The Iron Dragon, incidentally, was the first time I remember riding on a hanging-suspended type roller coaster outside the confines of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3.
Oh, I'd ridden some roller coasters in the past --- Great Adventure was the standard summer/fun-type school field trip growing up, until I worked there a summer and was left resenting the Six Flags organization, if organization is a suitable word for that. But I don't really remember which ones, except that I finally worked up the courage to try Lightnin' Loops six years after it was The Ride that people were waiting on line for three hours for. Technically speaking this would not be more time-efficient than just waiting on line for Lightnin' Loops, as just by waiting I could have ridden them about 52,591 hours sooner than I did, but I felt it a better application of my time.
So despite the several coasters bunny_hugger and I rode last summer, this was really my inauguration to many of the types that make up modern roller coaster technology. I'd like to give fair explanations of these but even despite trying to play Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 well I can't really keep the types straight and you'd get it more accurately from her, or from the Roller Coaster Database, instead. What I did learn over the course of the day was that my natural youthful fear of roller coasters has subsided greatly in the interim, which I can't say for sure isn't because many things that scare you at twelve don't scare you decades later, and I've had virtual exposure to simulations of some really frightening rides albeit on my computer screen, and of course I was with happy company.
One of the things which I discovered over the course of the day is: I'm really fond of drop times. That's, you know, the interval between being at the top of the hill and being at the bottom. There's a lot of stuff that's fun, such as banking and spiralling and I can even take a certain amount of looping although that makes me quite nervous ahead of time. But dropping down, particularly if it's followed by rising back for a fresh drop, that I have a lot of fun with. I may have to adapt my roller coaster design strategy to compensate. It wasn't just a fun day, obviously; it was also informative.
One of the miscellaneous interesting bits about Iron Dragon, as long as I have that subject open again, was that out front it was guarded by a gryphon statue, the sort that looks like bronze and perhaps even was, albeit green with age. The landscaping and rails for it make it, in my pictures, look just like Roller Coaster Tycoon scenery, which I don't pay enough attention to in my games even though it clearly helps the parks out.
One of the other big recurring themes of the park's decor is Snoopy, or Peanuts in general: a decade-plus back they signed with the Charles Schulz corporate empire and Snoopy and Woodstock descended heavily on the location. The other characters show up too. Fascinating as a prospect but not yet open was ``Snoopy's Big Bow Wow Ice Show'', at the Good Time Theatre. It encouraged us to ``Chill Out at our Ice Skating Party!'' because ``Snoopy and his friends are having a summer-long party and you're invited. Family entertainment for fans of both ice skating and Snoopy!'' Producing unintended, I'm sure, laughs for me was near the Camp Snoopy sub-park, which opens things up with a Snoopy Bounce, at least if you come at it from one angle. The thing presented is a giant inflated Snoopy, in Beagle Scout wear, but with his feet sticking out horizontally to make room for the bounce as its base. Add to that the wider yet no less inflated cylindrical base that the Snoopy figure is sitting on and, well, it does look as if he's sitting on a particular type of thing, and add the residual bouncing from kids frolicking inside and, it's just associations in my mind that they probably didn't want.
Really very little of our time was spent giggling at the settings. Most of it was spent on rides we liked a good deal, and some of it was even spent enjoying history.
Trivia: On 6 August 1873 the Signal Service received its first cabled weather reports from Cuba, from Father Benito Vines at first. Source: A History of the United States Weather Bureau, Donald R Whitnah.
Currently Reading: The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting, Darren Wershler-Henry.
Also, my old-time radio station is a tease. To fill time between shows it started introducing a little something with Fred Allen and Groucho Marx, Groucho as Hugo Z Quackenbush Junior. But it didn't do the sketch!