|Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2003 || L family camping excursion #1|
So, we went camping.
I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive at first. It seems that each time I have camped, there has been some minor catastrophe. Okay, so maybe that is a strong word, but you know how it goes, it rains incessantly or there are no facilities for a city girl like me to relieve herself or I am burned to a crisp because I fall asleep in a creek.
But Rob and the kiddage were pumped so I started packing. And packing. And packing.
Did I mention all the packing I had to do?
It wouldn’t have been so bad except that I wasn’t able to really start that process until after church on Sunday. And as usual, it was afternoon by the time we got back home and I was able to make a go of it.
Rob and the boys went to Wal-mart to purchase more supplies. Being novice campers, this first little excursion proved to be a bit pricey. But it is all an investment in future family fun and bonding, right? Yeah, that’s it. Investment in our future.
We eventually made it on the road sometime around 4 or 5. At least we chose a site within a reasonable distance from our home. We have to take two ferries to get there, just over the border in Illinois, but Pere Marquette is a lovely state park near the Mississippi River with a nice, albeit small, tent camping area.
We found a nice shaded spot with a good fire ring and picnic table and began to set-up camp. Rob sent the kids off in search of firewood. A family a few sites down saw them gathering like little worker bees and brought us several armloads of firewood from their own stash.
It was well into dusk by the time we started our dinner, homemade burgers over the open fire. Rob purchased this really cool cooking rack that we covered with foil and laid atop the flames. There is just something heavenly about grilling this way, and those little babies were no exception.
One must roast marshmallows when one camps, and the kids were thrilled with those little flaming orbs of white goo. We sent them off to the tent for the night soon afterward and rigged the general area for raccoon prevention.
And then we did what all true camping enthusiasts do after the kids are tucked into their sleeping bags…
We hopped in the van, plugged in my laptop, and watched a DVD. Oh yes, yet another reason to envy me.
Yup, we are geeks.
I had gleefully piled three old comforters under our sleeping bag. Who needs an air mattress or camping cot? We are strong. We are youthful. Mostly. We are campers!!
Who am I kidding? Sleeping on the ground was a vacuum. My 30-something bones just don’t react well to cold camp sod, even if it is beneath a tarp, tent, three comforters and a sleeping bag.
We woke to another divine day of blue skies, light breezes, and gorgeous sunshine. One of the best parts of camping for me is that Rob not only cooks, he cleans up. He made home-fries and scrambled eggs AND he did the dishes!
We need to go camping more often.
As the temp rose, we piled into the van and made a store run. Well, we tried to. Not being well-versed in the Grafton/Alton area a quick trip to the closest Wal-mart or grocery store turned into an excursion of several hours. Perhaps it was the rounds of Jonah the Movie songs and silly computer game recitations that made it seems like an all-day affair. An icecream stop at DQ helped quell the insanity.
We eventually made it back to the camp, filling the kiddage up with Mickey D’s burgers and fries on our way back. We played wiffle ball, kicking the young one’s butts 10-2 in one inning. Kaytlin later commented, “I didn’t think you would be able to hit the ball that far, Mom!” Thanks for the vote of confidence, my dear.
Rob and the gang roasted hotdogs while I feasted on a fresh salad. Rob mocked my dinner choice, saying that you aren’t supposed to have salad while you camp. I showed my regard for that rule by having seconds.
Everyone showered, save moi (I had done so that morning), and then we tucked the progeny in and parked our booties in the van for another flick. This one was a bit of a thriller. Of course, I had a full bladder by the end of it. Rob told me to drive the van down to the facilities, but I chose to be brave and walk. I am a bit chagrined to admit that I was kind of spooked as I made the quick jaunt. I can be such a girl.
We broke camp the next day after a quick breakfast of fresh fruit and various pastries. I so wanted to shower again, but to save time I washed my face real good, threw on some make-up and a ball cap, and relished in the promise of a real shower as soon as we hit the homestead. The ones at the camp were clean and decent, but they only ran for 30 seconds at a pop. So, it was press the button, scrub, press the button, scrub, press the button, rinse, press the button, don’t open your eyes ‘cause there’s still soap in them while groping for the button…
You get the picture.
We were loaded up and ready to roll around 11:30. Rob started the van…. “Click-click-click-click-click.” Let’s try that again… “Click-click-click-click-click.”
And here I thought we had actually made it the whole trip without something crazy happening. But we are talking about me and camping. Something has to go wrong.
Dead battery. Drained. Lifeless. Kaput.
Regroup. Rob starts off toward the RV camp while I hike down to the dumpster and get rid of all of our trash. In a matter of minutes, thanks to the kindness of yet another camping stranger, we were on the road again.
Once home, we dumped all our stuff nto the garage and did what every camping family should do to complete a jaunt in the great outdoors.
We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and feasted on salsa, chips, and nachos.
Oh, yes. I will try to post some pics in the next day or two.
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