By Lesly DeLaat
Photos by Abi Koster
Saturdays starting at 9 in the a.m. the hot spot to be in Grant is the quaint little Farmer’s Market located at the Water Tower Park along M-37.
Though seemingly small in size, the yield is rather large with a wide array of items on display ranging from homemade cinnamon rolls to handmade soap to exotic squash pumpkins.
Vendor Karalise Pratt grows veggies in a sustainable and chemical free manner. She enjoys making artisan breads and fresh jam and also sells the wondrous Michigan maple syrup harvested from her grandmother’s 6th generation farm. Her children also pitch in with their bouquets.
Barb Loe of Funny Farm Produce has been involved in working the farm where she was raised since 1994 alongside her husband Jim. Her booth carries the organic produce they grow, craft items and aprons fashioned by ‘The Apron Lady”, Lucille Price.
The booth of Betty Higgins is where you will find the aforementioned cinnamon rolls, created at her home under michigan’s Cottage Food Law.
Abigail Koster of Little Mitten Soaps has been practicing soap-making for the past 4 years. Her handmade creations combine sustainably sourced locally based ingredients with essential oils to add a pleasing aroma.
These scented beauties are available in many shapes and sizes as are the unscented varieties.
Although smaller than most, the Grant Farmer’s Market packs a lot of punch so make plans to check them out while the season lasts. There are four more Saturdays to take advantage of this local treasure so find your way to the Water Tower from 9am-1pm.
If you saw Sunday’s kickoff of Ken Burns’ latest documentary on Country Music which looks to be another classic from the portfolio of this gifted filmmaker, perhaps you noticed one of the interviewees, a singer who spoke of the influence of the Carter family in the early days of the sound.
The granddaughter of bluegrass/country icon Mother Maybelle Carter and the daughter of June Carter Cash talked of the impact her grandmother had on the sound and spoke of her memories spun from listening to her play and talk about the origins of the music.
That grandaughter was Carlene Carter who will be performing at the Dogwood Monday night.
If you saw the initial offering of the series you might be compelled to see this member of one of the founding families of country music.
If you missed it, find a way to stream the show because it an outstanding beginning for what looks to be a great series.
And if you’re a fan of country music?
You can still get tickets for Carter’s 7:30m Monday show by contacting the Dogwood Box office at 231.924.8885.
You won’t regret it.
Occidental Gypsy returns to the Dogwood Saturday night and will bring their unique sound to the club-like atmosphere of the Black Box.
We caught them first time around and still proudly wear the t-shirt purchased after a performance that left a grateful crowd wanting more (see photo above).
The tshirt has been spotted by others in some out of the way places and we’ve been met with comments like ‘Hey, I know that band. Those guys are great.’ or ‘We saw them in ___ a while back. Great show.’ or sometimes ‘Don’t you think a wedding requires a bit better clothing than a tshirt?’.
7:30pm and get ready to channel your inner Django.
If you haven’t experienced the Acoustic Lunch series at Newaygo Brewing Co this would be an outstanding weekend to take in some fine music along with an ever evolving menu of food and drink inspired by imagination and innovation.
Tuneswise, Travis Radaz is back in town after a long summer tour with the Kari Lynch Band of GR. Travis mixes the hard edge of a rock n roll with the poise of a thoughtful songwriter. Most of his time is spent as the lead guitarist in the Kari Lynch Band, and Travis spends his off season from touring playing solo acoustic shows, playing original music and covering hits from the 70s to today.
A most pleasing musical atmosphere and the victuals are stellar.
Noon to 4pm Saturday. Downtown Newaygo
The 2019 AMA D-14 State Championship Hillclimb and Drags is what’s happening all weekend at Dan Raymond Park in Bridgeton.
Friday & Saturday there will be grass drags under the lights Starts at 8 pm.
Sign ups are from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm You can purchase a $5 Limited stay tickets available for Friday Grass Drags.
On Saturday the Hill Climb Starts at 11am.
