Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Alpine Slide

Of all the things the kids remember from our last trip to Woodbine, the Alpine Slide stands out the very most, possibly because it's a whole ton of fun. It's a drive from Woodbine, but worth every minute we spend streaking down the hillside on plastic sleds. There was a threat of rain, but it only dripped slightly on our way there.

You pick up your sled at the top and go sliding down as fast as you dare...which is naturally faster for Daddy than for me, but I do my best to keep up. Then you head back up in the chair lifts, which seem slightly old and rickety, and start the whole thing over again. With a couple of excited kids, it's over and over and over again.

One of the coolest things about the slide, which is part of a ski resort, is that it overlooks the Mississippi River. If you don't normally get to see a great big river, it's a pretty impressive sight. This year was a little different, since the river was already starting to flood near the slide. The dock in the photo below was fully above the water two years ago.This year, I decided to hide a letterbox at the bottom of the slide. Seemed like a fun idea except for that itty little thunderstorm heading across the river. We got to the bottom and I went looking for a spot to hide my box. Just as I was getting everything together, one of the staff came over and told us they needed to shut down the lift because the storm was coming. I threw everything together and we all raced back to the lift and up the hill. This was the view out over the river. We got back to the car just as it started to rain.It's now something of a tradition to stop at Happy Joe's for dinner after an afternoon at the Alpine Slide. Happy Joe's is a pretty big chain in the Midwest, but it doesn't make it out here to California. Think of it as a more quaint version of Chuck E. Cheese's. It's not nearly as obnoxious and the food, while hardly gourmet, is a step above Mr. Cheese. You can use a token to make a model train circle the dining room on a ledge near the ceiling. Sure, there are video games and tickets and lame prizes, but it's all toned down a lot from the mouse restaurant.Here's Mam with all her crap loot.Oh, and they've got hot fudge sundaes too. What could be better. Not much, Mam's decided.And here's a photo I took on the way home. You can say all you want about the interminable corn fields and farms in rural Illinois, but they're certain scenic.

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