August 16th, 2016

krazy koati

Let's all sing like the birdies sing, bubbaboo ba-bubbaboo ba-boo

Near the Kiddieland, and the Dragon Wagon, and the miniature locomotive they had the Indiana Beach carousel. It's an antique, although not of the hand-carved kind that attract carousel enthusiasts. It's a small 1940s/1950s model, cast in metal, from when the remaining ride-makers were trying to find much cheaper ways to build carousels. We wondered a lot about its provenance and I noticed a manufacturer's plate where we couldn't quite see it. We resolved to go back on the ride and sneak around to get a good photograph of it and never did. Maybe next visit. The carousel has the name Horse Around, which is a surprisingly imaginative name for an amusement park carousel. They're almost all called Carousel or Grand Carousel, possibly with a strange spelling of carousel.

The line for their other wooden roller coaster seemed a bit long, so we went off to the far edge of the park and Steel Hawg. This is a small, tiny-footprint coaster that feels more like a European than a United States ride. Most of the curves in it are vertical, twisting around and dropping straight down or rising instead. It includes a part in which you do drop upside-down, the closest we've come to riding a ``Screaming Squirrel'' roller coaster and one of the few kinds of coasters still able to inspire terror in us. (Screaming Squirrels include long stretches of riding upside-down at low speed.) Fine ride and one I learned not to do with my camera in my pocket, because the bucket seats are too tight for that.

Now to the other wooden roller coaster! It's got a station paired with their log flume ride, which we passed up as being a bit too log flume-y for our tastes and the weather. Their other wooden roller coaster is the Cornball Express, from 2001. It's not as long or quite as fast as the Hoosier Hurricane, but it's got a more compact footprint. It does much more curling around and twisting about on itself than the Hoosier Hurricane. I'm not sure which is the better ride. I think I'd go for Hoosier Hurricane, for having a more interesting path, but it's a tough call.

We were on the lookout for pinball, of course. We look for it at every park now. And Indiana Beach, as an older park --- in its 90th year, though not as an amusement park --- that had several years of a capital squeeze seemed like a prime candidate for having some. Plus their Attractions page says you can ``take a spin on pinball''. We wouldn't find any. But we would find some Whac-a-Mole games with some spectacular early-80s style lettering and that was almost worth the price of mole-whacing by itself.

On one of the first rides we got on, I think maybe even the Tig'rr Coaster, a ride operator asked what we had been on, and we explained we had just got here. He nodded and said how he hoped we'd be enjoying the place since it was so much better than it had been last year. For example they were getting what had been Splash Battle, a water ride where you putter along a track and shoot water at other riders, into shape although it wasn't there yet. We did find the Splash Battle spot, hidden behind canvases, and I poked my camera in to see what was there. Cleared-out flat cement with some decorations advertising other rides at the park. It didn't look close to being anything, but then, it's a space that could easily become something fresh in the near future.

Part of Indiana Beach's style is that it's a boardwalk park. Well, not properly a boardwalk, as the river's edge is lined with smooth cement (with 4-28 1955 carved into one spot), but that style. As a desperately land-starved park it does poke out into the water in a few spots. One of them is a chair swing ride that's really thrilling. It's a Yo-Yo style ride, with chairs that don't just swing and rise and fall, but also tip forward and back. With each rocking I worried about my car keys dropping out and falling into the river. This did not happen, but you would be surprised how much the simple act of putting it partly above water makes a chair swing about twice as thrilling. Roller Coaster Tycoon players be advised.

Around this end of the park we found a little garden where a couple employees were smoking (it was designated so), near a decorative water fountain of no particular beauty. We also found a second carousel, one bunny_hugger didn't know anything about and that apparently nobody was tending. We would come back to investigate this later.

Trivia: The United States's delegation to the 1924 Paris Games insisted all Parisian saloons be closed and all liquor advertisements be removed from the housing areas for American athletes. French officials refused. Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle. (The book does not actually say they laughed, but I like to imagine they did.)

Currently Reading: Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times, Lucy Lethbridge.