And maybe we'll come back to Earth, who can tell?
Our hotel gave us a bunch of nagging little problems. When we checked in the clerk had us registered as two rooms staying for one night, rather than one room for two nights. He said he got that straightened out, although our access cards did stop working the next day. We've had that problem with multiple-night stays before because apparently the modern hotel industry thinks staying in a place more than one night is just crazy talk? Besides that, though, it was a relatively loud floor. And the heating vent made this constant rattling noise that didn't bother me --- I'll sleep through anything --- but that kept waking bunny_hugger. The second night I fiddled with the air deflector and somehow made it much more silent. If I'd known it was that easy I'd have done it the night before and she'd have had a much happier day.
The hotel had a continental-style breakfast too, although the tables were set up in basically the hallway leading to a side entrance that we kept not using to go to the car, even though it was perfectly placed for us to use that way. This meant breakfast was crowded, with a lot of people and somehow even more kids running around ready to leave us all tense. I did find in the brochures a flyer and current park map for Waldameer, which we didn't get to this year. I noticed the park map boasted of the number of roller coasters and of the water park, but it didn't mention the place has two rare and noteworthy haunted house-type attractions. bunny_hugger patiently explained to me that while it may be of amusement-park-historical-significance that they have one of the last Tracey-designed Wacky Shacks, that's not what parents looking for destinations wonder. They want to know what their kids can do and if there's something that won't bore their teenager. True enough. I didn't find any flyers, or anything, for Conneaut Lake Park. I had expected at least a photocopied flyer pointing out their Pumpkin Fest activities.
Although we had visited Conneaut Lake Park twice, once on discovering the astounding place, and again last year to face what might have been its final season yet somehow wasn't, we hadn't ever really seen Conneaut Lake. We'd stopped in a Sheetz to sigh at the name and refill on gas, but that was it. This would be our first time actually being in the place that, to our perspective, kept this amusement park in its resemblance of life. (The hotel doesn't quite count, since it was east, in the town of Meadville.)
The thing attracting us, and apparently everyone in the western Pennsylvania area, to Conneaut Lake that weekend was Pumpkin Fest. It's your harvest festival-class attraction. That Saturday morning things were to start downtown with a parade. We had a rough idea of what the parade route was supposed to be, based mostly on finding a signup sheet for groups that wanted to be in the parade. The parade had a web site promising information to come, and it had an unofficial Facebook group that actually shared information, although it had that faint crypticness you get from a group where everybody figures everybody else knows the obvious stuff like ``where the parade route will be''. The signup sheet also contained the tantalizing and disappointing news that due to concerns about childhood obesity and diabetes people on floats were not to throw candy to kids anymore. They recommended beads or cheap toys or the like instead. Apparently this was the second or third year of the new no-candy rule.
We set off trusting there'd be somewhere to park somewhere in town somewhere near some part of the parade route, which should give you an idea of how anxiously we were watching the time. We didn't find any public parking, but there did seem to be street parking on the curbless streets one or more blocks off the main strip. Trying to find a good spot in the traffic led me on a wrong path that threatened to take us out of town, but what may well have been a kind of legal-ish U-turn corrected that. We left the car in front of somebody's house, just opposite an adorable tiny grocery, and walked to the town's main street. There was a just perfect slightly rusted sign pointing to Conneaut Lake Park. There were also a couple people scattered along the street, some in beach chairs. This suddenly struck us as a good thing we could've tossed in the car and didn't think to. How long would the parade be?
Trivia: After passing the vote in favor of secession in 1861, Alabama's secession convention voted to oppose the reopening of the African slave trade. It considered, but narrowly defeated, a proposal excluding its own members from participation in the Confederate Congress.
Source: The Confederate Nation 1861 - 1865, Emory M Thomas.
Currently Reading: A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, William Manchester.