OSHA’s Report on Adventureland Death

The other day we seen the OSHA Report on the death of an Adventureland worker last June.  If you remember, he was an Assist on the Raging River.  Their are 2 Assists and one Operator on this ride.  It is a water raft ride that is run by conveyors at the beginning and end to bring the raft out of the water to load and unload.  The conveyers are 10 ft. below from what I heard.  Their is a series of six different conveyors and buttons the operator has to work.  Each button is pushed manually when needed to move the rafts by conveyer up to the unload and load position.


The operator is sitting above to have a view of the ride, and the assists.  The Assists unload and load each raft.  When they are done and have all riders in the raft and back in their positions, they give a thumbs up to the Operator.  Their are no safety switches or interlocking devices to secure the ride.  So when the accident happened, the raft prematurely lurched, and pushed the two Assists over.  One was caught by a bystander, the other was Steve Booher.  He fell the 10 feet to the conveyors and injured his head and arms.  Unfortunately, he never regained consciousness and died the following Sat.  We were never told about the accident, nor told when he passed away.  It was all found out by articles in the Des Moines Register.  I did witness the EMTS rushing him out or I wouldn’t have known either.  This man was a 68 year old retired postal employee form Oklahoma.  Steve and his wife came to Adventureland to enjoy their summer working in the park.  He only worked 1 week.  So much speculation has been made since then as to who was at fault.  Was it the Operator?   Was it the Park?   Was it the training procedures?   I believe it was a little bit of everything.  First of all, I don’t think from what I’ve witness as a whole, their training process is very good at all.  Secondly,  with all of these conveyors and buttons and an open conveyor 10 feet below, why would you depend on the 2 Assists to just give you a thumbs up to continue?   That is all that is done on a number of rides.  Some have an interlocking system that all parties have to push a switch to allow the ride to continue.  Many of them rely on simply a thumbs up from both Assists.  Now if you have 6 sets of conveyors to operate, isn’t it understandable an accident can happen?  We can all get careless sometimes.


So this is the copy of the Iowa OSHA Citation and Notification of Penalty that was posted on the office door.  Bottom line…..Fine  $4,500……….Really..Thats All….That’s all a life is Worth?…..But at least if nothing else, it does directly fault the park.  I’m sure that opens up a huge lawsuit for the family.  I do think they deserve so much more.  Today, on 2 different Adventureland Facebook sites this was posted

It is an article by the Des Moines Register about the Citation.


Adventureland Fined $4,500 After Worker’s Death           desmoinesregister.com

Federal regulators allege that Adventureland park broke Iowa law by failing to create a safe work environment for the 68-year-old man who died from injuries he sustained while working on the Raging River ride in June.

Iowa’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the theme park $4,500 this month in the death of Steve Booher. The Altoona amusement park has 15 days to contest the agency’s findings.

One of Booher’s family members said the fine “seems a little light.”

“We’re talking about the loss of life,” said Tim Overlin, Booher’s nephew who lives in Des Moines.

The Raging River sends riders through rapids on large circular rafts. Booher was working at the ride June 7, helping riders get out of the rafts when the conveyor belt carrying the rafts began to move forward.

The movement caused him to fall from the loading platform onto the conveyor belt.

Booher injured his head and arms and was on life support at a Des Moines hospital for several days. He died June 11.

Jens Nissen, Iowa OSHA administrator, said the $4,500 fine was the maximum his agency could assess Adventureland for this type of violation. OSHA found no evidence that the theme park willfully violated worker safety protocols, which would have prompted a larger fine.

The ride is operated by a worker in a control tower above the platform. The disconnect between the operator and the workers below is the primary issue inspectors identified.

Iowa OSHA found that Adventureland should implement engineering controls that would prevent the conveyor belt from moving rafts while workers are still loading and unloading passengers.

That could include interlocked sensor devices or interlocked buttons “to ensure that ride assistants are positioned in a safe location before the boats are allowed to be advanced by the ride operator,” according to the agency’s citation.

Molly Vincent, a spokesperson for Adventureland, declined to answer any questions about the OSHA fine or the changes recommended by the agency.

Overlin said the ride should have automatic controls that stop it if a worker is in the path of the rafts. He also questioned the amusement park’s training requirements.

Booher had worked at Adventureland for six days. He and his wife were retirees from Oklahoma who planned to spend the summer living in their RV and working at the park.

The day he fell was the first he had worked on the Raging River ride.

The Raging River reopened the day after Booher’s incident.

A search of OSHA’s federal database found no previous violations for Adventureland. Nationwide, 10 workers were killed on the job at amusement parks between 2011 and 2014, the most recent years for which OSHA fatality data is available.

Amusement park rides, including the Raging River, are inspected annually by the Iowa Division of Labor. The Raging River was inspected on April 28 and then again on June 8, following Booher’s fall.

