McLain Camping

We had our last camping trip of the season this past weekend.  This marks the third year in a row where we’ve camped at McLain State Park in September.  We still have soccer, so we pick a place close to home to camp and it’s worked out each year that we have the most freedom and the best weather the weekend of the Parade of Nations, so that’s what we chose this year as well.  Clogging has pretty much fizzled out completely, so it was nice to not have to worry about performing at the Parade of Nations this time – we just went for the food instead 🙂

Back to camping… we made the reservations a few weeks ago because we were nervous there wouldn’t be any sites left due to a Detroit Free Press article which stated that the fall colors would be peaking early and would be this past weekend.  Well, they were WRONG, and instead of waiting to reserve based on the weather, we booked in advance and were then stuck with this weekend.  Maybe you guessed it, or maybe you live here, but the weather was less than ideal.  It’s been a long time since we’ve camped with any amount of substantial rain (not counting the backpacking trip).  So there were plenty of campsites left as the color-chasers have not yet arrived, and also probably because it rained a lot.  But that’s okay.  It meant that the campground was fairly quiet.  We were one of only three tents in the campground.  All the others were campers.  Wimps.

Jim and I went out early afternoon on Friday to set things up while the kids were still in school.  I found this funny tree near our site.  It’s like it has hair highlights – frosted tips or something:

I really got the feeling it couldn’t decide if it should change color yet or not.  Funny!  And that afternoon, the lake was a bit violent.  It matched the skies:

Shortly after we arrived back out at the camp after getting the kids from school, it started raining.  It was kind of funny how much the kids enjoyed it.  We usually do so much and are always go, go, go while camping, that they really relished the time of just being in the tent without having to sleep.  They enjoyed reading.  Charlie, however, did not enjoy being in the tent.  His old age is bringing him a lot of accompanying anxiety, where thunder, and now rain even, are making him very frightened.  He pants heavily, slobbers all over the place, and constantly trembles.  It’s sad.  Here’s a pic of him trying to contain himself up on one of the cots while the kids read in the tent:

It stopped raining for a bit so we quickly made a fire and tried something new – bacon-wrapped hot dogs.  It looks good, but honestly wasn’t all that great.  The taste of the bacon was just kind of lost.  Too bad – that could’ve been a thing!

After dinner, Jim wanted to hit the big waves.  It was chilly and starting to get dark:We’ve had some unusually warm weather lately.  It’s been awesome!  We actually had a colder than normal August and received more than THREE TIMES the amount of rain than we usually get!  !  So we loved the warm temps and when the sun was up on Saturday morning, we enjoyed that, too 🙂

Here’s a pic of the lake in the morning.  I caught a good splash in this one!  But you can tell the waves are much calmer if you look out at the lake:

The kids checking out the water:

And then we found some friends!  Christine and Greg met at the park to do some roller skiing (what’s that?  You don’t know what roller skiing is?!  It’s a way for cross country skiiers to keep up their muscles and technique during the warmer months.  There are wheels on the bottoms of those little skis and then they work much the same way as skate skis).  So the kids and I hopped on our bikes and took a little ride with the pair:

They certainly drew a few surprised looks from the other campers when they came through the campground.  Fun!

And then after heading into town for another soccer game and some Parade of Nations food, we headed out to the dog beach for some swimming and cooling off.  The temperatures were actually in the 80s!  It was so hot in that hockey arena where the food was, and the kids were super sweaty after the game.  It felt so good to be in the water!  We definitely did not get in enough beach time this summer 🙁

Lake Superior in September is the best: 

Do you see Jim and Charlie waaaaaay down there?

I know we probably shouldn’t have let the kids play on the cliffs causing more erosion, but they were having so much fun and seriously – would two little kids cause even close to the amount of erosion as the winter does?  We made sure they stuck to the same spot.  They loved it!

We set up the soccer nets and played a lot of soccer at our site.  So fun!

And then Saturday evening another bank of clouds moved in and threatened us.  It made for some cool sunset pics, though.  This one is like an upside down sunset:

And then the sun came out from behind the bank of clouds to sink lower in the sky:

The sea plane flew over:

And then the sun started to set behind another bank of clouds.  It was like a sunset sandwich.  So neat!

That night it rained a lot.  Like, a lot, a lot.  It thundered and lightninged for a couple of hours.  It was a long night with Charlie in the tent.  Poor guy.  He just doesn’t even know what to do with himself.  He tries to dig himself out or push through the zippers.  And the dog breath – yuck!  And the slobber – gross!  Oh well, we all get old…

In the morning, it was dry, but the lake and sky seemed very angry again.  It was so windy and much cooler!

Fall.

Back at home, the sunflowers have opened.  Yay!  This pic was actually taken before this guy was all the way opened.  You should see him now!

I’ve started painting again now that the kids have started back at school.  We also have (or rather had) a two week break in between airbnb guests, so I thought it was the best time to repaint the hallway.  Here are some before photos:

Well, I guess technically this is a “during” photo:

Lewis took this shot.  We’ve been avoiding the stairwell and hallways for quite some time because we weren’t sure how we were going to physically get it done.  It turned out to be pretty easy, actually:

Jim just brought in the extension ladder and then he and his gorilla arms did everything I couldn’t reach.  Plus, you can see that we’re basically painting it the same color, so there’s really no need for perfection – especially 15 feet up where no one can see it.  You may be wondering then why I even wanted it painted.  I would bet that that area hasn’t been done in over thirty years, and there are places where the paint is cracking and chipping because it’s so dried out.  There are also spots (mostly along child level on the stairwell) where I can’t get the walls clean anymore.  It’s been washed of little fingerprints so many times over the years that it’s just permanently dirty.  Yuck.  So now we put on a glossy paint (easier for cleaning) and it really does look a lot nicer.

There was only one problem – while we were camping, we got another airbnb booking for Sunday!  So everything was taken apart in the hallway and it’s only half finished and now we have guests here.  Don’t worry, though, they are great people and completely understanding.  They are from England and have been a joy to get to know.  We are really loving this airbnb thing!

One last photo?  Here are some fall blooms from the yard and garden.  I’m going to miss making bouquets in the winter!  I’ll have to start picking some flowers up at the grocery store 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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