Spiff had an unprecedented three days off in a row this week at then end of his latest rotation. He's done with his month as a Junior Resident in the ICU, and he couldn't be happier to truly never be an intern again. So we celebrated by taking an impromptu camping trip. We drove up to the MN North Shore of Lake Superior. We headed out of town as soon as Spiff got off work from overnight call (which meant that he slept while I drove the 5-6 hours with Gunner chomping at the bit to Just Get There Already!!!), with our fingers crossed that we would find a camp site when we got up there. All of the State Park Campsites were full when we got there, but we were lucky enough to find a lovely, almost empty, rustic State Forest campsite about three miles inland from the shore.
When we found our campsite, we got to work setting up the tent. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so after getting things mildly set up, we headed back up the road to see some sites. We hiked around at Split Rock State Park and toured the lighthouse. It is run by the historical society, and they have people in costume answering questions as they let everyone tour around in all of the old buildings. The lighthouse keeper's house was my favorite, and the costume dudes had the old wood-burning stove in the kitchen running. So cool! We hiked down to the shore and threw rocks in the lake and had a great time.
Split Rock Lighthouse
When we got done with that, we headed south to buy firewood at a little town, and it started raining. Spiff remembered that he had left the kids' clothing bag outside of the tent...and the fly of the tent wide open. Remember how it was sunny when we left camp? It was just sprinkling where we were driving, and we hoped it wouldn't be that bad.
BUT...when we got back to our campsite, we found 3 inches of standing water in our tent!!! Gah!!!!!
Our sleeping bags were soaked. Most of the kids' clothes were completely wet! Spiff said a few choice words. I cried a little.
Let me just say that this is the very first time in the nine years I have known Spiff that he has not closed up every flap on the fly and guyed out every line. My Oregon Boy knows how to camp in the rain, and he never trusts a sunny sky. And this is the very reason why!
We almost drove to a hotel, but after spending six hours driving to get there, I just couldn't fathom telling the kids to get back in the car. I started moving stuff around in the car so we could sleep in the van. But this is where Spiff gets really cool. He adopted an amazingly positive attitude and started working on the tent. He began bailing out the tent by soaking up the water with a chamois towel. We turned on the heater in the car and used up a third of a tank of gas drying off our sleeping bags and mats. And he actually did it! I never would have thought it possible, but we slept in the tent that night, and we were mostly dry. I am so grateful for an awesome husband who buys good camping gear. Our little trip could so easily have been a complete bust, and it wasn't because he saved it. I heart him.
Soooo, after a dry night of sometimes sleeping (who ever thinks that camping with a 2-year-old is a good idea?!?!), we woke up to a cold and rainy day. Fifty degrees at the end of July?! Ooookay. I wasn't planning on that. The kids were wet and frozen, so we hopped in the car and drove South to Duluth and went to the Tall Ships Festival. Spiff and I had a great time drooling over all of the beautiful ships! I loved it. The kids, less so, but it was so cool that I didn't care that Gunner was super grumpy and Hobbes was ridiculously tired and crazy. This was definitely worth seeing.
We spent the evening at our campsite where the kids rode their little bikes around. We ate dinner, built a camp fire, enjoyed each other, and then all slept like babies.
We broke camp the in the morning, drove South and saw the waterfall at Gooseberry Falls State Park, and then drove home. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite family trips. Memorable in every way. I have never been to the North Shore before, and I loved it. So many fun things to do! I can't wait to go back.