Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Long Winter's Nap . . .

The 2017 camping season has officially come to a close. The Pod is all winterized and packed away in the barn for a long winter's nap. I'm already dreaming of next year and the places that we will go. Will we finally make it to the Grand Canyon? I know I definitely want to visit the Upper Peninsula of Michigan again and we are already discussing camping in Frankenmuth with our friends.

Considering we got a late start this year, we still managed to make our annual trips with family and friends and a 14-day haul to Maine and back. My mouth just watered thinking about all the lobster that I ate. Yumm-O!

We spent a total of 36 nights in the Pod between 8 different trips. Someone told me once, that the average camper spends 21 nights a year in their camper. I'm glad that Jimmy and I aren't average...LOL! All in all, it was another spectacular camping year with the Pod! Our Pod has been,
by far, one of the best purchases we have ever made.

The Pod packed away in the barn for the winter.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Camping with Friends

After a great five days in Indiana, our trip continues at Harrison Lake State Park in Fayette, Ohio. We arrived a day early and was able to get our favorite spot, site 113. We were meeting our friends on Friday for our last weekend of camping for the season.

Harrison Lake State Park is one of my favorite, close-to-home campgrounds. It seems far enough way,  but yet we can be home in 40 minutes. The park offers a great lake, walking trails and nice, roomy sites. We usually try and get here a couple of times a year, but this year it was only once, but a nice way to conclude our camping season.

We met our friends, Don and Deb and Brooke and her girls. There's always a given when we camp with friends. There's plenty of good food, outstanding beer and/or whiskey and great company. We -pre-planned our menu and enjoyed chili on Friday night, a great breakfast on Saturday morning (Thanks Brooke!) and an outstanding hobo dinner on Saturday night (Thanks Grodi's). I have to give a special shout-out to Donnie for dragging his TV outside so I could watch my Spartans play football on Saturday afternoon.  Brooke and I didn't want to give it up on Saturday night. We were the last two left around the bonfire. The weather was too perfect for late October and we squeezed out every last minute that we could around the nice, toasty fire.

I'm already dreaming about next camping season and the places that we will go.

Here's some photos from our weekend with friends!

Shelby, Kara, Brooke, Deb and Jimmy
(Sorry Donnie, I didn't have any photos of you!)

Such great weather for a fire

The Pod on Site 113

We sure lucked out with a beautiful fall weekend

Fall at Harrison Lake State Park

My favorite time of year!

Kara and Shelby 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Beauty of This Earth!

This quote was part of a sign at Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Indiana and boy did it speak to me. If you have been following my blog, you know that Jimmy and I have travelled to some amazing places with our Pod. In my opinion, there's no better way to see the countryside. 

We left home on a rainy Sunday morning and headed to Indiana. I was hoping this wasn't a sign of the week to come. We had a five hour drive ahead of us and it was windy and driving, hard rain the entire way. The park was sold out for the week and I couldn't figure out why. It is the middle of October! Come to find out, Indiana schools have a fall break and get a week off school and it was also the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival. Parke County is home to 31 covered bridges and this festival takes place in nine communities throughout the County. They expect more than 2 million people each year! (YIKES!) We were super lucky to get a campsite.

We set up camp on site 62 and called Turkey Run our home for the next four days.  I've spend a lot of time in Indiana as my childhood, best friend moved there in the 8th grade. We have kept in touch after all these years and even though we don't talk every day (or even every month) we have the uncanny ability to pick up right where we left off. They visited on Monday night for dinner and then on Wednesday they took the day off and we checked out the Covered Bridge Festival together. It was so awesome to catch up with these two and enjoy our time together!

When we weren't visiting with our friends, we explored everything that Turkey Run had to offer. The weather was just beautiful for hiking the park. I never realized the beauty that Indiana had to offer. I'm just going to let the picture tell the rest of the story...

Turkey Run State Park - Site 62

The Suspension Bridge

Wow! Jimmy never lets me take his picture!

And a very rare selfie of the two of us!

Sugar Creek

Wow..its Jimmy again!

Just walking through Rocky Hallow

Rocky Hallow

Narrows Covered Bridge in Turkey Run State Park

Can't believe I have 4 pictures of Jimmy on the same trip!

It was a tight fit...

Absolutely beautiful day overlooking Sunset Point.

My childhood friends!
So glad we got to spend this time together.

Our adventures continue as we pack up and start heading back north. To be continued....

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Family That Camps Together, Stays Together

I think I need to use the above graphic and make t-shirts to commemorate 
all of our family camping trips together. 

Our Podding adventures continue into September with a spontaneous weekend with my brother's family at Hayes State Park in the Irish Hills. I think we made plans and booked sites within a week and we had an absolutely fabulous time! The weather was perfect for a late September weekend in Michigan, and definitely appreciated the campfire at night.      
So, what do you with a 14-year-old, 13-year-old and a 11-year-old? Well, on Saturday morning after my brother and sister-in-law cooked an amazing breakfast, we took a long hike around the park and then many rounds of Kan Jam were played. Saturday night we played a good old fashion of game of Telephone (you know, when you sit in a circle and someone makes something up that gets whispered in the next persons ear and it gets passed around the circle to see how well it travels back to the original person). We shared lots of laughs around the campfire that night. Haven't played that game in years and I was glad to see that the kids weren't buried in their phones and tablets all weekend long. 

