Monday, July 19, 2010

Our first family vacation in WAY too long...

I honestly cannot think of a better way to celebrate Pat's new job than to camp with my sister and her family for a long weekend... We tried a spot that is new to my family but one that we will most DEFINITELY become frequent visitors of: The Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan.

Oh. My. God. GORGEOUS....
That dune right there is HUGE. Ever try climbing a towering pile of sand? Ever wonder at how hard it is to climb something that has no grip or stability to it? I never considered how impossible it must be to survive in the Sahara Desert until I had to summit one measly sand dune on a somewhat warmish summer night in Michigan. If I should ever become stranded in the Sahara, I have no doubts as to the certainty of my demise...Sand angels at the top... She RAN up that dune. Must be nice to be 4 and indestructible...This guy also RAN up the dune only to run halfway down so that he could climb it AGAIN beside his brother and give moral support. And then? Then he climbed the trees at the top of the hill before running DOWN the damn dune. All while I literally crawled up the pile of sand while moaning and groaning and repeatedly inquiring exactly WHY it was that we were climbing the damn dune?!?Ah, yes. The view. Pretty damn spectacular despite the fact that my camera can't convey it properly... My brother-in-law was the first atop it. He is in waaaaaay better shape than I am!FINALLY! Finally something I can do well! Digging in the sand and jumping the waves is my forte! We decided that the beach at Warren Dunes is akin to that of Hawaii but without the salt water or man-eating sharks. I can honestly say that I enjoyed this beach just as much as the ones in Kauai and Florida (and that's saying a LOT).

Sadly, this is how most of the pictures of Justin from that weekend were; His hair in his face, covering a huge smile. At least he was happy!The goggle gang. All of the boys and my niece spent hours looking for fossils in the rocks on the edge of the beach. The rest of the lake has very fine, very soft sand underneath the waves. The edge where the waves break has rocky deposits and they are chock full of tiny fossils and varieties of rocks that our geology freaks went crazy over.
A little too much sun and sand. We had to hurry his butt into the a/c of my sister's van after 5 hours in the blistering sun and pounding waves. Thankfully, he was better after he cooled off...
...apparently, we all got a LOT of sun. (you should see the backs of my thighs*... oy.) I look very wrinkly in this one. Hmmm... I'm just glad I'm IN a picture, though it's prudent to note that I am the one holding the camera for this shot.
Aha! A face behind the hair! A sunburned, smiling, happy face.

Warren Dunes in Michigan has my 100% nod of approval for a fabulous family vacation spot. The campgrounds were clean and affordable. We stayed in the rustic section which (I believe) is only available on a walk-in basis but they do have reservable sites. (However, I will say that I wasn't as thrilled with the electric sites as they were very close together and shallow.) Our rustic sites were beautifully shaded and only a quick trip to the beach or the bath houses. ALSO! If you DO happen to go, check out their weekly activities at the park ranger's station. We went to an awesome astronomy class on the beach on Friday night, my sister and her kids went on a guided fossil hunt, and there are tons of wineries and blueberry fields and other activities available.

*So, this 60ish lady with a great tan and a cool hairdo stops me in the bathroom at the beach on our second day there. With a heavy, HEAVY German accent she tells me that I should pee on myself.

"Excuse me?" I stammered. Surely she must be having a problem with her choice of English words.

"You should save you, ah, you urine. You know after you..." she points to the bathroom stalls.

"Yes. My urine. I get that, but... what again?"

"Take ze urine wit you hand and, ah..." she pats all over herself and proceeds to mime the sprinkling of pee from her crotch to her thighs and face.
"It vill help, yes?"

"Um. Ok! I'm willing to try anything once!** Thanks for the advice." I said and she shrugged and said,

"You vill zank me later! I promise!"


** Not ANYthing. But a lot of things. Most of which I probably won't mention here because HELLO?!?
Mommy. Blog. Right? But rest assured, I can be a wild child. Wink, wink. ***


*** Sigh... Not really. I don't get out much. Wish that I did, but it's a sad fact that I am not the party animal I would like to claim to be.
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