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Monday, July 12, 2010

CAMPING – At Lake Ottawa with Jameson – July 2010

-This post sent by a solar powered computer-

It was time for our grandson Jameson to spend a WHOLE WEEKEND camping with us!   Steveio picked up the little guy while at work… Both Steve and Heather work at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.  Heather came in for 2 pm and Steve had to work till 2:30.  So little Jameson got to see how his Grandfaddah did “work”.   He got red ink all over his hands because he got to X off a whole bunch of days on Granfaddah’s calendar at his desk.  Guess he gave us a lot more vacation days?   Wonder if the boss will go for that?

Steveio and Jameson got up to the house about 3 pm, and I was loaded up and ready to roll with the motorhome.  We strapped Jameson’s car seat into the passenger seat and took off.  He was AMAZED at the whole world going by his big windows with such a view from that vantage point.  It was like a wide-screen movie at the theater.  Those are his mother's sunglasses and he decides which way to wear them.

(When you ride in a kid’s carseat in the backseat of a car, you don’t see much)

I snapped a few shots and then sat down with the dogs on the couch.

He was pointing out trucks, trains, cars, water, trees and anything else that caught his eye.  He jibber-jabbered to his mommy on the cell phone, I am not sure exactly of what he said but I think it meant he was having a great adventure!   After 2 hours he finally konked out, and by the time we rolled into Lake Ottawa, near Iron River, Michigan, he was recharged and ready to CAMP!

Lake Ottawa is a National Forest Campground in the Ottawa National Forest District in the U.P. of Michigan.  My sister Schmoo and her hubby Fuzz, were already camped there, along with a good family friend, Bob Sr.   They paid in advance for a campsite #18 for us to go into when we got there.  But luck upon luck, about half an hour before we got there, the people occupying site #17 had left, so we got that site instead!  (closer, more level, and nicer whereas #18 had a steep hill for the little guy to manuver).  You don’t often see folks pull out on a Friday later afternoon to vacate a spot.  This national forest campground is usually pretty empty during the week, and only fills up somewhat on the weekends.  32 sites of rustic camping at $14 a night.

Here is a link about Lake Ottawa

And here is the map of the campground

(we have probably camped on each and every site ‘bout a hunnerd times since I was a little kid—
the campground is only 5 miles from where I grew up.)

We got all set up on our campsite and then headed down to my sister's site cook supper with the family.  As soon as we got into their campsite, little Jameson saw this red plastic crate of Bob Sr’s and proceeded to crawl right into it and made himself at home!  We have NO idea why....

Later, that sassy Auntie Schmoo (my sister Linda)  showed him how to throw rocks into the dog’s water dish and stack them in and out from a container—back and forth.  It kept him busy for over an hour!  Shadow (Bob Sr's dog) didn't appear to happy too have his water dish messed around with.  LOL

We plumb tuckered wore him out that first night, and he slept like a log… 

Saturday morning we ate our breakfast and went out to meet a new day.  It was sunny and warm, less humid than it had been all week, and a wonderful soft breeze.  It is perfect weather for SWIMMING!

This is his very FIRST TIME in a lake… a real lake.. not a swimmy wading pool.  We slathered him full of sunscreen, and put on his little shorts and tank top.  We bought him a green and purple alligator toy too.

It was quite the adventure for the little guy, and before he knew it, he was sitting down in chest deep water, throwing rocks and playing with the sandy bottom of the beach.

Granfaddah did the careful attentive life-guard duty and spent quite a time in the water, till the little guy’s toes were wrinkled up like prunes!

We finally got him out of the lake and dried off, quite RELUCTANTLY and took him back up the camper for a rest.  Our friends, Cella and Dave came out to visit with their grandson Dante.  The boys went BUG HUNTING  and found a GRUB worm to examine.  Such little scientists, I tell ya!

It was time to whip up Saturday supper, and shish kabobs were on the menu--- yummmm  
We did up shrimp and chicken kabobs, this is the first batch ....

Then for the second batch  we were running outta skewer room, so we also grilled a bunch of veggies 
in the baskets like Sharon showed us last weekend.  It sure was tasty and we pigged out. 

Uncle Umpee (my brother Eugene) came out on his Harley, which Jameson got to sit on.  
Whew-- what a Biker Dude! 

As the evening was winding down, it was time to introduce Jameson to the fine taste of S' MORES!   
I bet the photos will make your mouth water, huh?

About 15 minutes after devouring them, he was jumping around like a mexican jumping bean on a sugar high to be sure!  LOL   He finally wound down after a nice long bath in the motorhome tub with his cup-o’s.   Into the jammies and off to beddy-bye.

Sunday morning was hazy and cloudy… no sunshine to speak of.  We had our cereal and took a nice long walk around the campground with the dogs and the stroller.  Schmoo and Fuzz had to be somewhere at noon, but before they left, they got dinner started on the campfire.  Schmoo brought out a big ham and taters and onions … Fuzz did the chef work for our special Sunday Dinner.

(side note)  This is "MY" tripod -- this is the only thing I got from my previous marriage to a welder, he made it collapsible for camping.   Well, I got two great girls outta the marriage too....   It needed a bit of repair work, as it's now 20+ years old.  My sister Schmoo and her husband Fuzz take care of it and haul it around in the back of their pickup truck, as it's rather sooty and messy to be in the motorhome compartments.  Fuzz did some adjusting on the top poles and it's good as new again! 
 While they were gone, Steveio monitored the water levels and added wood.

Later on the sun came out and it was turning into a very nice day!

