Summer 2006

(click on a picture to see a larger version)

Summer 2006 was very busy for the Wildings.  Organized activities included piano lessons for Bill and Jake, violin lessons for Jake, swimming lessons for Ben and Bill, many baseball games for Bill's and Jake's "Junior Cougar" teams, a weekend state baseball tournament in Des Moines for Jake, and golf tournaments for Bill and Jake.  Jake played golf most days, often walking to Twin Pines.
Grandmom, Uncle Bobby, Sharon, and Girlie visited.  Bobby brought enough golf balls to solve a summer long golfball shortage.  Bobby's friend set him up with tickets to the John Deere Classic, a PGA event held in the Quad Cities.  Several of us attended some of the days.  Bill got his Austin golf hat covered in autographs. 

Uncle Carey, Aunt Marcy, and Alex joined us the following week for RAGBRAI.  RAGBRAI is a 7-day bicycle trek across Iowa designed as a punishment for anyone who thinks Iowa is flat. Marcy conceived and designed the "Slugs on a Roll" logo, which elicited many comments from passing riders.  We spent our first night (Day 5 of RAGBRAI) in Newton.  Matt, Martha, Carey, and Marcy did 40 miles, including 20 miles with Bill (on a tagalong with Matt), Alex (on a tagalong with Marcy), Ben (in a trailer with Martha), and Jake (on his own).  Lance Armstrong passed the slugs early that day, and said "Hey buddy" to Alex.
The second night we spent in Williamsburg at Wasserbahn, a waterpark.  We rode many slides, including the fast red slide.  Matt, Martha, Marcy, and Carey all rode RAGBRAI the next day.  Matt and Martha got up early and, with a lot of logistical help from the others, had a great time together riding the (short for RAGBRAI) Day 6 leg from Marengo to Coralville.  It was hot, and all the riders consumed tremendous amounts of food and water on their way.  Matt and Marcy rode most of final day leg, reaching the Mississippi in Muscatine.  The next day the gang travelled to The Lost Island Water Park in Waterloo.

The Texans left, and the next day we drove to St. Louis.  We stayed at the Country Inns and Suites in St. Charles, MO.  We walked on the brick street to a good dinner at Magpie's, and the first night Matt walked to the nearby poker game.  We visited the ultracool City Museum.  It is unlike any other place we know, an amusement park fashioned from industrial surplus parts in a style mixing art deco and Mad Max.  Everyone loved it, although Martha observed that it seemed nightmare-inducing.  The imaginative, multistory outside climbing was a particular favorite, and Martha made it to the top slide with the boys.  Highly recommended!

We attended a St. Louis Cardinals game in the new Busch Stadium.  Bill had recently announced that he is a Cardinal fan, so we procured a Cardinals cap for him.  Martha and the boys insisted that we arrive at the game 2 1/2 hours early.  The park is beautiful, and the St. Louis fans enthusiastic, although the Cardinals extended a recent losing streak by playing a lousy game. Matt disliked spending $4.50 for each (much needed) bottle of water.  Bill talked about Star Wars with the lady seated next to us.  Jake explored the stadium on his own.  We were all tired at the end of a long, fun St. Louis day!

We next drove to Evansville, IN to visit Uncle Bill, girlfriend Kim, and her daughter Brianna.  We stayed at the Baymont Inn in East Evansville.  Our visit included a day at Holiday World, a great place that is perhaps best known for providing unlimited soda.  The rides were thrilling.  Ben screamed in delight when he got wet on the log ride.   The waterpark was fun too. The group went on the lazy river, although Ben insisted on a nonlazy approach, sticking his head underwater repeatedly.  Many waterslides were tried.  By the end of the day we were all tired and hungry.  We stopped by Denny's on the way back to Evansville.

We drove back to Cedar Rapids after a long, eventful summer vacation!