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Old 10-11-2009, 10:38 PM   #1
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Halloween Campout Brighton Recreation Area, Howell, MI with photos

Just got back from my first trip without my guys. DH had many fall chores to do in preparation for the hunting season and our sons are in college. Our camping group was taking part in the 13th annual Halloween Campout at Bishop Lake Campground which is part of the Brighton Recreation Area in Howell, MI.

Joining the five other families sounded like a really good idea last November at our planning party and DH was originally scheduled to be hunting this weekend. As the weekend drew nearer I was more nervous about towing and setting up Tex solo. Many excuses ran through my head...supportive friends and a hubby who kept saying 'you can do it' talked me into keeping my reservation.

Friday dawned rainy and cold but the forecast for Saturday and Sunday was cold but dry. DH helped me hitch up in the morning before he left for work and two of our friends arranged to meet me at the campground around noon to provide moral support and help if needed.

After mapping a way out of town that did not have me going under a low bridge out of town (nightmare of 'story at 11...woman wedges her Airstream under historic train bridge blocking traffic for hours ...') I donned my boots and raincoat, said a prayer to the patron saint of campers, and headed out of the driveway.

Had a very uneventful trip to Bishop Lake mainly back roads with a 45 mph speed limit which suited me just fine in the rainy conditions. Checked in at the ranger station. These pictures are all from Saturday as Friday was TOO WET!


Guessed how many pieces of candy in the jar for the contest on Saturday and headed off to take on potable water. The fresh water ran about the speed of molasses in January. Seriously S-L-O-W. Watched one of my friends register and waved to many passers by. I was not forewarned by my fellow campers to 'come in heavy' as this park has a problem with water pressure. NO kidding After what seemed liked an eternity as I stood in the cold rain I said to heck with the tank being full and headed off to my site.

God is good and my site was an unofficial pull-through (not a lot of campers set up at noon on a rainy Friday afternoon). My friends helped me pull into a nice level looking spot on my site and then I told them I was A-OK to do the rest of the set-up until the awning. Everything went smoothly! I was the only Airstream in the entire campground this weekend.



By 6 pm all six families had arrived. We already had our group canopy set up but had spent a few hours inside playing Rummikub. You know it's miserable weather when we aren't outside around a campfire. The rain let up slightly and we had an hour around a small fire. None of us went to the 'welcome hour by the ranger station for cider and donuts around the fire'. Off to our campers by 9:30 pm. I found Tex very cozy and watched a bit of TV and read for three hours (no hubby minding the light).

Saturday dawned cool, crisp, and dry! There were activities starting with the 9:30 am Tie Die. Very well organized by age groups (5 and below, 6-10, 11-16, 17 +) at certain times. Cool colors too - orange, black, and purple. All you needed to do was bring your own shirt. Next year I'll come prepared!

1:30 was the pumpkin judging. MOST excellent. Here is a sampling of the entries (also divided by age group):




2:30 was the costume contest. Also very well organized and divided by age group. Here is one age group (second graders - I think 9 year olds?):


From 3:30 to 5:30 pm the entire campground was closed to traffic.

4-5 pm was the trick-or-treating at the campsites. We lined up to hand out our loot. I took great pleasure in making ALL the teen aged trick-or-treaters SAY Trick or Treat before giving them candy. It's the price you pay for getting free candy from me at that age! Just under 300 TOTers. So many cute TOTers with their parents.


We had our annual chili cook-off for dinner and one of my girlfriends and her family joined us for the festivities. I had my friend and her 3 year old as guests for the evening. It was so chilly they enjoyed movie time in Tex with a couple other children from our group. We took the suggestion from a message board poster and made the dinette into a couch and it was quite comfortable.

7 pm was the family talent show. I know you'll be disappointed that I don't have pictures - LOL. It was by the boat launch, had a 'real' stage with lights, microphones, and a sound system that was quite good. Our group had a group of dancers and two soloists. It was fun to watch all the acts (mostly children) and the audience was most kind with showing their appreciation for all the acts. The show was followed by the "Monster Mash" dance. Burrrrr.... Those of us without children wanting to dance (er, me) headed back our sites and the campfire!

