Sunday, June 22, 2008

Getting Acquainted

Location: Saylorville Lake, Cherry Glen campground, Site #53
Dates: June 20-22, 2008
Camping with: GONGS families: 3 tents, 2 campers
Wisdom gained: Dressing wobbly toddlers in light-weight pants instead of shorts saves on bloody knees (sort-of).

The kids were SOOOO excited to finally go camping! Our friends who recently moved to Minnesota were joining us. There were 10 kids ages 1-8 (9 boys, 1 girl...). Lots of fun and dirt to be had!

Jay had to work very late Friday (moving computer equipment back into their office after the threat of major flooding) so I was on my own for getting settled, dinner and bedtime. [Jay came over lunch to actually haul the camper and level it - I'm not ready to try backing it yet]

The grill set up easily on its outside mount and I liked the quick-connect hose. We had electric at our site so we could easily run our fantastic fan, fridge, lights and our son's bedtime music.

It started to rain just as dinner was ready. I had to quickly set up the table and get the boys inside. The boys were filthy from the park and neither wanted to sit still for dinner. I was having a tough time being OK with dirty hands and bodies all over our new upholstery. Argh!

A quick call went out to Jay asking him to bring a few things when he finally came out - including the booster chair for our youngest and a scooter for our oldest (some of the other boys had them).

We loved our shady site and the location on the edge of the campground. It was one of the more private sections of sites.

We skipped filling our water tank, but it was easy to manage with our water jug and a spicket just across the road.

OK - I must eat my words about the freezer. Well, I had to eat my words because our supper was too frozen to eat! I put our brats and breakfast sausage in the freezer compartment thinking, they probably won't really freeze in there, but at least they'll be kept very cold. Well... everything froze SOLID. My confidence in the refrigerator climbed and I learned my lesson.

Jay decided to go purchase steaks instead of waiting for things to thaw out. Off the men went to purchase meat and beer... Upon grilling the steaks, Jay decided he despises the grill that came with the camper. It might look cool (stainless), but he prefers his Weber Q grill. Hmm...

We had a very brazen raccoon or two working our group's campsites: climbing on trucks to get to garbage bags that were void of food, showing up in daylight while our campsite was occupied, etc. Saturday night topped it, though.

All 10 adults were sitting around the campfire - and we weren't quiet. Spencer was sitting at the end of the picnic table rocking his daughter. In one hand he held a fat stick that the boys had found while exploring the flooded area by the lake. Suddenly we heard a loud THUD followed by, "Got 'em!"

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a raccoon slinking along the ground under a car and away.

The crazy raccoon had climbed up on the table and gotten into a soft-sided beverage cooler at the other end of the table. Spencer turned, whopped him between the eyes with the stick, and returned to the conversation - without waking his daughter! The raccoon waited until after we were in bed to return again. We may have to have the stick bronzed and mounted for him!

[After watching our friends work so hard to put away their pop-up tent camper, we were again thankful for the ease of the Chalet. It may be smaller with a little less convenient storage, but it is simpler.]

In all, a successful weekend with friends. Camping was easier this year than last (and not just because we were in a camper). All of the kids are now walking and a bit more self-reliant. They were all (OK - with the exception maybe of our princess) so excited to be together and to be camping. Can't wait until next year!

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