Eastgate Friends & More Adventureland

We’ve had a break in the heat.  This past week it has cooled down to the 80’s.  So much nicer.  Makes your day at the park so much more enjoyable.  In fact last Tue. it rained all day, so they closed the park.  That does not happen very often.  One evening I worked in Alpine which is in front of the park.  I forgot my hat, so I went back in the morning to get it.  I went in through the employees entrance about a half hour before opening.  I retrieved my hat and decided to have a wonderful waffle cone made with Blue Bunny Ice creamThe Creamery faces the opening of the gates into the square.  The girl said it was something to witness the opening of the park from the inside, so I sat their and waited…..and watched….


Our park characters came out to welcome everyone at the gates…..One of them is Bernie the St. Bernard……They each go to the 2 different gate openings.


Finally it was 10 am….The gates on both sides of the carousel opened.  They were like a herd of cattle….Stampeding…..It was crazy they way they came in running as fast as they could to be the first…..lol….Not only the kids, the adults too….


Here is the inside of the Creamery.  Very cheerful and bright….As I turned around to look through the doors, all the people came running from the 2 gates, converging on Main St..….For my own safety, I stayed inside until the “HERD” had passed…..Then I walked out with my wonderful Waffle cone filled with Chocolate Mint and Praline Pecans…..Mmmmmmm….so good…..


On my way out another Park Greeter…..Glad he has a Cane……Long fall if he tripped….


This week Rich has been the A-Train Engineer….The first picture is the station.  Now this was an extremely hot day.  That’s why the kids look so miserable…..lol… A friend of ours, Ron, asked his wife to come and take some pictures of Rich.  I was trying to figure out how to take these pictures as I can’t bring in my phone.   Theresa came in probably one of the hottest days.   She did an awesome job.  These pictures are so nice.  Thanks again Theresa.  Ron and Theresa will also be joining us at Eastgate this winter…..Can’t Wait….


THE A-TRAIN     With Engineer Rich…..

This is my favorite picture.  The train makes a round trip about every 15 minutes…..It Choo-choos as it leaves and comes into the station, and also has the old time bells that clang as it comes in also….Really neat….Now for our day off on a Friday……….

A friend from Eastgate text me, Gail.   Gail and Dewey live near Kansas City.  They wanted to come up and have lunch….We were so excited to see them.   We met at Olive Garden on the west side of Des Moines.  It was easier for them as it was a direct shot from their house.


We had such a wonderful visit with them.  We probably sat their for over 2 hours.  The waitress was very gracious.  Gail and Dewey were winter residents of Eastgate for over 17 years.  They both had other mates.  Gail’s husband passed a number of years back, and her and Dewey got together.     Such a wonderful Happy couple.   Rich played pool with Dewey.  He is a Pool Shark….lol…He is good and he believes in …..RULES……Don’t mess with him….Gail also plays pool.  The women have their own pool time at the hall.  Last February, they decided it was time to leave.  It was sad but times change.   Gail was missing out on her family as it grew.  They both wanted to leave in a car….not a Body Bag.   Sounds morbid doesn’t it.  But many do.


This is their new adventure in life.  They are looking for that first house together.  In the mean time they are living with Gail’s daughter.  They  are such a Super Couple.  We miss them, but they are really enjoying life.  Thank You guys for taking the time to come and visit us…….  Happy Trails…….

Another thing I want to mention is our daughter Tina,  has a new Job.  She works at the Putnam County Court house in Illinois as the Deputy Probation Officer. 

2016-07-31-11.44.27.jpg.jpg  She has now moved over to the Circuit Clerks office.  She is now a Deputy Circuit Clerk. 


This is her new office.  We think this is pretty exciting news.  Putnam County is the smallest county’s in Illinois.  It consists of 6 small towns.  In fact some are just villages.  It has 1 school district consisting of 1 high school in Granville, 1 junior high outside of McNabb, and 2 other elementary schools in Hennepin and Granville.  Lots of busing for the students, but it is a great county and school district to bring up your children.  All 3 kids ended up moving back to Putnam Co.  All the grandkids are attending school their.   Remember when you were a kid?  You couldn’t wait to graduate to leave and never come back…..lol….and then you grow up…..Common sense moves in….


