Happiness Highlights: Trapped on Kelleys Island

Monday, September 12th, 2011
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“Emma, these ferry tickets cost $150. No one pays $150 to die – we’ll be fine.”

I played my own words back again in my head as I dug my fingernails deep into Jared’s forearm and swallowed hard in an effort not to throw up. I could see the gray water of Lake Erie in front of me over the sidewall of the ferry, a view that was only possible because the boat we were on was more perpendicular than parallel. The cost of the ferry tickets had been covered by the Lake Erie Shores and Islands‘ tourism marketing department, and it occurred to me that maybe that’s how the Universe would get around me sinking to the bottom of Lake Erie with my family, SUV, and pull-behind RV.

Of course, I didn’t die on the ferry to Kelleys Island, Ohio, but it was an ominous start to the week just the same.

After making our way safely to land and driving the five short miles across the island to our campground in the mostly deserted state park, we discovered we had no cell or Internet service on our iPhones. The wind and rain that had plagued our water crossing continued, leaving us trapped in the RV. It looked like it was going to be a long three days on a remote island in the middle of a Great Lake. I reminded myself (and my family) repeatedly that we weren’t paying for our lodging for the duration of the three days and that someone had gone through a lot of work to make this quick visit fun, even if Mother Nature had other ideas. We would be grateful, damn it.

smoresWe made s’mores that first night over the open flame of our camper’s gas stove and giggled endlessly at the sweet, sticky messes running down one another’s chins.

The next morning we woke to more rain and puddles that threatened to overtake the island. We laughed a little at the irony considering we’d evacuated a campground just a few short weeks earlier in an effort to avoid an onslaught of water. I walked through the wet wind to a spot with cell service and canceled the ferry ride and attraction visit we’d had planned for the day. The island, it seemed, was determined to hold onto us. We drove around looking for wifi and got busy with school and work.

A few hours later, just as we were shutting down the laptops and preparing to make our way back to the RV for a day of hibernation, we noticed the rain had stopped and the wind had calmed. We spotted small specks of blue in the sky and felt a bit of sun on our faces. We made a mad dash back to the campsite, determined to make use of the reprieve.

And oh, what a glorious afternoon we had.

biking on kelleys islandKelleys Island 095Kelleys Island 131Kelleys Island 154

We biked and we climbed and we hung upside down from monkey bars at a playground. We ran from snakes and tip toed around fresh bird poop. We found fossils and read about glacial grooves and walked backwards on a curved balance beam.

We played. We played hard for as long as we could, because we had no idea how long our moment in the sun would last.

There was still no internet or cell service and the wind and rain came back with a vengeance in the middle of our second night, but the joy of our afternoon spent frolicking – and there is no more perfect word to describe how we spent the day – sustained us when the weather turned cold and wet again.

This week my happiness was found in seizing the day and in remembering that both day and night, rain and shine, are but a temporary break from the other.

Where did you find yours?

Kelleys Island Quarry Bay

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  1. Nanna says:

    Gorgeous. Wonderful. I love it!!!

  2. Sarah says:

    I have literally never seen people happier. Wonderful, wonderful!

  3. I found my happiness by letting go of a 10 year old secret to the world and then rolling back on the hardwood after a 5 month hiatus. You guys looked like you had a blast!

    • Miss Britt says:

      Why were you on hiatus?!?! I cannot imagine you not skating!!

      I just got caught up on your blog and can’t imagine what it’s been like carrying that around. I’m glad you got it out. xo

      • I tore my right ACL slightly about 5 months ago when we were moving to Valrico from Bradenton. I never really “stopped” rolling, but it was dramatically reduced with lots of H2O therapy to work the area back into shape after resting it. The fact that I get my biggest injuries OFF the track annoys me oh so very much! ;)
        PS-You were actually the first person I ever told that secret to. It was in the comments when you wrote about your brother’s troubles. I totally understood every word of that post that day. XO

  4. KDrausin says:

    This week my happiness was found in seizing the day and in remembering that both day and night, rain and shine, are but a temporary break from the other. … Very nice! I agree. And soon our family will seize the day for nine days in Spain. We won’t be in a RV but a small apartment with one bathroom so I’ll get a little taste of your adventurous life.

    My new blog will be up this week. I’ll try to follow you from Spain. ~Krista

    • Miss Britt says:

      I cannot WAIT to take my family overseas. Neither Jared nor the kids have ever been. Can’t wait to hear about Spain!! Don’t you dare keep up with me while you’re there – enjoy the heck out of your own adventure! You can catch up when you get back. ;-)

  5. Megan says:

    1. S’mores! I’m hungry now.
    2. Emma’s hair is getting so long; I like it.
    3. Cute hat.
    4. I love that I can see you pressing the remote in that last picture. But only because I have one of my own and know what it looks like.

    I found my happiness this weekend by slowing down and not trying to get much done, and taking joy in the few things I did accomplish.

  6. Anna says:

    I love the remote too – because I like the forethought that went into having one so you can have family pictures on this trip! Awesome-ness. I’m glad you enjoyed the moment. The trees and rain are lashing at the windows and the wind is blowing a gale! It’s the last parts of Hurrican Katia hitting Scotland. It was a perfect backdrop to read this post! Enjoy Ohio!

    • Miss Britt says:

      I don’t use it near enough, either, because it means getting out the tripod. I need to do it more often!

      I didn’t realize you were in Scotland until I saw you talking about that Hurricane on Twitter. I hope to go someday.

  7. Barb says:

    Britt, those are great pics of the scenery and of your family! Sounds like you all are having a great adventure!

  8. Lisa says:

    I had s’mores last weekend too and they made my face very happy. So did sitting around a campfire with family and friends. I need to take more pictures of those moments because I’m getting camera lazy, but I’ve also been enjoying just soaking up the moments.

  9. Your pictures are so adorable, Britt – everyone looks so happy. I’m so glad you’re taking us along with you.
    (and I think you know my current source of happiness – my cheeks hurt from smiling for goodness sakes!)

  10. this line made me feel good: both day and night, rain and shine, are but a temporary break from the other.

  11. Amazing your openness and thought process and the amount of people who follow and comment. I find it unbelievable considering so many attack on forums when people talk about events or feelings. It is great you have such a supportive following. Continue to enjoy yourself and stay safe.

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