2 nd Annual Oktoberfest at Adventureland….Amazing

Finally, Oktoberfest arrived, the event we have been waiting for.  It was a long day but so much fun and amazing to watch what the Park had accomplished.  It was so professionally done.  It was a classy affair that had something for everyone.  It was affordable to anyone according to their wishes.  Or you could spend and drink and party to your hearts delight.

Oktoberfest was not something we knew about at first.  This is an affair separate from what the Workampers were expected to do to finish their season.  Last year which was the 1st, was much smaller, so this year the plans had grown and escalated to quite a large affair.  We kept hearing about the plans,  games would be open in 2 of the 3 areas, and many of the large rides would also be open.  It sounded exciting, so we decided to stay and work.  A number of other Workampers stayed also.  After last Sunday of working, which was the last day we had to stay to satisfy our bonus, many of the Workampers left the campground.  It was really a mass exit…..Then mid week all the weekenders started filling up the lots again, just for Oktoberfest.  By Friday we were quite full again….

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We knew they were putting new LED lighting on the Big Wheel.  Last Thursday, Rich looked out the window towards the park and he said, Look the Big Wheel lights are on.  We sat their and watched in delight, and then drove the golf cart to the parking lot.  I took pics and a video.  It was so beautiful.  The colors changed, moved in a wheel, moved in swirls…..It was so pretty.  They ran all evening till 10pm and again Friday nite.  Finally Saturday came.  We arrived at 10:15 am to turn in our uniforms for the year.  I was in Games again and was assigned Alpine which would be up by the main stage….This is just where I wanted to be.  Right in the middle of the action.  Now Rich was assigned to the Tilt a Whirl. He would be near the back of the park and probably wouldn’t see as much action.  This year they would be having 13 bands on 7 different stages through out the park at different times.  Wow.  It was a rather cool morning to start, so I wore jeans.  It was going to be a casual affair for us in Games as many of our rules were relaxed.  We could buy from the many food vendors in the park, and their were many (although Rich had to eat in the commissary, strange, it was a rule for Rides. ).  We were also allowed to take our phones.  Soooo pictures….YES…..So the gates opened at 11 am.

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Their just so happened to be 2 Iowa football games that afternoon, so things started slowly.  They had also brought in a big screen for the bands so they also played the football games for those interested.  Tickets were only $15 to enter, that also got you a mug with Samuel Adams Beer.  Very reasonable.  At break time I wandered the park and bought a sandwich and found some really cool things they were offering for fun to play.  No cost.

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Bean Bags on Main Street

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Connect Four….. King Size

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Huge Jenga……These were placed in a number of places through out the park.

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Ladder Ball

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This was really cool….It is a moustache Tetter Totter

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Beer Pong….Everyone was having so much fun.  They also added some other beer games that cost.

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Pumpkin Launch….Their was a small wooden boat in the water.  If you made it you got a fun trinket, Key chain or beads I believe.

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Keg Bowling…..lol…I think this is self explanatory….I believe all these games were $3 each….not to expensive…

How about Speed Beer….Shake up a can of beer and throw it…See how fast you can throw…..As the day progressed, more people came.  Finally I heard at 6pm the tickets booths outside were standing line, and the parking lot was getting full.  The last i heard our count was 7,000 people.  I was working the game Mr. Frog, which was near main stage.  All the bands were playing through the park at different times, but main stage was going to be playing last until 9:30 and then the ……Fireworks….Grand Finale…..The last band began…..The Spazmatics…..They were so good.   They played music of the 80’s….Fabulous sounds and High Energy music….It turns out, they are a “Chain Band” from Chicago.  That means their are many chains of the same band through out the US.  Listening to them and watching the Big Wheel lites behind them was just Magical.

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The people were having a blast, dancing and moving and singing to the music.  The crowds became so thick, I couldn’t hardly see the band anymore.   Lots of people were stopping to play Mr. Frog though.  I became very busy.

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This game is really a neat game that has been here for years.  You buy rubber frogs to launch in a launcher.

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You hit it with a mallet and try to land the frog in the white lily pad that is moving in circles in the water. So as you know, most people miss and the frog lands in the water.  So I have to pluck the frogs out…..lol…by the end of the evening I was soaked….You get 3 frogs for $3, 6 for $5 or 15 for $10.  People love this game.

