Sunday, August 21, 2011

1st Family Camping Trip

If you ask John, he would say that our first camping trip as a family was a complete disaster.  I think maybe it wasn't one giant disaster but more of several little ones combined with bad circumstances and of course, a cranky toddler.  Looking back at the pictures, we certainly had our "good" moments. We, and when I say "we" I really mean mostly John,  had so many grand ideas about what our first camping trip would be like.  John was soooo looking forward to it.  In the end, I think we may have to wait another year before attempting it again.  I guess the hubby is going to have to find a camping buddy or go by himself to satisfy his need to be outdoors for now.  One day, we will have great camping memories as a family.  This is how our day/evening went:
John and I had casually talked about the idea of taking the boys camping for the first time.  It seemed the weather had finally cooled down a little and John had a nice stretch off from work.  We discussed possibly going on Tuesday because the weather looked like it would work out for us then.  We planned to camp of course, but also bike, hike, and swim at the beach. So when Tuesday morning rolled around and it was raining outside we had to decide if we should risk it or not. Meanwhile I took the boys to the doctor's office for Ethan's 6 month check up and then came home and made some lunch. By 1:00 when we put the boys down for a nap, the weather looked like it might clear up.  As we lay on the couch, where I had become increasingly unmotivated to do anything, we decided OK, lets do it.  I ran to the grocery store while John started getting the camping gear together.  Four hours later we are in the car packed to the brim with cranky boys and (I hate to admit it) a cranky mom.
Packed and loaded, we headed to the lake but on the way there our bike rack slipped and one of the bikes started dragging on the pavement as we drove down the road.  Awesome. Unbeknownst to us, the road managed to burn a hole straight through the tire.
We thought, maybe if we just air it up it will be ok.  Extrememly low on gas anyway, we had to go out of our way to stop at a gas station.  After filling up we drove by the air machine - $1.00 to use it!  John was livid - no way was he going to pay a dollar for 40psi.  Really? What are we going to do - just spend the money and get it done right?  John - "surely someone has a pump at the campsite."  So on we go.  As we crossed the dam at Hilsdale lake we noticed only one boat on the water.  The weather turned out to be fantastic so where were all the boats and people? We got our answer when we pulled up to the entrance to the park.
Apparently there was a toxic amount of Blue-Green Algae in the lake so we would not be going swimming. So to recap, we now cannot go biking and we also cannot go swimming.  Hmmm.... We're here though so let's make the best of it.  We self pay our $12.50 for the night and go in search of a campsite.  There are about 4 other people in the entire park there, three of which were in campers and one in a tent at the utility sites.  In the "primitive" camp site area which is where we were headed, there was no one.  We certainly got a great site given our selection.
The next few hours were actually quite nice.  Well aside from the fact that John drove back to the gas station, paid the whopping $1.00 to air up the bike tire only to discover it had a hole in it.  But he wasn't giving up yet, he went to the three motor homes and asked if they had a pump or a portable air compresser.  None of them did. He found it very hard to belive that none of those motor homes had an air compressor.  Oh well. 
John got to show Aaron how to put the tent up, and Ethan (as usual) was as content as could be in either the carrier, on the ground on a blanket or in the bumbo.  Then John got a fire going and we cooked hot dogs and corn over the fire for dinner.  After going to a nearby playground for a while and helping Aaron ride his bike around, we make S'mores because what camp out is complete without those?  Good thing there was no hitch with that or I would have been done! : ) The boys actually went to sleep decently and sweetly slept next to each other while John and I sat by the fire and watched the moon rise.







The evening was looking up.  We were finally relaxed and having a good time.  John and I discussed our plans for the morning.  Breakfast, play around the campsite, go on a hike, maybe stay for lunch then pack up.  As we talked, Aaron increasingly coughed and sniffled...  Out of wood to burn and with nothing else to do, we turned in around 11:00pm.  Shortly after laying down, Aaron sat up, WIDE awake.  So awake in fact that he started babbling about random stuff.  His nose was running like a faucet.  He kept saying "bug - go!" This is a phrase that his speach therapist taught him when we saw a fly buzzing around the last time she was over.  Now everytime he sees a bug he tells it to go.  It was cute at first but we were tired and it got old.  By midnight he was still wide awake only now it was evident that he didn't feel well and he had a fever.  He switched from happy and talkitive to cranky and whiny. 

We switched postions multiple times as John and I took turns trying to comfort him.  Ethan slept through it all.  Finally, close to 2am, we decided to call it a night and head home.  Yes.  We packed up our whole campsite in the dark and took the boys home.  Aaron whined/cried all the way home.  As soon as his head hit his pillow in his own bed, he was out and slept until 10:00am the next morning. We were tired, bummed, and disapointed to say the least.  I guess it was destined not to work out from the moment we packed up the car. 

Aaron is feeling better now.  The time we spent before bed that night was actually pretty fun.  Maybe a backyard camp out would be better next time.  At least we could save the $12.50 and the hassle of packing up a campsite in the middle of the night.  Better luck next time!

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