Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Campin' at Belknap

We had a much better week around here, thankyouverymuch. There was some of this:

And then there was this:

And for some reason everybody decided they had to wash their bikes with the squirt gun. So yeah. Fun times.

So, enough about those kids. Let's talk about MEEEEE!

I've been in a carpool for the past six years. Carpool members may come and go, but the importance of carpool in my life always stays the same. You would think that the act of getting into a car with other people to go to a common destination would be no big deal, but there's a zen to carpool. It's a lifestyle, really.  My current carpool is pretty solid. We've laughed, we've cried, we've ordered and consumed roughly 5000 coffees, one time we even killed a cat. The 'pool is a big part of my life.

My carpoolmates are both relatively close to retirement. This pains me, but they are good sports and don't talk too much about it in my presence. However, sometimes they talk about things like PERS or RVs and campin' because, well, that's what you do when you get to a certain age.

I have mixed feelings about camping. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about the great outdoors and partaking in nature's bounty and all that. I can handle roughing it- I grew up camping. My dad once drove our family into the Baja desert on an ambitious family camping vacation, most of which I have blocked from my mind because I was 14 and family vacations can often be scarring for the teenage crowd... I do remember that it was rocky and dusty and flat. Instead of white sand beaches, palm trees and surfers we were greeted by frigid water, wide open spaces, and wind storms.

My dad was determined to continue our odyssey, despite the fact that no one else seemed to be having a good time. (My mom put on a brave face, but I distinctly remember being crammed into the back of an Isuzu Trooper with my nausea prone brother praying to GOD that my walkman, my final link to teenage society and popular culture, would not run out of batteries). One night our camp was ransacked by wild dogs. (Wild dogs who were Mexican wild dogs and so they stole only the cheese and tortillas from our cooler. ANYWAY.)

It rained a buckets on us and one day we had been driving in the downpour for hours upon hours along this little ribbon of a highway. I think it had been at least a few hours since another car had passed us and the sun was beginning to set. The thought of setting up camp in the rain was almost too much for me to bear (what can I say, I was 14. It was a melodramatic year.). Suddenly we saw this huge, sprawling resort on the horizon. My mom turned to my dad and calmly stated, "We are staying there tonight." He was smart enough not to argue and we spent one glorious vacation-like night in this fancy Mexican resort. My brother will remind me that we watched "Nuns on the Run" and drank Orange Fanta. For that night only, our Mexican camping vacation was a success.

The Mexico trip didn't sour me on camping, I actually (miraculously) still like to pitch a tent, build a fire and bask in the great outdoors. But these kids have really thrown a wrench into our camping over the past six years. I hate it when people wax philosophical about camping and kids and how you just go out and do all the things that you did before you have kids and blah blah blah. The reality is that NO, you don't go backpacking with your kids because your kids have WAY TOO MUCH SHIT to put into a backpack AND even if you did cram everything that you'd need for them into a backpack, those little punks won't carry their own backpacks and so you're the jackass hauling your backpack, your kid, and his backpack into the woods.* And that's no fun.

Also, laundry. Need I say more?

Nope. Camping with kids is like tofu. It's its own thing.

*We have totally been those jackasses. It sucked.

If only there was a way to camp with your kids without having to actually camp... If only I knew someone with all of their camping gear conveniently stored in a recreational vehicle...

Enter my carpool. And an invitation to "camp" for the day at Belknap hot springs. Oh hell yes.

Best vacation I've had in awhile. And I didn't even have to carry anyone's backpack.


  1. So awesome. I yearn for an RV in a way that makes my husband think our retirement will involve Boca Raton, bingo, and lots of crazy as jewelry. Which it will. My husband also has the camping-with-kids-is-so-easy delusion. can't wait till we move back to the west coast to show him how insane he is. (My #1 fear is my toddler decides to wander out of the tent at night. Can you put a leash on them??)

  2. I fell for the camping with little ones also, we had a pop up and I needlessly didn't go under the pull out bed and make sure all the cords were secure, so in the middle of the night mind you in the pouring rain, my 18 month old daughter fell through the tent/camper side and we had a inflatable 3 man boat under that side/with rain water of course under that side and she ended up in that boat at about 2:30 in the morning, talk about a screaming/scared Mother and child. That was the end of camping for me until they got older. I know it should have made any Mom never want to camp again but I guess I am a sucker. HAHA well it the memories that count I have always been told.