Both inspections determined that the ride was operating as designed, said James Bowry, manager of the division’s elevator, boiler and amusement ride bureau.

The ride will be inspected again after the park implements changes recommended by OSHA, he said. It is operating currently, the division said.



Happy Birthday To Me….lol

Yesterday was my FRA Birthday.  I finally reached it….lol…What’s that you say?.  Well I just learned that from my good friend Randy, I went to school with.  His birthday was several days ago.   “FULL RETIREMENT AGE.   66   YEA”  Now you youngsters will have to wait later to reach your FRA.  I want to   “THANK EVERYONE”   who wished me Birthday Wishes the last several days.  It sure is nice to read and see all your messages come across FB.  It was just 2 years ago that I decided to start this blog.  It was my birthday, and I was in the final stages of working.  Wow.  So much has changed since then.  We have done so much.  It seems years since I walked out of Advantage Logistics for the last time.  Was It the Right Decision,  some of you may ask?   It sure was.  We have NO REGRETS.  It is the best thing we ever did.  We have seen so much and experienced so much in 2 years.  Their is such a big huge world out their.  So many wonderful places to see, and so many wonderful people to meet.  As I started the blog, the reasoning for it was so the kids would know what we were doing.  Since then, we have quite a following.  I’ll give you some statistics.   We have 424 followers, which isn’t a lot for some blogs, but I think its impressive.  In 2 years we’ve had 19,685 people read the blog.  So far I’ve written 108 posts including this one.  Most are about what we do.  A lot of history about the areas, and a lot about family happenings.  Also some thoughts on different subjects as to how I feel.  I always try to be fair and look at both sides of the issue.   After awhile, as I was writing these blogs, I was thinking that some day when we were gone, they would all be lost.  I felt their would be a lot of value in all of these to the kids, so I found a place to print them.  Its called Blog2Print.  It was a challenge figuring all this out but I did.  I now have received my 4th book of blogs.  I print them every 6 months.  This last one I printed in hardback.   So nice.  I sure don’t know why I didn’t before.  I think they are rather impressive.  Now I am happy that everything will be preserved for the kids and grandkids to hand down some day.


So if any of you every wonder about life after retirement.  Remember their is a whole world out here to see.  Financially their are many ways to make it work.  You don’t have to be rich.  Workamping is a great way to make it happen.  You would be amazed at all the jobs and how many people are doing this.  It is also good for you to keep that schedule.  You need to have to do something everyday, or you could run into the danger of being a couch potato.  This is really a great life.  You can choose what you want to do.  Their are jobs to be found all over the USA, even Alaska.  Your retirement is what you make it.

So yesterday, on my birthday, we got up and didn’t really plan on doing anything, but then we decided to head north to Ankeny.  It isn’t far, maybe 10 miles.  They have an RV Sales their.  Our neighbor Dick and Mary Lou recommended it.  They have a little plastic thing that they use for hanging out socks and underwear.   It is sort of an umbrella looking thing with clothespins on the ends.  She loads them on from the washer and just hangs it out.  Perfect.  Many of us have washer dryers, but many of us hang out to dry. The weather has been so  warm it, theirs no need to run your dryer.  The convenience is huge.  I would hate to have to go to the laundromat with our schedules we had all summer.

So, we headed north to Ankeny.  Found the RV dealer.   We shopped in the store and found the clothes hanger thingy, lol, and also the rods you put in the refrigerator for traveling.  For those of you who don’t know, they make rods like suspension curtain rods to put in your frig. you put them across the shelves to secure your items on the shelves.  That prevents all your food from falling out when you open the door after you’ve been on the road.  We decided to look at all the new trailers and 5th wheels but they were all locked.  So much for that.  On up the road we drove and seen the sign for Saylorville Lake.   I had seen it on the map and it looked rather large.  So left turn and away we went.


It turned out to be huge.  It was beautiful, the water was so calm and serine.  We drove in first to a deserted beach area, and then went on down to the Marina.   It was situated in a very large inlet off the lake.  The dock itself looked so steep and scary.  But all those house boats moored in the harbor area were so beautiful.


We drove over by the side to an access road down to the harbor itself.


Amazing large.  This was just a small part of the Marina.  Their was at least 3 covered areas of slips filled with boats.  Also a floating bar and restaurant.


Their wasn’t much going on beings it was a Thur.  All people work on Thursday…..right….Except for us retirees…..We sat around for awhile, and watched 2 different boats unloading and loading their boats.  That’s always fun.  Things never go right and sometimes you can detect heated body language or overhear not so happy voices……lol…..Ive been their myself.  It’s so much more fun to watch.


We followed the road over the dam and stopped on the pull off area.


