I can’t wait for camping!
The weather is starting to warm up, the ground is hopefully going to start drying soon and May long weekend is just around the corner!
We had a good dose of the campsite over the Easter weekend. We went out for one day and stayed the night. Our friends, who are made of stronger stuff than us, stayed out over the entire weekend in the snow, slush and overnight chill.
Then again, they have solar panels, a generator, and a hard body trailer.
We have two batteries that started charging the day before we went to the site (they ended up only being charged to half-power – we were a little worried about that for the cold night ahead, so we ended up borrowing our friend’s generator to charge it a wee bit more).
I love that we camp with these neighbours of ours. I’ve known them since high school and they are the most giving, friendly and down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet.
And they are handy to know when you’re out camping and you need a hand with the battery. Or the poop chute (the trailer’s – not mine personally). And emptying the water tank. And winterizing your trailer. And summerizing your trailer. And when the fridge isn’t working. And when the stove isn’t working. And when you need to fix a leak in the ceiling. And when you need a hand with the awning. And when you forget dish soap, bread, margarita mix, milk, cheese, vodka, BBQ utensils, bug spray, sunscreen, and plastic bags…
But when they need wine; they come to me.
We also have a hard body trailer with two ends that fold down where our beds are. Makes for a chilly night with only mesh and canvas around you.
And at our site, the water is turned off during the winter season. So not only do we camp without electricity or plumbing, but when the water is unavailable, that makes for one more thing you have to haul in and work around.
All reasons why we don’t camp in the winter. Oh and also because it’s cold.
But when the sun is shining, the weather is hot and the beer is cold, it is a fabulous time.
I’m hoping this year we have a better time with our camping experiences than we have in the past though.
You know how women forget the pain of labour and childbirth just to do it all over again and have more babies?
I think that applies to me in many ways. Or maybe it’s just the wine killing off my brain cells so I don’t really remember how much work camping really is.
But every year around this time, I get so excited to head out with my boys and have fun.
I just hope the elements cooperate with us. And by that, I don’t just mean I want dry hot weather.
Let me give you a rundown of why the thought of us Pigeons camping this year might not make us the brightest stars in the sky. Seriously – I think the universe might be trying to tell us something about our camping plans – you be the judge:
We had just bought a new tent trailer (new for us – I think it was from 1994). It was our first weekend trying it out. And not only did it snow that weekend, but a tree fell on our tent trailer. I kid you not. I wish I had the photo to show you. I’ll try and dig it up and post it. We are so lucky no one was hurt! Of course the trailer was fine, we were fine – scarred emotionally and mentally, but fine.
The following year we camped with friends in tornado fricking alley or something. We were in some wind tunnel that was fine during the day, but once night-time hit, the wind picked up and blew everything in our campsite around and actually tore our awning. Argh.
Then we had a couple of quiet years where our biggest worries were muddy children, wet children, tired children, cranky and hungry children, etc., etc.
We ended up buying a newer trailer right before we got our permanent site by our high school friends. It’s the same one I talked about before – the hybrid. Great little unit.
In 2008 we finally got a spot by our friends that we wanted and were on the waiting list for. It was great. Shaded by lots of trees, close to friends, close to the park… and then a tree fell on our trailer. Again. Again no one was hurt, but I do NOT sleep well in that trailer now knowing that I’m surrounded by these trees and the only thing protecting me from them falling on me at any moment is a flimsy piece of canvas!
Then in 2009 we had such a horrible incident, that my kids are still scarred mentally. We had what some people are calling a rolling tornado. Some have called it a downburst or microburst.
All I know is that it was dark and scary as hell. Hubby and the boys had gone to bed and I was up with three friends around the fire at my friend Barb’s site. It had been an incredibly hot day on the August long weekend. So when the breeze picked up a bit, it was definitely welcomed by everyone with me. I could see lightning in the distance and it was an impressive light show. It was around midnight and the wind picked up quite a bit. We thought, ‘oh, here comes the thunderstorm’ and started packing away the lawn chairs. and then all of a sudden the wind was screaming through the campsite and hail stones as big as golf balls were pelting us. We tried to hide under the shelter at the fire pit, but the hail was coming down so hard it was bouncing off the ground and hitting us as high up as our thighs and waists. We decided to make a run for it to Barb’s trailer – a distance of about ten feet. We were in the trailer with windows and vents smashing around us.
All I could think of was hubby and the kids in our trailer, probably frantic with worry over me just as I was scared for all of them. My friend Scott wouldn’t let me leave the trailer until the storm passed. I remember looking at Barb, and seeing the fear in her eyes. I can only imagine what she saw in my face when she looked at me. We all stood in a circle, hugging each other, trying to remain calm as all hell broke loose outside that little trailer.
As soon as the hail stopped, I ran towards my trailer with Scott – all the time worried that this storm wasn’t yet over.
I climbed inside our trailer and found hubby and the boys crowded around our kitchen table – the one place they could all sit where it was protected from trees and hail. Jason had woken everyone and moved them to the table once the storm hit.
We couldn’t decide whether to stay and have another storm hit, or go and get caught in a tornado (or whatever the hell that was) on the highway.
We stayed. And we didn’t sleep at all that night.
The next day, our site was carpeted with fallen branches and leaves. We walked around the entire campsite and to this day I can’t believe there were no serious injuries…
And then, last year guess what? We were at our site; Jay was working so it was just me and the boys.
Tornado warning. At the time we were told that a tornado had touched down about half an hour away from us and it was apparently heading towards us…
Jason and I were on the cell phone a LOT that afternoon. And when the boys heard this, they snapped.
I ended up leaving the site and driving to a town about 15 minutes away with three hysterical boys. Jason met us and we had dinner in town and after a couple of hours we went back to our trailer.
It was a tense summer for the boys. They were on the edge a lot last year.
Then over the August long weekend, we took the van, packed a tent and drove off to Pemberton for Jason’s family reunion.
We had a great time travelling out there. The boys were fantastic on that long trek.
We made excellent time and the day we were driving down that winding road off the mountain and just about into Pemberton, we decided to turn off the IPod for a bit and catch some radio news and music.
The first thing we heard was something about a mudslide just north of Pemberton.
We arrived at the farm and all afternoon the family discussed the mudslide and if we would be evacuated.
This talk was overheard by our boys and they started to freak. Especially after what they had been through already.
We set up the tent and decided to play things as they came to us.
By midnight, we saw the flashing lights coming down the road. The police came to inform us that we had to leave. Pressure was building in the creek from debris that had built up from the slide. Who knew when all that water would burst through?
We still weren’t too concerned – even if the water broke through, we figures we would still have a couple of hours before anything reached us. Plenty of time to get out harm’s way.
But isn’t that what they usually think in all those disaster flicks? And we the audience just roll our eyes and yell at the movie screen…
What really got to me and Jason was when an official said that we didn’t have to leave, but they had the right to take our children and evacuate them.
Discussion time was over. We woke the boys, packed them in the van and left everything behind to begin our ascent into Whistler for a (VERY EXPENSIVE) night’s stay in a hotel. And if we thought the boys were hysterical before bedtime, try waking them up after midnight and explaining that they should be calm and have nothing to worry about, but we need to leave as soon as possible….
So by now maybe you’re thinking I really am a can short of a six pack for wanting to head out again back to nature where the boys get to ride bikes all day long, take lazy raft rides down the river, meet up with friends and have epic play battles at the nearby park…
Maybe I am crazy as a loon to want to go out camping – and actually be excited for the coming season…
One thing is for sure – it won’t be boring!