It's so good to be home... again. Last Saturday night we got home from Washington, D.C., and then on Tuesday morning we shipped out to go camping.
If you can help it, I don't recommend scheduling back-to-back trips like this.
The stress might get to you and you'll find yourself up at 2:30 AM the morning before you leave watching dumb videos on YouTube and eating an entire bag of chocolate chips instead of packing.
In the spirit of last-minute camping prep, we waited until the day before we left to buy a camp stove. (In the past we've always bummed one off of our friends, but we figure since we're all old and mature now we should just buy one.)
Phillip found this $13 beauty on Craigslist:
|That's not rust, it's character.|
|50 years old, still works! (Not Phillip, the stove.)|
Phillip's laughing in this picture because everyone kept giving him grief about how ancient the stove was.
Our friends wanted to know if it was legal to use without wearing Larry Byrd basketball shorts and a pair of muttonchops. Also whether we'd tried to clean off the 1970s pancakes burned onto the bottom.
Some funny observations from the road:
First, this truck advertising a certain brand of paint that shall not be named...
'Cover the Earth' with dripping blood-red paint? What kind of logo is that?
I wouldn't describe myself as an environmentalist but this ad actually made me feel guilty about having painted our house.
Maybe I could email the company with a new logo. I was thinking about this one:
What do you think?
I also saw, for the first time, a cell tower disguised to look like a tree.
I tried to get a picture but I'm too slow on the uptake. But I found a similar one on Flickr Creative Commons so you at least can visualize what it looked like:
|"I'm a tree, guys! Shut up, I am."|
photo courtesy of Kevin Stephenson
It was the most bizarre-looking thing you've ever seen. It was twice as tall as all the real trees around it, and it only had "leaves" on the top 15 feet of it.
I'm laughing about it as I type, just thinking about it.
Phillip and I have since added two more kids and we've never missed a campout, even if I was 7 months pregnant (did it!) or had a 6-month-old baby (also did it!)
Our families get along great but we always joke that we aren't allowed to talk to each other outside of our annual camping trip — which would be funny if it weren't practically true. Life just gets busy, and I apparently need to work on being a better friend.
When I say "It's not you, it's me," trust me: It's me.
If you haven't gone camping with friends before, it's awesome. You've got to do it. Your kids play together, you get to have some grown-up conversation, and if you forget something it's not a huge deal because maybe the other family brought it!
|Pretty sure my friend's husband is actually the Pied Piper.|
We were camping near the ocean so we visited a ranger-led talk on an ocean beach about sharks and seals. Here was the warning sign at the beach entrance:
|Yeah, it's a lot to read. Let me sum up: You're all going to die.|
|Not sure how helpful the binoculars are since I don't think she knows what a seal is.|
Every now and then a seal would surface 20 yards out, not far away from the swimmers. It was the coolest.
The next day we went kayaking and generally had a great time.
And for a perfect ending to the perfect trip, we got home to find that the toilet had been running for 3 days straight.