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All through the park the big rides were running.  Rich said he had lines all night.  Nonstop.  The big rides were busy ..Monster, Tornado, Space Shot and the Storm SearchEveryone was having a blast, most of them walking around with a mug of beer in hand.  But was their any problems?  You would think that alcohol and all the rides wouldn’t mix.  I heard of a few problems but the police force were patrolling through the park all nite.  From my and Rich’s viewpoint, everyone was  well behaved.  They were laughing, singing, dancing….Being Happy…..Finally it was almost 9:30 and the band called last song.   Soon as the last chords were played the Fireworks began…..Beautiful  fireworks in the sky.   What a wonderful fitting finish to an Evening of Magic…..

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My Manager Devin……Really Good Guy…..

 

So the lights on the Big Wheel continued till 10 pm.   We packed up the games for the last time this season….Counted my frogs for inventory….lol…Put them in their plastic bin to be taken in the building….Said my goodbyes to the kids I worked with…..Little by little the people cleared out….Rich and I headed back to the employees area, turned in our last shirts we had on and left the building…..Got in our golf cart and headed to our campsite for the last time this year……Whewwww…..Finally, its over…..but its Bittersweet….We are ready to leave but, its also sad to leave…….Well weve been packing for several days, so Sunday we packed up what was left and left by 2 pm….Headed to Illinois….but ohhhh soooo Tired….Worked almost 12 hours Saturday…….Didn’t realize I was so tired…..

But What a Wonderful Day and Evening it Was…..Adventureland, you put on a Class Act….

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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……

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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It is a Constant Trophy Winner.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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″

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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….

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

  ……….I LEFT THAT  FOREVER…….NEVER AGAIN……

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

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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….

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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.

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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….

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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…..

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

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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….

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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….

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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…

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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.

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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……

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Another picture of the Arcade area.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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This camera doesn’t show of the true colors.

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

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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.

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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…Finally Settling In

We are finally settling in and getting use to the schedule.  We are starting to tolerate the heat better, and enjoy the jobs.  We both work 6 days a week on the afternoon shift.  Mine starts at 3 and Rich starts at 2:40.  Once or twice a week, I’m also assigned a morning shift also.  That shift is 11 to 3.  It still is not even 8 hours a day by the time you sign out for lunch.  By next week we will start staying open till 9 during the week and 10 Pm.  on weekends.  I can pick up 11 to 3 shift anytime I want and Rich can go in and do morning relief for breaks.  Were trying to work around 35 hours a week.  Its not difficult to do that.  A number of Workampers have quit and more to come.  A lot of people just can’t handle it, and some are unhappy with the amount of hours they get.  Some want less, some want more.  Partly communication problem I think.  I know Rich and I have no problem with our schedule.  Before I go any further I want to make an

ANNOUNCEMENT

Congratulation to Ashley and Mat on the Arrival of Vivian Grace this morning.

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Vivian weighed in at 7 lb. 8 oz.   20″ long. 

Ashley is our niece.  Her mom Connie is Rich’s youngest sister.  If you read the blog just before we left home last month, Ashley had a Huge Wonderful Shower.  They have both been waiting patiently I think…..lol….Connie called me a week ago and thought they were going in but…..NOPE…..Doesn’t happen that way.   Ashley and Mat went in during the nite.  Connie arrived around 3.   Turned out little Vivian was breach and so they decided to do a C-Section.   Several hours later little Vivian was born.   Mat was blown away and so emotional with his new daughter.  I can only imagine Connie.   She is on Cloud Nine. This is the first grandchild for Connie and Brian, as well as Mats parents.  We had a 9 way conversation on the cell this morning.  I heard it pop….pop…pop…and wondered  what was going on.  I got up and found out that Ashley had just went in for her C-Section.  So Congratulations to All.  I’m sure their is such excitement going on at home right now.  Their lives have all been changed for ever, now theirs a little baby in their lives.  Little Vivian is now ready to be spoiled by all Grandmas and Grandpas…..lol…

This week Rich has been operating the Lady Luck.

