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Experiences You’d Just as Soon Not Have No.2

Posted by Sue on September 16, 2008 in Life |

I briefly mentioned this yesterday so decided to let it all out here. As most of you know, I was raised a town kid. I had parents who, however, liked to camp. My grandparents on my fathers' side of the family were great out-doors-people, even though they, too, were townies. My grandfather had a nice boat – big enough to water ski behind. He loved to fish and when I was very small they owned a cabin on one of the Iowa Great Lakes. (To those of you who don't know, that's what we call the Big Spirit Lake, Little Spirit Lake, Lake Okoboji complex.) Later in life, when I was a teenager, my grandparents retired and actually bought a resort on one of the lakes and had cabins, rooms, and a bait / tackle / snack shop – right on the lake's edge. It was fabulous fun.

As I was growing up, my parents would try various camping adventures. We did the Grand Tetons in Wyoming… in our station wagon. Every night we would empty all the camping supplies from the back of the car, pile them up under a tarp (like that was gonna stop a bear) and I would stretch out across the front seat and my parents would sleep in the back – closing themselves off with the curtains my mother made.

One year we rented a fold-out camper. That was fun. Every night was an adventure wondering if dad was going to remember how to put it up.

One year my grandparents loaned us their pull-along camper. They even loaned us the pickup to pull it. That was okay, except the truck only had room in the front seat for my parents. It makes me wonder what kind of safety rules we would be breaking now to know that I was in the back of the pickup, under a topper, with no air circulation, in the heat, on a rubber pad… basically, rolling around back there like a pinball. When I wanted to go to the bathroom, I would have to beat on the window in-between as hard as I could, then motion with my hands as the window in the topper didn't slide open, as some do. Fun times, I tell ya.

When I was old enough I became a Bluebird. The early stages of becoming a Camp Fire Girl. Then we moved and the area didn't have Camp Fire Girls, only Girl Scouts. So I became a Girl Scout. Part of being a GS was camping. We tried at least once every summer to go on a camping trip. I only went on one, but it was memorable. We camped in tents, on a slope near a creek in the woods of a lovely state park. It was great until about 1 a.m. when the skies opened and I remember waking to a torrent of water washing everything out of our tent and down to the creek… including all of us scouts! Some girls had rubber air mattresses to sleep on, and they were literally being floated out of their tents. For some reason we were all camping with our tents going up and down the slope, so the rain was running down the slope and right through all of our tents. Lots of screaming ensued. Looking back at it, I'm amazed the leaders were able to be as calm as they were.

Some girls went up and spent part of the night in the concrete public restroom. I started out there, then a few of us ended up in the leaders' cars. It was a long, cold, wet night. The next day the sun shone brightly as if nothing had happened, but the destruction around the campsite was obvious. Nothing like trying to haul home wet tents and sleeping bags and clothes. Ugh. The trip was cut short and we were dumped on our parents' doorsteps… not a bunch of happy campers.

We're going to try it again next weekend. Hubs, the RV, the motorcycle and me. Son is racing on Saturday night. We're going to try and camp out Friday and Saturday. It appears the critter-babysitter (youngest daughter) is going to be out of town Saturday night, so Hubs devised a plan where we will ride the motorcycle home on Saturday night to take care of them. Once again, we're going to try and go without the MIL. It isn't supposed to rain and is supposed to be fairly nice and warm. Keep your fingers crossed!

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