It's almost time for the annual camping trip to Garner State Park. Ask any kid in the group going, and they'd choose GSP over a trip to Disney World or anywhere else any day. Their My Space pages all have count downs showing how many days left until they leave for their trip. The kids live for this vacation.
GSP scenic photos from the park website
I'm not quite sure how many families are in the group now. It grows larger every year. Once a kid hits age 13 or 14, they typically bring a friend. That just makes for a growing group picture in front of the tree. (see below)
Days typically consist of river floating or "river sitting". Personally, river sitting is my favorite thing to do. All we have to do is load the cooler, the floats, chairs and dogs, then walk down the hill to the water for a day of NOTHING but sun.
Dinner is never anything less than delicious. We eat like kings. We all live for Uncle Danny's famous fajitas. The fish and shrimp fry is a close second. Breakfast is pretty hearty, too. My kids have pop-tart and cereal withdrawals the first few days. They don't know what to think of getting pancakes and eggs everyday. There's usually no need for lunch as everyone is pretty much stuffed for the rest of the day. (Don't even get me started on how many dishes must be washed after each meal, and that is with using paper plates and cups!)
On a typical day the older kids head to rock beach for swimming and cruise around the park in their pick up trucks. Frisbee football at the pavilion seems to be a highlight of the trip for them, too. They also like to spend a day hiking and going up to the caves to explore.
Rainy days consist of kids piling into the trailers to play Play Station or X-Box. Hey, we come prepared. The adults take turns pushing the collected water off of the top of the big canopy. We don't want it to collapse like it did the year of the flood. Or, they might go into town to do a few loads of laundry and stock up on more eggs and milk.
The annual Garner trip is two weeks long. Some families (like us) only stay for one of the weeks so we pretty much have a steady flow of people coming and going at all times, but the two week die hard campers are there for the long haul. My kids refuse to leave with us so they get pawned off on the family for the additional week. (My sister, brother and parents are die-hards).
Ok,.......truth be told, I love my family very much, but I can't do the full two weeks because by the end of one week I'm already on the verge of hurting someone, or they're on the verge of hurting me. Either way, one week is all I can handle. And I KNOW it's mutual. I could blog about the negative aspects of the trip but I won't! By the way, I'm needing some Valium for the trip if anyone has any to spare. Everyone would benefit if I actually had some. Ha! (Don't get mad, mom. You know I speak the truth.) We mutually drive each other crazy, along with a few other people I shall refrain from naming. In the end, the trip is always fun, minus a few mishaps or misunderstandings resulting from all that sweating in the hot sun and so much togetherness.
The dance is fun for all. People line up their chairs to watch all evening. They're as young as two and as old as eighty out there on the floor. It's also like a reunion of sorts. We run into all kinds of people we grew up with that are staying elsewhere in the park.
Every night after the dance everyone gathers at camp central (my brother and sister's combined camp where all of the essentials are kept, and where eating and socializing takes place) for dessert. The women talk, the kids hang out and the men start up an all night game of washers.
Last year our group of kids decided to have a few theme nights at the dance. (Drag night, Toga night and boxer night. See below.) Bahahahahahaha!
We still do the tent thing. We're one of the few families in the group without a trailer. We have considered renting one but I don't so much mind the tent factor, unless it rains(and rains, and rains). We have an A/C unit in it. How cool is that? We also have a porta-potty for those 4am full bladder wake ups and a really cool tent shower. And the air mattress is pretty comfy.
We'll be leaving this weekend so we've been busy trying to gather up all of the camping gear from the storage room and condensing it into a spot in the garage. I had to take the kids shopping to make sure they had cool clothes for the dance. If it wasn't for the dance they could get away with just packing swimsuits!
Did I mention we have a busy week of packing ahead of us?
Garner 2007. The group at the dance.
See me dad's eyes below? This is his typical expression just prior to dozing off in the chair. You can usually find him swatting flies all day at the camp or dozing off somewhere!
Even with the sometimes crappy phone service up in the hills, the kids can still manage to find a spot to chat on their phones.
Typical night after the dance.
At the dance.
Guess she couldn't find a gossip magazine. (I usually stock up for the trip)