Brian's parents bought an old (late 1960's vintage, I think) camper a couple of years ago in the hopes that their kids and grandkids would use it for some summer fun. Would you believe we were the first ones to take it camping? Dan has been eyeballing the camper since we moved here last August, but since the chainsaw injury was only two weeks after we arrived, we didn't get the chance to use it last fall.
As we were driving out of town with the unregistered camper hooked up to "Red", the old, very abused ranch truck, all 5 of us in the front with no seatbelts on, we passed the town cop and waved. Dan said, "Oh man, I'll bet we've got at least 30 violations!" Fortunately, there's an unspoken understanding in town that ranch trucks don't have to be licensed. Apparently stuff you're towing can slide by too, because the most recent registration on the camper was from 1978.
Once we got up Pine Creek and found a campsite, I started snooping around in the camper. I became giddy as I was overcome with nostalgia for the Dodge Van that we used to drive all over the country and camp in when I was a kid.
Upon choosing our campsite, we quickly realized that we'd forgotten to get ice for the cooler. Luckily, Pine Creek is pretty close to town, only about 15 minutes from the Flying J. While Dan went back to town to get the ice, Lily and Amelia explored around a little bit and then settled in at the picnic table to try to carve arrowheads.
Amelia is on a total screeching kick lately. She just screams and scrunches her eyes up in a rage. I think she was mad because I wouldn't let her climb up the steep dirt trail behind Biggie. She'd climb up aways, then look back and start screaming once she saw how high she was and she wouldn't let Lily help her slide down. I must be getting old and lazy because I was tired of going up after her.
June 1980, classic Garlitz family grubbin' at a campground near Limon, Colorado. My mom still has that green and white water jug. That's me on the right. I LOVED that shirt with the ribbon ties on the sleeves.
After dinner we played some Yahtzee, a classic from my camping youth.
After making Dan take yet another picture, he said, "There you are, in the fiery flames of hell" to which I responded, "where you wish I was with my camera right now?" At one point Dan said, "I didn't realize we were on a photographic expedition. I thought we were camping." Yep, me and my camera are still annoying, even after 13 years of marriage!
Amelia lasted about 5 minutes up in the bunkbed with Lily, until she wouldn't quit whining and settle down so we made up the bed over the table. After another 30 or 40 minutes of fidgeting and whining, she fell asleep but by 2am, Dan had switched spots with her because she woke up yelling and wouldn't stop. It didn't help that she was weaning from the binky.
Lily (old reliable) slept like a log and surprisingly, so did Mack. He must have liked being burrowed up tight in the cool mountain air.
While the little ones slept in, Dan and Lily went out and made some hot chocolate. Lily found a big tree limb and made a see-saw over a log. She begged me to ride the see-saw with her and I asked Dan to take pictures.
This is how he felt about it:
Man, I remember Becky and I used to have so much fun playing in the bunkbed of our Dodge Van. I think we used to ride up there while we were driving (back before seatbelts were all the rage) while the boys played board games at the table and we rocked out to Abba or John Denver or Neil Diamond. Good times!
Somehow Mack managed to stay asleep in the backpack while the girls wiggled and squealed up above him.
The bunkbed got old after a few minutes (or, more accurately, Dan and I got sick of the girls fighting) so we busted out the board games. Lily loves Sorry.
The boys had a nap while the girls played some more Yahtzee. We also sat and read some Beverly Cleary, one of my favorite childhood authors (love that naughty Ramona!). At one point Lily started whining about going home and I said, "Are you kidding me? If we go home I have all kinds of chores I have to do. Out here when we're camping I can just sit and read and play games and hang out with you." That was the last I heard about going home.
The camper had a table that can be removed and placed flush with the seats to make a bed. Our Dodge Van had the same feature and we had so many fun times playing games and eating on that table. It even had some sweet cupholders in the corners, which could double for holding game pieces.
The girls got a little restless and rowdy in the camper while the boys were trying to sleep, so we went out for a walk. Lily wanted to go exploring in the trees, but the evening before had proven that Amelia just isn't old enough for that: all she did was trip on sticks and whine about branches poking her. So Amelia and I just went walking up the road and looked at flowers and butterflies.
After awhile, I was ready to go back. I didn't want to get too far away from Lily and I figured Mack would be ready to eat soon. I told Amelia it was time to turn around and she threw a holy fit. One thing about Amelia is she is strong-willed and hard-headed. See the dirty look she's giving me?
She stomped off in determination. "I go up hill!" So I just turned around and started walking back and eventually she followed, but pronounced that she was too tired to walk and I had to carry her the rest of the way. Stinker!
It was a great time and we agreed that we wanted to try and go camping every week or 10 days this summer, but then it rained for 3 weeks straight. We haven't made it back up again, but maybe next week. Today we're going up the canyon to roast hot dogs and marshmallows for lunch with the Nates. It'll be good to get out in the sunshine, let the kids run wild, and eat some good camp food. If only God hadn't created mosquitos...
The only down side to camping in the wilderness is that now Amelia thinks it's OK to just drop her britches and pop a squat outside anytime she has to go pee. I've tried to explain that we only pee outside when we're camping, but alas, she has been seen peeing under the swingset at the park and right in Brian and Becca's backyard while we all watched the full moon from the dining room table.
Makes a mama proud.