Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going A-Wall - Our First Escape

Location: Brown's Cabin at Kabekona Lake
Dates: June 23-26
Camping with: Bakka & Besta in their A-Liner; Breta, Dave, Jakob and Sarah and Don in their cabin; Shelly and Allie in the camper
Wisdom gained: Dogs can't digest raw potatoes either.

Sometimes you discover heaven on Earth. Camping is a good way to find it. This is one of those places. At the end of a private road, with a creek on one side and a clean, quiet lake on the other, we spent three days fishing, boating, splashing, talking and relaxing together.

My sister has invited us to her in-law's cabin several times but I've always hesitated - I don't want to put anyone out or intrude. But, when your sister and her family are about to move thousands of miles away, you'll do anything to steal a little extra time with them. Even if it means intruding...

Of course, Don, Shelly and Allie made us feel like anything but intruders. They welcomed us openly, sharing their time, boats, toys, food and space. I have always enjoyed them and this week was definitely no exception.

All of us, including our dog Sofie, had a great time. Each of my boys found fishing a favorite passtime. Brek tried out his new rod, learned to bait his own hook - and even took a fish off his hook for the first time. We would find him fishing in the creek and out on the dock by himself, with Jakob or with anyone who would sit with him. His Uncle Dave shared a few pointers and retrieved a few snagged lines.

Finn dragged around his hookless, baitless pole to emulate the big boys catching peesch (fish).

Jay escaped with Dave and Don in search of elusive Walleye.

The boys drove a boat with Allie and Shelly and swam off the pontoon. We watched thousands of minnows and the loons sang us to sleep.

Our Chalet proved to be the perfect vacation home. It gave us enough space to sleep and access our gear for playing. It sheltered us completely in an unexpected crazy, windy rain storm in the middle of the night. It worked as a kitchen away from home.

The NorCold refrigerator, however, gave us some fits. We started off running on shore power, but felt that we should switch to propane so we didn't use as much of Donnie's resources. The fridge fired right up on propane and we were pleased. However, we discovered that our pilot light continued to go out after the fridge had been running a short time. We inspected it, my dad inspected it, Donnie inspected it... Everything looked like it should be working just fine. The pilot was strong, it lit immediately and stayed strong - until, it seemed, the fridge cooled to the set temperature. Then instead of turning the pilot down, it just shut off altogether.

After several failed attempts to get things working, and a late-night Internet search on Jay's handy Q phone, I suggested we call Danny's Campers for some advice. [The Internet posts about the fridge described lots of problems with both a mechanism in the fridge and with the fridge company - both of which gave me a slight twinge of "What did we get our selves into here?"] Brian at Danny's Campers suggested we try to snap the thermocouple on tighter. We didn't see where there was anything to snap on tighter than it already was seated. But, Donnie got brave, pulled it out and then pushed lots harder when he reseated it. It did the job! [We haven't had a problem since - knock on wood!]

A summer trip to Minnesota isn't a vacation without mosquitoes. After our first night at Kabekona, I was afraid to open our camper door for fear of letting all of those mosquitoes OUT! To say we had been invaded would be an understatement. Who knew the first blemishes inside our camper would be blood spots from swatting mosquitoes?!?

Where are they coming in? We think the majority of the blood-sucking itch bugs came in through a small opening in the ceiling vent and/or in the Fantastic Fan. We had turned the fan off during the night but left both vents open. They were probably attracted to the warmth of 5 bodies in the camper and the still air in the camper made perfect biting conditions for the mosquitoes.

The next night we tried closing the vent and leaving the fan on. That seemed to help some. We also found several vent openings (hot water heater, refrigerator, furnace, etc.) where we need to cover with screen to prevent future invasions.

Our stay ended with a teary good-bye to my sister's family (now headed back to Alaska) and a warm invitation from Shelly to return next year. Great memories.

Do you spy the A-frame on the right?
That's an A-liner belonging to my parents.

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