Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cabin In The Woods, Pt 3

After a day full of fun, we figured that Day 4 would wind up being a chill day. The rain helped dampen (see what I did there?) any ideas of outdoor activities. Chill day was ON!

Day 4: Roku To The Rescue

We actually managed to sleep in, which is a particular achievement for me. We didn't roll out of bed until 9:00! After breakfast, we set up the Roku and figured out what our viewing schedule would be. First up was Last Week Tonight, which we all enjoy.

Weekly, 30 minutes, MUST SEE TV!
If you don't make a habit of watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, you should. Even if you decide not to watch it on HBO, you can see the main stories on their YouTube channel.

After a little TV, we did individual activities. For me, that included reading and drawing. And no, I'm not going to post any of the drawings. They're just sketches and not all that great. Maybe, at some point, I'll post a couple. Trust me when I tell you that they're nothing special at this point... :-)

After lunch, it was time for another board game. This one was Roll For The Galaxy.

Colonize the Galaxy!
This is another of our staples. It's pretty easy to pick up, and easy to convince everyone to play. It's one of the few games that actually takes as long as the box says it should. These games are typically pretty competitive as well, but it usually turns out that Garrett or Gabriel wins. This time, Garrett claimed the mantle of Conqueror of the Galaxy. Gabriel came in second, again. Actually, he and I tied, I think, which is a pretty solid showing for me.

You'll notice that Tanya did *NOT* win this one. I wonder if she was still hung over from the Catan win...?

A little downtime followed, then we fired up the Roku again and watched My Hero Academia.

Anime with angst! That might be a redundant description.
This is another show that we watch regularly. We are typically behind in watching it, because we (Tanya and I) like to wait for the voice actors to dub the episode instead of reading the subtitled version on release. The boys have absolutely no problem reading the subtitles. In fact, I'm pretty sure Gabriel has read at least part of the manga as well.

Finally, dinner time rolled around. As I mentioned the the last post, we went back to the Blue Rooster. I ordered the same main course as the previous night, but we skipped the fried pickle slices this time. I had to save space for the fried pie for dessert while remaining at least somewhat comfortable in my pants.

Our final entertainment for the evening was delivered through a viewing of Ghost in the Shell.

2.0, because adding a little CGI warrants a new version
Tanya, as it turns out, had never seen the original. The boys had seen parts of it, but not the whole thing. If you have only seen the live-action version from earlier this year, you should make time to see this one as well. It's a different story than that told in the new one, and quite a bit more cerebral, in my opinion.

After the movie was over, we went over the plan for the next day (which was to get out of the cabin and go KAYAKING!). Grumblings were heard and summarily ignored.

What happened next will BLOW YOUR MIND! Wait, I just said it was kayaking. I guess it won't blow your mind all that much after all... ;-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cabin In The Woods, Pt 2

So... who won the Catan game? What happened on days 3 and 4 (and 5 and 6, for that matter)? WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU LEAVE US IN SUSPENSE LIKE THAT, RUSTY?!

Sorry about that. I'm trying to pace myself. Gotta keep the post count up somehow... 

On to Day 3!

Day 3: Zip-lining... or Thunderstorms, and Catan pt 2

Our planned activity for Day 3 was zip-lining. Unfortunately, Mother Nature made other plans. We were scheduled to go before mid-morning, but we woke up to thunderstorms. I called the zip-lining company, and they had decided to not even send crews out to check the lines and that all morning sessions were cancelled. We were bummed, but then remembered that we had a game of Catan waiting for us!

Do you want Wood for your Sheep?

We got back to the game. Tanya was in the lead with Gabriel a close second. Garrett was third, owning all of the favorable exchange ports. I, as usual, was bringing up last place pretty solidly. For some reason, I always pick a pretty common number, and then we never roll it throughout the game. I think that 9 was my nemesis this time...

We finished by lunchtime, with the final standings as they were the night before: Tanya was crowned Lady of Catan, with Gabriel as the next largest land holder. Garrett had the largest army, and I had the biggest wheelbarrow of nothing you've ever set eyes on. Truly, it was magnificent to behold how much nothing I brought to that game... 

The good news is that the rain had cleared off enough to consider the zip-line again. I called the place, and they were indeed open and had a spot for the four of us. We went up there after lunch for zip-lining greatness!

The adventure was courtesy of Rugaru Adventures, and the guides were all fun. We went with another family of three and a single adventurer, so our party was decently sized.
Proof we all went outside!
The course had six zip lines to go through, and we kept a brisk pace (as the weather was still somewhat threatening). I had never been zip-lining in any form or fashion, although everyone else had. Noob!

I think it's safe to say that the entire group enjoyed the adventure. Some of the views from the lines were pretty impressive, especially the one that takes you out over the lake. Oh, you say you'd like a picture of that? Don't worry -- Rusty will provide!

