Sonoma TrainTown Railroad is a small amusement park that has grown up around a miniature railroad built in the 1960s. Variously described as obsessively accurate and the most well-developed miniature railroad in the Americas, the train makes a twenty minute journey through lush forest punctuated by bridges, tunnels, and even a waterfall. At the half way point, passengers disembark at a beautifully detailed model town with a small petting zoo, and while this wasn't exactly my thing, credit whoring coaster enthusiasts are obviously not the target audience.
A small number of amusement rides can be found near the park entrance, including a Carousel, a Scrambler, a Ferris Wheel, and a coaster. Dragon (#2055) was memorable mostly for the thick padding on each lap bar that did a passable job of shock absorption.
Sacramento County Fair
25th May 2014
We began our visit to Sacramento with an unsuccessful trip to Funderland Amusement Park, home to the first (and only) missed credit of our eight day trip. Flying Dragon had been closed for a fortnight to facilitate the installation of new seat belts, and while the work was complete as of our visit, it had yet to be signed off by the local authorities.
We returned to our car and drove the short distance to the Sacramento County Fair, where we handed over ten dollars for car parking and headed towards an entrance building that, on close inspection, looked like it hadn't been used in years. In due course we found the alternative, a portacabin selling tickets with a rudimentary bag check set up under a shaded awning. The ride area was just to the left of the entrance, and featured a fairly generic selection of spin rides, a powered Dragon Wagon, and one credit. Wacky Worm (Midway of Fun) (#2056) was a Fajume model dating from the turn of the century that was every bit as thrilling as we expected it to be.
John's Incredible Pizza Roseville
25th May 2014
Today was only the second time in my life that I have made a deliberate decision to visit a restaurant specialising in pizza. My reluctance stems from an allergic reaction to cheese that developed in my youth, and while this did present a minor embuggerance at the time, I've long since come to terms with it thanks to the realisation that the vast majority of Italian restaurants can manage an excellent steak and chips.
John's Incredible Pizza Company offers an all-you-can-eat buffet stocked with pizza, pasta, and a selection of salads. Gastronomes (and turophiles) would not have been impressed by the standard of the catering on offer today, which had a definite air of "school dinner" about it, perhaps aided by the small child we saw tasting from the buffet using his fingers. Most of the patrons seemed to be regulars, sporting waist and portion sizes that bordered on the frightening.
There are many words in the English language that are well suited to describing Incredible Express (#2057), but I'm going to use just one; credit. The operator gave us and a train load of children at least twenty laps of the oval shaped ride, a clone of the model I rode in a different branch of John's just over two years ago.
Silver Dollar Fair
25th May 2014
The Silver Dollar Fair is an annual event in Chico, CA that dates back to the nineteenth century. The midway this year was operated by Butler Amusements, the largest operator in the western United States, trading under the tagline of the cleanest show in the west. The enormous parking lot was very nearly full, but we eventually found a spot roughly five minutes walk from the main entrance gate.
A small child tried to push in front of us in the queue for Orient Express (Butler) (#2058), only to be removed by his father who proceeded to deliver a public lecture about the importance of waiting in line. This rare display of good parenting cheered us up no end as we ticked off our first credit, followed in short order by Wacky Worm (Butler) (#2059). These were followed by the only adult coaster of the day in the guise of Zillerator (#2060), a two decade old DPV attraction that spent a season at Playland Vancouver in the mid-nineties. The ride felt every one of its twenty years today, with the cars bottoming out quite badly on each major drop.