September 10th, 2015

krazy koati

Life is bare, gloom and mis'ry everywhere

So that was a long day with two amusement park visits. In theory it might have been three: about five miles south of Santa's Village is a park named Fort Jefferson. Prior to the 2013 season (spent closed) it was known as Six Gun City. It's a small, wild-west themed park. But it closed even earlier than Santa's Village. We'd have stopped in happily if we could have, especially since it's a free-admission, pay-per-ride park, but to visit it we'd have had to give up on Funtown Splashtown USA or on Santa's Village, or cut time out of the next day's planned visit. This one hurt; Fort Jefferson may have just the one small roller coaster but we have a particular love for small parks and parks hanging on by a thread and this one seems on a desperately thin thread. To quote the Roller Coaster Database's entry about its Gold Rush Express roller coaster: ``In a early 2015 phone call, the park did not seem sure if the coaster would operated [sic] in 2015 and suggested the rides would only be available to campground guests.'' The park's web site doesn't list the roller coaster as an operating ride, but we saw it from the road.

Mercifully, since we were doing all this driving, our motel for the night wouldn't be too far away. The drive took us around Mount Washington, and I was all ready to joke about how unfortunately we wouldn't have time to go up it. This would have flopped badly because it turns out Mount Washington just isn't something people in the Midwest do, or think about, or are necessarily even aware exists. Well, east of the Proclamation Line of 1763, every fourth car sports a ``This Car Climbed Mount Washington'' bumper sticker. If I'm not mistaken our rental car managed to circumnavigate it, without ever getting closer than some of the campgrounds around the windy place. Too bad.

We'd stay in a motel, your classic 1960s-style motor court style complete with these gorgeous old-fashioned plates about check-out information, and a communal coffee machine and microwave oven set out on the open porch between rooms. Out the back window? Wild turkeys, a bunch of them. The only flaw in the place would be not enough electric outlets for all our gadgets; I'd start using the rental car's USB port for charging my camera batteries.

We drove into town to find something to eat and it sure looked busy. I don't think there were any particular fairs going on; it was just the sense that this is a touristy town in early August, a good time for that. We went to a gas station as the nearest spot we could find toothpaste, and for that matter a bottle of shampoo just in case we'd be short at another spot. We wouldn't be. And next to the gas station was a Thai restaurant that was still open, although it was eerily unoccupied and inspired in bunny_hugger the nervousness of being the only person in a restaurant. A couple people mercifully joined us afterwards. They served more food than we could really eat, but since we had a fridge we brought the leftovers back and would make a breakfast of noodles the next day. Bonus: they'd have the extra twelve hours or so of soaking in their sauces, so they were fantastic.

And we decided to reschedule our last two parks. We had figured to go to Lake Compounce on Sunday. But Boulder Dash was still reporting not-open. We decided to move that park to Monday, giving them an extra day to get the ride working. This would slightly defy geographic logic, but not by very much, and I didn't think we'd mind the slight doubling-back it implied. We figured it would give us a little more protection against a major disappointment.

Trivia: The average city block in Manhattan covers an area of less than four acres. The average city block in Philadelphia or Chicago is about five. Source: Measuring America: How the United States was Shaped by the Greatest Land Sale in History, Andro Linklater.

Currently Reading: Moscow, 1937, Karl Schlögel, Translated by Rodney Livingstone.