Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Campers

Hallelujah! We survived September!

All the college visits are done! :-) Now to decide....hmmm....more on that later.

For our final college visit, we decided to check out Purdue University in Indiana. Since it's a 5 hour drive from here, we decided to go camping and spend some good quality family time around this trip.

This would be Cupcake's very first experience camping!

And it would be our first time camping with four kids and a dog!

We don't pack light. We must always prepare for all possibilities. Boy Scouts are always prepared.

It was a long drive. It took 7 hours, between puppy potty breaks, fighting kids needing calming, dinner and the rain. Oh, and the winding country roads through the middle of nowhere in the dark and in the rain.

So, we arrived 15 minutes before the gates closed at the campground. It was cold. And it was drizzling. Our plan was to use the headlights of the van to set up the tent. That worked for about 15 minutes...until they began to dim and the battery reached near-death. We were able to revive it just in time and were able to finish unpacking.

We've always camped in the primitive sites, but this time we decided to get a site with electricity for several reasons. We planned to use our air pump to blow up the air mattresses. We planned to plug in some electric blankets because northern Indiana is way colder than St. Louis this time of year, plus the temperatures plummeted last weekend. and the boys wanted to use the laptop. Unfortunately, the power was for an RV plug - not a regular electrical outlet. So much for our plans. By this time, Cupcake is whining and crying that she is tired, cold and wet. We're thinking we're going to be sleeping on the cold, hard ground covered in walnuts with no air mattresses and no electric blankets.

Never fear, we have a power converter in the van. It takes the cigarette lighter plug and converts it to a regular household plug. The only problem is that the air pump takes more amps or volts or whatever than the van puts out. So, we blow up the mattresses 5 seconds at a time. We turn off the pump whenever we smell the burn. Seriously.

We crawled into bed for the night. PHEW!

The first night, it got down to 38 degrees. We all survived.

The next morning, TE and Daddy toured the campus at Purdue. More on the college stuff later. The other kids and I drove around West Lafayette looking for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's are notoriously wrong on GPS systems, but I digress.

After lunch, we went back to the campsite and had a wonderful afternoon of goofing off. The Wabash river was a few hundred feet behind us and we had our own personal sandbar for skipping rocks and finding shells and taking pictures of ALL FOUR KIDS TOGETHER.

We had fallen logs to climb.

We had toads to catch.

We had playsets to play on.

Rascal spent his days barking at every person that walked by...and getting tangled up in all the tent ropes and poles.

Daddy enjoyed his time making a power converter to go from RV power to regular power. We had electric blankets on the second night. :-) And the boys got to use the laptop. Did I mention that it pays to marry an engineer?

Mostly, the boys just enjoyed getting back to nature.

A good time was had by all.

The funny thing is, with all that went wrong, you would think I hate to camp, or at least I would now. But I love it. Nothing ever goes as planned. Sometimes you're cold and uncomfortable and you don't know how to make things right. But you're a family and you're in it together. and when you come home, you have great stories and great memories. Camping is fun.

When we asked Cupcake what she thought of camping, she said she liked it, except for the cold. I'm with her. :-)

Blessings to you,

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