November 21st, 2015

krazy koati

We're leaving together, but still it's farewell

We weren't able, this summer, to get to Conneaut Lake Park. Nor to Kennywood or Waldameer, but those are parks we could feel confident would be there neat year. Conneaut Lake Park, though? The park has been in a precarious and unreal balance for decades. It's spent the past twelve months in bankruptcy, protected just barely from a sheriff's sale for unpaid taxes. It operated the past season, again in bankruptcy, and against some apparently powerful local forces who are tired of the drama-ridden park and want it put out of its misery. It's protected somehow by even murkier powerful local forces who seem to see what we see in the park, a wondrous and unreal and supremely lovable place. We were saddened to think we might miss visiting the park in what might be its last year of business.

But then ... there was one weekend when it would make sense to drive out to Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, something like six hours away. On Columbus Day weekend they hold PumpkinFest in the area. There'd be a parade downtown, and a fair of some kind set up at the park, and even fireworks and stuff to do after dark. And so we planned this for our Conneaut Lake Park trip of the year.

bunny_hugger was horrified to learn that hotels in the area were all full up. Apparently Pumpkin Fest draws a huge crowd to the area. She found one that she despaired was a quarter-hour or more outside town, and to the east. (It would turn out that the hotel wasn't actually that far from the park; she might have conflated the hotel she booked with one she had been looking at.)

We would drive first to bunny_hugger's parents' home, to drop off our pet rabbit, and to have lunch with her mother. Her father had been out seeing someone else for lunch, but got back just before we left.

There was even a natural resting point along the way: Cedar Point would be about halfway between home and Conneaut Lake. And with our season passes, dropping in there would be no more expensive than stopping at any rest area on the Ohio Turnpike. It'd just take a little longer.

The day was beautiful, exactly what they might have hoped for in Roller Coaster Appreciation Night the month before. There'd be no walking on to the major rides this time, but that's all right. We could visit the pinball machines, and the carousels, and some of the lower-demand or higher-capacity roller coasters.

I should say, I'd forgotten to mention that at Roller Coaster Appreciation Night we were able, just before Millennium Force, to ride Rougarou at last. As the standing-coaster Mantis, it had always been a neglected, little-loved ride with few patrons and little attention. bunny_hugger felt the ride hurt her feet to stand all the way through, and she surely wasn't alone.

But now, as Rougarou, a seated roller coaster, it was ... again a walk-on ride. It seems a pity for the ride to get so little love, especially when its inaugural(?) year was crowded out by the announcements of ValRavn and the discovery that Pipe Scream was a roller coaster all this time. But with the new cars ... well, the ride had a pretty fun track to start with, and it's still pretty fun. And it's floorless, so that if you look down, you see your feet dangling in the air, or just above the track. The track looks closer than it actually is. That's exciting. It's always thrilling to fear that your feet are going to be chewed up by roller coaster track. But the restraints ... remember how I mentioned Maverick had its major flaw fixed, by getting rid of the head-surrounding restraints that bash against your ears? Rougarou has cars that have a similar head-surrounding restraint, so on the back half of the track, with all the exciting twisty curves, it slaps you against the ears.

Well, we spent a bit of time at the park, and got back on the road. Surprisingly, the satellite navigator didn't take us back to the Ohio Turnpike. We stuck to state roads instead. This had its benefits, such as taking us past Duck Tape World Headquarters, and letting us visit a truly harrowing sharp turn outside Cleveland. It also had its drawbacks, because at the point I resolved to stop at the next gas station, we were deep into eastern-Ohio/western-Pennsylvania towns that didn't have towns, much less gas stations. We got to a gas station before my tank was completely dry, though. And I now know it's just about possible to drive from Lansing to Conneaut Lake Park in one tank.

Trivia: In 1924-25, Carl H Reuter Inc of Philadelphia sold an adding machine named the Archimedes. Source: Before The Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand and the Industry They Created, 1865 - 1956, James W Cortada.

Currently Reading: A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, William Manchester.

PS: Reading the Comics, November 18, 2015: All Caught Up Edition, because, oh yeah, I forgot to include this link yesterday. Sorry.