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  On the Trail with Kayla Harris Typed by her Grandfather (Papa) Pictures by Kayla

My 1st Trip To The ZookiMeltThe Story As Told By An Eight Year Old.

This story was told to me by my granddaughter on the way home from her second off-road adventure. Our children and grandchildren need us to be there for them. To love them, to teach them the importance of family values, and the protection of the environment. After all  they must have an outdoor area to enjoy when they are older. In the end when we get old who do you think is going to love and nurture the parents and grandparents and take us wheeling? Many of the pictures are from Kayla. Terrina (grandma) gave her charge of the camera for the Drummond Island trip last year and the same was true for the ZookiMelt this year.  Reviewing the pictures of Kayla's first off road trip gave us the idea for this series of articles by Kayla. You would be amazed at what is important to our little ones.  This story starts the week before we head to ZookiMelt 2004 for the annual gathering of Suzuki and Geo's


I never spoil her! I swear!Papa and grandma called asking if I would like to go to ZookiMelt this year. I got to visit the park last year when we went to visit Lisa (Myers), she is really nice. I have never been on the trails there, but I really like the big dog (Saint Bernard) in the office and I wanted to see him again.

I live far away from papa and grandma now and do not get to see them much. Papa always tells me it looks like I have graduated from college when he sees me after the long time between our visits.  My mom says he spoils me too much.

Let's see, I get to spend the week with them (grandparents) and see the big dog at the Badlands, yep I want to go. I was telling the babysitter about the trip I would be going on. She thought I was going to the other Badlands, she did not believe me when I said it was in Attica, Indiana.  Now I have pictures I can show her and my friends at school.


Look Out!It took a long time driving to the Badlands. We had a lot of fun, grandma and I used maps and the GPS to find our way. The GPS had a little arrow on it that shows where we were all the time. Grandma always has games for me to play on long trips.

We were the first ones to the campground. We took all the stuff off the trucks and set up camp. Papa kept telling grandma, we are only going to be here a week you sure packed a lot of stuff!

Grandma and I went to see the creek and the covered bridge; I didn't want to go out on it. I was a little bit afraid. Grandma told me to be brave, ya right. I did go out on the bridge but ran back to the grass real fast.

Ouch!We went back to the tent to see papa. When we got there he said we should get a picnic table for our site. We saw one on the other side of the campground. We got in the truck to go bring it back to the site. When grandma tried to pick up her side to set it in the truck she got stung by wasp that were under the seat. She was real brave and didn't even cry. We got the first aid kit out and fixed her arm. When we went up to the sign-in tent to see Missy, grandma told her what happened. Missy went in her house and got meat stuff (tenderizer) to put on grandmas stings, I laughed at her with the white stuff on her arm.

  The next morning we got up early and went to the Badlands. I got to see Lisa and the big dog. After we signed in papa wanted to check out the Blue trail, he said it was easy and a good one to start the day on.

It was fun driving through the park to get to the trail. We went into the trees and on to the trail, I was really scared! I was screaming and holding on real tight! Papa stopped the truck to see if I was ok? He checks my seatbelt, gave me a hug and said to be strong that this trail was no harder then Drummond Island, ya right! We took off again; I was a little braver but not much. I was holding on real tight and saying "Be Calm", Be Calm.  Papa and grandma said they were proud of me, but I was still scared. I asked papa to go back to the campground. When we got there more people had moved in.


JakobyI have never seen so many people camping. Grandma and Missy said there were almost 150 signed in and it was early. Most of the people camping around us work with papa and grandma on the website. They were all friends. I met so many new people. Mitch and Rae had their baby Jakoby and some of their family there. Louie was across from us. He was on the same side as Brandi and Murphy. Later that day papa said Bill was coming in. almost at the time they came in to the lot. When they got signed in they set up camp right next to us. They had a puppy. I got to meet Amber, she is my friend now.


