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austin_dern

September 2017

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Jul. 9th, 2017

With the most important ride ridden, and confident we'd have time for the antique carousel at the Columbus Zoo --- which had been at the former Wyandot Lake amusement park and was now tucked somewhere deep in the main zoo grounds --- we turned to what else we might look at. Oddly, we didn't go right back to re-ride the roller coaster although that would have made sense: we hadn't gotten a front-seat ride, nor a back-seat ride, and it's not like we could expect the lines to be shorter than what we had already experienced. Indeed, when we checked back in a few hours the ride was closed, underscoring the importance if you make a trip to a place for a specific ride to get on the ride as soon as possible.

But, other rides. There was a Music Express, one of those flat rides that puts you in a car and spins around, climbing and descending a hill while music plays really loud. This one had a vaguely African Safari Or Something theme, one we don't remember seeing on another Music Express. Well, they're mostly decorated in Airbrush Art Of 70s/80s Rockers. Something with Airbrush Art of Zebras Considering a Jeep is novel.

Our most interesting discovery was the bumper cars ride. Or what we figured was bumper cars. They're more a ring, though, a seat sitting on a cylindrical disc, with an inflated tire serving as protective bumper. The driver has two sticks, one for the left motor and one for the right. Push both together and you go forward. Push just one forward, or one forward and one back, and you turn pretty fast. Push both backward and you reverse at the same speed you could go forward. In describing this later on [profile] bunny_hugger and her brother worked out the hypothetical meeting at which this invention was proposed: ``what if we had bumper boats, but on land?'' And someone starts to say something, but falls silent. Fair enough. It seems like a silly change.

Thing is, it's a great ride. The levers mean you can stop on a dime, and change direction instantly, and yoink into reverse without a pause. This changes the dynamic of bumper cars dramatically. The ability to evade your pursuer is greatly enhanced, and there's something really delightful in seeing someone coming at you head-on, throwing it into reverse, and just sailing backwards out of their reach. At a similar ride we'd find in Freehold, New Jersey, we'd learn there's a spot which, if hit, makes the hit car lose control and go spinning for a couple seconds, which is an even greater variation. We have no idea whether the ones at the Columbus Zoo do that. Now that we know to test we might find out next year, all going well.

The ride you'd least expect to see us on we took: it's the log flume. We're really not log flume riders, what with how soaking wet they try to leave riders. But given the incredible heat and still air, getting a bit soaked a few hours before we would have to set out seemed like not such a bad idea after all. Hard to say, after it happened: we did get quite wet, just in time for the wind to pick up and a heavy cloud to move over, spoiling what should have been good evaporative fun. But we kept drying and were less insufferably hot after all.

On to the Flying Scooters, a ride that in the past decade has gone from near-extinct to maybe overpopulated. It's a fun one. You sit in a scooter seat, with a giant metal sail in front that you can turn left to right. The tower lifts you up and swings you around and you can guide where it is you're pointing and some of your rotation and make yourself sick if you work hard at it. That part's in your control. Good ride.

We went back to the Sea Dragon, hoping to get a front-seat ride this time, to find that it was closed.

Trivia: In May 1945 the British Military Government evacuated a five-kilometer strip between Westphalia and Holland, displacing hundreds of families including the entire village of Suderwick. In October the strip was reduced to 500 meters and local farmers allowed to return. Source: Germany 1945: From War To Peace, Richard Bessel.

Currently Reading: Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, Sarah Lohman.

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