Adventureland….We Are Here

We have arrived at Altoona Iowa to work our Summer Job at “Adventureland”.  It is a really cool amusement park.  I subscribed to an Emailed newsletter couple of years ago.  It is called “Workers on Wheels”.   It is emailed once or twice a week and is full of tips and jobs for workamping.  Last December I was reading it, and this job was posted.  It was close to home,  only 4 hours, free campground, and hourly pay with bonus at the end of the season…..Why Not….Filled out the app online that nite.  The next morning my phone rang.  It was Gary from HR.  We completed a 2 hour phone interview that afternoon, and with in several days all paperwork was mailed back and forth……..Now the fun begins…….We were able to pick our own areas.  I chose Games, and Rich chose Rides.  Now tell me, Who has never as a kid, had a dream to work in an Amusement park……

We arrived last week to settle in.  Were trying to learn the routine, but as most places go, their is some confusion, but were all working through it.  It has only been open on weekends this month, so we asked to take a walk through last Sunday as we have never been in the park before.  So here is some of the things we seen.


This is the Space Shot…..Not for me…   The Space Shot is a 235-foot (72 m) structure that towers over Adventureland launching riders up at 4.5 G’s and ending with a free fall of negative 1 G.


Storm Chaser……OMG…….way to high….  The Storm Chaser is a giant swing ride that takes you 260 feet off the ground and spins those brave enough to ride it around at 35 mph.


Raging River….Now I want to do this one.   The water was a most beautiful blue….


We took a ride on the Aerial ride over the top of the park.  This was a nice ride.  On the way we went through the circles and loops of their brand new Thriller Ride.  New for this Season.   “The Monster”   It is still under construction, opening the middle of June.


Rich heard today it costs 9 Million Dollars……Wow….on The Monster you will climb straight up a 133 foot lift hill then dropped at a 101 degree angle. At the bottom of the hill you will reach a top speed of 65 mph. The next element is a large Overbanked turn where you will be redirected into a Dive Loop that goes directly into an Omega Loop after which you will go into a sharp curve that will take you into an air time hill then and Immelmann loop. The car will then go into its last curve and it’s final inversion a Corkscrew (roller coaster element). The ride in total has 2,500 feet of track, five inversions and it will be the parks newest coaster in nearly twenty years.  It is in the final stages of construction.  They are testing the cars every nite.  They load them with sand bags for weight and have to run each car at least 1500 times before they can even begin to certify it for safety.  The are in the last stages of landscaping.  Everyone is so excited, especially the management. We heard they will be running adds on the local radio for someone to Win the honor of the First rider on the “Monster”……


We crossed over a bridge and see some cute little ducky’s with their parents and lots of catfish and a few carp.  People were feeding the fish.


The little train had just loaded and was taking off on its trip around the park.  This is just a small sample of what we saw.  We finally left exhausted from walking.  We never made it to the back of the park.  They have several more huge roller coasters, and Adventure Bay, that will be opening Saturday, Memorial Day weekend.  It is a huge water park with large water slides, wave pool, Lazy River, and other things that we haven’t seen…………The next day I actually worked my first day.   Would you believe I worked the Duck Pond…….Pick up a duck and check the colored dot and see what you won.   I did that from 11 am – 6 pm.  I had a 30 minute lunch.  It was a Monday and all the schools had come with their busses for field trips…..So many kids….They really had a lot of money too.  Several of the kids spent $20 and $30 just at the duck pond.  I always thought the Duck Pond was for the little kids.   You wouldn’t believe the teenagers that were fascinated by picking up a duck…….Now it was really easy but for lunch,  I had to punch out right near the Duck Pond, but had to walk to the commissary on my lunch time, eat and walk back and then punch in again.  All in 30 min.  We are not allowed to take our lunch in the park or even buy food in the park.  We have a commissary that has hot food or sandwiches and we have to go their for our lunch break.  Well see how that goes.

