Dzzt, dzzzt, dzzzt……Multiply that sound by about one million….it’s a symphony, no, symphony is too nice a word….. a cacophony of complex critters. Busily buzzing with excitement, a million mosquitoes delighted that tonight’s dinner had been delivered. That night’s dinner was US.
It was the first night of a three week camping trip.
Did we plan to get into the park at dusk? Did we plan on wet, drizzly, even a little chilly weather now that the sun had gone down? It was only the second time we had set up the pop-up camper. Did I say the second time WE had set up the camper? I should say it was only the second time Keith had set up the camper. The WE part of setting up camp had not yet evolved.
By the end of this memorable trip, we had honed the set up procedure down to a science: 13 deliberate, ordered steps—each child and adult doing his part.
But, as I said, this was only the second stop. We pulled into historical Trail of Tears State Park overwhelmed by the history surrounding us. But it wasn’t long until our reality overshadowed our wonder with history.
By now it was night time. None of us knew what to do, except Keith. There we were, six offspring (ages 5-15) and the mom, alternating between being mosquito bait and asking, “Are we done yet?” to dashing back into the car for relief. I think it was actually THIS trip when one of our favorite family one-liners was born: “Dad got mad.”
Keith continued the set up process. . . It was a memorable night.
The next morning, we left St. Louis called “Gateway to the West” and began the drive across the plains. The plains, filled with corn and wheat, lived up to their attributed beauty. The vast fields really were “amber waves of grain”.
Driving on Interstate 70 we actually felt like we were on a wagon train, pioneering into the unknown frontier. Driving for hours over flat countryside caused the looming Pike’s Peak to be an incredulous unreality. …..But there it was. Amazing beauty.
This stop actually afforded us more than one memorable moment.
As we ascended towards the peak, the hairpin turns on this gravel road gave even the strongest of us mountain lovers our share of panic as our giant Suburban lumbered to the top. Even though I am a California gal with a great love of the mountains, even this was a bit much. I envisioned our entire family as the headline in the local paper’s next day edition. “Entire Family Falls Off Mountain Road”.
Arriving at the top, the sheer splendor surrounding us was staggering. We understood how song writer Kathy Lee Bates had penned the words to “America the Beautiful” as she stood atop this glorious mountain and looked out at the majestic view.
Our trip down the mountain was equally as breath taking….we kept sucking in breath as we make S-curve after S-curve. It actually proved to be too much for our youngest guy, then 5, who began to vomit incessantly from all the altitude activity!
It was at that point that I began to question the purpose of the journey, “Why are we doing this? Was this supposed to be fun?”
I didn’t realize it at the time but this trip built so many memories that it solidified our family identity. Ten years later, when we as a family sit and talk and laugh, one memory or another from that trip always finds its way into the conversation.
This summer, plan to build some family memories. You’ll be glad you did!