Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unhappy campers

Well, we're still alive. And camping was actually a ton of fun. Up until the frickin' hurricane. (And, yeah, we live in Minnesota.)

First, Norah and I slept in, much to Ryan's chagrin. If it was up to Grizzly Adams, we would have been on the road at 6 am. But it did allow him to fuss over the perfection of his packing job in the Subaru while Norah and I cuddled on the couch for a while.

Then we hit the road. Ryan couldn't GPS the campground for some reason, so we stopped by a store and bought a good ol' fashioned map. I was the navigator. Mostly because Ryan loves to drive and I become navigator by default. Besides him cringing every time I folded the map against its original creases, he followed my instructions cheerfully and without question. Norah bopped to the iPod and played with Bear Bear.

Then we got lost. I am a sucky navigator. We pulled over and the map was taken away from me.

Eventually arriving at the campground, Ryan and John began setting up the tents and Sara and I brought things from the car and watched Norah and Samantha, who is just a month older than Norah. John and Sara also didn't have a perfect morning, so she and I kept our distance from the men for a while. The Vix fam showed up with their boys, Lincoln (4) and Will (2), and brought their VW hippy bus for camping. Seems Rob and Tamara also were slightly stressed and angry from getting lost, so that was awesome.

Once we were set up, everyone was in a much better mood. The ranger stopped by to say hello and to tell us about the weather warnings. I asked him what we would do in case of a tornado, and he mentioned that there were concrete bathrooms at the horse camp nearby. That sounded cool to us.

Then the moms hit the beach with the kids, and the dads went to town to buy batteries, which apparently was also code for hitting a local bar. Whatever. It was a blast. Norah charged into that lake with a vengeance. Her first lake experience, too! She is fearless. Unlike me, who can't swim and is terrified. Kristi and Amy joined us, too, and set up their tent.

It started to rain a little after lunch, which wasn't bad. The kids played in the tents and bounced on air mattresses while the rest of us gabbed in the screened areas of the tents. Another screen tent protected the food and stuff. Once it cleared up, the formidable heat was conquered, leaving us with a nice, cool breeze and an overcast sky.

After about the fifth text to my mom, telling her that the weather was great and we were fine (someone must have had the weather channel on at their house), the sky began to churn. Everything transformed into a green haze. The rain started coming down again, and the wind through the trees was so spooky, Amy and I looked at each other asking, "What the hell was that?" Then the sirens went off.

"Let's go," I said, scooping up Norah. The men folk sort of rolled their eyes, but everyone scurried, gathering a few things to take along-- purses, the weather radio (which had said some other area was getting spanked, not ours), and kids. John and Rob actually decided to stay, as they had just thrown some meat on the grill.

We caravanned to the horse camp down the way; Kristi, Amy, Tamara and her boys in Kristi's car, Ryan, Sara, me and the little girls in ours. The bathrooms were as small as mine at home. There was no way. We decided to drive to town.

Kristi's car turned to go back to the campsite, so we followed. Maybe we could convince Rob and John that they were idiots. As Kristi's car parked, everyone flew out of it, including two crying little boys. Each had gotten nervous and thrown up their entire dinners in Kristi's car. The stench hit me and I almost joined them. We abandoned Kristi's car for Amy's. Rob was trying to get the camper part down in the VW. John hopped in their Bronco and Sara and Samantha joined him. Ryan disappeared.

He was running down the path to the site. I yelled at him, but he was gone. The trees were bending. The rain was pouring. The sky was a milky green. Amy and Kristi took off. Norah was in her car seat playing with a couple flashcards Samantha had left. "Quack," she said at D is for Duck.

Then Ryan finally appeared again. He jumped in the car, soaking wet, and triumphantly held up Bear Bear. I think I fell in love with him all over at that moment.

We ended up driving through the worst storm I've ever driven through. You couldn't see a damn thing. The wind was crazy. It was terrifying. I prayed the whole time, which is uncharacteristic of me, but I did nonetheless. We ended up at a Super America when it was nearly over. There was a full, double rainbow painted across the sky.

Amy and Kristi had headed back to the horse camp, where a few other campers from other sites had joined them, including a couple dogs. Tamara and the boys ended up in Big Lake, where a tornado had been reported. (They're fine!) Rob stayed at the campsite, and it got pretty ugly-- he ended up taking shelter in the outhouse.

We got back to the site at 9:30 pm. Everything was soaked and covered in mud. We abandoned everything and decided to just come back in the morning. Norah slept through our entire adventure, except when I took her out of the car to see the rainbows.

Whew. Next year maybe we'll just stay home.

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