The kids all had fun that day and were really very well mannered.  One kid who was around 12 was leaning on my stand and I asked him.  “Do you want to pick a Duck?……  No, I’m broke.”……. I said, ” well I bet you had a good time though”…….   He said “I was, but I was standing in a line for a long time and was almost ready to get on and they closed it”……..”Really I said, Why”?……. “Some kid Pooped In it”…..hahah….I wanted to laugh, but he was so down cause he couldn’t understand why they closed the ride when he had stood in line and was ready to go….Poor Kid…..

So back to the campground I went at the end of my shift.  Tired…..Hot…..


This is on the walk back to the campground.  A small running creek divides the campground from the Park.  This is the bridge to walk over.  We also have Molly the Trolley that comes through the park picking up guests.

20160521_175244-1.jpg   We aren’t aloud to ride it in uniform.  It would sure make life easier.


Here is our campsite.   Rather hard to see, but we have a picnic table and a tree.  Luxurys we don’t have in Texas.  Rich had his orientation finally yesterday.  He will start as an assistant on the Himalayan.  He’s working it all weekend.  This ride requires 2 to run it.


This is a photo I copied from the internet.  Its about the best one I could find of the Himalayan.  The next day I was sitting out side and looked across the street.

20160521_110908.jpg  A flock of geese were out walking.


Two came over by us looking for food.   Rich through out some chips and they ate them.  We also have a pond as you enter into the Campground, so between the creek, the pond and the water elements at the Park, their are really a lot of Geese and ducks all over.  You can hear them as the fly over a lot.  So today is Friday, the start of Memorial Day weekend.  What has it been doing the last 2 nites…….RAIN……But that always happens on this weekend.  At least one day.   A motor home lost their awning the other nite, and also a Pop up camper came in the other nite across from us.  They were up at 2 am as their awning blew up and over their little camper.  Today the park will begin being open full force every day……The summer season has begun…..Oh Boy….Here comes all the people and kids this weekend……We are working every day this weekend…

……..Life in the Amusement Park Begins…….



Home With The Family

We were home about 3 weeks.  We parked in the drive of our house, which of course is Tammy’s now.  They were all so happy to see us.  That weekend Scott and Brandy had Karaoke at the bar, One Paw’z Pub.  We went up and had a good time.  They had a nice crowd.

20160422_225117.jpg  Scott usually sings one song and he did again.  Brandy and Scott surely enjoy a good party. During this time, he also finished pouring concrete for his new patio out back.  His back room is also finished and he has finally installed his 4 slot machines.  You can already hear the sounds of “Ching ching ching”……


Slots are all run by the wonderful State of Illinois Government of course.  The following weekend was McNabb Garage Sale day on Saturday.  We, or I should say Tammy cleaned out more of our stuff from the garage.  She did most of the work…lol..


.She included lots of her stuff, kids clothes and all.  We had a pretty good day.  Sun was out, sprinkled a bit but not bad.wp-15854324580323156549612788601180.jpg


On Mothers Day, we all got together and finally we Hung up the Piñata from Mexico…..SPIDERMAN…. We bought him in Progresso Mexico.  Can you see us carrying him all the way across the border?….lol…He rode in the bedroom all the way home.  He was to big to put under the bed….lol…Every morning, you woke up to those 2 eyes looking at you from the corner…..We bought all kinds of Mexican candy.  It turned out some of it wasn’t that good but the grandkids had a great time.  They kept going into the bedroom and ask…”Is the candy in him yet?”….


After we ate, we filled him with candy and hung him from the tree.


All the little ones had several turns.  Poor Spiderman lost his legs first, and one by one his hands came off…..Finally all the candy came out flying to the ground.  They kids flew to the ground and started gathering the candy.  They made the strangest faces after they ate it….Some candy was good,  some was not so good.  We couldn’t really read the wrappers….lol…


Miley 7



Austin 5



Cassidy 12



Carly 4


We also brought back some fun hats and bracelets for the girls, and a kite for Austin

20160425_170921.jpg.  Cameron, who is almost 18 doesn’t like his picture taken.  He managed to stay out of the way.  lol.  Until it came time to take pictures in the family tree.  This is a tree right in front of the house.  A perfect tree to climb when your a little kid.  We started taking pictures with the kids, and they named it “The Family Tree”.





