Posts Tagged 'vacation'

calm water

yesterday, the waters of Lake Michigan had settled back down after Tuesday’s rainstorm. it was very light winds, but we took down my Sunfish and our new Minifish down to the beach to try sailing.

it was a fun day playing on the water, even with the lighter winds. my 13-yr old sailed the Minifish first, and I took my 6- yr old for a ride on the Sunfish.

I’ll post more details later.

et ego in Arcadia – Sunday

here’s the first day from our week vacation up at Camp Arcadia.  most of the post will be about Sunday’s activities, but technically the family week vacations up at Camp Arcadia are usually Saturday afternoon to the following Saturday afternoon.  the first day thus usually involves some frantic last-minute packing to get on the road ASAP, then a roughly 4-hour drive to get up to camp. here’s my Sunfish rigged up for the road, with a couple of the boys’ bikes riding along with my Sunfish PVC dolly.

after the long drive to Camp, the rest of Saturday is spent settling into the cottage, eating our first dinner at camp, and then watching the Talent Show by the Camp staff – mostly introductions, a few legitimate talent exhibits like singing or playing an instrument, and a mix of silly skits.

Sunday starts with a buffet breakfast, and then a short walk out of Camp and into the small town of Arcadia to Trinity Lutheran Church, a great historic church at 130+ years old.  it’s been a family tradition while driving into Arcadia on Saturday afternoon to see who can be the first to spot the steeple poking above the trees.

after the church service, we walked back to our cottage, and I started getting my Sunfish ready to take to the beach.  I used my Sunfish PVC dolly to roll it down some sidewalks and then the sand to the beach, and lugged all the extra gear down on a 2nd trip, and then headed to the dining room to have some of the buffet lunch before heading out to sail.  my youngest son (4 yrs old) was pretty geeked as usual to sail – he had his little sailing outfit on and everything, and was hanging around trying to help get it ready to sail.

it was a cooler day, and the water temperature was pretty cold, so I had a few layers on to make sure I stayed warm if I was to fall out or tip over.  on a day like this, I like to wear my Ronstan long sleeve rashguard underneath my shorty wetsuit.  and this year my new piece of gear is some NRS wetsocks from REI.  I really like all 3 of these pieces of gear – the wetsocks are a nice addition, as I have to wade in the water a bit to get the final rigging done, and then get the Sunfish started sailing.  the only disadvantage is that I can often get pretty warm if it is sunny and I’m not getting splashed with water (or falling out of the boat!).

the wind was fairly calm out of the south/southwest that afternoon, and the water was pretty flat, so it was a nice and easy sail across the Lake Michigan water.  on my first tack back towards shore, I could see my 11-yr old son T2 wading out in the water towards me, so I swung close and picked him up (and then gave him my life jacket because he didn’t bring one with him!).

while sailing with him, I sat to one side, and gave him both the tiller extension and the mainsheet – so he was in full control of the sailboat.  it was neat to see him learning how little adjustments to one or the other would affect the course we were sailing.  he also LOVED to hook his feet under the hiking strap, and lean so far back that his head touched the water!

after sailing with him for a little bit, I then gave rides on the Sunfish to both of my other sons, as well as several of my nephews, and a little girl who had been watching from the beach.  my oldest son T2 had switched over to the stand-up paddleboard that the camp owns – he spent a TON of time out on that, and was able to stand and paddle way out into Lake Michigan, often with one of his cousins riding along.  I only have this picture of him kneeling on it, but most of the time he was standing up.

while we were sailing, other members of my family took out the ocean kayaks, the rowboat, and the stand-up paddleboard – both adults and kids taking turns on each of them.  all in all, a great afternoon of messing about on the waters of Lake Michigan.  a couple of the kids took turning burying themselves in the warm sand on the beach.

then, they all joined together to bury their newest uncle and decorate him with beach toys.

I did end up missing the wine tasting that afternoon that was presented by Left Foot Charley, a local winery that is run by a previous staff member from Camp Arcadia.  after the awesome afternoon on the beach, it was time for dinner on the patio – amazing pulled pork sandwiches.

et ego in Arcadia

my family just got home from a week long vacation at Camp Arcadia.  we were joined there by my parents, as well as several of my siblings and their respective children. it was a great week as usual, filled with great fellowship with family and friends, morning devotions for the adults and vacation Bible school type classes for the children, the usual copious amounts of amazing food and ice cream, all set in the beautiful location right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan.

this week we were met with slightly cooler weather, and Lake Michigan’s water was a bit chilly for any extended length of time for swimming, but I was able to sail 3 days in a row on my Sunfish and my brother-in-law sailed his Snark sailboat, a few of us did our best to use the stand-up paddleboard (SUP) – the kids had much better success balancing on it, we all floated on inner tubes down the Platte River, and had a great time enjoying all that Camp Arcadia and the surrounding region has to offer.

et ego in Arcadia ~ here I am in Arcadia

I have a ton of my own photos to sift through, as well as photos from my family members to gather and organize, and a whole slew of videos I shot with my GoPro waterproof video camera from the sailing, pier jumping, floating down the river, and jumping huge waves.  hopefully, I can edit some down into manageable videos to share soon.

