Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Bedrock! Twitch, twitch!"


I intend to sing this song as I enter the stoney gates of Flintstone's Bedrock City in a mere couple of days. I may wear my Wilma necklace - you know the one: small, white granite boulders. It offsets my long neck.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

For my 300th post: A 45th Anniversary Tribute

They're hiding in the basement: grainy 8MM movies of my family's first visit to Disneyland back in 1966. I was all of three years old and there's footage of me wearing a bucket hat and kiddie sunglasses. There's also a long segment of Pam running in circles; but that's just par for the course and an ode to my temperament over the years.

The real treasure of the footage is approximately five glorious minutes taken while riding "It's a Small World". I clearly remember the images of the Parisian dancing girls and their flirtatious winks, the comical penguins, and Cleopatra, majestically reclining on her settee. My parents were so taken with the magic, color and spectacle of the experience; I kept hoping the ride would stop so I could hop out of our boat and join in with the dancing kids!

Happy 45th birthday to a true Disney classic. And thank you Mary Blair, for sharing your talent and sense of play with the world.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Back in the saddle again!

Guess where we'll be in about a week.

The Road Trip continues when we take the All-American Road Trip to South Dakota. To visit Flintstone's Bedrock City in Custer. But on the way, I'm gonna saddle up one of 'em doggies right here. With the percoolyer horns on 'em.

Yee ha! Wall Drug here we come!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gratitude for Oprah... and a whole lot more.

Just finished watching the series finale of "The Oprah Show" and I'm still rather emotional about the whole thing. I mean, it's like she's been there for me, for almost half my life, someone I could count on at 9 A.M., to bring a little light and inspiration into my day.

In her final show, she gave viewers her personal email address to write to her, to check in with her, let her know what matters to them. And she promised to read as many of the emails as she could.

So I did it; before writing this blog post, before checking emails, before (gasp!) updating my status on Facebook, I wrote to Oprah and thanked her for reminding me to keep an attitude of gratitude. I know, that hits some people as rather corny, but I feel it's the act of acknowledging the gifts God gives you when you take time to be grateful every day.

My gratitude list, right off the top of my head, at this moment, in my office, after a thunderstorm, with a stream of gray light shining in:

I'm so very grateful for my wonderful husband; my dad (who, although he's battling dementia and a string of physical ailments, still smiles in a way that brings a rainbow into any room he's in); for Ivy - my dainty beaglette; for my home; my car (which is in the shop for maintenance, NOT a huge repair!!); my talents of acting, speaking with a clear voice, oral interpretation, mimicry, and singing which have given me the ability to earn a living for over twenty years; my intuition; the money I DO have; the angels that have been with me on my travels for my book, "The Cotton Candy Road Trip", who constantly urge me on and bring amazing stories to me in serendipitous ways; my wacky and wonderful friends; my kick-boxing, kick-ass, vegan, tattooed cousin; and for God, the Universe, The Great Mystery.

So thanks, Oprah, for reminding me that when I'm grateful, a powerful light works through me, setting the stage to create miracles wherever I go.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Hate When This Happens.


No, really. I'm not saying that in the old "SNL" sketch way. I mean it. I've lost track of the number of times I hear of a park (or ride) being closed because of upkeep costs or insurance fees. It's so important for classic amusement park attractions to be preserved. Many coasters are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, but not nearly enough. Or a coaster may receive an award from ACE (American Coaster Enthusiasts) which may save the ride.

Here's sending good wishes to the Dania Beach Hurricane. When I win Powerball, I'll make sure you get the help you need.

Friday, May 20, 2011

If the world ended tomorrow, what would you do TODAY?

While looking back on the 33 parks visited for my book, I realized how amazing it's all been and what wonderful sights, sounds, tastes and smells I've encountered; not to mention incredible, life-changing stories I've unearthed.

Just recently I've heard that there are many who feel tomorrow will be the Rapture, and Jesus will take true believers up to heaven, leaving everyone else down here to figure things out. Got me to thinking: what would I do if I knew the Earth was going to melt tomorrow?

So many things: some profoundly moving (visiting loved ones), others downright silly (the Pig's Trough ice cream explosion at Brown Cow in Forest Park, IL). But I don't feel like getting all reflective on it all. Not just now.

But perhaps I should seek out some cotton candy. Perhaps you should, too. I hope you'll be as successful as I was a mere two weeks ago, when I found freshly-spun, sugary gossamer strands at Oaks Park in Portland. Here I am, feeding my face.

Like there's no tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Little Miss Muffett

I'm afraid of spiders. I've always fancied myself a modern day Miss Muffett because even if there's a small, grey, house spider in the bathroom, Ben will likely be hearing me yell, "Sweeeeeetieeeee! Could you come here, please?" and, my Knight in Baggy Sweatpants (he works from home) will be there in a flash, armed with a small Tupperware container to catch the menacing spider and set it free outside. Because Ben is the Gandhi of Pest Removers.

Miss Muffett seems quite content here in this photo from Oregon's Enchanted Forest. Perhaps she has her own Knight ever at the ready...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday on the Blog with Photos!

(Carriage detail from Santa Cruz Boardwalk carousel)
"Spirit of place! It is for this we travel, to surprise its subtlety; and where it is a strong and dominant angel, that place, seen once, abides entire in the memory with all its own accidents, its habits, its breath, its name". - Alice Maynell

Vintage parks are places that have woven within their fibers memories sweet and tragic, their own vital breath, and names that make us recollect childhood wonder.

