Before I completely bag on our latest venture, I must thank Steve for recommending this place.  It really is a grand place for kids and families.  If you’re of the same ilk as Terry and I, you must first find your “happy place” and the bar, THEN you can sit back and enjoy the ride.  And trust me, there are more twists and turns here than anything we’ve seen behind the windshield…

We had a long day on the road, our longest yet, around 242 miles.  We were trying to make up some time so we had a short ride to Seattle the following day.  And yes, we did have to ride the 5 for a while.  I know, I KNOW, I said we didn’t roll on the scary roads with Jack, but there was no alternate route when it came to shaving a few hours.  We kept is slow, our heads out of our butts, and watched for the crazies.  There’s a reason why motorcycles roll in the fast lane – you have an escape route on the left and only one lane to watch for on the right.  We were passed by a 1200GS that looked very pleased to see us.  He was able to maneuver traffic a lot easier than us as he didn’t have NEARLY the amount of gear we had.  Traffic through Portland got kind of dicey.  I made the mistake of getting in to my own head and had a bit of a time driving over the vast amount of bridges and lane changes.  It’s not cool when you lose yourself for a while, letting your mind get the best of you.  I don’t have any music flowing in so I find myself singing Christmas carols (not joking) or some other songs to get my mind back on track.  Portland is a beautiful place but requires a ton of lane changes to get to where we were going.  Let’s just say we won’t be taking the 5 back down on our return.

It was hard not to miss Great Wolf Lodge as you rolled along the freeway!  It’s a monstrous hotel that boasts an indoor water park, complete with water slides and wave pool.  We didn’t tell Jack about this as we wanted it to be a surprise.  And dude, he was so surprised.  As Terry stood in the meandering check-in line, Jack and I viewed the scene from the lobby side of the looking glass.  He sat for at least 15 minutes as we watched the throngs of people run from slide to pool to water gun.  He couldn’t wait…I could.  Getting into a bikini right now, after weeks of not training for anything, was not my idea of a grand time.  Whatever.  Suck it up and suck it in, Sandy!

We got to our room, complete with forest theme bunk beds and flat screen for Jack, and changed into our swimmin’ gear.  I refused to walk “as is” to the slides (just can’t do it) so I threw on my cargo pants.  Hey, if someone really wants to take them while we’re out on the slides, have at it!  The bad karma is all yours.  We opened the door to this family-filled wonderland and were immediately hit with the stench of extreme chlorine.  Damn!  At least I don’t have to go for that chemical peel!  There was a bar on the left (good on ya’ to the planners on this one, but we did bypass it) and headed to the wave pool.  After a time riding the waves we did the smaller slides and the dump bucket then decided to force Jack on one of the steeper slides.  It was a giant tube that we all sat in, clutching the handles just in case.  Halfway through the ride, Jack’s smile disappeared and was replaced with screaming.  Oops.  You can assume that we didn’t do that again.  I finally couldn’t handle the chlorine stench anymore and retreated to the room.  It was that bad.  Besides, a shower was in order as well as some laundry time.

Also at this glorious haven of giddiness was a ploy to make you spend more money than you were prepared to part with.   Kids and parents were running all over the ENTIRE facility with these magic wands, shaking them at various locations, racking up “points”.  You could check your total points at several check-in stations that only came to life if you had a magic wand.  And how much were these magic wands that you HAD to purchase once your kid saw everyone else doing it?  Anywhere from $14.99 to $19.99.  Imagine if you had more than one kid.  Doing the math?  So, you’re pretty much held hostage by the marketing department and hoping you have enough money for dinner and a beer later.  Yes, Jack and Terry returned to the room with a shiny new wand.  Time to run from floor to floor, flicking the wrist at any and all  inanimate objects.  It was insane!  I felt soooo bad for the dad’s that were forced into this “quality” family time!  They looked beaten (think John on “John and Kate Plus 8”) and ready to hit the suds.  A lot of “Yes, dear’s” and “Whatever you say”  were being said.

But let me get to what I really want to vent about.  When did it become okay to treat your spouse like the enemy?  And when did it become okay to not care about your own health anymore?  Dude, there were so many out of shape bodies milling about followed by out of shape kiddies.  Really?  You’re going to pass down your poor eating habits and lack of exercise to your children?  Really?!?  And I’m sorry, but that Kate haircut (the reverse mullet) is just wrong.  WRONG!  And don’t EVEN get me started about the lack of manners represented by both parents and kids.  More than once I had an armful of luggage and an adult in front of me going through a door, letting it slam right in front of my face.  There were no “excuse me’s” or “Hey, can I get the door for you’s” to be found.  Am I just living in a bubble or are we as a society really this rude?  Are we not teaching our kids, as well as ourselves, to be kind to one another?  And not even kind, just respectful.  Terry and I were appalled.  It was here that Terry and I stressed to Jack the importance of holding the door open for others and always saying “excuse me”.  I’m not trying to say that we are “better than”, but I will say that we’re doing our best to make sure that Jack knows at least the basics when it comes to manners.  There.  I’m done…for now.

We were fortunate enough to park the bikes in front of the lobby instead of the sea of minivans.  Valerie, I know that they are convenient, but they’re just not for me!  Terry was approached by many people wanting to talk about our travels, handing out our cards one after another.  Like I said before, if we can help change one person, our work here is done.

So off to Seattle we go!  Our trip will take only a little over an hour.  Golden.  Stay cool, stay weird and hold the door open for others in need.