Smarter Than The Average

August 1, 2005

I have returned safely and successfully from bear hunting. And by bear hunting I mean the Wisconsin Dells. Yes, my bachelor party took myself and my erstwhile companions north to the Vegas of Wisconsin. There, we partook of the many splendored majesties that the great middle north has to offer.

The first stop was Paul Bunyan’s Lumberjack Meals, and all-you-can-eat extravaganza of fried chicken, pressure cooked ribs, and mediocre sides. It was intended to disturb, and it did. The last time I had the chance to eat there was during a class trip in grade school. That involved food thrown at me by my lovely classmates. This trip was far less scarring, and the food a good deal better than I remember. Either that, or my standards are way lower than they were when I was 10. Which is possible. After posing with Babe the Blue Ox, we headed up the street to Pirate’s Cove mini-golf.

For a moment I was mortified by the possibility that I might be attempting a roller coaster on a stomach full of pressure cooked beef. Thankfully, Brian and Paul are nowhere near cruel enough for that. There was a lot of warmth outside, to be sure, but the afternoon was quite pleasant. We split into two teams of five to assault one of the medium difficulty courses. Note to future self: Do the hard course. We particularly enjoyed the heights of the rusty waterpipe waterfall, which is always a great landmark to check out at the Cove. For the most part the group I was with clustered pretty evenly around the 45 stroke mark…which, given the course was a par 32 was a might high. Even still, well done for us.

Post-cove, we moved to deepest darkest downtown Dells. Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” was right night store to our next destination, Wizard Quest. The site, just so you know, may be the least informative one on all of the internets. So, to explain. Wizard Quest is a building, themed to look like four element-styled areas. In each area is a trapped wizard. Your goal is to free the wizards from some evil jerk. To free each wizard you need glimmers. You start with 150 glimmers, and earn more glimmers by answering questions. The questions are provided to you at the outset of the game, which lasts 90 minutes, and the answers can be found throughout the play space. Despite what sounds like an excuse for someone to charge us $12 to see a smelly room with a fat guy in robes and a musty stuffed unicorn, the place was somewhat impressive. The theme, a little cheese, was for the most part done in earnest. The riddles weren’t very difficult, but there was a scale to them. While some answers were found out in the open on signs, others you had to dig for.

The main quest of freeing the wizards was actually relatively simple to do once we’d gotten the hang of it, so for the most part you could decide how much work you wanted to do to earn glimmers. Besides the Q&A bit, there were simple puzzles that you could work out to nab yourself some additional glimmers. Hidden doors and secret chambers abounded, with one particularly awesome secret chamber connected by a long tunnel to a ball pit. Elijah, Paul, and Brian all braved the tunnel, with hilarious results. The team I wasn’t on took about an hour and 10 minutes, and we took about ten minutes more than that. Not terrible for a bunch of 20-something dorks. If I was ten years younger, that place would have been the coolest thing since the X-Files. Highly recommended if you’re in the mood for fantasy flavoured fun, perhaps in a group of three. Five people got a little crowded at times.

Our main activities for the day taken care of, we headed to dinner at Wally’s House of Embers. A Dells institution, the place was well worth the money spent. Stuffed steaks, Halibut with phyllo-dough topping, decent soups, and truly phenomenal desserts were in the offing. The key lime pie that Aaron chose was particularly delicious. Sort of a limey, nummy cloud with a graham cracker crust.

Finally, the evening falling, we checked ourselves into a hotel about 20 minutes between the Dells and Portage. The main suite we had looked out over the pool, which made us feel like creepy old men for the first hour or so as small children frolicked and played under our windows. After some technical problems were ironed out by Elijah and Brian, the liquor was opened up and much game-playing was partaken of. Even though I particularly enjoyed a sprite/sour apple Pucker combination for most of the evening, my Super Smash Brothers skills were up to the challenges put forth by DK, Yoshi, and Pikachu. The evening went very convivially, with folks trickling off to hit the sack as they grew too tired to be funny. Myself, Elijah, Erik, a sleepy Ben, and an inebriated Joe ended up watching The Edge until something like 3 in the morning on Sunday. Man that’s a bad movie.

We awoke late in the morning Sunday to hit an Iron Skillet for breakfast. Our bellies filled and our booze packed away, we headed homeward both amused and sleepy. While it certainly won’t go down in history as the bachelor party with the most property damage, it was a lot of fun to hang out with people. I greatly appreciated the change to do male things with my good friends and brother. Thanks again, gents.

Today’s been busy, organizing the music for the ceremony with Jenno and Carrie, getting the order put in to print the programmes, and going with Paul to the Princeton club for my first workout session there. He’s giving myself and Katie a membership there for our wedding gift. More stuff to crack this week, including the caterer, the final ceremony arrangements, the layout of the reception hall, wedding favours, assembling the programmes, and dishing up the music.

13 days and counting.

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