Monday, September 25, 2006

Autumnal Equinox

Well, sometime this past Saturday we closed the door on summer. The Autumnal Equinox, the day between Summer and Winter when both day and night are the same length has passed by now. What that means to all of us on this side of the equator is that there’s going to be more dark than light on a daily basis now until the first day of spring. For people who crave light and heat, that’s not a good thing.

Given the climate and weather patterns this past week you’d be hard pressed to know that the Autumnal Equinox had happened. It was cloudy, chilly at best and mostly rainy for the last 7 days. It pretty much felt all week that Summertime was already long gone. Last year we had an extension on warm weather, but this year it seems the bill has come due for last year’s extra days of warmth. That’s not to say that there isn’t a possibility for a couple warm days yet. We’re usually good for several days of Indian summer in October and if they come during a weekend that’s great, but after the next 4 or 5 weeks is over and the fall foliage is gone it’s pretty much time to pull the batteries out of the hot rod and bike and retreat to the den to hibernate as much as humanly possible.

We’d made a plan early in the week that we were all going up to the campsite for the weekend, weather be damned and so after work Friday afternoon I loaded up the van with supplies, grabbed Bailey and Mercury and headed for Meadowview trail. I got up there about 6:00pm, opened up camp and made dinner. Good ole fashioned beans and weenies with a couple slices of bread. I took the dogs for a walk after eating and by the time we got back to camp it was pretty much dark. I got a good sized fire going and for the next couple hours stayed close to the flames and the heat while I listened to tunes on the cassette player. It was midnight thereabouts when I finally gave in and headed for the camper and my pillow.
Wanda and Chris arrived in camp first thing Saturday morning. I made breakfast for us and then took a couple of the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. After we got back from the hike it was time to get some site work done. For the rest of the morning and the first part of the afternoon I piddled around…..finished putting the shelves up in the shed, got the walkway to the outhouse setup like I wanted it and did some general raking and cleaning of areas that I wanted to mow eventually.

When the morning had arrived the weather had looked promising, with some sunshine poking out between the clouds but as the day went on it would spit rain for a bit and then stop, start again and stop until by mid-afternoon it started to rain lightly but steady. So at that point we decided to go into Custer and hit the grocery store for some for dinner. By the time we got back from Bonser’s Market it had stopped again for the most part so I putzed around some more while Wanda made dinner. Just about the time we were finishing up with our meal it started to rain again and this time it came down hard and kept coming down. Because of the weather it got dark earlier and quicker than it would’ve otherwise so with no light left to work by we pulled out the laptop and spent the remainder of the day watching movies. By the end of the second flick it was getting on to Midnight so I turned off the lights and called it a day.

Sunday morning came, wet and gray. We decided at that point that we’d make breakfast and then pack up camp and head for home. It didn’t look like I was going to be able to get much done on day two either and a hot shower and a nap sounded appealing so after homemade turnovers we picked up, packed up and said goodbye to Meadowview trail for a couple weeks.

We pulled into the driveway right about noon. I unloaded all the weekend stuff and then plopped down on the couch and dozed off for awhile. I regained consciousness later to find that the clouds had disappeared and the sun was shining. It just figures I guess. It’s been a pretty crummy month for weather and according to Mr. weatherman it isn’t likely it’s going to get better anytime soon.

With the late afternoon sun shining I decided to break out the ’56 for the first time this month and cruise down to Jeannie’s for their final cruise-in night of the year. I loaded up Bailey and we headed down for a bit of late season socializing and a cheeseburger. There was a fairly good turnout of cars for a clear and chilly evening and the couple hours we were there went by quickly. Once the numbers for the 50/50 drawing had been pulled and with the sun already having set in the Western sky, we headed back to town.

I realized after we got home and sat down that I hadn't taken a single picture all weekend. Between walking dogs and avoiding raindrops I never shot any frames at the campsite and then because I was more talkative than usual at Jeannie’s I never got any car shots either. A lack of pics to share is pretty much a symptom of the blahs that come and go once the warm weather goes away. It’s just hard to get or keep moving, even when doing things I enjoy.

There's a couple other things that have happened this week that need to be addressed at some point but I'm just not up to it at the moment. It's time to call it a day and get some rest.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Quiet After.......

