Granfaddah took half a day vacation on Friday so we could hit the road earlier than usual! We were headed up to Michigan's lovely Upper Peninsula to see family and go camping for the weekend. If we leave early enough, we are reasonably assured of getting a good campsite and not have to set up in the dark.
The Little Navigator took my seat and told his Granfaddah where to go.... and then he promptly zonked out for the rest of the trip up 120 miles. I sat back in the livingroom area and caught up on emails and business while driving along, thanks to our Galaxy Tablet which has recently replaced our aircard from AT&T... since we switched over to Verizon now, the Tablet works as an aircard and seems to get better signals and connection speeds.
We weren't sure if we were going to camp at Pentoga Park near Iron River, MI with my brother who planned on camping there, or to go over to Runkle Lake in Crystal Falls where there was a horseshoe tournament for the guys play in each year. We figured we would wait till we got up there and drive through the campgrounds to see if there were two sites together. We were lucky to get two of the last few remaining sites together and got set up.
County residents $19, non-residents $21 with 30 amp and water at sites.
We pulled into our site nose first, so our doors would face each other. The sites in the newest loop are spaced apart nicely and lots of room in between. We were surrounded by lush vegitation and ripe raspberry bushes. We are on the far left and my brother Butch is on the far right at the next site.
When we were kids, we lived in this campground all summer long. Our dad was disabled, and our mom would drive back and forth to work in town 7 miles away. What a way to spend our summers === camping! Cooking over the fire, water skiing, swimming, and fishing the entire summer. Making new friends every weekend when new people pulled in, and saying goodbye on Sundays when they pulled out again. A few families stayed all summer too, and even into the start of the school year if the weather was nice in September!
It's no wonder that I love camping now, hey?
Once we got set up, Jameson quickly got us out and about, walking the dogs, playing with horseshoes, and fiddling with my Galaxy Tablet while Granfaddah read the paper. He has all his own gear when camping with us, and he is never bored or at a loss for things to do.
Jameson got in some serious rock-throwing into the lake too...
We started out just standing on the shore in our shoes...
which progressed to shoes off and standing in ankle deep water...
which then progressed to fully clothed but totally wet kid who was very happy!
Soon our family came out to join us- my sister Schmoo and broinlaw Fuzz - then my brother Umpee - then Bob Senior joined us. We all sat around the campfire and enjoyed chatting. When we camp close to my hometown, various family members and friends stop by, even if they aren't camping themselves that particular weekend.
Auntie Schmoo (a librarian) brought out a hilarious child's book called "Press Here" by Herve Tullet. Jameson had a blast with it and we had to read it over and over and over with him. I highly recommend it. To see why it is different, creative and imaginative, check out this link:
We loved it so much, that we were sad to see Auntie Schmoo take it back to the library. I am going to order three copies of this book for each of the grandkiddo's families, and get yet another copy to keep here at my house! It is THAT GOOD! Very interactive and the kids participate in the story telling. What fun!!!
My brother Butch just got this new toyhauler trailer... it was his 2nd time out camping in it. Steve and Butch set up the extra screened in back portion to try it out. The whole back panel drops down and becomes a ramp to drive in on. It's got a heavier frame than most campers, and tie down's inside to secure vehicles while in transit.
Now he can haul his motorcycle or fourwheeler, or even his smaller aluminum fishing boat if he chooses. It even has a built-in gas tank and pump to refuel the toys, an outside shower, and the couches fold away and an extra bed raises up in the ceiling when hauling toys.
On Saturday we packed up some gear and headed over in Butch's truck 10 miles to Crystal Falls to another campground at Runkle Lake City Park. We weren't camping there, but there was big city-wide festival going on.
We have camped here a few times other years, during the festival, and it gets pretty noisy and crowded. I was glad we were staying at Pentoga instead. Also, this park in Crystal Falls is known for excessively high water pressure and poor electrical connections. So risking blown water lines, brown outs and power failure damages, and noise all day and night... I think staying at Pentoga was a better choice. Also, there is a strange phenomenon in this park: horrible shards of glass work their way to the surface. It was built on a city dump! It can rain and more and more glass is exposed each time. Nobody can risk walking around in bare feet.
But we do come here because it was the location of a horseshoe tournament that our guys love to play in... and it becomes an all-afternoon affair. The festival for the weekend is called The Humongous Fungus Fest... I kid you not! Here is a link to answer any questions about the fungus:
While the guys went to the horseshoe courts, my sister and I took Jameson to the beach! We bought him this red race car floaty toy for his birthday. Oh my, what fun it was, once he decided he wasn't scared of it. Auntie Schmoo really worked with him to get him confidant to move more than 3 feet from the shore. Soon he was zooming around with both of us pushing him back and forth between us. Our own little on the water demo derby!
Look at this! He was picking up chicks in bikinis!
Who says a red race car won't attract women???
The guys gathered at 1:30 pm, drew numbers for partners and threw shoes till around 6p.m.! I think Steve won a second and third? Never mind, they had a good time!!!! It's a day of fun and beers and some skill. (I drove them all back to the campground)
We had par-boiled some country ribs earlier... and put them on the tripod grill over the fire along with a dozen fresh picked sweet corn. What a feast! We cooked them over burning cherry wood and the flavor was better than you could ever imagine! My sister made up some salads with fresh garden produce and we ate like kings! (Jameson only wanted hot dogs, but that was okay too)
He fell asleep in my arms out in the lawnchair as we sat around the fire till late in the night. Soon I was able to haul him in and get him into his Blues Clues sleeping bag. Ahhhhhh dreaming of good stuff, I am sure.
In the morning, I woke up early at 6 am to wee one giggling and playing with the doggies. It sure was fun to hear his little voice in the camper with us. While the coffee perked, he hopped in our bed for a snuggle and romp with the dogs.
We decided to bake up some chocolate chip cookies before it got too hot. He added extra chips to the of each cookie before baking. Wonder how many he ate while doing that task? He did the careful taste testing of a warm cookie, making sure they tasted GOOD! Yummmmmmm
We took the dogs for a walk around the loop and chatted with a few other campers. I had taken note of all the raspberries in the park, and let Granfaddah watch the little guy for a bit while I got some berry picking in. Erin once declared berries as *FREE FOOD* when she was little. Lo and behold, Granfaddah and Jameson came to my berry patch to help me! Soooo he learned the art of berry picking and scratchy branches and burrs and bugs. But we got enough for a nice dessert.
For lunch on Sunday, my brother Butch had been lusting after chicken on the fire. So they put on the raw chicken pieces, and cover them over the top with tin foil. You don't take the tinfoil off or turn them over. It *bakes* them right on the fire. Slowly rotate the grill so they don't burn in any one spot. After about an hour, just take the tinfoil off and they are fully cooked perfectly through and through!
Why is my blog always about food?
Dang... it was about 2pm on Sunday, time to start packing up and heading out. I HATE Sundays! Back to the work-a-day world. Poor Steveio back to the stress at work, and I have a bunch of orders to fill and shipments to get out, plus a whole slew of new hats to get listed in my Etsy store for fall.
Before we left the park, we took advantage of the dump station near the entrance. Jameson supervised the task from the window, and thought his Granfaddah was having a LOT of fun with the big *fire hose* as he called it. Toooo cute!
After a two and half hour trip back to our house,
then little Jameson's mommy came to get him.
He had another 35 miles to go back to home yet.
He was fast asleep before she got more than a few miles down the road. I wonder why?
Do you think we wore him out???