The Beach and Tae Kwon Do (not on the beach)

Jennifer and her friend Kim decided to take their kids to the beach, so Andy and I tagged along. The children were running along the shore and playing in the sand. The mothers were sitting on a blanket watching the children and chatting. Andy and I were the old people sitting behind the blanket in our folding chairs. No one was in the water for long. Lake Michigan is COLD! The children went in ankle deep a few times to scoop up water for their sandcastles and got out as fast as they could. We watched other beachgoers do the same. Little Olivia was in the water more than anyone else, but I didn’t notice her turning blue. She did stay covered in sand though. Then, Kim would drag her into knee-deep water to wash some of the sand off.

Why is it that children with sandy feet are always compelled to step on the blanket? And why must they sit on the blanket when their little bottoms are coated with sand. Constant reminders from moms had little effect. Well, it is the beach, after all.

Andy and I sat in our chairs eating a bag of Ranier cherries. That was after I worked up a big thirst from eating cheese balls. They are part of our beach/picnic tradition. So much so, that we stopped on the way to the beach to buy some.

The gulls were having good luck fishing just off the beach.

Gull

Andy and I also went along in the evening to watch the Tae Kwon Do sparring class. The first thing the class did was run laps around the gym/room. Cam’s belt fell off twice and one of the helpers tied it back on him. Then he continued running.

They did jumping jacks. Here son-in-love George is flanked my Owen and Cam. All ages and both sexes are in the same class. They do all the same exercises, but the children are at one end of the room with helpers for the practice. The master stood front and center calling out the exercises.

Cam’s pushup form was so adorable. He was flat on the floor most of the time.

After doing enough exercises to wear me out just watching, they started the real sparring lessons. What I like best about this photo of Cam practicing a kick is the expression on the little girl holding the shield. I didn’t get a picture, but Cam was knocked over several times when it was his turn to be kicked.

It is not enough to kick; they have to be accurate too. They also practiced with small targets. My camera timing was not right, but Owen did a good job of kicking high in the air (for him).

All the students were lined up in groups of four for the practice. The master would tell them what to practice and then one student would hold the target and be kicked, while the second kicked. The next two would be doing whatever exercises the master called out while waiting their turn. Sometimes Owen and Cam were together.

The class was an hour or an hour-and-a-half or so long and they were all working all the time. There was only one short break to get a drink of water. They did get to pause to listen to instructions, but that was it. Watching was exhausting.

We went to the Chinese buffet for dinner.

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Wisconsin Dells

I had never heard of the Wisconsin Dells before Jennifer moved to Wisconsin. A few years back, we passed it on the way somewhere else and I learned that it is a very popular vacation destination. We had planned to take grandsons, Owen and Cam, there for two nights. Fortunately, Jennifer suggested that it might be better if she came along too. Thank God she was there. The boys (five and seven now) were wild with excitement.

The Wisconsin Dells have long been a place that attracted tourists. It is a scenic section of the Wisconsin River, which flows into the Mississippi River. Like so many other beautiful natural places, it has since turned into a tourist town with “attractions”. The main attraction here is waterparks. They bill themselves as the waterpark capital of the world, and I believe it. of course, we brought the boys for the waterparks. Our resort had three or four on the property. The water slides were huge. See the person dropping down the blue pipe!

I almost missed this person zooming through a huge loop.

There are also indoor water parks. This is Wisconsin after all.

Lazy River

Andy and I did not participate in much water sliding. Jennifer took care of that. We took a boat ride to see the natural wonder that made this area famous.

Andy and I sat on top in the front row (starboard side) and we had no sooner left the dock that the captain pointed out an eagle sitting in a shoreside tree.

I think these two rocks are called the gateway to the dells.

This feature is called a stack of pancakes.

The boat went behind an island through a passage barely wider than the boat itself. The water was deep.

The cliffs are riddled with small holes. The tour guide said that they all have swallow nests in them in the spring.

Here, the boat is entering “Witch’s Gulch”. The captain ran the boat up onto the sand before coming alongside the pier.

The gulch had a boardwalk through it, sometimes beside and often over the creek.

There is a concession stand with restrooms at the end of the boardwalk.

I got a kick out of the attendant’s teeshirt.

This spot, with the hole behind a rock post, was called witch’s window.

Our next stop was Stand Rock. The pilings on the pier were not heavy duty.

Stand Rock was rather impressive on its own. But, apparently, what makes it famous is the jumping dog. After the tour guide gave a talk about the history, another woman with a German shepherd appeared on the to of the bluff.

I didn’t catch him midway between but was happy to capture the leap at all.

The trail led through another gift shop concession stand. It was a pretty walk back down to the boat.