Saturday, August 15, 2009

Princess Does Camp

I never thought I'd be able to say it. We all went camping.

It all started because Mommie suggested a trip to Iowa to stay at a place called 805 River at the White Rock Conservancy. The accommodations there are extremely rustic. Bing it up on the Google and check it out.

They didn't have a vacancy that weekend, so Nicole started looking up a number of other places. We don't have a tent or a camper, so we thought we'd try someplace that had a cabin, and we hit on one. The Sunset Lakes Resort in western Illinois.

The Sunset Lakes resort has ten cabins, by which I mean a small trailer/mobile home that has sleeping accommodations for a whole family. The master bedroom has a double bed (and almost no room around it. The kids bedroom has a microbunk. The kichen table converts to a bed, and the futon sleeps more. It has a bathroom with a shower, toilet and a sink. Oh, and an air conditioner.

And at the campground, the paddleboats and canoes are free, and so is mini-golf, which Gamble and I love to play.

It's camping, all right. Luxury camping maybe, but it's still wildernessy.

And we had the grandest of plans. I had the guitar and a songbook. We bought firewood, all the makings for s'mores, and all the supplies we'd need for a weekend of family fun. And it was Christmas in July weekend that weekend. We went for the fish fry and then stayed to do colorful crafts and activities.

Around the middle of the movie "The Santa Clause," Nicole and Random headed back to the cabin. It was raining a little, so Gamble and I stayed behind to watch the movie. A few minutes later, we started noticing that other people were coming into the shelter soaking wet. It had started to pour outside. Cats and dogs pouring. Lightning everywhere. Harsh whipping winds.

Then the power went out. It came back on in the shelter, but a quick text message to Mommie revealed that the cabins were without power. We waited a few minutes, but because we knew that our girls were alone and in the dark, we wanted to go be with them and make sure they were okay.

So I grabbed Gamble's hand, and off we ran. Through the pouring, driving rain, and with frequent lightning flashes lighting our way, we splashed and spluttered all the way back to the cabin. We ran so fast that our hearts were pounding from the effort. We got to the cabin and lit our little home away from home with iPhones and our Nintendo DS game systems.

And Random had a flashlight that we brought to be safe.

And then the water went out. No fresh water for brushing teeth. No water for showers or baths, and no water to flush the toilets.

We made the best of things by playing guitar by iPhone light, and singing the best we could. Ultimately, we went to bed, Nicole cuddling up to keep Random calm, and Gamble and I sleeping out in the living room.

The next morning, we went to the shelter and asked whether the power and water would return. They said that the power would probably not be on before Tuesday, since we were at a campground, and the area workers had better things to do. The 75 mile an hour winds had blown a tree through a main power line for the campground. We ended up leaving the campground and heading out towards Iowa.

The entire area was without power. We couldn't even get gas, as the local gas pumps were not powered. We ended up driving to Iowa and staying in Davenport (one of the quad cities), eating at the Machine Shed (some of the best food I've ever had), and shimming in the hotel pool with the kids.

We even took a boat ride across the Mississippi to go to the John Deere Commons in Moline, IL. They've got some monster machines there!

That was just our first camping adventure. There are more scheduled for the summer, so stay tuned!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Papa Nazi

Random was watching her favorite show (now Blues Clues) tonight. I was taking lots of pictures, and at one point she seemed to get irritated by the flash.

"Light!" and pointed.

But I kept on at it. I never know when to quit. That's me, crossing every line I can draw.

She gave me a look, held out her hand, and shouted, "Nuff!"

No more pictures. Nothing to see here.