Wilson State Park August 2009

Sandra had been dying to go camping and so our friends Brian and Marisol arranged for us to go with them to a campsite. This was all done without me, because I don't really have much interest in going camping. My Dad was a logger and since he spent so much time in the forest, he wasn't interested at all in going back out there to be in discomfort on the weekends. There was enough discomfort involved during week days! When I was growing up, we never went camping, hunting, or fishing at all, and I feel the same way. But I went, because Sandra seemed to think it would be great fun. Well ... let me tell you how it went!

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The Teepee - looks nice, doesn't it?

Okay, the campsite was nice, everything seemed fine. Since we don't have any camping equipment at all, we rented a teepee. Yes - a teepee! It turned out to be the only one at the campsite, nicely situated up front by the entrance so that everybody driving by could take a good look. It was surprisingly big, with two double bunk beds and a single bed inside. The low flap to get in was a little awkward, you had to bend down and it draped over your back, but it was fine. As long as it stayed dry, of course. Hmm ... look at Sandra enjoying reading by the fire pit. Looks so peaceful ... and sunny ...

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Checking the place out

Hey, nice, there's a lake and places to ride our bikes! Looks like fun. Christina loves playing in the water, and she found a bunch of shells or snails. The clubhouse by the lake was nice.

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The experts arrive

Brian and Marisol are seasoned campers and they know what they're doing. Their daughter Melanie came along and brought a friend with her, and so there would be three girls to hang out together. We helped them putting stakes in the ground for the tent and Brian told us interesting tidbits about camping and how to set things up. We were done, though, the teepee was really easy, we just had to take our stuff inside and enjoy it! Behind Christina you can see a tent-like cover that they brought that would keep the mosquitos away from us and the food. Amazing what modern technology can do - but it's not authentic period construction!

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What's that? Cool - authentic Native American construction!

Look at that - if we had a fire going inside the teepee, the smoke would just funnel right out the top! What a clever design ... but wait - wasn't the weather forecast for thunderstorms overnight? Well, those holes look pretty small, it shouldn't really be a problem, should it?

At 2:30 am the thunderstorms began, and I looked up from my top bunk. Nothing coming in! Excellent, this is going to work out just fine. But wait - it's 4:30 am now, and what's that noise? Sounds like dripping - what could that be? Oh hey, the rain's flowing down on the underside of the sticks. Hmm ... making a cool spoke-like pattern on the floor!

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The joy of Nature ... @#$%

So, we move around to try to get out of the water and get some sleep, but we discover that the sticks efficiently cover pretty much every square foot of the inside of the teepee. But no problem - Sandra says that the sleeping bags she bought are WATERPROOF! Excellent, so I just roll over and pull it up over my head. By this time Sandra has abandoned the single bed and taken my top bunk. Yes, the one I had been sleeping in. I try to go back to sleep, but HEY, my back is getting wet, right through the waterproof sleeping bag! I look up and see a big wet spot on the underside of the bunk above me, that Sandra is in, and water is dripping onto me. I guess HER bag is waterproof, because she's in a puddle and isn't complaining about it.

Check out the video.

Now the one thing that did work out well is that Sandra brought along some plastic ponchos, and if it weren't for those, we would have been totally drenched. Especially as we crawled through the mud and had the wet flap slide over our backs as we headed for the car. I wish I had put the bikes on the rack before we went to bed, because now it was REALLY pouring. I got the bikes up onto the rack and we hid inside the car. What would we do next? Try to get some more sleep inside the car? Oh no ...

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The joy of modern convenience! (What a country!)

But hey, this is AMERICA! We drove hours to go camping, but we've got a 24-hour McDonald's 2 minutes away from us! Just look at the highway conveniently located 50 feet behind our campsite! Ah, the smell of industrialized progress ...

The McDonald's, despite it being horrendously early at this point (7:30 am), was packed, I assume with refugees from our campsite. Though the pictures don't show it, there was a campsite every few feet, full of people trying to relax and ignore each other. Some of them had equipment that rivalled the comfort of our house! One even swept the "forest" floor and put down a huge mat so that they didn't even have to touch the dirt at all. Now that's roughing it!

Brian and Marisol came over to our site after we had returned from McDonald's. Casually sipping coffees while dressed in proper clothing, Brian said that he could tell something was up when he saw that our car was packed up. We went to the office and got a refund for the second night and headed home. At least we got a funny story out of it!