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Ode to Camping
Old 05-23-2014, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default Ode to Camping

I think odes should rhyme, but I can't be arsed (to use a phrase I learned from youse overseas type guys).

Anyway, reasons I love it:

1). It's a playhouse! The pop-up camper is, I mean. I had a playhouse at my grandparents house growing up, made of half of a chicken shed, and furnished with auction finds (my grandfather was an auctioneer as well as a farmer) and furniture, curtains, etc., built and stitched by my grandparents and my brother. I spent hours upon hours in it.

The camper is my grown-up playhouse.

2). It's an escape! Like no other. I don't know why it is such a freakin escape, being as how sometimes we're only an hour from home. But it is. An immediate, relaxing escape. (Except during tornados.) Just instantly in another world. No need to do nothin, no way, no how, unless you feel like it.

3). It's outside! Even though I stay in the camper a lot, cause as I told you before, the top half is a tent. Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate with this - too hot, too rainy, or too cold, but it can be TOTAL HEAVEN. This spring break, for instance, was completely perfect camping weather.

And what does being outside (or "outside") remind me of? It reminds me of when I was a kid. So you can see what it all really is . . . it's my second childhood.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:08 PM   #2
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(to use a phrase I learned from youse overseas type guys)
*yous

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Old 05-23-2014, 11:09 PM   #3
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That playhouse sounds awesome!

It's an escape because it's your grown up version of a playhouse!
How could that not be an escape... even if it was in your driveway?

As you said... second childhood.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:11 PM   #4
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You're right! I even get that same sense of relaxation and playing house when it IS in our driveway, where he always sets it up after a trip so I can clean it real well.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:16 PM   #5
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Now I miss the "clubhouse/fort" thing my sister and I used to play in when we were (much) younger.
We didn't even build it... it was just there... probably from kids who didn't even live around there anymore.
Possibly from the family who lived in the house before us.

It was removed while we still lived there.
The big swampish empty plot it sat on the edge of was leveled, dug up for a foundation and used for a real house.
(Granted, we also played in the house foundation and even meandered through the house while it was being built... up until it was almost a finished house.)

But, YAY for your super awesome camper fun time!
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Old 05-31-2014, 02:49 PM   #6
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Ok, so this playhouse I had at my grandparents was, like I said, half of a (small) chicken house. They raised their chickens for sale in two long brooder houses, as well as personal hens and sometimes a rooster in the short end of the barn, which had its own little fenced yard. But this building wasn't needed, so they gave it to me and my brother.

It, too, had a small fenced yard, with hollyhocks, I think, and other flowers lining the fence, on the other side of which was the garden.

Anyway, my side of it - the playhouse - was about 12' x 14' or something like that. The roof peaked where my half was connected to my brother's half. His half, somewhat smaller than mine, was his workshop. It had - like the popup - walls that went only half-way up, and then it was screened.

My half had a feed closet in one corner (which became the "bathroom" - an overturned bucket was the "toilet"), and the other rooms were separated by "walls" that were simply long lengths of some kind of very sturdy cardboard about two feet high.

Two of the walls had windows. But the long wall over the kitchen area . . . only went half-way up, and then was screened, looking through my brother's workshop to the field beyond. I spent many, many happy hours in that playhouse, pretending to cook and wash dishes, taking care of baby dolls, reading, and dreaming, while looking through that screen.

The rest of the time you could find me reading the afternoon away on the glider in their screened-in porch - it had walls half-way up, and the rest was screened.

So how could I at all ever wonder why I love this pop-up so. I'm simply reliving those long, warm, totally carefree summer days, only now I'm looking through my half-screened pop-up camper walls instead of the playhouse or porch screen.

How did this serendipity happen? I do not know. But as I type to you here, I have one foot in the faraway past, and one in the present plane, triggering an enjoyment that is the joy of childhood in a meaningful way I would never have thought possible to experience again. Yet - I ALWAYS do, when I'm in the pop-up in some country glade, just as in my childhood.
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:15 PM   #7
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A friend is coming to camp with us tomorrow for a few days. We have known them forever; our babies were babies together. They are going through a divorce now that's either final or just about to be final, so I think this will be good for him.
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:49 AM   #8
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Bummer about the divorce, but...