I’ll close this blog with a few more pictures of the “Monster”.   I never get tired of watching it.  As I work games in the County Fair area, I look up and see the Monster all day.   This was another picture taken by Theresa……..Yep….Not for me…


Nite time….It is such a beautiful site at night……You hear the car flying over the rails…The people screaming at every turn….the lights are dazzling….Music in the distance….If you look close, in the center you will see the cars on the Sky Ride…..It goes from one end of the park to the other at tree top level.  That will help you understand the size of the “Monster”….It travels through the loops of the Monster.  It was purchased from the 1974 Worlds Fair in Spokane Washington.   Amazing isn’t it.   Many of these rides have such a wonderful history.


This is another cool picture……The Storm Search looking through the loop of the Monster.  The Storm Search was added in 2014.   So only 3 weeks left of the park being open 7 days a week.  After the 3rd week in August, it will open only weekends……

Whewwww……Were going to make it after all…..I had my doubts for awhile……



1913 Restored Carousel, Story City Ia.

This is the second part of our visit with friends Rita and Ed Frette of Story City Iowa.  After we visited Reiman Gardens in Ames, we rode with them 10 miles north to their little town Story City.  It is the home of an original 1913 restored Antique Hershell-Spillman Carousel.  The population of Story City is a little under 3,500 residents.  It is really a neat little town.  Ed drove us all over town with Rita being our tour guide.  It is a really pretty town full of beautiful full grown trees lining the streets and homes.  Plenty of shade.  Many older homes that have been restored and the yards are full of shrubs and flowers, neatly maintained.  They even have one Blvd street, and downtown their is parking in the middle of the street, as well as each side.  I would think that today with some of the larger vehicles, I would be afraid to park their as I might stick out front or back and get hit……The Story Theater/Grand Opera House  is the oldest continuously operating theater in the Midwest.  It is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places.


Finally Ed drove us to North Park a beautiful rolling park.  Up on the hill was this building which is now the home of this Beautiful restored 1913 Hershell-Spillman Carousel.  It is operated daily through much volunteer help from Memorial Day to Labor Day for a fee.


As we walked in, it took you back in time to when you were a kid.  The volunteer was their selling popcorn…uummmm….. the smell.  They sold T-shirts and souvenirs.  The building was round like the carousel and all along the walls it was full of pictures and info about the history of the town and carousel.  I walked around it and was amazed at the beautiful colors of the horses and animals.  The lights were not operational at this time, but 2 girls came in and wanted to ride.  They chose their horses and the carousel began.  The beautiful calliope tunes began as the merry go round started to twirl and the horses went up and down.   It was like a fantasy land for awhile.


This Merry Go Round is in the North Park, next to the new swimming pool they are building.  It is also situated along the beautiful Skunk River.  This park is the center of many activities in town through the summer.  They are of Nordic decent and hold a Scandinavian Festival, also story telling as well as other festivals or celebrations  with the Carousel being part of the Celebration……Now the History……


1960’s …..   Story City Historical Society

One of a vanishing species, this fun machine was built in 1913 by the Herschell-Spillman Co. of Tonawanda, New York. It was originally owned by P.T. Gifford of Grundy Center, Iowa. Gifford traveled the Iowa countryside taking the carousel to county fairs and town celebrations, including Story City’s Independence Day galas. The splendid wooden figures are hand-carved from poplar and include 20 horses, two chickens, two pigs, two dogs, two chariots, and a whirling tub. Calliope tunes are generated by a 1936 Wurlitzer Military Band organ housed in the center of the carousel. 


1950’s  Story City Historical Society

Now Ed’s Dad was a prominent businessman and he convinced the town to buy the Carousel.  They all thought he was crazy to spent $1,500.  They set the Merry Go Round up at the next event in a neighboring town, and made all the money back immediately.  Of course they quickly changed their mind and decided it was a great investment.  The carousel was purchased from Gifford in 1938 by the Story City Greater Community Congress.   Eventually, time and wear took their toll, and the battered steeds were forced into temporary retirement in 1977.


