austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

We'll try to look calm and cool, but we're as scared as all of you

The thing with our flight back is that the only sane time to get back was an afternoon flight. And that's fine, but if we didn't return the rental car by about noon we'd be charged an extra day. This implied we would have to somehow spend a couple hours at the airport without getting particularly bored, and remember, we don't have smart phones. Getting lunch would cover some of that time, sure, but the rest?

The answer presented itself when we first arrived at Denver's airport. They'd set up a free miniature golf course. A temporary thing for the summer. But outside the big screening hall, on what I guess is also the roof of some of the lower levels, they had set up eighteen little holes. Some of them your standard miniature golf challenges, with courses shaped like a lowercase T or with the hole tucked inside a small cone or that. Some had actual water traps, holes cut in the green with a plastic bin and an inch of water inside. One had an actual spiral layout, so you putted onto a bridge that turned around and went underneath itself.

One had a loop-the-loop, an obstacle that nobody was able to shoot right. Kids went crazy, hitting balls so hard that they went flying past the green and onto the brick patio, there to roll for the rest of time. Adults went less crazy, hitting the ball with the delicate controlled slight shot that made it roll right back where it came from. Another challenge was this ramp that rose up to a covered scoop that would drop the ball into a little habitrail ramp that looks strikingly like pinball ramps. Again, kids would shoot hard enough the ball would go flying anywhere in the world. Adults would shoot controlled enough that the ball would go flying anywhere in the world. So everybody maxed out and got a six for the hole. After we finished the hole, when nobody was waiting, I went back trying again and again to hit any shot that actually went up the ramp and didn't rebound uncontrollably in the covered part. Never found the shot. I would love to learn how to crack this one.

None of us ever got a hole in one. But I did play a fairly steady decent game, getting at or near par reliably. The final hole had a cute gimmick; it was one of those little Skee-Ball style ramps. The holes, if you made them, offered the chance to deduct 1, 3, or 5 strokes. bunny_hugger snarked about the impossibility of getting the ``deduct 5 strokes'' hole and so what did she get? Yes, and through that she beat my steady boring play. Well, risks of the game.

We spent a little time lingering outside, particularly admiring this odd sort of sculptural representation of amber waves of grain, or something, made of thin metal sheets that rippled in the wind.

And that fit just about the right amount of time to let us get inside, get through security using the less-used ``bridge'' security station, and get to our gate with about the right amount of time to wait for things. From there it was a flight, just like you'd figure, and they even told us the correct carousel number for our luggage, for a wonder.

We collected our rabbits the next day. Penelope had worried bunny_hugger's parents by eating sluggishly the first days we were away. We took this to be normal irritation at being moved around and put in another new spot. Perhaps it was. It'd be natural for a rabbit to do that. But it might also have been an early sign of distress at the cancer that would kill her. It's hard to interpet weak signals like that.

Trivia: Thomas Harriot --- the first person known to observe the Moon through a telescope, before even Galileo --- was the first person known to discuss binary numbers, decades before William Leibniz would. He did not publish, though, and his writings were unseen before the late 1700s. Source: The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World, Edward Dolnick.

Currently Reading: The Long Space Age: The Economic Origins of Space Exploration from Colonial America to the Cold War, Alexander MacDonald.

PS: Some of the details of how Gillian's Wonderland Pier works.


Gillian's Wonderland Pier works by wristbands, or if you prefer (or are there only a short while) you can buy tickets. So here's some of the tickets we bought.


The flip side of Gillian's Wonderland Pier tickets which, rather like Knoebel's (which runs on a similar tickets-or-wristband basis) proclaim how they don't expire.


Manufacturer's plate for the antique Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel at Gillian's Wonderland Pier. I believe there's bits of text that can be made out if you're there in person. But I didn't have the chance to keep prowling around until I could find an angle and camera settings that would make it legible here.

Tags: denver dash, fifth anniversary trip, gillian's wonderland pier

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