Now, the ice cream story I unaccountably forgot: one of Kennywood's signature items is an ice cream on a stick. This is a brick of ice cream (literally a rectangular parallelepiped, within the normal limits of what you can do with ie cream), covered in chocolate, covered in either sprinkles or nuts, and topped with a cherry. We didn't know or didn't think of it in July, or our first day there, but our Sunday was warm and pleasant enough that we got over to the stand and got our sticks. bunny_hugger got it with rainbow sprinkles, I got nuts. She got one cherry (on a toothpick) on top, I got two. We sat and ate in some of the open pavilion space nearby. She shouldn't have envied my cherries: I tried to eat around them, saving them for last, and as a result they slipped over and fell on the ground. I put them in the bushes where the squirrels could get them. bunny_hugger's mother, hearing of this, said it used to be a fairly common thing. Of course Kennywood would have as a signature item a kind of ice cream pop that's faded from commonality. The ice cream on a stick thing is great, and we'll be up for more of them.
Now, the hotel: the Red Roof Inn had put us on the first floor, in a wheelchair-friendly room, which mostly meant that the bathroom didn't have any division between the shower area and the rest of the tile floor. We didn't mind. We thought there were few booked rooms our Friday and Saturday night --- the shades were open on many of them --- but after all that's their business. When we got back Sunday, though, the whole lowest tier of parking lot, the one nearest our room, was blockaded off. There was barely the room for us to park, on a higher tier (this area is pretty much terraced development), and on the opposite side of the hotel. We had guesses about why the parking lot was closed off ranging from the morbid (a horrid accident or worse crime scene?) to the innocuous (repaving?).
Repaving was more right: frightfully early in the morning someone had their loud Pavement Noise Machine out and at work, noisy enough that I was almost roused, and when we started getting our luggage out there was that unmistakable smell of new asphalt. So they had probably been cutting back on bookings so that they could roughly halve their parking needs ahead of the work which we had to wonder, couldn't they have scheduled for a more convenient time? And then realized that, actually, weekdays after the main Kennywood season is probably the most convenient time a hotel so well-suited for Kennywood traffic gets. These things happen.
Monday left us mostly with the chore of driving home as we couldn't figure a way to economically become squatters in Kennywood over the winter months. We spent maybe an hour or so driving back before getting to an Eat-n-Park, a chain we'd seen but never eaten at before (it's on the order of a Perkins or a Big Boy, and does have a salad bar; the week we were there the back of some of the wait staff's shirts read ``Yes, we know, you park then eat''), and along the way I noticed something weird about a nickel in the change bunny_hugger had got out as preparation for toll roads. Actually, I said something to the effect of ``what's with this freaky nickel'', and she said it was just one of those commemorative issues that they do instead of issuing normal coins anymore. It wasn't, though: it was a 1936 buffalo-head nickel, looking just like the ones you'd see in old cartoons. She'd got it in change from Kennywood, somewhere. It dates to the year the Noah's Ark opened. Wow.
The rest of the drive was unremarkable --- turnpikes and Interstates and all that --- although there was the slight oddity of a BP in Findlay, Ohio, where we stopped for a bathroom break. The men's room had a huge poster of fighter jets and a Motivational Poster-type motto whose detail I forget but which was urging men using the restroom to excellence in peeing. I was too cowardly to ask the cashiers how to measure said excellence.
We got home, and a couple days later properly concluded the Rain Check Ticket as we got to see bunny_hugger's parents, and retrieved our pet rabbit, who hopped into his cage and announced that he was never leaving his cage again. He was wrong, of course.
Trivia: By the 1640s the Vatican was receiving complaints that priests were celebrating Mass with lighted cigars. Pope Urban VIII banned smoking in church. Source: 1493: Uncovering The New World Columbus Created, Charles C Mann.
Currently Reading: Enterprise, Jerry Grey. Ah-hah. Apparently the United States only barely escaped bankruptcy under the harsh regime of Carter's alternate-energy development programs, and just barely missed a second Dark Ages as a result of his insistence on developing programs with obvious benefits to ordinary people. Also, he's not saying that T A Heppenheimer's many critiques of O'Neill's proposed colonies --- and rivalry as a space-colony popularizer --- was financially motivated but Grey does point out Heppenheimer's University of Michigan doctorate didn't help him get a sound academic career by then and he was making a living hawking California real estate, plus you know he only left O'Neill's group after getting rejected for a grant.