Their were a few fishing boats and a jet skier.  Onward down the dam and on the other side down by the spillway was a beautiful valley with a campground.  We drove in and parked down by the spillway.


There were guys fishing on both sides.


The guys on our side already had a pile of small fish.


They used this net to catch the little minnow fish.


They would throw it in the water and pull the draw string.  It would be full of the little baby minnow fish and then they would empty it into a bucket.  The minnows would then be used for live bait…….Free Bait…..Free Fish…..We watched them for almost an hour.  It was so peaceful, while the water from the spillway kept rushing and splashing down the river.  This river is the Des Moines River The Saylorville Lake is a reservoir on the Des Moines River.  It is 54 miles long, has a surface area of 9.27 miles.  It is 11 miles north of Des Moines.  The river then proceeds 214 miles to the mouth of the Mississippi River.  It was constructed by the Army Corp of Engineers for flood control.  We finally left and drove into Des Moines, visited a second hand thrift store…..Didn’t find anything…..Finally time for supper.   We ended up back near home at Prairie Meadows Casino. 


They have a great buffet.  It was Barbeque nite.  We feasted on steak, ribs and all the extra, of course dessert…..Cherry Cheese cake for one…..ice cream….Mmmmm mmm good.  Last time we came, I put $20 in a penny machine and made $10….I cashed out and ran….So lets go do this again.   Their are 2 identical machines side by side.  They are Progressive slot machines.   I told Rich if there were people sitting in my machine I would leave.  We went up the escalator….turned the corner….It was empty…..We walked towards it and guess what…..just before we got their a man comes out of nowhere and sits in “MY MACHINE”……the other was empty……..I almost turned around, but decided…..Why Not….I put a $10 bill in…..started playing…..Wow guess what….with in 5 minutes I racked up $51.75.   hahaha…..The guy next to me kept loosing…..We cashed out and ran….again….

……….So Happy Birthday To Me………


Iowa Falls on the Iowa River

Its Wednesday and we decided to get up early today after 2 days of doing basically nothing and do something.  The park has scheduled some activities for us if we choose.  One of them was a boat trip north in Iowa Falls on the Iowa River in September.  We signed up, but was to late to pay.  The max amount allowed has already paid for the trip.  It includes bus trip, boat ride, and lunch after.  We are on the waiting list if someone cancels.  But that’s ok……We were slow so we lost out.   So we decided to drive up today and check it out.

Iowa Falls is a little over 60 miles north on Highway 65.  It was an overcast day, so that part was a little disappointing, but that’s ok.  We got to town around noon, and drove up and down the streets searching for the Chamber of Commerce.  It wasn’t so successful this time.  Finally we drove on the scenic drive and rounded a corner, and their it was


…..The Boat Club……with the ………Scenic City Empress ……..docked in the waters of the beautiful scenic Iowa River.  This river winds through the center of Iowa Falls and we found at least 3 bridges within town to cross.  We parked and got out the check out the boat.  It holds at least 50 or more.   The bottom level is enclosed and has AC.  The top is an open deck.  Great for viewing on a nice day.  They also have concert charters which would be so much fun.  Generally they only do charters for groups or special events.  It has been refurbished by the Boat Club with the help of the towns people.  Their was only 1 car in the parking lot and she was in the office.  In we went for a visit.  She was very nice and helped us with information.  She said their was a possibility that she would talk to Gary from Adventureland about a second boat, but I don’t think that will happen.  Its too close to the date.  She had a map of the town and river.  We noticed a Swinging Bridge that you can walk and cross the river.  She also gave us some great info on restaurants for lunch.  We left and headed to the Swinging Bridge.


This was taken from the edge of the river as we drove from the Boat Club.  You can also see the Falls.  This is not the real falls, they dried up years back we were told.  This is artificially made.


We arrived and started to walk across.  We actually parked on the residential side and walked over to the side where it opened up into the park.  It was a very well constructed suspension bridge, originally constructed in 1897.  It has been rebuilt at least 2 times since.


It didn’t really move much as we walked across.  We got to the other side and checked out the park and of course the restrooms…lol….heading back, I decided to walk off the sidewalk over to the trees and bushes.  I wanted to get this picture.  Its more of a side view.  In doing this I walked in weeds.  Well I spent the next 15 minutes picking off little sticky prickly things from my clothes.  lol  They weren’t the to painful ones as they were still young.  I’m sure on maturing they would have been sharp and very pointy.


We walked back to the truck taking one last picture of the falls….This river has with time, worn its bed through the rocks to make these beautiful cliffs.  Time to find a restaurant. Back to town and found the one that was recommended.

wp-1472084664401.jpg  The Princess Café.

Upon walking in, we were so surprised.  It was not only a restaurant serving sandwiches and pizza, but an old fashioned Sweet Shop.


