Saturday, September 5, 2015

Family Time - A Camping Vacation

A just over a week ago we had the opportunity to go camping again but this time we went for four days, which is the longest we have ever camped. We were traveling further away so I wanted to give us an extra day to actually enjoy the area and not feel rushed to get pack.  It was awesome.  I wish we could camp for four days every time :-)  This time we went to a little campground called "Betsie River Campground" on the recommendation of a friend.  It is near Frankfort MI.  Now, to keep it real, when we first pulled in Darryl and I were both like, ummm really?  What's so special about this place?  Once we got our pop-up set up (we ran into some obstacles getting it level due to unlevel ground) and figured out the campground we enjoyed it and we WOULD go back again.  Really, it isn't all about the campground - it is about the area and the area was fabulous.

 Once we set up and ate dinner, we went exploring into the adorable town of Frankfort.  What we discovered was out of this world - they have a public beach on Lake Michigan that is unlike anything I've ever seen.  It has a boardwalk that takes you to the pier so you can walk all the way to the water without walking in the sand (what is the hardest part of the beach? Walking in the sand!).  There are benches and a huge length of beach.  Not to mention the incredible sunset we got to see. 
 The boys loved the beach and the water.  There were some pretty decent waves - this is the first time they have really gotten to play in the waves.

 Love this shot - so much fun :-)
 We had perfect weather - the sunshine, and waves just made for a perfect evening.

 Before we left, we walked out on the pier.  The boys wanted to go to the light house but the waves were crashing up over the narrow walkway and we just didn't feel like, this year, it was the best thing.  I would be the one jumping in the lake since I can swim ;-) and well, I didn't feel like rescuing anyone!
We didn't get back to the campsite until just about dusk and then enjoyed a nice campfire.

 We got up on Sunday morning and relaxed for a bit - it was raining and cold so we headed to town for lunch.  There was an A and W restaurant that we thought would be fun. . .. 45 minutes later we finally got our not very good burgers, flat root beer and cold fries.  For real.  From there we headed out to Sleeping Bear Dunes.  The photo above is the 1st stop on the scenic drive.  It was just about 3 weeks prior that this are was hit by a good size tornado.  The number of trees that were down and the size of the ones taken down were amazing. 

 Checking out the scenery at one of the overlook stops. 

 This was at the top of the of the really high dune and the wind was out of this world.  It literally just about blew the boys off their feet. 
 My boys!

We ended the trip by stopping at another little beach before heading into Glen Arbor.  Now, Glen Arbor took the brunt of the Tornado.  Wow.  A lot of destruction.  From there, we headed back to the camp ground and had dinner (it was in the crock pot ready to eat!).  That night, the weather took a turn.  I had moments when I honestly thought the Pop-up was going over the wind was so strong.  We didn't get a ton of rain but, wow, the winds were like nothing I've heard/seen in a very long time.

 So, what do you do when it is cold, windy and rainy?  Do all sorts of fun things with balloons.  The boys had begged to do water balloons on this camping trip but, well, it was way too cold.  They, along with Darryl, spent well over an hour on Monday morning do all sorts of fun things with the balloons. We laughed a lot.
 We did finally emerge and headed to town for lunch.  After lunch, while driving through town, we saw these deer up on a ridge behind a house (a beautiful house which was for sale and I would have bought in a moment!).  We had fun watching them for quite awhile.
 We then went to the Betsie River Lighthouse.  The waves were intense.  The photos don't do them justice.  We walked along the beach for a bit and just enjoyed God's power!

 Can you tell by the trees how strong the wind is blowing???
 We toured the light house, even climbing to the top (yikes!  Not for the faint of heart!) before getting the boys photo by it.  They love light houses and want to travel to as many as possible.  We bought a poster with all of the Michigan Lighthouses and hope to get their photo by as many as possible!
 We headed back to town where we got Coffee, Fudge, Ice Cream and more!  Then went to a really awesome playground where the boys played "Pirates" with Darryl for awhile. 

We ended at another park where the boys played on the See Saws - which they haven't gotten to do before (at least not with us).  Once done, we headed back to the campground where Darryl got an amazing fire going (it was a little chilly out!) and we roasted Brats, Hot Dogs and Marshmallows.  The boys rode their bikes around, played in the little park at the campground and just hung out with us.

It was really a great camping trip!  We are still planning to go once more at the end of September - probably to our favorite campground, Muskegon State Park.  Hard to believe the camping season is winding down!