In the meantime, Uncle Umpee came back out to deliver a special item to me.  Back when we were kids in the early 1970’s our Grandma Kafehl had a special toy at her house.  Twelve grandkids and piles of greatgrandkids later played with this toy.  Once she passed away in 1996, my littlest brother Umpee asked for this toy.  It’s called a Magic Window by Whamo (makers of Frisbee)   The darker blue sand is heavier than the white sand, so it shifts, shapes, and flows as you rotate or flip it.   Here you can see the blue flowing downwards.   Hours and hours of fascinating fun!

Here is a link to more information:

Umpee had played with it for the last 15 some odd years now, but decided that I can take custody of it for the grandkids for a while.. only a while.. it’s on LOAN and has to be given back.  But I did ask him that if he should think of it, perhaps he could put it in his will to give it to me?   I did check a while ago on Ebay and those things are going for over FIFTY BUCKS!  It would be cool to keep passing this one down in the family… heck it’s almost 40 years old already.  What age constitutes an "antique" ???

They also did some serious coloring…. 
with Jameson in the prime coloring position needed for little boys when coloring with the big boys….

Soon Schmoo and Fuzz were back and the ham was ready for dinner.  
HAM is one of Jameson’s favorite foods, so that was extra special for him!

Why is it that food always tastes SO much better when cooked outdoors??
We had ham, taters, onions, cucumber salad, but we forgot all about baking the dinner rolls! 
Oh well, next time...

Check out these cool sets of plastic eating utensils for kids-- they are made by Dixie and each one incorporates some kind of animal into the shape of the utensil.  I bought a couple boxes so have enough for all the grandkids to use over the next few years... we will wash them and reuse them as they are very sturdy.

After dinner was done, I walked with Jameson up to sites 10 and 8.  We carried up this little red camping chair and the camera.   See---   Many years ago they were a combined “family site” where used to camp with our kids.  You paid a few dollars more for a family site, but you could put 2 units on each spur.  We could put on four campers on the 2 sites and have close grouping to centrally cook and visit.  Since then, the powers that be decided to split them both up and make them regular sites.  When Heather and Erin were about 3 and 5, I have video clips of them playing in this site with their cousin Christopher, all with their little red camping chairs.  We ordered them from Heintz baby food after saving labels for months on end.  I talked about them in this post:

Now, 20 some odd years later, here we are, in the same site, with the same little chair of his momma’s.  
Talk about “History Repeating Itself”

We took one more walk around the campground, and found some wild flowers by the side of the road... Jameson had to sniff this one, and we snapped the pic.  His momma LOVED the photo when I emailed to her, so she had me do a few creative alterations on it for her to use it as a profile pic on Facebook.

All too soon, it was time to start packing up... Jameson *helped* his granfaddah stow away the gear
 in all the compartments and roll up the awnings.  He was a very very busy boy!  

Once we hit the road and headed south, he was zonked out.  
He could not keep those eyelids open anymore, 
no matter how the interesting scenes passed by the windshield. 

And so goes another weekend of camping, combined with having a grandchild along.  

My oh my, life is wonderful with RV's and Grandchildren! 



  1. What an increible weekend with Jameson and family. What's more it was like a trip down memory lane to re-visit sites of years ago visits.
    Jameson is very cute and I know you guys enjoyed having him for the weekend campout. Now he can go back home and talk of his adventures with his grandparents and his first outing in the lake.
    How wonderful... isn't that what it's all about?
    Take care and thanks for sharing such a great weekend with us.
    Mike & Gerri

  2. Your pictures are making me extremely hungry...everything looked so good! I loved the photo of the two boys walking into the woods. That was precious! You sure seem to have a lot of wonderful places to camp up there. I guess we'll have to head that way some day. Camping in the south isn't much fun in the summer.

  3. It is obvious that Jameson wasn't the only one having a fantastic and special time. Wonderful post about your terrific weekend. Kids just love that stuff, and we have found the Grands love it even more. Or maybe it just seems that way now that we are grandparents.

    Great pics today!

  4. What a great weekend,Jamison made the weekend for you & Steveio, we are axiously awaiting Saturdays departure with Ada for a week of camping in Indiana and Ohio.The first stop will be Little Farm Campground in Rising Sun IN, right across the Ohio river from Cinci. OH. Then on Thursday we are going up to Alu Creek State Park just north of Columbus OH Donna's nephew Patrick and his family live close so we will be vsiting and boating with them. Anything with water will make Adam a happy boy, Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  5. My kids had the Magic Window and I think I enjoyed playing with it as much as they did! Thanks for the memory!

    Selene, NC

  6. wow....that was some long post!! Your grandson is a sweetie, for sure. What a lovely way to spend a weekend!

  7. That was a great post, and some beautiful pictures. It is so much fun to re-discover camping through the eyes of a child.

  8. Nice to see your new post, I thought maybe you'd gotten lost in the woods with your hiking staff.

    You sure pack a lot into a weekend, about tired me out just reading about it.

    Nothing better than camping through the eyes of your grandkids!

  9. Your grandson is so beautiful! He reminds me of my own son at that age. So obvious what a wonderful time you had. Amazing pictures, especially love the one of him in the red crate!!

    We had a Magic Window when I was little! Spent hours playing with it! I hadn't thought of it in years - thank you for reminding me. I think I still have it somewhere... maybe I will find it as I clean out and downsize. My little girl would love it!

  10. Great pictures! And hoorah for solar powered computers! Your dinner in the pot looks terrific. Glad you had a good weekend. The Camp Host Housewife


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