This past week was a low key affair. From Sunday night until Thursday afternoon it was pretty much and rainy and gloomy. It felt like Autumn was right around the corner, which of course it is, but I’m always hoping this time of year for a summertime extension….just never ready to start layering clothes again.

I don’t believe I did a single, solitary constructive thing until Thursday when I headed up to the campsite with my latest item of plunder. When I pulled into work Thursday morning I realized that one of the skids used to bring a new machine into the plant was laying there and it was pretty much exactly what I needed to build the walkway to the Amish Outhouse. So, I went and asked the powers that be if I could snag it. They said yup, so after work I went home, grabbed the pickup and came back up to load the future walkway into the back of the pickup. I had to enlist the aid of one of the guys and a lift truck to get it in the box, but once that was done I was good to go. No exciting adventures this trip like there’d been hauling the outhouse a few weeks ago.

I got to the campsite about 6 and spent awhile wrestling the behemoth out of the back of the truck. I realized after I got it on the ground that some digging was going to be necessary for me to situate it the way I envisioned it, but at that point I was running out of available light so I put up the tailgate, fired up the motor and headed for home.

Thursday was also the day my new boss informed me that there wasn’t going to be any more overtime for awhile. Not real sure why the company had to hire another level of indirect labor to tell me what I already know, but nobody asked for my input either….all I have to do is deal with the situation. So, Friday at 3:00 I was done for the week. I used my new found time off by going home long enough to grab the pickup and the wife and headed back up to North Muskegon where Tony, the brother-in-law works at the Meijers store there. He’d told us that they had one 5’ x 8’ shed left that they wanted to get rid of and if I wanted it he’d give me a deal. A 5x8 was smaller than I wanted, but I can’t afford what I do want at the moment so a small shed is better than no shed at all. By the time we got the shed boxes in the truck, along with a couple Tiki torches and fuel we’d gotten a heckuva deal…..approximately 66% off the usual price. We said thanks to Tony and headed down the street to Tractor Supply where I got some stuff for the campsite, including chicken wire and mortar for the campfire ring.

Friday was also the day that Ri and Adam got back home from their honeymoon. They spent their week in Cincinnati, visiting the Zoo and other sites and then went to Mammoth Cave Kentucky before heading back to Michigan. Later on Friday evening we went down to Clover to meet up with Gigi, to see wedding pics and harass the son-in-law who was back to work already. Gigi had put together a couple really nice books full of her pics and the wait staff there were passing them around, ohhing and Ahhing over the great shots. After everyone had seen the pics we headed for home. Ri and Adam stopped over later before heading home but at that point I was about 70% asleep so I wasn’t the greatest conversationalist on the planet.

Saturday dawned with the best weather we’d had in the last week and the plan was to take a bike ride down to the Kalamazoo fair grounds to check out the NSRA show. It was sunny and warm when I left home but by the time I got down by Kazoo it’d had gotten cloudy and cool and the roads were wet in places. By noon though the sun was out and it warmed up nicely during the afternoon. I got to the fairgrounds about 11:00am, parked the bike and headed in. The NSRA shows are specifically for cars 1949 and older so there were fat fendered hot rods strewn all over the place….from rat rods to cars with $20,000 paint jobs. I just started with the first one past the gate and spent the next 6/7 hours just wandering around, taking pics of my favorites and talking to their owners. Click HERE for all the NSRA pics.

After watching the parade of cars exiting the grounds at the end of the day for about an hour I got back on the bike and headed back for home. It was dusk by the time I made it back and not long afterwards we were back down at Clover again for supper where Adam and Ri both were working this time. Gigi came down again with even more pics and once again the books got passed around as everyone took a look at her work. After a couple hours of socializing it was time to head for home.

