The Weekend In Review

Has it really been a week since I last blogged? I guess there’s probably a reason for that. Actually, two: first, nothing happened between Monday and Friday, and second, we went camping over the weekend at a place with no internet access, so no blog. I will now, however, fill you in on the camping trip.

We left Friday morning. We took both vehicles because the F-150 has to pull the camper and the Expedition had the bike rack on the back. Someday we’ll put a hitch-receiver thingy on the camper so it can carry the bikes. Anyway, we went to Monticello, Iowa, to the Walnut Acres Campground. It sounded nice in the Iowa Tourist Guide Book, and it wasn’t far from home, so we decided to try it. We got up there, no problem, and got set up with a little difficulty: Carl had a hard time trying to level the camper while not aggravating his hernia repairs, and I had a hard time trying to help him because I had no idea what to do. But we finally got the camper set, and I went inside to do set up in there, and also to get the girls some lunch. Carl finished outside hooking up the water and stuff, then came in for lunch, too. After lunch we relaxed for a while: Mary played with a new Barbie tent she’d won on eBay (OK, I helped her get it, but she paid for it) Hannah played with the Barbie stuff she’d brought, and Carl and I just rested. I think Carl got in a nap. After a while I decided to take a walk and check out the campground, and I took Judah with me. Yeah, we took Moose Mutt along, mostly because I felt guilt leaving him home for just a couple days, plus I didn’t want to ask the neighbors again to dog-sit. But we had a nice walk, and I got a good look around.

Walnut Acres is located on the banks of the Maquoketa River. In some ways that’s nice – you can go tubing down the river and the campground provides buses to bring you back. But if you wanted to go swimming, well, the river was your only option. The campground had a “beach” which was a sandy spot on the riverbank that was half choked with weeds. It was OK, but I’ve seen better. The beach at the Coralville Reservoir is maintained much better. Anyway, the campground also had a playground (which was right across the road from us) and it was OK, too, but probably hadn’t been updated in 20 years. The “basketball court” had been eroded by floodwater and was overgrown with trees. It was kinda funny, looking into the edge of the woods and seeing a basketball hoop sticking out. They also had a baseball field that I never saw anyone use, some picnic shelters and a horseshoe pit. The campground had three bath-houses with flush toilets (whew!) and showers, which were nice when they worked, but needed a good hosing down with Lime-Away or something. They didn’t have a “general store” i.e. a place where you could pick up groceries or camping supplies, and that was a pain in the butt. For some reason, no one in Monticello carries “camper” toilet paper, so I had to drive all the way to the Wal-Mart in Anamosa for it. “Camper” toilet paper is made especially for camper holding tanks and campground septic systems: it dissolves faster than regular paper so it won’t clog your tanks and drains.

But I digress. Friday afternoon Carl and the girls went down to the river to swim, and I went shopping. It’s not a true camping trip until you’ve made at least one Wal-mart run to pick up those one or two things that you forgot to get but can’t live without (like toilet paper). When I got back we made supper, then the girls went and played in the playground until shower time, then we all went to bed.

Saturday was very relaxing. We spent the morning doing basically nothing – the girls went to the playground and Carl and I sat under the canopy and relaxed. (We had to buy an instant-setup canopy, but that’s another story.) In the afternoon we all went down to the beach, even the dog. He loved it. He’d go crashing into the river, wade in up to his chest, then come crashing back out again. He went running and sniffing around all the weed patches, leaving his little wee-wee calling cards everywhere. At one point he left a larger calling card in the middle of a weed patch, but I just dug a hole in the sand and buryed it, and no one was the wiser. But there was no shade at the beach, and after a while Judah got overheated, so I took him back to the camper. About an hour later the rest of them came back, and we ordered Happy Joe’s pizza for supper and had it delivered. Mmmmmm…taco pizza! After supper the girls went back to the playground, then a little after 8 pm we went into Monticello for ice cream.

Sunday we went to Maquoketa Caves State Park. As the name implies, the park is full of caves, some of which you can actually walk through. It was nice and cool in the caves, although somewhat muddy, and I had a hard time (sometimes) keeping a hold on Judah. Yeah, we brought him with us there, too. But he was very well behaved for the whole trip – and of course, so were the girls. When we got back Carl and Mary went down to the river, and Hannah and I decided to hit the showers. By the time we were done Carl and Mary were back from the beach and Mary got her shower, then we had supper. Carl and I spent the evening tearing down and putting away stuff we didn’t need anymore, in preparation for going home the next day. The girls were (no surprise) at the playground.

Monday I helped Carl with the heavy lifting part of the tear down, then I left him, Hannah and Judah to hitch up while Mary and I headed home. I’d signed Mary up for Girl Scout Day Camp, and I had to get her back so she could get there, albeit an hour late. By the time I got back from hauling Mary to Van Horne, Carl and Hannah were back and the camper was parked. Carl and I spent the better part of yesterday unpacking and putting stuff away, then Carl had to go for his second post-op doctor’s appointment. The doctor said Carl is healing well, and that he can s-l-o-w-l-y resume normal activity, so we’re relieved.

Sheesh! Leave the blog for a week and you end up with a hugely long entry. Therefore, I shall be going. Besides, it’s almost lunch time, and I’m hungry. I just wish we still had some leftover taco pizza.

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