The blog has been quiet this past week since the LWW and I have been on a road trip with grandson's Paul and Miles. As always, my primary goals was for everyone to have such a good time, we all want to take another trip next summer.
After picking Paul up from Concordia Chinese language village near Detroit Lakes (MN), we drove to Sparta WI to do a section of the Sparta-Elroy bike trail. Grandma and Paul has their own (rented) bikes from Speeds and I took (a reluctant) Miles on the trail-a-bike.
The coolest (both figuratively and literally) part of the 11 mile ride was an old railway tunnel the trail passes through. A quarter mile long, flashlights are needed to walk the bikes through the very dark tunnel. You can't see the end when you start. A little spooky in "the tunnel of doom" as Miles called it. But we survived - both the tunnel and the trail-a-bike experience.
After the bike ride, we checked into the old-fashioned Black Hawk motel in the Dells. We loved it - nice pool and comfortable rooms, just a few blocks off the busy, touristy downtown. The Wizard Quest adventure was a big hit with the boys one evening.
Blue slushies and motel waffles were mainstays of the trip. We all love breakfast, hitting Mr. Pancake, Paul Bunyan's Cook Shack (no bacon!), and IHOP during the stay.
The Original Wisconsin Ducks ride was exciting, especially when Paul took over for the driver while he took down a rain covering. Pretty scenery but no crocodile sightings.
The Big Kahuna wave pool at Noah's Ark waterpark was a big hit with both boys. Lines were long for the slides, but playing in the waves was more fun anyway. Despite sunscreen, we all wound up a little red. Fat bodies wearing multiple tatoos were in abundance.
We enjoyed the Rick Wilcox magic show in the evening (Paul, an aspiring magician, explained the tricks) and the next morning we headed to Baraboo to visit the Circus World museum. Shows were fun, but the boys had little reference for "circus."
But the old fun house mirrors were extremely entertaining.
From the Dells we drove to Prairie du Chien WI and McGregor IA where we briefly toured the medical museum and Villa Louis and then took a 2 hour Mississippi River boat ride, learning a lot about the history and ecology of the area - and how to make buttons out of mussel shells. This time Miles got to drive.
Our last morning was spent hiking Effigy Mounds National Monument north of Marquette IA. Paul and I did a 3 mile loop while Miles and Grandma did just two. Miles did earn his Junior Park Ranger badge so he now has authority to tell people to stay on the trails. Fantastic views of the river from the bluffs along with the mystery of old Native American moundbuilding.
After a boat ride through Spook Cave in the area, we made the long drive to Des Moines where we had supper with the boys' parents, exchanged luggage and said our good-byes.
While I heard the expression "awesome" a few times from the boys, Grandpa probably has the best time. Now the question is - where next summer???