Get Out of Town! If Only…

Yes, it is an Irish Spring bear...how did you know?

Our first scout campout provided more lessons than whittling wood or teambuilding in a game of ‘Capture the Flag.’ Through my blanket of nervousness, I realized the permanence of first impressions, the warmth of helping and sharing, and camaraderie while sitting around the campfire.   Oh, and the difficulty of even getting out of town.

 We ran late leaving on Friday afternoon (as usual), but were relieved when the other family we planned to drive up with was still loading their truck.  We idled in front of their house as they arranged a tarp and cargo net over their load.  I knew we over packed when I saw their stuff barely went over the top of their pickup bed.

I told my husband we should get one of those nets.  He grunted (which means he didn’t think so.)  I asked again if he was sure everything was loaded in tight. We had already discussed this before leaving the house because our stuff blocked most of the back window of the truck.

For only a two night trip, we had everything but granny in a rocking chair.  The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared”; ours is “Be Over-Prepared – Pack Enough to Survive Five Weeks in the Desert.”

We followed the other family to Wal Mart so they could get ice. I asked my husband if he wanted to look for a cargo net. He didn’t. So we waited.

Ten minutes later, we were on the road.  But not for long. After less than two miles, something flew out of the back of our truck. My husband pulled over and went to fetch the missing item(s).  I called the other family.  Instead of continuing on, they headed to an auto parts store to buy a net for us.

My husband got back to the truck with an armload of blankets in a garbage bag with severe road rash.  When he delivered the news that my box of chips for Saturday’s group dinner had been obliterated by traffic, I couldn’t stifle my irritation.  In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the best moment for an “I told you so”…even though I did.  Luckily, our friends arrived before we verbally tore each other to pieces while standing outside our over-stuffed truck.

Steady Rain

With the cargo net in place, we drove.  After an hour-and-a-half on the road, we nervously eyed the dark clouds forming. “Do you think we’ll make it there before it rains?” I asked.

Soon I got my answer: no.

“Please tell me you put the sleeping bags in garbage bags,” I said. “I think so,” was his reply.  Cranky and ready to go home, I muttered, “I guess we’ll hope for the best.”

We followed our friends off the next exit and pulled into a dirt lot.  Our friend got out of his truck and told us we were going to tarp our
load. Thank you. Twice now, they bailed us out.

Rain saw us all the way to our destination. Despite our best efforts to get there before dark, the sky was pitch black, the dirt roads muddied, and the rain drizzle made tent set up more challenging.

We had our camp set up by ten o’clock and fell into bed by midnight, knowing that the next day would start at 6 AM.  Well, mine started at 6:45 because it seems I don’t know how to set the alarm on my watch.  At least my crabbiness had slipped away during the night.

We spent the next day shuffling from one planned activity to the next.  The third family in our den arrived that morning, so we all ate lunch together.  That evening, we sat around our campfire and talked.  Some of us brought ingredients for S’mores, others had campfire popcorn or hot
chocolate.  The food wasn’t divided by family, but instead, enjoyed by all.

Bees like bacon? They wanted to share, too.

The next morning, after the other families were all packed, they helped us take down our tent, pack the unused dry food and fold up tarps.  They did all of this without asking.  No one left the campsite until we were all packed, the ashes emptied from the fire pit, and the site looked “better than how we found it” – just as we had been instructed.

I feel like our three families bonded.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised f no one invites us to travel with them again 🙂

What about the first mpressions? That’s another post on its own, which I’ll share on Sunday.

Have you had a similar ‘anything that can go wrong,  will’ trip?  What is you funniest travel story?

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34 thoughts on “Get Out of Town! If Only…

  1. Hilary Clark October 4, 2011 / 7:03 AM

    Rain and camping do not go together. I’m glad you bonded with your fellow den families over S’mores and other campfire goodies. I bet they do invite you again. 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 8:57 AM

      Well, Hilary, I’ll find out soon. We have another camping trip in two weeks 🙂 Even if they invite me to tag along because they feel sorry for me, I’ll take it 🙂

  2. Tori Nelson October 4, 2011 / 7:20 AM

    Hilary, Camping and life don’t go together. You are a brave lady, Janna.

