We were down by the sea in Santa Cruz, and I was sadder than sad
The next weekend we went to another park's closing weekend. Closing day, in fact. I don't count it as an expedition because we didn't journey all that far for it, or need to stay overnight or anything else that made it feel distant, or something we had to explore.
Michigan's Adventure is by rights our home park. It's small and has only one, very faint, themed area, and no shows or the like. But it's a mere two hours away, putting it well up on Cedar Point or anything else. We realized on getting there that we'd not made many trips there this season. We could just think of the one, with MWS, the afternoon after being knocked out of the Baby Food Festival pinball tournament. We'd go to Fremont, where that tournament was, each month for its pinball-mining experience, but we hadn't otherwise gone from there to the amusement park about a half-hour away. I think given the requirement to put in invigilated scores, and Michigan Adventure's early closing hours --- the park hasn't got walkway lights --- we just lacked the time to make that seem worthwhile. Still, it was startling to realize we had so few hours at the park for this season.
The first priority was to ride the only roller coaster there we hadn't got to with MWS, the Mad Mouse. It had a line, as it always does; it's a popular ride, and the current operations mean it takes fewer people per hour than it's designed for. We figured to go then, since the ride was running; if it went down later in the day and we missed the ride all year we'd feel awful. And with that the stuff we feel like we have to do was satisfied.
It would be a low-volume day for Michigan's Adventure, though not as low as they used to get. But this was the weekend after the water park side closed for the season, and that took a lot of the attendees out. But then everyone who was attending was there for the dry rides. Worked out all right, though. Besides the Mad Mouse there weren't obnoxious lines for anything we cared for.
And a good bit of what we cared for was the petting zoo. We spent a good while watching their goats and llamas and turkeys and whatnot. And having serious chats with their rabbits, who now had this little table they could hide under when they'd had enough attention from people, and which they were mostly doing now. One was a Flemish giant, rousing some to take time to groom her exhibition partners, and restarting in us the discussion of whether Columbo should have a companion.
Past that, it was a commonplace lovely late-summer day at Michigan's Adventure, one causing us to realize that it sure seems like the last day of the season is always this nice bright one with a cloudless sky. It surely can't always be, can it? Seems like it anyway. And it was the kind of day we hope for, walking around an old friend and seeing things mostly normal. (There was a little fuss on the Yo-Yo swing ride, as one rider could not get it into their head that no, phones were not allowed out of their pocket; the ride operator gave some delightful exasperated looks to us, who hadn't yet joined the queue but did know what the heck we were doing.)
When we went to the park in July bunny_hugger noticed some cute, fat dragon plushes in one of the shops. They're not branded Michigan's Adventure or anything. They're just cute. This time around she decided to buy one, despite the plush population. It's been a steady and cute companion though.
And we went from the gift shop to the Mad Mouse, which was still running and had just a little line left, as the final minutes of the park's season approached. And we looked delighted at each other when we saw them close the queue. We were able to get the final ride of the season on Mad Mouse, in a bit of perfect timing.
The one regret: we hadn't been able to get a bag of kettle corn before the season closed. But, they weren't quite chasing people out of the park just yet so why not walk a little in that direction to see if they might still be open? (They had been closed earlier in the day.) I thought I saw someone at the stand, so I broke off from bunny_hugger and ran over before park security could get to sweeping people out. So we were able to close out the season with a double triumph, and all that we could really hope for.
On the way back we stopped in Fremont and put in a couple of scores for the tournament held there that doesn't need to be supervised.
Trivia: New-world peppers are high in vitamin C compared to old-world peppers.
Source: Food in History, Reay Tannahill.
Currently Reading: Descartes' Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason, Russell Shorto.
I first spotted this as the soft-serve spiral hidden behind a building and thought it reminded me of Six Flags Great Adventure's oldest buildings, which have this soft-serve motif. Turns out this wasn't a relic of earlier park days; it's the house for the Batman Mr Freeze Reverse Blast roller coaster.
Interior of the Mr Freeze Reverse Blast coaster building; it's done up to look like an abandoned ice-cream factory and I wonder how much of the graffiti is art-directed and how much is not removing what bored teens scribble in. There is a TV over the exit door, playing the classic-ish Bugs Bunny cartoon Water Water Every-Hare.
One of the launch platform for the Mr Freeze Reverse Blast, loading up passengers while the other train goes through its tricks.