There was also an award for the best decorated site. Now I was not worthy of any mention as my decoration consisted of a festive table cloth. Awards were given for Best Haunted House, Most Original, and Park Manager's Choice.

Here are some examples of the more worthy entries!


I think this one was put up by the rangers:


There were tubers behind the boat!


I absolutely LOVE this one~


This is a Haunted House. We got a sneak peak during the day. I'm telling you this would have scared the stuffin' (in a good way) out of anyone who went through in the dark. I'm thinking that Grim Reaper would look great around the end of my Airstream. What do you think?


Saturday night I watched the Michigan Wolverines turn over the ball 5 times to Iowa and then tucked into my comfy bed. My friend and her little boy slept in the other bed. I was very happy to have the twin bed configuration.

Today (Sunday) was another cool and sunny day. My take down went well and one of my girlfriends and I even managed to do the awning ourselves. I did have one of the guys back the truck up to Tex while I ran the power lift (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). My trip to the dump station was uneventful and my trip home safe. Tex is parked in the driveway awaiting winterizing tomorrow or Tuesday. (I sent out an SOS in another post)

My overall rating of Bishop Lake's Halloween Campout is out of 5! Each activity was well organized. The campground was almost completely booked. So many sites were decorated to the hilt. What a fun family weekend. I hope next year more Airstreamers will join the weekend.

I really missed my DH but was glad to know I can do all aspects of a camping trip if the need arises. It was important to me to be able to tow, set-up, and take down the camper. I don't want my hubby to have to do ALL the driving

For one other reason to camp in October in Michigan. Look at what splendor can be found:


I hope you enjoyed my trip report!
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:00 PM   #2
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I really missed my DH but was glad to know I can do all aspects of a camping trip if the need arises. It was important to me to be able to tow, set-up, and take down the camper. I don't want my hubby to have to do ALL the driving

/QUOTE]
Loved your story. Also wanted to say - way to go girl. I have just recently started to try to drive a bit. (Not too much ) But on our last trip out I was happy to say that I was able to back the PU into the haha hitch. It is so exciting to diy.
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sempi2 View Post
Loved your story. Also wanted to say - way to go girl. I have just recently started to try to drive a bit. (Not too much ) But on our last trip out I was happy to say that I was able to back the PU into the haha hitch. It is so exciting to diy.
Thank you for your kind words. I bet you were proud when you helped hitch! You go too
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:24 AM   #4
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Your thread has given me a little more courage to try pulling our camper. Due to the medication my husband is on, he is unable to drive. We are wanting to do some Fall camping but it would be up to me to get us there! That is a scary thought! Did you practice pulling your Airstream in a parking lot or on back roads first?
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:27 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kristi Foster View Post
Your thread has given me a little more courage to try pulling our camper. Due to the medication my husband is on, he is unable to drive. We are wanting to do some Fall camping but it would be up to me to get us there! That is a scary thought! Did you practice pulling your Airstream in a parking lot or on back roads first?
I started with towing back from Indiana on the highway. DH was in the passenger seat (probably the most uncomfortable ride of his life). I was going to take it slow in the right lane the entire way but the frustration of driving 55 behind a slow poke soon overcame my fear of pulling out to pass. I just made sure I had LOTS of space before I pulled out, used my turn signal, and did the same when pulling back to the right lane. A nice thing is you would have your hubby to help spot for you on the highway.

I was more comfortable on the back roads although people behind me probably didn't enjoy the trip. I kept right to the speed limit so I didn't feel guilty at all.

I did practice backing up in our high school's parking lot a few times and in our driveway.

You can do it! I think the AS actually tows nicer than our big pop-up does. The huge difference is relying on the blind spot mirrors. I wouldn't want to go a great distance without my hubby or a caravaning buddy. I don't know if I could change a flat tire all on my own. Try a short trip from home this fall and I'll bet you'll love it! Just take your time.

