I just returned from a rather impromptu camping trip that could have been scripted for an “I Love Lucy” episode. And yes, I was Lucy. I have camped my entire life. Until I was in college, I didn’t even know there were campgrounds, much less ones with bathrooms. My parents’ idea of camping was to go for weeks on one of the barrier islands where we collected our drinking water into large Army canteens from dew or rain. Our bathroom was a shovel and a roll of toilet paper kept in a coffee can to keep it dry. Then I was a Girl Scout leader for 12 years and we camped regularly. And as a family, we camped several times a year. So I am NOT a camping novice.
I may have been a little too confident when I threw this trip together. I had the opportunity to drive Mallory back to Tallahassee after she was home for a friend’s wedding. I had a meeting in Tallahassee, and decided to camp for a few days on my way back. I had not looked at my camping gear since before hurricane Charley. It had been stored, like everything else I owned, for 2 years in a POD while the house was being repaired. The morning we left, I threw everything into the back of my car and headed off.
I had been able to book a campsite at Ft. Wilderness for a few nights. I have the annual Florida resident pass and thought Disney might be fun. Like most native Floridians I have a love-hate relationship with Disney. But having an annual pass clears my conscience and I do enjoy the campground at Ft. Wilderness. The birds and squirrels are real, the bathhouse is spotless and the campsites are well-maintained.
I arrived around four o’clock in the afternoon just as it was beginning to rain. I got my tent set up and realized I couldn’t find the rainfly. I improvised by using the tablecloth I had brought for the picnic table. I dove in as the floodgates opened. Initially, I was quite smug sitting in my tent drinking wine and listening to the rain patter on the roof.
Then the tent started leaking. Before long there were huge half inch puddles inside the tent. Just as it was getting dark the rain stopped long enough for me to blow up my air mattress and put it in the back of my SUV. That’s where I slept for the next three nights.
Despite the rain I did have some enjoyable moments. The next evening I took the bus to Epcot for a few hours. In the Canada section a group called “Off Kilter” was playing Celtic music. Why is it that a man in kilts never looks effeminate? I had a late dinner at the Rose and Crown British pub and timed it so that I could sit and enjoy the fireworks over my dessert and coffee.
In the morning as I packed up my soggy, gritty gear, the sun shone brightly without a raincloud in sight.
I’m going camping again in a few weeks so I consider this a trial run. I made a lot of notes and a lot of lists. I’m ready for the next monsoon!