SLEEPOVER!!


(A late night around the campfire comes to mind... i'm also a fan of wine in those situations, but that's me. And I think i only happened once anyway... and it was an indoor fireplace. A HYUGE fireplace (a couple people could've fit inside by bending over a bit), but a fireplace nonetheless. Anyway... have fun!!!)
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:40 PM   #9
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Oryx and I are going backpacking next weekend when she gets back from CA.

I can't wait! Camping is the best!


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Old 06-02-2014, 08:33 AM   #10
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I always think of you and Troutlette when I see this commercial


They also have one that says something about "go to a part that DOESNT have a theme."
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:41 AM   #11
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Oryx and I are going backpacking next weekend when she gets back from CA.

I can't wait! Camping is the best!
You never told us about your trip, the heck is the deal???
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:13 PM   #12
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You never told us about your trip, the heck is the deal???
We had a fantastic time! The goal was to hike the Skokomish River Trail back to an old camp about 10 miles in. Mission NOT accomplished, lol. The trail is absolutely gorgeous, though. You hike along the river quite a bit, but there is very little access. You can only get there at one or two points. The rest of the time the brush is too thick, or you're about 300 feet above the river looking down off of a cliff. That means a LOT more up and down than our trail map indicated.

So, we slogged away for about 7 hours the first day and made it to the 7.5 mile marker. Going was slow. The trail was maintained to about the 5 mile marker, then it just fell apart. It's beautiful, though. You hike through ancient groves of maples and Douglas Fir. The maple groves are straight out of a set for Lord of The Rings. They're absolutely gigantic, and the forest floor is covered in ferns and mist.

By the time we got to the 7.5 mile marker we were absolutely exhausted, and it was the only river access we had seen for the last 3 miles, so we found a nice spot and made camp. There was absolutely nobody around for miles, so we stripped down and washed the grime off in the river, then clambered back up the bank and had dinner and a couple cups of tea to shake off the cold from the river.

Sleep in the tent wasn't great. No matter how carefully you clean up the ground under the tent, you always wind up sleeping on a rock. Plus, the tent was too small for both of us and the two dogs. We still got some rest, though.

We boiled and treated water the night before, so in the morning all we had to do was wolf down our breakfast and head back home. The hike back out was brutal. We were still tired and sore from the day before and the climbs and drops were killer. We finally hiked back out to a road and followed it down to the car for the last 3 or 4 miles. It wasn't any shorter, but the hills were more gradual. Seeing the parking lot at the trailhead was like glimpsing Nirvana (the place, not the band).

We both limped around for couple days - sore muscles and joints. I need to get in better shape! Overall, it was a fantastic time. I like challenging myself physically like that, and just sitting beside a river watching the world way back in the woods like that is good for the soul.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:57 PM   #13
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Sounds awesome! Yeah I suppose if you're not used to doing a lot of walking, suddenly going out and trying to walk ten miles over uneven terrain is not really all that likely to succeed; but that's the great thing about carrying a tent - you can set it up anywhere.

You need to do it more often! I couldn't imagine living in a state like Washington and not going hiking at least several times a year - you're so lucky. I live in Louisiana and while there's a great big national forest here about ten minutes away, it's flat-ish terrain and not nearly as interesting as Ohio was.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:43 PM   #14
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Now that's roughing it! What an adventure!
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:45 AM   #15
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Our packs were about 30 lbs each, including water for the day, and dog food. And we're not talking minor ups and downs, we're talking quad-burning ups and knee-grinding downs, for quarter-mile stretches. I cheated and let Greta Dog pull me up the ups.