Hayes State Park - Site 147

My Nephews, Cooper and Conner and Niece, Allison

The very first sign of Fall! My favorite time of year!

My Crew from left to right: Cooner, Allison and Cooper

And don't forget my nephew dog, Louie!
It was a tad chilly and he needed a sweater. 

And the theme continues, where are your feet?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Where Are Your Feet?

For those of you that really know me, know that I used to hate feet. I mean deeply, deeply hate feet.  And I don't just mean my own! All feet were subject to my disapproval. I've come a long way over the years. I'm not going to say that I love them now, but at least I'm willing to talk about them, get regular pedicures, wear sandals, and as you will see, take pictures of them. 

Since we have started camping over the years, it amazes me to think about all the feet that have walked on the same campsites that we have, strolled on the same beaches, and simply walked on the same earth. Someone started a thread on one of the camping groups that I belong to on Facebook that asks, "Where are your feet?" I enjoy following it to see where people are camping and what new adventures I can add to our list. 

Over Labor Day weekend, my feet were at Lake Hudson Recreation Area in Hudson, MI. This campground is just about 45 minutes from our house. The best part about going here is that Jimmy picked me up from work at 5 pm and by 6 pm this was my view. It also made for a very short commute home on the busy holiday weekend. 

Where are your feet?

We have camped at Lake Hudson before and this time was a very different experience. Being a holiday weekend, the campground was packed. The campsites are great as they wide open and spacious. You are completely secluded from your neighbor. A friend that came out to visit called our site the "Campsite Cubicle." She was so right! We couldn't see anyone, but we could hear everything our neighbors were talking about and doing. It was loud and no one had any respect for quiet hours. Finally, there wasn't any presence of DNR Rangers/Officers to enforce the rules. Unfortunately, this will probably be the last time we camp at Lake Hudson. 

On the plus side, the weather for the weekend was outstanding! Here's a few photos:

Campsite #5 at Lake Hudson

It was a great day at the beach! 

This picture doesn't do the sunset justice, but it was a
beautiful evening.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Two Pods in the Park

Its always fun camping with other Podders! A few years ago we met the Bausman through the R-Pod Owners Facebook group. We really hit it off and discovered that we didn't live far from each other. We have tried to camp a weekend or two a year together ever since.

We tend to meet up in Monroe, MI (my hometown, ironically) and camp at Habortown RV Park. We had another awesome weekend together. The weather was warm enough during the day to enjoy the pool (and work on my tan) and cool enough at night to sit around the fire. 

One of my many favorite things about camping is experimenting and trying new food. We ate real good all weekend long but also experienced a new foil packet options that I cannot wait to try again (maybe as early as this weekend). On Saturday night we had steaks and all brought side dishes to share. The hash browns were cooked in foil packet with sour cream, butter and cheese. They were amazing! We have done sliced potatoes before in the foil packet, but never using the hash browns. This has me on the hunt for different foil packet dinner/side dishes that we can do.

I cannot believe that this weekend is Labor Day weekend already. Where did the time go? I certainly haven't camped enough (especially since I messed up the whole month of July with kidney stones), but we still have a handful of trips on the books. Last year, we camped into November. I wonder if we will be that lucky again? 

Two Pods in the Park

Always trying to get a good photo of the Pod at night
to show off our lights.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Six years and counting...

Site #12 at Stafford County Park • Port Hope, MI
I cannot believe that we have been doing "Cousins Weekend" for six years in a row. I'm super impressed that we keep this going! That says a lot about how important family traditions are.

Apparently, we like going to Stafford County Park in Port Hope, MI as this is third year that we have camped at this park. When Jim and I pulled in with Pod we visited the water fill station. It took FOREVER to fill our tanks. I had plenty of time to refresh my surroundings and kept thinking that this place looked entirely different than I remembered.

Once we were filled and ready, we made our way to our favorite site. Site #12 is right on the banks of Lake Huron and comes complete with the sounds of waves lapping up on the beach all day and all night. Once we got set up on our site, it dawned on both of us why the place looked so different. Every single tree was cut down. Apparently, they had lost all their trees to the emerald ash borer. How sad!

We had a beautiful weekend with our cousins (and added guests Donna and Larry), we stopped in at Heck's Bar in Kinde, MI to check up on some long-distance family members and had a great dinner. Finally,  a trip to Port Hope, wouldn't be completed without a stop (or two) to the Chill Zone for ice cream.

I do think its probably time to switch up the Seventh Annual Cousins Weekend and maybe even the time of year, but as long as we keep the tradition alive, I'll be happy!

One of the best burgers I've ever had!

Cousin Mike and Doug

Cousin John and Laura (and a little bit of Larry)

Brother and Cousin Kathy

 Our running list of Cousins Weekend:
  • 2012 - Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, MI
  • 2013 - Camping at Muskegon State Park in Muskegon, MI
  • 2014 - Camping at Stafford County Park in Port Hope, MI
  • 2015 - Cottage weekend at Arend's on Little Gray Goose Lake in Jerome, MI
  • 2016 - Camping at Stafford County Park in Port Hope, MI
  • 2017 - Camping at Stafford County Park in Port Hope, MI