Cabin Fever: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

2014-07-02 15.55.25

Sunday June 29th, 2014: Day One

We left the house close to noon. The kids were pushy as usual. None of them took my Nyquil-laced ice pops I offered them, so the drive was going to be loud. We made our way to the south side of town to drop the family pooch(officially he goes by Otto) off at my wife’s friend’s house for some R&R of his own. She boards dogs and is a trainer herself, so he loves going over there to hang out with the other canine inmates. He got things off to a great start by shitting on my wife’s friend’s living room floor. We hit the road. Rubber to asphalt. Pedal to the floor.
Now I must explain what this trip is all about. You see, we’re heading four hours south of our humble abode to glorious Brown County, just an hour
Photo Jun 29, 5 57 07 PM south of Indianapolis. We’re staying about 15 minutes outside of Nashville, Indiana in the wooded hills. Back in June of 2012 we rented a cabin in Brown County and it was the best vacation I’d ever taken. We stayed in the Croakin’ Frog cabin back then. A simple cabin with all the amenities, including bedrooms for the kids upstairs while the master bedroom was downstairs, a hot tub on the porch, burn pit in the yard, and a woodland creature for every family member. It was a great and relaxing vacation where we could unplug and just relax. One day we headed to Bloomington, the next Indianapolis for some zoo action, then on the last day we chilled in Nashville and checked out all the shops, bought candy cigarettes, and ate some awesome ice cream. Well I’d decided last summer I wanted to do that again so we reserved another cabin for a Brown County getaway. I’m not big on crazy on-the-move vacations where there’s a schedule(manifesto.) I like vacations where you do what you feel like, and if that means sitting around in your underwear watching satellite, or drinking beer at 1pm while reading a book on the porch, then so be it. There’s an incredible record store in Bloomington and Indianapolis as well as a great book store in Bloomington. We’re ten minutes away from a State Park, and fifteen minutes away from homemade ice cream and glass blowers.
After a pit stop for a sandwich, and another pit stop to relieve ourselves we made it to Brown County by 5pm. We got into the cabin(Hilltop Hideaway…it’s quite lovely) and unpacked our bags. After watching some TV we headed south to Bloomington for some food and groceries for the week. Bloomington is the home of Indiana University. It’s a pretty progressive town that survives because of the university. It was close to 8pm before we rolled in and there wasn’t much to choose from for food. We decided to hit Walmart for the groceries first, then we’d grab some grub for the road(driving to our cabin at night seemed a bit dangerous as there’s lots of hills and extremely sharp turns and we barely got up the steep drive to our cabin when we first arrived….also there’s Bigfoot to contend with.) With all of the week’s food in the van, we hit Wendy’s for burgers and fries.
It’s now almost 11pm and I’m sitting at the bar writing. The Hubner vacation for 2014 is off to a good start. Now it’s time for some peanut M&Ms and then off to bed. Tomorrow is up in the air. Maybe Bloomington, maybe Indianapolis, or maybe downtown Nashville. Or maybe we’ll hunt for Bigfoot. No matter what it is, I’ll fill you in on the gory details.
Monday June 30th, 2014: Day Two
It’s now an overcast morning in the somewhat beautiful woods of Nashville, Indiana. A mostly restful sleep with the exception of waking up at some point in the night and thinking there was a smokey haze in our bedroom. Turns out it was just the fact that my eyes couldn’t adjust to the extremely black room. I even put on my glasses thinking there was a fire in our cabin and we needed to exit the premises. Exhaustion does funny things to you.  My wife said she had a dream that we were driving and some deformed guy was chasing us. He had a protruded chest and long neck with extremely long arms. He was biting her arm which was hanging out the van window. I’m thinking there were some Deliverance thoughts running through her head as we drove through the tunnel-like lanes of trees to our home away from home last night.
Photo Jun 29, 5 59 19 PMThere’s something quite wonderful about brewing a pot of coffee and having that first cup out in the wilderness, sitting on a deck. We heard at least 6 different kinds of birds singing their songs. Even with little sunshine the trees made quite a canopy for us, holding off the day’s sure to arrive humidity. As much of a pessimist as I tend to be at times, being out here seems to wash all that away. Even though I’m still typing and “blogging” as it were, I’m completely unplugged from world wide ‘webiverse’. This doesn’t feel like writing for a post. It feels more like writing in a journal, albeit one that can glow in the dark. I’m not saying I’m going all Thoreau on you, but there’s definitely something to this great outdoors and seclusion thing. I do prefer the comforts of the 21st century like air conditioning, pillow top mattresses, and electronically-enhanced music; but being out here with the wife and kids puts things in perspective. You pare things down to the essentials; those you love and making memories with them. Everything else in life is extra, both the good and the bad. The last few years have been much more of the good.
The hot tub is getting used by my two youngest. As I get older that chemical soup becomes less and less enticing. I look at it now as nothing more than a soupy petri dish filled with dead skin and bodily fluids. A receptacle for drunken indecencies and childhood incontinence. Every time I look over and see that 104 degree rumpus juice splash my kids in the face I want to hurl.
I think the hot tub will be “broken” the remainder of the stay.
It’s 3:26 pm. That southern humidity is in full swing. A mixture of rain forest damp and ozone-less heat wash over me as I sit and type. The afternoon was spent eating cold cut sandwiches for lunch, listening to a rainstorm blow in and by, proceeded by three rounds of Apples To Apples. I won the first two rounds(in your face, family!), while my son won the last round. Pretty fun game, if you like comparison games and absurdist humor. I enjoy both. I’m now wishing I’d grabbed some oat sodas for the cabin. Perhaps Bigfoot has some he’d share?
We made our way into downtown Nashville just in time to see all the stores closing. C’mon, people! It’s the week of a major holiday and you guysPhoto Jun 30, 5 26 13 PM shutter your windows at 5pm?? Luckily the two most important stores were open, which were the candy store and the ice cream shop. Not only did the kids get there candy cigarettes, but also some old school Big League Chew so they can practice bad habits for when they get older. Thanks, candy people. And the ice cream is some of the best around. Homemade, yo. After a couple blocks of sweating up a storm we made it back to the van. Before leaving for the cabin we stopped at the liquor store and I grabbed a 4-pk of Quaff Brewing Company’s Busted Knuckle. A 7.2% reddish ale. It made for a nice evening. Quaff is brewed right in Nashville, so I got to have an actual local brew. Good stuff. Bitey. I grilled burgers and dogs as the wife sat out on the porch with me and the kids played in the dreaded hot tub. We even made some new friends in some salamanders that live in the wood posts on the porch. We watched The Fantastic Four as we ate and I promptly hit the sack.
Good day of family fun and chilled brews.
Tuesday July 1st, 2014: Day Three

