The Family

The Family
Airstream Weekend Warriors

Monday, September 8, 2014

House Hunting With An Airstream To Consider

Centerville, Ohio

     The Trout family is moving. Although we are only moving about six miles from our current home, it is a big production. When searching for a new house, we utilized all the normal criteria. We considered location, character, charm, condition, privacy, number of bedrooms, the kitchen and all the other characteristics that matter. The Airstream added another dimension to our search. There was only one relevant question in that regard? Will it fit?

     We have a good setup in our current home. We can park it on the curb and the neighbors don't mind as long as we don't overstay our welcome. We have a 30 amp plug at the house and always bring it home to prepare for a trip. We can charge it, stock it, and fill the water tanks before our trip. This is something we did not want to lose in our new home. 

     Our current setup looks something like these photos below.


     So our search began.

     We looked at new homes. The cost of building is pretty high in Washington Township, Ohio and we wanted a wooded lot. That is a tall order in our community which is mostly built out. This home was beautiful inside but way too expensive and notice the lack of trees. The Airstream would have fit in the long driveway but the home did not work for us.

      We searched homes in existing neighborhoods. This home was in a great neighborhood, well built and the Airstream would have fit in the long driveway. However, this home did not have that intangible character we were looking for. The backyard would have accomodated the Airstream but that would not have made us popular even with a carraige house.

     We found a home we thought would work. It was a Williamsburg Colonial with a center hall. We even backed the Airstream through the picket fence gate. It fit but we were ultimately outbid. Losing that home hurt because we really wanted a home with character. In the end, this one would have probably been a money pit but we loved it.

     We even looked at homes we could not afford like this one straight out of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The Airstream would have been tricky here. There was a long narrow driveway behind the home. Are you seeing a pattern? We like older homes with character.

     Then we found the one. It had character, charm, grace, a beautiful lot and the right layout. It was built in 1810 and we fell in love instantly. However, we had the Airstream to consider. There was definitely enough land to store it on site but getting in would be tricky. The front of the house contains a stone wall constructed before the Civil War. All paths lead through that gate.

     This is where we want to store it if we can get it back here. That may require some modifications.

     In the end, the Airstream fit. It did not go in exactly as we planned and we had to stop traffic but we got it in. In a future post, I may be discussing how I move this thing once we back it in to the driveway. For now, I am grateful that it fits.

    Our new adventure will begin this fall but I will miss the place and this easy spot to park in.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ludington Is My Happy Place

Labor Day Weekend 2014
Beechwood Campground
Ludington State Park
Ludington, Michigan

     There is something about this place that speaks to my family. Ludington State Park feels like a familiar destination by now. This is our fifth trip up here and our second consecutive Labor Day trek with our neighbors Phil and Kim. It couldn't have come at a better time for us. Melizza and I just bought a new house that will be full of new benefits and challenges. Our current house is on the market. The kids are back in school and I just finished a mammoth project at work. It was definitely time to unwind. Upon arrival, I immediately felt the stress melt away.

     We began our journey with an early morning arrival and the opportunity to park along Lake Michigan. We like stay along the lake while waiting for our campsite to open up. I wish we could have  just remained here for the entire stay but overnight parking is prohibited.

What a view!
     Later in the morning, I hopped on my bike to check in and see if our site was ready. The weather along the Lake Michigan shore was windy and rain was expected. Thankfully for us, it never materialized. Labor Day weekend is prime time for this park and early reservations are essential. We scored a decent site in the Beechwood Campground on an inland lake. It is our favorite of the three campgrounds. Our site sat directly across the boardwalk along Lost Lake with an unobstructed view. The campground is still tight for my taste but the setting is so wonderful that I can let that slide.

The Beach House on Lake Michigan
Ethan can just walk over and drop a line whenever he feels like it.
Our Site
    Our neighbors arrived around the same time with their uber cool Cricket Trailer. They brought kayaks and bikes. This was going to be an active weekend for sure.

     Maggie loves to hit the trails. I must have hiked the Lost Lake trail twice a day with Maggie during my stay.

    Ludington State Park also received the honor of a sticker placement on the scarce real estate of my Airstream door.

     The kayaks were a big hit. I still need to find a good storage solution in my setup. I really enjoy being on the water. The rhythm of the water soothes my soul. The calm shallow waters on Lost Lake are perfect for my children. The kayak launch is on an island connected to the campground by a boardwalk. It is a very convenient setup.

     No trip to Ludington State Park would be complete without a trip down the river on our tubes. The lazy river experience was enhanced by Phil and Kim making the run with us on their kayaks. They were able to pull us when necessary.

     Before leaving, we biked down to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. It is a must see sight in Michigan. This quick escape recharged my batteries in a big way. We were able to share good food and conversation with are soon to be ex-neighbors. We laughed by the glow of the fire at night and played hard during the days. Despite all the activity, it was the most relaxing weekend I have had in a while. Now that is a great vacation.

      We will be back soon. You can bet on that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

America's Roller Coast

Cedar Point Amusement Park
Lighthouse Point Campground
Sandusky, Ohio

     I made a promise to the boys that we would visit Cedar Point Amusement Park before the end of summer. I kept that promise by escaping for the weekend in the Airstream. I am not a big fan of weekend crowds at amusement parks but my work schedule did not really allow for a weekday trip. Cedar Point has a great campground at the tip of the peninsula on Lake Erie. They charge Disney prices but the place is immaculate. The campground gives you early access to the park and has a refreshing pool and hot tub where you can swim in the shadows of massive roller coasters. The campsites are well shaded and decently spaced. We booked a pull through site with full hookups. All of the buildings and cabins are made of cedar shake shingles and the landscaping is immaculate. They have a pier the overlooks Sandusky Bay and frames the sunset nightly. Best of all, you can walk along the coast past the hotels and roller coasters to watch the sunrise as Maggie and I did every morning.

The Campground Pool

The marina in Sandusky Bay
The requisite awkward family photo
     We were fortunate to be allowed to enter the park an hour early as it turned out. The boys were able to ride a number of coasters in the first hour before the general public was allowed in. We walked on the newest coaster called Gatekeeper which is an acrobatic coaster where you ride on wings on either side of the track. It is a fantastic sensation that feel like flying as your legs dangle. About fifteen minutes after the park opened, a storm came in off Lake Erie and basically closed the park down for hours. We just retreated back to the Airstream and waited the storm out. 

     After the rain subsided, Ethan and climbed out of the hot tub and hit the park with a flourish. We were able to ride many of the big coasters. Even though it is a big coaster park, Lucy enjoyed her time here as well.

     On Sunday, we visited an indoor water park for a few hours of water slides before heading over to the Marblehead Lighthouse and the community of Lakeside.

Marblehead Lighthouse
     The community of Lakeside, Ohio was a pleasant little surprise. I had heard about it from friends but was surprised to learn that it was a Chautauqua community. In short, these were communities that were established in the late 1800's as part of a religious revival. These resort like towns featured lectures both secular and religious as well as music, arts and recreational opportunities. The community of Lakeside is still a thriving summer resort with around 900 charming cottages and a plethora of family summer activities. The community is a throwback to a simpler time where everyone travels by bike and takes it slow. This would be a great place to relax for a long weekend. It is only a few short hours away from my home.

     I am happy that we were able to squeeze a quick weekend trip with the Airstream before school begins next week. We have many great trips planned in the fall and early winter but for now the Trout family is focused on work and school.