Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Road Trip 2: Wisconsin

    I think my time in Wisconsin was my favorite part of our vacation. The ride to NY to WI was LONG but we had some fun along the way. 
Here are the men at a random rest stop in Ohio:
 Have you ever heard of mammatus clouds? I hadn't until about a week before our vacation. They are fascinating looking. We had driven through a really cloudy area and I looked up and saw these in the distance. Check out this Google image page to see really good pictures of them.By the time we had stopped they had kind of morphed back closer to clouds that I am used to seeing. I know I am a nerd for being really excited about clouds but it's okay.
 Then we arrived in Wisconsin. Timmy was pretty funny. It was warm and breezy and he stated "Wow, the wind blows warm in Wisconsin."

      We got to our hotel at about 9:30 pm, which kind of stunk. We stayed at a large hotel that had a water park inside and it closed at 10. So, of course, the boys frantically hurried, got their suits on and enjoyed the water park for about 15 minutes. Our room was nice and large. I had read mixed reviews about this hotel so I was a little nervous about this one place. (It was great except for mosquitoes in our room. We bordered some woods on the edge of the Wisconsin River and we had a little balcony with seats. There was a screen door that I'm assuming someone left cracked open. Other than that, the place was great.)
      The next morning we woke up and had a giant buffet breakfast. I love breakfast. I had an omelette with spinach, cheese and mushrooms, a piece of toast, sausage and bacon. I felt like everyone here was really polite. People used manners when they were in line waiting for food and actually said "thank you" to the man who was masterfully making 6 omelettes at a time. In New England I feel that people can often be rude. (Not everyone, but the rude ones are normally more noticeable.)
      After breakfast, we had planned to meet a penpal of mine and her family. I was very excited. I had never met any of my penpals before. I felt really honored that her husband took the day off and their family drove a few hours just to meet us. I was also really nervous in case she hated me. Matt was stretched outside his comfort zone too since I'm usually the "chatty" one. (Aka. NOT the anti-social one. ha ha) We had decided to go to explore The Cave of the Mounds in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. This place was pretty cool. There was "mining" for the kids (a little panning area, which my boys loved), a cave tour, beautiful gardens and a gift shop which featured lots of rocks that Timmy was very interested in.
     The only negative part of the day was that we were a little messed up by traveling through to the next time zone. We had looked up directions and thought it would take a certain amount of time to get there. When we plugged it into the GPS, the arrival time was 30 minutes later than what we had planned. Ashley didn't have a cell phone so I couldn't contact her. Anybody who knows me well knows that my biggest pet peeve is when people are late (consistently or just disrespectful with people's time). So, of course I freaked out the whole way there and worried that I would seem really discourteous. Driving there was really pretty and the landscape (the mounds especially) was very different from MA.  Luckily, Ashley and her whole family are wonderful and were really gracious. Here are some pictures from the afternoon.
The visitor center. There are some really pretty gardens in front and to the right side of this building.
 The cave. We had lots of pictures but I just grabbed a few since it all started looking the same if you weren't there.

 Me and Ashley and her family. Sorry it's so dark, Oh, since we were touring at their 75 anniversary we got to experience the cave in a slightly different way. They wanted to show visitors what it must've been like for the prospectors who just discovered the cave, so the first part of the tour was done by the light of some flashlights they passed out.
 Stalactites and stalagmites. They kind of meet each other at this spot in the cave.

 There were also these cool spots that you couldn't walk through but you could see from the walkway.
 Look how clear the water is. The kids had some great questions about the water- "How cold is it?" "Would water be warmer here since it's closer to the center of the Earth?" "Does is freeze in the winter since it's underground?" I love how kids think. Our poor tour guide had a million questions and comments from Timmy.

 Our families <3
 Ashley and I. (Ashley, I think I will giggle every time I look at this picture because of Jed. All the visitor center pictures made me smirk a little too.)
 The boys.
     After we went to the cave, we went to lunch at Culvert's. We don't have those in Ma so it was a nice treat. I had a butter burger. I also had frozen custard and fried cheese curds for the first time. Yum! It was so nice to chat with everybody while sharing a meal. I don't know why we didn't take some pictures there too. (Sorry) Although my kids started getting a bit crazy by the end of the afternoon, it was fun to watch the kids playing together. I hope that we can get together again sometime in the future! In the meantime, I'll enjoy continuing to write. (Speaking of the mail- Ashley mailed my boys a glow in the dark Wis"cow"sin frisbee. They were confused and surprised to find it in the mail box. They love it! Thanks.)
      The Culvert's we went to was in Mount Horeb, which is known as "the troll capital of the world."  There are a bunch of carved trolls placed around the town. I kind of wish Matt and I had driven around a bit after lunch and looked at more of them. There was one at the restaurant and one next door so we did see a few.
     After we got back to the hotel we had many hours of fun at the indoor water park. There were small pools, water slides, a water coaster? (sort of like a roller coaster) and a lazy river. As I mentioned before, I'm not much of a water person- so I just enjoyed reading and watching the kids.  We ended the day with a super late dinner (since we were still stuffed from breakfast and lunch!) and a little television before headed to bed.  It was an exhausting yet exhilarating day for me.

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