Friday, July 11, 2003

Lilly’s trip, the blog.

I enjoyed the venture to the North Woods, mostly, and Yuriko liked the break in her routine, mostly, and Ann lives in that unknowable infant world that I suspect predates notions of travel and geography, or even day and night. But it was Lilly, I'm certain, who had the best trip, and I can hardly begrudge her the experience.

Lilly had a lot to amuse her, even in the car. She had equipped herself with various toys -- Barbies, an Etch-a-Sketch, and other items, in a bag that I insisted she pack herself and sometimes carry (though I was generally the porter for everyone). She also had a sister to occupy her, which was sometimes a good, calming thing for the baby, and sometimes not so good, such as when Lilly decided to have a noise-making contest with Ann.

At the Microtel in Fond du Lac, Lilly enjoyed the hot tub -- she enjoys all tubs of water -- but I was surprised that she asked to return to the exercise room, to walk on the treadmill. We visited the room more than once, and it was always empty besides us. I would sit on the exercise bicycle and more-or-less pretend to use it, while she would walk along, occasionally stopping to let the treadmill move her backwards, and then walking again before she got quite to the end.

At Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac, there's a three-or-so-story nonfunctional lighthouse, and Lilly was spirited enough to climb to the top of it with me. Then we discovered, in a different section of the park, a merry-go-round and a miniature train. These were cheap rides, so Lilly rode each a number of times. I enjoyed the train, too, though it could hardly compare with the Brackenridge Park Eagle in San Antonio.

There were also bumper boats in a manmade lagoon, and we hopped into them too -- first Lilly and me, then Lilly and her mother. Like bumper cars, only boats. At first Lilly was hesitant to get into one of the contraptions, which was essentially a tiny square boat with a large inner tube wrapped all the way around it. Navigation was by a joy stick in front, which also controlled the noisy engine. Out to the water, bzzzzzzz, turn, swing around, make it louder, BZZZZZZZZZ, there's the other boat -- whap! Get a little wet. Do it again. Lilly overcame her hesitation and bumper'd with the best of them. She wasn't the only one that squeezed a few grins out of this diversion.

In Wausau, we stopped at a city park after lunch to let her play on a swing set. While Yuriko nursed Ann, I took a walk through the rest of the park, which was full of sweepingly tall pines, and very walkable. I came across a large kiddie-splash pool, another miniature train, and another merry-go-round. I could hardly keep this a secret from Lilly, so she partook in all of them.

There was no pool at the Bridge Inn in Tomahawk, but Lilly got to work on important bubble-blowing skills on that property's porch as the sun went down. She also wanted us to go out of our way to pass through the hotel lobby, so she could see the poodle that the proprietors kept, which sometimes was quivering on top of the front desk -- that would be a long way down for a toy poodle, I guess. Lilly was warned: "Sometimes she nips." She didn't while interacting with Lilly.

The Hotel Chequamegon had a pool, and a hot tub, and we used them liberally. On the day before we left Ashland, late in the afternoon but still with temps around 90° F (35° C), we wandered around the town’s main street (called Main Street), ducking into a handful of shops, when we came across a minor, pre-Fourth of July carnival. Kids' rides and carnie games. I steered Lilly toward the rides (another merry-go-round!), and though she was hot as the rest of us, she seemed to enjoy them.

Even en route home, at the Comfort Suites in Stevens Point, Wis., Lilly found herself in a pool, one bubbling with other kids, since that chain attracts travelers with children in tow. It's always nice to let her play in a pool like that, since she makes acquaintances easily in such situations, allowing her parents to sit around poolside. But it's a little worrisome to see idiot boys jumping around in the same pool -- somebody could land on somebody else, namely my little girl. It didn't happen.

And of course, there was cable TV. That’s another blog for next week, I suppose, but it's enough to say at this point that Lilly found plenty to amuse her, much of it… arrrrrgh… on ToonDisney. It wasn't all bad, but some of the cartoons on that channel were about as much fun as sandpaper on the shins, at least for me. A topic for another time.


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