In 1980, interest in the old merry-go-round was resurrected, and restoration began at The Country Shop in rural Roland, Iowa. Layers of paint were removed, repairs made, and original colors of paint were mixed to match the old shades.



After one and one-half years, the original stencils, colors, and prints were completely restored to their present gleaming condition. A special structure was built to house the carousel, and on June 4,1982, a dedication was held.


This was the painting and the assembly of the newly refurbished Carousel.


Some of the murals and the Wurlitzer Organ sitting in the middle….


Since then this Carousel has been entertaining generations every summer.  In 2013, they had a Celebration as the Carousel was 100 years old.  It’s just amazing that it continues on a daily basis to operate and entertain anyone who wants to come and buy a bag of popcorn and take a leisurely ride back in time.  I’m sure its made so many memories through the years.  Every winter they take the horses and animals down and pack them with care.  Any repairs necessary are made at that time.   Such an Amazing town that is full of love, care and pride of something that is so beautiful and unique.


Our next stop was their duplex.  They have down sized now as we all seem to do.  This is a really cute duplex perfect for a couple.  After some visiting and watermelon, we checked out all her Hostas and Ferns they had just planted.

After that, Rita and Ed drove us back to Ames.  We stopped at Hickory Park Restaurant.  It was so busy, but amazingly we were seated fast.  It has a very rustic appearance.  Its menu is wonderful and full of barbeque items.  I highly recommend it and will go back sometime.  Of course we left with leftovers.  Way to much food.  Finally back to the truck and drove back home.   Still daylight….lol….


The End of a Wonderful day seeing some wonderful things and visiting friends……

Thank You Rita and Ed….


Reiman Gardens…Lego Sculptures

Last Friday was our day off.  We met our friends from Eastgate at Reiman Gardens in Ames Iowa.  Rita and Ed Frette live in Story City, but have been wintering in Eastgate for a number of years.  Ed plays pool with Rich.  Really great people, as is all the people of Eastgate.  We have seen the advertisements of Reiman Gardens on Tv, so I was excited to visit.


Reiman Gardens consists of 17 acres of absolutely beautiful gardens.  It is an educational resource for the Iowa State University.  It is also a major attraction for Central Iowa.  It consists of 26 gardening areas, a butterfly wing, an emergence area, where cocoons can be studied and viewed, conservatory, gift shop,  and private rental areas for weddings, graduations and meetings.  Their are many agricultural gardens within the grounds.  All produce is donated to local agencies and food pantries.  We met Rita and Ed in the parking lot and proceeded to the Butterfly Wing first.


The butterfly’s were very active when we entered.  It was beautiful inside, full of tropical plants flowers and butterfly’s flying everywhere.


Their were many feeding areas, filled with fresh fruits.  As we walked the path, we seen so many different colored and varietys of butterfly’s.


This is a beautiful Blue Morpho.


This is a green butterfly that blends into to foliage.  Finally we entered a small area after inspection for hitchhikers….lol…We inspected each other again and then exited the area.  Now we went out to the garden areas.


What an absolutely beautiful site.  The beautiful settings, the grasses, the flowers….Gorgeous…..


A beautiful arbor area, complete with a brick walkway and many benches.


Such a beautiful place to just sit and enjoy the day.

The Gardens has an Annual Theme that they display.  This year is the Lego Art Exhibit, sculptured by Sean Kenney.  Scattered through out the gardens are 13 eye popping displays consisting of 500,000 legos.  Astounding to see…..


Herd of Deer…..84,442 legos….Momma and Baby….so sweet…


This is a close up….amazing


Gardner and Grandchild……46,940 Legos…….This one is so life like…..


Dragonfly…..27,788  sitting in the lake surrounded by lily pads and beautiful grasses…


Pansy with a Bee…..29,314 Legos


Bird Bath with Birds, Bees, and Squirrel…..14,802 Legos….This was beautiful.  It was by this white picket fence as we walked on a small garden path.  So pretty.


Galapagos Tortoise with Darwin Finch…..23,317 Legos….This little guy was also sitting along the garden path in the shade.  He looked so real.


