Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Monday, November 1, 2010

HALF CAMPING - HALF FAMILY - Chalk Hills Campground and my 50th Birthday

On Friday afternoon, we loaded the rig and came up to Chalk Hills Dam campground for probably the last camping weekend of the season.  Sigh.  Soon all of this lovely woods and trees and ground will be covered in ice and snow and cold.

We got up here about 5pm just before it got dark and got set up on our favorite site.  It really wasn't a problem getting a site, since we are the only ones here!  26 sites to choose from... tee heee....  4 or 5 of them are 50 amp, and the rest are 30 amp.  There is a water spigot and 2 outhouses here.  They are set up for hunters in the next few weeks, as there are *buck poles* set up around the campground, to hang their deer from.  It's a nice little campground near the big dam on Menominee River, dividing Michigan and Wisconsin.  This time of year patronized by fishermen and hunters.

Once we were settled in our campsite and toad unhooked, I whipped up some tacos for supper and we were cozy warm with the heater going.  We were able to pull in one television analog station, but none of the digital stations reach up this far north.   Our televisions pull in both analog and digital signals, as some of the smaller transmitter stations don't have to switch over to digital in this area of the U.P. of Michigan.   Nothing on tv that was interesting with that one NBC station, so instead we popped in a DVD from Netflix.  It's a 6 part series called America's Scenic RV Adventures.  We watched the first disk, on Alaska.  We sat back with a big bowl of popcorn and enjoyed a wonderful tour of RV travel in Alaska and Canada. Places to see, things to do, and all based on RV travelling.  What a great set of DVD's and we are looking forward to the future episodes, on The Northwest Coast, The Southwest Coast, The Gulf Coast and Baja,  I almost felt like I should be taking notes!  Maybe I will run through it sometime tomorrow and take quick notes before we return that episode.

The woods were peaceful and quiet in the night.. and we dozed off, relishing the comfort of the electric mattress pad heater on a chilly night.  Though we were warm inside, it got down to 28 during the night out there...brrrr~!  

By morning, we had woken up to a very warm motorhome, as I think we had the heat on HIGH all night.  It was almost too warm in here, and we cut the heat back during breakfast.  I snapped some photos right out the bedroom window of the sun coming up on the tall naked trees.

The view right out our open bedroom window!

On this sunny Saturday morning, with our coffee, we turned on the radio for some "Yooper Entertainment"  
Let me explain----  The local radio station in the town where I grew up hosts a program called Telephone Time.  It's a call in program where one can sell things, or say they are looking for things, or announce their rummage sales, or find out what is going on in the area.   Sometimes there are contests with trivia and local businesses offer prizes.  It's on Monday though Saturday mornings and it is our Local Entertainment.  LOL

We are camping nearby enough to pull in that station, faintly, so we decided to listen in.  Here are a few of the calls,  word for word.  Think of a Yooper accent as you read these.  Again, this is actually what was said on the air, I kid you not!-------

I am selling two belgian work horses, dey are named Dick and Dan...in case ya wanna get close ta come see them and talk ta them.  Dey were used this summer to cut hay, dey cut all dere own hay.  But I am looking ta sell dem now.
Looking for a pickup truck, it don't have to be anything too fancy, just a Beater with a Heater.  I got cash now, but I am headed to the casino later today, so if you want to sell your truck, call me now.  Because later on I won't have any money. 
I am retired now and sharpen chain saw blades.  Not too many at a time, not like a business or anything.  But if I sharpen your saw, I got plenty of wood around here for you to try it out on.  (Ya think he is looking for someone to help him cut his winter's wood?)
I got an oak table and chairs to sell.  They would be good for a "camp".  I already got a table and chairs in my camp, so I am selling these.   (a "camp" is meaning a rustic Yooper hunting cabin or shack in the woods)  
I called yesterday to sell my guns. I forgot that yesterday was Friday.  I wanted to call on Saturday.  So that is why I am calling now.  I have some guns to sell. Call me. 