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 8:58 AM

      Tori – I’m finding there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity. I’m also fairly certain I’ve crossed it…

      But thanks for calling it bravery – I don’t mind a white lie now and then 😉

  3. suzicate October 4, 2011 / 9:01 AM

    After a half dozen or so of these trips you will be pros and the newbies will look to you guys for guidance! Boy, you sure brought back memories for me with this one.

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 9:06 AM

      Our pop-up trailer camping goes a lot smoother (because we shove all the stuff in the trailer). I realize now that tent camping is a whole different ballgame. The trip in two weeks will be MUCH lighter 🙂

      SuziCate, it’s hard to imagine anyone looking to us for guidance, but that would be a sweet day!

  4. nrhatch October 4, 2011 / 10:41 AM

    You have another one in two weeks? When we were in Scouts, we camped once or twice a YEAR . . . not twice a month.

    Hardy sorts out there, aren’t you? 😛

    Glad you survived. It sounds like a nice outing . . . despite being over-prepared, others were prepared to bail you out.

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 11:09 PM

      After (if?) I make it through the next one, I think we’re good until Spring.

      The up side of being over prepared was that I was able to produce a can opener when no one else had one. I had the roll of toilet paper, too 🙂

      Yes, Nancy, it was a nice trip, in spite of the rough start, the rain and the over-packing.

    • nrhatch October 5, 2011 / 7:40 AM

      TP . . . never leave home without it! 😉

      • jannatwrites October 7, 2011 / 9:56 PM

        Agreed. There is no substitute for good 2-ply toilet paper, Nancy 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 11:10 PM

      Thanks for stopping by! Your Gravatar and blog name are intriguing. I’ll have to check it out…

  5. Debbie October 4, 2011 / 12:27 PM

    THIS is why I don’t do camping, Janna! I, too, tend to over-pack, figuring that if the weather changes or we get stuck longer than we’d planned or whatever, we might need such-and-such! And you’re right that there are tricks to it (though I never figured out what those tricks might be!). You are so brave — I admire you!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 11:22 PM

      Thanks, Debbie – but I don’t consider myself brave at all. I think this is simply supporting evidence that I must be half crazy.

      Summer camping is easier. Blankets and extra layers of clothes took up a lot of room. Luckily the next camp is in the desert region.

  6. cuhome October 4, 2011 / 1:56 PM

    All I can say is, you’ve got guts !! Bravo!!!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 11:22 PM

      Thanks, Cuhome! I’m glad I survived my very first scout camp. Maybe they get easier??

      • cuhome October 5, 2011 / 12:14 PM

        I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never done it with the scouts . . . but I DO have memories of my mom, who was our Bluebird and Campfire leader, attempting such things. Somehow, most of the memories are blurred, and I think it’s because lots of things just didn’t go well. Bless my mom. Like you, she had guts !!! ☺

        • cuhome October 5, 2011 / 12:20 PM

          Oh, and just one other comment… I DO remember that, when it comes to toilet paper, you can never be over-prepared. I have vivid memories of trying to wipe with leaves, which turned out to be nettles !! Youch!! Not a good thing. And I don’t think it helped me learn anything at all about team-work and bonding!! ☺

        • jannatwrites October 7, 2011 / 10:02 PM

          I laughed at your comment, Cuhome. Now I’m wondering what that says about me? It’s not nice to laugh when someone wipes with nettles…

        • jannatwrites October 7, 2011 / 9:59 PM

          Our minds aren’t very accurate historians, Cuhome. Maybe your memories are blurred because you had so much fun? No? Oh well, it was worth a try!

