The right way to vacation

Your friendly neighborhood sports editor wasn?t at the office on Monday or Tuesday and he wasn?t in Mt. Pleasant all weekend. Why? Because he was on vacation.

Yep, that?s right, the family and I went straight Griswold, hopped in the car and took some time for ourselves. By the way, that reference is meant to be for the Chevy Chase ?Vacation? not the recent remake starring Kelly Bundy and that guy from ?The Office.?

Now let me say right off that I don?t like going on vacation. My idea of taking time off is just sitting at home, ordering a pizza and chilling out on the couch, or just sleeping in and being a straight-up bum for a whole day.

However, I?m not the only one in this family and both the wife and baby wanted to get out and see the world so we decided to head to beautiful Galena, Ill. home of former president and Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant and also his way less famous son, Ulysses S. Grant Jr.

The actual vacation part was all right but I?d say the highlight of the weekend was on the way up when we found out there was a Fazoli?s in Dubuque.

Is there a more perfect fast food place than Fazoli?s? I doubt it. Chicken Alfredo, pizza, endless breadsticks. Tell me this: why are there a million Sonics in Iowa and only like five Fazoli?s? What would you rather eat, a delicious Italian dish or some crummy corn dog that you?re forced to eat outside or in your car?

Sonic is honestly the most overrated fast food place on the planet, by the way. Pretty sure it only survives because of the name recognition it gets from that stupid hedgehog. When was the last time a new Sonic the Hedgehog game came out, anyway? Probably no earlier than 1999. I like to use Tails anyway, I?m a big fan of the sidekicks.

Anyway, I don?t want to make this column all about fast food, but in conclusion we need to knock down some Sonics and put up some Fazoli?s so the more sophisticated diners like myself have a place to eat, too.

Galena is a pretty cool town but we probably had the most fun chilling at the hotel. We went out and bought Addie a baby floatie and she got to splish-splash in the pool, which was probably my favorite non-Fazoli?s part of the trip.

Let me ask you something else. What is the general rule on your child playing with the community toys just found lying around the pool? She picked up this ball right away and my wife commented that it probably has all sorts of germs on it. Am I a bad father for letting her play with it? Should I have washed it first? I mean, it was in the pool, so it?s already sort of washed, right?

Also we realized the rush of having a baby wakeup screaming in a crowded hotel and the thrill of trying to calm her down before she woke up anybody else staying. Nobody wants to get that knock on the door from some Mr. Complainy Pants that doesn?t like to get woken up by screaming.

What do you do in that sitaution anyway? Because you can?t really promise to keep it down when it?s a baby. I think that?s the kind of situation that starts hotel fights. There were some big guys staying in the other rooms too, but if one tried to step at me and wanted to throw hands, I would have just chopped him down like a cherry tree because a man has to protect his family.

Another highlight for me happened on the way back. We went to the Coralville mall to do some shopping and I got super lucky to walk by a 10-minute massage stand.

Is there anything better than a massage at the mall (besides eating at Fazoli?s)? I don?t think so. I made eye contact with one of the people running the stand and his eyes spoke to me. They said, ?Hey, would you like to not be shopping anymore and instead lie here and be super relaxed for a while?? Easiest sell ever.

I don?t have a ton of life skills but I think I?ve decided I?m super good at getting massages. I was getting mine next to this other guy and I guarantee you I was feeling way more laid back.

This was one of those deep massages where they used a bunch of oils. The kind of massage that actually hurts quite a bit, sometimes to the point where you almost want to beg them to stop. A good massager brings you to the edge of tears and then lets up right as you?re about to tap out. Felt amazing.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend Galena for someone who doesn?t want to drive a super long way, and who appreciates top-knotch italian food and Civil War generals. I don?t feel like I bankrupted myself like when we went to Florida (I still wake up in cold sweats about how much we spent on that trip) and we had plenty of family fun.