Sunday I had planned on going to the pow wow at Charlton Park but the weather looked a bit iffy for taking the bike cloudy and real windy, so I changed the plan to a trip up to the campsite for the day to put up the shed we’d gotten Friday. I’d slept in and then decided to make breakfast before heading up so it was close to 1:00pm before we pulled into camp. Chris came with me and it’s a good thing he did cuz it was a two person job. From the time we got there until about 6:00pm we worked on assembling the shed. We also worked a bit on getting the walkway to the outhouse to fit better but that still needs work before it’s a done deal. By the time I’d tightened up the last couple of screws in the shed it was a tick past 6 and the weather had deteriorated to the point it looked like rain was imminent. We put the stuff that was staying in the shed, the stuff that was coming home in the truck, locked up the outhouse and the shed and headed for home. We weren't 10 miles from the campsite when it started to rain. It rained on and off the whole way home. We pulled in the driveway right about 9:00 and that was pretty much the end of the week.

It's cold here tonight....time to crawl under the quilt and get some shuteye.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Wedding

Whew, what a weekend. From the time I got out of work Friday afternoon until I finally gave into sleep Saturday night / Sunday morning there was not an empty moment. Everything went well, although there were a couple bumps along the way and in the end I think (although I’m slightly biased) that it was without a doubt the best, most enjoyable wedding I’ve ever been to……I’m gonna try and recap everything I can remember, but I’m sure I’ll forget some things, bear with me here while I try and scribe all this down.

I left work right at 3:00pm Friday and after a quick stop at the credit union for money I headed home for a quick shower, picked up Chris and the dogs, loaded up some incidentals and started to head out of town. Then I realized I had no socks with me so I made a quick stop at Family Dollar so that I wouldn’t offend anyone’s sensibilities at the wedding by having bare ankles.

Since Labor day the D.O.T. has been working on the bridge, which in turn creates massive traffic jams, particularly during rush hours and Friday afternoons. I don’t know why they don’t work on it at night and keep it open during the day but that’s a rant for another time. The fact of the matter was on this Friday afternoon Northbound traffic was backed up from the bridge to out past Hayes street, a distance of 2+ miles and it wasn’t moving.

After stopping to get gas at Meijers I decided that I’d head out to Eastmanville, go over the river there, cut back to Maple Island and head north. I figured that at least that way I’d be able to keep moving and get to the Creek eventually, something I couldn’t guarantee if I was stuck in a 2 mile long line of traffic jam. After we made the bridge crossing and were headed North we ran into little pockets of rain along the way. Nothing major, but enough for windshield wipers. We finally made it to the campsite just about 6:00pm. The sidetrip had added about a half hour to the drive, but after finding out that there were still folks not yet there cuz of the road construction mess we were happy with the decision to take the alternate route.

It was almost dark before we had everyone there to do the rehearsal. I amused myself until then by wandering around, shooting pics of the lake area in the waning light. We ran thru the whole wedding process twice. My job was pretty easy, just get Ri from the top of the hill to the bottom without either of us falling on our faces. After the second run thru was complete we decided it was time for the Rehearsal dinner. Everyone headed for the Condo Association building for a good meal of lasagna and all the fixings. By the time that everyone had ate their fill it was almost 10:00pm and time to head back to camp with Ri as our guest of honor for the evening.

The big day arrived and the first thing we all did, except Ri who had to stay at the trailer, was to head for the lodge and get breakfast. Gigi and Tony, who were the Mistress and Master of ceremony for the day, were at our campsite before I had even crawled out of bed. Wanda had her computer with her and all of a sudden as I’m waking up and Ri is still mostly asleep the old 60’s tune by the Chapels “Going to the Chapel” (“Going to get marrrieeedd”) burst forth from the speakers along with Gigi and Wanda singing to Ri at full volume. It was a cool moment. Later in the day we found out that folks down the road quite a ways heard the early morning serenade.

By the time we were done eating it was close to 10:00am and time to get Ri and her maids of honor to the Condo Building to get their hair done up pretty. Once that was taken care of I wandered over to the Fetts place to see what was happening there. To say things were a bit unorganized at that point would be as politically correct as I can possibly be, so without any direction I made the executive decision to start putting out the chairs. There were people coming and they’d need somewhere to sit. Somewhere towards the end of that task the wife showed up with an errand for me and the bro-in-law to handle so we jumped in his SUV and headed into town.

