Road Trip 2014-Day 8 (July 9, 2014)

(click here for today's pictures)
Who knew Austin, MN was the birthplace of SPAM?

At 8, Robby climbed out of bed.  Actually, he probably was more accurately squished out of bed-Anderson, Graham and I were also in that tiny double bed.  He left to go and pick up Anderson’s medicine at the Walgreens right across the street.  Then he bought some more groceries (milk, bread, grapes) and some doughnuts for breakfast.  

When he came back at 9, no one had stirred.  A few minutes later, Whitman started talking a bit.  Soon everyone was awake and sitting on the bed drinking milk and eating doughnuts.  We took our time getting around this morning.  It was kind of nice not hurrying-not that we have hurried at all.  I went out to the car to straighten things up a bit-found a lost sock, lost cup and a lost football.  And then we loaded up on our drive.

We told the kids that we were going to a meat museum (Spam) and Anderson, who is nearly our vegetarian, said “eeeww!”  It didn’t take too long before we were at the Spam Museum-it was quite the quirky little place.  We hadn’t been in the door very long before the lady came through handing out “spamples.”  Anderson politely said “no thank you” and leaned in to me and said “I am not a big fan of meat.”  The others all took a sample and they became immediate spam fans.  

The museum was neat but the favorite part was where dressed up in coats and hats and then pretended to can spam-putting it in the can, putting the lid on, baking it and then putting the label on. We did this for a long time over and over again trying to beat our earlier times.  We bought ourselves 2 cans of spam and even a can of spam for the Christmas tree (that goes along with the bag of flour that we bought yesterday for a Christmas ornament.)

We then watched the short Spam video before leaving the wonderful world of Spam.  Back in the car, we pushed on to our next stop and were surprised to see that we had 2 more hours to the cheese factory which made getting there before questionable.  That is the problem with sleeping in, I guess. We still stopped a bit down the road and Robby let the kids all pick out a drink from the gas station and as the climbed back in the car, I took their lunch order-cracker? cheese stick? grapes? chips? spam?  I would fill all the plates and before I could turn around and get me something, plates were coming back needing more food.

Even with driving as fast as we could, we were barely going to make it to the cheese factory before it closed.  We did have to pull over once for Graham to go the bathroom out of the side of the van.  This looked fun to Anderson so he said that he needed to potty too.  Campbell also needed to potty but I did make her wait-though she probably would have liked using the bathroom on the side of the road.

The drive to our cheese factory was beautiful-exactly what I think of when I think of Wisconsin-rolling hills filled with cows and full fields.  There were barns and even buggy after buggy filled with Amish families.  We were in the heart of Amish country and saw a few farmers working their fields with their horses pulling their plows.  

We made it to K and K Cheese Factory before it closed-there wasn’t a whole lot to it but the kids did find the much needed restroom along with a piece of chocolate candy.  Robby and I found a block of pepper jack cheese and a block of pimento cheese.  So after we bought our snack, we went out to their picnic table and had ourselves a snack.  The crackers that Robby bought for our Spam were then used for our cheese.  

The kids had a few races while we ate and then it was time to load back up.  I felt a bit bad driving down the road as we passed the simple Amish people while we were in our big gas guzzling car while my kids played on their kindles while watching a movie streaming onto our dvd players from Netflix, my husband had his phone in his hand with the gps guiding us down the road and I, with my computer in my lap, typing away.  

It didn’t seem to take us too long to get to our cheese factory but it took forever for us to get back to civilization.  We drove and drove enough so that Campbell asked if we were gong to our hotel.  We said that we were and she said “then why are we in the woods?”  The drive was beautiful though. Robby really wanted to find a self serve fruit/jam/ or any type of stand on the side of the road and I decided that I wanted to find a good ole Amish quilt to buy.   

