Vacation Time, Hombres!Commentary • automotive • ISSUE 35•28 • Aug 11, 1999 By Jim Anchower – The Cruise Hola amigos. What's what? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but there's been a lot of mess going down. First off, I had to get the head gasket replaced on my sporty Dodge. I thought it was leaking oil, but I couldn't see any spots under my car. Then, when my engine started smoking while I was trying to move on a car full of women, I knew it was the head gasket. Let me tell you, there's nothing like a blown head gasket to make you look uncool in front of a carload of hot chicks. Now, I'm no shirker when it comes to fixing shit myself, but Jim Anchower ain't got time to mess with a head gasket. It takes a hell of a lot of time and energy: You've got to take all the wires off and label them to keep track of where they came from, and when you're Jim Anchower, you're a man on the go who doesn't have time to mess with that sort of thing. Fortunately, there's this mechanic I sold some weed to once or twice who'd promised me a deal if I ever needed it. So I paid him a visit, and he told me he'd take care of the gasket, but that it would take a week or so. A week without wheels! That was a major problemo, since July is prime cruising time. Windows down, a little REO on the stereo, and everyone knows you mean business. What was I going to do with my week without a car? Since I had a few bones saved up, I decided to take a little vacation. I called in to work and told them I had mono. That would cover me for a few days. Then I called Ron to see if he was interested in scaring up some action. Ron was a big pussy about it. He was all like, "Well, I gotta work, and I can't get the time off." Just goes to show, you can't depend on Ron. Then I called Wes "The Bomb" Baumgartner, and he was kind of hemming and hawing. I pressed for an explanation, and it eventually came out that he was going on a little vacation himself, with his family. They were headed up to Wisconsin Dells for a weekend of camping fun and water-park adventure. Well, I turned on the old charm and, before you know it, I was headed along for the ride. At first, Wes seemed like he didn't want me to go, but then I said, "Hey, what could liven up a family vacation like a little fun, Anchower style?" That did the trick. Nothing against the Baumgartners, but you could have more fun at a Mormon picnic than with that crew. So, Friday, we all crammed into the car--me, Wes, his mom, his grandma and his little brother Zach--and headed to the Dells. The whole trip, I tried to make nice with Mrs. Baumgartner, but she gave me the old evil eye every time I opened my mouth, while Wes' grandma just sat there and stared at me like I had an extra head or something. We got to Camp Kegonsa around 4:30 p.m. While Wes and his mom set up the camper, I made an excuse about having the trots so I could scope out the campgrounds for babes. I wandered all over the place, but I only saw couples and families. By the time I got back, the camper was set up and the Baumgartners were all out playing cards. I decided that since I was a guest, I'd hang out with the family for a while and make nice. We spent about an hour playing hearts, and the old Anchower luck was running strong. I took five games in a row before his mom said it was time for dinner. While she and Grandma were fixing up some food, I told Wes we should eat and then slip out for some brews. He was cool with that. After wieners and some s'mores, Wes told his mom we wanted to go into town. The problem was, his mom said we had to take Zach along. Talk about the best laid plans going to waste! There was no getting around it, so Zach hung around with us all night while we cruised the Dells' shooting galleries and arcades looking for a chance to ditch the little goob and have some real fun. The next day, we went to Noah's Ark, where the water animals play. I forgot to bring along a swimsuit, so I wore some old cutoffs. Not like anyone there was going to care. You get a bunch of high-school lifeguards together and you might as well not have anybody watching your ass at all. Before we left, Wes covered every inch of his body with suntan lotion. He asked if I wanted any, but I wasn't going for that. I told him I was a bronze god just waiting to happen, so I wouldn't need any of that weak-ass shit. As soon as we got to Noah's Ark, Wes and I went to town. We did the Congo Bongo and Kowabunga slides. We did the Big Kahuna wave pool. We did Jungle Rapids and the Bermuda Triangle. We hung out and tried to scam on the stuck-up snack-bar girl. We were having a great time. And somewhere in there, we even managed to find time to sneak into the john and smoke the special water-park joint I brought along. Toward the end of the afternoon, we decided to cap off our day with a nice, relaxing trip down Lazy River. That's the thing where you get on an innertube and just lay back and let the river take you where it may. Well, between the sun and the weed and the motion of the river, I was plenty tired: About two seconds after I got on the tube, I was out like a light. Next thing I knew, I was opening my eyes from the most relaxing sleep I'd ever had and noticing I was sort of purple. I moved to get off of the tube, and it felt like I was being stabbed, only all over my body. I was fried! Without thinking, I rolled over and jumped in the water. That felt better until a bunch of 12-year-olds started beaning me in the head with their tubes. I cussed them out and tried to get them, but by then, my innertube had floated away. Even in just three feet of water, you can't run after and catch punks on innertubes. They floated away and left me splashing. While I was sitting there, plotting my revenge, one of those underage lifeguards yelled at me through her megaphone to get out of the water. By this time, I was totally pissed, so I told her I'd get out if she'd get her fat ass off the chair and drag me out. She took her lifesaving hook and got me around the neck. Then she called security on her walkie-talkie. These two big goons came by and hauled me up by my arms, totally disregarding my monster sunburn, and dragged me to the exit. Man, the only thing I hate worse than cops are rent-a-cops who think they're cops but are just asswipes with uniforms! All the while, I was screaming for Wes to come help me out. The last thing I saw at Noah's Ark was one of the 12-year-olds pointing at me and laughing. I hung out at the exit and waited for Wes and his family to come out. When they did, Wes' mom totally gave me the cold shoulder for getting kicked out. I was in so much damn pain, I stayed in bed in the camper the whole next day. The only time I got up was to take a leak or put on some more Bactine. In the meantime, Wes and his family went out to the casino, and Wes came back with $20 he won at a slot machine. That's the worst part: With the streak of luck I'd been having up to that point, that money would have been mine. Actually, I would have gotten that and a whole bunch more. After all, Wes is a stand-up guy, but he's a bit of a puss. I would have turned that $20 into an even grand. He just don't know how to let it ride.