Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sometimes you gotta suck it up and stay in a motel.

I'm not sure why I thought it would be a fun idea to go tent camping in January during a record-setting California freeze, but I insisted on packing up our stuff and the kids and dragging my coughing, congested, miserable husband to the beach last weekend anyhow.

My parents went with their camper a couple days early, and called to warn us how cold it was in Morro Bay. But, well, I'd promised the kids, and already started packing. I'm not really good with last minute changes. And UberDad isn't always good about expressing his needs. So, I made sure we had tons of blankets and lots of clothing layers, and off we went. Only a bit more slowly than that. We left around noon, and got to the campground in time to find the bathrooms, set up the tent, and nurse the baby, and then it was time to start a fire and make dinner.

By the time we'd eaten, the temperature was dropping fast, and baby was tired and cranky. Nursing him to sleep required me to move five layers of clothing out of the way, and then try to find his mouth in the dark under six inches of blankets. After that daunting task was accomplished, I lay listening to my dad help the big boys roast marshmallows for s'mores. They were having a blast already, and hardly noticed the weather -- except for the fact that the chocolate was so cold the marshmallows wouldn't melt it!

When they'd eaten all the s'mores they could eat, the boys and I joined my mom in the camper to get warm and watch E.T. It was one of my very favorites as a kid but I'd forgotten just how cute that movie is. The boys really liked it, too.

While we were watching E.T., UberDad was trying to get warm enough to go to sleep in the tent. It wasn't working. By the time the movie was over, he'd given up, and came in to announce we were going to find a motel to stay in. My parents' camper was warm, but way too tiny for all of us, and he couldn't stop coughing while lying in the tent.

Every couple needs one person who's not too cheap to do what's sensible. In this couple, that person would be UberDad. So, we grabbed our pillows and suitcases out of the tent, put the boys' jackets and hats on over their jammies, and drove down the road to find someplace warmer to sleep. It was five degrees warmer outside just being up the hill away from the beach.

I wouldn't say we got a great night sleep, what with UberDad, Crabcakes and I sharing a double bed, but we were definitely warm enough. Puffer and Grouper slept great, and were just as excited about staying in a motel as they'd been about camping. In the morning, we packed up again and headed back to the campground to hang out with my parents. And then, we had a really fabulous day.

My dad took the big boys on a hike through the Elfin Forest, a trail through the woods by the beach. When they got back, we walked across the road from the campground to the Bayside Cafe and had fish and chips and fish tacos for lunch. Then we drove over to Mantana de Oro to explore the tidepools and caves by the beach. It had warmed up to the mid-60s by then, which was perfect. Grouper took his socks and shoes off to wade through the creek trickling down into the ocean and wasn't too cold. My dad carried Baby Crabcakes all around exploring with the big boys, and he just stared in awe the whole time. After we got back, we ate sandwiches for dinner, and then went back to the Bayside Cafe for their famous blackberry cobbler. Yum!

Despite the fact that we spent more money and stayed a day less than we'd planned, my only regret for the trip is that I didn't have my camera. For some reason, possibly related to the many times it's been dropped, it's not working right now. I think we'll be able to remember our little "camping" trip nonetheless.


Tammy said...

Wow, sounds like a great family adventure! I am not one for changes in plans either, so would have dragged my family too, lol! But, at least you did have fun!!

Jocelyn said...

I love it!! We've done the double bed thing too many times....with a baby in the middle too. Ughh. Never a good night's sleep but I'm glad you didn't all freeze! Your mom wouldn't have been able to sleep knowing you were all out in the cold either!

I'm not sure which of us is the more sensible one. Maybe we both are, or maybe we take turns. But, I'm starting to get the camping bug and am dropping hints to DH. I'm sure it won't be til the baby is much older though! I will of course need to have a bathroom nearby with hot showers! DH says that is not really camping, but I'm not sure he's ever actually DONE it so he can't talk. :)

heather said...

As far as I am concerned, camping is staying at a motel. I finally broke down and went on the family wide camping trip this last summer, and I am now trying to talk them all into renting a summer house. I know plenty of people with summer houses on the OR coast, I just need to make arrangements with them so that we don't stay the same week.

Camping used to be any bed but my own to my mother, so I don't know why she now has the camping bug. I fail to see how waiting an hour to boil a pot of water for coffee constitutes a conection to our oldest ancestors, as my dad put it-I would think that even my ancestors of 100 years ago would think we are nuts to go hang out in tents when they worked so hard to get us in houses with electricity.

Amanda said...

Heather, you crack me up. :)

Michelle said...

If it makes you feel any better, the chocolate in s'mores doesn't seem to melt for me even in decent weather. It just doesn't seem to work. But it doesn't stop me from eating them though!

BTW, absolutely loved the Christmas photo of the boys. Thanks!

Jocelyn said...

And for Heather and Michelle - if you put a marshmallow on a graham cracker and stick in the microwave for 15 seconds, then put the choc and other graham cracker on top, it melts the chocolate. Not quite the toasty marshmallow, but it works!! Thats what we did and we were staying in an Oregon beach house. It was too hard to go make a bonfire on the beach. LOL.

Anonymous said...

you are a brave woman...i dream of camping out. But the hassle. The bother! Awesome husband to make the decison to go to the motel. Sounds like a good time was had by all.

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