Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Location: Cordele (GA) KOA, Site: 52

As we went south, we got to
experience Fall, again.
Spending your 7th birthday on the road all day doesn't sound like a ton of fun - unless Disney is eventually the destination...

The birthday boy's depiction is much better!
The kids traveled so well (left at 6:40am) and we stopped early (4pm), as planned, in Cordele, Georgia to give the kids a chance to run, cook a birthday dinner and stay for the night. We reserved our first KOA site (state parks all required 2 night min. on weekends) and are pleased to spend a night here.

Birthday Boy's Requested Menu: Mac & cheese, little smokies, juice boxes, baby carrots and a home-made cookie "cake" (baked before departure). Gourmet for any 7-year-old, I'm sure.

A-Wall Surprise

Location: Calvert City, Kentucky Site: BP back parking lot - between two semis.

We pulled in to a BP gas station lot at about 2am. I couldn't wait to get off the road after our encouter with Uncle Buck. I saw 5 more deer, road-side and countless road kill between Washington County, IL and Calvert City, Kentucky.

The BP had a sign posted indicating both semis and RVs were allowed to park there. Finally!

Jay was able to get the camper set up quickly (I LOVE our Chalet) and we carried the kids to bed. After a few "where are we?," "where are we going?" questions, and our promises that the heater would warm them soon, they drifted back to sleep.

So, where are we going? It's been a secret for so long... Our oldest has a November birthday and has been envious that we always camp for his brother's July birthday but we don't go camping for his (brrr...). So his parents schemed. We planned. We made reservations. And when our oldest woke this morning on his 7th birthday, we handed him a present: custom maps and a Birnbaum's kid's book.

And now the boys finally know! We're headed to Walt Disney World where we'll camp at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds. We'll be A-Wall 10 days, half on the road.

The birthday boy put it best, "This is something we ALL can enjoy!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meeting Uncle Buck

We departed on a long car trip after school today. Our children thought we were headed out for a long weekend camping trip. We drove and we drove.... We dodged their increasingly specific questions and they finally fell asleep about 5 hours into our trip.

In the middle of Illinois, about 11pm and just as I'd drifted off to sleep, something caused me to sit straight up. My eyes landed on a bulky pondering buck hesitating on the shoulder of the highway. Just as Jay said, "He's gonna go," that buck stuck out his tongue with forced determination and stepped forward toward our rig (a.k.a. Honda minivan and pull-behind Chalet camper).

I braced myself and listened for the impending THUD. Hearing nothing, I was surprised when Jay say, "We got 'em." He pulled over. Grabbing a head lamp, I jumped out and went to survey the damage.

Huh? I didn't see any damage - to the van or camper. I would have written Jay off as just over-tired except that a semi had pulled over behind us. I just stood and stared at the side of the camper. As Jay came around the van to check things out, it came to me - something was missing: the lift bar on the hydraulic lift for the camper roof was missing. Darn it! The brackets were there, set screws still intact, but no bar.

Turning on my heel I marched down the highway looking for the missing piece. The trucker met me part way," Is everyone OK?"

"Yeah - I'm just missing part of my camper. Did we actually hit it?" I asked.

"You got 'em. He's behind my truck a little. But be careful. He's still alive. He broke his rack and he's pretty pissed off. I don't want to go back there too close. He's huge."

Crack! The rustling beside us indicated the buck had moved back toward the corn field and was trying to get back over the barbed wire fence. The truck driver walked with me a few hundred yards and retrieved our twisted and bent lift bar from the middle of the right lane.

After learning the deer was likely only dazed, we were on our way again. And the kids never stirred. I hope we can set up the camper without that piece!
This lift bar SHOULD...
...look like the chrome bar
 pictured here.