Halloween is the easiest land to get to from the water park, and we wandered over toward The Legend, partly because that roller coaster goes near the water park, and partly because there's a gift shop beside it that had caught bunny_hugger's eye. Besides wood carvings actually carved there they also do things with lucite, some of it tinted to glow in ultraviolet light, and she'd wanted to get one of the big dragons. They warned it wouldn't glow so brightly without an ultraviolet light source, but we knew that.
It might have been wiser to ride the roller coaster and then buy the souvenir, but we didn't think of that. Anyway, our carrying it around --- in the transparent bag they gave --- made it a fine conversation piece to other people in the park and we told them where to buy their own, were they so moved, which is probably why the bag for this was a transparent sleeve just wide enough to hold the figure.
Holiday World handles the problem of people with stuff in their hands differently from other parks. Cedar Point has you scramble through the roller coaster cars to drop your stuff in a locked bin, which mixes you up with the people getting off the ride and means you have to dash over and back. Kennywood and Waldameer have bins between the entrance and exit points where you can drop stuff off. Great Adventure really wants you to rent a locker but in a few spots will let you toss something in a bin on the exit side of the platform. Holiday World has bins, and lockers, but what they do is have ride operators take your loose stuff and bring it to the locker while they're waiting for a train to come around to the station. If you ask for a locker they'll give you the key for it, or you can just trust that it's sitting there in the open. This does wonders at speeding up the loading and unloading of cars and I'm surprised other parks haven't copied it.
This isn't to say we didn't see a bit of this going awry, with someone handing their sunglasses to a ride op, who dropped it right where it could fall between the supports and onto the ground below. But they sent someone underneath the station to get the sunglasses and they were returned quickly. Nothing that interesting happened with bunny_hugger's dragon.
But interesting things did happen with our ride: the train wasn't near filled up by our group, and there was only a partial train load full when we came into the station, so the ride operators told us that anyone who wanted to reride, as long as nobody was waiting for your seat, go ahead. We'd had a front-row seat the first time around and people were waiting for that, obviously, but we moved to another seat and got that most precious of amusement park thrills, the unsolicited reride. And then another one because it turns out it was just that slow a day. Obviously Tuesday after a holiday is the day to get everything at Holiday World.
Which ... would have been great if we didn't need to get back home that Tuesday, so with some reluctance we accepted that we'd had fun in the wet and the dry parts of the park, but we should get on the road. Well, except that we ought to eat, after all, before we go, and they have got vegetarian burgers at the restaurant in Christmas Land and wouldn't that be a better place to eat than trusting we could find something on the road in the middle of Indiana? Of course it would. It took a little longer than we expected to get the vegetarian burgers, but that meant the burgers (and fries) were fresh-cooked and, as mentioned, free drinks. Who could resist?
We got photographs of ourselves by the Santa Claus statue near the front, and sighed thinking about how we had to leave.
Unfortunately, the drive from Santa Claus, Indiana, to Lansing, Michigan, doesn't really go by much of anything; it was just a lot of driving, with an interesting rest stop built in a Severely Early 60s style the most interesting stop. I can't even say where it was exactly since as best I could tell it didn't identify what the rest area was. We were wise to eat before setting out, as it'd be otherwise a pretty rough slog in a state that just does not know when to end.
So, after the longest day of driving I'd had since I made the trip out to Lansing two years ago, we got home, to find the house was just fine, as of course it should have been, and that our bed was there and ready for us.
Trivia: At the southwestern corner of Minnesota the border runs north-south from the Little Minnesota River to the border of Iowa, rather than following the course of the Big Sioux river (which makes Iowa's western border), because at the time of statehood the region of the Big Sioux river was not yet officially surveyed and the Government Land Office did not have the budget to map the river. Source: How The States Got Their Shapes, Mark Stein.
Currently Reading: Gray Matters, William Hjortsberg.