Teresa
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:30 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing the great pic and nice commentary. It looks as if you had a great time despite the weather. U did great. You see the towing and set up can be done by anyone,it not just a man thing. My wife helps with the setup and teardown all the time.
She has not yet towed the AS,but she will eventually,she has towed our 14 ft flat so I have no problem with her driving and towing the AS.
I did wonder about one thing.??????WHERES THE LOW UNDERPASS???????
I don't remember one in your town..
Thanks for sharing your weekend trip.
Roger
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mikethefixit View Post
Thanks for sharing the great pic and nice commentary. It looks as if you had a great time despite the weather. U did great. You see the towing and set up can be done by anyone,it not just a man thing. My wife helps with the setup and teardown all the time.
She has not yet towed the AS,but she will eventually,she has towed our 14 ft flat so I have no problem with her driving and towing the AS.
I did wonder about one thing.??????WHERES THE LOW UNDERPASS???????
I don't remember one in your town..
Thanks for sharing your weekend trip.
Roger
Hi Roger,
Thank you for your comments! Camping is a team sport for us as I share in the set up and take down each trip. Nice to hear do the same!

The bridge is just north of Dexter where Dexter-Ann Arbor road becomes Main and then under the bridge is Dexter-Pinkney road. Here is the source of my nightmare (if the picture is huge it's because I found it on the net)
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:05 AM   #8
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This is a great post the Halloween info would have been nice to have a little earlier to make plans for but there will be next year I guess. The pictures are great and have given me some ideas for next years setup at my parents house. Boat and Airstream included!

As for the DH or DW doing all of the towing. This is a BAD thing!! If you have a driver license and are regularly in a vehicle towing a trailer (race car, show car, bikes, travel trailer, boat, or whatever) YOU need to be able to tow it also! It doesn't have to be perfect you may not need to be able to back it, you may need help to hitch it... BUT YOU BETTER BE ABLE TO TOW IT!! I have seen more than once a fellow show car guy, and Race car driver get ill at a show or track and not be able to drive. We pitched in and helped load the car and gear and got the DW on the road because they had been taught to drive the trailer! I feel there would be someone around to help hitch up and get out if you are in a pinch. All you have to do is ask, but YOU need to get home SAFELY. ( off my box now)
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:32 AM   #9
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This is a great post the Halloween info would have been nice to have a little earlier to make plans for but there will be next year I guess. The pictures are great and have given me some ideas for next years setup at my parents house. Boat and Airstream included!

As for the DH or DW doing all of the towing. This is a BAD thing!! If you have a driver license and are regularly in a vehicle towing a trailer (race car, show car, bikes, travel trailer, boat, or whatever) YOU need to be able to tow it also! It doesn't have to be perfect you may not need to be able to back it, you may need help to hitch it... BUT YOU BETTER BE ABLE TO TOW IT!! I have seen more than once a fellow show car guy, and Race car driver get ill at a show or track and not be able to drive. We pitched in and helped load the car and gear and got the DW on the road because they had been taught to drive the trailer! I feel there would be someone around to help hitch up and get out if you are in a pinch. All you have to do is ask, but YOU need to get home SAFELY. ( off my box now)
Hope your box is big because I'm up on it with you! I am trying to encourage my camping group friends (the women) to learn to tow their rigs too. We had one trip where the husband fell ill and his wife couldn't pull the camper home. Plenty of people to help hitch but no spare drivers. Now I'm a spare driver too

I'll post when I hear about the date for next year's Halloween Weekend. We had to book 6 months in advance to get a spot.

Teresa
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:08 PM   #10
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Hope your box is big because I'm up on it with you! I am trying to encourage my camping group friends (the women) to learn to tow their rigs too. We had one trip where the husband fell ill and his wife couldn't pull the camper home. Plenty of people to help hitch but no spare drivers. Now I'm a spare driver too

I'll post when I hear about the date for next year's Halloween Weekend. We had to book 6 months in advance to get a spot.

Teresa
Thanks ... we would like to go next year. We book most of our trips six months out so we get what we want (need three sites most of the time).
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