Sunday, June 12, 2016

Successful Kid Swap at Camp Washout

This weekend, Mr C and I met Becky at a halfway-mark destination, so that we could return Kimber Ann, and deliver Connor and Alana to her. We had thought it would be so much fun to camp overnight and squeeze in a couple of hours of hiking. A wiener roast followed by s'mores and hot cocoa to top off the evening.  We timed our drives just perfectly- Becky and her kids arriving just as Tom and I and our kids were gassing up and using the nice, clean "facilities".
Mom and Ralph were going to meet us at the campground.
  We checked in at the campgrounds, and set up our tents. Tom and Connor planned to sleep in hammocks, which we also set up. While Becky fed the kids a quick pimento cheese sandwich, Tom and Connor stretched out in their respective hammocks. Since we really wanted to get some hiking in, we tossed the overnight cases, pillows, bedrolls and such into one of the tents.  Not wanting the varmints to get the groceries, these were loaded into the trunk of the car, freeing the back of Becky's Excursion to hold the firewood we planned to gather. Connor and Tom were stretched out in the hammocks only mere moments, when we heard Connor hit the ground with a thump and an 'ooof'. His hammock had suffered a critical failure... it literally ripped from one SIDE to the other and tore completely in two. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt.
Connor, before the unfortunate fabric failure
  We  loaded up and went over to a trail at a lake we hadn't been to in more than a decade. We got parked and were just about to set off on the hike. Becky and the littles decided a trip to the 'facility' was a priority. Mr C decided the same. He handed me his water bottle and locked up the car.
.....With the keys inside.

   So Becky gave him the excursion key, and he went to see if he could get a phone signal anywhere in the no-mans-land of cell service, and figure out a way to get help. In looking for cell services, he stopped to ask someone and that person sent him to a nearby garage, where a man and his grand daughter were working. The fellow said that locking ones keys in the vehicle is a too frequent occurrence in those parts. He had tools, and came back to the parking lot where his grand daughter played with ours under the shady trees, and he and Tom each worked separate windows for half an hour or more, until the keys were at last set free.

While they were working on the locked car, the fellow had blocked in Becky's truck, so we were ALL stuck right there... and a storm was rolling into the area. The forecast had predicted a partly cloudy, rain free night of camping. As quickly as we could load up the kids, we headed back to camp to add the rain flys to the tents. Rose and Ralph were waiting at the camp for us. The kids realllly really REALLY wanted to see one particular sight, so we piled into the vehicles and set out for some quick sight seeing.

The rain started in innocently enough. Sporadic sprinkles. We got back to camp and were trying to decide if we wanted to wait out the rain to fix hot dogs, or go out to eat. The rain picked up the pace. With ZERO cell service, we couldn't look at radar, or call anyone to check for us. It was decided we would go out to eat. The rains decided that since we were all in our vehicles anyway... it was OK to let loose the heavens. It rained so hard we could NOT see to drive. One of the few times in our marriage Tom did more than slow down for such rain... he actually pulled over to the roadside. It came down in barrels. We figured we would eat quickly, then head back to camp to assess whether we would break camp, or stay the night.
   The nearest restaurant had upped its reputation over the years, and we were at prime time Saturday night... a line out the door and around the building. Mom and Ralph wanted to get back on the road, so we had fast food for supper instead of the restaurant. The sky was clearing as we got back into the vehicles and headed our separate ways. Back at camp, we had to get the wood we had gathered earlier out of the Excursion, no matter whether we stayed or not.
  Apparently, one should make a basic choice of camp sites based on more than finding two sites together. Becky's campsite was better drained... as all the water in the campground ran down a little channel we had not previously noted... forming a stream that flowed nicely along the slope into the flat area. Its progress was impeded only slightly by our tent. The tent with all the bedding in it.
The bedding that was sodden in its attempt to soak up the three or four inches of water the tent had valiantly stopped from escaping.

   Yikes. It was a slopping wet mess. The kids, impervious as kids are to the troubles of adults, were begging to light the campfire and have their s'mores and cocoa! We began traipsing the wet bedding over to the picnic tables and across the cars, hoping to drain some of the water off before packing up. Becky's tent had stayed somewhat dryer. Tom dumped out the accumulated water, and parked that wet tent up by the road, where it was also used to drip 'dry' the bedding. We began sorting out what items should go to which vehicle in our transferring of children. I found we had TWO completely dry sleeping bags that had been missed in the initial unloading of the car, as well as two comforters sealed in a vacuum space saver bag. With a bit of discussion, it was decided we would stay.

The s'mores and cocoa were made, and more hot dogs consumed. We sat around the campfire visiting as the kids played king of the hill and ran through the twilight.

  Becky and her kids made do with her slightly damp bedding, plus one of the dry comforters. Alana and Nickole shared Tom's multi-layer sleeping bag, spread flat. Its built in sheet and coverlet was over them. Connor used the other dry sleeping bag in an extra hammock that had somehow been taken along. Tom used his hammock and the second dry comforter. I found a dry towel, and used it to cover myself on an inflatable pool float in the tent with Alana and Nickole.

About 3:15, Becky and I emerged simultaneously from our separate tents, in need of  bush to water. The sky overhead was full of bright stars, but all around the patch of bright sky was flashes of lightening and distant thunder. It was on all sides. We figured we would ask Mr C for his opinion... and woke him up. His opinion agreed with ours. It was better to pack in the dark under a clear sky, than wait and see if it was actually going to rain. The vehicles were packed, with a bit help from sleepy children.
We stopped for coffee at the nearest convenience store... and then hugged one another goodbye. Not 10 minutes later, the skies opened up again.  Breaking camp at 3:30 in the morning was a spot-on good call.
Now, I am back to the house washing lots of bedding and such in our wonderful new washing machine. I am so thankful for its extra large capacity!
Did I mention we got to visit a tarantula?
Boy, do we know how to have a fun camping trip!

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