These are the grandkids today, even Cameron.  Poor little Carly was crying and trying to be still….She was saying  “Please, would somebody take my picture”….Poor little thing.  She didn’t have any shoes on….Now if you notice, Austin was running around all day in his underware….He hates his pants and shorts…It was a good fun filled day…..Also while we were here, Tammys family had all their eyes tested.  Cameron got contacts this time and Cassidy got her first pair of glasses.


Very  pretty, Cassidy

Also Miley learned to ride her bike.   She has been making her dad go round, round and around the block in the evening…



She is so Happy….Her wings are spreading farther….During this time, I did alittle babysitting and Rich drove the sand truck for Scott a couple of days and the grain truck for the neighbor across the street.  I was able to visit with a number of friends in Toluca, and had dinner in town with some of my favorite work friends.  We also had dinner with 2 of our favorite couples from our FMCA camping club.  I was fun to visit everyone again.

The last affair we had was my niece Ashley’s Baby Shower.


This is Connie, my sister in law, Rich’s youngest sister, and her daughter Ashley.  This is Ashley’s first baby and the first Grandchild for Connie and Brian. and also for Matts parents.  They are all so excited.  Connie planned this fabulous shower and found out she is a really crafty person.  She made so many things.   The Theme was” Cute as a Button”


This was the Spring Valley Boat Club.  All fresh flowers on the tables.  Burlap pieces were placed down the center of the tables with buttons on them. All place settings had little cups and a little diaper filled with nuts and mints.  So Pretty



The Head Table….The cutest  baby scale with a Giraffe sitting on it….



Connie took twigs from her trees and hung little baby socks, headbands on the little trees.  So so cute…These were the center pieces on each table.



Tina made this Awesome Harley Davidson motorcycle made out of disposable diapers.  More fresh flowers and baby blocks glued together


Just look at all this detail.   Connie was at the florist, and glued buttons in the center of each flower.  Not one flower was left “Unbuttoned”….lol…



Amazing amount of presents….On the other wall, it was full of diapers…



Desserts galore…..Matts Mom planned most of the food……And I might add the food table was so full of so much wonderful foods, we could have easily served 200.  No one left hungry or without having their sweet tooth fulfilled that day.



So so creative.  I must say, it was probably the most beautiful Baby Shower I have ever attended.  Connie has Discovered “PINTERST”   Look out Brian, your house has been taken over….lol…

So now, Ashley and Matt just play the waiting game.  Their little baby girl, is due in June.  That is NOT FAR AWAY…..but for Mommy and Daddy and Grandmas and Grandpas, it will be an “ETERNITY”…..


Stopped at Pink Elephant, Livingston Il.

On our way home we finally arrived in Illinois.  Have you ever drove down I 55 and around 40 miles north of St. Louis, their is a little town, Livingston, that has an Antique Mall?   Out front is a pink elephant and a Twistee Treat Ice Cream cone building.  We have always wanted to stop their, but seems like one is always heading somewhere with a time schedule.  This was our day finally.20160421_094045

We parked out front and looked at all the fun things in the yard.  The Pink Elephant Antique Mall is located in the old Livingston High School.  This school was built in 1927.  The gym was added in 1949, and continued to educate the children of Livingston, Population 825.  As all the small schools were consolidating, finally it was time for Livingston to consolidate with nearby Staunton.  The school closed in 2004.  Soon it opened as an Antique  Mall.  The antiques themselves are really no different than any other antique mall.  The unique thing about this one is the fact it is located in the gymnasium.  On the outside attached to the corner of the building is the Twistee Treat building.


