Thursday, January 19, 2006


I just haven't had much time to write here lately. Work has been insane, and I'm swamped with bike stuff in the shop, so I'm not sure how much writing will go on during Feb, but bear with me, I'll get back to it as often as I can.

We took a mini-vacation this weekend to one of the cheesiest places in America: Wisconsin. As cheesy as that is, it's even higher on the cheese-factor because we went to the Dells. For those of you not familiar, the Dells are one of a handful of true family oriented tourism traps that will take your money in any form. It's a bastion of waterparks, go carting and thrill shows all designed for one common goal, to make people's kids throw temper tantrums until mom and pop pony up more dough for the next ride/show/slide/etc....

Honestly, the Dells has come along way, it's no longer some family camping at Jellystone park and riding the ducks (the amphibious vehicles that traverse both land and sea all in the name of lightening your wallet). It's a waterpark Mecca. In the Dells, you're not even a hotel if you don't have a waterpark. The latest craze is the indoor waterparks and from all the construction going on, you pretty much have to have one or you're out of business.

We got a screaming package deal, hence the choice of such a cheesy location. It was $50/night for your room, access to the tiny, wimpy indoor waterpark at our hotel, and all the food and drink you could consume. That last part is what makes this a deal. Food and drink in the dells is somewhere slightly more expensive than buying all your meals from the guys carrying beer and hot-dog trays around at the Metro-dome. In the two nights we stayed, I think we ate/drank somewhere in the range of $400 worth! Granted we probably all ate and drank far more than we normally would, but once you check in and pay for the room you quickly get into the "all-inclusive" mindset. It's all essentially free from that point on. Want to eat 5 baskets of mozzarella sticks, go ahead you're not paying for them (although you might pay for that move later). Want a steak and the buffet? go ahead, it's all the same price (that prime rib was great washed down with the roasted ham and meatloaf from the buffet!) Beer? nah, the rail drinks are all free, just have long-islands all night. It quickly becomes a one way street to pure gluttony. Thank God we only stayed 2 nights, I can only imagine what I'd weight if we spent a week. In short, this kind of arrangement is about the last thing this country really needs.

We couldn't make it a trip to the dells without one visit to a real indoor waterpark, and if you're going to do it, you might as well go to the worlds largest, the Kalahari. We forked over $24/person for the evening admission which is good from 5 till 9pm. We got there about 6pm and got right into it. This place is huge, beyond what you can imagine should be in an indoor waterpark. I think there were about 10 slides, all different designs. My personal fav was the roller-coaster type one that actually propelled you up parts of the slide with jets of water. We collectively hit them all except the surfing thing (yes you can surf inside here). We took about 3 laps on the lazy river thingy, which was more my speed, then decided we were all shot about 8:15. That's only about 2 hours and we had all we could take. Honestly, I have no idea how these kids have the energy to do this all day, much less their parents following them around! Guess I'm getting old...

Back on the homefront, there's not much exciting to report. The living space looks like living space, all the carpets in which completed the flooring. The bath/laundry is fully operational. I think I just need to schedule some inspections and get those wrapped up. We'll probably move some furniture in there soon, despite the lack of trim around the base of the room and the windows. We need to buy/cut/stain/poly all the trim yet, so that will take a little while. I'd like to get some shelving up in the closet and the doors installed so that we can start moving all our misc crap into there. That should really help clean up the piles of clutter currently plaguing our house.

I've back at it in the shop, cranking out the bike work. The tube cutting machine is running and I cut the first full bikes' worth of tubing on it this week. Got one frame brazed up and two or three other repairs to wrap up this week. It feels good to make progress down there.

I've got a neat experiment to try soon. The second Nature lover frame has been sitting in my shop for a couple months now waiting for the future owners to decide on a color scheme. Well, they threw down the gauntlet on me and asked me to try copper plating it. So I've got this really cool copper plating solution to try out and I've been experimenting on scrap tubing with it. It's the craziest stuff, looks like a gallon bottle of windshield washer fluid (totally blue) but wipe it on steel and it's instantly copper plated! It's a very thin coating though so all the texture in the base metal shows through, so I'll be fine sanding this frame for a while. Not to mention you can't hide any pinholes or irregularities in the steel with it. I'll post some pictures once I have some worth showing. Should be a neat result.

well, I'm about out of time, so that's it for now.



Anonymous said...

You Meat-Eater you! ;-)

Man, that copper-plated frame sounds about as sweet as sweet can be. That client must be one major artistic, visionary, revolutionary, deep, awesomely deep, profound, incredibly gifted, Uber-handsome, dashing... did I say "Deep" yet?...

kinda fella.

Or, just a royal pain in yer arse, right??



Anonymous said...

Bob, you forgot to mention that the "Dells" are actually interesting geologic features that have been ruined by all the cheesy commercialism of the place.

That said, they sure know how to make an indoor waterpark! Yee-haw!

Anonymous said...

Bob, what is this magic copper-plating liquor? Care to share your secret? ;)