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Old 06-28-2013, 06:43 PM   #91
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I remember driving through the Wisconsin Dells and wanting to stop at all the water parks! Glad the kids are having fun!!
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:37 PM   #92
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What a cool lodge/waterpark combo! Sounds like it was hit with all of you! I would love sampling Wisconsin cheese as cheese is one of my favorite foods.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:33 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colexis Mom View Post
Sorry for the scary drive to Duluth! How cool to explore Voyagers on a houseboat! Glad the kids are having a great time at the waterpark!
The waterpark was great!

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Originally Posted by lauriep View Post
How great to have a waterpark right in your hotel! And the room looked great-- big enough for everyone. Winston really did time learning to swim just right for this trip. I love your choice of music for the video and enjoyed watching Winston navigate the obstacle course. Almost made it!
Thanks!!
The room was very spacious!

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Originally Posted by chezp View Post
Another great update - the waterpark sounds wonderful.
It was!

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Originally Posted by shazza View Post
Fun video with your pics. The kids look like they are having such a good time. Love the idea of a waterpark within the resort/hotel.

Glad you got the Cheese in Wisconsin!
Yep, loved the cheese *and* the waterpark

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Originally Posted by KMB733 View Post
I remember driving through the Wisconsin Dells and wanting to stop at all the water parks! Glad the kids are having fun!!
Lots of fun...

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Originally Posted by Cam22 View Post
What a cool lodge/waterpark combo! Sounds like it was hit with all of you! I would love sampling Wisconsin cheese as cheese is one of my favorite foods.
You and Wesley would get along great then, he sampled so many cheese types I lost count.... He just loves cheese....
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:38 PM   #94
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Tuesday June 25- Wednesday June 26
After leaving the water park and cheese shop, we were off to Illinois to a suburb of Chicago where we would enjoy the Great America Six Flags. In years past (but not this year) we have been season pass holders to our local Six Flags, so the kids really enjoy visiting different Six Flags for comparison.
We had a short 2.5 hour drive ahead of us, which due to some oversight on my part became a little longer…

About five minutes into the drive, I remembered we left our swimsuits at the Lodge in the dryer!!
After using the waterpark, we were already checked out of our room, but they have showers and changing rooms available in the Lodge that we put to good use. I didn’t want to travel with soaking wet swim clothes, so I used the guest laundry to dry them while we ate our sandwiches. Only, I forgot to go back and get them before leaving the Lodge!

We were literally only five minutes from the Lodge when I realized this, but we were already on the interstate which meant I had to get off at an exit and turn around to get going the opposite direction. Unfortunately, this was one of those areas of the interstate where the nearest interstate was nearly 15 milesL. So, we had to travel 15 miles in the wrong direction before turning around just to head 15 miles back to the Lodge, get the laundry, and get going again. This cost us a good bit of time and was a really frustrating way to start out our drive for the day.
But before long, we were officially on our way to Illinois. Our hotel in Illinois had a mini kitchen, so we made a grocery stop on the way that was actually our very last grocery stop of the trip. I planned to cook dinner in the hotels kitchen, and we had eaten our sandwich lunch at the waterpark before leaving- so there was no stopping to eat out on this day.

Once at the hotel, when settling into our rooms I noticed one of the rooms had a pretty damp floor. I called the desk and they informed me that the carpet had been shampooed and that was why. So, I went on with settling in- being extra careful what I set in the floor. Then I noticed our shower was missing the shower curtain. I called the front desk again- they asked if I wanted someone to put a curtain on or to switch rooms. We already had our stuff in the room, so I opted to just have someone put up the curtain. In retrospect, I should have just switched rooms. For reference, the other room/the boys room was 100% fine.
Later on, I realized that the section of the floor between the bed and the a/c unit was not only damp, but soaked! My swim shorts from the lodge were still just a tiny bit damp despite using the dryer- so I placed them over the a/c unit to get a little air. Well, I guess at some point they had fallen off and when I picked them up from the floor- they were SOAKED due to the soaked carpetL.

So, I decided to just start a load of clothes in the guest laundry including my shorts (that I would be wearing the next day at six flags). At this point, I was really wishing I had switched rooms straight away, but I toughed it out.

For dinner, we had tacos and everyone went to bed full.

The next morning, right off the bat the boys said our room smelled like a wet dog! I didn’t notice it, but I guess because we had been in the room, we were just immune to it. I knew it was due to the wet carpet.

While getting ready for Six Flags, Winston was sitting on the bed to put on his socks; then he slid off to get his shoes and walked between the bed and the a/c unit where the floor was soaked and soaked his socks. Ugh! At this point, I’d really had it with this room. But I gave him a new pair of socks and we continued getting ready.

Today was Wesley’s birthday and we were grocery shopping yesterday; I had picked him up a cake. They misspelled his name though- Westley. Wesley was dying to eat the cake right off the bat this morning so for our pre-breakfast meal, we enjoyed cake.

Six Flags was set to open at 10:30am and I was hoping to leave at 9:45am despite that we were less than ten minutes away as I wanted to get parked and situated so that we’d be among the first in the park.

