October 19, 2017

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006
We had a great trip into Louisiana for Memorial Day. It was great to visit with everyone. Congratulations to Brent, Emily, and Kam on their new house. It is adorable.

Also, special thanks to the people in our family who have served our country. We appreciate your service to us and our country.

As I mentioned earlier, we did go camping a week ago. Sorry about the delay on the details. Here is the post I have been working on:

We are back from a great camping trip. I think it is obvious that we all enjoy camping and it is something we can enjoy together. We made many memories on this trip.

It all started with a last minute search to find somewhere to go. We were planning to go to Hunstville State Park, but we read some obscure note on the website that said they were closed for camping. Next, we looked at Village Creek State Park, but they are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Rita and it is a longer drive. Finally, we decided to try Brazos Bend State Park. We have been there before. It is a great park, but I really wanted to find somewhere to go where we wouldn't be camping right next to other people. It is hard to feel like you are really out in nature when you can hear other people snoring in the tent next to yours.

Upon arriving, we were told that all of the campsites were full and that we would have to camp in the overflow camping area. These sites are not as nice, but it wound up being a blessing: there were very few people there and I could imagine how close together everyone was at all of the regular campsites.

Things were a little hectic at first since we were trying to get the tent, fire, beds, etc., set up before dark. We eventually settled in and cooked some hot-dogs over the fire. Bugs and darkness eventually forced us inside the tent. We read some more of "The Hobbit" (Neo and I have been reading that for a while now) and drifted to sleep.

But then... it started raining. "Wasn't there good weather that weekend?" you are asking yourself. Yes. There was. It was beautiful outside. But inside the tent, it was raining.

Christian woke me up at one point to tell me she thought she heard rain drops. We listened for a moment, and sure enough, I heard a drop. I started preparing to move things away from the walls to try and keep the water from getting in the tent.

But then, a drop smacked me in the forehead. "What the ... " then another drop hit the bed... then one hit the sheets by my feet. "The roof must be leaking!" I thought... which got me out of bed pretty quick. We started turning on lights and found that the entire ceiling of the tent was covered with condensation droplets. Not a little bit... a lot! It was so covered with thick droplets that they were falling at an alarming rate. It was raining inside the tent. You could sit still and hear drops hit the floor about once a second.

Well, needless to say, it wasn't long before Christian and I were laughing. We were grabbing towels and trying to wipe the ceiling... standing on the air mattress, falling over, getting soaked in the face as we looked up to wipe. We were sleep deprived and quickly approaching delirious status.

We finally got back in bed to try and get some rest now that we have managed to wipe off most of the water droplets. This led to conversations such as "didn't you check the forecast for inside the tent?" ... and... "perhaps we could set up a tent inside the tent. You know... to keep the rain out."

The next morning, we cooked breakfast outside, which was not exactly enjoyable since the wind was blowing pretty bad. This caused plates and stuff to go flying around, food landing on the ground... oh well. Eventually, we had something to eat and cleaned up everything.

After breakfast, we went to see some alligators. After that, we drove around to look at the regular campsites. I think the overflow area was indeed a blessing - it looked like every cub scout troop in America was camping there. Apparently, it is like that almost every weekend this time of year.

We ate lunch under the trees. Mom took a nap in the shade and Neo and I walked around one of the lakes to find a "secret spot". We found a few of them. We found one which didn't have really steep slopes by the water so it was actually easy for us to stand and fish. We didn't have fishing gear, but decided we would try to come back later.

After mom woke up, we went on a hike on one of the trails along the Brazos River. Wow. Some very beautiful spots. There were a few places that cut off the path towards the river and the scene opened up like a postcard, like this one.

We were going to cook hamburgers for dinner, but we decided to go eat at a local restaurant. One the way home from dinner, we bought some worms and decided we would try to fish the "secret spot" before nightfall.

Neo and I swore mom to secrecy about the location of the secret spot and brought here there. We started fishing. I caught one bream. But, it wasn't long before Neo caught 4. He is proving to be quite the fisherman. Mom was trying to enjoy herself, but she had seen a snake on the way to the "secret spot" and was a little spooked. Neo was excited about catching his 4 fish. On the walk back to the truck, he asked... "Dad, do you wish you were me?" I said, "No. I'm me. I like being me." He said, "I know, but do you wish you were me so that you could be the one who caught 4 fish." We all laughed and acknowledged that, yes, you caught the most fish.

When we got back to the camp, we found that our neighbor count had went from 0 to about 10. The overflow area was full. Oh well.

We went back to camp, and made smores over the fire. They were really good, but we had supplies for way more than we could eat. So, Neo and I gave some away to our neighbors. Mom went to bed, but Neo and I stayed up pretty late playing with out flashlights and building the fire. He was amazed to see it get hot enough to melt an aluminum can. He was also amazed to see me put a stick near the coals but not touch anything and see the stick burst into flame. Before Neo and I retired for the night, we set up some "traps" for the raccoons so that we would hear them if they came around. The trap was very sophisticated involving a lawn chair positioned such that a slight tug would cause it to fall off of the table. We placed a piece of hot dog in each trap. As it turns out, the coons had all the food they could ever want in all of the trashcans so they didn't get close to our tent like they did the night before when we were the only campers there.

After we went to bed, it wasn't long before the rain returned. This time we at least knew what was going on. We wiped it down and slept better than the first night.

We woke up and had an amazing breakfast. The wind was calm. We had an awesome breakfast and some awesome coffee from our percolator. One lesson we learned is that it is hard to cook everything and have everyone sit down and eat at the same time without things getting cold, full of bugs, etc. We found it was easier to cook for each person individually. That made the food much better and freed up more supplies. Also, this allows the cook to eat last and enjoy his coffee in peace.

We washed all of our dishes, took down the tent and packed everything up. We went on one more trail in the swampy area of the park before we went home, but it was not exciting at all. It is so dry, the that lake areas were dry. Pretty boring. Nevertheless, it was helpful to walk off breakfast.

I think we are looking forward to our next camping trip and learning how to do it even better. Conversations are already swirling about used pop-up campers :)

All of the pictures from the event are here.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Keith said...

Rain in the tent. That's a new one. Sounds like it was a mixed bag of fun and tribulation. At least you weren't eaten by an alligator. That's cool that Neo caught a few fish... and you too.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post babe. I laughed out loud remembering the "rain in the tent." I am looking forward to many more camping trips with you guys. Love you - Christian

8:14 PM  

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