Hummingbird on Trumpet Flower….61,107 Legos…..Now this one is amazing.  One wonders, how is the weight of the hummingbird supported? It is only connected from its beak to the center of the bud.


Wheelbarrow….29,900 Legos…..I came upon this one and didn’t realize at first, it was made from Legos….so life like….It is sitting in a garden with a hose in it.


Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed….39,708 Legos…..sitting in the middle of a sea of flowers.


Corn Spider…..16,492 Legos….We followed the map and went into this building.  We asked someone if they had found the Corn Spider……They said “Look Up”…..OMG….Their it was, Hanging above our heads….lol….


We entered the Conservatory to find the Peacock……68,827 Legos…It was prominently displayed in the center.


This was the back side of the Peacock.


On the way to the Gift Shop we found the Bonsai Tree in a Showcase…..9,143 Legos


Mosaics with Two Face Cut Outs as Ants…..12,990 Legos…..lol….Rita and Ed….


Along the way we also seen “Elwood”  The Worlds Largest Gnome….These were the most Beautiful Gardens.  In 17 areas, they have compacted so many different settings….Some  flower gardens, vegetable and herb gardens.  Beautiful paths of gravel, boardwalks, with wooden benches surrounding a tree.  Many small natural areas fenced with trees, small hills, small ponds with benches or chaise lounges.  So private and relaxing looking.  A different setting as you follow the path around the next tree.  Their was so much to see and so much I cannot even describe…something compacted in every corner and looks so natural and beautiful.  Can you only imagine, in the spring and Tulip season?….A different view every season, ever-changing….After we visited the Gift Shop, we exited and left Ames with Rita and Ed to go visit their home in Story City which was only 10 miles away.


The next blog will be about the rest of our day with them.  Story City is home to a Restored Antique Carousel....an authentic 1913 Hershell-Spillman Merry Go Round……I will tell you the story of how this Carousel was attained and what a wonderful asset it is to the town today.  Thank You so Much Rita and Ed, such a wonderful day…..

Don’t miss out on the next blog…..Another AWESOME STORY…..



4th of July….Adventureland

The 4th was a beautiful weekend.  The temps had cooled down to mid 80’s.  We even brought our sweatshirts several days as the evenings were so cool.  The park was open till 10pm on Fri. Sat. and Sun.  Of course we have Fridays off together now.  We went across the street to Prairie Meadows Casino and Race Track for lunch.


They had a great buffet with everything one could ever want.  Salad and Dessert bars were to die for.  lol.   Yes all for only $21 for both of us.  You could almost spent that at McDonalds.  After we went up just one floor and checked out the casino.


Pretty typical of a casino.  All the same machines and tables.  It was decorated very colorful and all the bells were ringing of course.  The one thing I don’t remember was the smell of Cigarettes.  Must be smoke free.  But I still seen the people gambling with their Oxygen tubes hooked up.  Sad isn’t it, that’s all they have to do.  SSI check comes in and off they go to gamble.  We walked to the back and that’s where the big windows were that looked out over the Horse Race Track.


The water trucks were preparing the track for the weekend races.  Their were lots of outside tables to the right and left of the picture and inside their were all the box seats.  Seems like a lot for just a few minutes of racing.   I guess I just have never appreciated horse racing.


We left deciding to come back again for the buffet……Excellent….and maybe spending $20 next time gambling.  lol  .  Saturday and Sunday, we of course worked.  Rich is working the Himalaya this week as the Operator this time.  This gives him an enclosed area that has AC.  How nice.  I was up in the Alpine Arcade area.


These pictures are taken with my old camera, as we cannot take our phones in to work…..Bummer…..The quality of colors inside is ok, but outside in the evening, they are horrible.  This is called Water Gun Fun.  Its a squirt gun game.  I worked this game all day.


This was my friend Carolina, (pronounced Catalina, like the dressing) who was my reliever during break.  She is from Brazil, and is really a neat person to talk to with her accent.  More about her later.  The prizes are these cute little dragons.


Another picture of the Arcade area.


