We spent our first FREE night of camping in the parking lot of a Cabela’s Store in Dundee, Michigan. Not just any Cabela’s either… this is the 3rd largest Cabela’s in the world! I suppose the truth is that it really wasn’t a free night of camping since we spent $60 in the store, and then because it was too hot to cook walked over to the Great Lakes Eatery & Pub for dinner. The food was okay, but the convenience factor was excellent.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Before sharing the rest of our adventures at Cabela’s, I have to mention the best part of the day- Trader Joe’s !!!! As the official navigator of the trip my goal is to plan our route so it goes past as many Trader’s Joe stores as possible. So what if it added 20 minutes to the drive (plus 40 or so at the store), it was totally worth it.
There’s a couple of reasons why I was so desperate to visit Trader Joe’s. Number one: there is no Trader Joe’s in Vermont. Let me repeat that in case you missed it — an entire state and not one Trader Joe’s! Mr Trader Joe, if you’re out there, the people of Vermont need you. Go to them. Show them the way of cheap organic produce, scrumptious fresh salsa and the best flax seed tortilla chips ever. I gave it my best shot Vermont, hopefully someone is listening.
The second reason why I needed to go to Trader Joe’s: Last week when we were in the middle of nowhere PA, the only grocery store in the area was a super Walmart. Can you believe that? The only grocery store. Okay…I’m not a total snob (although I realize that I sound like one right now). I can shop at Walmart if I have to, I can even buy my groceries there if I must. But the produce, oh the produce was horrible! Wilted lettuce, rotten peaches, sprouted potatoes…simply disgusting. I managed to find a few edible things but let me tell you, I was not happy.
A trip to Trader Joe’s made it all better though. I filled my cart with as much fresh produce as would fit in our small fridge. All is right in the world again.
After my outing at Trader Joe’s the real journey began. This was the first significant amount of miles that we’ve driven on the interstate. So far we have been sticking to smaller side roads. In part because we’re not in a hurry, but mostly because it’s more interesting. Our goal was to make it all the way across Ohio though and trying to go all that way on secondary roads would have taken us forever. Not to mention that I doubt there was any more interesting scenery then what we saw from the highway, which was all farms & fields the whole way. The drive went very smoothly. We cruised along in the slow lane as cars zipped past us and big trucks lumbered along side. Before we knew we had crossed over into Michigan and a little less than an hour later reached Cabela’s.
It was hot. This is our dash thermometor about 20 minutes before we got to Cabela’s
We didn’t have a power hook up but we opened all the windows, turned the fans on high and walked over to the pond so Phineas could take a dip while the airstream cooled off. There were signs everywhere that said no swimming, but Phineas can’t read so he went in anyway. Just a quick wade in and out while still on his leash, but it was enough to cool him off so he could hang out in the airstream while we visited the store.
And what a store it was! Grand entrance, huge indoor waterfall with animals off all kinds, an indoor aquarium…and lots of cool stuff to buy. We restrained ourselves pretty well I think and walked out of there with a pair of shoes for Tim, a visor for me and two telescoping campfire sticks — not bad.
Over all this was a pretty nice place to stay for free. Sure, it was just a big parking lot, but there was no one else around and it was far enough away from the road that we didn’t hear any traffic. In the lot next to us were some big rigs spending the night, but even with all our windows open the soothing hum of our fans completely drowned out the diesel engine noise. Thanks Cabela’s!