If you've read my blog in the past, you know how much I love to go camping. When the weather is hot and muggy like it's been here in my corner of the world lately, there's nothing quite like pulling a lounge chair out under a big ol' tree and stretching out with a cold glass of tea, knitting in your lap, and a new audiobook on the Zune (Microsoft's version of the iPod).
And that, friends, is how I spent last weekend. It was just wonderful! I arrived at the campground around 8:30 Thursday morning, set up my tent and got everything placed inside. After a refreshing shower I was ready to relax. The weather was much cooler than in town, and my campsite was well shaded with big beautiful trees.
On Friday morning Mom and Dad came to visit me and took me to lunch at a little family-owned restaurant about 5 miles from the campground. They had slow-cooked baby back ribs which looked wonderful, and I had a hamburger steak with onions and green peppers. After a little ride through the countryside (Daddy always has to take "the road less traveled"....*LOL*), we went back to the campsite to visit awhile and enjoy the cooler fresh mountain air.
Later that afternoon as I lounged and knitted, campers began to arrive. The peace and quiet of the campground soon was broken by the shrieks and whoops of LOTS of small children. I quickly realized that the campers across from me and beside me were apparently all camping together. As nearly as I could tell, it appeared that at least four (if not five) of the sites were all sharing their camping experience for the weekend. When I say LOTS of small children, that's what I mean....LOTS. It was a little like trying to count minnows in a pond, but there must have been at least eight small children and five pre-teeners.
And they were loud. Oh, man, were they ever loud. Though I'd been knitting and enjoying birdsong, I soon gave up and plugged my Zune earbuds in to try to drown out the racket. Late that night, as the grownups and kids gathered around the campfire next door, yelling and laughing loudly until very, very late that night I found myself hoping that the weatherman was right in forecasting RAIN for the next day. That way, at least the noisy campers might have to stay inside, muffling the noise. How many tent campers do you know that hope for rain? *LOL*
As it happened, I got the rain I'd hoped for. I sat in the shelter of my tent with the door unzipped, knitting and watching the rain. It was very soothing and made me feel dozey and lazy. For lunch, I treated myself to a trip to a local legend, the Dip Dog Stand. I'd heard about Dip Dogs for years but had never had the opportunity to try one. The two items I'd heard the most about were the Dip Dog and their onion rings. So, that's what I ordered, and it was very good. Next time I think I'll skip the onion rings; they were really good, but I don't eat fried food very often so that was a little too much for me. Instead I'll order two Dip Dogs. What's a Dip Dog, you ask? Imagine a corn dog, but instead of the corn bread-type wrapping there's a delicious flour batter, deep-fried. The dog is served with mustard. When you bite into it, there's a satisfying crunch from the fried batter and the tangy taste of the mustard. It makes my mouth water a little to think about it. Maybe it's good that I don't live near the Dip Dog Stand. :-)
By the time I got back to the campground, the rain had subsided and I was able to sit outside in my lounge and knit and listen to more of my audiobooks. I finished "Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes" (a funny tale about three Southern belles seeking revenge against their cheating husbands) and started "The Lovely Bones". I know that movie took some criticism, but I actually liked it. I'm enjoying the book even more.
Though I usually retire very early while camping (or while not camping, for that matter), I didn't see any reason to go in until after dark, since the kids from the surrounding sites were out in force. As darkness fell and the other campers began to scatter to their respective sites, I went in the tent. On my way in, I ran my hand across the dry nylon and thought, "Oh good, everything's nice and dry, so I should be able to pack up pretty early tomorrow."
Wrong. Not fifteen minutes after I'd gone inside, I heard the distant rumble of thunder. The storm came quickly, bringing one of the worst lightning storms I've seen this season. Rain fell like water out of a bucket for awhile, then settled into a steady rainstorm that must have lasted a good while. I can't tell you when it stopped, because nothing lulls me to sleep quicker than the sound of rain on a tent. :-)
Sunday morning the trees were still dripping with the rain from the night before. The humidity level was really high, making it impossible to get the tent dried off enough to pack it up. Luckily, it didn't leak, so everything inside it (including me!) stayed nice and dry. As soon as I realized I wasn't going to be able to get the tent dry by the 2:00 pm checkout time, I packed the car, then rolled the tent and ground tarps up (wet....*ick*) into big trash bags so that I could haul them without having water puddle up in the car.
When I got everything into the car, I checked out and started home. When I got back to a cellphone signal (did I mention that cell phones do not get a signal in the campground? Just another bonus. *L*), I called Mom and Dad to ask if I could borrow a corner of their yard to pitch my tent to leave it up long enough to dry it out.
After I'd set it up and they put my ground tarps over their clothesline to dry, I made my way home, unpacked the rest of the things from the car, took a shower and collapsed into the recliner for the rest of the afternoon. As much as I love my camping weekends, it's always nice to get home again.
After work Monday I went to Mom and Dad's and retrieved my then-dry tent and tarps. As an apartment dweller, I'm especially grateful to them for allowing me to do that. It would be really difficult for me to get everything dried out by stretching it over shower rods and such!
And so ends another camping adventure. I finished knitting a pair of socks, listened to one whole audiobook and most of another one, met some really nice campers, tolerated some really noisy ones, and met lots of wonderful camper doggies. I enjoyed two relaxing thunderstorms, ate my first Dip Dog, and inadvertently fed a few mosquitoes.
All in all, a great weekend.