Still in the Middle - 4th of July in Irish Hills, MI

Discussion in 'Let me tell you about my trip' started by D_Gibb, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. D_Gibb

    D_Gibb Member

    Jul 20, 2016
    We waited and booked late this year because all of the people involved had different plans and expectations. This is what happens when you have three siblings, two who are married, and their father try to pick where we will be going, and then leave everything up to one of the spouses - me - to find a site within a week of the holiday.

    I was told to look at Irish Hills, about 50 miles from our houses since my sister-in-law and her husband had to work, just like me. It's doable enough of a drive that I came back Sunday and am leaving again after work to spend the night and the Fourth camping.

    Since it was last minute, we were not able to get any site at a campground that had water access on-site, so neither pool nor lake for my kids (4 & 2). I was lucky enough to get in touch with Ja Do Campground in Tipton, about 5 miles from Hayes State Park (and Wampler's Lake). When I told the owner I have two small kids and was hoping for something near the bathrooms (4 year old girl has a small bladder), she said that she could put me up on the hill overlooking the bath house and playground. Perfect.

    Upon arrival, it is plain to see that these people take the Irish in Irish Hills seriously. There are shamrocks and leprechauns everywhere, and it's really cute. We drove in and followed the map, and it looked like our site was literally at the top of a grassy hill. How the heck is my van going to pull the PUP up there? Well, I had to back up and take it at a running start, and find the most subtle incline, but I got up here.Once hooked up and stabilized, we are perched at the top of a bowl surrounding the playground and bathrooms just past them. Kids from the other side of the hill behind us cross next to our site day and night, but that's no problem - they don't go through our site.

    We have been there since Saturday morning, and though I had to leave last night right when it started raining (pleasant drive home...), I am looking forward to going back to my vacation-in-progress and picking up where I left off. Unfortunately that means I am in the office until 5 and have an hour drive at least to get back. Let's hope the vacationus interruptus goes by quickly!


    So now I'm back from the trip again and back to work again. It's kind of silly how quickly I got from my office to the campground after work on Monday. There were next to no cars on the road. Go figure, most people were able to take Monday off. I got to the camp just in time to work on dinner, and make some chicken breasts seasoned with the Weber Beer Can Chicken seasoning (it's awesome, try it), baked potatoes, and fresh corn. Campers were packing up left and right.

    That night we went to one of the local fireworks shows in Manchester, who put on a good show. The kids were both zonked out before we got back to the PUP, and it gave us a night evening around the fire.

    For the 4th, we made eggs, bacon, and hash browns (from the leftover baked potatoes - always make extra!) and then went to Hayes State Park to Wampler's Lake. It was PACKED. At one point, I went back to the camp (3 miles away) and grabbed the grill and sausages, and then proceeded to sit in line at the park to get back in for almost 30 minutes. I guess that's the price I pay for not booking at a campground that had a lake on-site. The campground was a ghost town. We were one of four sites that we could see still occupied.

    At one point, two dogs came running in to our site, a tiny brown chihuahua, and a young white husky. The husky had an electric fence collar, and the chihuahua a metal choke collar. They were both friendly, though a little skittish. I assumed they were lost from the fireworks the night before (loud noises, better run). I kept them from my kids (don't know how a strange dog will act), and tried to leash the husky. It ran off, but I got the chihuahua and took him to the camp office. About 10 minutes later, someone from the seasonal sites in back brought the husky out. Within about five hours, the camp owners found their people on Facebook (after also contacting police, humane society, and the local radio station). I'm glad they got home - I would be distraught if my beagle was lost.

    Before I left, I did all the breakdown prep I could - we stowed the awning, I made sure the propane was off and the lines were bled, turned off the fridge, checked the water drain, and essentially struck camp while still leaving the rest of them there. This is the first time the PUP isn't going to be stowed by me, so I am naturally a little nervous. My father-in-law is one of the old-school "do first, ask questions after it has broken and try to rig it half-assed" people, so while I am a little worried, he is the one who bought the camper, after all, so I guess it's his to break.

    We had a great, if relatively last minute trip in Irish Hills, and the people at Ja Do Campground in Tipton were fantastic. It's sad to see a lot of the activities (putt putt, amusement areas) all long-shuttered and in disrepair in the area, but the lakes are great, and it's close enough to home to be manageable, but far enough that I don't feel like I am camping in my back yard.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
    bondo54 likes this.

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