Van Life: White Sandy Beaches and Emergency Rooms

After our stop at the secret beach in Manistee we dried off, shook off the sand and jumped back in the van for the final leg to Young State Park just outside of Petoskey, Michigan. The ride took us through beautiful country side and rolling hills. The weather was perfect to roll the windows down, turn on some road trip music, and sip on the last bit of coffee we had left in our mugs. The kids were good and tired. They kicked back and enjoyed the warm breeze and eventually fell asleep.

After a couple of hours we made it to the park. To our surprise the campsite was about a 2 minute walk down to what can only be described as our own private beach. The beach and park sit on Lake Charlavoix, an amazing body of water that turns turquoise blue when the sun is out. We took our time unpacking the van and getting it all set up for the next 4 days. We set up our canopy, hung a clothes line, set up the tent, and made the beds.

The first day was spent down at the beach just enjoying the sun and staring out at the water. We grilled up some burgers and headed back down to the beach that evening with some wine and watched the kids play on the shore. The stars and moon finally came out and we headed back to camp. We tucked the kids into their tent and we settled into the van with our youngest son. I have to say that having the portable A/C keeping the van nice and cold was a treat to come back to after a hot day. We laid down, turned on a movie and drifted off to sleep.

The next day was just as nice as the last. After some coffee and breakfast I decided I should take the dog for a trail run to get him some exercise. We took off and before long he was doing what all dogs do, sniffing and peeing on everything. It was during this time that I turned my head, if for only for a moment, to tell him to hurry up and next thing I knew I had stepped onto a large rock and my ankle went sideways. I went down hard and fast. As I lay there in pain Lincoln continued to sniff and pee and went on being a dog. I was finally able to stand up and hobble back to the campsite. It was painful to say the least. Once I returned my wife suggested we go to the emergency room to make sure it wasn’t broken. Several hours later I returned with a brace and brand new set of crutches. It wasn’t broken but it was swollen and painful. Not exactly how I pictured the road trip turning out.

I always try my best to stay positive. It doesn’t do anybody any good to sulk or feel sorry for themselves. I was actually pretty grateful that I could at least get around on crutches. I was still able to get down to the beach and the bathroom. Those were my two main concerns.

The rest of our time at Young State Park consisted of us being beach bums and it was glorious. We haven’t done that in a really long time. I grew up surfing and spent most of my high school years at the beach and avoiding school. Being able to just live on the sand for a few days with my family was a beautiful thing.

Unfortunately, our time was up and it was time to head down to Traverse City. So once again we packed up the van, made a big pot of coffee, filled our mugs and hit the road. Windows down, music on, and good vibes all along the way.

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