  7. Judith October 4, 2011 / 4:57 PM

    Bravo! Camping or tenting as a friend calls it, was never on my list of things to do, so we never camped as a family. But both my kids take long family camping holidays over summer and they all love it – but they never invite Granma!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 11:25 PM

      Funny, Judith, my parents won’t go camping, either. Trailer camping is nicer – it has a furnace so I don’t have to worry about freezing at night. (Tent campers are quick to inform me that this isn’t “real” camping ;))

  8. Patty October 4, 2011 / 7:12 PM

    My husband has a picture from 30 years ago of he and his twin and older brother who went camping in the Smoky Mountains. He loves that picture because they froze all night because they were not prepared for the elements. That is how men are. They love it that way and us women should too, right?

    I’m with you I’m over prepared. I haven’t camped in nine years, but I still have the camping boxes organized and ready to go if need be. If your husband was the leader he might act differently? Just saying maybe

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 11:28 PM

      Patty, I guess men and women look at freezing their tails off differently. I don’t think my recollection would be as fond 🙂

      My husband actually tries to pack more than I do. I have to pare down his clothing selections on every trip. I think food is the main thing I over packed on. I always overdo it because I don’t want to run out of food.

  9. pattisj October 4, 2011 / 9:05 PM

    We don’t have any camping stories–maybe that’s why we’ve stayed married so long. 🙂 We did have a vacation that seemed like everything went wrong. Ok, not seemed, everything DID go wrong…but it was an adventure, and we survived. Your group survived, and maybe even thrived when you consider bonding with each other. You are brave, and a good sport, too!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 11:31 PM

      One way or another we always get memories from our experiences. I hope you can laugh at your disaster vacation now, Patti. If we look close enough, we can often find the good in what seems like a whole bunch of ‘bad’. I’m already laughing at this trip, so all is well!

  10. Widdershins October 4, 2011 / 9:48 PM

    It will never be like this trip again. It’ll either be better or worse! … but most assuredly different.

    Might be a good thing to consider non-consultation with hubs over certain thing you might want to pack. Pull them out as needed and bask in the moral high-ground!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2011 / 11:34 PM

      Oh, Widdershins, don’t even suggest it could get worse – I don’t want to hear that!

      I am confident the next one will be better. I’ve cut way back on what is going with me. (I’m crossing my fingers and toes, at least…)

  11. Better Offer October 5, 2011 / 3:28 PM

    Interesting journey! Thank goodness you had good travelling companions.

    If you have the time, maybe you’d like to read about my journey and camping experience (but be warned, it goes over several posts!) – http://wp.me/pQFvJ-dq

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2011 / 10:16 PM

      Yes, they saved us for sure. Hubby and I would probably still be arguing beside the road if they hadn’t come back for us 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Better Offer!

  12. Carl D'Agostino October 5, 2011 / 8:26 PM

    Your first sentence re whittling wood. I went to YMCA summer camp every summer early teens and they gave us blocks of wood printed with things like a bird or frog or Indian. But the knives would not cut butter.

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2011 / 10:18 PM

      That’s kind of scary, Carl. Dull knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones because you have to use more force to cut something. I’m assuming you left summer camp with all of your fingers attached?

  13. whitemarz October 6, 2011 / 10:44 PM

    Wow, yeah. I think everyone has personal stories like that. I one time won a free 5 day stay at a hotel. I was so excited and then got so upset. I got lost trying to find the place then when I arrived, I couldn’t believe what I saw. The place was a dump. It smelled horrible and there were cigarette burns literally everywhere. It seemed like someone just wanted to play connect the dots all over the place…literally ALL OVER THE PLACE. There were also stains on the chair and bed sheets. My bed was never even made! I had to get new sheets and change them myself. It was disgusting. Never again. O.O

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2011 / 10:38 PM

      Whitemarz, I think your experience is worse than my camping trip…sorry!

      I run from any “free” offers that cross my path because there is always a catch. Your story proves that 🙂

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