Getting into the groove

We are a month and a half into our work camping job, and we feel that we are settling in.  We’ve had a lot going on, as we are having to move Diana’s mom to a higher level of care.  We have been making weekly trips to Grand Rapids, which ends up being 3-1/2 hours each way.  Most times we do it in one day, although there have been a couple of times we have stayed over.  So far it seems to be working well, and allows us plenty of time to enjoy Leelanau County.

  
The park is in full summer bloom.  The lily pads on the pond are blooming and look amazing!

  
The poppies out in front of the office are huge!  I’ve never seen them in bloom before, so it was a treat when they opened up.

  
The lodge looks great with all of the planters full of flowers.  The owners hosted an event last week for a local resident, Joe Herman, who is battling esophageal cancer.  They had a silent auction, dinner and a pancake breakfast the next day.  It appeared that half of Suttons Bay showed up!  Everyone had a wonderful time, and Joe was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from the community.

The weather hasn’t been ideal for kayaking, as it gets cold up here!  Lake Michigan is slow to warm up in these latitudes.  🙂  We’ve had our fair share of fog lately, also.  That will all change shortly, as the sun is about as high in the sky as it can get.  The next few months should be ideal for getting Ketchup and Mustard out on the water!

  
One nice thing about the cooler weather is that it was ideal for splitting wood.  And, boy did we split wood!  The highlight of my summer was when George, Rex and I spent an entire day splitting and loading up a couple of these racks.  George is our woodsman, and he is a workhorse.  I handled everything he threw at me.  But the best part was that Rex ran the splitter…all day long.  If you remember from our earlier posts, Rex is a 91 year old D-day vet.  He does not have one ounce of ‘quit’ in him.  He was right in there piling wood with us.  The reason he is still able to do this type of work?  He never stopped….that’s why!

Diana has been extremely busy taking care of business in the office.  Only one person staffs the office at a time, so things can get pretty hectic!  At the end of our shift, we are both fairly tired, so we usually go for a drive to unwind and see what’s happening in the area.

  
Last night, we drove past the D. H. Day Farm near Glen Haven. The barns are privately owned, even though the land is within the National Lakeshore. Diana and I both agree that these are our favorite barns ever.  🙂  We will visit Glen Haven and do a post about it, as it is an interesting place.

So, even though we haven’t done a lot of hiking, kayaking or biking, we have definitely experienced the area.  We feel like we are getting to know the locals, breathing the fresh air, drinking the water (and the wine!) and feeling the breeze.  Our motto has always been “Don’t just see it, BE it”… and we really feel this summer has held true to that.

22 thoughts on “Getting into the groove”

  1. Sorry to hear about Diana’s Mom. Nice that you’re not too far away and can still visit frequently. The pictures are great! I love those poppies too. They almost look fake! I feel like I’ve seen those barns. Are they near Sleeping Bear Dunes? You’ve probably kayaked down that river by the park? Seems like it would be calmer and not so windy there.

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    1. Thanks for the thoughts on Diana’s mom, Debbie.

      I thought the same thing on the poppies! Does that mean the American Legion poppies are going to look real now? 🙂 You are correct on the barns…Sleeping Bear. And Platte River is definitely on our list. We did it a few years ago on a weekend…yikes! It was packed with party canoes. Speaking of that, we are going on a Paddle for Pints brewery tour by water in Traverse City in a few weeks…stay tuned!

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts on Diana’s mom, Jim.

      One of the things I like about Rex is that he reminds me of Diana’s dad, who passed in 2008. He and I always had some sort of project going. I told Diana that I am getting a second chance to work with him. How often in life is a person fortunate enough to get that opportunity? Pretty darn nice. 🙂

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  2. My daughter and I loved our visit to Glen Haven. I believe there’s a tea-spice shop there that we spent a fair amount of $$ at. Those poppies are lovely 🙂

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  3. How nice that you are close enough to be able to be there for Diana’s mother. I’m sure it gives you peace of mind that you were able to get more care when it became necessary.

