The van, Tango, and I are the first to drive off the ferry. We are on a beautiful little island that has a few restaurants, gift shops, a marina, and grocery store. The houses, whose lawns are getting into shape by caretakers, are classic Midwestern and lined up neatly facing the water.
I can see that the store and restaurant owners are also throwing open the shutters, airing out the rooms and getting ready for the first real spring weekend. It is Derby Day on Saturday, which kicks off the season here. Apparently everyone walks around town on Derby Day with a decorated hat of some kind. I think I can come up with something if I really try.
I find the campground, which is right on the shoreline, in a cove. The sites for dog owners are set back, but I can walk to the beach edge in a few minutes. I find only two other campers in a park of 125+ campsites. Nice!
Tent Site on the Water
The park caretakers tell me I have come at the right time. They say, the weather is perfect and there are few boats or people. He is right. The day temps will be in the 70s, the night temps in the 50s, which is perfect camping weather. When it is too cold or too hot, camping loses its charm.
I set up camp, including the privacy shelter where I put my clothes. I pull out a lot of stuff, including sleeping blankets and let that camping fragrance out into the world. It is nearly dark.
I already ate something for dinner before getting on the ferry (don’t ask, don’t tell). Now, I delve into the chocolate yogurt. Wow, it is everything I hoped it would be. Obviously we don’t have such a thing in Wyoming, where we eat our chocolate straight up with a chaser of cocoa.
Next, I open a BEER. That is a bit out-of-character for me. However, on Three Sleep I had drifted off listening to my Heat-Moon audio book, which is a collection of travel stories, all recycled so far but fabulous. The story on Three Sleep night was about beer microbreweries. Heat-Moon traveled with a buddy to do some research on these brews pubs. His detailed descriptions of each beer made me think of Blue Moon’s Valencia brew. Kerry, my son, and I had some over Easter/Spring Break week when he visited. That Valencia is the tastiest ever, in my opinion. It is smooth, deep flavored but not bitter, and with a touch of Valencia orange taste.
I found some Blue Moon Valencia in the same store where I found the chocolate chunk yogurt. I had forgotten that in this part of the world the grocery stores sell alcohol. Seems very civilized and certainly helps conserve gas!
And now, I popped one of those flavorful Valencia’s open. All is well out here on Lake Erie.
I sleep great in the aired-out van, and I awaken to the loudest bunch of birds ever. They are hooting, hollering, tweeting, and generally flitting around in the trees and down to the campsite. I see they are all red-winged blackbirds. As I pull out my avocado, cheese and eggs for an omelet, the big guys move in. The red-wings flit off and the big black crows hang out in the trees, apparently in charge of crumbs when breakfast activities start. I tell them to buzz off, but they don’t.
Next, Tango and I walk along the little shoreline. Lovely! I am sore from head-to-toe after the treadmill/hotel workouts and decide to make today a rest day. I make a note that I only get really sore when using equipment.
Next, a shower in the clean and tidy shower house, then into town. I find coffee and Internet service at the Marina and write there for a while. Tango and I roam around the little town and see a restaurant offering Fresh Walleye, French Fries and Coleslaw for $6. How can I pass up fresh walleye?
Great Location for Shower House
We roam around some more waiting for lunch time. I see little reminders everywhere of my childhood including rolls of Necco candy and 25 cent machines that dispense a handful of rock candy. One of my first memories is somewhere near where I am walking now. I am perhaps 3 years old, walking in shallow water with my mom. I think we are on a sand bar, and I can see down to the rocky bottom. Looking up I see tall trees and the beach. Mom is holding my hand, and at some point she picks me up as the water gets deeper. I imagine that I shivered and clung to her just as my son did at that age with me, when we walked along Northern California beaches.
Back at the campsite Tango and I settle in and relax. I start listening to another Heat-Moon vignette about travel in Mayan territory and then another about traveling through Kansas. In that one, clearly he has stolen some of my thoughts about the modern-day need for the thrills and adventure associated with the pioneer days. Stinkin thief! And he is getting paid for those ideas : )
Then off to sleep for a while. When I awaken it is dinner time. The instant mashed potatoes, chocolate chunk yogurt and Valencia beer call out, and I intend to respond. After, I will build a campfire and contemplate the universe, finally settling down to Five Sleep.
Most likely I will sign off the blog for the weekend, starting up again on Seven Sleep, when I get to Mom’s.
Great Blue Heron at the Marina, where I can get Internet Reception