A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

a weekend on the ranch...

Following Toby's potty training achievements we followed up on the promise of a weekend at a water park and headed up to Rothbury (north of Muskegon) to the Double JJ Ranch.

It's more than just a water park and we had a lot of fun and even managed to escape the snow for a few hours!

There was a winter storm warning issued for that weekend so we made an early escape from Kalamazoo and drove up the 131 on the Friday morning. The drive was pretty stressful with really icy driving conditions and blowing snow on the highways.

But we made it safely and checked into our condo with a sigh of relief.
The condo was spacious with fun and quirky things like wagon wheels and horse shaped stools at the breakfast bar:

There were huge icicles hanging down from our back porch! 

We had loads of room so the kids shared a bedroom and we had our own room with en-suite. Unfortunately the ranch is in need of a refurbishment and our rooms were pretty cold at night. So cold that we ended up sharing with the kids for warmth. To be fair it was about -15/20oC at night and the heating just couldn't keep up.

The pool opens at 4pm on Fridays, so as soon as Jeremy had finished catching up on his work emails, we drove over there and spent 3 hours in the warm!

We did venture outside in the hot tub but were told to come in as there were too many icicles hanging from the water slide. Whoops! It was fun to be outside in that extreme of cold in a swim suit and feel warm though!

Poor Toby was too short for any of the slides. You have to be 42 inches and he is only 38. But he knows how much he has to grow and assures us that he is working hard to grow whilst he is sleeping!
But we enjoyed going down the slides with Charlotte and they have some great ones.
Again the water park does need some maintenance as it's old and some things weren't working. We heard there are new owners who are hoping to refurbish it soon. But the kids didn't notice and we had to drag them out of there for dinner. Toby was so tired that he actually fell asleep whilst waiting for his hot dog!

The other thing is that the water park and restaurants were a short drive away. We might have been able to walk it in the summer but so much snow fell overnight on the Friday night that we couldn't even get the car out to go to breakfast on Saturday morning! We were laughing as we sat in the car watching someone shift the snow out of the way for us! What an adventure life in Michigan is!

Once at the main part of the resort we enjoyed a fab buffet breakfast in the steak house, looking out over the tubing slope as a snow mobile carved out the lanes.

With a belly full of pancakes, waffles and bacon we hit the slope for some snow fun. The sun came out and we had a blast tubing down the slope and hitching a ride back up!

We came down in twos for the first few runs

The view from the bottom

Hitching a ride back up!

This boy loves the snow! 

Even with the sun shining we got cold after an hour or so and decided to head to the pool to warm up! We spent the rest of the day in the pool and yet again had to drag the kids out for dinner! They just loved the freedom of swimming (Toby had a life jacket) in the shallow water and shooting people with the water cannon.

Given the bad weather we decided to get on the road at lunch time on Sunday. We had a special winter package which included a ride in a horse drawn sleigh. Not ones to miss an opportunity we signed up for the 11am trip. 

We took a tour round the 'Back Forty' 

Beautiful Clydesdale horses

It was still really cold so we wrapped up and snuggled under blankets for the 20 minute trip. 

We felt like we were on a journey through Narnia! It was just wonderful. There was a blanket (a 10 inch blanket) of snow covering everything and the trees looked magical with the sparkly snow on every branch.

We had a great time at the ranch and would definitely go back there when the weather was warmer. It sounds like there is loads to do at the "Back Forty' especially in the summer - rodeos and cook-outs and horse riding! Watch this space, we may well go back for horse riding lessons or even a ride on a sheep!

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