Traverse City
By: [unknown]

Another fun filled trip with lots of laughs, scares, and just all out fun. We had a great turn out for this trip. In attendance were Tom, Joe, Paul, Eric & Kristen, Rick & Dianne, Jeff & Sharon, Todd, Mark, Bill, Nancy, Michelle, Dave, and Lee. Lee is a friend of Rick and Dianne’s. We had a total of nine vehicles.

Tom and Joe were able to leave work early on Friday and were on the road by 2:30. They had a quiet ride up and stopped in West Branch for dinner at Sandy’s. If you like great food Sandy’s is the place in West Branch. Just look for the pink exterior restaurant and you found it.

We arrived at Bernie’s around 8 in the evening and set up our tents. Shortly after we got the tents set up it started raining. Friday night was the only night it rained the entire weekend. The weather was perfect.

Around 10:30 Friday night Lee arrived with his trailer pulled by his Jeep. Now it took Lee longer to unlock the locks on his camper than it did to set it up. The design of the camper is an ‘A’ frame. I had gotten something in my eyes and went to rub the dirt out and by the time I opened them Lee’s camper was set up! Just ask Joe how fast it was set up. A really neat rig, Lee.

I was the first one up on Saturday and decided to mess with Joe. He is such a good sport. I had placed my portable CB radio outside his tent and turned up the volume. After the coffee was ready I got on the CB in the truck and in a low voice said, “We have fresh brewed coffee.” I heard a rumble in the tent. Again I got on the radio and told him that there was fresh coffee. More rumbling in the tent and a mumbled “What”. This time I said it in a louder voice. The response from the tent was, “Where is that voice coming from?” He finally figured it out and got out of his tent had a fresh cup of coffee.

The rest of the group arrived on Saturday morning. Paul had another relaxing towing experience! Not! He had borrowed Bill Paquette’s car dolly and towed his Tracker with his pick up. Let’s just say that he had visions of the bronco and the van all over again. Joe would end up driving the Tracker back to Farmington Hills for Paul.

The people that arrived on Friday night went for a night run. Bill, you can actually scare Joe and not leave the truck. Joe was shinning the flashlight out the window of the bronco and told me that he hasn’t seen anything blink back at him or move. Well, just about that time I reached over and grabbed Joe’s arm and screamed. He jumped. Now I have a dent in the headliner where the seat belt didn’t hold him in his seat. Joe would again jump on Saturday, not once but twice.

Our trail racer, I mean leader, was Jeff and Sharon. I must admit that Jeff has slowed down, by about a mile or two. He led us on some really scenic trails and trails that didn’t require four wheel drive that much. I kept telling Joe and the rest of the group that these trails would be a great winter run. How about it Jeff? Are they legal in the winter?

Sometime Saturday afternoon we had lunch. Lunch was at this big hill that some of us tried to make it up. Some made it and some didn’t. After lunch we continued on our way. We made it to Ranch Rudolph for a potty break and an ice cream.

We came across this mud hole that we had a good time in. We started out going through it one by one. Then something happened and we started going through it at the same time, in opposite directions. We were trying to splash each other with as much mud as possible. Bill and I went through at the same time and I thought I creamed him. Turns out that he got himself worse than what I thought I got him. Who says that men grow up!

On the way back in to camp something happened that I can’t explain. Too much sun, lack of water, something happened. Paul asked me where I was. I told him that I just went past the racetrack. Paul said that they had done a couple of laps there and continued on their way. A few minutes later Paul asked me where I was again. I told Paul that I was going past the baseball diamond. Paul’s answer was that is where Eric was driving Paul’s Tracker while Eric was still driving the Cherokee. Then Paul told us that he was driving the Tracker standing up through the sunroof. If we had it on tape it would be easier to explain. It is one of those things that you had to hear on the CB radio.

Back in camp at sometime o’clock. We all cooked our own dinner. I went around to the cooks in the camp to see what they were cooking. If memory serves (no pun intended) me right the menus went something like this. Paul was cooking chicken breasts, Lee was having hot dogs ( I think), Banister’s were having hamburgers, Mark a 20-pound steak, the Green’s were having tube steaks, Tom & Joe were having shredded bbq beef. I think that Todd went hungry, as I didn’t see him eating. Shortly after dinner the bathroom was being quite busy. If it wasn’t Joe in the bathroom it was Bill. I never saw two rolls of toilet paper disappear that fast!

Dusk fell to night, which prompted Jeff to make a campfire. We were glad that he did, as Saturday night was a bit chilly. Bill and Nancy had the fixin’s for SMORES. I know that I had one and it brought back some memories of when I was a kid.

Off in the distance we heard Joe playing his guitar. Paul asked me if we had gotten Joe yet? Meaning that we now have an opportunity to scare Joe. We sneaked up on Joe. We got ‘em!

Michelle told Joe to come over by the fire and play and we could all sing songs. Joe didn’t want to disturb anybody and asked Michelle if she thought it would be ok. She said that it would be neat.

Twenty minutes later everybody was asleep!

As usual I was the first one up on Sunday morning. I did my duty, no not that, I made the coffee. Shortly after that the camp was up and cooking breakfast. After breakfast we did a short run looking for mud. Bill wanted to play in the mud, so off to find mud for Bill.

After a long search we found a mud hole. Bill went down and Paul noticed that his front wheels weren’t turning. Hmm, wonder if Paul had anything to do with Bill’s hubs, or if Bill just forgot to lock them in. In any event the buck a stuck is a buck richer. Rick had the pleasure of getting Bill out of the mud hole on the first attempt.

Bill thought that another path would be better, this time with his hubs locked in. Tom had the pleasure of pulling him out. With my inexperience of pulling people out it took me three times to get it right. Again, the buck a stuck is another buck richer.

Bill gave up and we headed back to camp to pack up and head back home. By the time we were on the road it was around 4:30. Bill, Nancy, and the kids got a room in West Branch and were coming back on Monday. The rest of us convoyed back to the Motor City.

Back in town around nine or so.

This was a great trip. Nobody broke down, either on the way up or on the way back. Mark did have some trouble with his left front hub but that didn’t hold us up.

It was a weekend trip that seemed much longer.