I had a horrible dream last night. There was a lot of weirdness before the part that I remember, but the only thing I remember for certain was that I was feeding my son pancakes for supper. He looked nothing like my actual son, but in the dream world it doesn’t matter. There can be stand-ins for actual loved ones in dreams and your mind just knows who they’re portraying. Anyways, in the dream my son tells me that he thinks he’s having a stroke as he’s eating and goes into a convulsions. I grabbed him and started yelling his name but he wouldn’t respond. It was horrifying. He woke up and smiled at me with some pancake stuck to his lip, then he collapsed into a pile on the couch. I touched his head and he was burning up. Then I woke. It was still dark out. I looked up and there was a bright light coming from the window next to me. I freaked out as I had no idea what would make that kind of light. I just shut my eyes and fell back asleep. I woke up again and the room was pitch black. Pretty soon it happened again with the window glowing behind the shade. Alien ship landing? Government conspiracy? Local authorities looking for the Brown County Slasher? No. It was just the outside lights on the garage turning on because of the rainfall, or perhaps a rogue squirrel.
Either way, it was a rather restless night of sleep.
Something about foreign mattresses, regardless of comfort level just aren’t the same as your own mattress. I prefer my own beat up mattress, and so does my back. I got up around 8:30 am to a stiff back. My wife got up soon after and I brewed some coffee. We sat out on the porch and enjoyed the breeze before the heat started to rise. Love the humidity. For some reason the coffee tasted funny to me. It’s the water. It didn’t taste as bad yesterday. Today though, not so good. The rolls burnt in the oven. Electric ovens are a much different beast than gas. That’s annoying. Let’s hope the day improves.
2014-07-02 17.50.05We spent the afternoon walking around downtown Nashville, In looking at geodes, paintings, and puppets at a toy store called The Toy Chest. My son and I even visited a place called Guitars and Knives. It was quite interesting. We grabbed a couple ice coffees before heading back to Bloomington. We hit up Landlocked Music when I snagged Terry Riley’s A Rainbow In Curved Air, Explosions In The Sky’s All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Momente. I’m particularly excited about these as they’re ones I wasn’t looking for. They were those sorts of finds that come out and surprise you. Bite you in the butt when you’re not looking. Karlheinz Stockhausen is especially enticing. And Terry Riley’s been an influence on me since I bought his In C back in January. Tasty musical goodness. A block away we stopped at Vintage Phoenix Comics and Collectibles where my son grabbed some great classic comics. When we made it back to Nashville we stopped at Big Woods Brewing and had some pizza. I partook in a Big Woods Brewing 6′ Blonde Ale. A very light and refreshing pilsner. I’d drink it again, and again.
I see the night ending soon for me. I’ve got a headache and I’m just exhausted. Lots of sunshine and walking today. Plus a storm’s a brewin’ outside and the satellite went out, so no more Deadliest Catch. The day did improve from this morning’s questionable start.
Onward and upward.
Wednesday July 2nd, 2014: Day Four

