Monday, June 15, 2009

Campfire Chronicles

I have been absent from the blog for awhile. School was winding down for L and I and we went on a family vacation. It has been a life long dream of H's to go camping in an RV, so he planned a family wonder bus tour of Northern Michigan. I will post pictures shortly, but I wanted to write a bit about the trip.

Unlike flying, where you have to take a little as humanly possible, when one camps, you have to pack up nearly your entire house! Linens, cooking gear, clothes, food, the entire nut. So we loaded up the family car and drove to the far west side of Cleveland to pick up our cute little RV and headed to Ann Arbor, for our first overnight. Prior to hitting the campground at Silver Lake, we hit Trader's Joe and Whole Foods in Ann Arbor. Given my food issues, those are must stops, if they are available. Both locations were wonderful. We had planned a trip to the Campus area in Ann Arbor, but had to bail and just headed to our campsite. We had a dinner of sandwiches and fruit and then crashed. The kitchen table converted to a bed and H slept there with E on the floor of of the RV in his sleeping bag. "Cool I get to be a sausage!" he kept singing.

L and I had the "bed" and snuggled together behind the curtain. It was snugly and I will not say that this bed is winning any awards for comfort, but it was pleasant to snuggle with my babygirl, who is growing up faster than fast.

We stuck with this sleeping arrangement for the duration of the trip.

The next morning we took a bike ride around the park and played outside for a bit and then packed up and drove to Mackinaw City. With a brief stop in Frankenmueth, for a not so German lunch at a not so German Pub and a brief walk around at a very strange year round Christmas Shop.

We pulled into the campground at Mackinaw City, around 5 pm and we were hungry and the weather was gray and dreary and I was hormonal... naturally my period starts early while we try camping for the first time.

I will admit to having a momentary freak out, as H tried to grill in the rain and I have nightmares of a broken RV toilet and trips to the outhouse... we later found the REAL bathroom and all was well...

Now this begs the question - if the campground has an outhouse and a REAL bathroom - clean bathroom... WHY the HELL would you go to the OUTHOUSE?

In the sunlight the campground was beautiful, in the gray not as much, but Wednesday was fair and we settled in, biked 2.2 miles to town and took the ferry across to the Island.

The Island is great. E loved the ferry. We lunched, played in the park with kids from Ann Arbor, the dad was also a pilot - so he and H had a grand chat and then we biked to the rock arch, hiked up to it and then headed home. Biked 2.2 miles and tried to cook out over the fire. Um, well we had some issues. Which the 60s somethings from Atlanta helped us with and we did managed hotdogs and hamburgers for dinner. (L rode her own bike! Go L! This from the girl last summer who wailed she could never ride a 2 wheel bike! She biked in total over 14 miles in 2 days!)

Which brings me to camping observation #2. The people are so friendly and helpful. They knew we had never done this and they were willing to help. The guy who lent us the gass grill the night before to the guys who coached on campfire prep. They are good people, who generally are nice and friendly and willing to lend a hand.

The next day we hung out at the campgrounds - had a picnic lunch of tacos and then heading into town to letterbox for L and see the sights. Mackinaw City is really cute. That said it was also deserted. Which is troublesome. I think in part it was the weather, a tad bit chilly, but also I think it is a sign of the times and it was admitedly early in the season.

We rode home and then had a proper dinner, over a proper campfire! We are quick studies. The kids made friends and loved the even spent making smores and playing outside.

Next morning we broke camp and drove to Sleeping Bear Dunes outside Traver City. In a word BEAUTIFUL. Mackinaw had been lovely, but the Dunes and the view of lake Michigan, BEAUTIFUL!

We climbed the Dunes and then went to make camp. It was much easier now and we had ourselves set up in no time. Another good fire and meal, and L and E loved to play and get dirty. E collected the catapillers in his bug house.

The next day we biked (L rode with E, given the steep hills and the fact that there was no trail!) to the little town of Empire and shopped the farmers market and discovered a beautiful beach and playground. I collected stones and glass and enjoyed the beautiful day.

Then Sunday we treaked home. A long ten hours on the road, 8 in the "BUS" as E dubed it and 2 more by car.

I have to say I was dubious about the RV and camping, but I actually had a good time. It is alot of work and it is not exactly what I think of as vacation, but the kids had a ball, we saw some beautiful places and I could be away from home and safely gluten free, which is more and more important of late.

H and I worked well as a team and we did all have a good time. Sure there was my freak out and H's fire issues, but all in all it went really smoothly and we were open to learning and expering and frankly with us life has always been an adventure - that was his promise to me, an adventure and this certainly was.

L and E already want to go back and they really are children of nature and that is a good thing. I want to have active and helathy kiddos.

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