St Mark's annual Pig Roast will be held from noon to 3pm Sunday. Eat there while listening to some music and checking out the goods on sale or take it out and enjoy some porcine-centered provisions while watching the Lions roar to another tie perhaps. Ten bucks a plate, $5 for kids.
Need a little road trip? There is of course the Irish Fest in Muskegon but you might want to visit the Festival Mexicano at Calder Plaza in GR or the Fallasburg Art Fair near Lowell.
And for the truly adventurous, there is the Potato Festival in Edmore.
Last weekend it was Pickles in Chase and now we have Taters in Edmore.
Don’t you just love it?
Michigan Irish Music Festival lands in Muskegon this weekend
“May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far”- Irish Blessing
When you love the Michigan Irish Music Festival so much that despite a family tree that gravitates more toward Holland you wonder about sending some saliva to one of those ancestry things to see if perhaps a Hibernian mailman somehow worked their way into the picture?
You are among those of us who have this wondrous weekend in September crossed off before the first snowfall of the previous winter.
The festival, born from humble beginnings and passionate organizers, is in its 20th year and beyond being an absolute feast of really, really good music there is way more to do on site than exists the time to do it.
Thus, we go for the weekend and stay over in our Metro neighbor on the Lakeshore . This time within walking distance because we tend to have a seriously good time and what better way to top an entertaining evening off than a little stroll back to where you will be getting some rest in order to capture another day of Gaelic inspired gaiety .
As we have stated before, this is without a doubt the best organized festival of its kind we have ever attended anywhere. Despite huge crowds there are so many options that it never feels crowded.
And a big bonus? There are televisions in the makeshift pubs with football games on for those who don’t want to miss their fave team or alma mater do battle on Saturday as well as those who like to spend their Sundays torn up with the anxiety of knowing that regardless of any lead the Lions might have they are more than likely to blow it.
But a story for another time perhaps.
Beyond the tantalizing tunes on hand at the stages check out the Wake House, the Highland Games, the Whiskey Snug, The Tea Room and the wide variety of intriguing merchandise in the Market where we buy a hat every year because each one seems to get misplaced during the year (we project that at some point in time wherever we go there will be one of our hats).
Good food, good drink, good people dressed in their finest Irish garb, a sense of camaraderie since folks tend to channel their inner Irish regardless of heritage and a boatload of fun.
Starts in earnest Friday and runs through Sunday. 26 acts on 7 covered stages.
Oh and at 1:15 pm Saturday the Cedar Creek Cloggers will be on the Galway Stage.We mention this because the kind and patient woman who is head of operations for N3 World Headquarters and Monarch Ministry is one of their dancers.
Tickets at the gate:
$50 Weekend pass
We’ll be there and perhaps should the fun not cause us to forgo our journalistic duties, we’ll send along some photos and let you know what you’re missing.
But seriously, this is a really good time.
By Tim McGrath
“Green Acres is the place to be. Farm livin’ is the life for me. Land spreadin’ out so far and wide. Forget Manhattan, give me that countryside…” Opening theme from the 1960s sitcom Green Acres.
I don’t know how they did it. Even as a kid, it was a head scratcher. Dad just decided he’d had enough of the company life; so one day he came home and told Mom he’d quit his job, sold the small hobby farm in Holland, and bought a much larger one in West Olive. He was going into farming full time. Mom just looked at him, and, incredibly, said: “OK. But, I will not live out in the boondocks. We’re staying right here.”
Dad looked at her, and replied: “OK, that’ll work.” So, just like that, we’d become a farming family. And, for the next forty-odd years, they stayed right there in that house, and Dad (plus my brother and me during school vacations) commuted the twenty-six miles each way to the farm from our suburban Wyoming Park neighborhood. One has to wonder what really happens behind closed doors….
Farming is hard. Those of us with a steady income and benefits would bang our heads against a brick wall, and run away screaming if we had to live with the uncertainties of farming. The grinding toil, endless hours, and exhausting anxiety would quickly kill most of us. In farming there are few guarantees, except the guarantee that what can go wrong, quite probably will. Not enough rain, too much rain at the wrong time, poor pollination, ever increasing cost of fuel, fertilizer, sprays, poor prices for the product, new viruses and funguses to deal with, equipment breakdowns, government regulations. The list is endless.
