternate ``sides'' of a racing coaster are usually counted as separate rides. Sides is in quotes there because the Kennywood Racer is one of the handful of Möbius-strip coasters out there. It has a single, double-length, track, returning cars to the opposite side of the platform. But, you know, we only went up one lift hill each, and there's two chances.
It was a bit after this that we got to the Log Jammer, and MWS went off while we rode to play some of the games and, if I remember right, get a pop. He thought it over and got a souvenir bottle, good for free-or-cheap refills all day and cheap refills the rest of the season. After the Log Jammer we gathered in the arcade where we agreed the place really needed pinball and how strange it was that Kennywood didn't. And CVK went off to get a souvenir bottle for her and JTK. And, thinking it over, bunny_hugger and I figured to get one too. It'd pay for itself after one refill, after all. And it was plausible that bunny_hugger and I might make another Kennywood visit in 2017, since we'd hope to get to Conneaut Lake Park and maybe even some other parks in the general area. It happens that we didn't, but it was likely enough we would.
It would also be frought with peril. Over the afternoon I started to realize I felt ... off. Like I might be coming down with something. I was; somewhere at Pinburgh I picked up a cold. And I absolutely did not want to give it to bunny_hugger, who'd already had enough colds this year and did not need more, and considering that a cold would make it harder to visit her mother, who's having her frailest year yet. And we needed to visit them to recover our pet rabbit. So, despite the heat, I stopped drinking from the soda bottle bunny_hugger and I shared, and just merged with the water fountains when I could. I kept pretty functional the rest of the day but it did leave me worried I was sick and might make bunny_hugger miserable. And, as we didn't get back to Kennywood, it made the souvenir bottle not the clever purchase it seemed to be. Maybe we were feeling cocksure after how well the all-season drinks plan worked out for Cedar Fair parks. Maybe they'll fill the bottle at a discount price next season? ... It's a nice thought anyway.
Trivia: A thousand light bulbs were used just for the first letter in the illuminated, 36-foot-high ``WELCOME HOME'' message hung on the Brooklyn Bridge celebrating Admiral George Dewey's return from Manila. Source: Signor Marconi's Magic Box, Gavin Weightman.
Currently Reading: Wonder Woman: The War Years, 1941 - 1945, Editor Roy Thomas. So wait, on Paradise Island they ride giant kangaroos and rabbits as if they were horses? I think this hasn't got enough attention. Please review and advise.
PS: Miniature golfing! Afternoon-to-evening of another quiet day in South Carolina.
The bear barkeep of the miniature golf place's shooting gallery. I don't know whether he does anything interactive when you put money in or if you shoot him or whatnot. Somehow frozen in place he looks a bit tipsy to me.
Indoor bumper car track with the rotating bumper cars we would encounter several more times in 2017, including at the Columbus Zoo and at the iPlay America in New Jersey.
Actual miniature golf in evidence. I think this was the most interesting hole because of the real actual water hazard so close to the cup. It's nothing as wild or interesting as at Kokomo's, but that place is crazy.