The weather was sprinkling when we left for the park and was calling for possible thunderstorms, but we were hoping they’d hold off…

We stopped by McDonalds for a late breakfast with the idea this would hold us over for a while so we could have a late lunch- we didn’t want to stop to eat too early so as to get in several rides before the park became overly crowded.

Well, at McDonalds I realized I’d forgotten our Six Flags tickets at the hotelL. I had bought our tickets online and printed them at home. They were in my itinerary binder and I had left it in the hotel. So, we turned around for our tickets and due to that mistake plus running a little late to start with, we didn’t arrive at the park until a few minutes after it opened.

We had spent a good bit of time before hand studying the map online so that we had a game plan of what we wanted to ride and in what order to ride it; this definitely came in handy since we’d never been here before!

This Six Flags was way better than the one we have at home. It’s literally got at least double the rides in addition to having a full size water park attached.


Also, the rides were nicer- as in themed better. I seen a lot of things that I felt were likely inspired by Disney. The park certainly doesn’t hold a candle to Disney, but I think someone has been doing their homework and striving to be a great park. There was one ride that was exactly like prime evil twirl and there was a teacup ride as well among other similarities. They have a nightly parade and firework show as well. Also, many of the rides were well themed and this is something our local six flags don’t really do. All around, we just really had a great time and wished we could spend more than one day there as we didn’t have time to even put a dent in the park. But we were able to ride all of the rides we had put together on our “itinerary” from the online map.

The weather was holding out great; it looked like it could pour any minute- but it never did and the overcast skies kept us from getting overheated. Around 1:30pm or so, we finished up the rides on our “list” and headed in search of lunch.

Since it was Wesley’s birthday, he picked where we’d eat in the park. He chose Moose Lodge because it had air condition. At this point in the trip, we had officially left the cold weather behind. The kids all had chicken and fries; I had a bbq sandwich with coleslaw.

After lunch, we headed into the water park area; Hurricane Harbor. We set up base between the wave pool and lazy river. The kids rode a few slides and Dillon was super excited that they had this surfing ride. So, we had a lot of fun in Hurricane Harbor. The entire time, it looked like it would storm any second- but it never did.

The kids had a few rides they wanted to ride a second time and had spotted a few in the park that they hadn’t put on their original “list”, but now wanted to give a try- so we headed back into the main park.

In between riding rides, we took a break to enjoy some funnel cakes.

It ended up being 7:30pm by the time we left the park. Wesley really wanted to stay for the 10pm parade and fireworks, but I knew that’d be way too late for us. On the way out of the park, I had the kids pose for a picture and Winston started crying saying he forgot how to say cheese; lol. That let me know that it was definitely time to GO!
Back at the hotel, it was late and we were exhausted- but I still had to make dinner. I really didn’t feel up to it and I don’t even think anyone was very hungry- but I had the chicken in the fridge and knew this was our only chance to cook it; so we had chicken stir fry, fettuccine, and okra. It was good, but if I didn’t have that chicken- I would have just picked up a pizza as most of us weren’t even hungry.

As soon as I walked into our hotel room, the smell was horrible! I called the front desk about the carpet still being wet and now causing a horrid odor and once again they offered to switch our room. This time, I accepted. The other room not only smelled better, but was nicer over all- like the boys room. I really think we got assigned a room that wasn’t meant to be rented out or something. Because the boys had a great room and our new room was great- but that first room just got worse and worse… I just couldn’t believe I had waited so long to switch…

With that taken care of, once dinner was done we were off to bed. The next morning we would be heading to Kentucky…

pics/video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MInLAVxOU3E
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:45 PM   #95
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Too bad about the soggy room and all the problems it caused! That did look like a nice Six Flags-- more theming and cleaner than the one I've seen. Looks like the kids really had a great time. Happy Birthday, Wesley!
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:39 PM   #96
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Sorry you had to backtrack at the beginning of the day, but at least you remembered the forgotten items quickly. Sounds like everyone had an awesome day at Six Flags. And thank goodness you were able to change rooms.
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:24 AM   #97
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So sorry about the backtracking and the awful room. I'm not surprised you opted to change in the end. Sounds like you had a great day at Six Flags.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:50 AM   #98
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Some ups and downs, but it sounds like the visit to Six Flags was fun. And, Wes(t)ley got to have his birthday cake before breakfast - that has to be a treat
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:16 PM   #99
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Sorry you had to backtrack for the forgotten swimsuits and the problems with the room. Glad you were able to change rooms at the end. Sounds like you had a nice time at Six Flags!
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:03 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by lauriep View Post
Too bad about the soggy room and all the problems it caused! That did look like a nice Six Flags-- more theming and cleaner than the one I've seen. Looks like the kids really had a great time. Happy Birthday, Wesley!

It really was a great Six Flags; as for the room- I should have switched the first time they offered and it would have saved a lot of headache...

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Sorry you had to backtrack at the beginning of the day, but at least you remembered the forgotten items quickly. Sounds like everyone had an awesome day at Six Flags. And thank goodness you were able to change rooms.
I was definately glad I remembered the swimsuits before we got much farther...

