Sunday, August 31, 2008


From Grand Rapids we headed to Grand Bend, Ontario where we spent five nights camping at Pinery's. Considering this summer (rain, rain and more rain) we did good weather wise, with only rain one night and a some sprinkles the following day. The weather was overcast and gloomy for three of the days, so it wasn't exactly beach weather, but at the same time it wasn't overly hot either. Ted and Lynda (Rob's sister) and there gang were also camping for the week, although our sites were not near each other.

For all the talk about Pinery's I must say we weren't all that impressed with the park. I suppose everyone is looking for something different when camping so what some like others won't. The one thing we noticed was the extremely small sites at Pinery's with very little privacy. Yes there were trees there, but such a thin amount between one site to the next that there was no more privacy then the type of parks where you're sitting out in an open field. Many of the sites were just a small clearing pretty much right on the road and some of them had trees still scattered throught the middle of it ... okay for tent camping ... but how does one put a trailer in there? After some looking around we realized that we actually had a rather large site. This is not to say we were impressed with our site as it took some creativity to figure out how to get our large trailer in thereso that it was actually on level ground (thankfully my hubbys a truck driver). The site was large only because it had various clearings off the main area ... but with a firepit right smack in the middle of the site (which we tried to move but with no luck) where were we suppose to put the trailer??? In the end the trailer was just barely off the road and we parked the truck sideways half in the bushes to keep off the road ... worked a bit as a deterent for Matthew to go the road.

So our site was small and they sell you wet firewood, which they refuse to refund, but will exchange for more wet firewood!! No wonder we didn't see a whole lot of fires while we were there. Thankfully there were honest people along the road selling dry wood. For older kids Pinery's would work better, but with little kids we found the park too large and everything far away, seemed we were always hopping in and out of the truck as it was just too far for the girls to bike. But that being said we had a nice week. Matthew ate enough sand to make up for the lack of solids in his diet. By the end of the week his bum was red and raw from the constant sand in his diapers. His face was constantly covered with sand. We had hoped he'd be walking by time we went camping, but no such luck. He took his first steps a few days before we left and can now do about 10 steps or so on his own. He has to learn to slow down as he wants to run instead of walk ... but it's coming.

Must be before breakfast as Matthew's face is still clean .
A more common Matthew look for the week

Marietta and Rebecca studying the campground map.
Matthew checking out his drink options! :)

Rob cooking up breakfast.
Bocce ball game. The girls ran into someone from the Fun-Soccer evenings so she joined them in a round of Bocce Ball.

A walk along one of the trails. It was nice that they provided information phamplets with the trial to give you an idea of what to look at and the significance of various spots.
Mareitta calling Grandma (the rabbit babysitter) to see how Thumper (her rabbit) is doing.

End of the day cleaning ... since it was cool enough we could cover him in long pants and sweaters for the evening and only have to rewash his face and hands before putting him to bed.
Matthew eventually learned that the truck was the place to nap and since we had to use the truck alot he had many short powernaps in there and also some good long naps in his carseat

Recognize this hat anyone?? (No I don't mean from the picture above either).

Evenings around the Fire

Matthew has always had a great facination with cans, especially pops cans. Try as we might to keep him out of the recyling bin he keeps going back. Amazingly he's never cut himself on them.
Sitting with daddy for a few seconds before he's off again ... the boy with the never ending amount of energy. Didn't matter what time he went to bad or how short of nap he had, he was bound to wake us at 6:30 each morning.

Sparkler Fun

Past your bedtime Sam??

Beach Time

Matthew loved the beach. He actually only went one day. We arrived too late on Monday to get to the beach by time we set up. Tuesday we had nice weather and spent the afternoon at the beach. Thursday it was cool and rainy so we didn't go. Wednesday and Friday we had overcast and since Matthew need a nap and I wasn't going to get a tan sitting in the shade I stayed at the camper with Matthew while Rob took the girls. If I had known I'd only make it to the beach once I would have taken more pictures ... or at least some of the girls!

Canoe Time

Calvin decided it would be fun to ram into our canoe ... Lyndsey wasn't all to keen on the idea ;)

On our way home we stopped in at Jay (Rob's brother) and Tara's for a quick "hi". So I think we've had our fill of Rob's family for a while now!! :)

And so our holidays are done for this year. Although camping is not my thing, we did have a nice time. The girls head off to school on Tuesday (both full-time this year) and Rob has a few days yet before he officially begins next Monday.


HH said...

So glad you got to spend some time away and catch up with family. The pictures look great and show everyone had a good time. Pity the weather wasn't the greatest but at least you didn't get too rained out this time. Matthew is looking great and getting such a big boy. Wow.

Kevin and Amy said...

Congrats on surviving a week of camping, Steph:) The little ones really make life interesting at camping, eh?

Yes, I DO recognize that hat! *wink*

Thanks for posting all those pictures. I know its a lot of work, but it is much appreciated by your readers:)

Matthew's face is really getting chubby! Glad he's growing:)

Michelle said...

HJey Steph... I am here from the land down under visiting my family and we just came back from the pineries today!!! I must say we loved it... but also depends what part of teh pineries you are at... we were in the dunes campground and we had a VERY private shelter... we had a great time there!!! And yea camping with kids sure is hectic!!! Looks like you had a fun time tho... dear Matthew looked like my daughter all the time too!!!!

Steph said...

Hi Michelle

Ya the Dunes is definitely the better place to be at Pinery's ... but nearly impossible to get a site there during the summer. We were online for booking at 7am the morning we were allowed to book (5 months in advance) and there was nothing left in the Dunes ... and only a few sites left in Riverside that fit a large trailer.

But ah well, we've been there, done that, we'll try something different next year.

Michelle said...

ahhh wow... that really is to bad.. yeah we went after the long weekend just after school started and the park was EMPTY.. that was a good time to go!

Glad to hear that you had fun tho!