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Every week they are assigned a job for all week.  This ride does not require an assistant.  He also has a chair to sit on in the shade.

Last week he operated the Tilt A Whirl which also didn’t require an assistant.  The week before he was an assistant on The Dragon.  It is one of the big roller coasters in the park.

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Before that he was the Chuck Wagon operator.  It is a ride more for kids, but many adults rode it too.

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He said some even almost to big to fit it….lol…In games, we have 3 areas that we work.  Alpine, which is more Arcade games, County Fair, which is your old time fair or carnival games, and The Dragon.  That area of course is by the Dragon Rollercoaster.  We change games every day.  We get a schedule by area for the week, but don’t know what game we get until we get to work.  I am starting to have more fun now.  My favorite games are games the kids always get PrizeIMG_0564This of course is the Duck Pond game.  Their are 45 ducks.  One has a Black dot on the bottom for the big prize, one has a red and one has a blue for the medium.  All other 42 has no dot but still win a small prize.

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These are the prizes.  The medium and small are square plush ducks in yellow, pink and blue.  The little kids love them.

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One boy came in with only $3 to play one game, and guess what he picked….The black dot duck.   We were all just ecstatic…..Another favorite game is Bash a Bully….

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You throw 4 leather bean bags at an open mouth and try to knock down 5 teeth.

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This game is easy for some and hard for others.  Its a cute game.

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I worked this game yesterday.  It is a game of luck.   Throw a whiffle ball and hopes it lands in a colored Goblet.  The name of the Game?  Goblets of course.  1 ball is $2, 5 balls is $5, and a bucket of 12 balls with a small prize in it already is $10.  This is just a few of the games I have worked so far.  Each area is run by a manager and assistant managers.   I am finding them all to be so nice.  They are definitely company orientated also.  They go by the rules that are required.  So if you don’t tuck in your shirt your told, if you late you might be questioned.  If your out of your area your told to get back.  But all in all, if you do as the rules require, you will be fine.  They are all easy to get along with.  They also have kids working that are 14 and 15.  Some of them do seem way to immature. Well see how long they last.  I’ve heard that many of the kids leave after they have several checks.  When your young, a few checks and you think your “Rich”….lol….Oh how I wish……So I think as time goes on we will probably be asked to do more hours.  I’ve heard by the end of the season, they lose a lot of workers.  But the park closes after the third week in August, during the week.  The Iowa State Fair begins and it not far away.  After that school begins and were only open weekends till the end of Sept.  So actually, we only have a little less than 2 months.  Its really not that long.

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This is a nice cool area covered with screen.  Plenty of benches to sit and rest….

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Bridge to Raging River Ride

So an Update on the Accident: …….NOTHING……Nothing has been said or acknowledged.  It is as if it never happened.  We have heard via the grape vine, that the operator is being blamed.  I also believe that the way the paper stated, it is true…..BUT……DID HE HAVE PROPER TRAINING…….I don’t think he should carry the whole blame……..Shouldn’t a switch be implemented for the assist person to push so the operator can then start the ride?  I still think they should have held a meeting the next day to reinforce safety.  What about the family.  Many of the workers here wanted to send cards or condolences.  We weren’t given an address or any means to communicate with the family.  If I was Steve’s wife, it would have meant so much to me to read and hear from all the fellow workers.  They were just here today……gone tomorrow….This was a Very Traumatic event in many peoples lives.  The only thing we ever knew was what was printed in the paper………..Will We Ever Know Anymore Details?…..Probably Not…….

All I know is this is NOT the way to handle a situation of this serious nature.  At Advantage Logistics, Sandy would have called a meeting immediately.  Their would have been information given as how to help the family.  Safety issues would have been discussed.  A through investigation would have happened and we would have been advised.  Ideas would be discussed as to how to not let this happen again.  The family would have been a major concern to her and all of the employees.  Fortunately, we never had a serious accident at our plant, but several had happened at plants out of state.  That was the reaction that we received from our company…..Complete Openness…..A desire to help…

Silence creates rumors…..Rumors promotes finger pointing deserved or not…..Bottom line……Bitterness and Lawsuits…..

