We got to Michigan's Adventure on the closing day of the season at about 2:00, roughly four hours before the park closed. Four hours is probably not enough for an amusement park, given how we linger on stuff, but for a park as small and low-key and generally uncrowded as this it would normally be enough. It started with some bad luck: Mad Mouse was closed, apparently for maintenance. We'd keep an eye on it.
And then went back to the petting zoo. The goats were not so antic as they'd been a week and a half prior. The rabbits were even more determinedly huddled up under their cover, away from grabby fingers. That's all right; it's cute being stared at by them. The miniature horses were --- oh, Mad Mouse was open again. We should get to that before it grows a big line.
So we went there and waited through the not-yet-long line. And got to the platform, and sat down on the loading car, ready for the check of our (really not needed) seat belts when ... they stopped dispatching cars. Something went wrong, and they closed the line, although they didn't chase us out. They said we were welcome to wait, but didn't know how long it would be. We gave it a couple minutes and then figured, well, we shouldn't spend the whole day waiting for a ride that might not reopen.
We got back to the petting zoo, chatting things up with the goats, when we noticed the Mad Mouse was running again. So we went back there. The line wasn't long, and in a couple minutes we were seated in the car, seat-belt-checked, and ready for dispatch up the lift hill. Just waiting for the dispatch. Just ... waiting. Just ... waiting. The ride was down again. They said we could wait if we wanted, while they got maintenance again, but they also pretty clearly didn't want us to wait in the car ready for dispatch. (Plus they'd need to run it as a test train, when they were ready to go.) So after a second time we got to the platform and seated on the ride we were turned away by ride malfunction. They told us when we came back we may use the Fast Pass line-cutting queue. I was tempted to take them up on the offer. Also wondered how they'd know we were legitimately people come back for a missed ride. Well, we had a couple distinctive features --- my bushy, grey beard; our T-shirts from distant amusement parks, our two visits in short order. Also, it was the last three hours of the season.
So we would go on to the rest of the park, although with an eye checked back on Mad Mouse. And fears that something terrible might happen, like the ride get taken out for next season. Roller Coaster Database doesn't list any roller coasters ever taken out of Michigan's Adventure. That may not be true --- if they had a kiddie coaster for two years in the early 60s, who would even know? --- but it's a heck of a record, and I think only Bowcraft Amusement Park is according to the records an older amusement park to have never taken out a roller coaster. It'd be sad to lose the ride, and to lose a streak like that.
But we visited our reliable friends. The Flying Trapeze swings ride. The Trabant. The Tilt-A-Whirl, which was rather more whirly than usual. Shivering Timbers, for our great ride out and back and the chance to see whether they had given up on charging admission for the parking gate, with two hours left in the season. I forget whether they had.
And Wolverine Wildcat! Ten days had given the park some chance to dry out. The supports were no longer actually under water. But the ground around it was still mooshy, and looked soft. This was the closing day of the ride's thirtieth year; the ride operator didn't say anything about that. The park doesn't play up enough of its history. It was also the 20th year for Shivering Timbers, and the 10th year for Thunderhawk, and all this went unmentioned. Next year, if all goes well, will be the 20th for Mad Mouse.
Thunderhawk did not have the pumps churning water out of the ground any longer, so at least the park was that dry. Someone did lose a single flip-flop near that roller coaster, though. And by then it was the last hour of the park. We got on the carousel, bunny_hugger riding the sea serpent and I noticed the sea-creature motifs on the left-hand side of the ride's saddle blankets. And then, with about forty minutes left in the amusement park's season, we ... stopped and stared. There was a rabbit, a wild, Eastern cottontail, nibbling in the grass near Corkscrew, which should turn 40 years old next year. Not just the one. There were three, in total, and I even saw them from the loading station. Cool.
And then to Zach's Zoomer, the kiddie wooden coaster, to turn 25 years old next season. I forget if it was this time or our last-day-of-August visit when a kid asked me if he could ride with me (bunny_hugger and I can't fit on the seat together --- it's too small a ride --- so we sit separately), and I agreed, and then when the gate opened he stayed behind the gate and didn't get on. Well, his business.
And ten minutes left in the ride! With Mad Mouse running. We could just make it there. I did stop for a photograph, annoying bunny_hugger. This was my stupid mistake. We had just enough time to get there, if we hurried, and because of me we didn't. We saw them pulling the chain across the Mad Mouse queue, and that was it. The season was over and we'd missed Mad Mouse. Not the whole season, but, close enough. Phoo.
Well, still. It was a day at Michigan's Adventure. Another beautiful day, although one with actual clouds in the sky. And we got a bag of kettle corn to eat on the way home, as well as for the next several days. It's just that it could have been better. We've resolved to get to Michigan's Adventure earlier in the season next year. June, perhaps May. Maybe opening weekend, if we don't have something of even higher priority taking us away first.
Trivia: To address defects in the ISO standard for containerized cargo box corner-fit mountings, in January 1967 the relevant committee named nine engineers to agree on the tests which fittings would have to pass, and then two engineers (one British, one American) sent to redesign the fittings so they could work. Source: The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, Marc Levinson.
Currently Reading: Radio Comedy: How To Write It Including The Mathematics of Humor, Art Henley. So after one booklet all about gag writing Henley goes into Situation Comedy writing, and along the way to making his point he writes ``but it takes more than one swallow to make a summer'', and some earlier reader wrote in the margin, ``swallow of what?'' and yeah, cute, but this is situations. Gags were the first booklet.
PS: My 2018 Mathematics A To Z: Hyperbolic Half-Plane, some more of that great non-Euclidean geometry the kids are so excited by.
PPS: Last ride of the night!
Some more fireworks, as seen from The Beast's queue, silhouetting Diamondback.
bunny_hugger observes a little bug working its way backwards through The Beast's queue.
With the fireworks over The Beast started going again. See what I mean about people putting their hands out to touch the sides of the lift hill apparently being a thing at the park?