This was our first view. This is a 25 ft. soda fountain made from the finest Italian marble.  It is thought to be the largest remaining soda fountain in the world.  On the back wall is 2 large slabs of matching granite.  Just amazing.  I turned around and their was the old fashioned Juke Box.


It is an old Wurlitzer….I checked out the records.  Now this will take you back in time….Beach BoysSurfer Girl, Little Deuce Coupe, California Girls, Good VibrationsChuck BerryRoll Over Beethoven, MaybellineLittle RichardLong Tall Sally, Slippin and Slidden.  These were just a few I seen.


We went to the back and they seated us.  It had all the old booths.  A row on each side of the store and the center row, side by side divided.  So impressive.  Beautiful woods with some carvings.


The Menu

They had quite a few specials to choose from as well as a good menu.  We both chose sandwiches and also a small pizza to go.  The food was good.  We decided we needed to try a small piece of pizza while it was still fresh.  Ohhhhhh yum…..It was so good.  It was a thin crust, and ever so flaky and crisp.  Perfect, and not very greasy.  Definitely a Pizza I would order again.  I read in the menu a bit of the history.  Cousins originally from Greece opened the Princess in November of 1915.  A brother moved to town and bought the original Sweet Shop and the family members combined the businesses into one.  It became known as Princess Café and Sweet Shop.  Christmas morning 1934, the building burnt to the ground.  One year later it was rebuilt opening on July 1.  The cost to remodel was $30,000.  A whole lot of money during depression time.  The way it appears today is how it appeared back then.  Everything has been preserved for all these years.  The woodwork  is made of the finest domestic and imported woods.  The booths are African Mahogany.  The hard Terrazzo floors were poured by hand and then ground to a smooth surface.


Notice the mirrors in each booth.  All original, now starting to loose their coating on the back side.  But it also makes them look so old, but yet so perfect.  These are the special carvings that you see on the booths.  The top wood trim is the same pattern carried through out the shop.  All the wood is so pristine and perfect.  No carvings from kids through the years.  When I was in school, we had a small soda shop.  We all constantly carved in the booth walls.  How did these booths and this whole shop survive all these years to be in perfect shape.   Just amazing.


This is the other side of the soda fountain.  It was the Sweet Shop side.  It again has used all the same woods and designs.  It is now where they have the cash register, the souvenir  t-shirts, school information and memorabilia.


As I was looking around at the old pictures on the wall, I came across this.  They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, dated October 15, 1966.  This is well deserved. I also read their were other factors about the building that was important.  A special glass imported from Italy and the construction of the outside of the building.  It was a great representation of Deco Art.


This is another view of the Soda Fountain.  As we were leaving, I did try to talk to the waitress about the building.  She said it was rumored that Disney was their once trying to buy the soda fountain, but she didn’t know if it was true.  Finally we left after we had filled our stomachs.  Well lets say stuffed…….It was another great day of adventure.  Finding gems to discover in small town America……I do believe as we travel the interstates this day and age, we fly by so many gems of history through out America.  It pays to stop at some of these towns.  Find the Chamber of Commerce or just drive around

……You just never know what you will find…….

John Wayne Birthplace….

Another Friday off, what to do.  We sat around most of the morning enjoying a lazy day.  Finally we decided to head to Winterset Iowa, which is less than a hour south west.  Years ago as I have said before, Rich’s dad use to live down by Indianola, Winterset and New Virginia.  So their is of course a lot of curiosity about this area.  This was back in the late 70’s.  Also around Winterset their are 6 covered bridges that are scattered through the countryside, 5 of which are on the National Historic Landmark Register.   One of the bridges was were the film “Bridges of Madison County” was filmed.  This was a romantic drama filmed based on the novel by Robert James WallerClint Eastwood and Meryl Streep starred and Clint Eastwood was producer/director.  Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1996.

The Bridges Of Madison County

So around 2 pm. we left the park heading to Winterset. We drove to Winterset and found the town square.  In the center of the square was the Courthouse as Winterset is the County seat of Madison County. It was surrounded by quaint small town shops, restaurant’s, antique, and many specialty stores.  We found the Chamber of Commerce and I went in.  As usual the Chamber of Commerce was full of pamphlets and info.  They had maps and info of the bridges, and many other so interesting things to do.   But I was so shocked to find out

…….It Was The Birthplace of John Wayne…….May 27 1907-June 11 1979……


It was getting late, so we decided to go to the Museum and Birthplace of John Wayne and forego the bridges.  Only 2 blocks away we found the Museum on John Wayne Drive.


It was a very modern building with his statue out front.  It was built and dedicated in 1982 after his death from stomach cancer.  We went in and bought our tickets.  As it was getting late, they told us to go around the block to the opposite corner and tour the house in which he was born first.  So off we went.


