Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wisconsin Dells or Bust

I've been busy having fun with the family and our friends in the Dells, so I haven't blogged the past couple days. Let's see if I can remember what's gone on so I can recap...

THURSDAY: We were going to leave bright and early so we could get up to the Dells by 10:00AM when the waterpark opened. I suppose I should explain what "the Dells" are for those of you who don't live in the midwest. My friend Dee from Long Island asked me, "So what are the Dells? Anything like the Hamptons?" Umm, not exactly. "So you won't be running into any Baldwins there?" I don't think so. Unless they suddenly take up hunting, camping, and snowmobiling...

The Wisconsin Dells is a resort area with a ton of indoor/outdoor waterparks and other attractions. This is the first time I've ever been here, but it looks like there's a ton of stuff to do in the summer (a lot of things are closed now because it's off-season). People up here wear cheese hats and say stuff like "soda" and "yah hey der". Seriously.

Anyway, we got up here at about 11:30. I stood in a mile-long line to check in. Our room wasn't ready, but I was given wrist bands for all of us so we could swim while we waited for our room. We parked 400 miles away and dug through the suitcases to find everyone's bathing suits. Did I mention it was freezing cold, snowy and icy? I couldn't find Savannah's bathing suit anywhere. Know why? SHE FORGOT TO PACK IT! Thankfully there was a gift shop in the hotel. Fortunately, there was a bathing suit for sale that fit Savannah. Unfortunately, it was cheapish suit that cost $60!

Frozen, we all trudged through the snow to the hotel. I slipped and fell because I'm just classy that way. I bruised my knee and my ego, but thankfully wasn't really hurt. We went to one of the three indoor waterparks at this hotel, The Wilderness Territory. We swam for a while and then the kids started getting hungry. I don't know why. I mean, I fed them Twizzlers for breakfast on the way here. Chris dressed, got his room keys, and moved all his family's luggage into their room. Joe disappeared in the water park and since the kids were starting to chew their arms off, I got dressed and drove up to the main building to get my room keys. I joined the 4000 mile long line and waited for my room keys.

Ok, got the keys. Went out to car. Tried to get around circle drive so I could park, but a dozen idiots had decided to PARK in the turn-around. A line of cars behind me began to honk until some of the idiots moved.

Twenty minutes later, I got out of the circle drive from hell (Look kids! Big Ben, Parliament!) and started looking for a parking space near my room. Nothing. I began driving up and down aisles looking for a space farther away. Nothing. I began looking for any spot anywhere in the state of Wisconsin. Nothing. Grrr.

Like 4 and a half hours have passed since I left the waterpark. I'm totally stressed out. I know the kids are still back at the pool probably eating their towels at this point. Chris called me to see if I needed help. YES! I can't find a parking spot! So, Chris came out and helped me look for a spot. I found a guy who was leaving but he needed a jump. Chris pushed his car out, I gave him a jump and took his spot. Yay!

So Chris grabbed a luggage cart and helped me load up everything and get it into the hotel. It's a good thing too because I don't think I could've pushed that cart through the snow by myself. As Chris and I carried my luggage up to my room, he asked, "What room do you have?"

"I have 680."

"No you don't. That's my room."

"WHAT? Seriously? No way!"

Sure enough, the front desk gave me the same room as my friends. They gave me keys that opened THEIR door. Great. Just fabulous. The thought of walking back to the main desk gave me heart palpitations. Seriously, if you've never been to this place, it spans miles (and that's not an exaggeration.) Chris called and complained until they agreed to send someone over with keys to the right room.

This is the point we started drinking. The rest of the night was much more pleasant after this. Finally, we loaded up some food and wine and headed to the waterpark. We had fun going on the waterslides, hanging out in the lazy river and playing with the little kids in the splash areas.

FRIDAY: We went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Although I LOVE Cracker Barrel, we seem to have bad luck there. We waited an hour for our food after ordering. Ugh. The kids were awesome for the first 45 minutes, but started to lose it before our food came. I don't blame them one bit.

Back from breakfast, we went to another waterpark in the hotel. This one has a glass ceiling and tropical plants inside. It has a huge wave pool with some pretty big waves. We hung out in here for most of the day. Sometime in the afternoon, Clay told me, "I'm hungry."

"OK, well have a snack." I pointed to the bags of food we'd brought with us.