So, it really is a mystery why Dad thought this whole thing would be a good idea.
Case in point:
We grew blueberries in West Olive; right smack dab between Grand Haven and Holland: four parcels, about one hundred acres. By today’s standards, that’s fairly small stuff. But, back in the 60’s and 70’s, that was a lot for one farmer to tend.
It was a late June morning, just prior to harvest, which usually began sometime around the Fourth of July. And, this was one of those rare years where everything seemed to come together – it looked like a magnificent crop.
We’d been doing catch up kinds of things around the place. Minor repairs and maintenance on equipment, general cleanup around the packing shed, readying packing equipment for when harvest begins: stuff that takes a backseat to the spring fieldwork.
Around 10:45, the wind picked up and an evil looking bank of black, boiling clouds blew in from the west.
“Close the big doors, boys, this looks like a bad one,” Dad hollered over the howling wind. As the storm roared in, sheets of rain driven by the gusts blew sideways finding its way under the doors and cracks around the windows. Continuous lightning and thunder crashed and roared. Dad signaled for us to get under the tractors. This was bad. The building shook and vibrated with each gust and burst of thunder. And, that’s when the hail came. Small pea size pieces grew to dime, then nickel size. We had to cover our ears as the sound was deafening inside the steel sided pole barn. For ten minutes it raged on, and then, suddenly, it just ended. The hail stopped, the rain quit, the wind, which minutes before threatened to rip the entire building apart, died down to a whisper. Crawling out from under the tractors, we peeked out the windows, which had miraculously survived the storm. The ground was buried under the hail.
“C’mon, boys, let’s go see what’s happened outside,” Dad said. We crunched our way to the nearest patch of bushes. The once magnificent crop was now mostly on the ground. Clusters of almost ripened fruit, leaves, and even some smaller branches lay in a heartbreaking tangle partially covered by the hail that was now rapidly melting.
Walking from row to row the picture was the same. A few stragglers left on the bushes, but most of this year’s fruit was now left to rot on the ground.
As we made our way around the fields, we were silent. The shock of seeing a year’s worth of toil and care destroyed in ten minutes was difficult to witness, let alone understand. I kept thinking Dad would yell, curse, kick the ground. None of it. We just kept walking, stopping every so often to look around, then on we went.
We got back to the packing shed, Dad lit a cigar, spit, looked at us and said, “Well, boys, might as well go fishin’. Not much we can do here for awhile.” So, that’s what we did. Packed up the trailer and headed to Lake Gogebic in the UP for Walleye for a week.
That’s the way it was for them through all the years they farmed those pieces of ground. It’s hard to imagine doing what he did with quitting the job and all the rest, then just jumping full time into blueberry farming. And, our Mom accepting his decisions and trusting he’d figure out a way to make it all work.
Long after our Dad died, and before Mom died last year, I asked her about that time.
“Oh, it was hard, really hard so often. There were many times we didn’t know if we could even pay the interest on the bank notes, but, somehow your Dad figured it out. And, then we’d have good crops, so we could get ahead a bit. I trusted your Dad, honey. He was a good man, and I knew he would always do what was right. I never once saw him do anything without integrity. I think that, plus our faith God would take care of us, and some hardheaded Irish stubbornness got us through. We really did have a good life in spite of the hardships, didn’t we?”
We sure did.
The older I get the more I see how all those times and experiences on that farm influenced and impacted just about everything I’ve done and become. So, here’s to you, Mom and Dad. You both did so well: thank you for all of it.
And, here’s to all our farmers. Thank you for being the unsung heroes you are.
One week into September and an absolute plethora of fun and interesting stuff coming our way in the coming weeks.