That's why I'm now venturing forth to park #34 in just a few weeks' time. And all on my own nickel. Because "spirit of place" is certainly real and true and palpable, deserving of our respect.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Photos of Enchanted Forest Theme Park, Salem
This photo of Enchanted Forest Theme Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Fairytale dreams come true at Eugene, Oregon's Enchanted Forest. Essentially wedged into the side of a hill, it took seven years to build - from scratch, mind you. Roger Tofte had no Imagineers supplying him with specs and detailed diagrams for animatronics. Nope - the man had a vision and just built the park on his own (well, with family help and the aid of his small son's Radio Flyer).

The outcome? A thoroughly engaging, beautifully-realized park everyone can enjoy. From Storybook Lane, complete with a variety of your favorite Mother Goose characters come to life, to Western Town(with sidewalks on crazy inclines and a museum with the silliest displays you'll ever see this side of the Pecos), Enchanted Forest delights with clever details and gentle humor. There's Ye Old World Village with surprises around every corner, featuring an amazing dark ride, "The Challenge of Mondor" (which you can read about in the book you'll find in the gift shop. Yes, there's a book devoted to the ride itself!) A nifty bobsled ride and a super-soaking log flume beckon those seeking scarier thrills. And Disney's Master Gracey would be proud to call their Haunted House his summer home.

Oh - the above photo, courtesy of Tripadvisor, comes from the fantastic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs walk-through attraction, where you venture forth in search of those seven little men busy at their day job: mining for jewels. Rainbow-colored caves and stalactites and shimmering pools of water abound. Expect "oohs" and "aaahs" from young and old alike.

Happy 40th Anniversary, Enchanted Forest! So glad my Road Trip is taking two years, because if I'd have rushed my touring, I would've dismissed your park as being too "young" for my purposes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

"There used to be a huge park called Jantzen Beach. I think there's a shopping mall there now, but the carousel remains"

Just got back from Oregon with many a photo and many a story from two wonderful and unique parks, Enchanted Forest and The Oaks. But I'd be remiss if I didn't make mention of the one long-gone park every Oregonian I spoke with reminded me to research: Jantzen Beach Park. Yes, Jantzen, like the swimsuits.

The park was called "the Coney Island of the Northwest" and with good reason. When it opened in 1928, Jantzen was the largest park in the country, square footage-wise. It lasted until 1970 when a variety of bad knocks finally created its demise, including fire and flood and a roller coaster-related fatality (never a good thing). Today, only the carousel remains, situated in Portland's Jantzen Beach Super Center Mall.

Word is the carousel is haunted by the ghosts of two small children dressed in 1920s garb.

But that's another story for another day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Saw: the Ride" at England's Thorpe Park

I've never seen the films, but if this ride is in any way indicative of the freak fest that IS a "Saw" film, then I'll kindly say "thanks, but no thanks."

Watch this video if you dare. Seriously, it's plain out freaky. But I like the guy in the blue windbreaker.


Thorpe Park opened in 1979, built on a former quarry. Not vintage, and certainly not in the States, but I just had to post the link for the coaster...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I never thought I'd get this depressed over a park, ever.

Maybe it's the weather: another delightful day of eight minutes of sun and warmth followed by slick, icy-feeling rain and gray clouds. Maybe it's the lack of v.o. auditions and work (yes, again). Can't quite be sure who or what is to blame, but it's been One of Those Days.

And this didn't help:


While reading up on the re-tooling of Disney's California Adventure, I came upon an article comparing the new ocean-themed section of the park with Pacific Ocean Park, an nautical park that used to live on Santa Monica Pier. Seems that most folk said it was "no contest - POP wins anyday." So I was curious and had to do some research.

Pacific Ocean Park (1958-1967) is the vintage park I never visited but the one whose demise immediately hit me deeply in the solar plexus. POP appeared to have it all: that aforementioned ocean theme right on the ocean, a wonderful mid-century aesthetic (very Mary Blairesque, which makes me want to sob right here and now), and an array of rides that rivaled Disneyland, including a magic carpet ride and a Trip to Mars ride that, when it finished spinning you into a frenzy, let you exit into a Martian landscape! (Reminds me of the "Outer Limits" episode I recently watched, "Second Chance", where folks enter a space ride only to find out that it's a lot more real than they bargained for. Sorry, if I saw this guy handing out free tickets to an amusement park ride, I'd run the other way.)

Anyway - Pacific Ocean Park closed in 1967 and then fell victim to fire in the early 70s. A few miles north of where it once stood you'll find Pacific Park which is a pleasant enough oceanside, pier park, but nothing, NOTHING, like the piece of art POP once was.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Brilliant idea for Conneaut Lake Park! Vote Daily!

Conneaut Lake Park is on the upswing, after having a bad run of luck a few years back, when the park was closed for two years, the ballroom burned down (really wrecking the midway area), and things got so bad the park was used as a backdrop in a film depicting a post-apocalyptic world, "The Road".

Just last year, the park won a Pepsi Refresh Everything grant for $50,000 to help restore its rollercoaster. Now the park is looking to utilize Pepsi Refresh Everything again, for a really innovative idea: a fresh new use of the midway space! The trustees are hoping to win another grant in order to turn the midway into an artisan mall, featuring local artists' work. Brilliant and creative!

Vote daily to help not only the park get more business, but to encourage economic growth in the community of Conneaut Lake!