Monday, August 25, 2008

Camping Survival 101

Travis, Gail, and Betsy huddle around the campfire.

Chloe had lots of people to throw the frisbee for her.

Ali enjoyed getting into all kinds of mischief.

Roch, Kayla and Alexa planned a "buried treasure"adventure for the little kids.

Our "home away from home" for the weekend.

Whitney makes a "breakfast s'more" while Keith and Roch enjoy the camp coffee.

The beautiful St. Joe River - excellent for floating.

Okay, so I am prepared to admit that there are upsides to camping. I am even prepared to admit that it can be fun under ideal circumstances. This camping adventure on the St. Joe River near St. Maries Idaho was pretty much the best camping experience I have ever had. I could go on, but here are the highs and lows in order to keep this a reasonable length.

Let's start with the lows:

1. Our refrigerator breaking the morning we were supposed to leave. This led to a delayed arrival at our campsite. Fortunately there were still a couple good tent sites for our normal sized tents in comparison to the Mays and Bievers who basically set up personal retreat centers that they called tents, resulting in a bit of "tent envy".

2. Eating WAAAYY too much - the food was so good that there was no way to stick to Weight Watcher points. And I have to say Alexa B. has captured the best smore recipe ever!!!

3. By day four with 15 people, the Honey Bucket was a less than pleasant experience. This was probably the best port-a-potty experience I have ever had, too, but there really is no such thing as a pleasant port-a-potty. I won't go into details.

4. The flat tire on the Escape (company car) that resulted in a 2.5 hour wait at Les Schwab in St. Maries waiting for approval to get FOUR new tires because it's an "all-the-time" 4-wheel drive. Grrrr.....

And now the highs:

1. Camping with people you enjoy makes it better all around. We had good company, lots of laughs, fun with kids and dogs. This was the main reason to go camping afterall, and it fulfilled the "great company" requirement.

2. The campsite was AWESOME! Driving in to a beautiful, flat, well-kept camping area right next to the lazy St. Joe River that we didn't have to share with anyone but our group did convince me that it was better than camping in my backyard which I told everyone would just be easier than hauling all the stuff out to the middle of nowhere.

3. Floating the river on an air mattress with a cold drink was a blast. The St. Joe was made for white-water wimps like me, and I had an excellent time. I didn't get stuck in an eddy, fall off my floating device, or get a hole in it which would have meant walking back to camp. I chose not to go the second day, but it wasn't because I didn't have fun the first.

4. The electrical outlets and hot shower were definite bonuses. To be able to shower AND dry my hair made me happy!

5. Gail's organization and meal planning made it easy for all of us except Duane who insisted on a gourmet Mexican dinner that took hours to prepare and clean up. Keith and I did a pasta dinner with premade sauce, bread and salad and a breakfast that Keith cooked with fresh blueberry pancakes and bacon. Super easy. I began to think that with teamwork, it doesn't have to be a bigger job to go camping than staying home.

All in all, I would say that the highs WAY outdid the lows and I would even consider doing it again. But next year I think a taller tent, a double air mattress, a couple more plastic food crates, one more large cooler....... Oh, oh...... I think an "I told you so" might be coming my way....


At August 26, 2008 at 7:34 AM , Blogger chaff "4" said...

Looks like a fun trip

At August 26, 2008 at 10:51 AM , Blogger Robyn said...

Good for you! It looks like it was great. I love camping, miss the shower though.


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