Diary - St. Ignace

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St. Ignace

August 29th through September 1st, 2008


Friday, August 29th - 75/61°, Sunny

    Tara had the day off today and I took a vacation so that we could get up at a decent hour this morning and get rolling towards the “Mighty Mac”. We had to make a couple of stops on our way, and we ended up leaving the house just a little after 9:00am. We went to the bank so that we could pay for things this weekend, then stopped at the Holly Donut Shop for breakfast on the road (as well as some extra for tomorrow), and then went to Meijer (pop was on sale – there was other things we wanted, but of course we forgot to actually buy them) and Best Buy (my computer bag zipper busted yesterday and they had one on sale).

    We had a relatively uneventful drive most of the way up north. We had some traffic near Flint thanks to an accident, but otherwise it was smooth sailing. Lots of state police in the median today, however. We made a couple other stops on the way – the rest area for the kids and the dog, McDonalds and Wendy’s for lunch, and then Sea Shell City south of the bridge to let the kids play around on the boat play structure that they have. We stopped there 5 years ago and took some pictures of the kids and thought it would be fun to do it again. We often say we will stop on our way home, but it always seems like we are running too late for that.

    We crossed over the bridge and arrived at the St. Ignace KOA around 2:30pm. Dad & Mom were all set up in the new site that we picked out last year. They had a small fire going, so we unloaded what little we had left to bring up and then joined them to relax for a while. The kids headed to the playground, which is now only about two sites away from us.

    After a short while it was time to start dinner. Tonight it was pork chops, ranch potatoes, and green beans. After everything was started cooking, Tara & I took the kids for a walk around the campground. When we returned it was time to eat. I really wasn’t thrilled with these pork chops, but everyone else seemed to thoroughly enjoy them. With dinner and dishes complete, we relaxed around the campfire for a while longer. Drew has had a problem crapping himself, and Tara decided not to put him in pull-ups this weekend. [Note: My name is Tara Peters and I did not approve the previous statement or any statement that utilizes the word “crap/crapping/crapped”.] Needless to say he crapped himself while playing, getting it all over himself and the slide. That put a pretty big buzz kill on our enjoyment of the evening. We did get out some marshmallows to roast, but it wasn’t as fun after that little incident.

    Mom ended up heading inside to put Drew and Jayden down for the night. The rest of us followed her in shortly after that. Tara, Tyler, Samantha, & I stayed up to watch “The Astronaut Farmer” that we had rented (not a great movie in my opinion). Tyler didn’t make it all the way through, and the rest of us went to bed after the movie was over.

Saturday, August 30th - 79/59°, Sunny

    We woke up this morning around 9:00am. Once everybody was moving around, we broke out the donuts that we brought up yesterday. I think everyone picked out their favorite two to eat this morning.

    After we finished eating, we all took turns getting showered and dressed so that we could head into town to visit the annual craft show. Unfortunately, by the time everybody was ready it was almost noon. We hadn’t really planned on eating before leaving, but we knew it would be a few hours before we got back to eat lunch. Instead of doing that (and listening to the kids complain about being hungry all day) we decided to make some sandwiches and have some chips as well.

    With our bellies full once more, we loaded into the van to drive into town. We wandered around the craft show for a while, but didn’t see anything really exciting or new that we would need (don’t get me wrong, there are some nice things there). I did buy a hot dog (the cost went to a dog shelter) to eat, and I picked up some kettle corn for everyone else to share (it was a big bag, not a small single-serving size). We also spent some time afterwards wandering around town in the various shops. Tyler was looking to buy a WebKinz doll with some of his birthday money, and there was a store where Samantha got one last year that we were looking for. Tyler was also looking to replace his broken sunglasses (long story there – end result was his little brother and sister did their part to break them). We found some sunglasses early, but waited to buy them until we looked at all the stores. We found the store with the WebKinz doll, but they only had one kind (and Sam already owned it). On our way back to the van we stopped at the store with the sunglasses to pick those up for him, but the doll was a loss today.

    We spent some time at the campground for a while in the afternoon, but we couldn’t stay long due to the fish dinner we were invited to at the state park with the Sun-N-Fun gang from Florida (that is where I know most of them from, anyway). Dad & Mom headed over there a little early (we were responsible for bringing the potatoes for French-fries), while we stayed behind to relax for a while and make brownies to take for dessert. We headed over a little before 6:00pm.

