Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vacation Part II - Camping

I'll begin with the end of Day 1, but I didn't want to drag out Day 1 in the first posting.

We left Montpelier and in my awesome map abilities I predicted that it was about 8 miles from Montpelier to Charlottesville, Virginia. We leave and I jump into my book and shut off everything around me. After about 28 miles my wife asks me how many miles it was again and are we going in the right direction.

I sort of freak and whip out the map (Excuse me while I whip this out - ghasp!). Okay, we're still on the right road and we're going south. Oh, 8 miles was on the road near it to another town. It's actually about 30 miles to Charlottesville, which isn't too bad because we're almost there!

Now, I usually love Google for directions. Even Mapquest is okay. However, it dumped us through bum-f-in' Charlottesville. And if you've been there, the good parts don't look all that great, so image the bad parts. It had us winding through back streets and up hills. "Lock the doors" I hear. Finally, we dump right back onto the road we were on about 10 minutes ago. Stupid directions.

We pass through Charlottesville and head down to the KAO campground about 8 miles south (8 miles, right?). This time I was correct and we stroll into the campground. So did everyone else. I used to go camping, but I was a lot younger and a lot more naive. But camping people now scare me. Clem and Cooter with the camper on the back of their Dodge 1500 and Mildred and Vance, the 60 year old semi-hippy-nudists. Yeah, they're in front of us waiting to check in. Cool. We're going to see some naked old people!

After about 20 minutes I finally sign in. The place is run by 2 Europeans (and if you're not a-poopin', then you're a-peein'). Her name is Ursula. She may have been a hippy. I didn't see any dandelions in her hair. I'm sure there are other tell-tale signs. But I never learned what they were when I was in the Young Republicans club in Kindergarten.

So we're finally in our cabin. It's a nice little 2 room cabin, probably about 400 square feet. it has 5 beds - one sort of twin bed and 4 bunk beds. The bunk beds are about 8 inches wide, so if I lay on my side and harness myself to the wall I shouldn't fall out. Luckily the beds are padded with vinyl mattresses stuffed with clam shells. We eat some dinner that we brought and my son begs us to take him fishing. If he can't have a light-sabre battle with some shadow phantoms or go fishing he'll go crazy.

We look at the map and find that there's a nature trail around the camp that leads to a pond. Says there's blue gill, catfish, and some other turd fish in there. So we head down the trail and because no one in the family can carry fishing rods without getting them tangled in branches or whacking them against the evil trees that are attacking us, I'm now lugging 3 rods and tackle box. It's okay. I'm the dad.

We finally make it to the pond, but not before creating a few of our own trails because they got quite narrow and we could see the pond and it appeared that the other trail went away from the pond. I sure hope we can find our way out of there - especially if we're in a hurry.

So we get to the pond and I drop the gear and take a deep breath. "Hurry, Papa! I need a fishing rod!" I'm quickly trying to untangle the fishing lines, because the idiot that carried the rods to the pond allowed them to wrap around each other.

"Holy SHIT! There's a bear! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Run! How do we get out of here?"

"What?" My wife if frantic. She's panicking. "A bear" she yells again. Dumbfounded I begin looking around the pond. "Where?" "Run, you retard from Tropic Thunder!" I see nothing, but grab the gear and coerce the family up the hill of no trail and scamper back to the camp ground. I'm checking behind us to see if he's trailing us, but no bear in site. Everyone's heart is racing. I'm all sweaty.

"Mommy, did you say you saw a ship in the pond? I didn't see a ship." Yes, my son is clueless. Thank goodness.

"Mommy, I knew something was wrong because you were using a lot of bad words." My daughter is not so clueless. And she saw the bear. Apparently he was about 20 yards away from us. He and my wife made eye contact and he did a 180 and took off. She feared he was coming around the pond to us, but fortunately, he's just as scared of us as we are of Martin O'Malley. And this time we didn't suffer a 20% increase in the sales tax.

The panic of my wife lingers. She can't sit still. Okay, get in the car. Let's go for a drive. We drive back to Charlottesville and I decide to find the University of Virginia. I know they suck at sports, but I heard that a pretty cool guy founded the place.

We find the college and tour for a while. It's getting dark, but the campus is really nice. I take some pictures and use a setting for allowing the camera to absorb as much light as possible. So most of the pictures are slightly blurry.

We walk down the main street, grab some frozen Italian ice at Rita's and finally head back to the campground. We get back and I start to build the fire. It's perfect. Logs are lined up properly. There's leaves and small sticks to use as kindling to get it started. I grab the suburban lighter (the long thing non-smokers use to light charcoal grills and candles at birthday parties). Click. Click. Click. Clickclickclickclickclickclickyoustupidclickmotherclickfuclickingpiececlickofclickshit! Yeah. My brother-in-law sat at my daughter's party and clicked it so much that it now no longer works. Great.

"How are you going to light it?" I'm asked. "I'm not" I reply. "We'll just aim the flashlights at the wood and wiggle them and pretend we have fire." No one finds any humor in that. So my wife decides to walk out to where the RV campers and find the one that doesn't have any pedophiles and ask for some matches. She finds an RV with kids and the mother happily gives us matches. I finally make my fire and it's a glorious fire. The skies shine brightly and the gods bless my fire with long laps of flames and snaps. My kids are amazed that I can actually do something that's not on the computer!

As we sit there I see my wife looking over her shoulder. There's no one around us. The RV's are on the other end of the campground and the tenters are in the other direction. There's no one in the cabins but us. And that imaginary bear that she keeps hearing. It goes without saying that she will not sleep tonight. It also helps that my son is now afraid and wants his mommy and wants to go home and my baby daughter is feeling needy and wants mommy to hold her. Good night!

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