What could be more befitting of “Brother’s Week” than a Kintner-sister campout where our Kintner-brother was able to hang around the campsite, visit, and share those wonderful camp-cooked meals? It doesn’t happen often enough, but everything fell into place this past week for a perfect sibling reunion.
Since the passing of my parents, I don’t find myself in Tennessee for the extended time that allows for brother/sister bonding. Several weeks ago I took charge of this situation and planned a camping trip at the KOA in Townsend, TN for a much-needed sibling jamboree! The tone was set with 3 side-by-side sites with full hook-ups and campsite balconies high above Little River!
Tink and I rally together frequently, and sister Beccie was anxious to bring out her new Alto Safari Condo (with brand new import status from Canada to the USA!) to join us. Brother Richard lives only 15 miles away from Townsend, TN and was primed to join us for leisure afternoons and suppers!
My 8 hour trip of 433 miles covered familiar territory (I often wonder how many times I have made that drive in the past 35 years?) and I arrived at 5:00 Sunday to find Beccie and Johanna all set up and waiting. Following a successful back-up maneuver with Tink as a guide, and I was completely set up 20 minutes later.
With nothing on the agenda for the evening, we all settled into the novelty of our river-side campsites with balconies, snacked for dinner, chatted till darkish, and then discharged to our separate habitats for an early evening.
In the morning I was busy trying to get pictures of our three rigs showing our line-up by the river. Tink, with her accommodating R-Dome in the middle, was the mid-way rendezvous place. The R-Dome offers shaded and breezy seating during the day and converts to completely closed off protection in case of rain. Later, I set up my 12'X12' Paha Que shelter for meals at the picnic table. We were ready for whatever the weather decided to do!
Here is the view we woke up to each morning! The balconies were a delightful place to enjoy morning coffee.
One of the motivations for this trip was to be able to see Beccie’s new Alto Safari Condo. She has had her eye set towards this unique camper for several years, but avenues just opened up in February for the Alto to be brought into the United States. In March she made the trip to retrieve her camper, and I have been dying to see it ever since.
Here is a picture tour -- outside and in!
For more information about this new-to-the-USA lightweight, follow this link: www.safaricondo.com/
For over a year Tink and I have been sportin' bright pink shirts with an "evil sister" inscription. We haul them out at every rally and keep people guessing as to WHO is the real evil sister. This trip we added Beccie to the mix with a shirt of her own. Richard was recruited to capture a pic!
While we were in the picture taking and posing mode, I snapped a group picture of all four sibs: Beccie, Johanna, Richard and Ella!
So much of this trip revolved around me wanting to spend time with Richard and Beccie – the siblings I don’t get to see as frequently. Beccie was camping right with us, and Richard was able to drive back and forth for visits, afternoons in the pool, and dinner off the grill. It is the most time that the four of us have been able to spend together in the past 4 years.
Brother-in-Law Rufus, Beccie's husband, even made it up one evening too play chef and cook pork tenderloin for our dinner! Paired with the tenderloin were roasted small potatoes, fresh corn cut off the cob, asparagus, sliced tomatoes . . . served around the picnic table!
All in all it was a perfect pow-wow by the river, and one that we have every intent of repeating yearly. In one of the touristy stores I saw a silly little item that seemed to sum up my feelings about our week. The little camping backpack holds four little critters that I have baptized with our sibling nicknames: Bunkey Bear (Richard), Tink 'R Fox (Tink), Chipella (Ella), and King Moose (Beccie.) This bit of childish indulgence sums up the special feelings that I brought home from this camp out, and it now hangs in the Silvermine, above the head of my bed!
Our annual camping pilgrimage to the Lake Erie coast and ferry trip to Put-In-Bay was different this year as it was scheduled for Labor Day Weekend. It was also the Bicentennial of The Battle of Lake Erie where Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry, with a very new United States Navy, stood up to the mighty British fleet and triumphed. We had heard rumors that tall ships would be in harbor and that there was to be a battle reenactment. That was enough of a draw to make the same old yearly trip to the island . . . . new again!
With Tom back in school we left at 3:00 on Friday afternoon for the 2 ½ hour drive to Marblehead and East Harbor State Park where Cindy and Steve Thomas were already set up and waiting.
Walking off the ferry we were able to snatch up the last 6-person golf cart that was available (the rental stand was packed) and were pretty pleased that it was named “GO BUCKS,” after all, it was the first game for the Buckeyes this season, and we thought this would be good luck.
It was 11:30, and with a 12:00 Buckeye game to catch, we headed right for our usual opening game-day spot -- Tippers, the longest bar in the world! As in the past three years, we were the only ones in that bar waiting for the game to start! Not to worry, though . . . we were steadily joined by a supporting crowd, and by half-time the bar was crowded!
By half-time, confident of a Buckey win, we headed back out on the golf cart for a look around the island, anxious to see some tall ships. The Niagra, Admiral Perry’s flag ship, was open for on-board tours, and Tall Ship Windy was offering day sails. In addition there was a Reenactment Village and many activities involving music and dance. It was all pretty expensive, so we opted for a $3.00 trip to the top of the Perry International Peace Memorial where we had a wonderful 360 degree view of the town and harbor.
Back on the ground level we hopped in the golf cart and did a drive-by of the main harbor which is adjacent to the park and the downtown strip of shops and restaurants. We could see some of the tall ships peeking out among the regular boats, yachts, dinghies, and cruisers.
Cruising on around the island, we found a couple tall ships sailing with a full complement of tourists on deck. As they sailed towards each other they crossed paths, disappearing into each other!
We were slightly disappointed that we were not able to see a parade of the tall ships as they entered the harbor earlier in the week, or view Perry’s victory battle reenactment that would be conducted on Labor Day. The battle would take place far out in the lake 8 miles distant from Put-in-Bay, and was able to viewed only by those with boat access. By 5:00 we turned in our cart, hiked to the ferry, drove to the campground and celebrated the great day with a yummy snack spread of cheese, salami, shrimp, crackers, homemade salsa, and chips and another great fire.
What's next on the camping deck? I am heading to Tennessee for a 5-day camping trip with Sister Tink and Sister Beccie! Can't wait!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown