Thursday, September 15, 2011

# adventures # camping

Camping Part 2: The Drive

Yesterday, I left off telling you about poor Roger's faceplant and us zonking out for the...morning? Today is all about the drive up north. Before you all walk away, let me remind you that this is me we're talking about and that means something had to have happened to make this trip memorable....

Oh wait! Before I get into that, I have to tell you one of the things that had slowed me way down at Meijer. When the boys and I walked into the store, something set off the security alarm. This isn't unusual. I've had this happen before and I've been told it's probably due to the high amount of electronics I carry in my bag (camera, cell phone, iPad, gps, etc). The lady at the door waved us through and we went about our shopping. When we went to leave, guess what, the alarm went off again. It was the same woman at the door and she waved us out. Except, the manager was leaving for the night and stopped us before I could get the cart rolling. The door woman came over and explained to her that we'd set it off coming in. I sure was hoping we were going to be allowed to leave. Nope. The manager asked me to raise my bag up. Now, at this point, I ought to mention that it was 12am, we were late and my bag was stuffed to overflowing in preparation for the drive the next day. I had books, magazines, the usual electronics, my wallet, etc...Sure enough, something in the very bottom was making it beep. I explained to her the electronics theory and she said nope. That just doesn't happen. She then proceeded to make me empty out the entire bag into the front of the cart. The culprit? A textbook from a used book site that Justin had ordered for me. It still had the security strip it in. Oy! So then, we crammed everything back in the bag and satisfied, she called for someone to walk her out and we left.


Now, as I was going to tell you....We dragged our groaning, tired bodies out of bed somewhere between 9 and 10am, I think. I know that it was around 10:30 when we finally got onto the road. After a quick stop of McDonalds and gas, we were on the road. Have I ever mentioned that I cannot do burgers for breakfast? Yeah, it just doesn't happen. I was happy though with my yogurt and oatmeal.


The first part of the drive was a typical drive. Nothing very exciting happened. We ate, we talked and at some point, I know we stopped to go potty at another McDonald's.  That's where I pulled out the iPad, borrowed their wifi and sent what would be my last tweet for a week.


See? Even Google maps doesn't show anything exciting happening. There were a lot more cars than this, though. So, we were driving driving driving....stopped at the rest stop in Clare because I wanted to and for no other reason....









Little did I know just how handy the Michigan state map that I picked up would become later that day. After we all stretched our legs, had a who can find brochures to where we're going challenge, checked out the awesome solid wood furniture and snapped some photos, we were back on the road.

This is just more of us driving...Ok, it's Google maps showing where we drove, but you get the idea. Nothing exciting happened until the GPS announced suddenly that we were leaving the freeway.

Yes, you read that right. Get off the freeway and onto a state highway. No big deal, I thought. It's just shortcutting us back to the freeway, right? Nope. The next thing I knew, we were being routed off onto a county route. I didn't even know we still had those in this state. We talked about it and agreed to follow Miss Bossypants GPS. After all, she ought to know where we're going, right? So, we kept driving...and driving...further into the middle of nowhere. I joke that I live in the middle of nowhere, but folks, this was seriously the middle of nowhere. No other cars, no houses, no anything....until we saw this....


and then this....


Seriously. Tank crossing signs. I was driving by this point. I forgot to mention that Justin was super tired so after Clare, I had taken over driving. Now, I don't love to drive but honestly, I wasn't sure if I should be scared or laughing at our predicament at this point. More than once, I turned to Justin and said I felt like we were in a secret Band of Brothers episode and at any moment, tanks and infantry would be fighting in the middle of the road. Seriously. This was perfect crazy war games territory and it was freaking me out just a little. The speed limit was 55 but you couldn't do more than 35 because the roads were in awful shape and there were s-curves every couple of miles. In areas, if you looked to the sides of the road, you could see tank tracks through the brush. Where the heck were we? I tried to look online later for any explanation and there isn't one. Camp Grayling is on the other side of the freeway, nowhere near where we were. I dunno what Miss GPS was thinking but wow.....

I was never happier than when I saw this (bottom photo): 


That was the turn out of crazy land. We stayed on this road for a while but slowly but surely it became more populated and I stopped feeling as if some guy with a bayonet was going to insist we stop the vehicle. Whew!


Look! Civilization! By this point, it had to be after 5 and we were all hungry and some of us had to pee. I won't mention which ones, just that some of us had to. Sadly, we couldn't find a single restaurant. Can you believe that? I felt like Moses after wandering in the desert. All I wanted was a glass of water and some food. Sadly, we had to keep driving though until we finally came across: 

and the heavens and the angels rejoiced...there was singing, there was dancing...Ok, there were 4 hungry people staggering into what turned out to be a decent place to eat. The guys bolted for the bathroom (Ha! You thought it was me, didn't you?) and I relaxed and browsed through the menu. This place had good food, but the guy serving us (who I think was the owner) was a bit like yeah, whatever. Turns out that we should have come a couple of weeks later for the big Polish Potato Festival. It looked like a lot of fun.

Sadly, dinner/lunch/we weren't sure what to call it ended too soon and it was time to get back on the trail. Thankfully, by now, the trail looked like an actual road to somewhere.


It led right to our campground! Thank goodness! What should have been a 4.5 hour trip ended up taking us closer to 7. I've never been so glad to see a cute guy in a park ranger t-shirt in my whole dang life. Welcome to Hoeft State Park!


If you're curious at all, here is the map of the insane way that Miss BossyPants GPS took us. Trust me, we didn't go this route home, but that's a whole different post....



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5 comments:

Toni said...

Sounds like one of my husbands short cuts!

Love the pics!!!

smallworldbiggirl said...

OMG, that's rediculous and EXACTLY why I don't camp! :)

ConnieFoggles said...

But, what an adventure. I bet this is one trip the family never stops talking about.

NotaSupermom said...

I'm having PTS and it wasn't even my car trip!

Justin said...

It was simply a bizarre ride. I really enjoyed the company but it was just surreal on the weird detour. It went from interstate to county paved road to bumpy paved road to gravel.I was just waiting for a guy with a machete to hack out a path. I do dearly wish we could have stayed for the tato festival. It sounded amazing and as much as I love tatos, I should have had the chance to hug one! Looking forward to the next part.

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