Last year we launched this “Favorite Things” series as a way to highlight some of the fun things going on behind the scenes here at The Touring Camper. We try to post daily over on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but a lot of what we post on social media we never get a chance to share on the blog. So here are some of our favorite moments from June:
Prince Gallitzin State Park
We celebrated the end of the school year and the beginning of summer with a camping trip to Prince Gallitzin State Park in Patton, Pa. We fished, geocached, biked, and explored. Nearby is the famous Horseshoe Curve, as well as two national park sites: Johnstown Flood National Memorial and Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site.
To be perfectly honest, though, I almost didn’t want to take this camping trip: We’d been busy the last few weeks helping family members walk through some hard stuff and in the midst of it all we’ve gotten behind with our own life stuff. I was so tempted to stay home and get caught up. But the reality is I will never be “caught up” and life will keep throwing distractions and curveballs that will vie for our attention–and moments like these are fleeting. Our oldest turns 10 next month and I feel my heart catch in my throat when I consider she will only be at home for another eight years. Which is why these moments spent camping and RVing as a family become all the more precious in the midst of this crazy life we are living.
I’m not sure how all the extended family situations are going to work out, but I know we can’t lose sight of how important these family moments are and continue to make the commitment to get out and camp with our little family while we can–even when it is inconvenient, even when we are grumpy from stress and lack of sleep, even when seasonal allergies are making us miserable, even when the kids are bickering or fussing, even when it rains almost every day of the trip, and even when it is hard to find the time–because the things worth pursuing are always the hardest to do. So in the midst of your own crazy life situations–because Lord knows we all have them–may you be encouraged to push through the hard and make time for little moments like these. It will be so worth it–really it will. (For more about our camping trip, see this post here.)
Kayaking with the kids and seeing extended family
We launched our big Michigan/Wisconsin trip with a stop at Proud Lake State Recreation Area. We got to see family who lived nearby and the kids got their first lesson in a kayak. All three of them did great–not one roll over!
And in the second picture you can see the crazy way Jarrett has to get his kayak on and off our van. 🙂
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
We first visited Sleeping Bear Dunes five years ago and we vowed to return when the kids were older. Now after our second visit, we are already making plans for our next return trip. Blessed with amazing weather, we had so much fun climbing the dune, playing on the beaches, exploring the interpretative areas, and taking in the breathtaking views.
And thanks to a tip from one of the NPS rangers, we drove out to North Bar Lake where the lake feeds a shallow swimming area. The crystal clear water was warm enough for the kids to swim in while Jarrett kayaked nearby. And I got to sit on the beach and listen to the crash of waves. Pure bliss. This region could very well be my new happy place. Look for a full post about our visit coming in the near future.
Have you ever heard of pasties? We certainly hadn’t! But any Michiganers we talked with were quick to recommend them. So we took a drive out to Lehto’s in St. Ignace and ordered a few to share. One bite into the buttery crust encasing the dense but moist meat center, and we knew we would be going back for more.
Our visit to Mackinac Island may have been one of the highlights of our Michigan trip, particularly for the kiddos who were so excited to ride the ferry. Early that morning we biked from the campground down to the nearest dock and hopped one of the fast hyrdo ferries.
After docking on the island, we zipped over to see a cousin who is living on the island this summer and working at a livery. (How cool is that?) She gave the kiddos each a pony ride–which left our horse-crazy daughter on cloud nine. 🙂
From there we zipped all over the island, climbing the 207 steps up to Arch Rock, visiting the Grand Hotel’s Carriage House, strolling by the Grand Hotel, exploring the main street shopping area, and sampling some fresh donuts over at the Surrey Hill Carriage House. We were having so much fun that before we knew it, we had missed our 2 o’clock ferry! Oops! So instead we killed time waiting for the next ferry by letting the kids romp on the beautiful green while we soaked up a final few moments of the beauty and magic of the island. We’ll share more pictures of our visit in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!
How about you: What were your favorite things of June? You can share in the comment section below.
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