Monday, June 15, 2009

Camping - take 3

Ever since our last camping trip in October, we have been looking forward to going again. Michelle (legally) K and I made reservations all the way back in February for a weekend in June at Pinegrove (19 miles from Flagstaff) and for a weekend in July at Houston - Mesa (North of Payson;) and this past weekend was the Pinegrove trip.

Now I know that there are still many people who are still stunned by the fact that I actually enjoy camping, and this was evidenced on Facebook when on Friday morning I posted my status as "Paige Howell Ramos is going camping...Yes, camping!" and I received the following responses:
- Now c'mon Paige. Let's not be telling stories! Let me guess, camping at a hotel?
- "roughing it" at the Marriott??? ;-)
- I think it means she's bringing a sleeping bag to sleep on the king sized bed! :P
- In a motel?
- You mean a place where there's no bathroom???
Funny friends, but who can blame them; me camping is STILL an idea that I'm not quite used to and yet I LOVE IT.

We were all very excited to be getting out of town and trying our hands at camping again. As is customary, we were running late (so I refer you back to my 100 things about me list - #58 " I HATE being late; though all too often I am.") We were supposed to meet at 10 called to change it to 1030 and then again to 1045 because we had to call in last minute Asthma meds for Nicky, who wasn't feeling well. Thankfully the Kalka's were easy going and very gracious about our delays, EVEN when we FINALLY arrived and announced that Luis had forgot to put ALL of our sweatshirts in the car and needed to return home (20-25 minutes; EACH WAY.) It was absolutely unavoidable as the temperature was expected to be about 39 degrees in the evening, so Mike and Luis went back to my house and me, Michelle, the kids and Hershey hung out outside Carl's Jr. awaiting their return. An hour later we were finally on our way. We stopped for lunch at Camp Verde and I think that we even commented on how smoothly things were going now (or at least I thought it.) Michelle and Luis switched places and Mike and I drove. We made it to BEAUTIFUL Pinegrove around 330 and proceeded to unload and set up. Everything was going well and so Michelle asked me to go with her to get some water. I agreed and she asked me to drive but when I went to look for my purse/keys I couldn't find them and began to panic. We realized that I had left my purse in Camp Verde when we had lunch. Michelle got the number and by the grace of God, they actually had my purse. I suppose that karmically this could be considered pay back for my frequent efforts to promote the greater good .
At 5 , me, Michelle and my girls hightailed it back to Camp Verde with Michelle at the wheel; because she was afraid for me to drive without my license considering the way my luck had been going. We played a few rounds of Six degrees of Kevin bacon to pass the time and then retrieved my purse and its contents, completely intact. I asked Jose (who had held my purse) if someone had turned it in and he told me that he had found it when he was cleaning up. I gave him $10 as a small token of my appreciation and bought some ice cream for my crew as a thank you for their company; and yet again headed back to Pinegrove with Michelle at the wheel.
By the time we got back it was 715 and Luis had our camp all set up and the grill ready to go. I prepared the corn and beans (and by prepared I mean boiled them;) and we sat down to eat sans the Coke Zero that Luis left at home - so that was 3; as Mike pointed out and we were hopeful that nothing else had been forgotten.

We finished dinner and had a wonderful evening. We sat around the fire making Smores with the kids and as is one of our traditions, I suggested that we go around our circle and tell something that we are thankful for (because I do believe that we always have something to be thankful for and should express our thanks every day.) Well I was of course thankful to have gotten my purse back, thakful to be camping with our extended family, and I had to give a GREAT big thank you to Michelle for driving me back and forth to Camp Verde. The others were thankful for family and food and then we got to Max (Michelle and Mike's son;) who said that he was thankful for Bacon and his family (exactly in that order.) We laughed and laughed until it was time for bed.

We got up and made breakfast and then Michelle and I did what any campers would do ~ we went to Walmart. OK, OK course I know that's not what ANY campers would do; but we had a coffee issue and by issue I mean that we were in dire need of coffee as our generator wasn't strong enough to power the coffee maker that we had brought; not to mention I still needed Coke Zero (or some diet, caffeinated beverage) and somehow we were also running low on plates, cups and water (and yes, we had been there less than 24 hours) and I was sure that we had brought more than enough of all 3 of those items, so don't ask me where they all disappeared to.
Michelle and I drove into Flagstaff and went to Walmart. We were scurrying (yes, I said scurrying;) through the store because we didn't want to waste too much time and just as we were grabbing a playground ball I stopped dead in my tracks and said "Oh my god; Michelle look." And standing right there in the Flagstaff Walmart were Darth Vader, Chewbacca, A Storm Trooper, An Imperial Pilot, Darth Maul, and Boba Fett. We couldn't believe our eyes. We had struck the Star Wars mother lode and we knew that Nicky and Max were going to be so disappointed that they had missed it; so we did what any good moms would do and we took pictures with them with our make up free, camping faces. (Hence no picutes are beinbg posted on the Bumpy Ride.) When we got back to camp we said "Guess who we ran into at Walmart?" And after everyone made their guesses we said "No, them; " and showed the pictures.

We thought that we would finally be able to get down to the business of relaxing, but alas it was lunchtime and children and husbands wanted to be fed. After lunch Michelle and I played Scrabble, and because I know that she would want me to tell you this and because she has every right to boast; I will publicly announce my defeat as she beat my butt by about 100 points and she then declined any other invitation to play Scrabble with me because she wanted to revel in her win. She did; however, let me teach her how to play backgammon.
Dinner time rolled around and at 8pm the campground was offering a program called "Bear facts" which Michelle and I got out of going to by pointing out that someone had to clean up the dinner stuff, so the guys opted to take the kids to "bear facts" ~ HALLELUJAH! I mean I don't love camping enough to have sat through a presentation like that; however, when they returned Mike and Luis informed us that in the course of the time that we had been there, we pretty much had done EVERYTHING you could possibly do to ATTRACT a bear. We had poured bacon grease on the ground, we had a barking dog and we had what sounded like our own snoring bear ~ Mike. Once this was explained I just had one thing to say "Nice knowing ya." I was slightly relieved to find out that the closest bear was spotted 2 miles away and that a bear hadn't come into the campground for 30 years - but hey; how lucky could I expect to get in one weekend? I had already gotten my lost purse back; so I thought we were bear bait for sure.
We awoke - THANKFULLY, Sunday morning; had a light breakfast and packed up for home. We were definitely sorry to be leaving the serenity of the pines, but reality called.
It's funny but as relaxing as it is; camping is A LOT of work; and somehow you don't seem to mind and it's all worth it because when you are able to relax and hang out, it is that many more times peaceful and relaxing than anywhere I've ever been.
"I'm hoping that our next trip will leave more time for fun and relaxation and less time for mishaps," said the Queen of MISHAPS. And yet mishaps included, it was still a GREAT trip all around.
Till next time...

1 comment:

Michelle said...

It was the BEST time - o Queen of Laughter - I think we laughed so hard we couldn't breathe at a few points - - my ribs still hurt Monday!! I can't wait till next time - and GREAT blog!! I love the "nice knowin ya!" I was in my tent, almost asleep, when I remembered you saying that, and I snickered to myself, bear-bait or not, it was funny!!!