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So sorry about the backtracking and the awful room. I'm not surprised you opted to change in the end. Sounds like you had a great day at Six Flags.
I just can't believe I stayed in the room as long as I did....

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Some ups and downs, but it sounds like the visit to Six Flags was fun. And, Wes(t)ley got to have his birthday cake before breakfast - that has to be a treat
The cake definately made a great pre-breakfast treat


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Sorry you had to backtrack for the forgotten swimsuits and the problems with the room. Glad you were able to change rooms at the end. Sounds like you had a nice time at Six Flags!
We really did enjoy the Six Flags...
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:30 PM   #101
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Thursday, June 27th:
This day we were heading back to Kentucky. We had pancakes for breakfast before leaving the hotel and quickly packed up and got on the road… We had a long drive ahead of us; just over 5 hours…

We stopped and ate KFC again; this time we ate at one with a buffet. We all had the buffet except Madilyn- she ordered a chicken sandwich with French fries. At 12, she is considered an adult for most buffets’s, but eats less than Austin plus she mainly wanted fries and they didn’t have that on the buffet…

The hotel was just barely in Kentucky; it was right on the Ohio line and basically in Cincinnati. The hotel was in “downtown” and that always makes me a bit nervous as it wasn’t necessarily a bad area, but I didn’t feel super safe either…

For dinner, we had microwavable dinners in the hotel room. This officially depleted our groceries.
The next morning, we slept in later than usual but were still up in plenty of time to enjoy the hotel’s breakfast. We usually get to the hotel breakfast right after it opens, this morning it was nearing 9am by the time we got there and some of the items were depleted- so that confirms one more reason why it pays to get up early. We enjoyed it all the same though…

We had tickets for an 11am Ride the Ducks Tour. The tour was literally less than a quarter mile from the hotel and we were in downtown where parking was at a premium. So, I inquired with the front desk about staying parked there after we checked out. They allowed me to do so, but for a $3 fee. I think most hotels, wouldn’t charge a fee for this, but given the parking situation (and costs) in downtown, I happily paid the $3.

We walked over to where they pick you up for the duck tour. Thankfully we found some shade while we waited, because it was getting hot quick. The duck tour picked us up promptly at eleven. They give you quackers which the kids immediately put to good use. Several other families were on the tour with us as well; and all their children enjoyed the quackers as well.

The tour was actually really informative; the captain drives and a speaker use the microphone to talk about the city. The microphone is nice and loud and can easily be heard over all of the quacking children.

The speaker talked about how the Ohio River looks dirty, but is actually the cleanest river within the states. He also said that the river is owned by Ohio despite being used by several other states including Kentucky. He said that the Cincinnati stadium was built during a time where things in the city couldn’t be built over a certain height; so in order to accommodate the guests, they dug down to allow for ample stadium seating. Due to the stadium being on the river, the stadium quickly turned into a giant pool. So, the state of Ohio purchased and set up a pump system that constantly pumps water out of the stadium from underneath to keep it dry- costing tax payers millions per year!

He also pointed out some historic homes that apparently were well used for the Underground Railroad. He said there are tunnels under the home that were used to help slaves escape. He said in later years, those same tunnels were used to deliver alcohol during the prohibition years. He said the homes still to this day, have tunnel systems underneath them which I found very, very interesting.

One more point of interest was this beautiful bridge that I had noticed when we first entered the city the day before… It was the first successful suspension bridge; all other suspension bridges were built using the plans from this one… What they figured out that others before them didn’t- was to make the beams at an angle to allow for the pull of the earth as it rotates… I really did find the tour had a lot of great information and the kids really enjoyed it as well!

After the tour, we walked back to the van and headed for home.

We had a long, nearly six hour drive home.
We stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch.
We hit some traffic along the way, and in Tennessee we had to drive on some curvy roads (similar to those around home) that required low speeds making the drive seem to take forever.
We stopped at Chick Fila for dinner before finally making it home at around 8pm.

We quickly unloaded the van as rain was threatening.

Overall it was a great trip. The trip really flew by and seemed so short; I think largely because last year’s road trip had been so much longer….

I will post one more subsequent post and video after this one with my final thoughts…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OplqEaLKpSQ
Here are the last two days pics/video:
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:39 AM   #102
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It's over already? Wow, that is shorter than last year. Again, even on this shorter trip, you covered a LOT of miles. I love the final shot of the video, arriving at home with things spilling out of the back of the van! It was a really great trip. Looking forward to your final thoughts.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:00 AM   #103
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I can't believe it's over already. It really didn't seem like you were away that long reading it, although I know you were. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful trip with us - I really enjoyed reading it and, like your last one, it's given me lots of ideas for future places to visit in the US.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:34 PM   #104
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Wow, I can't believe it is already home! Thank you for sharing another amazing road trip with us!
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:48 PM   #105
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Glad you made it home safely. Just watched the last video posted, and I too had to smile as the stuff came tumbling out of the back of the van - a fitting in to a great road trip.

Looking forward to your final thoughts.
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