What a strange thing they can be. Sure, what happens in waking life does have a big role in what happens in sleeping life. Sometimes though, you have a dream that comes completely out of left field and affects you rather deeply. My wife told me when we woke up she had a dream with her Grandpa Nelson in it. This is her dad’s dad. He walked into the cabin we’ve been staying at and said “Hi! It’s been awhile!” as if he’d only been on a trip and had just returned in time for lunch. In fact, it’s been a fourteen year trip. He died in June of 2000. In the dream our kids came running up to him like they knew him, where in reality our oldest was only a month old when my wife’s grandpa passed away. She was visibly upset as she told me the dream. She loved her grandpa and grandma very much. They were the stability in her childhood while her parents played the village idiots. I think it was just the shock of seeing him after 14 years that was upsetting, but it’s strange how something as random as a long lost grandparent can just pop up out of our subconscious like that and haunt our heart.
I dreamt one of my brother’s friends from high school went into my bedroom to steal some of my records, and I was also writing one hell of a song that the melody still echoes in my head as I type this. A guitar, a guitar….this cabin for a guitar.
The wife and I have come to the conclusion that three days of seclusion and the great outdoors is plenty of time for “getting away”. We’ve come to this conclusion every time we’ve been here, yet we still always stay for four days. Hell, we had originally planned on staying for five days. I can’t imagine the mental state we would’ve been in had that come to fruition. Although in that scenario the dog would’ve come with us. After five days out here with the family and no sort of umbilical cord to the rest of the universe the pooch may have tore all our throats out as we slept.
I think I just heard “Stop arguing! Who gives a shit it’s just a hair brush!” Yep. Three days is plenty of time in paradise. What are we doing today? Hell if I know. There was talk of going to the Brown County State Park, but from the sound of it we may just gnaw our own arms off and call it a day.
It’s my mom’s birthday today as well. Happy birthday, mom. She’s 65 years old today, but doesn’t look a day over 50. She’s had a rough couple of years. She lost her mom to cancer in February of 2011. She was there with her when she died. I’m not sure she’ll ever get that out of her mind. I think that pain just dulls a little more each year. Grandma Ruthie was a fun and beautiful lady. She loved her family and loved having everyone over. With five kids(including my mom) there was plenty of kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids to make noise and laugh with when we did get together. In November of 2012 my mom’s dad died. He’d had a stroke back in 2001 and in 2003 him and his wife moved to Florida. The climate made the after affects of the stroke much easier to live with. He’d had some other health issues and had been diagnosed with kidney failure. He needed dialysis but refused. In November of 2012 he succumbed to his ailments. At that time my mom had been sick on and off since October of 2012 with a fever and aches. She’d been to the doctor and had multiple blood tests, antibiotics, and had even had a battery of tests done at her cardiologist’s office. They found nothing. From October to January she had this mystery ailment that made her fever-ish and achy. She was miserable on Thanksgiving and Christmas, on top of grieving from losing her mom and dad. She ended up pulling through and has been fine ever since. They think her spleen was infected, but they really don’t know.
So happy birthday mom. I love you.
After a lunch of grilled barbeque chicken breast and baked potatoes we packed the brood and headed to Brown County State Park. What a beautiful place to explore. My wife brought her work camera to get some practice and I think she got some great shots. There were two main lookouts; a north lookout tower and west lookout tower. Both views were breathtaking. It’s amazing how much southern Indiana resembles eastern Tennessee. We spent close to an hour walking trails and taking photos. After we left we headed back to downtown Nashville for the last time. A touristy t-shirt was bought for our 11-year old daughter and everyone(except me) partook in some more ice cream. Before heading back we stopped for some libations for the wife and I. I picked up some Carson’s Brewery’s Brown Cow Ale and my wife got some of those frozen drinks you just pour and drink. More grilling and more hot tub shenanigans ensued.
We’re now all packed up and ready to get the hell out of here come morning. A great way to end the day and our trip.
Thursday July 3rd, 2014: Day Five

