Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Annual Unplugging from Society and Technology (mostly) Pt. I

It was time for our annual unplugging. We decided to head to our trusty camping area, Frozen Head State Park. Our original plan was to stay a full week. We started our planning a food two weeks in advance. Well, really Robin started the planning two weeks in advance. She's very organized like that. For two weeks, her biggest concern was the menu. What were we going to eat for a week at camp? I can tell you this, thanks to Robin's planning, we ate real good, but I will save that for a bit later.

I was responsible for the radio portion of our trip. Of course it was the last minute with me and Robin was sure to point out the faults of my planning or lack thereof. Well I won't bore you with the details of the radio plans, especially considering I've already wrote about it on my Ham Radio blog. Let's just say I took an HF radio had it powered by the jeep battery, and we strung a big ol' wire antenna up in the trees. I will tell you this much, I made one contact with another Ham living on the Canary Islands. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about that.

So we had our plans made most everything packed up and it was just a matter of waiting for the day to go to get here. See I took a half day on that Friday and on Saturday we had already planned to go to a hamfest in Sevierville, TN so we figured that we would leave on Sunday afternoon once we had everything packed in the jeep. So the Sunday was finally here and as planned we had the jeep packed and a couple days prior, we decided, that with all the stuff we were bringing with us, why try to cram everything, including ourselves, into the jeep. So we also packed stuff in the car and took two vehicles, which worked out quite nicely.

Everything was set, we were packed and off we set. We got there shortly after 2:00pm and started the task of setting up camp. It was just after 3pm when we were complete with setting up the tent and awning and the rest of camp, including unloading all the other essentials. We were finally camping and it felt great.

Here's our campsite.

For 4 days and 4 nights, we were left to live off the food we brought with us, and the wood we gathered on a daily basis. We were left to our own devices without much technology at all. We did have the Coleman stove and propane. That was about the only advanced device we had for cooking.

Speaking of the cooking, our meals were very tasty. It's something about working in camp most of the day, gathering and chopping wood. The walks back and forth from the bath house, riding bikes, walking the dog and all the other fun things associated with camping, that make camp meals so gratifying. Sunday night we ate potato and sausage packets with onions and peppers. These are foil packets that we laid on the grill and cooked over some charcoal. For dessert we had sort of a strawberry shortcake which really hit the spot.

Afterward, our bellies were full and it was time to sit around the campfire and enjoy a cup of coffee. Of course this was after the dinner clean up and all. It wasn't long that the kiddo and the Beene retired to the tent and Robin and I were both up enjoying the campfire. After all, it was a long, hard day. Before long Robin was on the phone checking in with dad when we heard a racket that sounded much like lids on garbage cans being dropped to the ground. It was a bit startling considering the only light we had was the campfire, the Coleman lantern, and flashlights. It wasn't a few minutes later that we discovered that the raccoons had sniffed out our McDonalds for lunch and our dinner garbage that we placed in the cans. Luckily, they didn't attempt to come into camp, but it wasn't long that we decided it was time to put the food boxes and cooler into the back of the jeep for the night and lock it up tight.

Dawn broke the next morning and it was a new day at camp. For breakfast, we had pancakes and bacon. When breakfast was over we enjoyed our morning coffee around the campfire as usual and then it was time to get the day started. Another round of wood gathering to make it through the evening. Ashby rode her bike a few times throughout the day. We played with the dog periodically between our different activities. Lunch time was upon us and we had tacos in a bag. That has to be one of my absolute favorite camping meals. After lunch we got the Antenna for the radio in the air and did some other things around camp. Robin and Ashby ran out to Darnell's food mart at one point to get more ice for the coolers and Ashby talked Robin into getting a cake for herself as it was her birthday. The funny thing was that they came back and talked about having gone to Darryl's food mart. It was then that it became Darryl's Food Mart, amongst us three anyway, for the rest of time.

Ashby decided she would make Robin some present from around camp, as camping was the only thing she wanted. So, Ashby decided to make her a spear, using a good stick she had found and some rocks to try and sharpen one end of the stick. After a few minutes in a lesson of futility, Ashby brought the stick to me to ask if I would help. What daddy could say no to a daughter struggling to make her mom a present. Out my knife came and before long I had produced a decent looking spear. Of course it wasn't sharp but then again it really didn't need to be as we were planning on using it for food. After the spear was done, she wanted to make her a sling. So around camp there were plenty of partial walnut shells, and earlier Ashby had found some twine in one of the other campgrounds. So I set to work helping her make the sling. Of course I totally forgot about cutting the string into two piece and Robin ended up with a really fine looking camp necklace.

Amazon Woman with spear and sling necklace.

It wasn't long before dinner time was upon us again. Mom and dad had come up to visit and wish Robin a happy birthday. For dinner we had Chunky Potato Soup with bacon bits and added fried Spam. Considering how cold it was getting, this was a good choice for supper. After the soup, we lit the candles for Robin's birthday cake (a Boston Creme Pie Cake, absolutely divine) and sung her happy birthday. It wasn't long before the cake was obliterated and we were around the campfire enjoying coffee and conversation. Mom and Dad left to head back home shortly after dusk as they had no intentions of camping and didn't want to get locked inside the park.

Mmmmm. Potato Soup w/Spam

Birthday Supper

Happy Birthday to Robin

I forgot to mention that while Robin and Ashby was at Darryl's Food Mart, that they decided for some extra Birthday fun they picked up some wax lips.

It was fun for sure....

Inspector Clouseau?

I vant to suck your blood.

But fun always comes to an end...

Hot Lips Houlihan?!?

I wasn't going to use them after that. hehehe.

This evening we got smart and took our garbage down to another set of garbage cans. Of course we thought that was smart, but little did we think as it was the set of cans that we had to pass to get to the bath house. It was well after we got ready for bed that Robin and I had to go answer the call of nature. So down to the bath house we went. No problems with that whatsoever. You see this evening we were the only people in the campground. The night previous there was a couple in a pop-up camper that had left earlier in the day. Anyway, we had already heard the 'coons earlier getting into the garbage and feasting on tacos in a bag, potato soup and Boston Creme Pie Cake so we figured it would be safe. It was on the way bag as we were passing the cans that we heard something in the cans and Robin was off to the races back up to camp. I was behind by a few paces. It was about 30 feet later that I stopped turned around and flashed the light at the cans and saw a big ol' 'coon sitting there and I could have sworn I saw him laughing at us when in all actuality he was just wanting a ride to Darryl's Food Mart for another Boston Creme Pie Cake. It wasn't long after that we were ready to turn in for the night as it was another cold one.

Stay tuned for Part Deux of our trip....

God Bless,
Tim and Robin