We just returned from our adventures in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. Wow! What an amazing trip. Look for future posts to come out of these adventures, once I have a chance to weed through all the photographs and find advice to share.
Today, I’d like to tell you a quick experience I had on our cruise ship in Alaska. The UnCruise is an amazing way to cruise and see an area. And that’s the point. To see the area you are in. This is why we chose UnCruise. But I’ll discuss this in a later post.
They had an “Open Mic Night” onboard. A few of our wonderful new friends from the cruise said I should share one of my camping stories with the crowd at open mic night. I was hesitant for sure. I’m a storyteller on paper, I said. Oh, I can tell stories to a small group. But in front of a large crowd? I’ll mess up the details unless I’ve memorized lines, like in a theatre production.
Well, my meal-mates finally convinced me to share my “watermelon” story with the crowd. I remembered the story, but forgot the point. So, for all my UnCruise mates—and you, my precious followers—here is the “watermelon” story in its completion. Enjoy!
Everyone should help when camping with the family no matter how small the task. It takes longer this way, of course, but it can lead to some great entertainment—for the other campers I mean.
Remember, setting up camp occurs after driving a distance for numerous hours, usually in the heat of summer.
In the beginning, the children watched us set up our little tent trailer, for how else could they learn. Our son squatted down to watch Dad pull out the legs of the trailer. All the children watched Dad flip out the wooden platforms and then unfold the canvas and raise the poles of our little home away from home.
The kids saw me lug supplies from station wagon to trailer and try to organize them as best I could so we could find things.
Then we added a screen house to be bug free for meals. That is, until all the children decided that neither Mom nor Dad could hear through the screens. So each one had to unzip the entrance—and leave it open—to talk to us.
We make several stops on our camping adventures. This time we were in Kentucky. And the children were ready to “help.”
As Dad tilted the 500-pound trailer, a brother/sister team pulled down each leg, pausing to count the slots to make it even while Dad’s entire face turned ruddy red, his muscles bulged.
“My leg is shorter than yours,” one member reported.
Dad didn’t care anymore. “We’ll deal with it later,” he told his helpers.
Dad lifted the wooden platforms into place. And the brother/sister team crawled inside the collapsed tent to unfold the canvas. The object was to lengthen the poles little by little, Dad instructed. He waited outside the tent with his plyers to tighten the thumb screws on the poles.
Suddenly, the children were screaming inside the tent. The base of the tent shook on its spindly legs. When the canvas collapsed a third time before the thumb screws were properly tightened by Dad, our nine-year-old daughter emerged from under the tent canvas.
“I want a motor home!” She announced at the top of her lungs.
Right, I thought. Didn’t we all?
The rest of the crew helped me set up the screen house spider skeleton. The poles looked too similar, I thought.
“‘A’ goes to ‘B,’” I tell a five-year-old twin. “No that’s ‘D.’”
The problem was the other twin had the fourth bent piece, riding it around camp as a stick pony. And then our oldest girl couldn’t find the “E.”
It’s a good idea to string lights around your campsite. We used Christmas lights. Distinctive lights help you distinguish your campsite from another when heading back to camp in the dark from the rest rooms. Of course, having a flashlight helps, too.
This particular time, though, one of the twins became entangled in the Christmas lights as she fed Dad a string from the knot. He had to untangle her before he could continue.
We were almost finished setting up camp. The only thing left to do was unload our new turtle storage atop our “new-to-us” van and the interior of the van. We formed a production line. I tried to be on the receiving end into the trailer to distribute and organize supplies.
Silly me! Things soon started moving too quickly because the children wished to go to the pool. Supplies were shoved haphazardly into the trailer. No one could find the toilet paper or toothbrushes when we needed them.
“What are we going to do tomorrow?” The children chorused.
“Can we just finish with today, please,” I replied.
Little did we know we were being observed from above. This was a large campground. Some of it was cut into a hillside. There was another level above our campsite.
While we tried to get dinner ready, an older gentleman appeared at our campsite. He had half an ice-cold watermelon in his hands.
“We just wanted to thank you,” he said as he gave my husband the watermelon.
“No,” we said. “Thank you.” We hadn’t enjoyed fresh cold fruit in a few weeks, having only a small cooler to contend with.
“We haven’t had such good entertainment since we started our vacation a month ago,” he told us, and then glanced up at the next level of sites.
We saw a bunch of couples in front of an awning on a motor home who smiled and waved.
“It’s for the young’uns,” they said.
Embarrassment aside, that was the best tasting watermelon we had in quite a while. It was so generous of our camping neighbors to “pay” the performers like this. Although I wouldn’t want to earn another payment with such a difficult performance.
Setting up camp does take patience and time. Trust me. It gets better with practice and age. The children’s age, that is, not the adults.’