Day 2: I awaken at my usual 4:30-5:00 time, and sneak out with my computer. Fam’s still sleeping peacefully. I need COFFEE! Coffee! Coffee! COFFEE! I use a cool application called YELP! to help me find Espresso Roma (see the previous post).
So, I’m driving thru Eugene, OR, past the Northwest Christian College and a state University (not sure which one). There’s a Starbucks… but I can get that back home, so skip it. Then, this worn-out looking place called Espresso Roma’s. In I go. I ask for a dark roast, and they say yes. Yes!!! I savor the most delicious cup of coffee in memory (except for my local fav, YAKS). So good, I bought 2 pounds of the stuff.
I sit, have computer-devotions, and work on a book… but, no Internet. Oh well, no prob, the coffee makes up for it. Margi calls at 7-ish to say the kids are up, and I go back w/a decaf Americano for her. Kids are wired. We pack up, go downstairs to the really good breakfast (included)… I’m still lo-carb… and off we go, northward-ly-ish.
Maybe 2 hours later, approaching Salem, we pull of I-5 at a cool place called Enchanted Forest. The kids are so excited their heads are about to blow. It’s tough to describe this place. It’s like a mini-Disneyland.
[Bummer: I just made French Press coffee w/my Eugene beans, and I over-filled the French Press… which means grounds in my coffee… Oh well, I’ll pretend I’m a cowboy!]
But think 1/1000th the size of Disney. It has interactive displays based nursery rhymes: Hansel and Gretel, Rip Van Winkel, Alice in Wonderland… and it offers a couple of rides, one of them a scary wee-roller coaster. It’s VERY hilly, so hilly in fact, they post a disclaimer that they are not, and never can be, wheel-chair accessible. There are some “witchy” displays, and we choose to skip that stuff. Ditto for the Haunted House. My kids have bad memories of such an experience (that a certain dad forced them onto) at Disney World… never mind.
My son loved the remote-control boat pond, and my daughter loved the “Water Show”, which is a cave-like display, with dancing sprinkers/meets synthesized music/meets light show. Good stuff.
The kids ate up the Enchanted Forest, and want to go back soon. It’s a great way to break up a 4.5 hour car ride. So… back into the car…
My son says, “How come our car smells like coffee?” I say, “It’s the beans, boy!”
We drive to Portland for lunch. There, we get lost looking for an Italian Beef place, and I have to put some money into the Bite Me bank. Enough about that. When we find Michael’s Italian Beef, I savor a combo, dip it, no peppers, and Margi enjoys a beef, sweet and hot, dipped. Ahhhhhhhh. Kids get KFC and Burger King. Hey, it’s a vacation!
Oh… who knew that Portland was loaded with big, scary bridges? Those things freak me out, and I’m sure there’s a force that’s going to suck my car over the side. I mean, cold sweat, stay in the middle lane, death grip on the steering wheel, make everyone be quiet, turn off the radio, don’t talk to me, gephyrophobia (I blogged on this phobia of mine, here, with particularly cruel commentary afterwards… Jonathan H, you’re prophetic!!!!). I made Margi drive. I also fed my Bite Me bank.
We crossed over into Vancouver, WA. I must admit, I never knew that WA had a Vancouver too. I thought Canada had a corner on the Vancouvers. That’s what I get for being a Midwesterner.
Up, up, I-5. Grown-ups sip coffee. Kids read/watch videos. And in the background, my new favorite program, courtesy the iPhone: Stuff You Should Know. Literally HOURS of fascinating stuff about everything and anything. Josh and Chuck really make the miles fly by. Thanks guys!
Finally, we approach Mecca. The end game. The goal of our quest.
After 2 days of driving and doing stuff, we arrive at the wonderful, marvelous, magnificent, superb, sublime, spectacular, lovely, fine, delightful, super, great, stunning, fantastic, terrific, tremendous, sensational, heavenly, divine, gorgeous, fabulous, fab, awesome, ace, killer, wondrous, beauteous and phat… GREAT WOLF LODGE!!!! The kids explode from the car, gasping at massive, Easter-island-like stone wolves. Families stream toward the entrance, luggage and little ones in tow. WE’RE HERE!!!!
This superlative place demands its own blog…
To be continued…