By the time we got back from town it was almost 1:00pm and getting dangerously close to the appointed hour. While we were gone on our mission my folks had arrived so I went up to their rented cabin to say hi. My mother was sick so they had already made up their minds that they weren’t staying overnight as planned. After a couple minutes with them I took off to see what was next on the agenda. After a bit of running around I found myself at the Fett’s trailer with tuxedo in hand, looking for a place to try and hang all that hardware on my body. Adam came in to get ready also and I had to enlist his help to get all the fancy buttons and cufflinks attached. I think we were both a bit stressed at that point although probably for different reasons.

As the final minutes ticked down to 3:00pm the wedding party, sans myself and the bride, who’d just arrived, all assembled out by the Kahuna. I paced from the trailer to the Kahuna and back again, noticing that there was a good turnout for the festivities and that Adam was dealing with the emotional aspects of the whole affair. Wanda was trying to help him catch his breath and regain his composure. And then… was time.

Because I was busy in the back I’m not entirely sure of the order, who went down the steps first, but once the minister, the groom, the best men, the bridesmaids and the kids all made it to the bottom it was Ri’s turn to be escorted down the steps to where Adam was waiting for her. Ri looked absolutely beautiful in her dress and yes, I’m completely biased, but I still don’t think anyone that day would’ve argued with me. We came past the Kahuna and headed down the steps. I tried to focus on breathing and not tripping over my own feet. I had my baby girl on my arm and was trying hard to keep it together. We finally made it to the bottom and stood there, side by side, across from Adam. It took awhile for the minister to get to the point where he asked….”who gives this woman to be married?” to which I said, as best I could, “her mother and I”. At that point my work was done and I went over and sat down next to my wife to watch the rest of the ceremony.

It had been cool and overcast all day, but as the minister announced the new couple and they started walking down the aisle, a couple rays of sunshine broke thru the clouds. It was cool. It took awhile to get everyone escorted out of their chairs, row by row, but once that was complete the bride and groom headed for Wanda’s mustang, with the top down and with your s truly doing the chauffeuring. We rode around the campgrounds for alittle while, beeping the horn whenever we saw life and eventually made our way back to the bottom of the hill.

At that point it was time for the obligatory post wedding photographs. Gigi was taking care of the bulk of that work while I was off talking with various folks until I got called upon to join in the lineup and smile. From then until the end of the photo shoot I was either in the shot or taking shots…….by the time we had assembled every conceivable combination of participants and were done taking pics the skies had cleared up, the sky was a beautiful blue and it was time to head to the lodge for dinner and dancing.

When we got up to the lodge I was immediately impressed with the turnout. The place was packed with folks who'd came way out into the middle of God's country to help Ri and Adam celebrate their speical day. It wasn't long after their arrival was announced that we were in line, with plate in hand, loading up on the good food that had been prepared. It took the next hour or so to get everyone thru the line and fed. I would guess there was close to a 140 people there, certainly one of the bigger gatherings the lodge has seen in quite some time I'd bet.

After the dinner hour was over our tables up front were removed to make room for some dancing. Adam's dad sprinkled happy feet powder all over the floor and the music commenced. From that point until a bit past 10:30pm the joint was a jumpin'. All those traditional wedding rites were performed from Ri Throwing her bouquet to the girls to Adam going after the garter and tossing it out to the boys standing at the far end of the room. One of the more emotional moments, for me at least, was the Dad and Daughter dance. I had to bite my lip a couple times to stay focused. We danced to a tune sung by Leanne Womack called "I Hope You Dance". Because I think it's a beautiful tune and because the lyrics mean quite a bit to me I'm taking the space to write 'em down here.


I hope you never lose you sense of wonder,

You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,

May you never take one single breath for granted,

GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,

Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,

Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,

Never settle for the path of least resistance

Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',

Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',

Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,

When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,

Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,

Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

Dance....I hope you dance. I hope you dance....I hope you dance. I hope you dance....I hope you dance..

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)

Surfing around on the net tonight I found this quote by the guy responsible for "I Hope You Dance". Seems like words to live by for me so I thought I'd share these words too......

"If you can figure out a way to keep the energy and gumption and fire alive, you'll always stay young. And where there's youth, there's hope... where there's hope, there's wonder... where there's wonder, there's faith... where there's faith, there's chance... where's there chance, there's love ...where there's love, there's music... and dancing. So in my heart of hearts, I hope you dance."

