Friday, August 20, 2010

Road Trip

It’s nice to be back at work this week. I can finally relax after a few days on the road with my family.
It’s much easier when I travel alone. It’s just me and my luggage. Never has my suitcase shouted from the backseat, “Are we there yet?”
Stinkin’ kids…we weren’t even to Canastota.
When it’s just me, I never have to worry about my favorite sports talk show being preempted for Alanis Morrisette, or having my vision obstructed by bare feet wedged against the windshield. I damn sure don’t have to listen to the grunting of my ten year old niece as she satisfies her linebacker appetite.
The only good part about traveling with the family was the acute asphyxiation that followed the children’s flatulent outbursts.
I’m only kidding, that part sucked too.
The four of us set sail for Lake George last Monday, and our first stop was a place just north of town called Natural Stone Bridge & Caves. Initially, my wife and I agreed it was a swell time. But, as more time separates us from the forty five dollars we dropped down, I think we both know it was about as impressive as my brother’s back yard. I could find more natural wonders looking at a Braun family photo from 1986.
As much as I enjoyed watching an elderly gentleman sprain his ankle, the overall experience seemed a bit over-priced. The best part may have been the free picnic facilities (crooked table). The lunch spot provided a good laugh as my son pointed out a weird trash barrel with large wheels, apparently to make it easier to move.
“Look Dad! It’s a garbage can for handicap people!”
After my wife and I argued about the absence of macaroni salad in our picnic basket, we packed up and set sail for our river tubing appointment. I was extremely excited for this part of the trip, but it got off to a rocky start.
Apparently in the Adirondacks, an appointment is defined as such;
Appointment [uh-point-muhnt] – a long period of sitting around with odd-haired foreigners while waiting for your hillbilly tour guide to arrive. While you may enjoy the short-lived bliss of a large breasted water-shoe girl, you’ll mostly spend time wondering why anybody would wear corduroys and a jean jacket to go down a river, or more importantly, why your rented life jacket smells like it was last worn by Sloth Fratelli.
After a long wait, our guide finally showed up and loaded us onto a green bus. We had about a ten mile ride to the river.
I was instantly startled by the driver. She seemed more likely to eat my internal organs than to take me somewhere safely. I was starting to wonder if we’d be floating down the river in garbage bags instead of inflatable tubes.
We proceeded anyhow, and thankfully so.
Turns out the bus-driver was just beaten with the ugly stick. She hadn’t been charged with a violent crime since the mid-eighties, and despite being a tardy Unabomber lookalike, the river guide was outstanding. I was pleasantly surprised as he told jokes and impersonated animal sounds for the kids.
Our one hour float down the crystal clear waters was by far the highlight of my trip.
The next day was spent at Six Flags Great Escape, which is a fitting name, because I feel like they escaped with all our money. I hate to sound like such a party-pooper, but I was disappointed. It’s not that we didn’t have some fun, but we were spoiled with short lines and long hours at King’s Dominion last year.
Besides being burnt to a crisp in torturous long lines, wasting two minutes of my life on the bumper cars, and spending forty bucks on Papa John’s, I had a great time.
“Excuse me, sir,” I said to a ride attendant, “where is the nearest bathroom?”
After several seconds of awkward staring, I asked again, “Bathroom? Where’s the bathroom?”
“Yes,” he said again.
“shabby-doo, shobba-de-da,” I asked.
“Yes,” he nodded in agreement.
I don’t know what Six Flags has against hiring American college kids for the summer, but thankfully they provide a pretty nice pocket map.
It wasn’t all bad. The day was saved by a few great hours in the water park. The slides gave my wife something to talk about on the ride back to the hotel. She went on and on about her “near-death” experience.
“I can’t believe you weren’t there to help me,” she said.
“Honey, I don’t even think the water went above your nose,” I interrupted.
“No way! I was like…gasping for air. I started to see white lights…” she carried on.
We finished up our trip on Wednesday with a day in the village. We did a little shopping…a little miniature golf.
As the day was winding down we came across Dr. Morbid’s Haunted House.
“Yes! Yes! Please, let’s do it,” begged the kids.
We were only ten feet into the tour before my wife was rushing our shrieking niece out the emergency exit. It wasn’t long before my son began to panic as well.
“Suck it up…don’t be a wuss,” I whispered into his ear, with my hand covering his mouth.
“Mmmm…mmmm…mmmm!” he mumbled through my fingers, pointing wildly at the exit.
As I finally relented and tossed him outside, I wondered what was worse…wasting the twenty-eight bucks, or watching my only son go the way of the cowardly lion.