June 22nd, 2014

krazy koati

Let's twist again, like we did last year

As we drove toward New Philadelphia we caught a couple glimpses of ominous-looking clouds. Last year our visit to Tuscora Park was made pointless by rain shutting the park before we could get there; would that happen again? And despite the threat, no, it never pulled itself together into rain. When we got to the park bunny_hugger right away heard the carousel's band organ. I had to get a little closer to the park to hear it.

Tuscora Park is primarily a city park, with usual sorts of things like a swimming pool and playground gear and an old WPA amphitheater and a school's ballpark next to it, and then, mixed into this, are a bunch of rides: an antique carousel, a Superior Wheel (a model of Ferris wheel and twin to the one at Crossroads Village outside Flint), a swing ride, a train ride, even a little kiddie roller coaster, and then some smaller fairground rides for kids there'd be no chance of our fitting on. And it was all open.

All the park rides are 50 cents, and paid for by tickets. We bought a ``book'', a slip of paper with punchable holes, with the intention that we'd ride the carousel some and the Superior Wheel and maybe whatever else caught our eyes. The carousel is a Herschell-Spillman one they've had since around World War II, and is paired with a Wurlitzer band organ which was playing several songs we couldn't identify. I did spot a couple of their music rolls --- they featured songs like ``You Can't Be True, Dear'' (a waltz, according to the box) or ``Wah-Hoo'' (Fox trot), and one roll (``Military Band Orban Roll No 13164'') which had three songs identified as ``Unknown'' on the Wurlitzer rolls' own labels. It's a lovely spot.

Disappointingly, the Superior Wheel wasn't working. It had a sign saying it was shut down, ``repair mechanical problem'', dated a couple days ago. This had us seriously disappointed: there are only two examples of the Superior Wheel known to still exist and be operating, and if we could ride the one at Tuscora Park we'd have another entry for the roster of rides we've ridden every one of. We're, seriously, going to have to make another trip to New Philadelphia in the hopes of getting the chance to ride the Superior Wheel.

We didn't want just to ride the carousel for all our time in the park, and gave the rotating swings a try. Unfortunately the seats on this were cubical fiberglass monstrosities, which were wide enough for kids to ride on, and just wide enough for me to fit in, but somehow bunny_hugger wasn't able to fit within its confines. Since they'd already punched our ticket they gave bunny_hugger a coupon good for a ride and so we got a little paperwork souvenir of the park.

We entertained thoughts that we might be able to ride the kiddie roller coaster. It's a tiny thing, but hey, we've fit on some kiddie coasters before and we might be small enough, bunny_hugger more likely than me. The sign at the entrance said it was for people 18 years and younger, so, so much for that. We did watch some kids having their rides, including one who'd cried out from fear at going onto the ride and as it started the hill, and squealed and screamed all during the short ride; the merciful thing is afterwards the kid talked about wanting to do it again. I'm glad the kid was finding an experience not so scary, and a lot more fun, than imagined.

We debated playing their miniature golf course but ultimately didn't. bunny_hugger did buy one of the park t-shirts, a lovely one with the park's name and a carousel horse's head, that's done in two colors and is quite striking and attractive.

Also, we ate. We'd known from last year they sold some food, burgers and hot dogs and ice cream and the like. What we learned seeing the place open was that they even had vegetarian burgers, which underscores just how easy it is anymore to be vegetarian. This gave us the best sort of dinner, one enjoyed in a park and watching an antique carousel.

I should mention one of the ordinary park playground equipment was a pair of swings that must date to the late 40s or early 50s: the swings hang from the arms of a giant Cowboy and an Indian figure, made of metal and covered in fading paint. From the back they look kind of like artwork of the Tin Woodsman.

The park has some plaques thanking Jerry A and Donna L Schwab, who provided funds for the carousel pavilion ``in memory of their son Douglas Lee Schwab'', and then another one dated nearly two decades later thanking them for providing the ``amusement ride fencing for the safety of all children of in [sic] our community''. I'm not sure I want to know more of the story.

We hung out at the park until its closing, about 9 pm and still not quite sunset, and only then set off on the remaining hour or so driving across Ohio, and a tiny strip of West Virginia, and then the last stretch into Pittsburgh. We knew this time to expect the explosion of lights as we passed that last tunnel and suddenly found the city, but that didn't mean it wasn't still awesome and just a wonderful display of the city at its prettiest.

Our usual hotel, a Red Roof Inn, had gotten renovated --- it was in the middle of that during our Rain Check Trip last year --- and now billed itself as a ``Red Roof Plus+'' if you go by the signs. This left my programmer side pondering what the proper successor to a Red Roof even is.

Since we had eaten, we didn't need to make a trip back out to Denny's or an equivalent shop, and could figure out exactly what park to go to the next day.

Trivia: Apples are rich in boron. Source: Radar, Hula Hoops, and Playful Pigs, Joe Schwarcz.

Currently Reading: The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era, Craig Nelson.