The rest of the evening was pretty much a loud, colorful blur of activity. I did my fair share of dancing, wandered around taking pics and generally had a good time seeing that everyone in attendance was having a good time. All of a sudden it was 10:30 and the last tune was fading away. There was a bonfire at the Fett's site so after some milling around and cleaning up we headed over there. There was quite a crowd around the fire and we fit in best we could. The bride and groom stopped by for a quick hi and goodbye before heading off to Ludington for the night. One of the more poignant moments for me was standing there, among a crowd of people, watching them get in the car and take off down the road. I watched the taillights disappear down the road, into the woods and out of sight. I had one of those moments then when a boatload of memories from the last 18 years came rushing up on me. I had to sit down for a bit and regain my composure.

It wasn't long after that, that I had to go searching for the wife who'd celebrated just a tad bit too much and wasn't feeling too hot. Once I'd located her I decided it was time to call it a day and we headed back to our campsite. She crawled into bed as soon as we got there, Chris headed for the van to sleep for the night and I decided it'd be a shame to waste the mostly full moon so I got a fire going, made a big ole cup of hot chocolate and sat there with my 4-legged buddies, comtemplating my life up to this point. It took a couple hours to wind down enough to go to bed so it was probably close to 3:00am before I finally closed my eyes.

Sunday morning Ri and Adam were coming back out to the Condo Building for a light breakfast and to open their presents. There was a small group in attendance for the event and after eating they proceded to open gifts and cards for the next hour or so. They made quite a haul and won't have trouble financing a good time on their honeymoon. After the breakfast we headed back to camp. Around noon they stopped by to say goodbye before heading out for Cincinnati, where they were gonna spend a couple days seeing the sights before heading to Kentucky to do the same thing there...........we hung around camp most of the afternoon, cleaning up debris from the last week. I spent a while raking while Wanda took a nap and then about 5:00pm we decided to head for home. We shut down the lights and water, locked up the Amish Outhouse and camper, loaded up the dogs and headed for home.

.....and that's pretty much that. I think the wedding was an unqualified sucess. Everyone there seemed to be having a great time. The food was excellent, the DJ was considerably above average and the ambiance of the lodge and the outdoor setting made it a wedding not to be outdone. I hope that Ri and Adam have some good memories from the weekend to carry with them for the rest of their lives and I wish them all the best. they're two great kids with their lives stretched out before them. I hope they live them to their fullest.

It's Wednesday today and the kids should be down in Kentucky today, touring Mamouth Cave, among other things. The weather here the last several days has been very wet and chilly, very fall-like and it just feels like the party is over for this year. Hopefully there's still some warm weather ahead, but it won't be long now before the fall color starts to appear. The one upbeat point about that is this year we have our own little campsite to enjoy the transition from summer to winter and I plan to soak up as much of the color as I can before it's time to hunker down and start making plans for the next warm season.

That's enough out of me for awhile.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Weekend of Labor

Man, what a week it’s been. No wonder I can hardly keep my eyes open to write this…..Labor day weekend is history and now Ri and Adam’s wedding is just days away. There’s hardly time to recap this past week before it’s gonna be time to get packed and head back up to the campsite for the BIG weekend. I’m personally hoping for some beautiful late summer weather for them on their wedding day, along with many years of happiness……rain would be a real mood killer and I don’t think I’d look all that good in a sopping wet Tuxedo either. Right now I’m more than a little appalled by the fact that there are people who AREN’T getting married Saturday who seem to think they have the right to tell these two how to run their own ceremony…..when you’re asked to be part of someone’s special day you should be asking…”what do you need me to do…..” not “you gotta do this, this way or I’m not going to play….” A part of me would like to break out the big stick and lay it upside a couple heads, but I’m trying to follow my own advice and do what’s required of me without any bitching or feet stomping. Hopefully when they look back on their wedding day they’ll remember the good time it was……….I know I’ll do what I can to make that possible.

As for this past week? It started off on Monday with our 24th wedding anniversary, the 28th of August. Due to the wife’s volunteerism disease our celebratory dinner consisted of me running to G & L chili Dogs for take out so we could wolf down a couple of their “specials” before she had to leave for a 7:00pm meeting. I guess this must mean that the honeymoon is over? :-) Me and my 4-legged buddies spent the rest of the evening in the den doing our usual tunes and website deal.

