Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dave Said, Doogie Said

Big Dave: Our three-day camping trip to the shores of Lake Superior started out on a chilly note. We had to break out the hooded sweatshirts and build a big campfire. Weather.com promised 70-degree temperatures but weathermen's promises are no better than politicians'. With the brisk breezes off the big lake, it felt more like forty. But the 15-passenger van we rented for both our families got us here in style. We're ready to hunker down and pitch our tents here at the state park.

Our dog Doogie seems out of sorts though. While we were unpacking, we tied him to the picnic table with my in-laws dog Peanut. Peanut was fine, but Doogie kept shivvering. Finally, we untied him, figuring a walk would warm him up. Instead, he pulled and pulled at his leash, dragging us back to the van, where he scratched to get back in. So we put him in there. He's by himself, but he seems content now.

Doogie: What have these nutcases gotten me into? We're stuck somewhere near the Arctic Circle, apparently on some type of government-ordered military exercises since we traveled in what looks like a large armored personnel carrier. Then they tie me out in the open! Hea, don't let this fur coat fool you. I freeze! First chance I got I forced my way back to the safety of the tank, or whatever it is. If it is war here, I'll just sit inside and wait until they shoot it out. The winner can drive me home.

Big Dave: It was a cold first night but the winds diminished and the sun's out. Not toasty warm but pleasant. Lots of critters here, chipmunks and squirrels. They're fairly tame and will run up your leg while you're sitting to take a peanut out of your hand. But we can't be too careless with our food. Two raccoons broke into a cooler overnight, eating two hot dogs and the buns too in a separate package. They made enough racket to wake us up. I shined a flashlight at them to shoo them off.

The beach at Lake Superior here is a rock-collector's dream. We scoured the shoreline and came away with some very pretty specimens, even a couple pieces of agate. I had to laugh at a couple youngsters headed down to the water with their swim trunks on.

"Ma said it was hot down here. It's not that hot," one boy said to the other.

"I just hope the water's warm," the other replied.

Lake Superior warm? Gotta be kidding. A popular past-time here is sitting on the beach and watching the swimmers turn blue.

Our dog seems to be settling in finally. But last night the boys heard him barking on the beach. Somehow he got loose and wandered down there. Bad dog. All dogs must be on a leash!

Doogie: This is madness! We're being overrun by wild rats. They steal food right out of your hand. Last night two huge mutant rats ransacked our campsite. Big Dave shined a flashlight at them and they retreated. Gutsy move there, Dave. What happens if a bear shows up? Maybe point a stick at him? We're in a military situation here. Where are the guns, the mortars? At least throw the rocks you've been stockpiling for god knows what reason.

I had it. So I made a break for it. Got free and made it down to the water's edge and called out for a rescue. But nobody heard me before I was re-captured and taken back to camp.

Big Dave: Visited the Taquamenon Falls and took a canoe trip down the Two-Hearted River, mentioned in a Hemingway short story. Played some board games and toasted some marshmallows. Made some s'mores and tonka toast too. No major disasters this camping trip. Ready to say goodbye to Lake Superior. The dogs survived too, but I don't think Doogie enjoyed it that much. We've been leaving him in the tent, but when we checked on him once he had wet all over one of our quilts and a sleeping mat. My son Scott thinks our dog was making a statement with that.

Doogie: No comment ;-)


Blogger Carine said...

while I love the beauty of the lake Dave, I'm with Doogie on this one! I'm not much for camping (unless you want to count those early newlywed years where we used motel 6)but I do enjoy the out of doors. sounds like you all had a rather interesting trip!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Kacey said...

I wouldh't mind camping, if I could have an electric blanket or maybe sleep with Doogie in the tank. The pictures are lovely and it is a beautiful lake, but a little cold for my tastes. What did poor Wendy do to deserve a camping trip for a vacation?

12:50 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

This post brings back fond memories, Dave. My family and I camped at Kingston Lake State Park every summer when I was a kid. And, Bruce and I spent part of our honeymoon trout fishing on Hemingway's river. I'm GREEN with envy!

8:17 PM  
Anonymous schnoodlepooh said...

