Liz and Coleen arrived at Findley Lake State Park to find Ron and Jilinda already there choosing their campsite. In quick succession Wil and Gloria, Laura, Steve, and Ruth showed up. By the time they all had their tent camps set up, those with campers pulled in, Tom, Lance, Donna, followed by Denny and Kathy. Terry came after work and joined Donna. This is the first outing that I have had to worry about whether I had enough driveways for all the campers, vans and cars needed for camping.
Everyone set up their items they brought for the gear swap. Wil probably had the most success over the weekend. Who knew he was a salesman, but really -- donut seeds (Cheerios)? But others sold or swapped treasures, also. I even saw some clandestine deals where treasures were passed off to another free of charge.
Steven Roy joined the group for dinner and brought his telescope to lead us in stargazing. Unfortunately, the sky was cloudy. He left his scope in the car but did point out the stars in the summer triangle. He described the characteristics of its stars, Altair, Deneb, and Vega. The evening ended around the campfire where marshmallows were roasted and dipped in chocolate bourbon.
Saturday morning started out slow and easy after staying up after midnight. Campers made breakfast and visited. That afternoon at one o'clock Wil organized a bobber race. Each of the eight boats participating had a number. They had to maneuver the boats to pick up a bobber and check the number on it. If the number was theirs, they kept it. If not, they pitched it as far away as they could. Bobbers were flying everywhere, until Denny finally collected all four of his and won. Wil presented him the prize of a bobber cooler. Ruth had the misfortune of being second and won the crate of 36 bobbers to keep for future outings.
Jilinda, Kathy, Gloria, Liz, and Coleen participated in the Park's activity of creating Gyotaku, Japanese fish printing. Ink or in our case paint is applied to the fish and then paper is put over the fish, and an image is created by careful hand rubbing or pressing. We were grateful that our fish were 3D rubber models and not actual dead fish.
That evening was our 5-star cuisine potluck, first since Covid happened in March of 2020. We had several who were able to come for the evening pot luck. Judy and Mike came early and stayed for the evening - getting a chance to visit with many. Mary and Eric were also able to get away from their new puppies and spend the evening with us. This added lots more additional food to the food table. The event was diffidently a 5-star affair - from the BBQ ribs and the variety of salads, breads, and beans to the desserts including the star shaped sugar cookies. Plenty of food for all and if you went hungry it was your own fault given the amount of leftovers.
The night float was scheduled for 9:30 pm. Before launch time the boats had to be named and decorated to enter the float parade. Each entrant had to pass before the judge, Coleen, who's only qualification was a broken leg. After careful deliberation the judge's decisions were announced. Wil's canoe Pirate Gnome and Laura's kayak, Bat Mobile won first place. They both had prepared decor in advance and named their boats accordingly. In the category for best named Tom came in first with a canoe appropriately named Starburst for our themed weekend. Ruth hands down won best Historical for her canoe River Dancer as a nod to the sixties hippie movement. Ron and Jilinda made it through the decorating and paddling together in their canoe, Mizhakwad (Beautiful Day in Algonquin) to win in the Most Congenial Paddlers category. Lance stayed on shore but decorated his van, Goldie to win the Best Fan award. And of course, there was no competition in the Best Alliterative category for Leader Liz in canoe Lollipop. After choosing their prizes and leaving the unclaimed prizes to go to Liz the boaters returned to a campfire tended by Donna and Terry for conversation and laughter. All managed to get to bed before the thunderstorm.
Sunday morning was breakfast and visiting. Camping gear was packed up, mostly wet and hopefully all eager to attend the next outing at Nimisila.