Maiden Voyage – Rainy Day
On day three we had our first experience with rainy day camping. We were somewhat prepared as the weather channel said there was a chance of showers, so we saved a couple of Lake Placid activities until the second day. We took a gondola ride up to the top of White Face mountain and drove the auto road and had lunch at the summit, both of which worked just fine with the rainy weather. (It’s like we were on two different trips. She bought herself a nice Cabela’s rain coat thingie, while I was left to fend for myself and got pelted by rain, which in the mountains is much larger and I think has tiny little needles on each drop to punish you for being outside. All I had was a ridiculous rainbow umbrella, which I used; but I was in constant fear of being mocked and ridiculed by people who weren’t carrying rainbow umbrellas. – Lee)
But then we were done and went back to the camper. First off: the outdoor rug? Awesome purchase. Although the ground was sandy, the rain was coming down so hard that there was a lot of standing water, but our rug soaked most of it up and we had a relatively dry path to get into the camper. The rug also gave us a small dryish space to sit outside under the canopy, which was nice. Thankfully, we had brought some movies to watch. The camper has a built-in DVD player and we snuggled under our flannel blankets and watched a movie with the rain falling outside. (Lies, all lies, big… fat… lies. SHE snuggled up under her very nice flannel blanket, while I was made to suffer and freeze using the sad and entirely inadequate bedspread from the bedroom, which is decidedly NOT made of flannel. I think it’s made from the tears of dying kittens. I have ordered several of those nice flannel blankets for myself, and I intend to hide them in various places in the camper so I never have to suffer again. – Lee) It was nice, really; inside the camper the rain is very muted so it doesn’t feel like you are inside a tin can at all, and when it got too chilly we would pop the heater on for a few minutes to take the chill off. Also, one great thing about the rain was it washed the pollen away. There had been tons of yellow pollen everywhere… no wonder I was sneezing so much, and my nose was unstuffed for the first time that weekend.
When the rain finally slowed down and the bugs started to come out, we used the tiki torches. I have to say, these were an outstanding purchase. (Another great idea, brought to you by Lee.™) What I thought of as merely decorative was great for keeping the bugs away from the trailer. We have been positioning them in a semi-circle around the canopy and as soon as we light them bugs stay outside that circle. That, coupled with spraying the screens in the morning with heavy-duty bug spray (facing to the outside, of course), works really great for fly/mosquito control.
We have a grill that attaches to the camper’s propane tank for rainy days and Lee made us a couple of steaks. I prefer campfire cooking, but the wood was a bit wet and it was an easy alternative. That night I did start a nice fire and we sat outside and roasted some marshmallows. All and all it was a nice lazy camping day. Update: we hated this grill and eventually replaced it. It was too big, took up to much space, and didn’t work consistently.
The next morning we woke up and started to tear down the camper to leave. This time we hadn’t bought the additional day, so we had to be done by 11am, which made things a bit more difficult. When you’re up at 7:30 that seems like a lot of time, but we are still new at this and I started to feel the pressure. When under pressure I tend to stop talking and I’m all inside my head. Lee, to his credit, noticed the signs and had me stop and communicate. But it didn’t go that well. We were done in time, pulled out with three minutes to spare, but we kept running into each other and the division of labor was not that clear. In the spirit of our new adventure, we did talk about it on the drive home and decided to make sure we stuck to the inside/outside plan for tear-down. Lee also mentioned a great point: setup is fun; you’re all excited and having a good time, and looking forward to the camping. Tear down is more like work. At the end you just get to go home. If home were so awesome, why bring a portable version of your house to the woods?
Compared to the couple next to us though, I’d have to say we did pretty well. The woman sat and texted the entire time and her husband did all the work. When he gently said she might want to learn some of what he was doing she said, with a tone, “The camper was your idea, not mine.”
This bugged me–normally, I try not to make judgments, but I was outside at the time learning about sewer draining (not my favorite thing) and heard the comment. I couldn’t resist saying cheerfully to Lee, “That’s not so hard, it’s just two levers.” That shamed her a bit.
Campers are a significant investment, and hey, if you don’t want to camp, (especially with little kids, which they had), I get it. But if you’re going to try it, at least actually give it a try. It’s not very fair to make your spouse do all the dirty work. Tempting? Yes. Fair? No. (Well sure, but hogging the flannel blanket, well, that’s just allowed, isn’t it??? – Lee)
- Have a rainy day plan
- Bring extra movies just in case
- Tiki torches are fun and functional
- Stock up on flannel blankets.
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