We're going to start carrying fully loaded packs on long level walks here in town to condition ourselves. We'd love to do the Wonderland Trail - a ten day circumnavigation of Mount Rainier - next year. Since it's a national park, you have to reserve camp spots. Currently they're reserved a year out!
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Old 07-01-2014, 04:15 PM   #16
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If it turns out to be too booked, I've read that Mount St. Helens is also an awesome place for a long backpacking trip. A little farther from you than Rainier but almost certainly less crowded.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:44 AM   #17
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I've always wanted to explore Mt. St. Helens more. Harry's Ridge is an incredible hike. It's spiritual - just awe-inspiring. The area around the base of the mountain was blasted into oblivion in 1980 when the mountain exploded and it still looks like a moonscape. It's called "The Plains of Abraham". How cool is that!?


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Old 07-02-2014, 12:47 AM   #18
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All this talk about awesome landscapes and breathtaking hiking trips is just more fodder for the "it's okay to move away from your home state and head out to Washington" thought patterns in me head.

So... keep it up!


(I'm not sure if I mentioned it elsewhere, but we're planning on waiting to move until after baby #2 sometime next year.)
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:12 AM   #19
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I've always wanted to explore Mt. St. Helens more. Harry's Ridge is an incredible hike. It's spiritual - just awe-inspiring. The area around the base of the mountain was blasted into oblivion in 1980 when the mountain exploded and it still looks like a moonscape. It's called "The Plains of Abraham". How cool is that!?
Not just the land! There's a big lake that was right in the path of the eruption - Spirit Lake. When all that debris blasted into the lake, it caused a tsunami that scrubbed the forest off the mountain slopes on the far side of the lake. A lot of those trees got washed back into the lake when the water sloshed back, and now like a third of Spirit Lake is STILL covered with this giant floating mat of basically roasted trees that have been there since 1980. I would love to get a look at that someday. Mount St. Helens is one of the two places in Washington that are on my "see before you die" list. The other being the Channeled Scablands.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:19 AM   #20
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If it turns out to be too booked, I've read that Mount St. Helens is also an awesome place for a long backpacking trip. A little farther from you than Rainier but almost certainly less crowded.
Weeeellllll... The Wonderland Trail is one of the holy trails of hiking, sort of like the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, etc, though not as long. Average trip time is 9-11 days. I dunno if Mt St Helens would measure up.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:25 PM   #21
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Weeeellllll... The Wonderland Trail is one of the holy trails of hiking, sort of like the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, etc, though not as long. Average trip time is 9-11 days. I dunno if Mt St Helens would measure up.
I would favor Mount St. Helens over Rainier...but admittedly, I've got different priorities than most outdoorsy people. I'm a big-time earth science fan. If I was hiking with you, I prolly wouldn't be able to tell you what kind of bird is making that call or exactly what animal those tracks belong to. I can identify some trees, but I likely cannot tell you if those mushrooms or these berries are safe to eat. I can, however, talk you to death about the rock strata exposed in that cliff or the geological history of the mountain range we're walking in. Show me a fossil, and get ready to fall asleep! Rainier is an active volcano, and I wouldn't mind seeing its famous crater ice caves but getting to the top of Mount Rainier involves actual technical mountain climbing which I can't do; so I find Mount St. Helens more interesting, because of the accessibility and also because there aren't many recent post-eruption wasteland areas in the world to traipse around.
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:07 PM   #22
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I would favor Mount St. Helens over Rainier...but admittedly, I've got different priorities than most outdoorsy people. I'm a big-time earth science fan. If I was hiking with you, I prolly wouldn't be able to tell you what kind of bird is making that call or exactly what animal those tracks belong to. I can identify some trees, but I likely cannot tell you if those mushrooms or these berries are safe to eat. I can, however, talk you to death about the rock strata exposed in that cliff or the geological history of the mountain range we're walking in. Show me a fossil, and get ready to fall asleep! Rainier is an active volcano, and I wouldn't mind seeing its famous crater ice caves but getting to the top of Mount Rainier involves actual technical mountain climbing which I can't do; so I find Mount St. Helens more interesting, because of the accessibility and also because there aren't many recent post-eruption wasteland areas in the world to traipse around.
LOL - there's no way you'll catch me climbing Mt. Rainier. Mountain climbing just looks awful. The Wonderland trail circumnavigates Mt. Rainier at a reasonable altitude. I agree about Mt. St. Helens, though. Geologically, and because of the event that happened there, it's absolutely fascinating and beautiful. It's one of the most desolate places in Washington, even almost 25 years after the eruption. The hike I was talking about, Harry's Ridge, is a hike from the upper visitor's center. Most of it is along other ridgelines, which look out over The Plains of Abraham onto the volcano. The views are breathtaking. At one point you traverse a very steep hillside. It's a little sketchy. If you step off the trail, you'll probably die. It has to be about a 300 near vertical drop. That's only 1/4 to 1/2 mile, though. Then you cut into the hills and climb the spine of Harry's Ridge. The ridge was blasted absolutely clean, and when you get out to the end, it's a sheer drop of several hundred feet, then no obstructions across the valley floor to Mt. St Helens. The ridge points like a finger right into the caldera of the volcano. It's the most incredible view I've ever seen. The whole hike is only around 8 miles round trip, so it's a pretty easy day hike. Very little elevation gain or loss, except right at the end where you climb up the ridge, but frankly, that's not terrible either.

