Overall, our first campout with Popper was a complete success. A great big Thank You to Kit and Billy for laying the groundwork and helping us make our first big camping adventure so great. I would have been WAAAAAAY stressed out if you had not been there.
It took some doing to get Popper loaded up, mostly because I was still fretting over exactly where everything must be perfectly placed, despite two weeks (or more) of intensive planning. But, we did get her loaded up, and Brother Bear and I got her collapsed and ready to roll while Papa finished up some work stuff. I’m pretty sure our next packing effort will be much smoother.
After about a 1.5 hour drive (not counting a quick trip through the drive-through for carb loading), we made it to Unicoi State Park near Helen, GA. If you’ve never been to (or through) Helen, it’s worth a look-see. One of the cutest little contrived Alpine villages I’ve been to in the U.S., and I’ve been to a few. It actually reminded me of Big Bear Village in CA, sort of blended with Solvang up near Lompoc, CA. Cute. Very, very touristy, but with enough artisan shops you’d be able to find some real treasures if you looked around a bit.
Anyway, we met up with Kit and family at our “buddy” site (accommodates two families at one site). They’d been there a bit and had already unpacked and set up camp. We backed Popper into our side of the RV space, and had Popper and our camp set up within about 30 minutes. Not bad for a first run. And, there was power and water, so we were sittin’ pretty. There were also bugs (ain’t they all supposed to be DEAD at this time of year?!?). But, it was the remains of a lovely, warm (not too warm) day, just enough for me to question whether I should have packed more shorts for everyone. But, the temperature dropped with the sun, and it was definitely jacket weather by the time we gathered around the campfire.
Lessons From Day One:
- There are always bugs, no matter when or where you are camping. As a former neighbor of ours used to say, “Here in Georgia, we’re all about the bugs.” Take heed and pack accordingly.
- Tiki oil works really well for starting fires when you don’t have enough kindling. Don’t ask why we brought Tiki oil even though we had no tiki torches. But it worked out pretty good, so who am I to question the Fire Gods.
- Unicoi State Park has cell service, but no internet connection, even with an air card. This is a good thing.
- You have to open the gas valve on the propane tank for the heater to work.
- If you have a precocious child (or two) you will be told that Unicoi means "one Oriental fish." No, I can't keep up with them, either.
Stay tuned for Day Two.