As I mentioned in the last post, I am gearing up for the typically annual trip to Wisconsin. Until they died, I had a set of grandparents living up there (and my dad was actually born in the area), so we spent alot of time in the Lake Arbutus camp ground when I was growing up, sometimes in a truck camper, sometimes in tents. It's always been a beautiful place, the pristine lake, forests of pines staight as matchsticks. I remember the tiny corner store in walking distance where we would go for candy, the cool slightly metallic water from the pumps, all the little distractions we brought along to keep us occupied, books, magazines, card games. We went through dozens of shiny neon colored rafts and innertubes at the beach. Sometimes it was just us, other times it was the entire extended family, my older cousins washing their hair in the lake, my parents sitting up all night with the others playing poker at the picnic table beneath those bright electric strings of lights that look like jujubes.
The four hours it took to get there seemed so long, though these days hardly seems long at all. It's funny how nostalgic it all makes me since I was hardly ever really sold on camping (I balked at the bugs, the dirt, the icky toilets, and the lack of shower options. Fought with my mother alot, copped the typical teenage attitude.) For a couple of years we stayed in cabins, which are actually the ideal accomodations, though for the last 12 years or so, we've been staying at the Arrowhead Lodge (a Best Western) or the the rather sterile Days Inn up the road when it's full (which is often given the popularity of the area). Still, the Arrowhead has a certain rustic charm and a big man made lake out back. Also running water and a Jacuzzi, comfy beds, and a continental breakfast, so I'm not about to complain. We still meet up usually with most of the extended family, still spend time out at the beach, still go for long rides through those pine forests. Still seek out that creepy baby grave along the road. And though our favorite restaurant, The Palms, (who had the most heavenly chicken/shrimp/fish batter you've ever tasted) sadly burned down a while back, much is still the same there and probably always will be.