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….

 

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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…….