Anatomy of Planning a “Spur of the Moment” Camping Trip…

Wednesday, my employer called me back into work, and I’ll start working again next week. Seriously…while I was buying a  new gazetteer at a local outdoor store – with hopes of planning road trips/summer adventures, etc. – I get called back into work. Oh the irony, right? No matter, we were in dire need of a new “map book,” as you can see from the following photos depicting the “old and busted” Michigan Travel Atlas – and the “new hotness,” “DeLorme Michigan Gazetteer.” ⇓


Old and busted – bought this in Traverse City in 2007. It has two different kinds of duct tape on it, which I’ve used to repair it over the years. When I started applying mailing tape to it for another round of repairs, my husband said, “Let’s just replace that thing.” Done! Behold the “new hotness:” ⇓


Bought this at an outdoor outfitter store called Bivouac, located in the campus area of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I was able to score a parking spot ON THE STREET! I fed the meter 30 cents while I walked in to buy this…whew, didn’t have to use one of the parking garages #rapecentral

So after (reluctantly) agreeing to come back to work next week, my wanderlust started to kick in. What about a “last hurrah” camping trip before I go back to the grind? So I started perusing weather forecasts in different regions of my state. Almost all of which predicted rain/thunderstorms on Friday in the regions I selected – Kalkaska, Cheboygan, Baldwin, and even to a slighter extent in St. Ignace. Which pretty much ruled out Friday for tent camping.

Before checking weather, I checked possible spots to camp – particularly in the northeast portion of the state (Cheboygan/Rogers City areas). Some of the “state forest campgrounds” I looked at seemed appealing, but upon further inspection using Google, they were a bit TOO far from civilization for my taste. I don’t like to be more than 10 minutes away from a place that will at least sell me a bag of ice – or a bundle of firewood. Any more driving than that to get supplies is a big nope… I may be willing to use a vault toilet and able to do a rustic camping gig for a few nights, but dang it – I have to keep my drinks cold!


This photo is from a camping trip about 10 years ago. Is there anything better than a beer pulled from an ice-filled cooler?

So I started looking at what was “reserveable” in the state park system…and after deciding that we’d have to “go local,” found out that Pinckney Recreation Area had ONE site available for Saturday night. Perfect – only about a 35 minute drive one way, our camp site sits on a bluff overlooking Bruin Lake – Hells yeah! A one-night “slumber party'” in the woods! Also, we would have the option of using modern restrooms – or vault toilets (I’ll take the vaults during a pandemic…they’re single seat numbers and don’t get mobbed with people). We’ll even have electricity, so I can bring my extension cord and we can…watch a movie on the laptop, or use the electric skillet, or…or…I CAN CHARGE MY PHONE! Why, it’s like having a motel room in the woods 🙂 And I can get water out of a spigot instead of pumping it from a well? Get OUT! I might as well be camping in a Yogi Bear “Jellystone” campground! Where’s the swimming pool? Wait…no swimming pool, guess I’ll just settle for the flush toilets and water from the faucet!

A friend of mine recently camped in a “Jellystone” campground with her family in Ohio. It’s…not my kind of camping. Too expensive, too many rules, too many bad memories of camping at a Frankenmuth Jellystone in 1997, which involved me and my camping party getting hassled by Frankenmuth’s Finest while we took an after dark walk around Bronner’s. It was only after I said I worked with the media that the Gestapolice officer backed off from patting down the male members of my camping party. #andthatsallimgonnasayaboutthat

So…take whatever time you can to enjoy what you do most before having to go back to work – party on!


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