Think of it this way. Have you seen the movie Vacation? If you haven’t, you can go f*** yourself.

Sorry, sorry. I didn’t mean that. It’s just…

WHO HASN’T SEEN VACATION?!?!?!?

Let’s get back on track, shall we? Good.

Alright, now imagine if the legendary John Hughes had the idea for vacation (which, duh, he did), but then asked Stephen King to write the screenplay. That is what my weekend vacation with my family was like.

My wife and I chose to take our family on a camping trip on an island in Lake Michigan. (One of the perks of living on peninsula!) And it wasn’t the first time we’d done this. When we had two kids, not the four we currently have, we took them to this very same island. I’ve been to the island right next to it several times. I had a great time every visit…except this last one.

The island’s problems all stem from the excessively wet spring. The island was already kind of swampy anyway, but with all the rain, the water level is much higher than normal.

So ask yourself, what happens when a swampy area gets even swampier? And the answer is a three-parter:

  1. Mosquitoes
  2. Mosquitoes
  3. And more friggin mosquitoes

So we spent our hike to our campsite running and swatting mosquitoes. My wife picked up our 4 year old and ran with him in her arms because the mosquitoes were actually trying to drink all of his blood. And they came damn close. The kids looks like he has chicken pox, but no. All goddamn mosquito bites. It got so unbearable we cut our trip short a day just to get the hell out of there.

We were almost scared to leave our tent. But when it was time to head back home, I realized I would have to stand outside while I took down the two tents we set up. My wife packed her bag in the tent. I packed the kids bags. Then I sent them ahead to go to the dock while I sacrificed my body taking the tents apart and packing them in my bag.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like packing up a tent while jogging? It sucks, dude. It really really sucks. And on the way back to the dock, I had all my rain gear on, zipped up, and cinched for extra protection from the little winged-assholes. It’s also relevant to mention the temperature was in the 80s and the humidity was insane. Sweat dripped off my eyebrows and nose, and ran down my chest, back, arms, and legs. By the end of the 30-minute hike, I was drenched in sweat. Not “really sweaty” but literally drenched. In. Sweat. And while all this was happening, the mosquitoes found the 4-inch circle of open space on my face and my fingers that I couldn’t cover because I was holding our trash, and they attempted to eat the skin of my forehead, nose, and knuckles.

Ugh…

I like to sign off by sharing things I think are awesome, so here you go:

Rivertown Adventures in Lansing, MI is truly awesome. They rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, and bikes. It’s a really fun way to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the city. And I heard they recently acquired a two story riverboat for events. It’s a small business started by a couple guys who were sick of working for other people at jobs they weren’t passionate about. And, boy, they bring passion to this place. They even built a sandy beach on the side of the Grand River where there was once just tall grass and garbage.

Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish is another local (Grand Rapids) band. They rock. That doesn’t just mean they’re good. They rock. If you were to ask me, “Hey Tallon! What do Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish sound like?” The only answer I could come up with would be, they rock. Hard. Check em out.

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