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Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Scary, Scary Night...


Although we asked God, nightly, NOT to replenish the whole water table during our camp stay, sometimes he'd try--usually at night. This can be a good thing except when you have to break camp at 3 a.m. to catch a ferry back to the mainland.

It is very important when camping with children, or just camping in general, that you understand time zones and driving distances. You can find this information visiting the tourist website of the area where you plan to camp or if you are like me and like hard copies of information and photos for your scrap books, ask for a welcome packet to be sent to you. Maps of the area are of primary importance. Begin at the area's websites. I found tourist information to Canadian destinations by typing the country.com; www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/. For the United States use the state plus tourism.com; www.floridatourism.com.

We were camping near Gros Morne National Park on the northwestern side of Newfoundland, a dramatically rugged country surrounded by craggy coastlines and one major roadway, Route 1. Because we had misjudged distance and the time needed to cover that distance on a two-lane coastal highway, we had to break camp at 3 a.m. to make the 8 a.m. ferry at Channel-Port-Aux-Basques back to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

The rain started about 1 a.m. We knew because we had taken down those precious tarps I told you about in my last entry in hopes of cutting time from our pre-dawn camp breaking. However, this left us with a sopping tent to tuck in and mud everywhere--bedding, trailer, van--and everything smelling of that ubiquitous "wet dog."

My husband and I got the children up and decided to dispense with their helping to break camp...just this once. The groggy kids settled in the van with their damp pillows and possessions, we began quickly and deliberately stowing and stashing "wet dogs" in our race to the port. The rain never let up. Even our raincoats couldn't keep our torsos dry. I tucked in the canvas as my husband cranked down the hard cap to our trailer.

"Move your fingers!" He shouted.
"The canvas is sticking out!" I yelled through the torrential downpour.
"The water's pouring in!" He returned.

Once inside the humid van, I felt like we were in the Rain Forest--with nothing dry to blot our skin or the windshield. The treacherous journey to port really began once we hit Route 1 and found our headlights and the occasional lightning the only illumination. The rocky coastline was a perpendicular drop from the roadbed as the road cut into the mountain.

Wind and rain rocked the van as my husband, wide-eyed and white-knuckled, struggled to keep it in the correct lane and away from the logging trucks making their journey northward. I, as unyielding as one of the boulders below in the whitecaps of the Saint Lawrence Seaway surf, peered blankly out the windows "helping," I thought, my husband to see all and control the van on the roadway.

The rain eased as the sun rose. It took the entire six and a half hour journey aboard ship for my husband and me to relax after that drive. But we made the ferry.

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