Day 1: July 8, 2011
The bachelor buttons dotted the edge of the highway and the Queen Anne’s Lace lazily swayed in the wind, waving her good byes as we sped past on Highway 67. I followed the boys in the Intrepid and the girls and I were in my car, the back-end piled to the ceiling with camping gear, baby bouncers, and walkers, and just about everything else. The twins were fast asleep and the morning’s fresh air and solitude engulfed me as I pushed play to listen to Neil Gaiman tell me a story (I love audio books). The day couldn’t be more perfect, sunshine and clovers on an old highway and my favorite author reading to me.
The peacefulness only lasted about half way there. Mallie started crying, Elsie started screaming. There was nowhere to pull over. I called the boys on the cell phone, “Pull over when we get a chance. The babies are hungry.” It seemed to be an eternity before there was a spot to pull over. And just to let you know, it feels like torture having to hear my babies cry and there is nothing I can do about it for the moment. I talked and tried to soothe them, “Don’t worry baby girls. We’re almost there. Mommy make you a nice big bottle. It’s alright. Shhh…” and so on. It didn’t phase them, but it made me feel a little better. And man, I am one of the fastest bottle makers in the midwest. Brad said, “Hurry up, the train is coming,” and I mixed those bottles so fast and we beat the train. After 20 minutes of baby tears, I just wanted to get there. The scenery changed from farms to forests and we sped along the highway at 55 mph leaving a screaming wake behind us.
The trees seemed to be getting greener and the forest thicker, I could tell we were almost there. “Eight miles left,” I called back to the twins. “We’re going over Panther Creek,” and “I think we are almost there. I bet you it’s around this corner. I know I said that about the last curve, but I have a feeling about this one.” It was only a three-hour drive, but I like to talk. Soon enough they will start answering me.
As we pulled away from the park office a tall statue of Yogi Bear greeted us with sun gleaming off of him in every direction, he is the star of the park. Pansies, petunias, and geraniums lay at his feet and the shady green trees swayed their welcoming arms. Ferns and moss lined the little white bridge and ornamental rocks were tucked in by the hostas and Impatients. We finally made it and I couldn’t wait to get the crying babies out of the car. The first couple of hours weren’t bad for them, they slept and played. But that last hour was hell for me and them.
We followed the wooden signs along the dusty road looking for campsite 420, number 3. It was like stepping into another world after we entered the gate; RV’s, tents, cute wooden cabins that look like they should be on the front of a syrup bottle, a fish weighing station, and lots of playgrounds. I could tell we were going to have a great time.
“Amanda! Hey guys! Come here. You got to check this out,” Brad and Taigyn yelled from the cabin window. I was already impressed with the quaint cabin and nice little porch and cement patio, but the boys absolutely loved the bunk beds stacked three high. They were up the ladders like monkeys and claiming their sleeping spots, even though the older boys were sleeping in the tent part of the time.
The boys unloaded the cars in assembly line fashion and I organized the cabin as quick as they were bringing the bags and boxes to me. The girls were much happier to be in their bouncer and walker. They even welcomed the playpen, anything to get out of the car seats. I think Collin was in disbelief over all of the space and new wondering places to explore. He was off and running toward the lake first thing. “Get back here. You can’t go in without us!”
It took no time at all to get unloaded, organized, and the tent up. The older boys rented a paddle boat and checked out the lake. They already looked sun burnt as the peddled by me on the lake, waving and yelling.
Yogi even visited us at our cabin.
So much to do…I couldn’t wait to get to the beach and swim.
More to come. Bye for now.
***Note: not all the pictures are in order. They are just some of my favorites.***