You can look down into Spirit Lake off the side of the ridge. You can't access it from there, though.
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:50 PM   #23
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Awesome! But see, that's why I could turn a trip to St. Helens into an extended backpacking trip; because there's those great day hikes like you describe, but if you can then hike round to the south flank of the mountain, there's a trail back there that goes right up to the rim. And from the description it's not a particularly long or difficult hike either - there's a little bit of rock scrambling at a certain part, but no actual technical climbing so most reasonably fit people can do it. You're not allowed in the caldera itself though, because - well duh. But still. So I could spend a while there.

FWIW, you can see Rainier perfectly clearly from the top of St. Helens.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:57 PM   #24
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Well, assuming all goes as planned... I foresee some family hiking trips in my future!
Both of those trails sound awesome.

There wouldn't happen to be any crazy volcano salmon out there, would there?

(I'm totally kinda hooked on this salmon thing.)
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:48 PM   #25
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There's no fishing in Spirit Lake, but by all accounts there are HUGE fish in the lake. The state and Feds are monitoring the lake and studying it's recovery. Apparently there are some landlocked salmon that were cut of by the explosion. They've been able to breed and are massive. There's another lake further down. I'm blanking on the name, but they allow fishing. I've never fished it, though. Just haven't had the chance.


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Old 07-03-2014, 12:19 AM   #26
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Well, that settles it.
I'll have to bring a fishing pole with me if I get around to going!

(Of course, first I'd have to get one. )
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:25 AM   #27
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I would favor Mount St. Helens over Rainier...but admittedly, I've got different priorities than most outdoorsy people. I'm a big-time earth science fan. If I was hiking with you, I prolly wouldn't be able to tell you what kind of bird is making that call or exactly what animal those tracks belong to. I can identify some trees, but I likely cannot tell you if those mushrooms or these berries are safe to eat. I can, however, talk you to death about the rock strata exposed in that cliff or the geological history of the mountain range we're walking in. Show me a fossil, and get ready to fall asleep! Rainier is an active volcano, and I wouldn't mind seeing its famous crater ice caves but getting to the top of Mount Rainier involves actual technical mountain climbing which I can't do; so I find Mount St. Helens more interesting, because of the accessibility and also because there aren't many recent post-eruption wasteland areas in the world to traipse around.
LOL. Mining engineering here. I love geology. I bore Trout to death with chunks of tuff and tephra and basalt. In this case, it's not about the rock, it's about the hike.
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Old 07-03-2014, 03:31 PM   #28
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It doesn't have to be one or the other.