The story goes that the owner called the manufacturers in Florida asking to buy one. The manufacturers said they didn’t make them anymore and that there were a number of them around the US, and one in Pennsylvania that was unwanted. The owner drove to Pennsylvania and found this building in a ditch, with every type of animal living in it. The building comes apart into 17 pieces. The owner hauled the building from Pennsylvania to Illinois on a trailer through a snow storm.


By the Twistee Treat is an old 50s diner.  Its decorated as an old soda shop.  Out side are these 3 chipmunks.  Cute as can be.  Alvin is in the middle.  Over by the front door that goes to the gym is an Elephant that looks as it is coming out of the building.  Next to the Chipmunks is a big Beach guy in swimming trunks.

As we entered inside, we realized we were in the gym.  The floors and walls were still original, but now it was full of lots of little cubicles showing of their antiques.  We made a left and entered on the stage. It was also full.  The original curtains were still their.


We walked across the stage and back down the stairs back into the gym.


The stage was even outlined in Pink…..


As we walked through the many antique booths, I seen this cute little boat.


It was a Kiddie Boat Ride…..Price…..$1250….It is an extremely scarce piece of Coney Island History invented by German immigrant Wm. F Mangels.  he was responsible for many other amusement park attractions of the turn of the century and later.


Looking up you see the original Painting of the school.  The Big L and Eagles with painting of 2 eagles on each side.  This is positioned at the end of the gym where the basket would have been.

20160421_101930On the other side we came to a very pretty Pink and White double stair case.  This took you up to the classroom part of the school.

Between the stairs was another corridor that descended to more classrooms.

20160421_101850This dude was sitting at the end of the hallway…..Rather rugged isn’t he……..

20160421_101923View from the top of stairs looking at the stage.

20160421_101930View looking over to where the basket ball hoop would have been.


We went back out side and walked over towards I55.  Out their sits a UFO….lol..It is called a Futuro…..


The distinctive flying saucer-like shape and airplane hatch entrance has made the houses popular among collectors. Futuro, or Futuro House, is a round, prefabricated house designed by Matti Suuronen, of which fewer than 100 were built during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The distinctive flying saucer-like shape and airplane hatch entrance has made the houses popular among collectors. It measures 13 feet high and 26 feet in diameter.  It was originally designed in Finland to be used as a Ski cabin.  Easy to transport and put together.  Could be built on almost any terrain, mountain side or beach.  It could be heated up in about 30 min.  By the mid 70s it was taken off the market.  It had collected lots of hostility due to the appearance and zoning regulations.   It is really quite interesting.  Google Futuro House and read more.


Also out there is a Large Tricycle,  and A Harley Davison man.


Proudly facing I 55 is a huge Pink Elephant, pulling a semi trailer with their sign on it…lol…This place was really cool to stop at.  It had a lot of unique things to see.  It is a fun place to stop and spend an hour or two off the road before you continue your trip.  Its just so cool to think about all those kids who use to attend school their, can now say that a Pink Elephant and Alvin and the Chipmunks live at their old school….lol…Even a UFO


We had stopped at a fuel stop and they had some really neat things their.  This fish tank was just huge.  It was in the middle of the store and you could walk around it.  Notice the big fish near the top.

Also they had a really different Bathroom.

20160418_110639All the sink facets were motion sensitive.


They were hammered copper basins with a western flair.  The water spigot was motion sensitive and shaped like a cowboy hat and opened onto a trough.   Really different.


They also sold Patio Furniture.   This really cool painted tall bench sold for only $995.     Really….


This 3 piece set sold for around the same.   Really nice but,  It’s just a little OVERPRICED……

2016-04-18 08.25.42

All in all, Another Safe Trip…….Kitty is starting to enjoy I think…..

Ps.   For those of you who don’t know.  We are home now with the family but will be going to our next job, around May 17th.   DesMoines Iowa…..”ADVENTURELAND “…..It’s our summer job.   Rich is working Rides ……and I’m doing Games….