Monday, April 12, 2010

SC/FL Camping Day 5 – Monday

So, this was our most challenging day, I think. Papa Bear had a business meeting in town and didn’t expect to get back to camp til 3:00 pm, but checkout was 1:00 pm. The plan was for the kids and I to hang out at the beach til Papa was done, but they don’t allow dogs at the beach. If Papa had the truck, there was no place to keep the canines. So, we decided to pack up Popper, drop her off at the beach parking lot, drive Papa Bear to his meeting, drive back to the beach with the kids to hang out, then pick up Papa at 2:00 pm. Not complicated at all…

We did get up, get camp packed up (I had pre-packed much the previous night), and Papa Bear sufficiently gussied up for his meeting to leave camp at 10:00 as planned. We dropped Popper at the beach, and dropped Papa at his meeting on time. However, Papa’s cell phone was left at the camp. We called the Ranger Station from the road and asked them to keep an eye out, and by the time I got back to camp they had the phone…and the dog feeder and water trough that we had also left behind. I pulled into the beach parking lot and found that someone had parked in the space directly in front of Popper, so hitching her up was going to be problematic if the vehicle was not moved before we needed to leave. And, it was by then clear that the beach was going to be cold and windy, and possibly even rain a bit (which it did).

But, T-Bear has a deep love of the beach, and with all of the other outings and activities, he had not been able to spend as much time there as I had hoped. I think part of its attraction for T-Bear is the roar of the surf and wind drown out all the other sounds that constantly bombard him. I didn’t want to deprive T-Bear of this last opportunity to soak it in, so made up some sandwiches for lunch which we ate in the car. BroBear and Booboo elected to stay in the truck with the dogs, while I took T-Bear down to the beach for a bit. Despite the uncooperative weather, 15 minutes on the beach with his feet in the cold water was enough to top off T-Bear’s tank for this trip, and it didn’t start sprinkling until we got back to the truck.

T-Bear soaking up the beach. Rain's a comin'.

By that time, the people who had parked in front of Popper were loading up and preparing to leave, so that little glitch was solved. I managed to get Popper hitched up with spotting by BroBear, and drove back into town to pick up Papa Bear. We stopped off at Hardy’s for a 2nd Lunch (technically snack), and off toward home. A stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner, and we were home by about 10:30 pm. Good to be home. But, part of me will miss sleeping in Popper til next time.

So, lessons learned on this trip:
  • Grab fire wood left behind by departed campers before the Ranger does. They must rebundle and resell it, and since you not allowed to bring non-local wood into the Park, and can’t gather dead wood from the Park, and usually have to buy wood at the Park or locally at $4-$6 per bundle, grabbing up left wood could save you a bit of money.
  • A raw shrimp tail used as bait which drops off a fishing pole hook into the back of the truck will create a horrific stink that does not dissipate until the tail is found three days later and disposed of, no matter how many applications of Sol-U-Mel are applied. Once the shrimp tail is located and booted out, however, Sol-U-Mel works great to get rid of the gag-inducing lingering odor.
  • My kids are much better diplomats than I am. Any time I start getting a little uncomfortable about “what the neighbors must think” of my rambunctious kids, all I have to do is let them go over and introduce themselves (as they are always dying to do), and any possible (usually imagined) scowling is immediately remediated. They also smooth the way for me to go talk to the adults at a later time if necessary.
  • Camping during the week is awesome (unless it’s during a break) because everyone’s in school. There are fewer campers, so more freedom for the kids to be wild banshee children and less stress for me and Papa Bear. And it’s quieter. Except for our children, which we’re pretty much used to.
  • Oak is really hard to burn without an incendiary compound to get it going. Papa Bear favors tiki oil and lighter fluid. Bring more starter bricks. And, I really need to teach one of the kids the Magic Mommy Dragon Breath so there’s another person in camp capable of keeping the fire going without adding incendiary liquids at frequent intervals. Our best candidate at this point is BooBoo Bear, but he’s only five. Perhaps I should invest in a bellows.
  • If you’re a female enjoying your mid-life, never count on your period arriving on schedule. Always bring feminine equipment along on trips.
  • If you’ve been listening to Money Python in the car on the way to the Chinese Buffet, explain to the children before you get out of the car why it is inappropriate to bellow at the top of your lungs the song “I Like Chinese.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up. Please.
  • Dramamine not only eliminates nausea, but also knocks two out of three children unconscious for at least four hours. (insert Evil Laugh).
  • White socks worn under camp sandals may look really dorky, but it keeps the sand off your feet. Which is really important if you have sensory feet issues or diabetes. Deal with it and stop being so judgmental.

That's it till next time!


  1. Ugggh the prawn tail.. I can imagine the stench..

  2. You are something--your entire family is something--something very special! I'm glad I finally got back and found the story and the pictures about your trip. Thank you so much for sharing!