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Alethea & Athena
The Berry Farm 
17th-Dec-2015 08:18 pm
I'm kind of in lala land right now; I'm not sure what all happened today. The important thing is, we finished our translation! And we would have finished it early if we hadn't deliberately thrown off our own schedule. We had planned to use today, the last day before our passes get blocked out for the rest of the year, to go to Disneyland and finish up some Gift Quests. Then the Gift Quest in question was rendered irrelevant, so we were going to stay home and take advantage of the extra time, but then we realized we needed a Pluto hat, so off to Disneyland we went! More on that later.

Today, I wanted to write about our berry farm adventures. A week and a day ago, we went to Knott's Berry Farm, which may sound like a place that farms berries, and originally it was. But now it's a theme park! Tadah! And its theme is mostly an expanded Frontierland (even though apparently Knott's Berry Farm started being a theme park before Disneyland was built), but more importantly (these days) is the thrill rides. We don't really like thrill rides, though, so we were mostly there for the theme and the shopping. But first, we went to the RV park to meet up with all of Alice's relatives, with whom we were going.

The day started out with our encountering a child (one of Alice's nephews) who was reading Prince Caspian, and someone asked what book it was in the (Narnia) series, and I said, "Book three! No wait, that's Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It's book two!" And the child, referring to the number on the cover, said, "No, it's book four." And we were like, "No it absolutely is not. The publisher got it wrong." And we launched into a rant about how you can't read The Magician's Nephew before you read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, because it completely ruins the mystery and magic of encountering Narnia for the first time with Lucy. Why must people be so insistent on linear narratives!?

Perhaps in an attempt to put a positive spin on the conversation, Gaston said, "But the movies were really good!" Not to be deterred in my ire, I declared, "No they're not, and here's why." and launched into my rant about how the WHOLE POINT of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is Aslan's sacrifice, and they treated it like an afterthought!

Anyway, apparently the child found all our angry ranting endearing, because he was attached to us for a little while after that. I'm going to guess that it's because we showed genuine interest in something he likes. And then we all drove to Knott's Berry Farm.

We started out with some aimless wandering but eventually we found ourselves in Camp Snoopy, and somehow the first ride there was something called the Sierra Sidewinder. It looked a little too thrilling for us, but we figured if it was in Camp Snoopy (aka: Kids' Corner), it couldn't be that bad, and since there wasn't a line, we got on it. It was a small-ish roller coaster, but the cars were made special, so instead of just facing forward, they spin around as the coaster takes you up and down. It was a pretty wild experience! By the end, Athena says her brain had relocated to one side of her skull, because our car tended to favor certain angles.

We decided that ride was at the edge of what we could handle, and soon thereafter, we discovered that Knott's has a thrill rating system for its rides! The Sidewinder was a 4, so we figured we could go on anything 4 or below...but then we discovered that Big Foot Rapids was a 5. Big Foot Rapids was the very first thrill ride we willingly went on, back when we were eleven years old, and people only convinced us to go on it by assuring us it wasn't that scary...and it really wasn't. We thought maybe they'd changed the ride in the last twenty-two years, but we went on it again and it was the same. This was when we knew with a certainty that Knott's needs to revise its thrill rating system. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

After the Sidewinder and a little Charlie Brown train ride, our group split up, and we went with Gaston and Alice and "the big kids" in search of "big kid" rides. First we came up against the Jaguar, which actually had a fancy queue area (not a very common thing at Knott's), which I found to be rather intimidating, so even though it, too, was a 4, I almost chickened out of this one, but then Alice's father pointed out that they didn't even have shoulder harnesses, so it couldn't be that bad, right? Right. It turned out to be almost relaxing because it really wasn't very fast at all.

On the other hand, the shoulder harness logic was overturned pretty soon thereafter, when we came up against the Xcelerator. It didn't have shoulder harnesses, either, but we looked at the track for it and immediately said, "Nope." It went straight up, over a curve, then straight down. Like an upside-down U. Nope. So Athena and I hung back with the one big kid who was just barely tall enough but didn't want to go on it, either. Unfortunately for him, his parents made him go on the next one (the Boomerang), which included a loop and a half loop, then sends you back through the same track only backwards. But back to the Xcelerator, Gaston reported on it thus, "The good news is, it's over before you can start to cry."