It's just because I'm deprived. There's so little interesting surface geology in Louisiana; most of the state is nothing but a great big flood plain - just sediment. Not even a whole lot of sedimentary rock; just sand and mud on top of sand and mud. Ohio and Pennsylvania were awesome by comparison. Ice Age ftw!
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:57 PM   #29
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It doesn't have to be one or the other.

It's just because I'm depraved. There's so little interesting surface geology in Louisiana; most of the state is nothing but a great big flood plain - just sediment. Not even a whole lot of sedimentary rock; just sand and mud on top of sand and mud. Ohio and Pennsylvania were awesome by comparison. Ice Age ftw!
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:07 PM   #30
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Hah! I found something neat. I went to look at a map of the area because it was bugging me that I couldn't remember the name of the lake up there. It's Coldwater Lake, BTW. So I looked at Harry's Ridge. It's the one that runs along the West Side of Spirit Lake. If you're on Mapquest, look at that ridge, towards the South end of the Ridge, with the satellite view on. There's a little tiny airplane flying over the ridge.

Well...I thought spotting an airplane from a satellite image was sort of cool, but now that I write that, I think I'm a dork.

National Geographic photos of the area:

Pretty photos!
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:47 PM   #31
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When the weather is nice, like on the last two trips and today and yesterday, but still pretty warm, I set up the two light/fans at each bunk end, so that the fans draw some of the outside air in to the center of the camper.

So what is that? Well, it's my childhood, too! It's back on those summer afternoons at my grandparents' house. They were up at the butt-crack of dawn every day to feed the chickens and milk the cow. So every day after "dinner" (which we call lunch, with the lighter meal at night being "supper"), during the hottest part of the day, my grandmother would stretch out on the living room floor for a nap.

I was always required to join in on this, whether I wanted to or not, and I never wanted to. But the big floor fan would be quietly droning on, and I would almost always be lulled to sleep.

Well, here, with the crickets singing outside the windows, and the two bunk-in fans quietly droning on in the heat of the mid-summer's day, I'm back again, to my childhood. Yet another way camping peels years off my life. But it doesn't put me to sleep anymore.
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:27 AM   #32
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There was absolutely nobody around for miles, so we stripped down and washed the grime off in the river...
You THOUGHT there was no one around.




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Old 07-19-2014, 07:30 PM   #33
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Ode to camping

O, pop-up camper! How I love thee
'tis far better than to be in you than in a tree

Tents are really not my thing
Sleeping on the ground causes aching

Still I love to camp, to be out of doors
Communing with nature - it never bores.





























WHAT??
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:30 AM   #34
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:21 PM   #35
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:18 AM   #36
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Would you mind if I joined your family camping, Coco? I'm just curious how many $L/hr you're offering.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:57 AM   #37
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Here I sit, alone at camping for the first time ever! (Well, for any length more than 3 hours, anyway.) Hubby had to go to work today. He decided at the last minute to look for a nearby campground for this weekend, and found one, amazingly! Then he thought, we could get a better site if we went the night before, and he would just drive in in the morning. And we got that, too!

Our site is wonderful - very private, yet near the bathroom. On the lake. Boulders all around, and nothing but boulders and woods to our right. The boulders remind me of the ones LL puts around here and there to make little areas in their Linden Assisted Living neighborhoods, only better! There's an outcropping of them to our right, looking for all the world like someone plopped them down there for ambiance. (And for kids to play on.)

This morning I woke up at 7, about five minutes before the dog woke up expecting her early morning camping walk she always does with hubby. She couldn't believe her eyes that he wasn't there in bed! How could that be!

So I walked her down to the lake and back, and fed her breakfast. Then did my own exercise routine (not easy in the narrow camper). Now I've turned on the AC and have classical music on the radio. No phone ringing, and NO HUSBAND until probably six. Heaven!

I'd go out and try to figure out how to take pictures of those rocks with the ipad to post on here, but imma pooped. Maybe later.
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:28 AM   #38
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That sounds like a great spot!

I'm hoping we get to see at least a pic of that outcropping.
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