This weekend? Well, Hot Boats a gathering of watercraft on Hardy Pond that has a bit of a rep as being a pretty good time (as well as providing overtime for a whole lot of law enforcement) will be going on. From what we gather it is perhaps not been as, uh, corybantic as in the past but we’re certain it can generate some excitement. It’s our hope the, uh, enthusiasm of the participants remain somewhat corralled and yet allow for a fine time for all on one of our area’s most unique bodies of water.
And remember... The Dragon is coming.
Feel like just cutting loose and doing something a bit madcap and out of the ordinary? Something to spur that late summer desire to fulfill a pledge or two made during last winter? To explore more and to take in the beauty that abounds in our peninsular paradise?
How about an Irish Festival at the most Irish oriented spot in the state, Beaver Island?
C’mon you know you’ve talked about going there and you’re not going to go for the first time during winter (trust us on this) so do one last spontaneous summerlike thing and grab the boat or plane over because they will be having some Hibernian doings and it is an island that truly enjoys a good time.
And if you go (visitors only) , stop in at the Beaver Island Community Center and ask for one of their signature pretzels or hot dog and mention this article we’ll spring for it...well that is unless a boatload of you arrive en masse for some kind of gathering and then we’ll shut it down when it reaches our $83.29spending limit.
It is a very cool place and believe me once you go?
You’ll go back.
Saturday is Sandy's Harley-Davidson's annual open house and flag retirement ceremony at 11am.
Demo Rides - 9 - 11am and 1-4pm (weather permitting; proper attire and motorcycle endorsement required) Lunch served by Ms. Piggies BBQ at 12pm and entertainment provided by Foundation from 2-6pm
The Taproom at Newaygo Brewery Co. continues it’s eclectic Acoustic Lunch series with Dale Wicks taking a spin at the mike. Great music and some seriously good food and brew. Downtown Newaygo. Saturday 12-4pm
The Eastown Street Fair was a magic time back in the day (early 70’s) and continues to spread some serious positivity. Saturday 9a to 9p. Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids
The Riverstop Saloon has The Intolerables Friday night and a DJ Saturday and they serve chip dip with their chips an idea we feel should be promoted throughout the land.
Heading to Chase? Of course you’re not but we can change your mind with two words.
Saturday in Chase (of course) and don’t miss the parade at 10:30am.
Sunday take a historical stroll through the White Cloud Cemetery Sunday from 2-4pm courtesy of the WC Community Library. Speakers will deliver a little inside info on the current residents.
Warm-up for Irish Fest draws outdoor crowd
Montague’s bandshell was the site of a tease for anyone thinking about attending the exceptionally entertaining Muskegon Irish Music Festival coming September 12-15 to Heritage Landing. Aoife Scott brought her engaging vocals along with a talented touch for storytelling to a Tuesday evening concert as a bit of a promo for the MIMF and charmed an appreciative (if a bit moist) crowd.
If you’ve not been to this 4 day extravaganza of music, mirth, merchandise, and munchables give it a shot (or two at the whiskey tasting station).
One very cool idea they have instituted is the placement of televisions airing the day’s football games so if a member or two of your party have interest that run a bit more goalline than gaelic, they can enjoy a brew and watch the game while across the tent their companions are taking in some well-performed tunage.
It is the 20th year for this much favored festival born from humble beginnings to become one of the premier events of West Michigan. It is beyond doubt the best organized event of this type to be found.The planned placement of all the structures and venues involved in this extravaganza is done to perfection allowing for the event to manage large crowds of attendees with relative ease.
The outdoor stripmall of shops offer an array of intriguing items including kilts but if you happen to be in need of a bit of sustenance as some of us tend to be fairly frequently, find the Village Bakery booth and get those hungry hands on one of their scones.You won’t be plagued by buyer regret.
And the music is simply sublime. If you’ve ever been in one of those pub tents on a Saturday night near closing time as a raucous crowd eggs on yet another encore from a high energy group on stage usually joined by folks from other bands I am more than likely preaching to the choir because you’re already there.
But Irish Fest is more than the music (and the whiskey). It is a true celebration of the culture and traditions of Ireland celebrated through a number of genres.