 AmberWe got up early again. I wanted to sleep more. Louie had made breakfast, I like his bacon. We went out on the trails again, I was still afraid. I asked papa if Amber could ride with us. After she got in the back with me I was not as afraid. We were having fun on the trails. Papa said the trails were real easy to follow all we had to do was look for the blue arrows on the side of the trail.  We were going down the creek, it was fun. We got to a big tree trunk in the creek. Grandma told papa to go to the left out on the trail. Papa said no and went the other way over the tree. We got stuck on the log. It was real scary bumping up and down. I was holding Ambers hand. After a little while papa said oh! I broke it. Then he had to get out in the water. He looked funny. He hooked up a wire to a strap around a tree and pulled us out. We had to drive real slowly out of the creek.  Papa kept telling grandma she should have given better directions on the trail and the truck would not be broken. Grandma would laugh and tell him ya, right!

We went back to the office. Ambers dad (Bill Johnston) and papa had to fix the truck. I got to play with Amber and her puppy. After a while we went back out to the trails. It was getting more fun with Amber there.  Papa said we were real lucky, Bill had everything in that little black box on his truck.


You would scream to!Friday was the first day of the ZookiMelt. I stayed at the signup table to help grandma and her friends get all the people signed up so they could get into the park. Amber and I helped with the raffle tickets. We spent most of the day working and playing with the puppy.

We had to get back to the campground to set up for the big dinner. We had already picked up all the buns for the hamburgers, hotdogs and brats (Bratwurst). There sure were a lot of them. Before we could get the dinner cooked it really started to rain hard. There was deep water everywhere. We had to stop cooking for a little while.

Then the rain stopped, ya right! Just when all the tables were set up it started raining real hard again. People were cooking and running the food to the tents where the chairs were set up. All the people were under the tent trying to eat, they would all move from one side of the tent to the other every time the wind blew. It was funny.  I was with papa under the tent when I saw the cheese for the hamburgers floating away on the table in the rain. It rained real hard all through dinner but we had food for everybody. If was fun playing in the rain water, it was deep and over the top of my ankles.

TNew Friendshe rain stopped again but water was all over the ground and road. Ray our friend from Canada kept teasing me that I was not smiling. He jumped in a puddle and got me wet. I laughed and got him wet too. When I got done playing I had to help and check out the tent. There was water everywhere, suitcase, bed and all the sleeping bags. Papa and I asked grandma if we could go to the hotel. It took a long time but she said yes. We would be dry tonight and papa and I could watch cartoons. Papa always tells me he watches them for me, ya, right!

We closed up the tent and went to the motel. When we got there we dropped grandma off at the door so she could get the room key.  When I went to get out of the truck I jumped out and touched the ground, I had my hand on the truck and my feet were on the ground. I got a real big shock and I screamed and cried. Papa came running around to get me. When he went to open the door he got shocked, he lifted me back into the truck and closed the door.

After we drove up to the motel office door to get grandma, papa told us that we were under the big power lines and the electricity went through the air to the wet ground and that is what hurt us. Grandma gave me a big hug then we went into the room. It was nice with two big beds. We had snacks, watched cartoons and had a hot bath.



Had to get up real early again, Yuk. Grandma and I went back to the campground for the Saturday morning breakfast from Steam Corners. We had to eat kind of fast, so we could get to the sign in table for the ZookiMelt. There were a lot of people coming in today. Amber and I got to help with the raffle again. Late in the afternoon we all went back out on the trails. I was not as afraid this time, Amber helped. When we got back to camp we had to pack up all the wet cloths and take them to a Laundromat. When we put some of the blankets in a machine the water came running out the top. It went all over the floor. Grandma said not only do we get wet in the tent but we also get wet here. Seems like it took for ever to get all the cloths washed and dried but we finally made it back to the campground. They had the big raffle that Amber and I sold tickets for; there were a lot of prizes. Amber and I got to play for a long time. We sat at the campfire and roasted marshmallows, they were good to eat. We shared the whole bag with our friends. Papa told me he was going to have to tie us down because of all the sugar. We stayed up real late. Amber was going to spend the night with me on my side of the tent. When we got in the tent we played and laughed until we both fell asleep.


Sunday morning was a sad day, we had to pack up all the stuff from the tent. I had to say goodbye to all my new friends. Sure hope I get to come back next year.

Kayla Jean Harris





Pictures I thought were funny.


Grandma told you Left!

What I liked best about the whole trip!

Papa said I should say Thank You to all the people who helped at ZookiMelt, I had fun! I knew that, he did not have to tell me. Then papa said ya, right 😉

08/11/10 15:33


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