Friday, May 31, 2013


We just took our first ever family vacation that wasn't to see family. It's a little late but when you're putting people through college and raising babies it just works out this way.

We had a lot of help. A friend has a sister who got us an amazing deal on a hotel room and we went with a group to a water park so we could score a discount.

Loaded up and ready to go!

We went to Wisconsin Dells, which is like the Wisconsin version of Pigeon Forge TN. The awesome thing was I love a good road trip and at about 4 hours it was a nearly perfect "after work" drive.

Aw. Area 51 is closed! (Taken in some small town off the highway.)

After arriving quite late we settled in and prepared for the next day: Mt Olympus. The park is seriously big. 

I was totally expecting a repeat of all my Tennessee experiences of water parks. Long lines. Concrete so hot your shoes start to burn your feet. Wall to wall people. However my friend Sara was awesome when choosing a time for this outing. It was in the low 80's all day, plenty of sun, cool breeze, no bugs and very few people! Local schools are still in session so the park was fairly quiet!

G kinda fell in love with the bumper boats. In back one of many wooden roller coasters none of us wanted to try. We're ultra cool like that.

My super sexy hubby in a hat and the only sunglasses we could find to fit over his prescription glasses. How could you not love this guy?

Fi's big love for the day was Poseidon's Rage. A wave pool that had huge waves that would crash down on people. The water was so cold I might have eeek'ed a little when stepping into it the first time. By a little I mean "a lot" and "loudly". 

Wait for it... wait for it...

My favorite part was traveling with children old enough I could say "keep an eye on each other" and they did! Also traveling with other families so our children had friends to play with and D and I could sit by the lazy river and get a tan sunburn.

Because I'm always prepared I ordered a super ultra mega Godzilla sized hat. I am serious about sun protection. There's no light up here for months and I managed to burn myself just before the trip. I was the only one at the park in a huge hat and I couldn't have cared less. 

Skin cancer prevention is my super power.

There were lots of things around the Dells that I hadn't seen in a long time. Like a machine that smashed a penny into a souvenir. I thought they were illegal now... something about destroying currency. Anyway the kids thought it was grand. Fifty one cents for a souvenir? Yes please. 

After a great day of so much fun we went back to the hotel room and rested a little while before going out to dinner. After dinner a storm blew through (bringing tornados to the SW corner of the state) so I had no choice but to order dessert. It was a hardship but I soldiered through it for my family.

The next morning I had a first world problem when I went to wash my face before we went down to find breakfast. Here I'm standing at the sink. Not back from it. My leg are touching the counter. Oh the weird lives of tall girls. I could have washed my feet easier than my face in our hotel room sink!

All drama aside we got it together and went to Wizard Quest. I took my camera but quickly realized she should have waited in the car. This was a crazy pants adventure with us looking for hidden doors, crawling through tunnels, smacking into mirrors and trying to find earn points to save 4 wizards!

We didn't finish our quest in time but we did selected the harder quest. Next time though we'll be prepared! 

After we left we did lunch and then decided to go find a roadside attraction just south of the Dells. 

It was so much more than a road side attraction. Dr. Evermor's Forevertron was something we'd read about online but being in person was just astounding. There were lots of amazing sculptures from scrap pieces Tom Every collected and reconfigured. The imagination of this man must have been amazing. I saw bits of things I recognized but never would have dreamed of assembling. (Click any picture to make it bigger.)

There's a whole story behind the Forevertron. And honestly these pictures do it no justice at all. The layers and layer of details are just overwhelming. There's also a lot of rust on many pieces (the park is so big I have no idea how his wife is keeping it going) but that has charm in and of itself. 

We spent a lot longer there than expected talking to "Lady Eleanor" and finding the geocache she mentioned. The entire experience was somewhere between visiting an art gallery with an exhibit that changes you fundamentally and sitting in a friends yard chatting. Truly amazing. And there's no admission fee but they do take donation which D and I were happy to support. I mean, just mowing the property alone would be a feat.

Everything online told me that pieces moved and shifted but nothing told me they were musical. Until Lady Eleanor showed G how to play the scales of a dragon. 

 We left just as it started to rain. Fantastically the wind that started before the storm made the whole place rattle and chime. I can't imagine the noise in a rainstorm.

But it was time to head home. So we did.

It is really good to be home. But I think we just had one of our best family vacations ever. I hope that the next time we head south we can stop by Forevertron again. Lady Eleanor mentioned trying to paint the sculptures in the future just to keep things protected from the elements. I'd love to see what that'd look like.

And we didn't do everything we wanted in the Dells which is good, it left us wanting to visit again.

For all my friends with really young kids: traveling with an 8 and 13 year old was FANTASTIC. I promise it gets easier. Promise.


Adam said...

Offer to help with the painting, to make it a more memorable experience.

NEDP said...

Adam - That's *exactly* what Derek suggested. It's just over 4 hours south so we'll have to see when we'll next be this way and give her a call. I can't imagine all that metal painted a variety of colors.

Mawgui said...


Kathy Holperin said...

Looks like you had an awesome vacation! We'll have to check out "Forevertron" sometime! And, yes, squished pennies are my souvenir of choice as well!