And it has consistently been one heckuva lot of fun.
It’s too late for online tickets but you can get them at the gate. For more info visit
Bitely poet to read at Newaygo bookery
By Marsha Reeves
Flying Bear Books is honored to host Alan Basting of Bitely as our featured poet for September’s Poetry Night, Wednesday 9/4/19 beginning at 7pm. Our Poetry Night attendees have been enjoying Alan’s poems for several months, as he has treated us to snippets from his published works. Now he will be the ‘main attraction’ at our September event. One Poetry Night regular said ‘I could listen to Alan’s poems all night!’ Now she will get the chance to do exactly that.
Home and Away, the newest chapbook of poems from Alan Basting, is his sixth published collection. The poet and publisher, Christopher Howell, writes, “I have been listening for years to Alan Basting’s calm, wry, affectionate voice telling faithfully the shapes and textures of life as he sees and lives it. The plain, direct language of the poems that voice delivers reminds us what it is like to be awake minute by minute in the world of our being. More importantly, and profoundly, their humor and unaffected humility suggest that we may have available to us a steadier, more capacious happiness than we know.”
Alan Basting was born in Detroit and grew up in Maumee, Ohio. He attended Earlham College and received his undergraduate degree from University of Cincinnati. Later he earned graduate degrees from Colorado State University and Bowling Green State University. He taught writing and literature at the University of Cincinnati and Owens Community College in Toledo. His chapbooks include Singing from the Abdomen, Stone-Marrow Press; What the Barns Breathe, Windows Press; Suddenly, Herons, The Writers’ Cooperative of Toledo; and Deep Time, Daily Habits and Events, from The Arts Commission of Toledo, Ohio. His collection, Nothing Very Sudden Happens Here, was published by Lynx House Press, Spokane, WA, in late 2013. Poems for the new chapbook, Home and Away, have appeared in The American Journal of Poetry; Birch Gang Review; Walloon Writers Review; Fungi Magazine; Blueline; and Common Ground Review. He lives in the Manistee National Forest near Bitely, MI.
More of Alan's story, and poetry from nearly all of his chapbooks, can be found at www.alanbastingpoetry.com
We acknowledge that Poetry Night is held on the traditional homelands of the Anishinaabe People.
“Gash Kozin, Niibawin, Giigidoon”.
( Wake Up. Stand Up. Speak Up.)
Wow, Labor Day Weekend.
The finale of the summer trifecta of holidays and the one that spells the end of this ever fleeting season as we have known it.
Sure there are likely more boat days ahead and we can assume there will be weather conducive for one last tube down the river, and the beaches will still draw folks to enjoy another day at the Big Lake.
But face it, it’s over. Once we hit the finish line of this 3 day sprint to the finish you can kiss goodbye ice cream and wave in pumpkin spice in a plethora of incarnations.
Fall brings it’s natural splendor to this bipeninsular paradise to be sure but when summer departs we all know it’s to be a lengthy sabbatical before she returns.
So time to revel folks. Time to revel.
Whether looking to get some things done around the house, cottage or cabin, hoping to take a stab at some outside fun or just gearing up for some serious revelry there is no better way to start off than a good breakfast, right?
Well we got a good one for you as the annual Fire Department Pancake Breakfast serves up some righteous vittles from 7-11am Saturday.Good food a good cause and a chance to meet the fine fire folks who keep us safe.
Even with breakfast you’re going to be getting hungry by afternoon and a stop at Newaygo Brewing Co will slake your thirst satisfy your culinary cravings and as a bonus provide some really fine listening in the person of rock and roller Nathan Dill charming the Brewaygo crowd with some tantalizing tunes.
Saturday Noon to 4pm.
The Logging Fest begins Friday and runs through Sunday in downtown Newaygo. Lots of activities all weekend with most centered at Brooks Park.
Did you miss the Polish Festival in Grand Rapids , our metro neighbor to the south and feel cheated out of celebrating all things Polish (beer, music, food, beer, etc. ) in an outdoor setting?
Well, nigdy strach.
