I began writing this journal two days into our three-day maiden RV voyage. My head is spinning with lists and ideas for our next RV trip so please forgive the impending disorganization of this blog. Here’s what we did wrong, what we did right, and what we learned.
Since it had been several years since my last actual camping trip—and by several years, I mean at least 15—and the last time was in a borrowed tent, on rocky ground, with nothing more than a nearby water spigot and a half mile hike to the bathrooms, I had some fears about camping, (even with our brand new Mountain View travel trailer) especially with two kids aged three years and six months. What would we do? What would the girls do? The answer was surprisingly wonderful: nothing.
I hate to admit it, but as outdoorsy and “green” as I’d like to think I am, the idea of camping in a park “surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods!” sounded a little bit horrifying—okay—it sounded a LOT horrifying. As we pulled into “Hidden Oaks RV Resort” just outside of Goose Island State Park, my fears were magnified; the place was basically a circular dirt road with equally spaced RV plots. (This ‘resort’ apparently boasted a pool and hot-tub, but neither my husband nor I ever saw this mythical oasis.) There appeared to be a diverse mix of campers: a few tiny, ancient looking trailers, some super-mega-sized modern ones, and a few of each that had “permanent” looking structures surrounding them—flower gardens, cheap white picket fences, wooden patios, and flag poles with big Texas flags proudly displayed. It was dusk when we arrived—which meant our trailer wouldn’t be set up until after dark.
This brings me to our first camping mistake: arriving at night. Not only was Andrew forced to park (!) and hook-up the grey- and black-water and electricity in the dark, but since I had been busy packing all day, my three-year-old had been stewing in front of the TV all day and was bursting with pent-up preschooler energy. She was a ball of fire when we arrived. No doubt our temporary dwelling seemed formidable to her as well; she seemed excited about camping but unsure of the strange, dark surroundings.
Lesson #1- Pack, plan and prepare meals, and make beds the night before an RV foray, so that adequate outdoor play, trailer set-up, and general settling-in can happen before dark, child-meltdowns, and adult fatigue set in.
After the trailer was finally level and the beds were made, we made a quick dinner of hot-dogs and beans, then I snuggled in with Baby M at around 9:30. Hubby played with Antsy outside, roasting marshmallows and making dirt-castles, until well into the night. Antsy finally crawled into bed with Baby and me in the master bed, and Hubby slept in the bunk. =)
The next morning was surprisingly beautiful. Andrew had to head to work for a few hours so I was alone with the girls. We sat in bed for a while, snuggled, played and talked, then Antsy opened the trailer door and grinned at the wilderness outside. We had a leisurely (yet tedious to make with two wiggly children) breakfast of pancakes and bananas, then I put Baby M in the stroller and we went for a walk around the resort. Antsy found about a dozen rocks, which she carefully loaded into the storage compartment of the stroller and in my purse and back pockets. Baby M cooed and gurgled at the wind, at the rustling live oaks, and at her big sister's antics. We stopped at the office and picked up some miniature candycanes for which Antsy was very grateful. While we were there, we chatted up the old man who lived at the park and served as the "landlord" and watched some elderly ladies do their morning "low-impact" exercises. Antsy found that pretty entertaining. Then we meandered back to the RV; I made lunch and Antsy played in the dirt with some sticks, building forts and making shapes, for-- I kid you not-- at least two hours.
We spent three days without TV, internet, pillowtop beds, and all of our stuff. It was three days of getting to know eachother and learning to cope with less than we're used to. Good times. Truly a trailer "truffle." =)
I have so much more to say about this one trip, but will post later; I am pooped!
To be continued...