The Most Rockingest Camping Weekend Ever.

Okay, I don’t even know how to begin telling you about all the things that went wrong on our weekend camping trip. Numbered list form sounds good:

  1. I left the refrigerator door ajar while packing. Nobody caught it. That meant for 3.5 hours the eggs, the hamburger meat we’d planned to have for supper, the chicken salad I’d fixed for Saturday, the sausage, the milk, AND the cheese were exposed to temperatures approaching or exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, the container of watermelon that Greg had cut just before leaving was lying not on the shelf in the refrigerator where I had placed it, but on the floor, with spillage. Significant spillage. If this has never happened to you, trust me when I tell you that as watermelon juice dries, it becomes very, very sticky. And did I mention the roads on the way to the campground were very windy? Oh yes, lots of good curves. Lots of opportunity for the watermelon to go skating on the linoleum.
  2. When we got to the campground (but before discovering the spillage) Greg got to haul that big ol’ camper twice around the very uneven, unmarked, fairly tight dirt roads that were not drawn even close to scale on the campground map, looking for our site.
  3. When we did find our site, thanks to help from a staff member, we realized the Big Honking Fifth-Wheel Next Door was encroaching on about half of it. The owners of the Big Honking Fifth-Wheel were, of course, absent.
  4. We were able to back the trailer in, but thanks to said encroachment, our power cord wouldn’t reach our pedestal. This led to staff members golf-carting back and forth like Keystone Kops for a good twenty minutes, though my sense of time may be off – I was inside the trailer.
  5. Cleaning up the watermelon.
  6. The owners of the Big Honking Fifth-Wheel Next Door arrived from the river and offered to let us borrow their 30-amp extension cord so they wouldn’t have to move. I understand an extension cord has been on Greg’s Short List of Things to Buy. It is now on the Very Short List of Things to Buy.
  7. When the owner of the Big Honking Fifth-Wheel Next Door, in offering to help us set up, attempted to plug our camper in via the extension cord, he got a shock. The campground owner went to get supplies to ground the pedestal…during which time we still did not have power, and therefore, still had no air-conditioning. Me? I was still inside cleaning up.
  8. We had the good fortune of going to the grocery store to replace everything I’d lost. Grocery stores in Van Buren, Missouri are small and are stocked in accordance with their size. By this time we had decided we needed not one, but two packages of cookies. Cookies, you may remember from number 1, were not on our original inventory. THEY WERE NOW.
  9. Upon returning to the camper, I pulled a 6-pack of bottled beer from the fridge and the bottom of the carton fell out. So did the bottles of beer – on my feet. Only one bottle broke. See #5. Replace the word “watermelon” with the phrase “beer and shards of glass, including some but not all of the shards in my feet.”
  10. The next morning, Laurel stepped out of the camper to greet the day. As she was returning, she touched the door handle and was shocked. Oh good, electrical current running through the camper. Greg estimated it at about 40 V. “From experience,” he estimates this. Nice. Fed up, I hopped in the truck even before brushing my teeth (yum!) but after drinking coffee (even more yum!) and went to complain soundly to the lady in the office. There are few things I hate worse than being shocked, and I was not about to run the risk of it happening again. 
  11. The owners offered to move us from a water/electric site to a full hook-up site. The only one available, naturally, was right next to the office. The office, folks, is where all the traffic goes by. Do you know what kind of traffic you have at a campground set squarely on the Current River? Drunk traffic, that’s what kind. But what were we to do? We loaded up, packed up, and moved.
  12. Immediately upon hookup at the new site, we had sewer gas backing up into our trailer. No p-trap, yay! Our very own air-rottener. Greg fashioned a p-trap with our sewer hose and it helped eventually, but we were driven from the confines of our camper for awhile.
  13. That same day we went on our float. Within approximately 10 minutes of pushing off, we capsized and lost all our beer, all the kids’ drinks, and some of the floatation. We paddled faster and caught up with a couple of beers and a couple of the kids’ drinks, so all was not lost.

Go figure. 13 things went awry. That’s nearly enough to make one superstitious, right?

Don’t worry (you were worrying, right? No? Well fine, then). Not all was bad. On to the good things:

  1. The owners felt truly awful about all our troubles, so they gave us a) an upgrade to the kids’ wristbands so they could play all the mini-golf they liked; b) gem mining bags for the kids; c) 2 free nights at the campground, and d) a dozen free-range eggs.
  2. Laurel got to play Scrabble with the owners’ son, who is in college this year and is so into Scrabble he prints out lists of words to study. Also playing was the owner’s sister, who told the son he’d finally met his match in Laurel.
  3. We were right next to the office, yes, with the drunk traffic, yes, but that was also where all the action happened for the kids. Laurel and Ethan got to participate in games including the sundae relay at 10 a.m. They also got to go to the playground whenever they liked, pan for gems, and go on “hey-rides.”
  4. Being next to the office like that meant we had the best people-watching available in the campground. We sat out in our chairs and watched people for quite some time.
  5. The other people on the river the day we floated were tame, so the kids weren’t exposed to the worst of humanity (though I had fully prepared them to see men peeing off boats and tubes). I taught both of them how to steer a canoe.
  6. We went to the local burger and ice cream shack, where we inhaled loose meat burgers, fries, and vanilla shakes.
  7. We ate both bags of cookies. Almost. We finished them the night we got home.
  8. The weather. It was hot, but it was perfect. It really was…until we were on our way back and we drove into a line of very windy thunderstorms that made pulling the trailer interesting, to say the least.

So there you have it. Yes, maybe there were only 8 good things compared to the 13 bad, but you know…those 8 in the aggregate ended up being a whole lot bigger than the 13.

After all, nobody ever says, “Hey, remember that time we had that perfect vacation?” Stories like these are the kind that get cemented in the memory and told for years to come.

A couple of photos:

gem mining medal winners, taken with a fogged-up lens

Sorry. We were too busy dodging mishaps (not very well, I might add) to take many photos. We might have more later when we have the waterproof throw-away camera developed.

One thought on “The Most Rockingest Camping Weekend Ever.

  1. Cynthia Schon

    Wow! That’s a lot of action, both good & bad, for a relatively short trip! The last time we floated on the Current was a Tuesday, and it was so uncrowded we vowed that we would never do it on a weekend again.

    I am absolutely terrified of electric shocks (I had a very bad experience as a kid), so that whole situation would have just sent me over the edge!

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