After breakfast, (and caramel rolls outta a tube I forgot to take a pic of) we ran with the Tracker into Carney, MI to hit the post office.  I had 6 pairs of sock orders that needed to get out in the mail, so we took care of that and stopped at the little IGA for a bit of local flavor.  Bought a few things and chatted with the gal behind the register.  We find this is the best way to learn more about an area or find out what is going on.  There is a halloween dance at the Middle School.  That is about it for their tiny town.

On the way back to the campground, I snapped a shot of this fancy schmancy fifth wheel deluxe RV with a rear facing observation deck? Or for the toys, like  ATV's, motorcycles, dirt bikes?  Hmmmmm nothing like the inventiveness of the U.P. residents!  

By the way, a "Yooper" is a person from the U.P. of Michigan.  UP'er=Yooper  --- get it?  Best described as kinda a cross between a lumberjack and a hillbilly.  LOL  But they are a hearty folk, battling the heavy snows of winter and getting along with the challenges of a diminished economy and suffering from the lagging logging and mining industries. I spent my formative teenage years growing up there, from 10 to 18.  They are known to make due with what they have on hand, and some get quite inventive.

Our Saturday afternoon was partially cloudy with the sun peeking out between the fluffy white clouds. The campground owner's teenage kids were sent over to pick up branches and sticks blown down from last week's storms.  We chatted for a while with them and played fetch with their dog, Hunter and our two muttenhiemers.  They had a lot of fun, but Hunter got the stick almost every time.

We walked along with the doggers around the campground loop.  Check out these clean, neat outhouses!

  And the dogs really enjoyed the outing.  Duchess runs ahead and Duke takes up the rear.

 We took a little walk around on the *hiking trail* that was added to the campground this year.

Snapped a few pics here and there of the local flora along the path.  Like I said, it won't be long before it's covered in snow and ice, to lay dormant all winter. Spring will come, eventually, and these woods will be alive again.  But it's a melancholy feeling to walk along the bits of green and gold and red and brown.... soon to become all white.  Sigh.

We cooked up a special birthday supper, steaks on the grill, salads, broccoli and mushrooms to round out a lovely meal. Even though it was only Saturday, my birthday wasn't till Sinday.  It was getting too cold to eat out on the table, so we moved the food indoors to enjoy candlelight, soft music and a bottle of wine.  Ahhhhhhh

It was getting too cold for a campfire outdoors, so for the evening entertainment, we popped in another dvd, this one called Frozen River.  It is about 2 women along the border between New York and Canada, who get involved in smuggling aliens across a frozen river in their car, for money to make ends meet.  Very riveting story and sad at the same time.  What they do with a baby is unbelievable!

After another cold crisp night, and this time we set the heater on a lower setting, but it was chilly waking up with 28 outside and about 54 inside!  We kicked up the heat and hopped back into bed!   I had a stack of birthday cards to open up and we spent time reading and laughing and sipping coffee.  What a great Happy Birthday!

The aircard signal was pretty weak here this morning, so I could only see the messages on Facebook and reply to one or two messages.  Then it cut out repeatedly.  I could not even get gmail to come up either.  I know my mom was on MSN Messenger, but I could not stay connected once the sun came up.  Evenings and late nights worked fine, but once the day comes the signals drop on both the aircard and the cell phone.  Sunspots?

I was kind of bummed that I would not see the grandkids today in their costumes.  I had seen Chelsea on Friday when we took her to a Halloween Party at the library in town, but I would not be seeing Jameson or Allegra either. I knew that both of those families were trekking out of town to the other grandparents for trick-or-treating, and I was missing out on seeing the grandkids myself.   But I am not greedy and always willing to share the grandkids with the others, so I kept my disappointment to myself.  I couldn't expect them to trek up to our house too, that would be 150-200 miles roundtrip for some of them to come after seeing their other grandparents from the inlaws.   So I facebooked messages to both mommies to PLEASE take some pictures for me????

(I didn't know what was coming up later!!!)

