Last year in October we discovered the small State Park Campground of Guilford Lake State Park. We just spent one night and I have always wanted to go back to camp in a site right on the lake. That is where Loren and Mike scheduled their 8th Anniversary rally this year! And here we are, all set at 1:30 in the afternoon, Wednesday, September 26 in a prime lake-front spot – waiting for others to join us. We were on a nice arm of the lake, and across the water from us were some picturesque, private, cottages. Around us were tall trees, lots of grass, and a good view of most of the campground.
As we set up on site #17, a 30’ Silver Classic rolled past and pulled in down the road from us. Other arrivals popped up during the afternoon, and by dinner-time we had a nice selection of trailers . . . and people . . . all within our view.
Before this gathering Suzie and I had had concocted an idea to set up a make-shift playpen for our puppies – so they could play free of those tangling leashes! We used 10 tall shepherd’s hooks, a big roll of orange plastic fencing, and lots of zip-ties and set up a rough circle and secured it – success!
This time of year, darkness moves in early – even with a full moon. By 8:00 we were gathered around a fire, enjoying a couple hours of campground comradeship before bedtime.
Thursday, Sept 27
Today saw more arrivals trickle in, including Loren & Mike and the kids . . . our rally hosts. There was some nice meet and greets, crafting time around the picnic table (pine-needle basket-making, crocheting and button-flower vases) and general mixing and mingling. There was also some sidewalk chalk-art going on! For Tom, Charlie, and Jasper and John, Penelope, and Rupert there was a long walk around the lake front.
Enjoy these pictures of Lou and her grandkids -- El & Conner. It was fun to have little ones around the campsite.
Dinner was at Mark’s Landing, just 3 miles around and on the other side of the lake. Since 1946 the restaurant has been where the locals gather to enjoy a varied menu --heavy on the seafood offerings. There was indoor dining and beautiful outdoor dining, and we had a private room overlooking Guilford Lake. Great choice, Loren! We returned just as a light (and unexpected) drizzle popped up, and that squelched any ideas for an evening campfire! It was an early night in the Silvermine – just my thing!
Friday, Sept 28
By 3:00 a.m. the rain was over and from the very start the day was shaping up to be perfect. By 8:00 Larry, Tom and John had the grills fired up and ready for breakfast. We all had been invited to bring our food over to cook on the griddle, and a slow convoy of eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hash browns and other breakfast foods began to appear. . . and disappear as the campers woke up!
This breakfast gathering was repeated on Saturday morning . . . nothing makes a great social gathering like a big breakfast jamboree. Here are some casual pictures from both mornings that prove it!
Georgia and Rick had left for an early morning paddle in their inflatable kayak, and made it back just as the griddle was shutting down!
A small group made a quick run into town for bait and fishing licenses. Tom had his dad’s 1941 fly fishing rod, and this was his first good opportunity to try it out since he had refurbished it. The setting was perfect for fishing as we all had private docks behind our campsites up and down the lake!
At 1:00 a pontoon boat pulled up to a dock behind or campers and 15 of us loaded on for Captain Larry’s lake tour along the shoreline of Guilford Lake. After an hour the boat put in for a potty break, to shuffle passengers, and to head back out for another cruise. By this time the temperature was almost 70, the sky was blue, and the wind was very light – perfect weather both on the shore and on the lake. You can tell by these pictures that the pontoon boat was a great success!
Several more Airstreams arrived in the afternoon, making a weekend total of: 12 Airstreams, A Coleman Camper, a JayFlight . . . 29 adults, 6 kids (toddler to teenage), and 12 fur-babies. The evening was the traditional beans & wieners gathering, with a whole lot of side dishes. As the dark moved there was a large circle around a campfire!.
Saturday, Sept 29
Early morning fires popped up as those cooking chili outside got busy on the chili cook-off challenge. At the same time the threesome of Larry, Tom and John were back on for breakfast. Chili turn-in deadline was 11:30, followed by chili judging . . . there were over 12 entries! Loren runs the chili tasting/voting efficiently and quickly, and passes the trophy off to the year’s winner. Next was lunch -- can you guess what was for lunch??
Loren set out her annual raffle frenzy, sold tickets, and dispersed the items ticket by winning ticket. I have come to learn that some of those items will end up back in the drawing pile next year . . . but not my prize-winning , glass, flamingo cutting board! Mike and Loren do an excellent job with the raffle, using the revenues to pay for rally costs (pontoon boat!), and then issuing the left-over money back as the final prizes! Win-Win for everyone, and NO RALLY FEE!
The final event was the potluck dinner – always a smorgasbord of everyone’s favorite camping foods.
John had a little surprise for the football fanatics – he set up an outdoor theater complete with satellite and big TV, beside an outdoor fire ring! I can tell you where Tom sat from 4:00 until midnight – first the Michigan game, and then the Buckeyes. Thank goodness the Buckeyes were able to pull off a win at the last minute . . . and Tom didn’t have to come to bed UGLY!
This was a such a enjoyable rally – Loren and Mike have the plan, schedule, and execution down to a science, and 8 years of practice helps in pulling off a smooth event. Loren says she is looking for location recommendations for next year!
Tom and I again have a three-day turnaround as we prepare for hosting the “Bring It On Home To Mama” rally at the Mothership in Jackson Center later this week!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2018 25' Airstream Serenity with Salsa interior and front twin beds., 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