"I want a banana," he said. I knew immediately what he was thinking. He'd seen the palm trees with actual green bananas growing from it. I knew that's what he wanted.

"No, Clay, you can't pick a banana!"

"Why not?" he asked innocently.

"Because they're not your bananas. And they're still really green anyway. You wouldn't even like them now."

A short time later, I saw Clay walking back to our table with (yep, you guessed it) a banana! He climbed the tree and picked a banana! Grrrr.

SATURDAY: We hung out at the park with the huge wavepool for most of the day. We saw Billy Ray Cyrus there. One time, while Jen and I were in a double tube in the wave pool, a huge wave crashed over us and a strange girl popped up in our tube. Umm hello? One minute it was just Jen and me and the next second, some stranger was sticking her head through Jen's side of the innertube! The next wave washed her right back out. Jen and I started laughing so hard, I swear we almost drown. Ahhh, good times, good times...

We hit another park in the afternoon and they talked me into going on this waterslide called the hurricane. It's called the hurricane because it's a horrible torturous horrible horribleness. (Yes, that's a word.) You sit in this 4 person tube and drop down 15 stories and then flip around inside this big cone until you nearly fall out of the innertube. You scream your head off while you're in there. It echos off the walls. People get mad at you when you scream too much. Or so I've heard...
Truth be told, I would've gone again if the line hadn't been so long. Shhh, don't tell anyone I said that.

We finally wrapped things up and decided to grab some dinner and head home at about 6:30. As we walked out to the car, Clay slipped, Charlie Brown style, and went flying. It was really icy out. We drove across the street to Culvers for dinner. A nice couple came in and sat down by us. They overheard us talking about driving home to Chicago and felt compelled to tell us how bad the roads were. I had skidded into the parking lot at the restaurant and I was driving really slowly, so it didn't surprise me. They told us it had taken them several hours to get there from Milwaukee and they finally pulled off the highway and got a hotel room. The gentleman said he was a truck driver and was scared to be out there. They claimed they'd never seen 90 so bad.

That's all I needed to hear. I didn't get the names of those folks, but am so thankful for their warning! By the time we left the restaurant, our cars were iced over and the parking lot was a solid sheet of ice.

We decided to go across the street and find a cheap hotel room for the night. That's where we're at now. The kids are trying to get to sleep, but everyone has really red, rashy skin. The kids are all complaining that their skin is on fire. I think too many days of too much chlorine and rubbing against plastic inner tubes has really hurt our skin. Even after a shower, my legs are still on fire now too.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff, but this is already super-long and whatever I've forgotten is probably not important anyway. I'll share some pictures tomorrow when I get them off my camera.

38 comments:

Lo said...

Hysterical! On fire legs sound verra bad...I hope it's not bed buggies.

Kikilia said...

Sounds like you guys may have "swimmers itch"... The water park most likely had too much chlorine in their pools.


Hope you make it home safe and that a few days of cool water helps the itch.

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Two things:

1. You are one crazy Mama for taking your kidlets on so many vacations.

2. You are one AWESOME Mama for taking your kidlets on so many vacations.

Cookie said...

Wow! Sounds like a "fun" trip ;)
And just so ya know. I'm not from Wisconsin and I say "soda." Actually most of the country does say, "soda." There is something wrong with people who say, "pop." :P

Jennifer A. said...

you mean you didn't drag the kids to Paul Bunyon's for breakfast? I liked it, the kids were not impressed and mad we took them away from the water park.
I have never been to Wilderness, but after hearing your and other peoples' impressions, I'll keep staying at the Kalahari

Mayberry Mom said...

I live in WI (2 hours from the Dells), I do say "soda", but not once in my life have I said "yah, hey der" LOLOLOLOLOL I do say "bubbler" though. and there is a great Wiki article on why we say that here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubbler
For those that don't want to follow the link, it's a brand name, kind of like how we call tissues "Kleenex".

I went to college in MN and they say "uff da" in the Northern Part of the state. I almost drove home to WI the next day after hearing that one!!

The ice is headed my way, oh joy!

I hope you get home safely on Sunday!

JHooper In SC said...

Im so glad you posted. I have been following your twitters (and dare i say Laughing my head off at a few of them) Im SC we NEVER see weather like you speak of, but we did have a main water line break tonight and flood our yard and it is coldish (45 *snicker) so the water froze my feet...close enough? LOL I cant imagine looking out of the pool and seeing snow falling ...sounds great!
Oh and im glad you figured out the @replies tab on twitter..took me a while when i joined as well!

Jennhoop

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

That skin on fire thing doesn't sound right to me! Was there too much chlorine in the pool? Do the suits look bleached out?

Colleen said...

I'm probably not the first to say this, but the rashes could be from bacteria in the pools. Sorry. If it's not better in a day or two, might want to make a trip to the Drs. Sounds like a fun time tho!

Julie Sturgeon said...

Dawn, that is definitely the kind of vacation we end up with in our family. Right down to Cracker Barrel and Culvers ... isn't it a blast?!

Paula71 said...

What an adventure you have had? I pray you get home safely. Try Aveeno for soothing relief. It may soothe them.
Twit to us to let us know how things are going.

Andi said...

Praying for your safe return to civilization. Doesn't it seem like when you come back from vacation, you need another one to recover from the one you just took? Glad you're back....

Whatever happened to the banana that Clay made a souvenier out of?

momto3cubs said...

We LOVE Wisconsin Dells! Definitely go back during summer. You could spend an entire month there and not experience half the activities. Heck, you could spend most of the winter just visiting a different indoor waterpark each weekend. (Mt. Olympus is our favorite resort. And they have world-class roller coasters to enjoy during summer.)

Marcie said...

I LOVE THAT HOTEL!! My family went there two years ago over Christmas break. My kids also got some nasty red rashes, must be they add way to much chlorine in the water. And you saw Billy Ray Cyrus?!?! Please explain more!

Carla said...

Happy Dells to you!! Even though I live in WI I have never worn a cheese head hat nor said Yah Hey Dere. :)
I am sorry for all of the mishaps but then what would you have to blog about?

Rosemarie said...

I'm a faithful reader of your blog and also a HUGE Billy Ray Cyrus fan. I almost spilled my coffee when you casually mentioned you saw him.....LOVE your blog!

Story of our Life said...

I love going to the "Dells". We live close enough that we can/do make "day trips". If we don't - the samething happens to me that has happened to you. Usually, I insert a few curse words and then some more frustrations.

(((HUGS))) Hopeyou had fun.

VanderbiltWife said...

I'm glad to hear it was an inside park. Reading your Twitters I kept getting images of a water park in Wisconsin winter and shivering. :)

Joanna said...

Wow.... that is one heck of an adventure! Travel home safely!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

The banana incident could have been much worse, banana sap is very staining, and it stains things black! Unripe dessert bananas are very gross as Clay probably found out, though unripe plantains or "cooking" bananas are what you make banana chips and tostones out of, yum.
The idea of an indoor waterpark just boggles my mind. We haven't been swimming since the water temperature dropped into the 70s, brrr and you did while there was SNOW outside???
regards,
Theresa

Kel said...

For the end of posts like this, sounds like you need a little "*sad face* Dawn" signature. Hope the skin heals quickly!

KarenKal said...

Hey Dawn,
Next time (if you ever go back) go to the Wilderness on the Lake. You can get 2 or 3 bedroom condos. They have full kitchens and are HUGE. If you go with another family, you can split the 3 bedroom and there is enough room for 15 people to sleep. The nice part of the Wilderness on the Lake, is you can use all the Wilderness pools too but the Lake resort is not as big and less crowded. We have been going up there since it opened in 2003 and love it!

Jerri Ann said...

That sounds like the most wonderful vacation from hell ...I mean, it sounds fun....maybe it was rough around the edges but..hey fun is fun no matter how you color it on the outside.....

Anonymous said...

Billy Ray Cyrus? You mention his name in passing with no details? What's up with that???!!!

Sorry, no cheese hats in this Wisconsin house . . . . Go BEARS!!! There is far too much green and gold in this state . . . . need a little blue and orange to spice it up!

Hope you had/have a safe trip home . . . . the roads were pretty crummy this morning.

Lori

Anonymous said...

Wow, it sounds like there were a LOT of people there in the so-called "off-season!" Oh, and what's weird about soda? I'm from the west (lived in Nevada, Utah, Colorado), and that's what I call soda! What do you call it--pop?

Anonymous said...