Does the line dump you into the lake?!
And yes, Tanya smiled the whole time. I think she was still glowing from the recent conquest of Catan.

Not to be outdone, Gabriel got a wave in to the camera while on one of the lines.

I'm zipping away! Bubye!
Even Garrett enjoyed himself. He typically doesn't smile for pictures, but I don't think he could help himself.

That's not a smile, Dad -- it's a smirk!
But honestly, do any of you think I would not claim the silliest picture pose? Hey, I may not be very good at board games, but I know how to ham!

And then there's the group pose.

We could take a serious picture, but why?!
I'm really glad we got the chance to do this. The operation is well-run, fun, and definitely worth doing if you're ever in the area.

All that zipping around left us hungry. We decided to abandon all pretense of finding food that was somewhat good for us and went to The Blue Rooster.

There's also a blue metallic rooster in the yard.
The Blue Rooster specializes in fried food. This is where the wheels came completely off of my vacation sensible eating plan. We loved this place. We loved it so much, we went back again the next night. So much tasty-fried goodness! They even had fried pies for dessert! The first night, I had the lemon fried pie. The second night, it was apple (of course).

We were pretty lethargic by the time we got back to the cabin, so we settled in for a long winter's nap. Only, it was summer. And it wasn't a nap -- we just laid around chatting and reading until we started to fall asleep, then went to bed. See? I suck at poetry because I'm too literal... ;-)

Stay tuned for Day 4!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cabin In The Woods, Pt 1

Cabin In The Woods!
Or, short summer vacacay, if you prefer. Originally, we had opted NOT to have a summer vacacay since the boys were going on a cruise with their mom and extended family, and I've got a longer trip to Hawaii in September. However, we just couldn't resist the siren call of the Oklahoma woods, so we booked a cabin and left on a Friday to spend a few days "roughing it" in the far reaches of Broken Bow in southeastern Oklahoma.

Day 1: Travel, Arrival, Dinner

The drive from DFW to Broken Bow was shorter and nicer than I expected it to be. I'd driven to Broken Bow once before, years ago, in the days pre-dating Google Maps. It took close to five hours that time, but this time the drive was right around three hours -- perfect for a weekend jaunt. It also gave me an excuse to play my favorite travelling music: "There Came An Echo," by Big Giant Circles. You should definitely check out ALL of his stuff -- it's all well worth the listen and subsequent purchase!

We made it to the cabin and settled in. After milling about for a bit, we decided to try to find somewhere to eat. A lot of vacacay is about eating, after all. The first place we tried was Rolling Fork.

This place is simply fantastic. They serve natural artisan foods... in the middle of Hochatown, Oklahoma. I can't describe how pleasantly surprised I was that Tanya found this place. We enjoyed it so much that we wound up going back again the next day to pick up a lunch to go.

The first day ended with relaxing at the home-away-from-home. We made sure all the electronics worked, entertained ourselves, and made an early evening of it. We had an active day planned on the 'morrow.

Day 2: Four-mile Walk, Catan pt 1

The day began with us hiking in Hochatown State Park. Tanya and I wound up making this trek alone, since both boys and "accidentally" stayed up really late and didn't feel up to walking through nature with us.


The walk was really pleasant. There was some rain in the forecast, but it held off while we walked. The clouds kept the heat index down a little too, which was not quite refreshing. The humidity, after all, made us feel like damp washcloths pretty quickly.

I did manage to make a friend on the trail. Millipedes were all over the place. We first passed a dead one on the trail about five minutes in, and I saw about a half dozen more during our walk. This one, though... we were buddies. I called him Miles the Millipede. He didn't seem to mind.

Promises to keep, and miles to go...

Strangely enough, I managed to get flea-bitten on the ankles, even though I was wearing long socks, pants, AND bug spray. Apparently I didn't spray my ankles adequately. Perhaps I've learned my lesson... but don't count on it. Fleas gotta eat too!

Dinner on Day 2 was at The Moon Tower Bar and Grill. This was another place I liked very well, and the only restaurant we went to in the direction AWAY from Broken Bow (and towards Arkansas).

So *that's* what a moon tower looks like...

This was one of those kinds of places that had an eating challenge. I can't remember what exactly it was... a 48 or 60 ounce steak of some sort. It sounded painful, and I didn't try to find any wall of champions. Still, our food was good, and I enjoyed the ambiance. It reminded me of... well, most of the bars and grills from around where I grew up in central Texas.

The final activity of the day was cracking open Settlers of Catan. This is a board game that we tend to play at least once a summer. This year, we added the Cities and Knights expansion, which made the game significantly longer for us. So long, in fact, that we had to pause the game and return to it the next day.

More on that in the next post!