Once we finally made it to the interstate, we were soon in Wisconsin Dells.  We knew it had lots of water parks but had really forgotten that we were going to go through it on this trip.  We saw it when we were first planning but then never thought about it again.  Robby decided that we would get off the interstate and find some supper there.  The kids were in awe-imagine a Branson type strip with water parks instead of theaters.  

We found a happening spot to eat-Marley's.  Reagan asked to eat outside and it was perfect-they had colors for the kids and even chalk for the kids to color on the floor.  They even had a sandbox but the Dennie kids’ parents wouldn’t let them get in the sand tonight.  Our food was absolutely perfect-I am a bit like Anderson in that I am not a huge fan of meat but my coconut chicken was divine.  Reagan and even Anderson helped me finish it off.

Robby and I were a bit bummed because on the way in, we had seen a billboard advertising boat tours in Dells.  He stopped and I got out quickly to check about tours for tonight and the one we really thought was neat had just left.  That left only the duck type tour to do and we just don’t like those duck type boats.  But after Robby read a bit at supper, he found that the Tommy Bartlett show was a Wisconsin Dells tradition.  And there was a show starting at 8:30-that meant it would be a late night but this is vacation!

The show was a ski show and we had the most perfect seats for us-no one in front of us.  The show is really, really neat.  When you see pictures of skiers, some times they are making a pyramid with skier stacked on top of skier.  Well that is from the Tommy Bartlett show.  The skiiers jumped and flipped, flew and danced and one even skied off on a hang glider and then glided back down down with fireworks attached to his glider.  

There was a few comedy, juggling acts at the end and the kids almost lost interest then.  But for the most part, they loved the show.  Campbell and Keaton would laugh and laugh.  Graham would yell and holler.  At one point, Keaton leaned in to me and said something about Dana.  I said “no, Dana isn’t here.”  She said it again and I said my answer again.  Frustrated, she then said “he said that is dana-rous.”  Dangerous!  

Now my Whitman almost didn’t make it past the first 5 minutes of the show.  He would watch the boats and was fine but anytime there was a skier, he would whine and grab at me and the armrest of my chair and I could feel his little heart beating like crazy.  I thought I was going to have to get up with him and stand in the back-he wasn’t fussing but I could tell he was about to have a breakdown.  I quickly found the candy and started feeding him some and with me clapping, cheering and holding him very tightly he calmed down.  By the end, he still would make sure that my arms were wrapped around him but he would clap, wave bye bye and even make cheering type noises during the show.    
They closed with a water and light little number and we high tailed it up the steps and up the ramp to get ahead of the crowds.  The kids kept saying “why are we running?” and then another one would say “to beat the crowd.”  It was a good show and a good stop.  But that just meant that our early hotel night was no longer an early hotel night! much for getting laundry done at a decent time.

It didn’t take too long for us to zip to our hotel and the hotel was right on the interstate so that was wonderful.  There was a bit of a line to check in so Robby was able to bring the cart and load up before he had the room.  Usually while he checks in, we straighten the car and gather loose things that need to be thrown away, put up or brought into the room.  For some reason even with stuff for all 8 of us, getting all of our stuff into and out of the hotel room has really been easy this trip.  And once we get into the hotel room, Robby and I do work like mad people but so quickly everything is put up and we are ready for bed ourselves.  

We doctored Anderson’s ear and with the goo coming out, he has rubbed the outer ear practically raw trying to get the stuff off of his ear.  So that made our doctoring a bit more difficult but a drink of Mountain Dew makes all things better.  We might have given him water since we had just brushed teeth but this hotel is a bit different because you can’t drink that water.  We are in the middle of farm land must be the reason.  Of course this caused a zillion and a half questions from the kids about why we couldn’t drink that water, what would happen if we did and where do people get the water. Tonight the kids were just laying down at midnight and our load of laundry was just starting at midnight.  But that is fine since we need to figure out exactly what the plans are for tomorrow. Campbell just told me that she hoped we rode a motorcycle, went in a hot air balloon and got on a boat tomorrow-I am pretty sure that none of those are in the plans but you just never know!

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