(picture: Noah’s Ark waterpark- Day 2 of the break)
All-Star Break started off with a bang midday on Sunday when I got invited to brunch by Michelle (Jonathon Crawford’s host mom). I left with Jonathon Crawford, Zack Powers, and Denny Clement and headed to the Jet Room. The Jet Room is a neat little restaurant on the backside of the Madison airport, where all the private planes fly. Right outside our window was a little blue and orange colored jet. Besides the view, it was the best breakfast I’ve had this summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love my peanut butter and banana waffles I make everyday, but I had some awesome Eggs Benedict. On the way back, I drove through town and saw a big commotion on State Street. Apparently one Sunday in the summer (Maxwell Street Day) all of the stores and some local vendors set up outdoor shops. There had to be at least a thousand people on State Street, so I took the opportunity to “people watch.”
After a while of watching, I had to drive back home to watch the Women’s World Cup Final. U.S.A. vs. Japan. The U.S. had girls twice the size of the small Japanese, but we gave away two goals and they tied up, 2-2, and forced overtime. I had a busy day and had to leave for Sean’s (my host brother) baseball game. We left as soon as the U.S. scored their first goal in overtime and thought that would be enough to hold them. It was so painful listening to the U.S. implode on the radio. It was such a shame we lost, but at least Japan got something to be happy about after a devastating year. Sean’s game was fun and it was the first time I watched him play all summer. He plays in a local wood bat league where the players are 18-40. The other team had some really good guys in their 30s and beat Sean’s team by 12.
Highlight of the night was beating Spyro the Dragon, finally. Ryan and I worked so hard on it and finally the work paid off. Next up on our list of retro games we need to beat: Gauntlet Dark Legacy (PS2). After beating the game I went to the gym and kicked my butt at squats. It was a good off day.
Wisconsin Dells is a very touristy place, which my dad describes as a “mini-Vegas.” There are hundreds of hotels and it seems like all of them, like The Great Wolf Lodge and The Wilderness, have their own water parks. One hotel, The Carousel, even boasted that they had 9 pools inside!
On Day 2, about twelve members of the Mallards set off for the largest waterpark in America, Noah’s Ark, in Wisconsin Dells. If you go to Noah’s Ark, make sure you get the $10 discount after filling up at Shell Gas Station. After a 45-minute drive to the Dells, we were there, ready to ride some watercoasters! There was one problem- there was a thunderstorm. Water parks will stay open if there’s rain, but not for thunderstorms. One really dumb lady when she heard that the water coasters were shut down temporarily asked, “Is the lazy river still open?” After a 30-minute delay, it was hot and sultry again and it was time to ride. We stayed there from 10 a.m. to the 8 p.m. close- a really long day. We left the park twice to eat two terrible meals- at Burger King and Taco Bell.
The best ride at the park was the Scorpion’s Tail (giant blue ride with the loop, right of center). You step into this telephone booth-like chamber and when the door closes, you hear a voice counting down “3,2,1…” At the end of the countdown, the floor drops out of the telephone booth and you virtually freefall for two seconds, building up speed for the eventual loop. The worst ride there was The Curse of the Crypt. Nick Sutherland, one of our pitchers, said he had ridden on it last year and said it was horrible. We interpreted that to mean that the ride was scary, so despite being scared, our bravado told us to check it out. It ended up being the dumbest ride I have ever been on. You walk through this cold basement for 10 minutes to get to the ride, and when you finally get there, you sit in a giant motion sensor room. The ride is based on optical illusions, but it was not at all scary, or good, for that matter. So, when he said horrible, he meant horrible. The Plunge (the two smaller blue slides) had the most bang-for-your-buck. The line was extremely short and you could race each other. Also, off the second jump, if you lift up, you can get some serious air.
The tallest drop, The Point of No Return (tall tan slide) was only okay. It is an older slide and scratched your back up on the way down. The ride should actually be named “The Atomic Wedgie,” and it was far from my favorite. The Stingray (tan half pipe on the left) was a great 2-person ride and Time Warp (not in picture) was another really fun one. We were exhausted from the sun beating down on us the whole day, so we drove back that night.
I slept in and went to Lake Mills with my host brother Sean. I went to Lake Mills in the first week in Madison because we have family friends who live on the lake. Even though I was a bit waterlogged from the day before, I am always up for a little tubing. I got into the boat with Sean, Leo (family friend) and a kid who plays for the St. Cloud River Bats, named J.R. Reynolds. He goes to Ohio University and was at Lake Mills visiting his cousin on his last off day of All-Star Break. Small world that we would both know someone in a town of less than 3,000 and be in the same boat on the same day. Sean and J.R.’s cousin tubed for about 20 minutes and it was time to switch. We turned off the boat, switched life jackets, and got in the tubes. The boat wouldn’t start. We determined that the battery was dead and we were in the middle of the lake. A nice family towed us back in and we swam in the lake a little and got burnt.
I would’ve loved the opportunity to playin the All-Star game but overall, it was a good All-Star Break. Note: “Break” is a relative term. I didn’t really stop moving the whole break, which is why I’m now posting about it a week later. But, it was a good time to step away from baseball, get two lifts in, and have some fun in the water.