    We’ve always enjoyed Lake Michigan. Our first week long stay when we went fulltime was in Empire. We had a coupon for half off at the new, at that time, Indigo Bluffs RV Resort. That spoiled me immediately to wanting a beautiful paver site every time…haha! As a matter of fact, as we moved north through Michigan last summer we were approaching the road that would take us to Empire and decided to head over for a few days. So we pulled over and called Indigo Bluffs to see if they had room. They did!! Off we went ot revisit after five years. You are spending the summer in a smart place. One of the few areas that is usually cooler with lots of beauty.

    Sounds like you have lots of work ahead to keep you very busy. How nice to read about Rex. Those poppies are so pretty. They always look like paper flowers to me. I thought they were always orange/red. Interesting to see pink.

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    1. Thanks, Pam! Mom is the reason we aren’t venturing further, and that is just fine. 🙂

      One other thing that keeps Rex going is his wife, Nellie. She is a charmer and a sweetheart, and no grass grows under her feet, either!

      Indigo Bluffs is amazing, for sure! We drove through the other day and it is prettier than the last time we were through there three years ago.

      It was a crystal clear 47 degrees here this morning! 🙂

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  4. Sorry to hear about Diana’s mother. We dealt with this with Terry’s father and now his mother over the past couple of years. It is never an easy task. The lodge looks lovely and the work seems to keep the two of you busy. We love that area of the country and I believe I photographed those barns as well…lovely!

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    1. Thanks, LuAnn! Diana’s mom is adjusting well, so we are happy about that. 🙂

      I bee bopped down to Traverse this morning for an oil change. Looking at the bay on the way down, I thought of how fortunate we are to be here. Pretty darn neat!

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  5. I love your philosophy that to see it you have to be it. Part of the attraction of the lifestyle for us is to experience living in an area and living involves grocery stores, doctors appts, and apparently chopping wood 😄. Very cool…glad you shared this as we are going to actively start looking for a work kamping job soon

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    1. Thanks, Trace! Diana came up with that philosophy a number of years ago, and it really fits with what we are doing. Even before we retired, we worked hard to make our trips more of an experience than a ‘drive by’. But this summer has really confirmed that our mission statement is spot-on for us. We had actually spent weeklong vacations in this park on a few different occasions, but to actually LIVE here really allows us to know it.

      While this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, we feel fortunate that it is available to us. 🙂

      PS….thanks for the tip on Good Sam Roadside on your blog. We may have to reconsider our recent decision to go with them. Great information.

      Jim

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  6. Glad to hear you are enjoying you volunteering summer. Sounds pretty busy, but very social. The photos from the area looks stunning, the flowers are gorgeous! Rex sounds awesome by the way:)

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  7. You guys and your firewood. I’m afraid to come visit now. Rex would embarrass me. 🙂 (just kidding about being afraid)

    I remember very well what it was like for us when we had parents nearing the ends of their lives. Sad, frustrating, but most of all some of the most rewarding times of my life (and I think Peg would agree if she were writing this) — I know it’s hard but in the years to come you’ll be glad you were there for Diana’s mom. Be a Blessing.

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    1. Thanks, Peter. We totally agree about the last years being so rewarding. It is an unspoken understanding that their time is finite, and it is the time in our lives that we fully grasp that ours is also. For an aging person to be accepting of that can make their last years their best years.

      One of our fellow workers took some great photos of our brick paver project. He snapped a few of Rex when he pulled up with the mower. I plan on doing a post on that project in the next few weeks and I will include the photos of our master mower.

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  8. 🙂

    My mom passed 5 years before my dad. Dad and I had been closer in the years when she was ailing, but after she was gone including him almost became a sort of ritual most of our days (we lived in the same building in different apartments). Today, those are the days I remember the most with the greatest fondness. Peg’s dad’s passing was a rigorous but shorter time — only 12 weeks. Her mom went on with cancer for about 6 months. And my mom lingered with cancer for about 2 1/2 years. Each time was a unique blessing.

    I look forward to seeing the ‘master mower.’

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