back to civilization

26 August 2009

I was camping all last week. Yes, folks, that's the reason why your computers stopped smoking. I wasn't around to clog your twitter and facebook streams with my brain farts. Naturally.

I didn't mention beforehand that I was leaving because I didn't want to advertise that my house would be free for the drunks and rummies to rob. (In your face, drunks and rummies!) I also set up two scheduled posts here, as well as one for Canada Moms about my life in Hawai'i to publish the day we left, to reinforce the charade. Yes, I'm clever.
And stealthy.

On Sunday the 16th, we packed our tiny Toyota Tercel to overflowing and left Mittens in the capable hands of Harmzie's Norah to care for -- give food/water to, clean her litter box, and tell her she's a pretty cat. Then we hopped into the car and took off for Spruce Woods.

With my already spectacular view of camping plus the week-long forecast of rain, I was not optimistic about this trip. In fact, I was downright cranky and more than a little bitchy about it. Denied my chance to spend the week not-roughing it at the spa, I decided to make the best of it. It wasn't easy. Seriously, "Suck it up, Nenette" became my mantra.

So how did it turn out? Here are some highlights so you can see for yourself (Don't worry, I've kept the whining to a minimum)...

Day 1: Set up

We arrived at the site in late afternoon. The sky cleared up long enough for us to set up without getting drenched. Roomie put up the tents while I blew up the mattresses. Who knew I had so much hot air in me?!
This year, we went from a 2-person tent to a 6-person tent, meaning we could fit in 2 air mattresses and change clothes there instead of in the bathroom. Luxury. Ooh... Aah...

Day 2: The Great Carberry Blanket Conspiracy

It rained all night. Holy crap, it was like sleeping in a fridge!
See? We were cold! Okay, Roomie is more creepy-looking. But Mini looks cold... and cute.
Anyway, we realized we needed more blankets, so we went to Carberry, a tiny town about a half an hour from the campgrounds.

Would you believe they had no blankets anywhere?!!!
At least that's what they told us.

Okay, granted their "Downtown" was only 4 blocks long, there were no traffic lights anywhere, and there was only 1 gas station in the whole town, but NO BLANKETS?! We asked at every store we went into. Nothing. The townsfolk were all so friendly and kind, but still I couldn't help but suspect some weird blanket conspiracy.
Anyway, we bought a couple of sleeping bags, and we were warm and toasty the rest of the week.

Day 3: Reach the Beach

The sun finally came out, so we threw on our bathing suits and hit the campground beach. A picnic ensued. Afterward, we played a game of mini-golf, then had ice cream. I had fun that day! It was probably the best day of our trip.

Why, Nenette? Are you saying it was all downhill from there?

I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that, later that afternoon, the car hood latch unexpectedly broke. As did one of our lamps.

Day 4: Ray's Diner

Fixed the hood latch then back to Carberry. Well, they not only had no blankets for sale, they also didn't have naphtha lamps. But it was close to noon, and we were all jonesing for fries, so we stayed for lunch at Ray's Diner. Then we bought gas for the car. Oo, exciting. I know.

It was sunny and beautiful until we returned to the campgrounds for Story Time at the Park Center (it's also a nature interpretive center).
Yes, the kid beside Mini in the picture is still wearing her bathing suit. If Mini had a choice, she'd be in her bathing suit too.

Day 5: All Rain, All the Time

It rained all day, off and on. So, we were all stuck in the tent for a good portion of the day. The kids were allowed to bring their DSs for just such an occasion.

It was still cold and wet that night. Lots of rolling thunder. And whenever the rain would pause, the raccoons would invade (even with all the food and garbage packed away in the car).
With it being the middle of the week, we were the only campers in that section of the bay. Every little noise creeped me out. I cuddled closer to Mini for warmth and protection.

Day 6: It was so cold the nubbin broke off.

The forecast for this day was "sunny, 25C". Perfect beach weather. It was actually cloudy and cold. Not beach weather.

The kids spent most of the day playing on the play structure (near the Pine Fort -- home of the hot dog/fries/ice cream), playing in the car, and watching the park interpreters be zombies for Zombiepocalypse.

Back at the site, the streak of bad luck continued. My twitter for this day would've been: "- water jug nubbin broke today. camping vacay officially declared a disaster." (Click pic to enlarge.)

Day 7: Reach the Beach, Take 2

The sun came out today, so we gathered all of our beach crap. See? Here are the kids waiting for Daddy to finish washing the dishes so we could all go to the beach.
By the time we got there, clouds were rolling in and the wind had picked up. Didn't stop my kids though! They were in there, covering themselves in wet sand and running into the chilly water. Weirdos.

We spent our last night roasting marshmallows, popping popcorn, and eating chips. Then we made our way back to the deserted beach at 10:30pm to look at the stars.

Day 8: And NOW the sun comes out. CRAP!

One week without showering is gross. No matter how well you clean the "essential areas" every single day and apply deodorant religiously, you just never feel completely fresh and clean. (NB: Yes, there were showers there, but if you read my CMB post, you'd know how I feel about them.)
But for the last 3 days of the camping trip, my hair never looked better! I had huge thick waves every day. I looked like I set my hair in rollers every night. It was unreal.

Anyway, the sun came out and the temps shot up on our last day. DAMMIT. We packed all morning while all the other campers hit the beach. It was hot! Our traditional last day ice cream really hit the spot. As did the Slurpees and Iced Capps we picked up at Portage La Prairie on the drive home.

Verdict: So, was it all really as bad as I'd anticipated? Hell, no! I enjoyed this trip a lot more than I thought I would.
- The bigger tent, screen tent for bug-free dining, and camp stove made a HUGE difference.
- The lack of internet was actually a relief. The break was what I needed to do some thinking and make some decisions about my future online.
- We ate our meals together and enjoyed our time as a family, free from distractions.

I'm actually looking forward to next year. Cripes, who said that?!

~*~

If you're my friend on FB, be sure to check out my photo album for more pictures.



9 comments - LEAVE YOURS HERE...:

kyooty said...

Oh you did very well, i'm impressed. there were no showers available? ACK!

Nenette AM said...

@kyooty: yes, there were showers everywhere. I just don't like using showers other people of unknown origin use. Maybe I'll be brave and use them next year.

wyliekat said...

Ah, you've discovered the lure of camping, as well as the great truth: you truly do get better at it every year. The challenge of carrying on with it will keep you going until you decide you need a pop-up trailer, which will then feel like luxury.

Laura Gerencser said...

Sounds like fun! I've never been camping!

Nenette AM said...

@wyliekat: Geez, I wish someone had told me that! LOL And yes, we're already thinking about getting a pop-up camper. We just don't know where we'd store it for the rest of the year! :)

@Laura: If you do it right, and bring along what modern comforts will make you happy, you'll enjoy it. It took me a while to understand that it's okay to "cheat" and not be completely roughing it. :)

C-Flo said...

loved reading your nature adventures! dk loved the ds photo! :)

harmzie said...

You haven't convinced Princess Harmzie. I read "cold" and "wet" and I think I lost feeling in my legs.

Country Girl said...

Camping Schmamping. Your hair looks flipping GORGEOUS.

Kari said...

I love camping! I haven't gotten to go in ages because I don't really know many people here.

It's nice to get away from the computer now and then. I usually have to remind myself though or it doesn't happen :)

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