Saturday, March 26, 2011

Connor's Spring Break Camping 2011 - the fun starts

Okay - keep in mind, the forecast was for rain all week.  Just a day or so before we left, Tuesday was showing, "Sunny breaks."  We were really lucky - it stayed dry throughout our camping experience, with only a teeny sprinkle in the evening, just to make people nervous about having come out to join our campfire!

I think we all slept pretty well.  It didn't get to freezing, but it was cold.  There were enough blankets & sleeping bags to keep warm, as long as you didn't let them slide off.  Lee & I had some dampness in our part of the tent, but that was because we forgot to open a bit of the 'window' to let out the condensation.  It was strange not having a car right next to us.  We'd put all the food in the trailer with us, since I didn't want to leave it out for critters.  I would have normally used the trunk of the car as the 'pantry' during this time.

I think I got up first and went to start the fire.  I was surprised how open the area was.  In the dark, it had seemed like closed-in forest.  There was a nice big fire ring off to the side of the site that I couldn't see the night before either.  There was a good pile of cut wood nearby, but it was pretty damp.  While we were working on building the fire, Nancy came by with Joshie and she had some dry wood.  I was trying to light the stove by this time, but I couldn't get it to start.  Lee checked the propane tank & said it was empty.  He loaded it into the back of Nancy's car, and I went to go get it filled.

While I was doing that, Nancy went home and made a big pot of water & pancakes for us!  No trouble!  The guy at the filling station said the tank actually did have propane, and he topped it off for me.  I got back to the trailer & Lee hooked it up again, but needed a wrench - so he took Nancy's car & went back to their house & jogged back.  Once he tightened everything, we could get the stove to work!  Hooray!!  I had brought our small propane tanks, but not the stove, since there was one with the trailer.  Later I found another stove under the bench seat storage, but I didn't know that was there until later :P

In any case, we had hot water & pancakes.  We ate by the fire all bundled up in blankets, etc.  Connor thought this was great.  He kept throwing stuff into the flames, and running around the area to explore.  Diana & I were just kind of hanging out, because that's the way we do it in the morning when we don't have to do anything important.  Lee was still really worried about the car being stuck.

After we'd all eaten, Diana went over to the car to take photos of it stuck in the mud.  I went through the trailer & tidied up & stuff, and Connor basically ran around the area & checked things out - always staying in sight of Lee or me.  He did a great job of not wandering, which had been a concern for me when thinking about doing this sort of thing.  He really did a great job of sticking close.  There was a port-a-potty for the renter/campers that help Nancy with the horses, and it's a 'nice' one that has the blue stuff so it doesn't reek :) 

Before lunch, I called Nancy to see about when we might pull the car out - she was about to call me, and said she was on her way.  She brought her truck down, and Lee & I got in (me in the bed on a bale of hay), and headed through the muck to free our car.  I had forgotten the keys (I thought they were in my pocket) so I ran back while Lee & Nancy got the chain onto the front end.  When I got back, they were ready to go - Nancy carefully towed the car, while Lee drove inside.  He said putting the car in low gear helped too.  The car was pulled free, and then Nancy drove to where we could turn, staying ahead so if Lee got stuck again, she could tow more.  Lee managed to drive through everything, all the way back to the good road :)  Nancy had him follow her to the horse barn so we could clean all the mud off (there was a lot).  Lee's comment was, "Gee, you really don't want us taking any of your topsoil, do you?"

Once we had a car again, we'd considered checking out the natural bridges (made by lava) on the way up to Crater Lake, but apparently there was a lot of snow up that way, so we gave it a miss.  We went ahead and set up for lunch.  Connor had canned spaghetti (which I didn't know if he would eat or not - he did), and we had tomato soup.  I also had the pop n fresh biscuits, which Lee showed us how to wrap around the skewers to cook on the fire (mine was raw inside - just right!).  Again, Connor was experiencing just was he was wanting to do - campfire lunch :)

Diana & I went back to where the car  had been stuck & took photos of the ruts left behind - Diana used my mud boots to show the difference in depth - heh.  And no, we didn't create ALL the ruts, but I did make some new ones on the left of this photo when I tried to avoid this big deep part - apparently there's rock below though, and it would have been fine (hard to tell that in the dark tho).

 Karrie came to pick up Josh & had Ben & Micah with her, so we got a chance to visit with her.  Kraig had come down sick the night before, and Nancy wasn't feeling great now, so Karrie wanted to help with cleaning out the horse stalls.  When we got there, however, the gal that works there was already just about done, so instead, I went & got Connor & Diana, and Karrie got them set up to ride Sterling.
I got the dishes done, and when they came back & Connor messed with the fire more until family started showing up for the campfire/dinner time.  Shane traded with Karrie, because she had a class, and he went off with his boys to do stuff for a while.  They had pizza for dinner.  Donna brought Lee's dad and Tony, and some yummy guacamole.  Myrna & Doug came with Daniel, who did a cool time-lapse video of the campfire later.  Tony's girlfriend Ashley showed up too, and he announced they are getting married in July :)  
It was really nice that so many members of the family were able to come out.  For the ones that couldn't make it (or were sick), I'm hoping we can come back during the summer and do this again when it's warmer :)  Connor has already said he'd like to try tent camping, and after seeing how well he stuck close by, I think we can manage it.  Maybe some other camping family folks will join us as well.  I just need an air mattress...  :P

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