His birthplace was only a 4 room house.  We were told it was built in the late 1800’s and it only had 2 owners and 6 renters at the time it was purchased for the museum.  John Wayne was born in this house on May 26, 1907.  He was the first born of Clyde and Mary Morrison.  He was 13 lbs at birth.  His successful birth was credited to a lady, Dr Jessie Smith, a physician that lived down the street.  He was named Marion Robert Morrison.  Several years later his brother was born and they decided to call his brother Robert and changed his middle name to Mitchell.  His father was a pharmacist and they moved to California as a family member had some acreage.  He tried to grow corn as he was use to Iowa, but it didn’t grow.  After a time he returned to his profession of a pharmacist.


As John grew he also had a dog named Duke.  After a while everyone called them “ Little Duke and Big Duke”.   Hence that is how he earned his nickname “The Duke”.


This house still had the original woodwork, floors, and stain glass door and front window.  Everything else was period furniture from donations.  The guide gave us much of the info.  The woodwork was beautiful as well as the stain glass.


It was a very tiny house of only 4 rooms, consisting of kitchen, 2 sitting rooms, of which 1 might have been a dinning room and 1 bedroom.  Many original family photos were on the walls. They only lived here until he was 3. The family then moved and eventually moved to California.  We left to go back to the museum and passed this Awesome van.


This is a 1980  Chevy Van, customized by a true John Wayne fan.  The poster in the drivers seat said their was over $50,000 worth of murals, even in the door jambs and under the hood.  The side and rear windows are custom etched murals.  The interior is all custom.


It is a Constant Trophy Winner.


It is a crowd favorite wherever it goes.  It receives many requests from show promoters for it to appear in their shows.

Now into the museum we went.  Amazed at all the mementos and letters.


John sent to Madison County for his Birth Records in 1953.  If you can zoom this, it is interesting to read.


A letter from Bob Hope.  A personally written letter from Lucille Ball, also letters from Kirk Douglas, James Stewart, and  Ronald Reagan as President.  His birth certificate and a Graduation diploma.  So many interesting letters and photos on the wall.  I read many of them and it was like reliving history.  So many of these stars are now passed also.

He did many movies with Maureen O’Hara.  She sent a wonderful 2 page letter after he passed for the Museum.  Most of all these letters were written for the purpose of the opening of the Museum in 1982.


These 2 pictures are of Maureen O’Hara at the Museum.  In picture #6, the blonde is John Wayne’s daughter Aissa.  Picture #7 was Maureen in 2013 attending a dinner in Winterset.  She passed away last year.  The blouse and jacket she is wearing is in a case on display.


Some uniforms from his movies, Hellfighters, The Green Berets, Big Jim McLain, Hatari, and Legend of the Lost.  Also I have pictures of his some of his gun collections, and a station wagon car that he had custom work done as he was so tall.  These were just a few of the many things we seen.  They also had a nice gift shop filled with many things including his movies.  We did miss a short movie presentation of his life in the video room.  But we know we will be going back, so we’ll see it next time.


As we left, I noticed around the sidewalk, their were marble plaques of each movie he stared in.


So many movies that it wrapped around the corner from one property line to another.  After we vowed we would be back, we decided to look up the City Park in town.  Their was one covered bridge their as well as a look out tower.  We found the park and right after the entrance, the Bridge was on the right.


Cutler Donahoe Bridge

This 79 ft. bridge was built by Eli Cox in 1870 or 1871 with a pitched roof, and a Town Lattice truss design.  It was put together with wooden tree nails with iron bolts added later.  It was decided to move the bridge in town for protection on its 100’th Birthday and also the year of the first Covered Bridge Festival in 1970.  The new site was in the city park over a ravine near the entrance.  Next we were looking for a tower in the park.  In the pictures it looks like a castle.  We followed the signs in the park.  The road turned into a one lane with many turns nestled in the woods with hills on both sides.  Their were signs warning only to be used for hiking and compact vehicles.


We curved and drove over several one lane bridges through the  thick woods.  Finally after what seemed an eternity, but was only a mile and a half, the Tower came into view out of the trees.


It was so impressive at first sight.  It looked like the Tower of a Medieval Castle nestled in the trees.  On the front is a plaque…..”ERECTED IN MEMORY OF CALEB AND RUTH CLARK….PIONEER SETTLERS OF MADISON COUNTY……1846-1926″


The stone work was so impressive and so so old.  It actually had 3 levels.  The ground floor had a stone floor, but very uneven.


We carefully and slowly climbed the stone stairs.  Definitely weathered with age, but still felt secure and solid.  Onward to 2nd level.


Their was a heavy metal stairway to the lookout tower.  It was actually very sturdy.  Up we went to the top.


