Journal Categories
Journal Tags

Entries in U.S. history (2)


Camping take 2

Camping with our friends has become an annual event that both families have come to treasure. It started three years ago when the kids were five with a short, one night in fact, trip to Irish Hills. It was a trial run, the site selected because it was close to home in case of utter failure, but it went well and has spawned what we hope will be lifetime of outings. Last year and this year we set up camp in Wilderness State Park. Different from our July trip to Pictured Rocks, though, this is the kind of campsite you drive right up to, the kind that has electricity and water, and even camp communal flush toilets and showers. I love Wilderness. From just about every site you can see and hear Lake Michigan, there's swimming, there's hiking, and while it doesn't offer the challenge of the backpacking, it offers the kind of calm, relaxing, introspective vacation that I need at least once a year.

This year we spent three nights at camp. We built fires every night and roasted things like hotdogs, chicken, corn, marshmallows, and popcorn, and we make coffee. We ate granola for breakfast and peanut butter for lunch. We hiked the nearby trail around a pond and went in search of a geocache. We constructed in the sand and splashed in the water. We took day trips to Mackinaw City to try the putt putt course there and get a history lesson at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac. And for entertainment at the campsite, in addition to hangman and looking for the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, we watched the young (oh very young) couple who arrived at the neighboring campsite and unpacked everything from brand new, untested boxes, and proceded on their first camping attempt. It made us feel well-seasoned in our art, and gave us something to giggle about quietly.

hot dogs on our first night

waiting for water to boil for coffee

It's the Loch Michigan monster! Shall we call her Michi?

Colonial Michilimackinac

Colonial Michilimackinac

Mackinac Bridge from Colonial Michilimackinac

Love the red accents...those colonials sure knew how to decorate

A little muncher in the grains...

I shall call this: self portrait in an awesome window with red.

watching the ongoing archeaological dig in the center of the fort

talking to the "trader" in his trader's house

Red Coats (who wouldn't have been called red coats then) demonstrate the unreliability of their rifles.

Posing with the enemy

Fun and games!


Watching the blacksmith at work

Frolicking through the waves

Realizing that the little fish really do nibble your toes

Roasting corn


Putt putt

More frolicking

sand fort

new fangled hangman


more new fangled hangman


Four states in a day

Up at six, out the door before eight, seven hours plus of driving to go. We have a habit of pushing through on our first day of vacation so that we can enjoy the rest of the days that much more. We made it out of Michigan, through Ohio, through Pennsylvania, and into New York today before checking in and hitting the pool in Buffalo. Calvin thinks it's pretty fun that we're staying in Buffalo. I think they need to rename the town American Bison.

First stop, Cleveland, OH, to tour the house from A Christmas Story. I've seen the movie so many times, and yet there was so much to learn. Did you know they really did stick Flick's tongue to the pole? Eek. And that Randy really was terrified to go down the Santa slide? He did not know he was being filmed when he let loose with all that screaming. Kitsch abound, it was a fun stop.

Calvin has not seen the movie yet, but he was a good sport about posing for some iconic shots.

The lighting was so bad you can't even see the elecric sex gleaming in the window!

Our second stop, far more somber, was in Mentor, OH, at the James A. Garfield NHS, the family home that he refurbished with his wife a few years before his election and assassination. This stop moved me—so sad, such a waste, so heartbreaking. A young family left behind. I think this was my first mournful historic site visit.

Less mournful was Calvin's junior ranger involvement. The national park rangers are pretty darn cool, most of them. Calvin completed three required projects while we were there (a scavenger hunt for artifacts, an interview with a ranger, and decoding a Morse Code message), and was sworn in as official junior ranger. He received a badge and a certificate, which made him that much more excited for the park we will visit tomorrow.

In addition to the ranger program, Calvin read the James A. Garfield volume of the Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents series before we left. It's a good series, and helped him prepare for some of the things he would hear and see on the tour.