Wednesday, October 5, 2011

# adventures # camping

Camping Part 6 : The End is Here

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and with this post, so will our camping saga. I think I've procrastinated this post because spending time remembering how wonderful it was has gotten me through a few rough days. Of course, that was greedy of me and I know y'all have been waiting. So without further ado...our last day...

Morning came early at camp and like the day before, it was a misty day that promised more rain. Justin and I made an executive decision to not even try to make breakfast at camp but to pack it all up and grab something to eat on the way home. I think that's when chaos started to happen, but in some ways, it was a controlled chaos. Our biggest problem was that so much was covered in dirt and mud. Justin was fabulous about rinsing off what he could at the outside tap. I confess that I got a little frustrated as I watched him load the van.

Ok, maybe it was quite a bit frustrated. You see, in certain areas, I can be a total control freak. One of those areas is organization. It's really hard for me to step back and say ok, you handle it. Since he was clearly capable of putting things in the back of the van, I took a few deep breathes and worked on having the kids help me pack things up so that they'd be ready to go into the van. Surprisingly, I think it only took about an hour for us to get packed up, checked out and on the road....I didn't get a picture of the back of the van, but here's one of the boys riding home. You can see the back of the van when I was looking back at them.

As you can also see, a lot of "friends" came along for the trip or were picked up during the trip. The handsome guy in that right picture is Teddy. He was given to me about 5 years ago and he travels most everywhere with us.

If you remember, back on Day 2, I told you that there was no way we were going through Normandy  the wilds of Northern Michigan. Instead, we decided to take 23 South.  It's honestly a lovely drive and if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it. The road follows Lake Huron for miles and miles and the views are just beautiful.

About 10 miles from camp, while staring out over the water, I realized we had forgotten to go to the lighthouse. We had planned on stopping there on the way home since it was only about 4 miles in the wrong direction. Sadly, we forgot and instead went on to breakfast. As I mentioned in a previous post, Justin doesn't like chain restaurants. It's just as well since I don't think there are any in Rogers City. Instead, we found this great little polish restaurant and enjoyed breakfast together.

Ok, this would be Roger enjoying the tv far more than his family but as I discovered on this trip, if there's a tv, that kid (and probably me..yep, I'm guilty too) will probably be watching it. I wish I could remember the name of this restaurant. I would completely recommend it if for no other reason than you need to go in and check out their fridge. It's awesome. Trust me.

After breakfast, it was back on the road. We drove and we drove and we drove...well, you get the point. It was nice though. We all talked about the trip and about where we want to go next year. The GPS didn't take us anywhere crazy for ages. It was just nice. We even got to watch part of a parade from a distance!

I know you want to know how that happened, right? Well, we were driving along and suddenly came to a dead stop. At first, we thought it was just because there was a super awesome craft fair going on and traffic was slowed down while people crossed the road. Nope. It turns out that there was a parade happening right in front of us. I wish I'd snapped a picture out the window of the craft fair. We saw some great things from the view of the van. I think this was especially hard for Roger and myself. We both really badly wanted to get out and check out all of the booths. In fact, I think I looked back the entire time we drove through town but Justin was stronger than the both of us and on we drove.

Along the way home, we stopped at no less than 3 different state parks. Why? I have to say it's because I have the greatest man in the world. The state of Michigan had produced a passport stamp book that gave descriptions and all the information about the different state campgrounds. Our camp had run out of them and Justin kept stopping at different parks trying to get one for me. We never did get one but what I found out was that he was also asking about lighthouses so that I would get to see one. At Tawas Point, I got my wish...

We didn't go into the lighthouse because they charged a fee to tour it and none of us were really interested. Instead, Roger and I walked down towards the beach while Justin and Ben hung out on the bench and relaxed. It was lovely. The weather was perfect and I was with my 3 favorite guys. After a quick trip through the gift shop where we bought a stuffed black crape and a book of Mad Libs, we were back on the road.

The drive after that was fun as we did Mad Libs about random vacation themes. My boys can certainly come up with some crazy words that make for some fun readings. Eventually though, all good things need a break and we decided to stop at an Arby's for lunch. Arby's is Ben's favorite place and he'd asked if we could stop so we stopped there to surprise them. Getting out of the van, I had to take this picture. We figured that this poor car must have been afraid of the parking space.

After a rather delicious lunch, we jumped back on the road and it wasn't long after that when silly GPS lady took us off into weird places again. Instead of just sticking to the highway or freeway, she decided we needed to cut cross country again. Before I knew it, we were wandering up and down side streets of Saginaw. Eventually, we found our way out of there and back to the state highway where we wandered through the desert for 40 days the back roads of Michigan as we made our way to my grandma's house.

It was so good to see her. She was laying down when we got there, but she was so happy to see us. She doesn't get to see any of us near enough and now that we don't know how much time we have left with her, I want to give her every opportunity to see us and especially my boys. It's hard to find the time, but it's something I have to do.

We spent a few hours there, talking about the trip and just talking about her life. It made me so happy to hear her sharing her stories with Justin and the boys. So many of them I've heard over the years, but I never grow tired of them. I love hearing how her and grandpa built the house. I love all of it and I love her.

Time goes by so fast when I'm with her and before I knew it, it was past the kids bedtimes and we loaded up the van to finish the drive to our house. When we got in, we sent everyone up to bed and left the van emptying til morning.That's a decision I'll never was almost fun getting everything unloaded the next day before we went to run last minute school shopping errands.

It's been a month now since that amazing camping trip. I'm already looking forward to next year. I have a shopping list of the things we still need. We have a location picked out and most importantly, it's another chunk of the most precious time ever, time with my family.

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