What a beautiful view.  The sun was not in a good position to get a very good distance view with the camera.  It was approaching sunset.  But you could see several miles as you were on the top of a small hill.  We wondered what the history was of this tower and why it was ever built.  After trying to devour and take in  everything we seen, and wonder about the tower, we walked carefully back down the stone steps.  We drove slowly back through the park to the exit.  It is really a nice park.  It has many pavilions, picnic and kids play areas.  Just full of trees and grass.  On the edge it has a trailer park for camping.  The prices were even very reasonable. We decided to head back to Des Moines for supper.  A storm was coming.  We ate at Bonanza Steak house and beat the storm home just in time.

So very intrigued by the castle I researched what I could find.  Really not much.  Caleb and Ruth Clark were the first settlers of Madison County.  They had 13 children although they did not all survive childhood.  Caleb died at 86 years of age in 1894, and Ruth died in 1901 at 82 years old.  One of their sons, Joshua was a stone mason like his father Caleb.  He cut the stones for the steps before his death in 1915.  In 1926, 4 of their grandchildren constructed the 25 ft. limestone Medieval Castle in their grandparents memory.  As to the connection to the castle like appearance, I couldn’t find anything.  I did find a family member that mentioned that she thought that was were they said they use to watch for Indians.  But she wasn’t sure.   The Clarks are buried in Winterset as well as many family descendants. The end of another wonderful Friday of exploring.  Never dreamed their would be so much history in one county.  The Bridges of Madison County will wait for another day.

Work at the park on Saturday and Sunday.  Then …………..5 days off…………Everyone is ready……Iowa State Fair winds up this weekend so school begins here this coming week.  We will be staying till the end of September working only weekends.  We have also decided to work the 2nd Annual Octoberfest on Oct. 1.  I guess its a really riot.  You must be 21 to attend.  Lots of Alcohol and games…..fun….fun….


The Days are Winding Down….

We are now in our last week of full time at Adventureland.  After this week the park will only be open weekends till the end of Sept.  So now we can say….”This is the last Monday….This is the last Tuesday….This is the last Wednesday…….”  The general feeling through out the park is the same.  Were all glad it is going to slow down.   Were all tired.  So I will give you a little up date on what has been going on.  Last week Rich was the Outlaw operator.



It is one of the big roller coasters in the park.  It is an all wooden coaster, located in the Outlaw Gulch.



This is the gulch area.  It has a western theme.



This is Saw Mill Splash which is near the Outlaw.  It is a fun water ride that I would like to ride, but I think were running out of time.

We are only allowed in the park on weekdays free, so this is the last week.  Last Friday, which was our day off, we decided to take that opportunity to do some of the things in the park that we wanted to do.  Top on the list.  Buy one of those FABULOUS “Loaded Funnel Cakes” that walk by us all the time.

funnel cake 2


Now picture this funnel cake….put a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle…fresh peaches and strawberries around it….drizzle chocolate and strawberry syrup on top….drizzle glaze over the whole thing….lastly dollops of whip cream over the tops…..All for $9.75..…I was going to take a picture before we dived in but forgot.  We sat down by the water on a picnic table and FEASTED…..MMmmmmm….it was so good….



One of the rides I had wanted to ride was the Underground.  It is a rollercoaster ride in a cave.  It is the story about Bad Bob the bank robber who hid down in the cave with his stolen gold…..lol…



This is where you line up 2 in each stall. When the doors open your car is right on the other side.  You can see the animated miner telling you the story of Bad Bob…..It was a fun ride of darkness, skeletons, a train light coming at you….lol

We then left the park and walked back to the golf cart…..Oh the luxury of having it…Instead of walking back to the Gulch area, we rode back on the company access road.  Rich bought some of his wonderful Kettle Corn.

They cook in a huge kettle outside.  So 2 more bags and we got back in our golf cart.



On this access road, you get a view of the rollercoasters some never see.  This is the Tornado with the Storm Search in the background.  Another wooden rollercoaster.  It is all painted white with blue cars.  They also have a set of red cars they used at the beginning of the season.  Rich will be the Assist on the Tornado this week.



On the drive up the road, we also stopped on the back road to see the loading zone for the Tornado.  The building on the right with lights on is the load, unload area.  They had just came down the track and rounded the corner.   See the blue blurrrrrrrrrrrr……That’s the cars…lol…


Here they are approaching the first and highest hill.  On the side is the employee access road and then the main road of town.  It was approaching nite so some of the pictures are sort of dark.  So that was our trip on Friday.  I was asked about a week ago to do an evening in rides.   So I said sure.  I went to the Rides desk and was given the Dragon Assist.     Another big roller coaster.

