Great Wolf Recap

 
OK.  That last entry was a little sketchy because I didn’t have a mouse, and the netbook touchpad kept inadvertently getting touched while I typed Disappointed smile  So, the thing about Great Wolf Lodge.  It’s a hotel with its own indoor waterpark.  That’s the attraction; at least, that was the attraction for us.  You have to be staying at the hotel to go to the waterpark, so we knew it wouldn’t be fiendishly crowded.  It wasn’t that far away.  And being indoors, we wouldn’t have to be sunscreening Alex every ten minutes.
 
So, on the waterpark side of things, it was all that and more.  There was a wave pool (which reminded me of Diane and me and "bobbers" at the beach).  A hot tub.  A fort with water things (like, built in water shooters, and booby-trap showers that douse you unexpectedly, stuff like that).  That reminded me of Virginia because there’s a similar one in Sterling that we used to go to when Alex was a toddler.  There were the tube rides.  One of these was freakishly scary (the Howlin’ Tornado); this was also the one Alex liked best.  We also rode the Alberta Falls ride (individuals in tubes).  One time the three of us went up for the River Canyon Run ride.  The sign clearly said "weight per tube not to exceed 800 lb."  Eight hundred, OK?  So the idiot attendant asks the three of us if we meet the weight requirements! 
 
There was also what you might call a plain pool, but it had b-ball hoops in it, and floaty things to climb on (they were anchored to the pool floor by chains).  There was also a baby pool, which we did not patronize, and an outdoor pool ditto.  So, water-wise it was a fabulous place.
 
Out of the water – not so much, due to (a) the screaming throngs of kids running all over trying to do everything, (b) added expense for everything, and (c) gigantic size of the place, making it easy to get lost.  We spent all our non-waterpark time in our room (except for the times we left the premises).
 
On Saturday we visited Wolf Haven International, a sanctuary for wolves and a learning center.  It was quite informative in a dinky kind of way.  We walked around to eight or ten pens (each with a pair of wolves, like at a zoo) while the tour guide told us about wolves in general and these wolves in specific.  There were a lot of bugs and it was a hot day so we left at the second-last pen, which was coyotes anyway, not wolves.  Chris got a wolf shirt.  Alex got a telescope.  I got a bottle of water.
 
We had also talked about visiting the Centralia-Chehalis Steam Railway, but ended up not doing it because the weather was soooo hot.  Yes, we went back to the waterpark!
 
So, we decided that in the future, this may be a "one overnight" thing for us.  You’re allowed to use the waterpark both on the day you check in, and the day you check out, plus any full days between.  We had thought we’d only be able to use it on Friday and Saturday.  But if we went for one night, we could get there, waterpark at night, get up, have breakfast, check out, swim until lunchtime, and then leave.  It might be worth it.
 
Our next planned venture is camping at Leavenworth, but not for another few weeks.  (No, I do not mean Leavenworth Prison!)

A Mid-Trip Report from Great Wolf Lodge

 
As a waterpark, the lodge is great.  The hotel rooms are adequate; about on par with any Marriott or similar kind of place.  But I’m here to tell you there are some things just unbelievable!  For one thing, we knew it would be expensive.  But we’re not planning a real vacation this summer, so this is kind of it, and we’re willing to splurge a little.  Well.  Not only are meals not included (kind of expected), but they are $$$.  The room was billed as "having Nintendo" in the kids’ area…didn’t realize it cost $6.95 an hour to play.  There are all sorts of activities you can participate in (story time, learn about frogs, learn to be a junior lifeguard, etc.), but they all cost more money, too.  Renting a locker at the pool, $5 a day.  We have seen families laden with gift shop bags and stuff, can’t imagine how much they are spending!  We are trying to keep the spendies to a minimum.  Frankly we were surprised that charging our netbook in a wall outlet didn’t cost us extra!
 
This is probably not a repeat destination for us.  Last night we went out to dinner and asked our waiter where the nearest book store is.  He said Olympia (about half an hour’s drive BACK towards Seattle)!  We drove around a while, stumbled upon a Staples, and then came back.  Bleah.  Tomorrow we are leaving right after breakfast and going home to our cats and my knitting machine (which works, but not well, because I don’t have all the bits).  More on that when we get back.

A Whole Lotta Updates Goin’ On

 
Yes, there are so many updates, they’re making me shake.
 
First:  I have reached the halfway point on the Ocean Wave shawl.  It just looks like a longer version of the previous pic, so I won’t bother putting up a new one.
 
Second:  We put a raised bed in our back yard and planted sage and lavender in it.  To center it under the big window left us with a little bit of space between the raised bed and the back stoop, so we laid landscaping fabric and sand, topped with river rock (like we did at Clinch Road).  This week Alex and I will be (a) picking up a few more bags of river rock and (2) sourcing plants for a couple of our old containers.  The containers will stand on the river rock.
 

Third:  These guys looked so cute the other day I had to snap a photo for you.

Fourth:  I just won an auction for a knitting machine on ebay.  I’ll report back when I have something to show.  It was cheap and old (made in 1964), but in good condition.  I’ll refrain from any obvious metaphoric comparisons between the knitting machine and other cheap, old things in good condition from that era Crying face

OK, that’s all the news!  Stay tuned for more, after we get the container pots in place and after my knitting machine arrives.