We were up and at ’em by 9am. It was by far the nicest and most comfortable morning in Brown County. It was sunny and in the upper 50s. We gathered our bags and loaded the van. Adios, cabin in the woods. Adios, strange lights in the middle of the night. Adios, terrifyingly steep incline to the cabin. Nashville, we had a great time browsing your crafty shops and dining on your delicious pizza. And your ice cream was quite fantastic. And really, the local brew was on par with some of the best I’ve had. Of course, Bloomington was a blast as always. Landlocked Music was a great place to hunt for vinyl, and we found some great comics at Vintage Phoenix Comics and Collectibles. But most of all, thanks Brown County for giving the Hubners some time to remember why we like each other so much. I haven’t heard all three kids laugh and get along like that in a very long time. The wife and I enjoyed our coffee time on the porch each morning, and chill time on the porch in the evenings when it was time to grill some grub.
But most of all, thank you Bigfoot for everything.
It’s now 7 pm. We got home around 2:30 pm and have unpacked. It’s as if we never left. Mr. Pooch McGooch(aka, Otto) is happily gnawing on a chew stick from Paws N’ Claws. He’s thrilled to be home and with us, and we’re thrilled to be home with him. It’s always great to get away, but even greater to get back home.
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10 thoughts on “Cabin Fever: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

  1. Sounds like a great vacation with the family! I’m digging those candy cigs…Packaging looks like the real thing. We don’t have those “up here”…We have Popeye Cigs but they’re called “candy sticks” here and are just plain white.


    1. These look very much like the real thing. These were in fact bubble gum sticks and even had powder in the ends of them so you could blow into it and it looked like smoke. Overkill? Yes, but that’s what we’re about down here. Overkill.


  2. Sounds excellent (apart from the dreams. I blame rural air – we withdraw from city pollutants and it messes with our sleeping minds).
    “Rainbow in curved air” is absolutely brilliant. I have the re-issue you bought. Love it. The Stockhausen is tasty too.


    1. I LOVE ‘A Rainbow In Curved Air’. You are totally right, it is absolutely brilliant. I got into Steve Reich at the beginning of the year and he led me to Terry Riley. I bought an old copy of his ‘In C’ and it really was a mind blowing experience for me. So glad I found this copy of ‘Rainbow’. I had no idea it was reissued. And the Stockhausen…man that was not what I was expecting. I bought it blindly. Spinning it for the first time my oldest daughter looked at me like I was crazy. Really glad I snagged it though. Eager to find more of his stuff.


    1. Apples To Apples is a card game where each player gets 7 cards. On the back of each card is a word and definition. One player each round is the judge and pulls another card from a different stack that contains adjectives. They tell the other players the adjective and they then pick one card in their hand that fits the adjective. The judge then chooses the word that they think best fits the adjective. It’s a really fun game that with my family the weirder and bizarre the words are the better.


  3. What a nice adventure you had! I love cabins in woods myself too. In fact, I like to spend my vacations at any place distant from the busy world we working people live in, whether it is woods or lakes. If you were ever going to spend your vacation up in Canada, here is my ultimate favourite tip: Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, where you also can rent a cabin or just put up a tent and relax. Few days in there and you are as good as new!


    1. That sounds like a wonderful way to reboot. I think I’ve heard of Lake Minnewanka, though I’m not sure why. I would like to make my way up north to Canada at some point.



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