Then there was their newest attraction: Voyage to the Iron Reef. It's a 3D interactive ride that mostly involves shooting mechanical steampunk sea creatures. It was pretty fun but made me motion sick. There are two important things about it. We went on it three times, and every time, Athena (the resident video gamer) managed to get approximately all the special medallion things, while Gaston (naturally) usually had the highest point score (not the first time, but that was because he was playing with two guns, since there was an empty seat next to him). The other important thing is that it had its own special gift shop with awesome plush octopuses. We had one by the end of the day.

And I have been multitasking while writing this post, and I just thought of all the things I still want to write about, but I don't want to do it all right now, so I'm going to save that for later.

Today I'm thankful for finishing our translation today, obtaining a Pluto hat, getting to continue our milkshake quest (today we tried the milkshakes at Flo's V8 Cafe; still not as good as Ghirardelli's), getting to visit the berry farm, and getting a super cool plush octopus.
18th-Dec-2015 01:25 pm (UTC)
I never quite knew what Knotts Berry Farm was, although I've been hearing about it all of my life. I think I had some weird idea that it was like a factory that made jam and that you could go and take a tour of the jam-making process, and take a trip out to the berry fields, or something. It's cool that it's a theme park; but I'm with you, I don't care much for thrill rides, so I'm not sure how much fun I'd find it. I'd still go, though, most likely. :)
19th-Dec-2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
They do sell jam! I think it started out as a berry farm, and then people would stop by on their way to various places so they started serving chicken dinners, and that got to be super popular, so they started having other attractions to help guests pass the time while they waited for a table...but I could be really wrong on that, so definitely check Wikipedia for a more accurate version of events.

Anyway, it's not only thrill rides--I didn't get a chance to talk about the fun non-thrill ride stuff we did, but there was plenty of it! And it has a nice old-timey atmosphere to enjoy, with some themed shopping to match. So if you did find yourself there for some reason, I'm sure you would enjoy it even without the rides.
18th-Dec-2015 09:15 pm (UTC)
I was imagining you going berry picking, all this time!! Shock. I learned something new. (I could have thought more about the context and realized it's the wrong season for berry picking...)

Reading this made me want to go on roller coasters again. It's the wrong season (here) for that as well, though. I don't have any real fear of such rides (so I'm not saying this to invalidate your or anyone else's aversion) but last summer when I was at Six Flags with some siblings, I arbitrarily had decided certain rides were too much for me—too tall, too loopy, too whatever. I'd always had a certain limit when we went on family trips to Cedar Point, too, and no one challenged me too much then. But this Six Flag trip, we were celebrating my sis-in-law(-to-be)'s birthday, and one of my other brothers said that because we were celebrating with her, I HAD to go on all the rides she wanted :) So... I did. (like I said, my fears were only in my head; I haven't actually had a ride experience that ended up being more than I can handle, and if I had serious concerns I don't think my brother would have forced me on. his own wife didn't come on the trip because she doesn't do roller coasters.) And one of the rides I was all set to stay off of ended up being super fun and we went on it twice!

Still, I've heard that certain kinds of rides (like traveling carnival rides) can be a lot more intense or motion-sick-making than roller coasters, so I would probably still stay away from those.

Sorry for all that! It snowed today and I felt compelled to to indulge in some escapism and relive my happy summer memories for a bit.
19th-Dec-2015 06:55 pm (UTC)
I know, right? We grew up with Knott's Berry Farm as a theme park, so it sometimes takes me a while to realize that oh wait, the name may be a little misleading to people from out of state.

Speaking of Cedar Point! I believe Knott's originally belonged to the Knott family, but now it's owned by some big company that, based on the bags they put our souvenirs in, also owns Cedar Point! So thinking about Cedar Point might give you a good idea about what Knott's is like, but since I've never been to Cedar Point, I couldn't say for sure. (The souvenir bags had names of a bunch of different theme parks around the country; Cedar Point stood out because people we knew from college would talk about it.)

You make an excellent point about trying the rides, and that was something we realized, too, which is why we went on the Sidewinder, even when we looked at the track and thought, "That looks like it might be a liiiiittle too big for our comfort zones..."

But we also know from our experience on the Jurassic Park ride that sometimes it's not a matter of fear, it's a matter of knowing that I don't enjoy the sensation of falling. So it's always a toss-up--do I feel like challenging myself to see if I might like the way they do this despite appearances, or do I stay on solid ground? Sometimes the former won, sometimes the latter. Upside-down U, still a nope.

And no worries about resorting to escapism here! This is a safe place. XD
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