Tuesday evening I agreed to do something that I won’t do again in this lifetime. I went to the wedding shower at the Fetts house at my wife’s request. Maybe she wanted to spend time with me after being AWOL the previous night, but for whatever reason I found myself the only male (other than the groom) at a tradition hen fest. They did have ice cream so it wasn’t a total loss, but I still don’t think I’ll be attending another wedding shower without at least a shotgun as incentive.

Wednesday me and the future son-in-law went in search of plumbing supplies for the Amish Outhouse. We spent a couple hours wandering the aisles of Home Depot and Menards while the daughter, wife and other clan members had another shower. Once the shower was over our search was halted and that was that for the day.

Thursday afternoon at work I got a call from Dick Wendt, the guy I’ve been dealing with at Great Lake Electric to get juice to the campsite. He called to inform me that as of late Wednesday afternoon I had become, or more correctly my campsite, had become electrified! Well, that was worth a big Yeehaawww and a trip up there after work for the evening just to witness the miracle with our own eyes. I got up there with a couple hours of daylight left. I spent awhile finagling with things, trying to get the lights in the camper to come on and I was starting to get irritated just about the time they decided to light up my life. So now, with the lights on I wanted water in the camper. So I walked over, pulled up on the handle that would set the fluids in motion, went to the camper, pushed down the handle expecting water to gush forth and got nothing. What the %&^#? About that time Rick Fett stopped by with one of his buddies and surveyed the situation. Turns out that the wiring from the water pump to the board hadn’t been connected yet so water wasn’t going to be an option until at least the next morning. So, I settled for lights and sound for the evening and finished digging out around the outhouse and got it leveled out and ready for plumbing later on in the week. After hanging out for awhile after dark just to enjoy the fact I had lights……I packed up the truck, locked up the camper and headed back to town.

Friday evening, for the first time since Monday’s chili dogs, me and the little lady got together to dine. A steak dinner at the Stable Inn and some wedding conversation was the bill of fare for the time spent there. The rest of the evening was spent at home hanging out and making plans for the 3 day weekend.

Saturday moring arrived and I put an end to my waffling and made the decision to jump on the bike and ride down to Kendallville Indiana for a Bluegrass music festival. I woke the wife up about 8:00am and we went over to Russ’ for breakfast, served by the future son-in-law who still works there on an occasional basis. After breakfast we said our goodbyes and parted ways for the day.

The ride down was uneventful, which on a bike is a good thing. It was a good 3 hour, 140 mile ride and I arrived at the Noble County Fairgrounds right about noon. The music was in full swing at that point so I paid the man to let me in, parked the bike and headed for the stage. Between noon and 7:30pm, when I headed for home, I heard a bunch of great music and not all of it was on the main stage. Although the main stage bands were all great, there was a bunch of good music happening all over the fair grounds.

