Monday, July 25, 2011

In Tents

No trip with the Pulls is complete without a few mishaps.  Our first misguided adventure began on Saturday afternoon.  After spending some time at the beach on Saturday morning and enjoying lunch together, we decided it would be good for the family to have some rest time.  The temperature inside the tent at the campsite felt like it was about 140 degrees.  After some thinking and deliberation and misguided use from our not so trusty GPS, we found that there was a Wal-Mart a mere seven miles from our campsite.  We decided that the kids would be happier and cooler resting in the car, so we headed to Wal-Mart to purchase a shade tent (think tent with no sides) that we could take up to the nice, cool beach and get some relief from the sun, while resting underneath. 

As is normal with us, we made a few wrong turns here and there and eventually arrived at our destination:  Wally's Auto Repair.  I checked again.  No sign of Wal-Mart...just a big open field with an establishment plopped down in the middle:  Wally's Auto Repair.  We meandered around a few minutes knowing for sure that the Wal-Mart must be nearby and that there's no way the GPS would confuse Wally's Auto Repair with Wal-Mart, right?  We never found the Wal-Mart and we never stopped to inquire if there was one nearby.  At this point, we should have returned to camp, but instead we headed to another Wal-Mart, about 20 minutes away.  When we arrived at this Wal-Mart with a SAMS Club next door 45 minutes later, we were able to find our shade tent and a few other supplies we'd forgotten at home.  A trip that we'd hope would take an hour took more like 2 1/2 hours to complete.  We didn't mind, however, the kids got some rest and we enjoyed good conversation and quiet time.   We tried not to notice the large-sized billboard advertising a Wal-Mart about 10 minutes from the State Park. 

When we got back to camp we took our newly purchased shade tent and other beach gear up to the beach to relax for the rest of the afternoon.  Shortly after erecting the shade tent, which was no small or easy task, and having the wind blow it down the beach, we took the shade tent back down. 

We enjoyed the beach awhile longer and took ourselves, our unused shade tent and our beach toys back to camp.   As I was preparing dinner, Joe set the shade tent up at the campsite so we'd have somewhere nice and shaded to sit the following day.

 Later in the evening, just as we were completing our marshmallow roasting, (everyone but Trisha had devoured two marshmallows) a storm quickly rolled into the campsite. The wind that came with the storm was so strong that it blew our recently erected shade tent right out of the campsite. As I ran after the shade tent, it began pouring rain. Joe threw the kids inside the tent and then came to help me wrestle the shade tent into submission. Just as it seemed we might be gaining some ground on the tent, we heard screaming from our other tent where all of the kids were housed. When I looked over at the tent I saw that the wind had blown the tent over on top of all four kids.  They were lost inside the tent, panicking. I left Joe on his own with the unruly shade tent and crawled inside the dilapitated tent and found the girls, their bears and their blankies and carried them, one by one, to the van in the pouring rain.  
When I had rescued the girls, I went in for Joey, who was sleeping in the pack n play when disaster struck. When I found him he was still happily sleeping in the pack n play, oblivious to and undisturbed by the world caving in around him. In fact, he didn't even wake up until I was placing him in his carseat inside the safety of the van.
After getting all four kids in the van I returned to the tent to try and minimize the amount of water getting inside the tent. Unfortunately, all of the windows on the tent were unzipped when the storm began. We didn't stop to think about zipping them because we were so preoccupied with retrieving and taking down the shade tent. Since this tent had fallen in on itself, the water was now getting on beds, pillows, blankets and the laundry basket full of clean clothes. Once I found my way out of the tent and Joe had gotten our shade tent disassembled, we realized the storm was over.  We were left with the delimma:  Do we abandon camp for a hotel for the night or do we put the tent back up and hope no more wind storms come through in the night?  We settled for checking in at the Ranger Station.  They advised us that while it would rain again in the night, there would be no more strong winds.  It was after 9:30PM at this point and going to a hotel at the mercy of our only somewhat reliable GPS, meant not much sleep for anyone as we only had one car and Joe had to be at a triathlon meeting at 6:45 the next morning.  We opted for reerecting the tent and hoping for no more gale force winds.  By 10:30PM everyone was tucked into slightly wet beds and resting.  The only other glitch was that Theia awoke multiple times in the night crying because a light breeze was ruffling the tent and she was convinced the tent was going to fall on her again.  Eventually, she slept in bed with us and there were no more scared outbursts. 

Our tent never really recovered from it's collapse.  It remained a little saggy in the middle where it's once been taut.  I can relate.

The only other real problem from the night's events was that I never got my second marshmallow.

Oh, and the shade tent...

it finally got some use

in our own backyard.

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