Friday, August 07, 2015

Family Campout and Very Little Side Trip

Yea, it was pretty tight in the car! Fortunately for Isaac,
he only had to ride along for an hour.
A week or two ago, Troy and I travelled to Ontario, picking up Isaac on the way, to go to my mom's family campout. They have been meeting at this same place since the early/mid 1970s (no one can quite remember).

One aunt said the first time it rained so hard, they gathered under the shelter (roof-no walls) and parked all their vans around it to block the wind. Sort of like circling the wagons. Another said that was a later year, which is probably a good thing, although these are hardy folk and a little rain probably wouldn't stop them. (Well, we know for a fact that it didn't!)
The one-day picnic grew to a weekend camping trip and now it's not unusual to have the first campers there on Tuesday (for the "weekend") and some still there the following Monday. The site is a strip of land along Lake Ontario with a sandy bank for the kids to dig in and a rocky beach at the water's edge. On Saturday when we have the big potluck lunch and some organized games, there were more than 150 people there. Yeah, all related to me somehow. (And I don't mean to imply that I couldn't tell you how!)
"Rhebergen Row" where we and all my sisters and families
 camped. You can't see Troy and my little tent (and
Isaac's even littler tent) which were past the large canopy.
Anyway, we arrived on Thursday after a 13-hour trip, the normal 9-10 hours being lengthened by two trips to a grocery store (on either side of the border), traffic through Toronto and picking up Isaac. But we arrived safe and sound, with time to set up the tents before dark and to many welcoming hugs.

The weather was mostly sunny and not hot. It rained Friday night and a little on Saturday but not enough to wreck any plans. The lake was frigid and although we can normally brave it (I guess I'm talking about the kids) there was almost no one in the water unless they were cleaning up.

There were, however, games! My uncle and his family made some super-size versions of old favourites, like Connect 4
 and getting the ball through the maze.
 There were also some massive bubbles being made
and a type of frisbee horseshoes(?). Your partner could hit the frisbee you threw into the barrel for points, but if you got it into the slot you got a lot of points and the game was over right then.
 And there was volleyball:
My cousins and cousins' kids are very good and it was fun to watch. One of them is playing on the Canadian national team for his age group and was recently playing in Korea. He's aiming for the 2020 Olympics. I so hope he makes it!

Isaac kept himself busy part of one afternoon burning names into driftwood with his magnifying lense. He was taking requests pretty quickly.
 And there were kids everywhere, of course.
 Really cute ones.
 I got to hold a couple of them even.
 When their parents weren't around anyway...
 We took a lot of family pictures.

I heard my brother-in-law dispense this advice to my brother who was complaining: "I learned the trick: just pretend you like it."
Besides, the quicker you cooperate and get it done, the quicker you are done!
My two men are always cooperative though!

We took exactly one sister pic. (I had to interrupt one of them from a nap and drag her out of her tent....Sorry, Kim!)
Some people on Facebook had a hard time identifying us with just the faces showing. How well do you know us? If you're curious, email me your answer and I'll let you know how you did.

We spent a lot of time sitting around drinking "coffee" (or whatever drink was your preference).
We instituted a new program where each time the dishes had to be done, a different adult was teamed with a different kid. I think the system worked pretty well.
And in the evening we sat around the fire.
The mosquitoes were pretty bad, but if you could stick it out, they go away as it gets a little later.

My niece Madeline was selling copies of her book and signing them.
Yes, she wrote a book. You can find it on Amazon here.

And sometimes we act silly
(especially if our sister tells us to!)

We spent time with cousins and friends
Yvonne and I were thick as thieves when we were younger and we met at the family camp.
Of course, we knew each other, but hung out with different people. But one year someone got fireworks, and she came and sat beside me to watch them. We were inseparable after that! We spent many summer weekends at this campground between this family camp, her family camp and my church campout!

It was a delightful weekend and then it was time to go home. On the way, Troy and I made one other fun discovery.
This is Ellis Pioneer Chapel and you can read more about it here. Troy and I stopped at the "ON Route" station between Guelph and Cambridge and decided to walk around the building just to get a little movement in. Around the backside of the building (near the drivethrough) we saw a marked pedestrian way. At first it looked like it was only access to the employee parking lot, but then we saw signs. We followed them to this historic chapel.

We walked around the building and discovered the little cemetery plot they had preserved in the back. It looks like they rescued very old grave markers by mounting them in a stone wall.
Here's a view of the back and part of the lawn.
The building was locked and there really wasn't much to see, but it was a nice little surprise and certainly made for a nicer walk than around the parking lot! The chapel has a summer concert series and you can read more about that on their website.
I don't get to go to family campout very often and Troy even less. It was wonderful to spend some time with family, immediate and extended, and to just "chill" in that way you do when you're camping.

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