So, where to next ... well, that would be Labor Day weekend and an amusement park trip.
One thing we missed last year, given Stephen's health problems, was a trip to Conneaut Lake Park. It was the first year since we discovered the place that we hadn't visited. But ... strangely ... the park seemed to be doing basically all right without us. They were saved from a tax auction by an eleventh-hour bankruptcy filing, and you know your life is screwed up when bankruptcy is the good news. But they got their water park open, in August 2016, and had their best season in years, and they looked like they might ... not have trouble making it in to 2017. We accepted this, with skepticism, and pledged that we would make it out there sometime this summer. And Labor Day Weekend would be our last chance, unless we went to Pumpkinfest again. Which would not be a bad idea, but we didn't want to load October up too much already.
To drive to western Pennsylvania the logical route takes us right past Cedar Point, which makes a natural stopping point since we have season passes. And this was also a good thing since we could ride Iron Dragon. It's a roller coaster we like and would ride anyway. But this summer it had a special event going, a virtual-reality ride experience during the days. The virtual reality part would end Labor Day and we had missed our earlier chances to ride.
Our first virtual reality coaster experience, at Six Flags Over Texas, was an operations fiasco as the hassle of getting people their seat's appropriate headgear, and getting them turned on and working, and seated, something like quintupled the ride cycle time, turning a modest roller coaster into the longest wait of the day, and that with an appointment scheme in place.
Cedar Fair management, though, prides itself on having better operations than does Six Flags. And Iron Dragon VR was ... a long queue, yes. We timed it at something like an extra three minutes to the ride cycle. Not nearly as bad as Six Flags Over Texas but still, something of an operations mess. If it brings popularity to a ride that's becoming one of the park's afterthoughts, all right, but they're still having trouble getting virtual reality headsets on to people efficiently.
But the virtual reality ride itself was ... well, nice enough. The movie posited you as a villager on a cart that gets scooped up by a big flying beast of some kind of giant bat, possibly a dragon, and then flown through perilously narrow valleys and evading rockfalls and arrows shot by enraged villagers and all that. Fine enough, and startling to look down and see they'd rendered a body for you too. Not enough dragon for my tastes, though, and not really any sort of 'iron' dragons. But this was my first real experience with a virtual reality set and I was surprised how well it worked for me. I'm not sure that it got us much that just being on a motion-simulator ride would have, tough. But again, if it makes the underlying roller coaster more secure then I guess I don't mind it. It seemed like a lot of bother though.
Also at the park were grease trucks and lots of them. The park billed this as an Ohio Versus Michigan contest to see which of the dozens of grease trucks they'd brought in would be more popular. Cedar Point used to have outside vendors for many of its concessions, most famously the fries. But they all were shut down by the 70s with the possible exception of this little china shop near the Frontier Trail that doesn't seem like it belongs in the park. The trucks are apparently an experiment changing the other way. And a great one, since it way expands the park's food capabilities and enormously expands the vegetarian food options.
Case in point: we stopped at a Korean place that offered tofu and noodles and hot sauce in this little bowl that was just so very tasty and so very good and hot and comforting that when we came back, Monday, we stopped again in the park and went right back to get another cup of that Korean tofu and noodles dish. Just with a little more spice to it. We wondered if the guy working the truck thought anything of these two people who came to his truck on Friday and then again three days later. But that'd be a little odd a thing to happen. Still, it was fantastic. I'm still thinking of the taste.
Trivia: The oldest covered bridge in Michigan is White's Bridge, over the Flat River in Keene Township. The 120-foot-long bridge was built over 84 days, although payment was done over the course of two years, $1,00 in 1870 and $700 more in 1871. Source: Michigan Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, and Other Offbeat Stuff, Colleen Burcar.
Currently Reading: Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics, Nancy Forbes, Basil Mahon.
PS: Wronski's Formula For Pi: A First Limit, exploring a way to define π.
PPS: The World Women's Pinball Championship. bunny_hugger's match, continued!
Gorgar ... hurt ... bunny_hugger. She had expectations of kind treatment at the hands of a game she understood tolerably well and even liked, in simulation, on the Pinball Hall of Fame game and the demon was somehow mean to her.
Color commentary! The live streaming of the day's competition happened to alight upon bunny_hugger while she was playing Gorgar --- see the monitor in the bottom of the screen --- and when she probably would rather it not have.
bunny_hugger finishes the electromechanical Flip a Card with a rather solid 3,566; she picked the game hoping that her opponent might try a little too hard to save a ball and tilt, ending the game early. She didn't.