Sunday, July 15, 2007

Stories from the Scablands...

After five days of camping in Washington state, I am once again showered with blessings from above. This time, the blessings arrive in the form of an air-conditioned hotel room with WiFi. Looking back over the last few days, the comfort that I am enjoying now, makes it all worthwhile... I think.

Here are the low-lights of our family campout at Potholes State Park..

Loss of camping gear. As mentioned in my last post, most of our gear ended up scattered across the freeway just 45 minutes into our trip.

Heat. As predicted, temperatures in central Washington ran in the high 90's and low 100's each day. Temperatures stayed high at night as well, with little or no relief even into the wee hours of the morning.

Bugs. Lots of them, and they worked together in shifts! When the mosquitos weren't biting, the deer flies were (ouch!). And in the few moments when they both subsided, we were plagued by biting gnats. Something bit me above my left eye, causing it to swell and bruise. Right now it looks like I had a black eye which is now 1/2 way healed- splotchy and purple...

Defective gear. As I mentioned before, I did replace some of my lost gear en route. Unfortunately the lantern didn't work (the gas wouldn't turn off) and one of the chairs broke. Needless to say, both will be taken back for refunds.

Swollen ankles. I've had some issues with puffy ankles over the last couple of years, but nothing that couldn't be handled with a mild diuretic. This week, however, my ankles turned into shapeless water balloons! Nothing seemed to help. I'm guessing the heat was a big contributing factor. I'm sitting with my feet propped up now, even as I type.

No swimming. One of the reasons we camped at a lake was for the swimming. The lake however, was very low- leaving it muddy and completely unappealing. The swimming beach was completely unaccessible.

No internet. As you may have figured by my lack of posts. I was not able to find any internet access- even when we drove into Moses Lake to take the kids to the aquatic center. Evidently, Starbucks contracts its WiFi with T-Mobile- who does not serve Moses Lake...

Fire. On Friday we had a two hour long storm, complete with thunder and lightening. Several hours later we noticed a strange hue to the sky. It turned out to be smoke from a brush fire just over the hill. While we were not in any danger, we were close enough to be showered with bits of ash for the rest of the evening however.

But the real highlight of the trip balanced it all- spending time with my family.

This week was a chance for me to reconnect with family members whom I have not seen in years. I really enjoyed spending time with my Aunt Mary and her husband, Uncle Brian. Also along for the trip were my cousin Annie (who is 8 years younger than me) and her daughter, Vanessa (Annie's husband, like mine, doesn't camp). Last, but not least, my Grandma Phyllis, whom I have probably not seen in 10 years, was there as well. Even my Great-Uncle Bill and Great-Aunt Darlene drove out to see us from their home in Moses Lake. Added to the mix were my parents, plus myself and kids. I really enjoyed visiting and catching up with everyone. Something about sweating and swatting bugs together is bonding.

So, in the end, it was a good time. I'm looking forward to next year, when we'll camp somewhere a little cooler.

I hope.

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