There’s nothing like a visit from grandchildren to lift ones spirits.
I met my daughter in the town of Coldwater, the halfway point between us, on June 28th to fetch two of our grandchildren, Brad and Gabby for a visit. From the ride back to The Property it wasn’t clear to me which they were more excited about, staying with us in the fifth wheel or meeting our new puppy. Beau was happy to meet them too and except for his pouncing on them early in the mornings to wake them up, the feeling were mutual.
The first full day of the grandkids visit I took them on an outing to see Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. Don remained at the RV with Beau since we were uncertain about his tolerance for traveling that far nor that long yet. On our way I made two stops, the first in Traverse City so the kids could wade in the bay, and the second in Glen Arbor to have lunch at Art’s Tavern. On our drive to the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive park entrance I told them the Chippewa Legend of Sleeping Bear.
A long, long time ago, a mother bear and her two cubs escaped a forest fire in Wisconsin by diving into Lake Michigan. They swam for many hours, this tired the two young cubs and lagging far behind their mother, they drowned within sight of the Michigan shoreline becoming the Manitou Islands. Upon reaching land, the mother bear climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch for and await the arrival of her cubs. To this day she waits there still.
We stopped at all of the scenic turnouts along the drive, the views of massive Lake Michigan being the favorites. Gabby was certain I was pulling her leg when I told her it was only a lake and not the ocean. Neither could quit exclaiming over how blue nor how clear the water was.I followed the tour up with a stop at the Dune Climb where Brad challenged Gabby with a race to the top while I stayed below snapping photos of their progress. One trip to the top was enough for Brad but Gabby having excess energy to burn, made the trip up twice.
I felt they needed to refresh themselves after that workout so I took them to the beach in the historic village of Glen Haven. Afterwards we toured the little hamlet. I told them stories of how when I was little this was still a bustling beach town where we could rent dune buggies to ride out over the massive dunes on. Nowadays we better understand how that contributed to the dunes erosion and damage to plant life.
After all the fresh air, sunshine and exercise, our grandchildren slept well that night.
The next three days of Brad and Gabby’s visit were filled with fishing, swimming, romping with Beau, seeing grandpa perform at the Eagles 4th of July bash, ATVing, and oh yes, let’s not forget, seeing the Blue Angels perform at the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City.
We wanted to get in one more outing before both, the 4th of July and before we drove the two back home to Indiana so I suggested we take them to a place that was always a favorite of their mother’s when she was a little girl, Hartwick Pines.
Hartwick Pines State Park has over 9,500 acres much of which is an old growth pine forest. There’s also an interesting logging museum, a beautiful chapel, the Au Sable River, and many walking trails on the grounds. It’s dog friendly too. A perfect outing for the entire clan and an opportunity to see if Beau’s motion sickness had improved.
The kids enjoyed the walk through the lush pine forest. Brad commented more than once on the circumference of several of the trees and on how much he liked the pine scented air. Gabby I think liked the museum best where she was able to get some hands-on experience at games once played by children at the old logging camp. Beau basked in all the attention he received from other “tourists” on the trail. He started out doing extremely well on the leash but by the time we were half way into our walk he was pulling again. Looks like we still have work ahead of us.
The 4th was spent with Gabby at the beach, Brad ATVing, and a cookout for dinner. At dusk Don and I took the kids into Grayling for fireworks. The city put on an impressive light show for being such a small town.
The following morning found us back on the road heading to Indiana. Brad and Gabby were due back home and my mother’s 80th birthday was on the 7th. It was another whirlwind trip but it was nice to be back home with our daughters and grandchildren even if it was only for two days.
Back on the property we are presently preparing to move the Suite Pea northward across the Mighty Mac for a family camping reunion. We are looking forward to the change of scenery and the competitive fishing.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid…….