Excellent Adventure, days 3-5

countrycousinsSo the Great Wolf Lodge not only wears kids out by getting them wet, it also gets them RUNNING. Yes, running 10 miles, and loving it. No kidding.

They have this game called “MagicQuest.” It’s basically a scavenger hunt. Kids get an electronic “wand” encoded with their name. My son was Jengo Fett (from Star Wars). My daughter was Kitty. This game is confusing at first, and it took about an hour to get the hang of it.

Basically, you check in at a computer terminal. These are scattered throughout the humongous lobby/hallway space. Wave your wand, and you’re set.  A little booklet guides you to find five treasure chests, in sequence. They’re scattered in hallways, lobbies, and stair wells, throughout the main part of the building. The book offers clues to find the next treasure chest. Find it, wave your wand, and the top opens, and the treasure lights up. A computer voice tells you you’ve made it. Find all five, and you’re ready for your next journey… finding 5 plants (or whatever).

You have to find them in sequence. This is key to the 10 mile run.

Our kids were CRAZY about this game, and of course, we had to follow them around. I still gained a couple of pounds on the trip… don’t know how that happened!

The computer keeps track of progress. The goals speak their names, and tell them if they’ve followed the right sequence, and offer clues to the next goal. It’s very cool.  Except…

For the breakdown. The computers malfunctioned from 6pm Tues to 3pm Wed. This was the bulk of our trip!!!! Fortunately, they gave us a refund (it costs about $10 per kid to play). That’s okay, because our kids did enough to love it. The nice thing is that you didn’t have to scramble to keep the kids occupied… there was always something to do.

That included a massive video game room, where my son played Wii for a while.

We ate at Country Cousin’s restaurant. Ambiance: Great. Food: Pretty good.  We’d go back.

I got my blended coffee drink at Cuppa Joe’s, a little drive through that made the best sugar-free blended mocha’s I’d had in a long time.  Plus, they didn’t even blink when I said: sugar-free, blended, mocha, triple-shot, decaf, add one sweet and low.  No problem. Five stars for quality, price, and service.

GreatWolf09_6Check out time was Thursday at 10:00 a.m. We had enough time two swim, and my son FINALLY went down the “red” slide. We were as proud of him, as he was of himself. We scrambled to get packed and get out, and began our trip to the most excellent Aloft hotel in Portland.

I hate big scary bridges, and Portland has plenty, so we stopped and switched drivers. “Honey,” I said. “If you love me, you’ll stay in the center and go slow.” Margi, who has the gift of mercy, laughed. We liked the hotel so much (it’s cheap, contemporary, and VERY COOL), we stayed an extra night, and then blasted home in 1 day….

Portland09_8In Portland, we did the Portland Zoo. Fun times. We’ve been to bigger, better zoos, but this one was nice. They had an excellent “Birds of Prey” show, and you haven’t lived till you’ve seen a massive eagle swoop over an audience for a piece of meat.

I gotta confess: we got horribly lost in Portland several times. Google maps (iPhone) led us to non-existent locations Portland09_6twice. And I just read the map wrong a couple of times. The upside is that it added $$$ to my Bite Me Bank.

We went to Ikea!!! Margi’s first time, my second. Wow! That’s all I can say.

We went for Pizza at one place, but the wait was 45 minutes, and that doesn’t work jakesgrillwith kids. So we looked for another place, and ended up at a super-classy place, dressed like… uh… travelers.  It’s called Jake’s Grill.  Beautiful, old world ambiance. Dark, wood-paneled walls. Domed ceiling w/beautiful art. Expensive menu. Oops!  How did we end up here? We were hungry and desperate, so we stayed. Margi ordered filet mignon. I got penne pasta with sausage and chicken marinara. Kids got chicken strips (amazingly good, I know becuase I ate them) and pasta.

Fun part: a sleight-of-hand magician did some tableside magic, which we all loved.  How do they make that $5 bill float?  I mean, float away? Very cool.

After that: ice-skating at a mall. The kids were hooked on this. I had some so-so coffee at two different places. This was a bummer, because I thought Portland would offer awesome, strong, dark roast. I picked out two 5-star places on Yelp! and neither one offered dark roast!!!!!! Oh well.

Spent our final nite and the peaceful, clean, contemporary, cool, hip Aloft hotel. Loaded up the car.

Portland09_5Drove home, pausing in Medford at ScienceWorks Children’s museum. We enjoy the bubble room, where you can make soap bubbles as big as you are! The cool thing is that our Turtle Bay membership gets us in FREE!

Then the final push home.  Home is where the toilet seat fits just right.

An excellent trip, and we’ll do it again!


2 thoughts on “Excellent Adventure, days 3-5

  1. Sounds like a great time! Thanks for all the details but I didn’t need to know about your toilet seat!

  2. I’m so glad you all had such an awesome time! You so deserve it!

    It was quite an enjoyable read and gave me some great ideas for all my little nieces and nephews.

    But..it is good to have you back too. We miss you when you’re gone.

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