We generally do a week long camping trip twice per summer. One is always over the 4th of July week. We wrapped up our trip and it was a success. I thought I'd share some of our (mostly) ups and downs, as well as a few laugh out loud moments.
The Popularity of Outdoor Activities Is Increasing
Driving on the freeway to get back and forth to the campground showed just how popular outdoor activities have become. Michigan is always home to great summer activities and always has been. However, even versus a few years ago, you can see a tremendous uptick. The number of campers and boats shows that more and more have climbed out of the hole of the Great Recession.
Fireworks Don't Work At 11:30
We've stayed at this campground before, but this was our first time staying for the 4th. We were pretty excited when we found out that there was a fireworks display scheduled. Everybody headed down to the lake shortly before dusk, which was around 10pm. We waited, and waited and waited some more. We're quite a bit north and it was clear sky, so it didn't get pitch black until past 10:30pm. We figured they'd start then. Nope.
It was a full hour after that before they started. By that time, our kids had enough and were already in bed. Our son was half asleep and enjoyed listening to them, anyway. But, really, who in their right mind starts a fireworks display at 11:30pm?
A Bigger Gas Tank And Engine Saved A Stop
Most of our longer trips seem to be around 250 miles away from home. With the old Buick towing, we would always have to stop for gas. It was around a 20 gallon tank, and generally got around 10 MPG when towing. I got a truck with a 26 gallon tank, and we averaged 12 miles per gallon, so we ended up saving a stop. When towing, finding a gas station that's RV friendly always adds another layer of complexity, so I was happy to avoid that part!
The Unlucky Made The Best Of It
Remember above how I said camping is more popular than ever? This is especially true on the 4th, when just about every site in the state is booked. We were able to snag two adjacent sites for our entire time, and they had a lake view to boot! Others weren't so lucky, but made the best of it. Many people were able to get a stay at the park, but had to move sites at least once. I saw one camper in at least three different spots. Yikes!
Saving $80 Was Cool
We got a note a few weeks before our trip that the campground had been having sewer troubles. They had a line break on three separate occasions. During these, people that were camping couldn't use the bathrooms or showers. They had to use port-a-potties or pit toilets. They allowed people to either cancel their reservation or offered a $10 reduction in fees to take the chance on staying. Since we knew everything anywhere else was booked, we took the chance. Thankfully, the bathrooms worked perfectly, so we saved $80 by taking a chance!
It Finally Got Easier With The Kids
When we started camping with our trailer, the kids were 3 and 1. That was tough. Someone was always napping or eating or melting down and both needed pretty constant supervision. The kids have grown, but even last year, neither was riding a bike without training wheels. We always knew it'd get easier where they could be more independent, and this year it hit us that we were finally there. Nobody needed a nap, they were flexibile with the meal times, and were able to do a lot on their own.
4th of July Trips Are Bad For My Awning
During the first year we had our trailer, the awning broke during a freak thunderstorm. It almost happened again. This time there was no thunder or rain, just wind. We were sitting at the beach when it got really cloudy and dark and the wind started picking up. In the five minute walk back, it was so bad that when we turned around, all we saw was a cloud of sand. We ran back to the site and my in-laws and wife (who had walked back a few minutes earlier) were holding down the awning as it was bouncing around furiously. Through the wind, we were able to get it rolled up, but it really seems that thing is cursed on these 4th of July trips!
Staying Healthy Worked….Sort Of
I wrote a couple of months ago that I knew these trips would put my fitness success at risk. Between exercising less, eating more extravagent meals, and indulding in more alcohol, these trips had potential of derailing a lot of the success I've worked for.
Well, while I didn't do great, I don't think I did half bad. I definitely found I was more strict at the beginning and
less so at the end. Still, I did pretty good on portion control and cutting back on my liquor intake throughout. Snacking was the only area that I lost a little willpower on, but it was still better. Plus, I ran three times during the trip. Overall, this wasn't perfect but it could have been a lot worse!
We Need New Meals
We've developed some pretty cool meals. We have a good mix of campfire, grill, and comfort food meals. But, many agreed that we're starting to get a bit repetitious. We never had a bad meal that I can remember, but very little of the dinners were exciting. It's time to shake things up, I think!
Tomato Plants Can Double In Size In A Week
We bought two little tomato seedlings at the farmers market back in May. They grew quite a bit in the weeks before our trip. Still, we were shocked when the doubled again in size in just the week or so that we were gone. And it didn't even rain! The watering all came from our neighbors who helped us out. Now, we have lots and lots of tomatoes on the way!
Readers, have you done anything fun so far this summer? What fun have you had or do you have planned? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.