We live in the Northwest, the land of Starbucks, sparkly vampires, and what's that wet stuff? Oh yeah, rain. So what is it that makes us continually believe that camping is something we should be doing? Out there. In the rain.
Well, for whatever reason, we tried it again this Memorial Weekend, as we huddled close to the campfire trying to stay dry in our parkas, making s'mores and pretended everything was as it should be. But our teeth chattered and the kids were covered in mud. Camping in the Northwest...YAY!
We gave up by Sunday morning, packing up and heading for home, where we could be safe and warm and dry. Instead of a campfire, we had family movie night. And instead of marshmallows, we had Healthy Pop microwave popcorn.
This has been a pattern for us, our camping war stories. I did a post about a year ago, called "Why I'll Never Be Confused With Mother Nature" and it seemed appropriate to share it again, since it seems I'm stuck in some sort of strange time-continuum, doomed to repeat these patterns over and over again...like some freaky version of the movie Groundhog's Day. On crack.
So here's a little trip down camping-memory-lane:
Camping is a summer pastime for many families. It’s a way to get away from it all, to explore the outdoors, to challenge yourself. It’s rugged, manly, tough.
Sorry, not me. I’m not your typical “outdoorsy” girl. I’m more...indoorsy. Or, your typical vacation-at-a-resort kind of gal. You know, the kind where they bring you drinks at the pool with foofy little umbrellas.
But over the years I’ve given camping the good old college try, it wasn’t my fault that the trips didn’t go particularly well:
1998: We packed up our SUV and drove six hours (with a car sick dog yacking all the way) to tent camp on the Oregon Coast. Two nights later, heavy rain storms soaked our tent to the point of flooding, and my husband packs everything up in the dark while my five-year-old son and I huddle inside the car. My husband had to drive the entire way home in just his t-shirt, underwear, and hiking boots because everything, including what he was wearing, was soaked. We stopped everywhere but couldn’t find a single hotel vacancy along the way. We finally had to wake his brother in Portland at 2 in the morning for a place to sleep. That. Was. Awesome!
1999: A second attempt at tent camping, this time closer to home, less than an hour away. After unrolling our tent we realized that it was damaged (probably from being packed in the dark during a rain storm) and had to drive to the nearest town to buy a replacement. But eventually we had our home-away-from-home. We stayed up late roasting marshmallows and hanging out by the fire with friends, only to realize in the middle of the night that our son (who was only six at the time) doesn’t stomach marshmallows very well. We woke to find him puking all over us...and our sleeping bags! Needless to say we abandoned our campsite sometime after midnight to head for home, leaving everything where it was. My husband returned the following morning to gather the evidence.
2000: We’ve grown wiser by this point, and have decided to graduate to rental houses at the lake. No more tent camping for us! Unfortunately, this trip fared no better. This one could have actually been written for a version of the “Griswold’s Family Vacation”. During the night, a summer windstorm frees one of our jetskis, which apparently we haven’t secured well enough to the dock, and we wake to find it missing. My husband and his brother spend the day searching the lake, only to eventually find it damaged and upside down in the water (oh, and did I mention that it was borrowed?). And to top it off, my son’s stomach apparently doesn’t react well to licorice and Oreos either, creating something black and tarlike that does NOT come out of rental house carpet.
So, it’s not that we’ve given up on summer getaways, or on the great outdoors. I’m nothing if not persistent. Only now we do it in a completely different fashion. We’ve traded in tents and rentals for a state-of-the-art camping trailer, complete with A/C, flat screen TV, shower, microwave, and an espresso maker.
I know what I am, I understand the kids I’ve created (and their sensitive stomachs), and I’m okay with that. So, this summer we’ll be camping, if you can call it that. And we’ll be building campfires and roasting marshmallows. But I’ll also be flat ironing my hair, drinking my latte, and using my satellite card to check email on my laptop.
What about you, any good/bad/ugly vacation stories???