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Category: Local Interest

Indiana Beach Mystery Mansion

Indiana Beach Mystery Mansion

I have fond memories of Indiana Beach, and especially of this classic pretzel dark ride: Mystery Mansion.

So far, this is the only known online pictures or footage of Mystery Mansion at Indiana Beach (thanks to foch41). Skip along to 1:57 for footage of the ride.


Tom Spackman, Chief Executive Officer of Indiana Beach, designed and developed the Mystery Mansion ride in 1969, and it ran until 1998 when it was re-themed into the Den of Lost Thieves by Sally Rides.

You can also read a lot about pretzel dark rides here.

Details and information:

I’m currently working on a wikipedia article with all the info I could find here:


If you have memories, pictures, or video, PLEASE link them or upload them somewhere and drop a link in the comments. If you were a ride operator, maintenance, remember any of the scenes or interior, please comment on those too!

Christmas Valley Oregon

Christmas Valley Oregon

For people who enjoy deserts and sage – Oregon’s Christmas Valley has some really cool adventures.

  • Fort RockFort Rock is on the western side of Christmas Valley and is a naturally occurring tuff ring, a kind of volcanic crater that forms when hot magma meets cold groundwater. It’s also the site of a cave where archaeologists unearthed several pairs of sagebrush sandals confirmed to be about 10,000 years old – providing some of the earliest evidence for human occupation in North America.
  • Crack-In-The-Ground – An ancient volcanic fissure, Crack-in-the-Ground offers one of the most fascinating slot-canyon like hikes in Oregon. A dirt trail leaves the sagebrush behind and descends into the fissure, which measures two miles long, 15 feet wide and up to 70 feet deep.
  • Hole-In-The-Ground – Another volcanic landmark with a literal name, Hole-in-the-Ground is a big explosion crater (known as a maar) in the middle of nowhere, measuring nearly a mile across
  • Christmas Valley Sand Dunes – When thinking of sand dunes, Oregonians tend to think of the Oregon coast. Way out in the desert of central Oregon is another set of dunes, covering 11,000 acres of land and reaching up to 60 feet high
  • Fossil LakeFossil Lake is dry lakebed on the southeast side of the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, well known among paleontologists as a site for fossils. The ancient lake that once filled the area is thought to have been 200 feet deep, but over time it slowly dried up, leaving behind the remains of many prehistoric animals that visited its shores.
  • Lost Forest – Lost Forest is what remains of an ancient forest of ponderosa pines, which once covered much of the region
  • Glass ButtesGlass Buttes is one of Oregon’s best places to find and (legally) gather shards of obsidian
Portland Winter Light Festvial 2021

Portland Winter Light Festvial 2021

The Portland Winter Light Festival has been growing every year. What started as a very humble collection of eccentric artists has become a ever growing event.

Unfortunately, half of this year’s event occurred during our big snowstorm – the very weekend I was hoping to go out so I missed most of it. Bummer. However a few folks posted some video of this year’s event:

Also, here’s some collected photos from the event over the last few years to enjoy


Oregon 1986

Oregon 1986

Set in the fictional city of Providence Oaks, Oregon in 1986, Lake is an upcoming, chill-looking game where you deliver mail and get to know the town’s quirky locals.

Oregon custom plate search

Oregon custom plate search

Want to get a custom Oregon license plate? You can check the availability of your desired vanity plate online here:

Interestingly, even if the plate is available it doesn’t mean you can get it. All vanity plates must pass through 3 different reviewers independently to make sure you’re not trying to slip something nefarious by them. Also, there are some other limitations:

  • Currently 6 characters is the max and 1 character is the minimum
  • Transliteration happens for the letter O => number 0. i.e. LOOPY == L00PY
  • Just because a plate is Available for reservation, doesn’t mean it will be issued. Requests can be denied for a number of reasons.
  • All Oregon Custom Plates go through a panel, of 3 persons (I believe), who review appropriateness of each Custom Plate Request.
  • Just because because a plate configuration isn’t currently Restricted doesn’t mean it will pass the review panel.

This guy even made a twitter feed that checks for common and funny words you might want and when they come available.

Winter shelters in Oregon

Winter shelters in Oregon

Gold Lake Shelter with deep snow on roof

I was aware and visited the warming hut at Teacup near Mt Hood on several occasions, but little did I know that the Willamette National Forest has winter shelters maintained by volunteers for use by winter sports enthusiasts. Some of the shelters even permit overnight stays; some are warming shelters only. There are also three winter cabin rentals available by advance reservation. How cool is that?

Fuji Shelter with skiers overlooking hill to snow covered mountains in background
Maiden Peak Shelter with deep snow on roof and skiers along side

List of shelters with information, recent condition, and trail links.

Retro game pricing

Retro game pricing

I went to the annual Portland Retro Game Swap Meet (sponsored by SideQuest Games – a newer game shop that seems to land shockingly amazing and rare gaming gear on a regular basis – see the link) and picked up a few small things. I’m mostly interested in old PC stuff, so I’m not the direct target audience.

However, I did find folks referring to the following resources when valuing their games.

This site gives current and historical prices for almost every video game on every platform. They track and price loose, complete, new condition games. Fascinating site to see what’s hot, and what’s not.


WATA is one of the professional game grading services. You send your game and they pay for them to grade them. Prices range from $35 for a basic grading to well over $200 for rapid grading.