2016-05-22 17.42.44

Rich has been an Assist on this one also.  All the coasters take an operator and 2 Assists.  One on each side to load and unload and secure.  Now this was an eye opener for me.  You are constantly busy.  Every 90 seconds the cars are back to reload.  You have to be alert and make sure everyone is safe.  Have everyone in line and ready to go.  Make sure harness and seatbelts are secure.  Always on guard and alert.   The plus side is.  Rides people can bring a stool to sit one during that pause time.   So at break, I went and got one from the commissary.  You have no idea how sitting for 30 seconds at a time helps.  Doesn’t seem like much does it.


Here is another picture of Dragon doing the loop de loop…..with the Tornado in the background.  Again rides I sure wont be doing.   I would loose supper…..I did enjoy that evening working in Rides and it gives me some thoughts on next year……You just Never Know……In Games we have just been rotating between the 3 areas as usual.   The one game most people love is Bingo….We have a Bingo Room in the Arcade building.  Of course Air Conditioned.   Usually have 2 people running it, one calling and one working the floor.  It is electronic digital bingo.  We have a blower that blows up the numbers and we call them and put them in the slot.  When pushed it turns the number on, on the display board.  They win points on their Arcade card.  Then they go shopping.  It is the place where adults will go when their kids are off running in the park.  They are hot and tired and need a break.  Or some people bring the little ones in, in their stroller so they can have a nap.  Many in wheelchairs or scooters who don’t do rides and just wait for family members to be done……Some can spend hours in their…That is the only AC Games for us.   But it is getting cooler now.  It is so much more fun when the weather is nice.  One of the friends I met here is Carolina (Catalina) like the Island,  and James. They are from Houston.



Originally Carolina is from Brazil South America.  She is interesting and fun to talk to.  She left Brazil, went to Australia for 2 years and then back home.  Then she came to US and met James.  Not sure how long she has been here but they have been married for 5 years I believe.  The are full time RVers.  They decided it was time to leave.  This wasn’t the job for them.  They are on their way to California to do the Pumpkin Harvest and then sell Christmas trees in Dec. I wish them nothing but…. GOOD LUCK…..I will be following their adventures…… James also has a you-tube video channel…..Wanderlust Estate….He puts out videos of their travels…..I have also found at least 3 other people that have You-tube video channels.  They have all left.  Most of their complaints were, they didn’t like all the rules.  They didn’t like the pay.  Yes, we must have rules.  It is a place of employment of many.  The park has its hours to be open and manned.  We have a dress code.  We have to appear professional.  We can’t eat or relax in the park in uniform.  The one draw back is some of the manages are very young.  As in Games, they are High School age.  So rules are important to keep them in line.  The young managers do a good job, but sometimes don’t know quite how to treat the older people.  I have been fine with them.  They all treat me well.  I do feel respected, but I know their has been issues with others.  Games is an area where mainly kids are hired.  Even 14 and 15.  Some look like little kids, but rules must be strict for that age group, but does cause problems for the older people.  But life has its issues doesn’t it…..Can’t have everything our way…..As far as pay….We have free camping from April 1 – Oct 1…..Pay is $8.50 and hour….End of season Bonus if we stay….$400 to campsite plus .75 for every hour worked.   Now people on SSI already have money coming in.  It is good for us, but those who rely strictly on this to live, it is more of a problem.  Those are the people who are having a problem with this job.  They want and need more immediate compensation.   Their are many people going to the Sugar Beets in the Dakotas starting next month.   It is hard work, 12 hour shifts, all outside.  You will probably be handed a shovel your first year….lol…They say some can make up to $8,000 in several weeks.  Some go to the different Amazon plants.  Their is an Amazon Work Force that does workamping hiring.  You also get free camping of you get your reservation in early.  But it is all warehouse work for the Christmas Season.  You are released on Dec. 24th.  NOPE  Not for us either.   We don’t want to do warehouse work.


So today is Wednesday…..Last Wed. of work…..YaHoooooooooo…..Ill leave you with an evening view of the

………………BIG WHEEL………….20160812_204226

2016 National Balloon Classic….Indianola

On our day off last Friday, we decided to attend the Balloon Classic.  It was being held all week south of Des Moines in Indianola.  It was maybe a half hour drive.  It has been going on since the early 70’s.  It its early years, Rich’s dad and stepmom Dorothy had lived nearby.  We came for a visit and they took us to the festival.  All I remember was, it rained, it was miserable out and the balloons never took off.  lol  We have seen the Albuquerque Balloon Fest in New Mexico.  It is absolutely wonderful.  Words cannot express the beauty of hundreds of balloons on the field taking off into the sky.  In Albuquerque, it is common to see a balloon or two in the air on a nice day. The wind drafts make it easy to fly.  Because of the mountains on both sides, it makes like a box canyon effect and they can fly to certain levels and attain different wind currents to fly in a circle.   I can remember being at my dad and stepmoms house in the bathroom and hear the sound of the burners.  I would look out and see a hot air balloon flying by. I was fascinated.

