Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Camping with the boys

Preparing for this camping trip was something else. We used to camp a lot but haven't at all since we bought our Caseville cottage. We broke out the camping bins and cleaned everything up; hunted up lanterns, flashlights, sleeping bags and all things needed and related to camping. Had to combine the boys toys and suitcases into one so we could manage to get everything into the Nissan. And we decided to kennel Paco and Chica here in Caseville and Luna went to Kristin's house which was a help with cost. Because we had the girls' kids, we made sure we had all of the relevant insurance info just in case something went wrong...and of course, we didn't need any of that, thankfully. Had we been on our toes though, we would have purchased animal insurance to cover any doggie issues we might have.

Picture this...we get a call from Kristin our first night camping and the call begins, "The good news is...Luna is fine. The bad news is...Luna has a broken leg." Why one might ask is this 6 pound doggie now with a broken leg? Hmmm...my brilliant daughter, whose IQ is higher than mine, decided to take Luna on their quad. Luna wanted off. So, here is my baby, Luna. I love that they put on a bright pink cast. She hobbles along looking at us with these huge eyes as if to ask, "Why didn't you leave me with Paco and Chica?"

The camping trip with Owen and Chase started and ended in Caseville. Here we are enjoying "baby" ice cream cones at the ice cream store in Grindstone City. These one scoop cones are to die for and are twice the size of a normal two scoop cone. We made this a final pit stop before leaving for Lansing to deliver Owen home and leave Chase til Heidi and Chris returned from a much belated honeymoon in Jamaica.

While on the trip there were many many opportunities for bonding and togetherness and here, Owen and Chase are side by side on one of the many hiking trails we explored while in Tawas and the surrounding areas. The boys did not complain once about all the walking and steps being taken to see the sites found around the Au Sable river.

The woods were gorgeous if not filled with tons of squirmy flying bugs of one sort or another. While hiking down to the natural spring's waterfall, Owen was heard to say, "This is the best day of my life." We were tickled that they enjoyed the outdoors as much as we did. To ensure that the soccer ball and baseball bat and ball were played with, mean grandma declared a moratorium on the DS playing. One day and a half was spent with NO electronic toys of any sort and they didn't miss them and were quite surprised when I reminded them to collect them so they would have them for the trip home.

We visited the Lumbermen's Memorial to those who felled the logs which built up the Midwest. This is situated on the Au Sable and there are 222 steps down to the river...we took them and returned only to visit the natural springs waterfall where there were 272 stairs up and down. Worth it!

Our home away from home served us well. However the opening of this Eddie Bauer tent was a planner's nightmare. One had a zipper going from left to right and then in a curved direction which one had to lean into to complete. Then, because the zipper didn't go from bottom to top, one had to remember to step up 18 inches to climb in...nevertheless, we slept well and were dry and bugless.

On our way up to Tawas, we stopped at McDonald's, which Chase called "Old McDonald's" and the kids got to play in a playplace which I NEVER want to visit again. They had fun and this is grandpa "monken" with the fire so we could grill out. Each day, we went into the forest and picked up or cut dead wood which we brought back to camp. The kids liked picking the wood up and helping to place it in the vehicle. Note the ever present bottle of wine. I needed it a lot during these days.

Our first day at Tawas Point, we visited the lighthouse and climbed to its top where we learned how it worked and how people knew they were off course or on course. The boys liked the windy stairs and for the most part, followed directions to HANG ON to the railings.

Each night, the boys looked forward to having S'mores and a bonfire built with their own wood. And, I must admit, I looked forward to getting them settled into bed each evening so Richard and I could enjoy the quiet near our fire. 6 year olds never shut up. I forgot about that. Had a ball...would do it again.

Inside the lighthouse keeper's home there were examples of how the house had looked. The kids thought this heater was a weird looking one...they were looking for vents in the floor. That is how their house is heated!

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