It was tent camping, for Pete’s sake!

If you ask us (and we’ve Googled this, so we know), the first rule of tent camping is this: Find Pete Abraham.

We didn’t know this as we set out for Door County and the first outdoor camping trip of our entire lives.

Rain pelted our windshield at the very moment we realized we’d forgotten our pillows and water bottles.

“What were we thinking?” I texted my sister Jenny.

“You weren’t,” she replied. “I’m just going to say it again. Kostelniks don’t camp. Camping is for tiny fairy-sized people who can roll their bodies up as tight as a sleeping bag.”

“We’re screwed,” I told my husband Vince. “We’re too tall.”

I had been looking forward to this adventure. I even read Wild to prepare for it, and I felt just like Cheryl Strayed as I packed my duffle bag (except without the recreational drug use, isolation and power begets power attitude).

As we neared Peninsula State Park, I felt my resolve crumble. I looked longingly at the lovely resorts we passed along the way.

Then, we pulled into our campsite and Found Pete Abraham.

He’d rigged a wind block, lit an inviting camp fire and set up cooking and dining areas. Thankfully, he and his wife Mary had chosen a site very close to a lovely indoor bathroom.

He commandeered a giant tent, with a queen sized air mattress for us, and helped Vince set it up.

Then, he and his merry band of campy campers treated us to the most amazing weekend.

There was grilled Caesar Salad, and kettle baked cherry pie; camp fire stories and a starry, starry sky; a three-sunrise morning and a hike full of stunning vistas.

Best of all, there were friends — old ones about whom we’ve written before, and fresh-to-America new ones.

The temperature dropped to 41 degrees the night we slept in tent for the very first time and we felt toasty warm.

ete knows camping. Here he is helping us set up our borrowed tent.
Pete knows camping. Here he is helping us set up our borrowed tent.
Camping sunrise 1
I saw three sunrises in one morning. This is the first.
Camping sunrise 2
I waited a little while, and this happened.
Camping Sunrise 3
Same beach, same sky, same morning…and then I went back to my cozy tent and fell back asleep.
Camping camp fire
We spent a lot of time huddled around this happy fellow. Campfires rock.
Camping Camp McKenzie
Camp McKenzie.
Camping Catherine
We borrowed most of our gear from Catherine and Todd, pictured here whipping up a gourmet dinner including blue cheese burgers, grilled Caesar Salad, and grilled corn on the cob with a Mexican dipping sauce. Delicious.
Camping Cherry pie
Kettle grilled cherry pie…honestly.
Camping Joe
Our friend Joe.
Camping dishes
Pete’s system for washing dishes turned out to be environmentally sound, efficient and weirdly fun.
Camping Vince on our walk
Vince and I took a five-hour hike.
Camping natural frame
Past scenic vistas…
Door County Vince scenic vista
He’s appreciating the beauty and resting his barking dogs.
Camping Ephraim sailboat
Door County is lovely this time of year and she’s only going to grow more beautiful as her colors change.
Camping Ephraim chairs
We walked to Ephraim and would have rested in these colorful chairs but we had another goal in mind…
Camping wilsons
Wilson’s! I highly recommend the Door County Cherry Hot Fudge Sundae.

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