Sunfish and Snark on the beach at Lake Michigan

more posts and details from each day to follow shortly.


lake bound

heading to the lake – hope the weather cooperates and gives me a chance for some unsalted sailing.

here’s the windfinder forecast for a nearby station:

toronto day 3: CN Tower & Harbourfront

I’ve already detailed our train ride to Toronto on day 1, with The National concert that evening, and day 2 was spent at the Ontario Science Center. for day 3, we decided to try a lighter and quicker breakfast, so we just walked a block from our hotel to the nearby market, and got some various snack foods for breakfast – the boys wanted Pringle chips, my dad got a fresh croissant, my mom and wife both got a fancy Starbucks coffee with caramel sprinkles on the top.  we then hopped onto the subway towards downtown, but we got off the subway 1 stop prior to Union Station, and walked the PATH most of the way over to the CN Tower (the PATH is Toronto’s underground walkway that links a huge section of downtown together via underground walkways, mixed with little shops as well).  after that, it was a fairly short walk outside to the CN Tower.

we took the glass elevators up to the observation floor of the CN Tower (or the “Empire Space Needle” as my 3 1/2 yr old son likes to call it), and took in the spectacular view of Toronto, the surrounding city and suburbs, and the waters of Lake Ontario.  the observation floor is 1136 ft above the ground!

3 boys at the lookout level

we then took the stairs down one level to the glass floor and outdoor viewing area.  it was pretty cool to see the boys jumping and dancing on the glass floor (after their initial hesitation).  several adults walking nearby wouldn’t go near the floor, though.

our 3 boys laying on the glass floor at CN Tower

after the CN Tower, we walked down to Toronto’s waterfront along Lake Ontario. we quickly walked around the Harbourfront Centre (it was pretty cold and windy there!).

my 2 older boys sat down to look at the ships at the docks.

there are several ships in that area that will give short rides out on the lake, but none looked to be open that day, plus it was a bit too cold to take the boys out on the open water.  the tallship Empire Sandy was docked there – it was an impressive looking ship: 200 ft overall, with 11,000 square feet of sail per the ship’s website.

we kept walking along, trying to find Captain John’s Harbour Boat – a restaurant on a boat, but when we got there, we found out it wasn’t open until dinner time! the boat was pretty big, and looked like it would have been a really neat place to eat though (the tower cranes are behind the boat.)

so we walked to a nearby sports grille for lunch, before jumping on a streetcar that took us directly up to Toronto’s Chinatown.  Chinatown is fascinating – with people walking everywhere, looking at all the various stores and vendors along the street that are selling their goods – sometimes clothing, but a lot of small markets, with interesting foods that I’d probably never buy.  a lot of dried tiny fish and dried shrimp, strange looking mushrooms, and a ton of fresh vegetables.

after Chinatown, we headed back to our hotel to grab our luggage and get ready to head home (my parents were staying a couple extra days, so it was just my family).  we made the short walk to the subway station, ready for our last ride on the subway.

we were taking the evening train back to Windsor, and the boys were pretty exhausted.  it didn’t take too long for my 3 1/2 yr old to fall asleep.  after that, my 7 yr old wasn’t too far behind.

when we arrived in Windsor, he woke up and said, “wow, that was a lot faster train ride home.”  we tried to tell him it was because he had been sleeping, but he didn’t believe us!

after that, it was just a short trip back through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, and then back home.  overall, it was a great trip to Toronto – we had a great time and would love to do it again and visit some of the other area attractions next time.  maybe next time it will be in the warmer summer months so I can try sailing on Lake Ontario (and cross 1 more of the Great Lakes off my list).

toronto day 2: Ontario Science Center

I previously covered our train ride to Toronto and The National concert from day 1.  on the morning of day 2 in Toronto, we set off to find some delicious breakfast.  my wife and I had visited Toronto 2 years ago for a conference for my job, and had eaten at a nice place on the east side of the Eaton Center (a GIGANTIC mall in downtown Toronto – that we mostly avoided)  – I had a general idea where it was so we set off to walk there.

it was right where I thought it would be on Yonge Street – a nice little place called eggspectations.  their breakfast is phenomenal, but a TON of food.  I ordered the eggs benedict – and it was delicious.

after that deluxe breakfast, we walked up to Yonge and Dundas to grab the subway.  we took the subway several stops north to Eglington, where we made a transfer to the east-bound bus (#34) to go about 5km to our stop for the Ontario Science Centre.

Toronto’s mass transit system is quite amazing – very efficient and easy to get around all over downtown and the surrounding area, with reasonable rates and day passes that allowed unlimited travel on the subway, the buses and the streetcars.  it makes me very frustrated to come home to Detroit’s sad People Mover and dwindling bus system.  anyway, here’s my oldest son sitting near my parents on the subway ride.

my youngest son (3 1/2 yrs old) absolutely loved all the train/subway/bus riding.

after getting off the bus, it was a short walk to the Ontario Science Centre. we spent several hours there – the boys absolutely loved it, and all the hands-on activities kept them really occupied.  here is my oldest son trying to maneuver the moon rover in the Space/Planetarium exhibit.

he also modeled the astronaut uniform for me, complete with showing off a rolled tongue.

the boys had the most fun in the KidSpark, but they were running around to all the things to see so fast, I didn’t take many pictures.  here’s one of them re-building a fort with foam blocks – they worked nicely as a team to build the round pillars.

after taking the bus and subway back to downtown, we headed to the hotel to relax a bit.  we were all pretty full still from the huge breakfast, so we just grabbed some light snacks from a nearby market to tide us over until dinner.  we took the boys down to the swimming pool and hot tub (or hop tub, as my 3 1/2 yr old calls it) for a little bit, and then got ready to head back out for a later dinner.

my dad had done a little research, and suggested we walk a few blocks to a couple British pubs – the Queen & Beaver or the Wolf & Firkin.  both sounded interesting, but we decided to try out the Wolf & Firkin. I did a bit of digging… apparently a firkin is an old English unit of volume, often for a quarter barrel of beer or ale.

it was a nice little pub, and I chose the fish and chips for my entree.

my wife also wanted to try something unique, so she ordered the “bangers and mash” – a plate of mashed potatoes, baked beans, and sausage.

all the food was delicious, and with once again full stomachs, we headed back to our hotel for the evening, and to get ready for the next day of sightseeing, and then our train ride home.



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