austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

My hand is on the stick shift

bunny_hugger booked our hotel room, and she is excellent at these things. She disclaims it being any particular talent, just the result of extensive research and planning. She's still really good at it. She found a hotel that wasn't literally as close as you could get to the boardwalk --- it was one whole block away --- but it was also done in that late 50s motel style that made me think I was staying in the Playskool Holiday Inn playset. It didn't really look like that, but it had that style. The hotel was a bit aged, with a little run-down nature to its astroturf carpeting in the open-air corridors, and the Nu-Tone intercom system plastered over with beige paint, but that just made it all the more wonderful. Many of the hotels are of the same vintage, architecturally and spiritually, and by the time we put our bags away we were pretty much decided that we might never leave here.

There are currently three amusement piers running at Wildwood, all owned by the Morey's Piers chain, and we were staying nearest the shortest one, one with a single roller coaster and a small Ferris wheel and some other rides. It's small compared to the other piers there; even this littlest one was bigger than the Seaside Heights piers. We got our wristbands --- bunny_hugger had, through the American Coaster Enthusiasts, great discounts on all-day passes --- and soaked in the atmosphere of being there.

The roller coaster on this pier, the Great White, is a beautiful wooden roller coaster that just ... well, it hasn't got any dull parts. It even starts out interesting, by diving underneath the pier's surface for a quick turn-around before it starts the main lift hill, and it goes out to the edge of the pier, turns around, comes back, goes back around partway, returns, and comes across the pier. This sounds complicated; trust me, it's not. It's just a really magnificently great ride, instantly becoming one of our favorites, and it just felt like a roller coaster that should've been an eternal classic. It's seventeen years old.

The pier also had an exhibit called [artBox], which is not so unique a name as you might think if you're trying to Google it. This is a collection of containerized cargo-style boxes, with artists and their artwork on display, and for sale. bunny_hugger would (the next day) get into a conversation with one of the artists and learn about how the project had actually just finished getting installed a few days earlier. It's an odd thing for an amusement park or park-like attraction, feeling much more like the sort of thing a town does when it wants to get some art colony credentials, but we're glad they're doing it. It makes the place more surprising.

Also around the [artBox] stuff are some pieces of closed rides --- cars from decommissioned roller coasters, for example, or parts of other rides which have gone to wherever good amusement park rides go. They came with brief explanatory panels, too, and not all of them were from Morey's Piers. One was even a piece from Coney Island's Astroland that, we later worked out, had been moved down just days before. If Wildwood weren't already amazing enough, it was specifically getting more interesting just in time for us to visit.

Trivia: The earliest known citation for ``rounders'' describing the game of baseball in America dates to 1828, in an appearance in The Boy's Own Book (which, in reprinted form, appears to be all the citations for that name for another generation), well after the term ``base ball'' is known to have been in use. Source: Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search For The Roots Of The Game, David Block.

Currently Reading: Anywhen, James Blish. (I think I'm starting to piece together what happens in ``A Style In Treason''. Well, no, I'm not, but it's nice to think.)

Tags: amusement parks

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