austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

We'll take the subway right down to King's Highway

The thing I noticed on walking into Cedar Point was the Midway Carousel, which I see their official downloadable map spells ``carrousel'', which leads to my discovery that Apple Spell Checker finds this an acceptable spelling. That's pretty cheeky for a dictionary that doesn't have ``Sandusky'' listed in it. But the web site in the main spells it with the one 'r'.

The Midway Car[r]ousel then was our first ride. It's an antique, dating to 1912 according to the web site (I don't know if that's true), but it does feature not just the lovely collection of miscellaneous animals but also those intricate landscapes on the interior and many mirrors to throw off one's sense of direction. It's a simple, elegant way to start the day and a nice mirror to our closing ride at Seaside Heights, which was its antique carousel.

On ambling to the next ride we saw what looked like a father-and-son pair walking towards the exit, with the special note that the father was carrying a stuffed lion larger than he was on his shoulders. Apparently someone had a good morning at the Skee-ball, since it wasn't even noon yet. I trust they got their hands stamped and were just dropping it off at the car because I wouldn't carry that longer than absolutely necessary.

Our next ride was a roller coaster, and a special one. Decades ago as Cedar point came perilously close to closing it realized that what it really needed was a roller coaster, which it hadn't built in decades. This shows the ironies of history, as Cedar Point now builds well over two hundred roller coasters per month, but back then they were rarer. To get things moving again they got a wooden coaster named Blue Streak, of the ``out and back'' kind where after the coaster climbs the first hill, it goes out a while, and then it turns around and comes back. Add in several hills and you have the sort of thing that's pretty near the definition of a roller coaster as people usually imagine them, at least for the wooden kind. It's apparently one that many people find to be their first really serious roller coaster, and it was a huge hit and it's still regarded as one of the all-time great ones.

It's also one that after a fashion I'd ridden already, because bunny_hugger had built a replica of it for Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, and she and I figured out how to transfer coaster files from her PC-based Tycoon and my Mac-based version of the game. (I'm not sure why it works quite as it does, but it does work, which is the important thing.) Her replica isn't perfect because the game's track designer doesn't quite have the free curves necessary, but it does get the feel across very nicely. She's designed a fair number of coasters to imitate real ones, particularly favorites. I've designed coasters too but since I have vastly less experience with the real article I don't have any that model specific real-world coasters. (Among other things I'm very fond of ``trick track'', where the track rolls to one side and then back again quickly, which I find endlessly thrilling. Real roller coaster designers agreed in 1934, but not since then.)

So this was our first large coaster and first wooden coaster, which was awfully satisfying.

The entrance to the ride happens to be near what was, years ago, a dark ride with some sort of pirate adventure theme, including such props as a cannon that would shoot at a pond which had some tool set up to produce a well-timed splash. The ride had closed ages ago, though, and over time the building closed up to be used for something probably useful for the running of the park. There are still a few pieces of the pirate thing remaining, though, including the cannons pointing now at the sky ride. There were speakers around there, though, playing the natural choice of recreational music for an amusement park: Muzak versions of sitcom theme songs, such as Taxi and Barney Miller. Well, naturally, wouldn't they be?

To its side, and the natural next ride, was ``Calypso'', one of those things where you sit in a car that's one of four spinning on a large table that itself spins. At this remove I remember that there was something which struck as as peculiar about the music, but I don't remember what exactly except that it wasn't anything calypso-related, which is probably the important piece. But it was here that I first heard the ride operator's farewell speech about enjoying the day at ``America's roller coast'', which feels perfectly natural as a close to roller coaster rides and a touch odd for rides that have nothing to do with rolling or coasting.

Trivia: On trial for mutiny and the murder of Henry Hudson, the survivors of Hudson's last exploring expedition claimed that Hudson had found the Northwest Passage, and they were the only ones who knew where it was. They were exonerated, and organized into the ``Company of the Merchants Discoverers of the North-West Passage'', to trade with ``Tartaria, China, Japan, Solomons Islands, Chili, the Philippines, and other countrys''. Source: The Island At The Centre Of The World,Russell Shorto.

Currently Reading: The Emperors Of Chocolate: Inside The Secret World Of Hershey And Mars, Joël Glenn Brenner.


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