Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Camping? Glamping? Cramping???

This past weekend, my wife and I did something we've been talking about doing for over two years.

We went camping.

For her it was an "adventure" and reminded her, a lot, of her days in the Army. For me, it was a good opportunity to test out some of the things we've had for an emergency (hurricane) and see how they do under practical conditions.

The week before, we started taking inventory of the things we already had that could be used for a camping trip (camp stove, lanterns, first aid kit, emergency radio, mini-generator) and making a list of things we needed to buy (tent, sleeping bags, mess kits).

With our gear all set, I picked my wife up from work on Friday and we headed about a half hour North to the campgrounds. To say the weather looked ominous would be a bit of an understatement. It was cloudy and windy. The forecast called for storms that night and into Saturday morning, but we were willing to give it a shot.

We had done a few "practice runs" at home, setting up the tent, so we had it pretty down pat. About a half hour was all it took for us to get the tent up and situated.

For food, we had brought some of our "hurricane chow" we got from Wise Foods. It's dehydrated and supposed to have a 25 year shelf life, so it's perfect for emergencies. For regular consumption, not so much. Anyway, I fired up the camp stove and started cooking (boiling water). The cheesy lasagna turned out just "o.k". I mean, it I could see it getting us through an emergency....but not something you really want to be eating unless you have to, if you know what I mean. 

As the sun went down, the wind picked up even more and it started raining. I think we hit the hay around 8:00pm, which was a good thing because at about 3:00 am, we both woke up to the howling wind and rain pelting our nylon abode. The wind was going pretty good and one side began to bow inwards, causing us enough concern that we stood and put our backs to it to make sure the poles didn't snap from the pressure. It was about that time that my wife decided that 'nature was calling (you might see where this is going). The restrooms were a couple hundred feet away, but she said she wasn't going out in that, so she decided to put a bucket we had brought to good use. I told her to just go outside, but she was having none of it. She did her business and put the lid on the bucket but, as you can make out from the picture above....we were on a slight slope. 

Guess where she put the bucket.

Guess what happened to the bucket and the lid when the wind gusted against that wall.

Guess who was madder than a hornet when he found himself standing in warm.....liquid.

'Nuff said.

Anyway, we cleaned up using some beach towels, put them in a garbage bag and decided to head for the car to ride out the storm. When we got in the car, the decision was made just to go home, get some sleep, wash the towels, and come back with some Clorox wipes.

When we returned, later that morning, I was expecting the worse. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised as the tent still stood and everything inside was safe and dry. After some cleanup I found that the bowing wall had slipped a stake, which is why it blew so badly in the wind. Unfortunately, our neighbors didn't fare near as well. Their tent had totally collapsed.

The rest of Saturday was beautiful, but still windy. We gave up on the emergency food and had lunch (and, later, dinner) at the little restaurant at the campground entrance. 
It was relaxing just sitting by the tent and basking in the sun. We had the radio on, then went into the tent to play cards. Even with a queen sized air mattress, we still had room to sit on camp chairs with a makeshift table between us. 

Later on we trekked over a small bridge to an area that I'm still not sure of its looked pretty cool, though, so some exploration was in order. 

Saturday night was much calmer.....but cold. After a great sunset, we got a fire going and hung out for a bit before turning in. 

I think it dipped into the upper 40s (cold for us Floridians) and some snuggling was in order (as if an excuse was needed :) ).

We packed things up on Sunday morning and headed home. Even though we had some trials it was, overall, a good time and we'll definitely be going back. The only thing is, though, we're not sure what we'll be calling it.....

Glamping? Glamorous Camping. No....not really, even though we weren't "roughing" it.

Cramping? Crappy Camping. Nah, it was still fun.

Gramping? Grumpy Camping. O.k. maybe a little bit, sure....

Maybe we'll just stick with plain, ole, camping.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The bucket tipped over - ugh!
That is cold for Florida.
The next day was beautiful, but Friday doesn't sound like it was fun.
By the way, my idea of camping is a three star hotel with continental breakfast. Yeah, I'm not much for the great outdoors.

Nick Wilford said...

The weather looks lovely in the pictures! Not much chance of camping at this time of year in Scotland, unless we wanted a tent full of snow. I was worried about where the bucket story was going... the last time we went camping was to a festival a couple of years ago, and none of the ladies wanted to use the campground facilities, so I was always having to "discreetly" slop out the bucket! Glad you did end up having a good time.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Did you get posting clearance on the bucket story? Hehe. You're wife is a good sport! And she's a sweetheart- I'd have made my poor husband exit the tent during the business doing. He's put up with a lot of insanity from me over the years. That really is true love.

Joanne said...

funny post and it sounded like you two enjoyed your "adventure". However, it does not sound like it will become a regular "thing". My idea of camping is a Holiday Inn Express (and they serve breakfast too) !

Lisa said...

Sounds like you guys did have the "adventure" as your wife called it. Great photos. Where was the camping ground? Looks like it was on a beach... I haven't camped in years...

~Sia McKye~ said...

All in all, it sounds like it was an enjoyable weekend. It's good to get away and the focus shifts to conversation and simple fun.

I haven't been camping in several years. Hubs idea of camping is renting a cabin or a RV lol! Me? I love good old fashion camping sans much of your ammenities especially the generator, lol! I tend to keep emergency rations for, um, emergencies--never been a first choice for eating unless I've gotta do it. Usually carry some simple but tasty food--love food and especially coffee cooked over a campfire.

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Annalisa Crawford said...

I believe going home to sleep is called 'cheating' ;-) Beautiful pictures though!

Trisha F said...

Ewwwww on the bucket! I would have gone out into the crazy rain if I was her but then I do love rain. hehe

Great photos. Good on you guys for daring to go camping (definitely didn't sound like glamping to me :P ).

Trisha F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine Rains said...

The bucket tipped! Yikes! We only got to do some backyard camping last year. This year, we want to go out into the woods. It might be half "gramping" but it'll be fun. :)

Morgan said...

Hahahaha!!! Mark! That is AWFUL… holy I would've been so mad too!! EWwwwww… funny though…

And that tent is a beauty… and those pictures are gorgeous… loved this story! (Definitely one you will never forget) :)

Maurice Mitchell said...

LOL What an adventure Mark and a half hour is pretty impressive.

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