After sitting thru a couple bands at the main stage I decided to stroll the grounds and hadn’t gone very far when I witnessed my first jam session. I stood back a ways and shot some pics while I listened to the music. Just a bunch of guys who’d shown up for the weekend to make music with each other. What a concept! After listening to them for awhile I headed off and not far down the road was another gathering of pickers. I shot some more pics, listened to them for awhile and repeated that scenario a half dozen times over the next couple hours. I did take a time out to grab a late lunch and then went back to the bleachers to watch and listen until it was time for the supper break.
During the supper break I wandered around and came upon a guy selling harmonica's and his basic harmonica course on CD for 10 bucks. They guy could really play and it brought back some good memories.....I use to play a harmonica quite a bit back in the days when I played in bands and in what could possibly be termed a "whim" I decided to purchase his course and a harmonica in the key of C. Figured I could practice during those times at the campsite when it's just me and the 4-legged ones. Hopefully they won't howl too loud.
After an hour break the main stage came back to life and I sat there and listened to the next two groups play some great toe tapping music. Both "New Found Road" & "The Boohers" did rousing sets and then my favorite act of the day, ""The Hunger Mountain Boys" took the stage again. They'd been the first act I saw upon arriving and I was knocked out by their old-timey sound. About half way thru their set though I decided it was getting late enough to consider leaving for home so with a 3 hour ride ahead of me and an hour's worth of daylight I took off for home. the ride home was uneventful also, although durng the last 30 / 40 miles it got pretty chilly. I got back home about 10:45 and was able to stay awake long enough to catch up on the email before calling it a day. click HERE for pics
Sunday morning arrived too early thanks to my 4-legged alarm clocks. Today was the day that we were going to hook up the outhouse and make it fully functional so I set about right away getting stuff in the truck that I wanted to take up to the campsite. I drug the picnic table out of the backyard and put it in the truck. It’ll get much more use up at camp then it ever did at home. I grabbed all my rakes, shovels and the chain saw and tossed them in the back too, then I said goodbye to the wife, rounded up Mercury and Bailey and we headed out of town.
An hour or so later we arrived at the campsite and set about getting things ready. Within a half hour Adam, his dad Rick and several other folks who I don’t yet know all that well were there to help with the plumbing of the Amish Outhouse. I won’t go into the assembly details, but it took several hours to cut and piece together all the parts that we needed to reach from the toilet to the sewer. Then, once that was complete Adam put together the toilet and installed it in the outhouse. The first flush was a thing of beauty… worked great! After several more flushes all in attendance proclaimed that this project was a resounding success and one by one they wandered off Before they all were gone though one of Rick's friends, Jerry Gardner, went to his place and brought back his small Kabota front end loader and smoothed out the ground around the outhouse, saving me a couple hours of raking. And as if that wasn't enough he also used the Kabota to move two huge boulders from where they were to a place of honor on either side of the driveway, marking the entrance.
Then it was just me and the dogs again. I set about raking, moving firewood and collecting rocks for the rest of the afternoon and it went by quickly. I had been invited to Jerry and Carole's place for dinner so about 5:30 I headed over there and had quite the feast. Steaks on the grill, corn on the cob, baked beans......all the good stuff. We sat around and shot the breeze for awhile, while my dogs and their dog ran around the yard, chasing each other, having a grand time.
The sun was setting when I left the Gardner's and headed back to camp. I got a fire going and cleaned up the inside of the camper for a bit cuz Wanda, Chris, Ri & Adam were coming up after Bingo was over. It was going to be Wanda's first overnighter and with a roaring fire and a outhouse with a flush toilet to greet her I was hoping she'd be a happy camper. :-) They all arrived just a bit before midnight and we sat around for awhile and discussed the wedding before calling it a day
Moday, Labor day, was a day of labor. Me and Wanda both got up early and while she enjoyed her quiet time with a cup of coffee, I went out on what was the first official photo hike around the grounds. As I strolled down meadowview trail to Woods trail and back up by the lodge I made mental notes of where there were good sized rocks to pick up for my fire ring. I went over by the lake and then hiked back up the hill, thru the woods to the campsite. By the time I got back it was time to make breakfast. She made up some big cinnamon rolls with icing. A couple of those and an orange juice and I was ready to continue on with the projects I'd started the day before.
Adam and Ri came by early in the afternoon and I put Adam to work running the chain saw while I stacked. After a couple hours of that we had a decent amount of wood in the rack and ready for the next campfire. Once we were done with that we all jumped in the truck and went rock hunting. I drove with Adam, Ri and Wanda sitting on the tailgate, jumping out to snatch up good size ones for the fire ring when they spotted them. After about an hour of putzing around the campground we had quite a haul and headed back to camp to unload the booty. One more trip like that one and I should have enough to build the fire pit that I envision. I need to look into buying some mortar and a trowel so that one of these weekend days pretty soon I can make my centerpiece a reality. Click HERE for pics.
After emptying the truck we decided it was about time to head back for the city house. Ri and Adam were going to stay up at Whiskey Creek all this week and because they didn't have access to his parents trailer they were going to stay at ours and hold down the fort until we get back on Friday. We said our goodbyes to them and then with me in the truck with 2 dogs and Wanda in her Mustang with 2 dogs and Chris, headed for Grand Haven. We got back to town about 7:00pm, had dinner and a hot shower and pretty much called it a day, a weekend and a summer. Any 80° days from here on out are a bonus, not likely but certainly welcome.
Time for dreamland now, gotta get some sleep now cuz I probably won't get much rest this coming weekend. I hope I live to tell about it.