It seems Muskegon, our metro friend to the west, is putting on their version of this uroczystość.
Hackley Park is the locale for the Muskegon Polish Festival 11 am -11pm Friday and Saturday.
The Driftwood Deck in Croton has Outlaw Express Saturday from 5-9pm and Top Shelf Country from 3-7 Sunday.
And Monday? Well a true bipeninsular biped will walk the Bridge (Mackinac not the Colonial) at least once and you can still get there for the opportunity to take a free stroll on the Mighty Mac. Starts at 7am but no shuttle so you must either plan well (like a ride from the other side) or choose the option of walking halfway then walking back.
Cool thing to do and you might get a chance to chat with the Gov who will be walking it as tradition dictates. Probably not but you never know, right?
Take The Trip
By Alexis Mercer
Two years ago our older two kids started talking about a trip to Yellowstone. They enjoy watching Planet Earth and had seen an episode pertaining to the wildlife there. It stuck in their minds and a seed had been planted.
My husband and I used to go on yearly camping trips to the UP when we were first married - but since having the two younger boys we have stuck closer to home to help with logistics and babies camping. This, if we could pull it off, would be our first major road camping trip as a family of five. I’m not going to lie - I was a little nervous. Not so much about the kids. They’re adaptable. Mostly about my husband. He doesn’t even pretend to like tent camping.
So when he suggested renting an RV, I first balked at the potential cost. I lost my breath a little thinking about how much a 10 day trip would be. But the kids kept talking about it - researching attractions - and I let it simmer. If renting an RV was going to help all of us, including Adam, be happy, then I suppose it was worth it. Right?
I found a potential rental on RVShare.com. A 24’ Mercedes Benz diesel that slept 6. Done deal. I reserved it, and paid the down payment to make it official. Little did I know that people plan trips to Yellowstone years in advance. So when I called for reservations in campgrounds inside the park, there was one night available. ONE? Alrighty - sign me up for that night. I did learn there are first come, first served campgrounds too. The Ranger told me what to do to try for those, so a plan was forming in my head. I’m quite competitive - those sites would be mine.
The other details of the trip I just flat out didn’t have time to work out. I was swamped at work. And Adam isn’t a planner. We’d have a place to stay in the RV, even if it was parked in the parking lot of a Walmart, so we would just have to figure out the rest as we went.
Vacation day arrived. The kids were so geeked they could hardly sleep the night before. Their backpacks were stuffed with books, games, and toys to keep them occupied. I had an entire tub of card games to play. AND there was a DVD player in the RV. I bought more food than would fit in our household kitchen for on the road, and off we went.
The first day we headed off south, around Chicago then through Wisconsin. Of course traffic was abysmal through Chicago, so it was slow going. Around midnight we hit the border of Minnesota. Our oldest two got out at the rest stop and took pictures by the Mississippi River. They didn’t hate riding in the RV and were still excited. Winning.
Night one we spent in a rest stop parking lot for a few hours. No time to waste when we had Mt. Rushmore to get to! Around 4:00 PM the second day we pulled in to Horsethief Lake Campground. Peaceful, serene, quiet. And less than 2 miles from Mt. Rushmore!
Mt. Rushmore was absolutely phenomenal to see in person. To think of the man power and time to complete the project was mind boggling. The next morning we set off on a hike. Right from our campground was a trail head. Adam and the kids would hike while I would run ahead a few miles and then turn around to finish the hike with them. Running at over 7,000 feet elevation was slow and hard on the lungs. But the views and scenery made it a dream. I smiled the entire time. I couldn’t believe how lucky I felt to be jumping creeks, climbing rocks, and bounding the trails. After my running miles, I met back up with my family and we took our time exploring little paths off the side of the main trail. I could have stayed at that campground the whole week there were so many trails and places to hike and run.