These girls are the Manager and Assist. Manager of Alpine for the nite.  Very nice girls, both still in High School, but very good at what they do.  Jordyn on the left and Morgan on the right.  We can tell what our positions are by the striping on our shirts under the arms.  Ours are a light blue.  Now Morgan’s is more of a medium blue, which designates an Assistant Manager.  Jordyn’s, if you could see hers, has a black insert.  That is for managers.  All areas have the same shirts so it is easy to tell what their position is.  Then by reading their name tag, you can tell what area they are in, Games, Rides, Retail or Foods.  All Company or important people…..lol…are dressed in Black shirts and Kaki colored slacks.


This is a picture of the Big Wheel…..So much prettier than this.  In this picture the lights blended together, when their were really many different colors….That’s what the ole camera does.  lol.  But it is just beautiful at night.   All the pretty colors of the rides as they go around and round.   The sounds of the different rides and the laughter and voices of the kids.  And theirs always the sound of the train whistle as they start their ride on the rails.  At 9:30 pm Prairie Meadows had a fireworks display, but we couldn’t see anything because of the trees, but we sure could hear it.  Beautiful sounds.  The next night was the 4th of July.  I worked in County Fair.


I worked the Goblets Game.  This is a game of chance.  You toss a whiffle ball in the rink.  If it falls on white, you lose.  Yellow gets you a small snake. Red is a medium and the center blue is a large.  You can also trade up.  3 small makes a medium, 3 med. makes a large.  Several guys came up and played and played.  You can also buy a bucket of balls with a small prize in it.


After lots of laughter and money spent,  these guys won and traded up to several large snakes.   Notice the one kid has the snake head on top his head.  They had won many other prizes.  Now I am pretty sure that they had to have spent way over $100 to win all these stuffed animals.  But they sure had a good time winning.


As the evening progressed I watched the Storm Chaser.  It is so cool to be near it when it goes up.  They leave their shoes and belongings on the ground as they will lose them.


This is the Storm Chaser as the sun set and darkness came.  Such a beautiful site.


This camera doesn’t show of the true colors.


Once it reaches the top, it goes around faster and the swings swing way out.


Finally it came time for the Parks fireworks.  They were set off on the other side of the park.  We were allowed to walk up a ways to watch.  We could only see the high ones, over the Monster.  They were pretty.


The beautiful lights of the rides, the music playing in the different areas, and the laughter of the people made it a magical evening with the park closing at 10 pm.  Now that our golf cart  is here, it is so easy to go home.  Rich parks it right at the Security gate.  We meet each other there when the park closes and head home.  That nite the traffic was horrible.  The cops were directing traffic, which was stopped…….and we just drove off through the parking lot and sidewalks and over to the campground……it just takes minutes…..From now on the Park will be open from 11 am to 9 pm Sunday-Thursday and on Friday and Saturdays were open till 10 pm.  So our nites are late now.  We work all the Pm shifts.  The park stays open until the last week of Aug.  That week they will close on week days and only be open on weekends till the last of Sept.  As long as we stay till then, we will be paid a bonus money per hour we worked.  So it is worth it staying, especially as we still get free camping.   Its really a nice package deal.  More people are leaving every week, but they have their own issues.  Some depts. have their own problems, some of them can’t take the heat.    If you look at the whole deal, it is really a great seasonal job.  Just imagine if you received a pay check and didn’t have to pay rent or electric.  All we do is buy food.  Meals at the Commissary are cheap also.  Today we had Turkey, Dressing, Mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole.  All for $2 with your drink.   What a deal.

Stay tuned for my next blog…..We went and met friends last Friday and visited Rieman Gardens in Ames Iowa…..FABULOUS…..



Adventureland…Tammy & The Kids Visited…

Last Monday Tammy came for a visit.  She only had 3 days off work, but she made it work.  Its only a 4 hour drive from home.  We had talked with Scott and had asked him if he could load the Golf Cart up so Tammy could bring it for us.  Parking is becoming a problem now as the summer is progressing.  Sometimes you have to park on the street as the employees parking lot is full and so is the lot across the street.  Many ride their bikes and scooters, and theirs also some golf carts.

