We went camping. For five days. It rained a lot. Our tent leaked. It was cold. The wind blew.
Yeah, that was it. In short sentences like I was 9 all over again. But we live in a travel trailer aka “camper” and we went camping…in a tent…in the rain…in early spring.
Maybe sometimes we don’t have a lot of brains, but…it was the annual camp out in Florida weekend. So we went, tent, dogs, and gear in the van, bikes strapped onto the back end of the minivan. We got our tent set up before it rained, not that it did us a lot of good.
It seems that remembering waterproofing that fly again last December didn’t do me much good in early March. It was cold, raining, and our rain fly was leaking like we had cheese cloth up there.
Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but it wasn’t just a spot or two or three. It was the whole darned thing! I woke up to drips falling on my foot and water beneath my heel when my foot strayed from our pallet on the floor of the tent. Red Dog, the only dog who sleeps in the tent (Sissy sleeps in her crate, which we habitually keep in the van) had vacated from there and had crawled in beside GM on the other side. She’s smart. Not smart enough to wake us up before the tent was half drenched, but smart enough to move out of the puddle at least.
The first morning in camp starts off with a rather dour rush to get bedding into a drum liner to keep it from getting wet and the rain fly from our larger tent suspended over our now soggy smaller tent, since we had already loaned our (as it turned out later) only spare tarp to some novice campers who were on their first expedition into the wilds of Florida. The day improved, thank goodness, but not the following night. After our biking and hiking, we returned to camp as a group only to have incoming storms dump enough rain that our roaring campfire was soon literally floating in the fire pit, and obviously going out with a steady stream of acrid smoke. Out of self defense, we all simply went to bed.
The following morning dawned gray and none too warm, but at least it wasn’t raining anymore. A fire in the now drained firepit soon warmed us up as we sipped our morning coffee and ate a bit of something. Our companions were then soon tearing down tents and packing up to make their own way home, and GM and I had the entire campsite to ourselves for a few days.
We enjoyed the peace and quiet. I cooked, we washed dishes together, bathed in a very icy creek (GM just hates cold water and this really got him griping, providing me with ample teasing fodder!) We sat around the campfire in the evening, after our afternoon hike, and just didn’t do much. I read a book one day, and GM collected a lot of firewood from the dead trees in the area.
I also discovered that I’d had water make its way into places that had gone unnoticed earlier, which caused me some grumbling. I’d have to completely clean and restock my camping boxes when we got home. Some things were ruined, others were merely dampened.
I suppose it was time to do so. I can’t remember the last time those kits were completely emptied, scrubbed, and restocked. In the process, I opted out of washing everything before we came home, which ultimately may have saved our butts in a big way.
On Tuesday evening, on a whim, I sent a text message to my daughter asking for a weather update. (Our cellphone has little signal and connectivity there.) She informed me there was a really nasty storm on its way and it was expected to hit us before morning.
GM & I talked about it, and decided that since it was nearly dark already, we weren’t going to break camp and make a run for it now. We would, however, pack almost everything up, and leave early on Wednesday morning. That’s what we did.
By 10 am, we were on the road out, and had stopped to unload the bikes and take them across a deep dip in the road (the bikes hang up with the long wheelbase of the van, since they hang off the back on the bike rack.) I was standing at the far side with the bikes, wincing at the ominous sound of something catching in the gravel as GM navigated the dip when I felt the first drops fall. I could see the dark clouds racing in overhead, and the air was noticeably damp and the feeling was ominous. GM & I quickly strapped the bikes in place, and practically ran to the van as the drops started falling in earnest. Within a mere moment, it was literally a downpour.
If that wasn’t cutting it close, I don’t know what is. We were bombarded with hail and a downpour so severe that visibility was dreadful (and the shoulder non-existent.) But…we made it home that evening. Safe. Glad to be back at the travel trailer.
Sometimes, our little tin box is a real safe haven.