Tuesday, July 29, 2008

i am back. Finally. I was gone about 2 weeks, though the actually camping trip was only about 4 days...

Mony wanted to see pics of happy campers, and i'm not sure i have any! I really didn't take too many, and it was so brutally hot ---95 degrees, with 90% humidity and no shade, that we weren't all that happy. The festival (and campground) were on a farm, so we were a bit wary of the nearby creek, too. Especially after seeing a few things heading downstream. And, unlike most normal campgrounds, we were packed cheek to jowl...so there wasn't much airspace!

Things started out OK on Tuesday. I was going to drive up to R and R's in upstate NY, hang out for the evening, head over to set up camp the next afternoon, and then move over to the campsite on Thursday. But a re-org at work meant a flurry of phone calls, which pushed back my packing. I didn't get the car loaded up until about 330..at which point the phone rang again, with more work related chat. At about 400, I had to make up my mind: leave now, at the start of DC rush hour, getting upstate at about 10 or 11, or wait until 5 am, or so.
A quick consult with R pushed me out the door, and once I got out of the DC metro, I was moving along quite nicely. Still, it took me til about 11 to get there, and I was beat! Unfortunately, the kids were asleep by the time I got there, and I was still asleep when they went off to camp the next day.

Which was wednesday. R (male) and I were going to go over and set up camp (along with their friend D), while R (female) took care of packing all the non tent and sleeping bag stuff for the 5 of them, and kid duty. We'd been told that the gates would open at 12, and that the line would die down in a couple of hours----and since we were looking for "Quiet Camping," there would be plenty of room, and therefore no reason to head out early. Or at least that's what our friend who's in charge said.

But for some reason, they changed things around at the last minute and opened the gates at 7am. And since this was the first time the festival wasn't on a hill, people took advantage of the flat tundra and set up huuuuuge campsites, grabbing space enough for a dozen families, not the 20x25 plot the festival suggested. We drove around for about an hour before we found a nice couple who offered some of their space....in non-quiet camping. I was about ballistic at this point, mainly due to my fury over the space hogs. A bit of overspill is fine, but really! You should have the size of the campsites. People were allowed to save space for two friends until the next day, but the plots we saw were about 5 times larger than allotted....
Eventually we found a group of 5 nice young men, who told us we could take some of their space. Good thing they were already drunk---they didn't blink an eye when we set up our 3 tents (me, them, and the kids), D's pop-up (for his family of 4) and a tent for our last camper and son, who were showing up on Friday. Oh, we also had a shade tent, but even with all that, we didn't take up any extra space. (12 people in total)

My car? Don't have the before picture, but this is what it looked like when we packed up on Sunday.

I still had a few more things to get in there when I took this, but you can see how little space there is to start with.

Speaking of little, meet my tent.

it's the little one, on the left side. shorter than the rest. Because it's a backpacking tent ---great for when you're on the move, not so great when you're in one place. It's much easier to change clothes when you can stand up in a dome tent. Which is not what I had.
Here's a better look:

The other tents you see in the picture did not belong to our little group, which gives you an idea of how close everyone was. Not to mention the fact this picture was taken around 6p on wed, when only half the campers had arrived.

This is what we saw looking out of our campsite:

I was standing by the portapotty when I snapped this. Which explains why there was a bit of open ground in front of me!

I have to admit there was a bit of ground to the left of my tent. Which explains why 15 drunk high school kids thought it the perfect place to pull up for a smoke at 3am on Friday morning. I was awake in a flash, and asked them to not light up on my doorstep. They replied "Well, we're just havin' a drink and a smoke." So I tried something different: "We're trying to sleep. And there are kids here." "Oh!," they said. "KIds. Sure we'll move." At which point I added "And this is quiet camping, too." "Quiet camping? What's that?" was the response.
But move on they did. All of about 200 yards. Until the next guy yelled, "C'mon, it's 315, and this is quiet camping."
Which was pretty much the way it went each night. Quiet camping and not quiet used to have a tree line between them. NOthing like that here. And the people in non-quiet weren't about to stop whooping and hollering and picking and singing off key until they felt like it. "I'm not doing anything wrong, but being a bit rude," said one. Another said "Why are you camping here anyway? It's a party!"

Why is right. Well, because it was close to an hour from the house to the fest, and we thought this a better idea. And it would have been, if it hadn't been 95 and about as humid each day. With no shade, except what you brought with you. Nights were cooler, but very damp. So damp that you really wanted the rainfly on the tent.

And i haven't even told you that it was about an 18 minute walk to the stage!

more later....

Monday, July 14, 2008

i do love my car....but it is not the greatest car for a camping trip....

convertibles have teeny trunks...most of the boot space is taken up by the top. I'd say you can fit two small golfbags in there. It's average width, but the height is minimal...so nothing big fits, as you can't slide it all the way back.
And two doors make it hard to get anything biggish in the back. You can take down the top and the windows, and heave stuff in, but nothing too heavy, 'cause you've got to get it out again. And I don't like to leave too much stuff in the back because the canvas top makes it easier to break into than a regular car.
Plus, there's the "flyaway factor"....something every convertible owner learns about early. I've gotten off pretty lucky--- only losing a couple of hats and (lots of) receipts. But you'd be amazed at how many things you'd think were too large, or too heavy, obtain lift off.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

in answer to the inevitable question: i am camping because the friends i usually stay with are also going to camp. Why? well, the festival used to be about 25 min from their home, but the new site adds another 20+ minutes each way. And since the kids are going to take part in a music camp there, it'd mean at least one rt a day. So, they decided to camp. I'm part of the party, so I'm camping, too. We're going to stake out (hah!) two adjoining sites, actually 3, as they have other friends with kids who'll be on the other side.
They were doing a dry run of their gear two nights ago. I've requested a tell all, but haven't heard a word. Hmmmmm.

will wonders never cease, pt whatever.
I'm going camping.