|Just before we crossed the border. I know this is a common scene for local Detroiters but it is exciting for out-of-towners.|
So, let's go back 50 years. A woman named Mary and her two friends Donna and Dorothy decided to take their families camping. They chose a park in Ontario, Canada because the law, at the time, states that there was no fee for camping, you could camp wherever you wanted in the park and nobody was going to come bother you. Ontario Provincial Parks have since become much more strict but in the 1960s, they were common destinations for hippies and families in the Detroit area because it was a free place to camp. The park they chose was called The Pinery. These ladies and their 15-20 children camped at the park all week while the dads went back to Detroit to work. The dads came back on the weekend to pick everyone up and that's the way things played out every year.
So who are these people? Donna is the grandmother of my wife, Jessica, and Dorothy is my grandmother. How cool is that?
When Jessica and I first started dating in 2003 we were unaware that our families were close and had taken these annual camping trips back in the 60's and 70's. It's just something that we discovered after we had been together for a year or so. So, it was one of those things that we talked about when we got together with either of our families. They would share memories and it was really interesting to hear her aunts and uncles tell me stories about my parents. We also learned that the trip still happens every year. Most of my family doesn't go anymore and none of Jessica's family attends but Mary's kids and grandchildren, the Tononi family, show up in huge numbers and have kept the tradition alive. So we started going in 2008 and now we drink beers and tell stories on the same soil that our parents and grandparents did 50 years ago.
I just want to take a moment to tell you how amazing the Tononi family is. If you showed up to one of their weekly spaghetti dinners, not only would you be welcomed with open arms, you would learn quickly that this family takes tradition very seriously. It's infectious too. That is why, when Jessica and I were asked to be on the planning committee for this year's trip, we graciously accepted. If any Pinery campers are reading this, we hope you enjoyed it!
We came home a day early because we needed to prep the house to go on the market. We spent the whole day on Monday mulching, planting, scrubbing, mopping, and making our clutter disappear. We did such an awesome job I actually had a brief moment where I was like, "Hmmm...maybe I don't want to sell this place." Then I thought about the weekends I spent inside this 1100 sq ft box with two crazy kids during the polar vortex. I am ready to put a bow on this place and sell it to the highest bidder. Since we are selling now, instead of renting, our departure date could be moved up as much as 2 months. Once we sell we have 30 days to get out of the way. Bonus!
We really like our new camper. It's starting to feel like home and we have hope that we will be able to get our essential items inside of it and survive for a year. I ran some calculations and figured out that we get about 8-9 MPG while towing on the HWY. Not too shabby. I also learned some hard lessons about cornering while navigating the narrow, tree-lined roads of the Pinery. There are a few challenges that we are still working out, like the fact that we don't have a washer and dryer on the camper, but these are just small details that don't matter in the grand scheme of things. In fact, if you are worried about details like how you are gonna wash your clothes, you probably don't have the stomach for this kind of living. I have managed to find some clever solutions to some other issues that I will write about in my next entry. We are going into full execution mode so get ready to take notes!