Do you remember the Lucille Ball movie, “The Long, Long Trailer”? Well, on a trip to our property in Michigan from the Marion YMCA we had an old bus to get us there and the trip took a long, LONG time! It seemed that the top speed of that bus was between 45 and 50 miles an hour in speed zones of 65. And, for that entire trip we only passed one vehicle and then we did so by going over a railroad track without first stopping and opening our doors. We were halfway around that person before realizing the tracks were just ahead of us.
Some of the boys joked that the guy we passed was probably some Amish farmer with a literal two horse engine! Our bus driver made several stops for bathroom breaks, lunch, and for fuel. The trip of 360 miles took nearly eleven hours to get us there so since we left at 8 am we didn’t arrive until 7pm leaving us little time to set up the tents and get our camp site in readiness before nightfall.
Along the way we sang songs, played alphabet games with road signs, snoozed, or just enjoyed the scenery. However the scenery was just likeIndianauntil we passed Grand Rapids, Michigan, and got onto Michigan 37 for the final eighty miles of our journey and that was all through the Manistee National Forest. At the time the kids were riveted at just how big that forest actually was as they marveled at passing lakes and streams.
The bus really went slowly up a big hill just outside Baldwin, Michigan, and then the kids looked behind them for a glance at a long dirt road snaking through the forest behind them as if they could see for miles. Finally just past the Club 37 restaurant we left Michigan 37 and proceeded for the last twelve miles down back roads to Big Bass Lake. The kids were amazed that we were still in that same forest and for the next ten days, that forest was to be their home.
We stopped a mile short of our goal at the Big Bass Lake store to get some last minute snack food before proceeding to our property. But, what a long, LONG trip that had been only to be rewarded with some hard work setting up camp before bedtime. The fun part of that trip was to commence the next morning. That long, LONG day was finally about to end.