Dave took Friday afternoon off so we could get on the road at a decent time. Our destination - Willow River State Park - about 20 minutes from our front door. Perfect for our "trial run". Plus, the kids had end of the year projects requiring them to be home at different times, so the close destination allowed Dave to shuttle them back and forth. This was definitely not a relaxing weekend, especially for Dave. But wonderful nonetheless!
Camper loaded, we jumped on the two lane highway that would lead us to our final destination. It was a perfect day. Sunshine, cool breeze and nothin' but shit-eatin grins covering both of our faces. And then...
These are the tracks that were left by the car that lost control in the opposite lane and screeched toward us in our lane. Yes, our lane is the one to the right. In the blink of an eye. It was the closest I have ever been to a real head on collision. HOW Dave managed to move the van and trailer over quick enough without losing control still dumbfounds me. Brakes locked, the oncoming car barely squeezed between our trailer and the line of cars in the other lane. The roads were packed! Three cars wide, this crazy driver managed to maneuver his way out of the middle and back into the correct lane without damage. We pulled off into the parking lot of the campground and sat in disbelief. All Dave could say was, "What just happened?" Crazy.
Happy to be alive, we put the near miss behind us and headed to our spot in the woods. It might be good to mention here the importance of looking at all the sites prior to making one's reservation instead of assuming that all spots will look like the ones previously camped at.
This was our spot in the woods...
Not really the "surrounded by the depth of the forest" I was looking for. But hey! This is a trial run, I'm happy to be alive and I'm ready to set up home in the camper of my dreams! Life is good.
Dave took care of all the outdoor set-up and I went inside to make a pot of coffee. (Oh....the stress of it all...) Here is a shot of Dave drinking his first cup of coffee. It's the simple things, isn't it?
I figured out that by leaving the front window cover down, I did not have to look at the highway where we just about ended our lives. Out of sight, out of mind!
This is a picture of Dave's parents, Ralph and Bernice. It is their life and love that made this camper a reality for us. Never will a camping trip go by without this picture at the head of our table. These smiles, a constant reminder of their love for family, for travel and for the great outdoors.
We love you Mom and Dad.
Our first guests were Anna and Evan. They came for supper the first evening and had to head back for jobs in the morning. After supper Dave made a fire and we sat and visited while eating smores for desert. It was the perfect ending to our first day.
Sara was the first daughter to sleep in the camper. This is her pretending to be asleep for the picture!
This is Dave REALLY asleep. Exhausted from the days events, all it took was getting horizontal and he was out like a light!
Sara got to pick out the first breakfast of the trip and she ordered up pancakes. Other than getting used to new heat, a different pan and a sticky spatula...they turned out pretty good.
I think this is the look of satisfaction...and a full tummy.
Bound and determined to get me into the woods, Dave decided that he would take a look around.
And by 5:00pm on our second day, he did exactly that. THIS is spot #2! Smack dab in the middle of the forest! He found a site that did not have a reservation sticker on it, confirmed that it was a "no show" and waited up at the ranger station until five minutes after the official deadline for cancellation.
A man with a mission...
"RRrrrrr....I have created fire!"
Emma was the second daughter to stay with us. Her boyfriend, Tucker, brought her out and they spent the evening around the fire with us. Before Tucker took off for the night we polished off what was left of the smores. It was a wonderful ending to our second night of camping.
This is Emma drinking hot chocolate by the morning campfire. She ordered eggs, bacon and toast for her breakfast, so this is her patiently waiting...
...while I fried up breakfast inside!! My daughter Anna was talking the other day about Dave and how he always has a way of making things easier for people. He's great at fixing things and even better at making good things AMAZING. She then said it would not surprise her if one day I could do everything I need to do from bed...well folks, this comes pretty close!
I'll leave you with a couple of shots that Dave took on his journeys out and about last weekend. With this being our "trial run" and all that it takes to get things set up, there was not much time for relaxing. But he did manage to sneak out Sunday morning and make it to the falls.
We're definitely hooked! We came home that night and immediately started working on reservations for the rest of the summer. Having a small camper means less work inside for me, plus all the comforts of home that make this a possibility for someone who does not always feel so great. As I walked around in the woods on Sunday I found myself on the verge of tears...good tears. I honestly never thought I would be able to do this again. And smelling the smells of woods and campfire, watching parents walk their children along the paths, hearing the birds wind down the day and greet me in the morning - it made me incredibly full. Full of thankfulness and joy to be alive. I told Dave, when we made this decision, that this was one of the biggest items on my bucket list. In fact, it was number one. Now, how many people can say they've checked off number one?