    There was a mix-up with the dinner plans, so Dad had to go and get us some fresh perch to eat. Everyone else had whitefish tonight. The fish was good (although I would have preferred a little more breading on mine), as were the French-fries, which I have never had while camping unless we ate out.

    After dinner Dad led us on a walk down a trail to a spot to take pictures of the Mackinac Bridge from a view that I had never seen before. Tara and the kids joined us for our walk as well. When we got to the picture spot, I took several pictures of the bridge, as well as some of the kids. The view from this trail let you see straight down the bridge, as if you were to drive straight down it. After my pictures, we walked the rest of the trail, which took us out to one of the main park roads. From there we had a choice – walk another stretch of the trail, or go down to the shore to take more pictures. Since it was getting darker and we didn’t know where the trail led to, we chose the shore option. I took some more photos, and then we had back to the group.

    Once we got back to where we ate, Tara and I took the kids back to our campsite for the rest of the evening. We ended up putting Drew and Jayden down to bed for the night while the rest of us tried to get a campfire going outside (without much luck, I must add). About the time Tara finally got the fire going a little bit Dad & Mom returned. We hung around outside a little more, talking and enjoying the warmth of the fire before heading inside to climb into bed tonight.

Sunday, August 31st - 79/61°, Sunny

    Another beautiful morning. We woke up around 9:00am once again, taking a very leisurely approach to breakfast (any movement, in fact) today. We finished off the remainder of the donuts and more or less relaxed in the trailer for a while before anyone got motivated enough to do anything. We slowly took turns getting ourselves showered before heading outside to enjoy the day.

    Once we all made it outside, we started up a campfire to start making pizzas on. The kids spent some time riding their bikes and playing at the playground while we worked on cooking. The fire must have been just right this time, because we had a much easier time getting the pizzas cooked just to near perfection. We also made marks on the handles so we could tell what was in each pie iron, which helped us out a bunch as well. Everyone got a couple of pizzas each, and as usual I thoroughly enjoyed mine (Tara wanted me to point out that the reason I ate so much pizza is that I haven’t been overly thrilled with any of the meal selections, with the exception of the fish dinner, and there wasn’t enough fish or fries for me to fill up completely – which is probably good for me, it prevented me from overeating tonight).

    After we finished eating, it was time for a bike ride. Once again we headed out to the Curio Shop along US2 with the climbing tower to view the bridge. This year everyone went with us, and we all climbed to the top. Tyler & Samantha wrote their names on the tower wall once again, this time under the bench. We have never been able to find our names from previous years, which leads me to believe that the repaint the upper floor each year and start anew. I think next year I will try to convince them to write on one of the earlier floors. Of course I took some more pictures before climbing back downstairs.

    We headed back towards the campground and stopped at the “Indian Store” (as the kids call it) in front of the campground. Dad & Mom headed back to the trailer at this point, and Tara & I took the kids inside to see the animals. We bought three ice cream cones full of feed so that Tyler, Sam, and Drew could feed the deer, but Drew ended up being too scared to do it, Tyler ended up feeding the deer his food and cone.

    After we finished feeding the animals, we headed back to the camper to wash our hands and get ourselves ready to go back to the state park. Tonight was a bratwurst dinner, which a couple from Frankenmuth had brought. Tara & I were kind of in the mood to skip it, but that had brought so many that we started to feel guilty about not going.

    Turns out the meal was pretty good. I was nervous about liking the brats, but they were tasty. We also had various kinds of chips to eat with them. After dinner was complete, Dad, Tara, Tyler, Drew, Jayden, and I went back to finish the trail that we walked yesterday. Turns out it wasn’t a very long trail after all, and we probably could have done it yesterday too. Oh well, it left something for us to do today. We were winding our way through when Drew had a bit of bad luck, however. We were standing in an area (we might have been taking a picture of Jayden at the time, I don’t recall) when Drew started screaming and crying. He hadn’t move, so we weren’t sure what was wrong. Turns out he was stung by a bee. We aren’t sure if he stepped on a nest or if it was just a stray bee, but he definitely had a spot on his ankle from it. I went to pick him up to get him out of the area, and I felt a bee buzz around the top of my head as well. We managed to get off the trail with just that one problem, and he calmed down enough that I stopped at another lookout area to take a couple more pictures (he even posed for a couple, but he definitely wasn’t smiling for them). We made the trek back to the campsite once again, where we met up with Mom and Sam, who enjoyed music and singing while waiting for us.