But we had other adventures awaiting, so off we went! Cody, Wyoming was our next stop. This campground we found - Yellowstone Valley - would be the only location we stayed with actual showers. Therefore it was my middle school daughter’s favorite spot. The highlight of this stop was a true, genuine rodeo. Every night June through August there is a rodeo at 8 PM in Cody. It didn’t disappoint. The rodeo clown even made a joke about the Chicago Bears, which totally made my day as I am the only Lions fan in a household of Bears fans.
The next day it was finally time to enter the park itself. We found our way to Lewis Lake Campground in the southern part of the park and secured our first come site. We let the kids play an intense game of hide and seek (while telling them to actually seek bears that might be nearby) before we head out to enjoy Old Faithful.
Day 2 in the park was the attraction I was most looking forward to - Grand Prismatic. We hiked ¾ mile to see it from above. What a view! I took a ridiculous amount of pictures and then just sat and enjoyed the plethora of colors the Earth had to offer. The kids also spotted some elk off in the distance.
That day Madison Campground was our one reserved night in the park. We settled in and swam in the river adjacent to the park. It was that next morning I took off for a run before hitting the road; my bear bell jingling loudly. But after 3 miles of not seeing anything in the way of wildlife, I silenced the bell to enjoy the peace and some of the most magnificent views I could possibly imagine. With ¼ mile left of my five miles, relaxed and happy my feet and body were holding up well at altitude, I looked up and my breath came out of me as I found myself 10 feet behind a massive buffalo. I stopped in my tracks and slowly backed up. Thankfully the buffalo wasn’t interested in stomping a runner out for a leisurely Sunday run. He stared at me a few seconds then strolled on his way. My average heart rate on that last ¼ mile far exceeded my maximum heart rate. I now refer to the bear bell as a buffalo bell and won’t be silencing anything next time I run in bear/buffalo country.
We found another small campground just south of Mammoth Hot Springs for a third night in the park - winning the first come, first served game yet again. We marked our spot then headed to the hot springs. Walking to the top was quite the challenge in the 90 degree heat - but it was all dry air so it didn’t feel as bad as 90 degrees and humidity that presses you into the ground. The views were well worth it.
Leaving the park the next day we headed out the North gate. We would push through all of Montana, North Dakota and part of Minnesota that day. This meant the next day we got to spend in the UP enjoying the sunset on Lake Superior. We watched the sun set over our Great Lake before crossing the Mighty Mack the following day to finish our tour.
Since returning I have been asked my favorite part many times. Without question it was the connection we were able to make as a family. Traveling together, enjoying each others’ company, laughing, relaxing and just being us. This road trip couldn’t have come at a better time, when I feel like the kids are getting so old and starting to do things with their friends much more often.
A second favorite part was waking each morning in a different location, boiling water and enjoying a cup of freshly ground pour over coffee while taking in the mountain views. I know I’ll think of that part often when I return to school this fall: on the go from the minute my alarm sounds until I crash at night.
My last favorite part was running every day. Sometimes in the campgrounds because of the bears. Other times on the most magnificent trails where I would occasionally gasp in pure awe. We live in a beautiful country. And I am so very blessed to be able to enjoy it on my feet with the fresh air filling up my lungs. To run on the same land that the founders of the historical park one day long ago enjoyed was a joy. What a great life.
Prior to going on the trip I was nervous about things working out. How much money would we spend? Were the kids the right ages? Would they get along? Was driving an RV crazy? What if my lack of planning left us miserable in a parking lot instead of the beautiful park we wanted to visit? The list went on.
And while we did spend a lot of money - I was relaxed about it because this kind of memory making is why we work so hard throughout the year. Everything was simply perfect. The kids had so much fun they didn’t have time to even get in small disagreements. The RV met our every need. My lack of planning resulted in some fun adventures finding places to stay!
Maybe next time we take a trip things won’t be as perfect. But I certainly will risk it and take the trip. I won’t wait because I only had 2.5 months of planning or think twice because of the ‘what ifs’. We will take the trip and make the memories to last a lifetime.
Features and Fun
Concerts, Plays, Happenings, Local Recipes, Gardening, Entertainment, Charities, Fundraisers, upcoming events, Theater, Activities, Tech, and much more.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman