Packed, caffeinated, The Great Brain in the CD player and sunscreened, Team Testosterone and I caravaned to the Wisconsin Dells. My sons were duly impressed by the roller coasters, go-carts and water park. Especially the wave pool. Imagine an 8 foot wave crashing down onto crowds of screaming, jumping, joyful people. Team Testosterone couldn't get enough. If you've never seen a wave pool in action, here's a video some stranger took and helpfully posted on You Tube. What it doesn't capture is the bungee jumpers overhead or the ginormous waterslides directly behind the tidal wave. Total chaos, total fun, total craziness.
We left the park and found our delightful little campground. The mosquitoes were out in force, but the campground had mini golf, a nice pool and a bath house with flush toilets and showers. I pitched tents for me and my boys, rolled out our sleeping bags, reapplied OFF and enjoyed the Scoutmaster's walking tacos before volunteering to lifeguard for a gang of 20 Scouts and siblings at the pool.
When the kids were waterlogged again and thoroughly exhausted and famished, we returned to the campsites to enjoy a fire and S'mores. Mr. B and Mr. G went to their tents and were dead to the world within minutes. By 10:30 my head lolled back in my lawn chair and I contemplated the status of my bladder. If I went to bed right away, I'd surely wake up in the middle of the night and have to hike back up the hill to those flush toilets. And the mosquitoes would still be out in force. The one girl-sibling was sitting behind me and I mentioned my conundrum. "I was thinking the same thing," she said.
"Let's go now together."
Halfway to the toilets a rumble sounded in the distance. A moment later a flash of lightning illuminated our path.
"Ummm, it's not supposed to rain," I said. "I checked three weather forecasts to be sure. No way would I agree to camp overnight in a tent if there was a chance of rain."
The girl flipped open her phone and looked up a weather radar. Next to our location we saw a blob of green the size of Idaho. Green blobs mean rain. Dead center in that green blog was a red blob the size of West Virginia--heading directly for us. Red blobs mean severe storms. "Okay, now that's not fair."
Back at the campsites I heard the Scoutmaster checking on the weather report. He returned to tell us severe thunderstorms were going to hit us in 7 minutes. We could sleep in tents in the rain, but not in a lightning storm.
In pitch darkness I began packing and hauling, rolling and stuffing the sleeping bags, beach towels, lawn chairs, tents and children into the Momvan. By the time I reached for Mr. G's peacefully sleeping body, rain was pelting down on us. I couldn't wake Mr. B for any amount of money. Pulling him across the bottom of his tent, I wrapped him in a beach towel and stumbled with him to the Momvan. By the time I got his tent and sleeping bag shoved into the back, the rain was pounding us.
I drove 3 sleeping boys home through a fierce storm in the middle of the night. The lightning! The rain! I nervously kept watch on the temperature--any sharp drop would mean tornado weather. Thank God that never happened. At 1:30 I carried the boys one by one up to their beds and tucked them in. The storm ceased 5 exits before the one to our house. Of course.
The boys awoke discombobulated and wondering why they weren't in tents. Mr. G was upset he wouldn't get to have Lucky Charms for breakfast (not an option at home, but the Boy Scouts pack it on camping trips). In summary, a great trip with a bad ending. Would I be brave enough to do it again? I think I would.