    After spending some time around the campsite, we decided to head back to our campsite. We attempted to plan out our morning, and then headed to bed for the night.

Monday, September 1st - 82/66°, Sunny

    Tara wanted to get up early today so we could get started for home earlier this year. That meant that our alarm went off at 7:00am this morning. We slowly crawled out of bed and got ourselves dressed. Everybody was up by the time we left (we were hoping Drew and Jayden would stay asleep for a while as they were staying behind with Mom). We piled into Dad’s truck and drove to the drop-off area. We parked the truck and headed out to the bridge.

    We made our first steps of the walk at 8:15am. It was an uneventful walk this year, but the weather was beautiful. The only issue was the fact that they closed the walking side of the bridge down to 1 lane around 9:30am. We lost some time due to this; otherwise we would have finished in 1 hour 30 minutes. As it was, we finished the walk just before 10:00am.

    What would the walking of the Mackinac Bridge be without our annual stop for donuts? We saw Mom, Drew, and Jayden pass us by on their way to the lower peninsula to pick us up while we were walking. While walking we were passed on the bridge from some of the group staying at the state park, and we met up with them at the bakery as well. We all had a donut (or some other form of pastry) and a drink to replenish ourselves.

    Once we finished our breakfast, we headed out to Mackinac Crossings, the outdoor mall area. We wandered into a few stores to look around, and Tyler managed to find one of the WebKinz that he was looking for (he wanted an underwater animal, and ended up getting a manatee that he named Mack, after the town he bought it in). Of course Samantha had to have one too, which she ended up getting (a black lab she named Smokey). Once we had enough walking, it was off to the van for the drive back across the bridge to the campground.

    Before we could return, however, we had to stop off to buy some perch to bring home. We ended up buying a ton of fish (OK, 25 pounds isn’t a ton, but it is a lot of fish) between Dad & Mom and us.

    Once we got back to the campsite it was time to start the process of loading up the van. While we worked on getting our stuff packed, lunch was in the process of being made – today it was tacos. Of course I enjoyed it – as usual I ate too much.

    Unfortunately, our trip had to come to an end. Shortly after 3:00pm, we climbed into the van to head home to get back to our normal lives. Dad & Mom stayed behind for another day of peace and relaxation without us in their hair. Our drive home was relatively uneventful, except for the frequent bathroom stops (especially after stopping to eat – I made the mistake of letting Tyler get a refill on his pop). We arrived at the homestead around 8:30pm. We then had the dreaded task of unloading the van. We did that quickly, then put the kids to bed – school day tomorrow! Tara and I put some of the stuff from the trip away before heading to bed ourselves. The alarm clock comes early for me in the morning now!

Trip Summary

    Overall, I would say this was another very enjoyable trip. Our site (#18) at the KOA was very nice, but on Tuesday Dad & Mom got some bad news regarding it. Turns out that since they didn’t specify at check-in that they wanted to keep it someone else ended up reserving it for next year. The guy told them someone at check-in should have asked if they wanted to keep it, the only problem was that it was the same guy who checked them in and didn’t ask them. I think we all just assumed that we would get to have the same site next year. Tara & I said we would complain more (we should keep the site and the new people should be reassigned), but I don’t think that they argued that point.

    Anyway, aside from the campground, we had a really good time. The weather was beautiful this year, perhaps the warmest we have ever experienced up there – but not so warm as to be unbearable.

    Once again, I am sure that we will be back next year, hopefully with our trailer too (although we will see how the truck situation works out). With the cost of gas (and the fact that we still don’t have our truck) we decided to only bring one trailer this year (we rolled our deposit over on the other site for next year – hopefully we’ll be smart enough to have our poop in a group by that point and can bring ours too). I would also like to add the Thursday prior to the trip if possible, but I am not sure how that will work out for Tara at work. We’ll “cross that bridge” as the time approaches.


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