Nice photos. Poor little Doogie. He seems to be so neurotic. If he's cold during a chilly summer evening, he must have a very difficult time during the winter. Poor fella.

11:11 PM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Big Dave ~ Loved the pictures from the trip. WILD RATS? Not so much! ~ jb//

5:14 AM  
Blogger MSU gal said...

I let the B-girl go to Higgins camping with her best friend and family. First time my little seven year old went away for more than one night.

I thought I was going to have a wonderful time by myself in the city sans child--Wrong--they had all the fun!

8:17 AM  
Blogger MSU gal said...


Awesome photos. Looks like a great time!

8:19 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I love camping! Maybe you should leave doggie home next time and let someone baby-sit him. He sounds like a hotel camper to me. I love your pictures. Glad you and Wendy had fun.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Matty said...

Love the photo. Too bad the weather was too cool. I suppose Doogie doesn't want to travel anymore from the comforts of home. Some of us are like that.

4:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.
I'm with Doogie.
Didn't they have a spa nearby with massages, heated pools, jacuzzi's and gourmet food?????? More my style. Yeah, and don't forget the cabana boys.

11:07 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I can see why Doogie was nervous: Those giant mutant rats are as big as he is. Show some pity....

1:45 PM  
Anonymous jan said...

Doogie is my kind of camper. My Poodles actually like roughing it so I take them out, but I would really prefer a Doogie camper.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ I hope you get warmer weather next time you go camping.
Thanks for your comments - sorry about the Pea and Ham soup - I had some for tea tonight - yummy.
Glad your rocks are doing well in your rock garden. Zinnias and petunias are pretty hardy. Glad you enjoyed the jokes. Take care,
Regards, Merle.

5:37 AM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

What great pictures. Thanks for sharing. I especially like the last one - suitable for framing!

I'd have been in the van with Doogie. I really don't like cold.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Matty said...

Big Dave,
You just got an award! Enjoy! Check out my site!

3:20 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Smart dog that Doogie! :) Great photos. What a beautiful area.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Oh God, Dave...I'm still laughing! Your posts are usually humorous but this one is THEE best! Thanks to the input from Doogie. I laughed all the way through it, but poor Doogie...he didn't have much to laugh about. Hope he's warm and dry now.
The photos are great and that sunrise....it was all worth it to wake and see that, I'd say.
If you're still there, safe trip home.
And....MORE input from Doogie in future posts. He's a natural for posting and humor. Really enjoyed it! (especially after the horrid week I've had...didn't blog about it yet. Everything is still pending)

9:06 AM  
Blogger Spidey said...

Your dog is very funny! He is a smart dog too. I have not been camping in years. All the bugs and critters that kept creeping onto me and the mosquito bites got all my camping spirit. Though I would like to try it again sometime...

The raccoons are smart, they ate their hot dogs with buns!! I sometimes wonder if animals aren't reincarnated people.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Deb said...

Hey, gorgeous picture of the sunset. Cute post!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm with Doogie. I love being outdoors, love to hike, love nature. But I prefer to hike myself back to a hotel room, even a cabin...I'm not much of a tent fan...not enough material in between me and a bear.

Great photos...BTW, what is "tonka toast"?

4:18 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LISA--Gee, I thought that "tonka toast" would be familiar to any camper, but I see I'm wrong. Googling the phrase doesn't help either.

"Tonka toast" is my family's name for a "pie iron sandwich." You put ham, cheese, whatever between two slices of bread which then go into a two-piece cast iron mold which clasps together over the sandwich. You hold it over the fire as the cast iron molding sits at the end of a wooden-handled stake. It's much like roasting marshmallows, only you're making grilled cheese, or grilled ham and cheese. Once it's toasted to your liking, you separate the cast iron halves and, voila!, you have a campfire sandwich, aka pudgie, hobo sandwich, etc.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

Looks like we both have been enjoying cooler weather in our travels.

I am not letting my Sammi read Doogies thoughts on the subject because I am sure she has her own ideas on traveling.

I must admit our camping in an RV was a lot easier than your rugged tent adventure. However, I have tent camped at Lake Superior back in the day and there was a moment of sentimental flashback to the good old days.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:04 PM  

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