Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Camping Trip, Day One (Burning Down the House!)

And, we're off. We left the house at 8:25 am -- we were due out at 8am to meet the deadline imposed by our friends and organizers. This trip is an annual get together of our friends from high school. Usually six families come together and camp, this year we only had five. The organizers this year are the high-energy ones in the group. They planned activities for every spare minute. Greg and I are more of the sit by the campfire in a hammock and snooze type of campers but we brought Greg's new camping hammock and figured we could always rebel if we needed to!

So, we leave and head off. We run into one of the families on the road. They had rented an RV for the trip and we ended up traveling together. There was lots of cell phone discussions about who was where on the road.

The big excitement on the trip was when we were leaving the tiny town of Copperopolis (this trip was in the California Gold Country). Greg heard the engine ticking like it needed oil so we pulled over to put oil in right away. So, at a wide spot in the road, we got the stuff out and proceeded to fill it up with a couple of quarts of oil. For some reason, Greg used the paper funnels he had from a gas station instead of the various choices he had of plastic funnels. Anyway, the paper funnel collapsed, oil spilled on the block, the funnel fell on the block and . . . combustion. Flames!

We stood there staring at it for what felt like about 3 minutes but I'm sure was more like an 1/8 of a second before we both sprinted for the back of the truck where the "truckbox" has a fire extinguisher. It was on Greg's side and he got it out and used it and the flames were out. Once he had it out, I decided I'd better walk away. I walked around the truck on Greg's side -- I could hear the spray of the fire extinguisher and didn't hear Greg yelling explitives so I didn't run around and grab the kids out of the truck. I walked back to our friend's RV where they were waiting behind us. They couldn't see any of this because the 5th wheel blocks their view. They did, however, see us both get out of the truck and walk to the front and then moments later we both ran back to the truck and then back to the front. They didn't know what was going on. The kids, meanwhile, could see everything through the opening at the bottom of the open hood. Gage described it as cool! But later told someone that it was pretty scary! Thankfully, there was no apparent damage to the truck and we headed off for an uneventful rest of the trip.

Setting up camp was delightful. We stayed at Calaveras Big Trees State Park [click] in Sierra Nevada mountains. We had a nice spot sort of away from everyone else but nearby. We got set up and then had the fun of visiting everyone else's camps -- the kids love that the best about group camping trips. They get to go see how Auntie L sets up her tent area and what Uncle B's RV looks like. Once everyone arrived, we picked a communal campsite and moved a table or two, set up all the chairs and Greg's hammock, and settled in for some conversation, good food, and a few well earned beers.

I heard
Common Ravens [click] calling when we arrived. I also saw Steller's Jays [click] and a Winter Wren [click]. Before bed, I saw a young Varied Thrush [click] as well who was completely unconcerned about my presence in our campsite. I had to laugh because we drove all that way to hang out near the Redwoods (okay, ours are Coastal Redwoods [click] and these were the Giant Redwoods [click]) and look at birds that I can see in my own backyard!

More Photos [click]

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