July 9, 2005

Fareware to civilization.....

All packed up with a full pickup and pop up camp trailer, we headed out Thursday morning for our annual family camping trip. This year it is to Colorado.

My husband grew up going on camping trips to Colorado from the earliest memories he has of cramming in with six kids into an old pickup with a cab over camper, driving on dusty mountain roads (that are now well kept and a lot of them paved), fishing, fishing, fishing, and fishing, exploring old mine areas looking for minerals like gold, silver and amethysts in the mine trailings that have built up over years and years of mining, memories of hiking as a teen and young adult in the high mountains.

Our vacations are nothing like that. My husband and I were blessed with four girls, none of whom like to fish or be without showers and flushing toilets for very long. Two years ago he took us camping for two weeks in Colorado (about one week past our limit) and he almost had a mutiny. We paid a lot for showers those two weeks at $5 per shower at the town RV park. So this year we are camping for one week, then going to a cabin with electricity and running water for another week…good compromise I think….especially since the cabin is free! (a ministry to full time ministers by a wonderful group of people that we got a letter of invitation from about this time last year)

But back to modern day camping. We don’t have an RV with a generator for microwave oven and satellite tv, or a trailer full of 4-wheelers (although we’re jealous that we don’t) to go zooming around forest roads. But we aren’t exactly Robinson Caruso either. Our pop up trailer may not look like much to anyone else—it is a 1972 Pleasure Seeker with gold and aqua interior—but it has padded benches to sit on, beds to sleep in, a door to walk through and an indoor stove to cook on. To us it’s luxury after tent camping all of our married life with kids from babyhood to teenaged, fighting off biting flies and mosquitoes while cooking and sitting huddled under a tarp waiting out a freezing rain storm….two years in a row while Maggie was a baby, the rain was not to be waited out and it poured the entire week we camped, nothing was dry. In other words…we love our little trailer!

Charles has made so many concessions over the years to keep us happy on these trips, it no longer resembles much of what he grew up with. Teenaged girls need concessions…he is a wise dad. So we let them bring their CD players (stocking up on batteries), one of them has a Gameboy which has been highly coveted this week by all the sisters (she shares well though), two laptop computers and a bunch of DVD’s to use when we’re desperate for “real life.” He is letting them sleep in this year too…usually they are jumped upon and squashed if they don’t get up for breakfast. Yesterday they didn’t get up until 10am. Today it is 9:15am and I am waiting breakfast on them—yesterday they ate cookies I think.

I got up an hour and a half ago and Charles and his brother Rick, who is joining us this year, were already gone—fishing. They left the coffee above the dying coals on the fire grate to keep it warm for me—very thoughtful. A little hazelnut creamer and I was one happy pup. I had fully intended to get up and make them pancakes before they left, but I have had two nights of wakeful sleeping and I made the mistake of closing my eyes again after Charles got up. We will be going into town today to take showers and walk around looking at touristy shops in downtown Lake City.

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