Friday morning, the first thing we did was go to HyVee and stock up on grocery’s.   The gates opened at 4 pm.  So we took off and headed south.  We found a little family restaurant in Indianola that had really good down hometown cooking.  We both had chicken fried steak.  Our next stop was the National Balloon Museum.



It was just chocked full of balloon equipment and artifacts.  So many different types of equipment have been used through the years.


This is an experimental chair called “Yankee Doodle”.  It was built and used in the 60’s in the early flights of hot air balloons.20160805_164339

 Rich, ready to take off……lol…

Now this next picture is of a two man carriage that hangs below a blimp or airship.


It is really neat.  The very back is a large propeller.


This picture will give you an idea of how large the blimp is compared to the carriage underneath.


Their most prized display is “The Channel Champ”.  It was the first hot air balloon to fly across the English Channel.  It occurred April 13, 1963. This flight introduced the modern hot air balloon to the world.  It was flown by Ed Yost. Don Piccard accompanied him and filmed the flight.  This is probably the most historic existing hot air balloon artifact in the world.  It was in the Malcom Forbes Museum in France until 2004 when it arrived in Indianola.  So much to see.


The beautiful stain glass window in the front of the museum.  After that, on to the Classic.  It was located out in the country.   It had moved to a new venue in the 80’s.  We drove in a they collected $5 a person.  They directed us to park in this huge field.  In the distance we could see all the food stands etc.. set up.  We walked in and rented two white plastic chairs for $2 a piece.   Now, How do you forget to bring your chairs….lol….We found our place and sat down.  Now this was farm grounds at one time.   But what a perfect layout.  It was like an auditorium or amphitheater .   The ground we were on was terraced down just like stadium seating.  Not a bad seat in the house.



Way down in the middle was the band playing music.  Excellent songs and sounds.  It looked so far away.   But it sure wasn’t…….We heard their were going to be around 70 balloons.  Many teams were from the area and surrounding states.  Some even from Albuquerque.  All the trucks and trailers with their balloons in tow, met on the top of the hill for a drivers meeting.  At 6:30 it was announced the weather was a go…….The balloons always depend on the wind and weather if they will fly.  Now we expected a mass ascension, but that wasn’t what happened.  All the trucks drove off back down the hill and disappeared.  On the hill in front of us on the left was a giant x.  At the end of each arm was a plastic swimming pool.  Also their were 4 tall poles in the ground.  In the center was a mannequin type figure with a batch of balloons coming out her head. The pilots of the balloons launched from a distance, a mile or more away, and a few just over the hill.  They came one by one….Then several at a time.  Some very high, and then they would drop down near the target.  Some stayed low and tried to reach the target.  Most of them missed by a long way.  They wind draft just wouldn’t co-operate.  But what a site it was as they rose from the distance and flew in.

The trick was to pick their launch so the wind would float them over big x.  They had a stuffed animal in their baskets to throw in the pool, and hula hoops to throw over the poles.  Each trick was worth money.  If they was able to grab the balloons from the mannequin, it was the top prize.  Only 2 balloons made the toss in the swimming pools and nobody made the hula hoop throw.


They also had 3 balloons give rides.  Before the balloons arrived the inflated and loaded up and took off.



These went right over our heads.  They had large baskets on to hold the people.


They were all so beautiful.  Finally the contest was over.  Of the approximately 70 balloons that took off, only about 35 was staging for the night glow.   Some had landed on the hill, some had flown way over, landed somewhere else.  Packed up, drove back to the park area, and then unpacked and blew it up again.  I think many balloons probably didn’t want to come back and unpack again.



The balloons were staged across the hill side at twilight.  The band played on and finally the announcer was ready for the “Nite Glow”.  It was really “AWESOME”….So beautiful.  All the balloons were regular or teardrop balloons except for one.



This was “Peg Leg Pete”…….

All the balloons lite up again and again….The announcer played to the pilots to “GLOW”….over and over……Just Beautiful…..


Finally they left the public down on the field.  I went down and took a few pictures. The sounds of the burns were tremendous.


The pilots demonstrated and answered many questions.  They were very courteous.


This picture, they are doing a burn into “Peg Leg Pete”


This is our first attempt at a selfie….lol…Rather silly looking aren’t we…..lol….Finally it was all over.  We had a fabulous time.   This was a great Festival.   And only $5 a piece.   So worth it and much more.   We headed home after a wait in the parking lot, Finally only an hour later, home and ready for bed…………..

Saturday, the start of another Work Week…..Yuck……