A Workamper Has Died at Adventureland

This has been a very sad week at Adventureland.  I have given this a lot of consideration as to whether to write about this terrible accident.  Death is something that is inevitable.  At Eastgate Park in Texas, we have learned that it happens much more as everyone is a Senior.  It is sad, but accepted as the ending of life.  This is totally not expected by any means.   We must learn something by this happening.  It is a very sad time for this family, but let us all learn from this accident about safety.
I was working in an area called The Dragon.  Early afternoon, suddenly a golf cart came flying through clearing the people franticly.  Right behind was another golf cart.  On the back was a stretcher with a man in our park uniform.  He was very still.  Out of his mouth was a blue tube and a man was straddling him, working on his neck.  We later found out that he had fallen from the Raging River Ride down to the conveyor mechanism.   We heard he had head injuries and his feet were very injured.  For the next several days, nothing was heard.  The Park Management has never acknowledged this.  We did hear that the state came in for inspections, and found everything ok.  The ride was again opened.   OSHA of course is involved also.  So I suppose their are legal reasons as to why their has been no acknowledgment.  Sunday we seen this article in the DesMoines Register.  Its a very sad way to find out.  I have copied the article for all to read:
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Steve Booher and his wife, Gladys, were enjoying retirement, traveling the country in their RV and visiting family and friends along the way.

Recently, the Oklahoma couple came to central Iowa, where the 68-year-old retired postal carrier took a summer job at Adventureland in Altoona.

“Steve was having a great time (at Adventureland),” Gladys Booher wrote on Facebook. “He loved watching the kids enjoying the rides.”

Then, on his sixth day on the job, tragedy struck, said his nephew Tim Overlin, of Des Moines.

Steve Booher was tending the amusement park’s Raging River ride when he fell on the conveyor belt June 7, fracturing his skull and suffering a major brain injury, his wife wrote. He was unresponsive and on life support until he died Saturday at Mercy Medical Center.

Polk County Medical Examiner Gregory Schmunk confirmed the accidental death was caused by a head injury.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating the incident.

Overlin said the family’s only knowledge of the accident stems from the limited amount of information in local media reports.

“It’s just a lot of grief and shock,” he said.

Witness recounts events

Zach Bauer was waiting in line to ride the Raging River on the afternoon of June 7 when he heard a commotion on the loading platform.

He didn’t see Booher fall, turning toward the scene as onlookers flocked to provide help.

At the time, the conveyor belt moving the rafts was in motion, said Bauer, a 22-year-old who lives in Des Moines. Several onlookers were yelling at the ride operator to stop the ride, he said.

“I know it wasn’t just a case of him slipping and falling without the ride moving,” he said. “I saw the ride take the man off his feet.”

The Raging River’s ride operator is housed in a booth above the loading platform. On the platform, other workers help riders in and out of the boats. Bauer said the ride operator came down from the booth and appeared confused, because he left the ride running.

Bauer has ridden the Raging River countless times; he held Adventureland season passes for several years. He said the workers on the platform generally give the go-ahead for the Raging River to begin.

“Usually when everybody was ready to go, they would give the guy the thumbs up, because he’s up above the ride,” he said. “I’m not sure what caused him to push the button.”

“Anybody who’s been on that ride knows that once that conveyor belt starts, it’s kind of a jerk. It starts really quick.”

Adventureland spokeswoman Molly Vincent  did not respond to questions regarding Bauer’s account of the incident. She previously acknowledged the ride was in motion at the time of the accident.

Inspection cleared ride to continue

One day after Booher’s fatal fall, state officials inspected the water ride and deemed it safe and free of defects.

“We did our inspection and we found no adverse conditions as far as the ride was concerned,” said Jim Borwey, who oversees inspections of elevators, boilers and amusement parks for the Iowa Division of Labor.

State officials examine each amusement park ride before the beginning of the season, Borwey said. This spring, investigators found no major problems with the Raging River, which Adventureland classifies among its family rides.

Jens Nissen, administrator of Iowa’s OSHA program, said he could not release any details of his agency’s ongoing investigation into the accident.

The agency must report its findings within six months, he said, though he expects a quicker conclusion.

Altoona Police did not immediately respond to the accident, but are now investigating the case, said Sgt. David Tinker. Investigators do not believe there was any criminal act involved but are piecing together what happened.

