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Fish Camp: Part III - We've Arrived!

It's hard to believe a month ago today we were just leaving on this adventure. With a digital storybook completed and ready to be ordered, I find that the memories are as warm today as they were 30 days ago.  Today's entry gives you insight into our accommodations/surroundings.  Part IV we'll begin fishing--really!  Enjoy~ Shannon 

Expecting the worst and experiencing the best is so much better than vice versa. As we traveled down the dusty, washboard dirt road to arrive at our final destination of "Fish Camp", I still wasn't sure just what type of landscape was about to greet my eyes--I quite honestly had visions of a small clearing in the woods consisting of lean-to type sheds filled with the odiferous smell of dead fish. (Hey, I said I was being honest.) In the brain fog of my mind, I remember Brian had mentioned something about the availability of a washer and dryer and new this year...showers--I wasn't 100% sure if he was telling me the truth or just pulling my leg. Mentally, I continued the picture creations in my mind...for the washer/dryer...a squirrel on one of those "wheel things" running the motor to the washer and a long clothes line strung tree to tree for the dryer. The shower? Well...that picture was straight out of a jungle movie set...four plywood walls with a large barrel of hoped for sun-warmed water connected to a spout of some kind...thus were the thoughts that danced through my head on this bumpy last leg of the trip--although both Jerry and Dad were overheard commenting on how good the road was this year. :-)  
At 5:00pmish, we turned off the road we had been traveling on and turned in on a small road graced with a sign announcing the entrance to: "Racine Lake Campground". Campground?  Hmmm...things were looking up!  Imagine my surprise when I saw a "General Store" complete with a flashing "OPEN" sign! What? LIGHTS? Could there be...gasp...electricity?! Well...sort of...I quickly learned that the store was run by a huge generator that ran 24/7.  I also learned that generators where a common fixture in this part of the wilderness. So much so that they had a "no generator noise quiet hour" after a certain time.  Continuing the drive in, I made sure to take note of the "Keep your campsite clean - don't feed the bears" sign. :-)  I felt like a kid looking out the window of a school bus taking it all in. The images that greeted my eyes was certainly different than what I had stored in the camera of my mind. What? Where were the lean-to's? I was quickly taking in my newly discovered "deluxe surroundings"...quaint, clean, beautiful landscaped campsite sized parcels many complete with the latest in RV trailers!   What I was expecting and what I was actually seeing was indeed "eye candy" to this fearful soul.

 Driving up to a sleek silver bullet shaped airstream trailer, Brian hopped out of his truck and declared that this would be "Home Sweet Home" for the next week.  Sweet!  A far cry from the "lean-to complete with horizontal particle board beds" I had envisioned...why, this looked like the Taj Ma Hal to me! It came complete with a real bed in the back room, a full size collapsible sofa bed in the front room, curtains and carpet! I could feel myself actually beginning to breath at a normal rate and amusingly felt the word "fun" dance through my head once again.  Of course, there was still the issue of the "bathroom" that was somewhat converted as the "food pantry". But then, like I would quickly find out, the entire campground shared several of the primitive, deluxe, two seater--no other name to call them but what they are..."out houses" ... scattered throughout the premises.  A small price to pay, I thought, for a sound roof over our heads. 

"The Shed"

It is what it is...

Brian's Deluxe sleeping floor!

Mike & Paula Martin's beautiful place.
It was then that I also realized what a sacrifice Brian and Tom had made to make our coming possible as they unloaded their gear into literally "The Shed".  A slightly more deluxe but not much version of the lean-to I had pictured in my mind.  Brian was later greeted with the opportunity to move his air mattress and sleeping bag into a neighbors "shed/kitchen" room.  In the meantime, Jerry and Denton moved into a wonderful trailer next door at the "home" of summer campground residents and fellow Highland-Milford residents/friends, Mike and Paula Martin.  They have built a beautiful accommodation complete with a generator run well that provided hot and cold water for a sink and shower, a comfortable bedroom and screened in sunroom.  Dan in the meantime, set up residence in the back of his pick up truck.  I sure was beginning to love and appreciate these guys!
Before long, each vehicle was unloaded of its precious cargo--ok...our vehicle definitely had more cargo than the others but hey...I'm sure we'll need it at some point. Boats were taken down to the boat launch--a chore the boys eagerly joined in on! "Camp" was looking more organized by the minute. As if God were continuing to smile down on this day, we enjoyed a beautiful late afternoon of warmth and sunshine. 
Racine Lake--Brian's boat ready to go!
Finally, one by one, we made our way around Mike and Paula's welcome fire ring.  A light dinner of sandwiches, pie and coffee eaten while being serenaded by crickets and tree frogs made this 300 mile journey all worth it and I began to feel the apprehension of the day begin to melt away. It was then that I also received a somewhat pleasant surprise as I jumped into "hostess" mode--after all, I didn't want to risk my chances of still being voted off the island...last I checked it was a long walk home as my "enhanced driver's license" would not allow me to fly out of the country...I was, however, quickly reprimanded that I was not to be the "waitress/server" for the week. If someone wanted something to eat or drink...they could get it themselves. Hmmm... maybe the picture on the cover of the "Reminisce Magazine" just might not be what I had envisioned looking like all week.  As I sat and watched the firelight dancing on the faces of the boys and seeing their eyes light up with excitement as fish stories the size of Paul Bunyan were shared, I looked up into the star studded heavens and said a word of thanks to God, the Creator of all for this beautiful, remote, rugged wilderness...this trip was looking better and better all the time.  I could hardly wait to see what experiences the week would bring. Let the fishing begin!