Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Before I begin, I got a new phone! Should there really be an exclamation there? Not sure, because it was certainly not FREE, but nontheless it is new, unscratched, undented and hopefully I can manage to keep it that way.....

We went camping for the Labor Day weekend. I'm certain that my hubs will be blogging about our adventures, so some of you may get a double dose. I'm also certain that my recount will be significantly more positive than his. See, I actually LOVE to camp. Him, not so much. He just goes along for the ride and tries not to complain. He plays nice, but would prefer to be home.

We tried something new this time, because this was a last minute decision to go camping and all of our favorite spots were booked months ago. We found a private campground, within an hour of our house and they had 2 spots left. I did not, however, ask a lot of questions. I skimmed the website, they had toilets, showers, electric & water - we would definately survive. NOW JUST SHUT UP, because camping is STILL CAMPING, even if there are all those conveniences. YES, it is. We do NOT have a tricked out tour bus with flat panel TV's and hottubs - we have a tent, but I will NOT pee in the woods. I'm too old for that. I also like LIGHTS because nothing is more frustrating that trying to find something in the dark. Electricity is something I do not REQUIRE, but I find it necessary for being a Happy Camper.

So, we drove to the campground and found it to be less than expected. It was basically a big pasture with hookups scattered around. I like to camp with lots of trees, so I was a bit disappointed, but I'm still camping. We were assigned a site and when we found it, it was just a grassy area on the edge of the pasture. We had been assigned PRIMITIVE camping in direct sunlight. I did not ask about electric/water sites before I booked - my fault. We have never camped primitively so I drove back around to the office and worked some magic. We got a different site, under some trees and it was close enough to an electrical outlet that we could share with another site provided we had a long extension cord (uhm, hell yeah, I had FOUR - I like my lights....). The very best part of this was that it was right along the edge of the RIVER - whooo hooo! My kids were ecstatic! We set up camp and then decided that it took so long to do all this we would go out to dinner, rather than cook on the fire. We then headed off into town to get Mexican food. "Now THIS is camping!", says the hubs.

The local town is Dahlonega, Georgia - where both hubs and I attended college. Dahlonega is a Gold Mining town and there are many mines and tours and lots of panning for gold. There is a gold museum right in the center of the town. Since our campground was right on the river we encountered quite a few folks panning for gold. Many of them were campers like us, just playing around, but we also found that there are still many people that pan for gold on a daily basis. And they take it quite seriously. This one guy looked as though he had been doing this his entire life. He said he has actually found some pretty good gems and nuggets in his day. He was literally the poster child for gold panning, every single mine ad has a graphic of an old guy with a hat and a big long beard......

On Saturday we began to notice who else was camping at this place - there was a group of 10 families that had overtaken the place. The owner said these folks come twice a year and it is like a big reunion for them. How fun! Yes, they were definately having fun - a lot of LOUD fun. The difference in camping here, than in other places we've been, were the rules of camp ground etiquette. The owners here were laid back and didn't enforce any quiet hours. Lucky for me, I am mostly deaf, so the noise didn't bother me at all. The big group of folks were also Nascar fanatics, they displayed all of their Nascar flags and one guy actually had a Nascar themed picnic table that he brought to the campground. Now, bringing a picnic table is not that weird, but this picnic table was more than just a picnic table.....it was on wheels with a chain driven motor! Yes, that's right, a DRIVEABLE PICNIC TABLE, with flags! The guy was riding kids all around the campground. He was really friendly, and he would take everyone's kids. So, yes, I let a total stranger with no shirt, driving a picnic table, nascar themed, pick up my two girls to go for a ride. Am I a wonderful parent or what???!!

This campground also offered tubing on the river - yipee! We were taken for a 10 minute ride up the road which amounted to a 1.5 hour float down the river in big yellow tubes. I don't have photos because I could not carry my camera without it getting wet. It was fun, the water was cold, but you got used to it quickly. The river was just beautiful and serene, the tree cover overhead was phenomenal. This was my favorite thing!

We found some interesting things in the river....we thought this was a potato and a granny smith apple. These were actually rocks. The kids got quite a collection while there.

Since this was a last minute trip I forgot to bring a few things, so our meals were lacking my usual creativity for campground cooking, but we did manage to bake in our box oven (biscuits and chocolate chip cookies), we had chipotle lime chicken & veggies cooked in foil pockets which we just sat directly in the fire pit, we also popped popcorn on our camp griddle and of course, S'MORES. We are going camping again in late October so this was a good trip to see what I needed to replenish and remember to add to our camping supplies.

Hubs took a really good picture of the mountain man, which I did not want to steal, so feel free to check him out later this week. I know he hasn't blogged yet, but he will and I'm sure he will have a whole different perspective on the place. And for those of you keeping up with his new sunny outlook on life, he did really well not killing our camping neighbors and we didn't even bring any happy drinks on this trip! PROGRESS!