“We’re still looking into it, seeing if some other medical issue would have caused this, caused him to fall,” Tinker said. “We’re not sure.”

A family man

Overlin described his uncle as a family man. Both he and his wife had previously been pastors.

“He was really low key but always positive and always happy,” he said. “He was just so in love with my aunt. He would do anything for her.”

A Des Moines funeral home cremated Booher’s remains.

His funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the First Church of God in Pryor Okla.

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So my goal is NOT  to try to pass judgement on whose fault this might be.  Legally it will all be decided after all the investigations are complete.  It could be the Mangement, the Operator, or even Steve himself.  Or a combination of many things all happening at the wrong time.  It sure does raise many questions for them to decide.  We heard the operator was operating this ride for first time that day.  So did he get adequate training?  I do know Rich had orientation when we got here.  He had safety movies to watch.  Was their enough on the job training?  Should their be a safety switch that the assist needs to push to allow the operator to engage the ride.  So many questions for the authorities to answer.  For years this ride has operated safely……..until that day.

Basically, we need to learn from this tragic accident that Safety is ….NOT A JOKE….We take things for granted.  Just because we get by many times by doing things OUR WAY, it only takes once.   One time and an accident may occur.   It could injury you, your friends at work, or a terrible thought, your family member.  It could haunt you the rest of your life, that something that only took a second to occur has destroyed someone else’s life.  That’s a terrible burden to carry.  Think about safety….It is something we can follow everyday, in our jobs, our cars, and at home.  It is a part of life.

For all of my Advantage Logistics friends.  Our wonderful Sandy Knott was the best thing the company ever had .  She loved her job of Risk Control.  She was always living, breathing and preaching safety.   But it was heart felt.  She cared about all of us.  It was not about the paycheck, it was that she wanted us all to have a HAPPY, HEALTHY LIFE.   That was her daily goal.   She would laugh, and cry with us, what ever it took for her to help us make it through the day and stay safe.  They lost a wonderful caring soul the day she quit.   Thank You Sandy for everything you did for us, and everything you tried to do.  I sure hope your Appreciated for all your worth at your new job.

So Today is Tue.  One week ago Today,  this poor man went to work for his 6th day at Adventureland.  He never came home that day.  He passed away Saturday and his services were held today in Oklahoma.   How fast life can change in an instant.   This should have never have happened, but it did.   So lets learn something from it and go forward.

 

 

The “Monster” is Now Running

The new ride,  “The Monster” is now open for business.  It was opened a little over a week ago.  The night before, they let the park employees ride it.   Nope, NOT US…..but we watched.   The next morning the local newscaster rode it solo, live on his newscast, with a Go Pro on his head.  That was all I needed to see    NO THANK YOU.  We’ll stay on the ground.  The Iowa Governor was their that afternoon also.  They have installed some fabulous lights on it.  They are continually  changing colors.  As the coaster fly’s by the tracks color changes again as if the coaster is a shooting star.  Of coarse then you hear all the screaming coming from the car.  lol.

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Saturday, June 11, was our oldest grandson Camerons “18th” Birthday.  He drove out with his friend and spent 2 days.  He went to Adventureland of course, did some fishing at the pond here and grandpa took them out to eat at Bonanza Steak house in DesMoines while I was working.  We had different days off, so it was impossible to do things together.  I think they had a good time.  I know he enjoyed the road trip of 4 hours, especially since he just traded his pick up for an Eclipse.  That would be one of those models you fall in….then crawl back out…..

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Happy “18th” Birthday  Cameron

I didn’t get a good picture of him here but this is one of my favorites from last Christmas when they were down at South Padre Island for the holiday.  We rented this jeep to ride on the beach…….So now he is “OFFICIALLY an ADULT”…..lol….Responsible for all his actions, Good or Bad…..lol….But at 18 you generally know it all right?….LIFE IS GOOD….

I’ll go back a bit with some pictures we took at our Workampers Chicken Dinner and Orientation. 

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This is the HR Director Gary Paredekooper.  He took us all for a walking tour through part of the park before we opened full time.

