Van Riper Camping–Setting Up

photo copyright Kim Nixon

Memorial Day weekend Mike and I headed to Van Riper State Park to tent camp. It was to be the first camping trip of the year and the first time Mike and I would tent camp together. Normally, we camp in the pop-up camper that Mike owns, but this time we wanted to take the aluminum boat. I was very excited to be using my Journey JuJu to bring good travel magic. The plan was to set-up camp, visit the town of Michigamme, view the 5 photographer exhibit at the Michigamme Moonshine Gallery, boat and fish, and hike. We pre-registered our campsite online for a two night stay–check in time was not until 3pm but we had no problem with an early arrival. All our meals were to be cooked on site–no eating out.

photo copyright Kim Nixon

I have camped with this tent before, purchased in the summer of 2007, I camped solo at Perkin’s Park in Big Bay. I had practiced setting up the tent alone in our backyard and had no problem setting it up when I camped alone. This was the first time I set the tent up with two people. I was bossy. I did not like that in myself. But Mike and I got the tent up together and oriented it toward the fire pit but a good 15 feet away. The direction of the opening would prove very beneficial come day two. It is a Coleman tent and forget getting it all back in the bag if you use extra plastic yellow stakes. I keep a plastic dish pan to throw tent stakes and extra ties into. I tend to use the plastic stakes as soil is usually sandy and they grip and hold better in wind and weather. This tent has a tricky set-up and following directions is very helpful–they are sewed on a flap on the storage bag so you do not have to worry about losing them.

photo copyright Kim Nixon

Last year, when I camped I borrowed a family heirloom–a feather tick. It is heavy as the dickens and is the size of a full mattress and ways a ton. It takes a lot of storage space. So, this year Mike and I purchased an air mattress and small pump. Inflation took approximately 8-10 minutes. The pump we purchased runs by battery, cigarette lighter or in a pinch you can use jumper cables and a spare battery from one’s boat (more on that later). In the photo, you can see Mike next to the vehicle using the cigarette lighter adapter. The tiny 14.00 pump is very efficient but the cord could be longer for ease of use. It moves air at a fast pace, pulling it in through a fan type mechanism.

photo copyright Kim Nixon

Here is a shot of full-size air mattress in tent. It is also where we made our first mistake of the trip. The door of my tent only opens on the right. I cannot zip-out the whole front door area. We had to drain air out of the mattress, squish mattress in and then re-inflate. Problem number two. Placement of tent, size of cord for tiny pump, and driving vehicle up close to said tent. Solution, pull boat battery and use jumper cables to run pump. Problem solved but if you are not capable or knowledgeable this could be a dangerous option and not recommended. Once everything was situated I was happy as a mother bird with her nest.

Our camp site had a wonderful fire ring and we purchased wood on site as not to transport firewood from other locals. At Van Riper there are a couple men sitting at a shed near RV camping selling green aspen for 5.00 a bundle. Mike and I bought two and hefted them onto our shoulders and headed for camp. We kept our camp food simple on this trip, brats and burgers. I had made up two cold salads, and we had two hot side dishes as well. Our table looked so colorful that I snapped this photo (right).


About kimnixon

Upper Peninsula Michigan Artist and Writer

Posted on June 7, 2008, in Contours, Magic Lands, Nature Writing, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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