Cooked up a great breakfast treat of french toast, with vanilla and cinnamon added, fried up with a tad of oil to make the edges crisp... yummmmm  What a birthday treat!

I had knit up 9 pairs of socks on Thursday and Friday that needed to get their toes closed and steam blocked with the iron.  So I did that in the morning sunshine coming into the motorhome.

Steve putzed around and considered doing a few more projects... that danged Mel has filled his head with more things he wants to do in our rig!   LOL  Now he is making up lists of parts and pieces to get.

By noon, the Packer game was on the radio, as we could not get in the Fox network here on the tv.  So while we were listening to the game, I am knitting up some thick bulky socks on needles to keep the fingers busy.

About 3pm Steveio was chomping at the bit to leave the campground (wonder why?)  and he mentioned driving back on a route going through Michigan down Hwy 41 through Menominee and Marinette and stopping to get some groceries at Aldi's and a few items at Menards.   I said nooooo let's drive back the Wisconsin route down Hwy 141 because there is construction on the Michigan way.  But he insisted.  When I protested, he then bribed me with stopping at a little store that sometimes carries a favorite yarn of mine.
Should I have been suspicious?  I guess.. but I didn't think twice about it!   LOL ....  

We drove to Marinette and did our shopping with the motorhome sitting in each of the parkinglots... and after the last stop, he said we should change into some nicer clothes as he wanted to take me out to eat.  I said naw.... I want to get back to Oconto in time to see at least ONE of the grandkids in their trick or treat costumes.   But he insisted ... again.
Should I have been suspicious?  I guess... but I didn't think twice about it!  LOL ....

We changed into some nicer clothes in the motorhome right in the parking lot at Aldi's.  Of course we changed clothes while IN the motorhome.  LOL   He drove us over to Peshtigo to a nice supper club that serves the deep-fried lobster that he knows I love.  
Should I have been suspicious?  I guess... but I didn't think twice about it!  LOL ....

We walked in and ordered a drink at the bar.  Then he said he wanted to show me something on the wall.  He led me over to the wall, and then around the corner into the adjoining dining room.
Should I have been suspicious?  I guess... but I didn't think twice about it!  LOL ...

There were 

AWWWWWW I am even crying now as I type this! 

Our son Dan and daughterinlaw Heather brought little Allegra the Sunflower

Our daughter Erin and soninlaw Mark brought little Chelsea the Bumblebee

Our daughter Heather and soninlaw Jesse brought little Jameson the Puppy

We wined and dined on fine food, and I had my deep fried lobster!  Yummmmmmm   They brought me a piece of turtle sundae cake and a candle.  Jameson blew it out three times for me, he could hardly contain himself!  

We had laughter, presents, and fun and family...
What more could this fifty year old granny ask for???


  1. Happy Birthday Karen, what a great surprise, I'll bet Stevio was tickled you didn't suspect it. Glad all the kid's were dressed up and had fun. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  2. What a guy! That was such a nice surprise!

  3. Aw, I'm shedding a few tears as I read this. I'd like to wish you a belated happy birthday, and lots more. What a surprise you had - you'll be makin' that up forever, lol.

  4. What a neat surprise! And fun way to celebrate your 50th! glad you had a good weekend.

  5. Happy Birthday! Sounds as though you had a wonderful day... :-)

  6. What a wonderful birthday surprise! Your family is very thoughtful.

    BTW, no way do you look 50. All that fresh air you get on your camping trips helps you look half your age.

    I need directions to your neck of the woods! ;c)

  7. Just got in and I am catching up on my reading. Did you see my Happy Birthday for you over at "Mornin Glories?"
    It sounds like you had a great day!! Love the grandkids outfits!!

    Happy Birthday again..Cindy

  8. So glad you had such a good weekend. It looks so strange to be camping and having no leaves on the trees.

    Happy to see that the family was able to get together for your big 50th birthday and that you got to see the grandkids in the costumes.

    Kevin and Ruth


Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog! I moderate all comments so it may take a little while for your comment to appear.