Tammy brought Cassidy and friend Abby,  Carly and my other little grandson Austin.  He is Tina and Ed’s son.  The girls are 13 and the little ones are 4 and 5.  They both had friends to enjoy the rides with.  They have been so excited to come visit.  Cassidy said she researched all the rides….lol…They arrived Monday nite and they all slept in our attached screen room.  We have a outdoor carpet to put down on the ground.  It makes a nice floor.  We had the cot from Cameron’s visit, and our lounge.  Then Tammy put up a blow up king size mattress.  So lots of room and the weather had really cooled down.  It was really the nicest weather we’ve had in weeks.


Here they are in the morning.  Carly was watching me as I took the picture through my window.  In the morning, we got up and the kids ate.   The park opened at 10 and we still needed to buy 1 more ticket.  I had to be at work at 11 and Rich at 2:40.


We all loaded up in the golf cart and headed for the Park.   Their was 4 of us in the cart and we put Carly and Austin in the Wagon…..lol….The girls held the handle and we drove slowly.


We crossed the bridge separating the Campground from the park and seen some mama and papa Ducks with their babies.  Finally we arrived at ticket office.  They all stayed in the golf cart while I got the extra ticket we needed.  I had purchased the others earlier.  Finally they went in with the little ones in the wagon.


I’m sure that saved a lot of hassle.  Many families bring their wagons or rent wagons and strollers.  But it’s so expensive.  I went back home to get dressed, and arrived back at the park later.   I was working at County Fair that day, doing Skee Ball, and then moved to Roller Bowler.


The kids had a blast.  The bigger ones cut lose to ride the big rides.  They rode the Storm Search, Space Shot, Dragon rollercoaster, and the Tornado to name a few.  Tammy took the little ones on the smaller rides.



This is the Big Wheel.  Just look at those little faces.


This is the view of the park from the top.

13507009_10208857696552235_7149900558414878422_n13533125_10208857695592211_4654327868859411744_n  They rode the train and the Carousel. 


This is a really cute ride for kids.  Its called the Frog Hopper.   It takes the kids up and down and it hops as it does it.  Austin is on the left with the orange hat and Carly is on the far right.  Austin is having a blast.  Finally they all met up and rode The Raging Waters Raft.


The finally came over to find me and they had gotten wet….but I’m sure it felt sooo good


I was at the Roller Bowler game by then.  They were all pretty exhausted and hungry by then.


Several games from me was the fishing game called Octopus.  You have a fishing pole and fish for Octopus.  The dot on the bottom determines the prize.  They all got small prizes.  They went back to the camper and ate, and then returned to go to the Water Park.  Grandpa was suppose to be assisting on the Outlaw Rollercoaster.


On the way back the little ones road the Chuckwagon.  Its really a cute ride for the kids.  Then they went to the Outlaw.


They walked up to find grandpa, and he wasn’t their.  It turns out he was assigned to drive the  second Trolley for the day.  But it was broken, so he drove the Adventureland van all afternoon.  They run nonstop all day from the Park, to the Hotel, and Campground and back.  What a great job to have.  Rich had mentioned it when we first started that he had a CDL and he had driven a school bus.  So they actually must have remembered or taken notes.   He drove it the next day also.


On they went to the Water Park.  I have never been their yet.  Its so far to walk, especially on my day off.  It sure looks life a lot of fun once you get their.


This is a great place for the kids.  They also have a Lazy River, Wave Pool, with swim up bar, a huge slide that you use tubes.  Many other things that would sure make your day a cool, fun, wet day.  You can rent tubes, cabanas, and they have plenty of food and refreshments for sale.  After a fun, and exhausting day we all went home.  Rich made hamburgers on the grill, and we all went to bed tired….lol…especially the kids.  The next morning, it was time for Tammy and the kids to pack up and say good bye.


It was sure fun to have them here and see what our daily life is like and enjoy the park.


“Thank You for Bringing Us The Golf Cart.  Now Were Living In Luxury….”

On the way back home, they stopped at Walcott Iowa at the Worlds Largest Truckstop.


Looks like it is a fun place to visit.


Finally Tammy delivered her kids back home.   She probably had a very tired day at work the next day……lol…..But we were sure glad she made it here for a short visit….