October 18th, 2014

krazy koati

I'm gonna sit and watch the waves

We didn't get to Michigan's Adventure much this season, even though it's just two hours away and so the closest amusement park. We got there for opening weekend, and again for its closing day. The park's closing day came a weekend after the water park closed, so that crowds were extremely light, the kind bunny_hugger remembers of the park when she started visiting in the early 2000s. The park is always kind of laid-back with short ride queues and the like, but without the water park population it was even moreso. Never mind there not being substantial waits for any of the roller coasters, even the Mad Mouse (we were able to be among the first group of riders after it was closed for something or other), there weren't even slight waits for anything but the flying scooters.

We did take the time to do a few things we never get around to, such as a swan boat tour of the central lake. This doesn't get us quite as close to Thunderhawk, a waterfront roller coaster, as I'd imaged. I think the roller coaster despite the way it looks when you're on it doesn't actually get above water. We also spotted a couple actual swans looking off vaguely annoyed at people imitating them. The conversation between the ride operator and her replacement also confirmed the park was hoping very much to get everybody out by about ten minutes after 6:00, the closing hour, which would be reasonable for the light crowd.

(Michigan's Adventure lacks midway lights, which is why it closes early and doesn't have any Halloween events even though Halloween events are money mills and the park is really very well-designed for families. If we'd gone a week earlier we might have caught a twilight ride, when the park closed at 8:00 or so, but for closing day they closed extra early.)

Though the park hasn't really got an organized ``old west'' area it has got an old-time photograph studio, and we went for the Old West desperados style picture. They've also got Civil War, Victorian Parlor, and Roaring Twenties outfits but the Old West felt most traditional for theme parks. And I got to wondering why they don't have backdrops where you can dress up to look like somebody at Coney Island or whatnot from the 1920s. I think there's untapped market potential there. Anyway, the guy dressed us up and handed me a rifle and bunny_hugger a pistol and we took a couple shots in front of the bar backdrop. It might just be that I was ready for a haircut and beard-trimming but it turns out if I'm dressed right and stare at the camera I can look pretty impressively scary-criminal. I think that's a good thing, right?

Naturally we got in rides on all the roller coasters, including the ongoing study of why Wolverine Wildcat is a somewhat disappointing ride when it's nearly a clone of Knoebels's Phoenix. I think the greater restraints on Wolverine Wildcat are important but now I also suspect that it runs slower than Phoenix. It's certainly a combination of things. bunny_hugger and I also took for not much good reason a ride on the kiddie powered-coaster Big Dipper, which is about twelve feet long and sized for children half the size of a toy poodle, and which the park hides behind a complex of redemption games and past an angered minotaur. But, you know, we were there, it was a nice day, why not take in an extra ride?

For our last ride of the day we waited for a front-seat ride on Shivering Timbers, the park's big and really very good wooden roller coaster, a mile-plus long in total. Our timing was excellent: we got not just the front-seat ride but the front seat on the last train they were sending out for the day and thus, except for maintenance rides and whatever fun the park employees might have for one another, the last ride of it for the year.

Trivia: In 1934 IBM offered punched card stock for sale at the cost of $1.25 per ten thousand cards, provided the customer was willing to take delivery of at least one million cards within a year. Source: Before The Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand, and the Industry They Created, 1865 - 1956, James W Cortada.

Currently Reading: The Crying Of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon.

PS: How Richard Feynman Got From The Square Root of 2 to e, because I couldn't think of a way to get from there to there on my own. Fourth of these since the last roundup.