You really saw Billy Ray Cyrus, in Wisconsin? Random.

I NEVER would have paid that much for a swimsuit! I probably would have spent hours trying to find a Walmart and messed up the day even more!

The EQ Alert Guy said...

Dawn,
The Wisconsin Dells comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! It produces half of the total tourism dollars for the State of Wisconsin!
Please visit us again in the summer for stuff like camping, boat tours, Ride the Ducks, Mini-Golf, Noahs Ark, Tommy Bartlets Ski Sky and Stage show (water permitting) and of course so the kids (and Dawn) can RIDE THE GO-CARTS!!!!!
One of my favs is the beautiful downtown where they get all those "I Took a Swig at Nigs" T-Shirts! And of course those pics where they dress the whole family up like gangsters, etc!!! And don't forget the FUDGE!!! And all the rest!!!!!
Thank-You for visiting us up here in big wonderful WISCONSIN!!! Come and see us, again!!!

Moviestar (and EQ Guy)

Michelle said...

Oh Dawn, you did have some lovely moments there, didn't you? I'm impressed that you can remember them all after the alcohol. You must not have drunk as much as I would have ;)

Glad you made it home safely. It was icy this am here... I slipped a couple times going into church. Couldn't figure out what you were talking about with the icy streets yesterday, but I sure get it now!

And ummm good luck with the redness. That doesn't sound quite right :s

Anonymous said...

We go to the Dells every couple of years either during Spring Break or in the summer. Typically we stay at Mt Olympus and have never had any skin problems.

After reading all the comments, I think its funny that people actually think you saw Billy Ray Cyrus and didn't get the mullet reference. Guess they've never been to WI!

Shari said...

I am glad you have fun. I do have one question though. Did Clay get disciplined for doing what you told him not to in the first place? Such as no time playing for a while or another discipline?

Linda C said...

Back up--Billy Rae Cyrus up here in Wisconsin (I live near Madison) in this snow and ice when he could be hanging out in California??? Sweet niblets...Now I really question his intelligence. No Miley??

Anonymous said...

Hey, not fair, I've lived in Wisconsin all of my life and not once did i ever say 'Yah Hey Der'That is an Upper Michigan accent! I've also never worn a cheese hat, i think they are ugly!! Though i have never figured out how my inlaws in Illinois have an almost southern twang to their speech and only live about an hour south of Chicago??

Rebecca said...

As a Wisconsinite, it's my duty to inform you that it's not "ya hey der", but "ya der hey". And you're only required to say it if you live in northern WI. It's a phrased borrowed from our Upper Penninsula Michigan (da U P) & Canadian neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Stayed at the Wilderness before - didn't like it either. We have however been to the Great Wolf Lodge severals times and loved it each time.

LL said...

Dawn, 2 exits north is Walmart and Kohl's. For your next trip up there and forgotten swimsuits. ;)

Oh, and just so you know, if you're the fat girl in the group *ahem* like me *ahem*, you will ALWAYS be the one going backwards on the Hurricane and your ass drags on all the seams of the ride. It's really not as fun that way. So don't gain weight or go with the skinny people. Just sayin'....

The Pirate said...

I must confess I was not smart enough to figure out how I always ended up backwards on the Hurricane, LL!

Dawn, too bad you had a somewhat bad experience at Wilderness. I've been a few times and always had a great time. Last summer at the Wilderness was probably the best vacation I've ever had, eh?

-Yooper who says "ya, hey der"

Amber Narae said...

Dawn, your grammer and spelling have taken a toll from being in WI so long! You may not be saying "yah hey der", but you are definitely slipping! For instance:

"The next wave washed her right back out. Jen and I started laughing so hard, I swear we almost drown."???

Lol. Had to give you a hard time for that one. And I did repost your "how not to use google" post on my myspace, with proper credit, of course. =)

Tracy Fiebranz said...

Ok, let me just say one thing: We only say 'yah hey der' for the FIBS! Ok, I lied, let me say something else... Dawn, $60 for a bathing suit at the gift shop when JUST up the road was Walmart!?!?!? Honey, call me next time you all come to WI Dells area. Let me guide you through the low cost, don't get ripped off by the touristy gimmicks those of us locals know about. ;) I am glad you all had a pretty decent time! "Come back real soon, now yah hear, hey der?" (giggle, snort!)

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