Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

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

Monday, August 1, 2016

Travelling Down the Road With Kids: Gotta Get There!

The road is indeed long and winding,
especially out west in the United States!
When I thought about this blog post on road travel, The Hollies’ iconic song He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother immediately came to mind:  

            “The road is long,
With many a winding turn…”

Camping with Kids or even travelling with kids, the road is always long.  And loud.  And complicated. 

Case in point: 
It was my son who first coined the expression in our family.  He was looking out the window at yet another long and winding road on one of our camping trips.

“Mom,” he called to me.
I turned around in my seat. 

He shook his head, pointing out the window to the many construction signs popping up along the roadway.  “Road destruction,” he said in his innocence.

Actually, he is correct.  More often than not, it seems the construction workers first destroy the road completely before building it back up.  Oh, and this always takes a long, long, long time to complete.  Or maybe it’s just where I live.  What do you think?

[Rest assured.  I understand that road maintenance is an ongoing battle.]

Travelling across the country with five children, especially when there was a lot of road construction, we stopped in the late afternoon, well before dinnertime, to set up camp.  Some of the campgrounds along major highways seemed more like overnight parking lots than full-fledge camps.  However, we always tried to find a campground with a pool and playground, the only concession I could offer my travel-weary children after they assisted with camp setup. 

One particular campground in Iowa proffered the only tree in what seemed like a hundred mile radius.  And we camped next to it. 

What luck!  I thought.  And no one else seemed to be camping near it either!

…Then I learned why no one wanted to camp near the tree.

Every bird in that hundred mile radius knew of this heavenly tree and settled there each evening. 

Do you realize that birds like to chatter about their day in the evening, just like humans?  Hundreds of birds flew to this single, large tree as the sun went down.  And hundreds of birds had much to say that evening, in hundreds of different voices, just like humans. 

I could barely hear my own children squawking through the noise. 

By the way, birds tend to find that elusive first shaft of sunshine in the morning, too.  Well in advance of any human ever seeing it.  Oh, and those same talkative birds from the night before?  They like to chatter, at that time, about what they will be doing during the day. 

I wanted to shroud the tree with one of our big tarps so the birds couldn’t see that confounded first shaft of light that we humans never find. 

Someone should tell the birds about the “Quiet Hours” enforced on the campers by campground officials.  But I guess it wouldn’t matter.  Because once the birds finally quieted down, the bugs began their chorus!