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We stopped at  RATHSKELLAR Beer Gardens.  They offer 21 varieties of imported German Import Beers.  They also offer sodas and hamburgers, fries and other snacks.  We were allowed to all have a beer.

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We walked back to almost the Waterpark and seen the back part of the Tornado Rollercoaster.

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This roller coaster is The Outlaw.  After all that we went to back to the front to the Palace Theater.  We were given a Nice Chicken dinner and Welcome speeches from the Owners and managers.  They have hired over 300 Workampers this year.  We have been given free camping and an hourly wage, plus bonus is we stay till the end of the year.  Gary went to Arizona, Texas and Florida, last winter to recruit everyone.  So we have people in the campground from all over.  It is quite a group, and all so friendly.  Some have been coming back for many years.

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Here  is Rich in his uniform on his way to work.  We have been given 2 shirts, we supply kaki shorts or pants, black shoes with black belt, or white shoes with brown belt.  We are also given a hat or visor, and of course a full length rain coat.  We are out their   RAIN OR SHINE….and we have already used the rain coats.  We can only go into the park on week days on a day off to buy food or retail.  Otherwise we cannot shop or ride rides, in our uniform on working days.  We have a commissary for breaks with really cheap food.  But how have we been coping?     Well…..OUR FEET ARE SORE….standing for hours is really hard.  crowds had been really light so not a lot of business at the games.  We have to stay at our game at all times.  I have worked the games now in all 3 areas,   Alpine, Dragon and County Fair.  I’ve worked Bingo, Can it, Bash a Bully, Guess your Age and Weight, Roller Bowler, Derby Downs, Sea Race, Goblet, and Smashing Plates…..that’s just a few….lol….We change every day.  Now Rich works a ride for a week at a time.  He has worked as an assist on Himalaya, and then Operator on Chuck Wagon and now operator on Tilt a Wirl.  Starting tomorrow, he will be an assist on the rollercoaster The Dragon.  The weather has been really hot the last several days.  Mid 90’s with heat index over 100……..Last week I not only had achy feet, I started to ache all over and get a scratchy throat.  Well it developed into what I will call the Iowa Crud.  lol.  It seems every state has the crud that seems to take you down for a while.  My head was so full, I wondered how I would make it,  I really was beginning to think it wouldn’t, but it has now broken and every day is better.  I will survive.  But guess what,…..I gave it to Rich….He is in the recliner resting up for our next shift this afternoon of 90 degree weather.   I remember when we were first at the Gas pipeline last September and it was so hot, I thought we wouldn’t survive.  Once you get accustomed and find out how,  it really isn’t that bad.   Then you begin to enjoy your surroundings……lol…Words of Wisdom…..Yesterday, I brought my water jug, filled it full of their ice they supply.  Cameron showed me these Cool Wraps at Walmart.  I bought a 2 pack, and I believe they will be the answer.  Yesterday it felt so good to wrap my neck or just wipe my forehead with it.

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“THANK YOU CAMERON”   This is my Salvation…..lol….

If it dries, just poor more water on it and it soaks in.   Great Product.  They were a 2 pack for $8.   Not bad at all.  Yesterday, I worked from 3-10.  I only had to rewet it twice.  It was nice to have something cool and wet to wipe my face and neck.  I worked the Duck Pond again, and we had more kids.  That made it more enjoyable.  It was a good evening, so I think I’m over the hump.  Feeling better and maybe now I can start enjoys this gig a little more……Rich is just going to have to suffer the next few days also.  My next day off is Thur, and his is Fri.   After that we should have Fridays off together.  Everything just seems to take time to work out…….

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Just wanted to report on this poor momma duck.   I had put her picture in the last blog.  She is still sitting in the middle of her flower pot on Main Street.  She has weathered several driving rain storms and all this high 90s heat with no shade or protection.  I sure hope her eggs hatch soon.  I have walked by her and she is panting.  I’m sure she stays their from the time the park opens till it closes to protect her eggs.   Kids are always walking by and talking to her and showing their friends.  Apparently they don’t bother her.

Tomorrow, I will be able to see her again and see her progress….

 

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.

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This is the Space Shot…..Not for me…..lol.   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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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”……

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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.

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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…..lol….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…..lol….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…..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…….