Thursday, March 24, 2011

Connor's Spring Break Camping 2011 - the adventure begins!

He's been talking about it since last July, when Connie was with us.  He kind of just made a decision in his head, and then informed us that we were going Spring Break Camping in the Tent Trailer in March 2011.  At first he had a different date for Spring Break (I don't know how he even knew it was in March) but he adjusted after I showed him the school schedule.  This month when I put up the white board calendar, he wrote in "Camping" on Monday of Spring Break.  And he had talked about it often, but once it was on the calendar, he stopped.  Seeing it written down meant it was going to happen, and he didn't need to remind us anymore, I guess!

I know it looks like we are catering to his whims, but really, he only has the one thing he wants to do.  The rest of the time, he doesn't ask for anything (food excluded).  Experiences strengthen the connections in his brain, so we try to help him make those experiences he wants to have happen.  And he changes things and grows.  Last year, he wanted to do Spring Break Camping, and we rented a yurt.  That was kind of what he wanted, and he got to ride his bike, which was part of the request.  He was careful to be more specific with "tent trailer" for this year (but we couldn't do bikes, and he didn't ask for that).  Next time, he wants to do camping in our green tent - but I think we've gotten away from Spring Break, as it was pretty cold first thing in the morning!  I told him summer camping is much more warm :)  He also wants to be by a stream so he can do fishing.  I think we can swing that too :)

I don't know if we'll ever get Trevor to join us on something like this unless we were to get a full-on, size-of-a-regular-apartment 5th wheel trailer.  Or maybe one of those bus RVs with the pull-out sides.  If it doesn't have it's own bathroom & shower, Trevor is probably not going to be into it.  He gets physically ill if he's not comfortable, and his comfort is based on man-made conveniences - like flush toilets & heaters.  Still, it's not a bad deal - he takes care of the mail & the dog.  We don't have to worry about having left something electric on, and on longer trips, he takes care of the plants as well.  And it's not like he's going to throw a party & trash the house.  As it is, he knows he could have had a friend over, and he said he thought about it, but never actually called his friend!  His computer kept him company, and after hearing of our adventures, Trevor was really happy he didn't come.

I'd talked with Karrie about borrowing their trailer and I'd asked Nancy about putting it at the campsite on their ranch.  We were all in agreement, and Karrie had Shane set it up for us last weekend.  Shane said the one mattress was kind of damp because there was a leak in the roof, so I made sure to pack extra tarps so it wouldn't be an issue.

As we no longer have the van, I had to be pretty organized with how we packed the Camry.  Yes, the truck would have been a lot easier, but the truck eats gas like nothing.  I brought extra sleeping bags to use as comforters because we can easily get below freezing temps at night this time of the year.  Also, the forecast for the week was rain, rain, rain!  I got our 4 camp chairs in, the large Rubbermaid tub with the camp supplies, and our smallest cooler.  There were the 4 backpack/bags for our clothes, and then extra blankets, and foodstuffs & pillows.  The space for the 5th passenger in the car was piled up with stuff, and the back window ledge was used as well.  We were pretty stuffed in the car!

Lee got off work at 6:30, and I think we were on the road a little after 7:00.  That means we made it down to the ranch about 9:15ish.  By then, it was DARK.  But it wasn't raining!  I had a hard time seeing the little road to the campsites, so we turned around at the horse barn, and then I found it and headed toward the camp area.  I was trying to see the trailer with my high beams, and I could tell the trail was really wet.  However, I thought if Shane was able to tow a trailer in, we should be okay in the car...  We still didn't see the trailer, and I actually passed the campsite area (in the dark, everything looks the same - woods).  I could tell the trail was getting worse, so I pulled off into the grass more and we got a little ways, and then we didn't move :(  Lee switched with me and tried to rock the car back & forth a bit, but only succeeded in getting deeper.  So we all got out, and sloshed around to the back to find the lantern & flashlights in the trunk (I had them all together & they were actually accessible!) and then we hiked back to the road, and up to Kraig & Nancy's house.  Lee's shoes (at least they were old ones) were completely soaked, but I was in my new Kamiks & Connor was wearing the mud boots, so we were okay.  Diana had on cowboy boots, and seemed okay.

At least when we got up to the house, everyone could use the flush toilet!  Nancy got in her truck and took Lee & me back down to the car, while Kraig kept Diana & Connor and was going to take them back to the campsite.  Lee was not saying much.  He wasn't a happy camper :(  Nancy laughed about it, and I was okay - I've done the camping thing with Girl Scouts enough to have gotten to the "it's an adventure" point.  Sometimes things just don't go your way.  You work around it & do your best.  Nancy's truck is a ranch truck - it navigated the mucky sludge great.  She backed it up to the car, and we tarped the back, and then unloaded everything into the bed.  It's actually pretty impressive how much stuff that little car can hold!  Once we got everything we could see (still pitch dark), Lee & Nancy were in the cab, and I laid on top of the gear in the back while Nancy drove to the ACTUAL campsite.  A spot I'd never seen - we never would have found the trailer on our own.

In hindsight, I really should have just driven to the house to start.  I was trying to avoid bothering Kraig & Nancy.  See how well that worked out?

No comments: