Saturday, August 4, thru Tuesday, August 21, 2012—Camping Close to Home

This entry into our travel blog is long overdue.

120721-2We opted to stay home this summer, i.e. not travel, in order to enhance family relationships with our kids and grandkids, and be on hand to welcome the birth of our newest grandchild.

120721_E It has been a fun summer, spending time with Kaden and Ron, and with Ridge, Karyn, and Matt, and being present with Jenny and Brian for Harper Ann Riley Painter’s entrance into this world on July 30.

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Over the course of the summer, I began suffering from a bout of severe depression for the first time since 1999. Neither Kay or I could put a finger on what caused this—I began second 120813-4guessing every important decision I had made since graduating from high school, and beating myself up for the not so good ones and not celebrating the great ones.  As a cure we opted to camp at Quarry Park, just up the road and river from where we live. It was a “spur of the moment” decision, but we were camped close enough to home to run back and forth for clothes, groceries, mail, newspapers, and other things to make the experience a fun one.

Our first afternoon was busy. Shortly after arriving, I called DishTV in an attempt to activate our “pay as you go” satellite service. After spending a couple of hours adjusting the dish, it took another call to get the service turned on. Also, it took a while for the refrigerator/freezer to cool down enough to make ice, but we brought ice from home. We were so ready for a break that we slept almost 10 hours our first night in the campground; it seems that the motorhome is darker than our bedroom at home, and consequently we always tend to sleep longer.

As the week progressed, temperatures plunged dramatically from the triple digits to the mid-to high 80s, with lows in the low 50s. What great camping weather!

For the first week we took a sabbatical from virtually everything—no Crossroads band practice and no 4+1 Quartet practice.  However, we did not take a sabbatical from grandkids; every time our phones would ping indicating a text message, we would quickly grab them to see new pictures of Harper Ann and Ridge. We just can’t get enough of these grandkids. Regretfully, Kaden is too old and too shy to send pictures.

120808-2We used the trip to “exercise” the motorhome, and perform some routine maintenance such as apply protectant to all the seals, particularly around the windows and slides. While doing this, we noted that the crack on the front windshield on the motorhome had lengthened significantly, probably because of the significant change in temperature from our really hot summer to air-conditioning. In order for the insurance company to cover the damage, the crack had to be at least 6 inches long, and it was just over that. A call to the insurance company and to Mountain Home Glass allowed us to schedule having the windshield replaced. Fortunately we only have to pay a moderate deductible. (We received this crack driving through Edinburg, Texas, on February 1, to our winter “home” in Mission, Texas.)

120808-6This camping trip, and cool weather, provided a great opportunity to resume an exercise regime. We walked around the campground twice each day—about 3 miles—usually first thing in the morning. And when we needed to run an errand, or got bored, we would ride our bicycles.120811_E-2

As the first week drew to a close on Friday, August 10, we were privileged to host Ridge and his mother for the weekend at our house.

We returned to the campground after church on Sunday, August 12, and continued rest and relaxation.

On Wednesday, August 15, we kayaked with Ellen and Ed from the confluence of the Norfork and White Rivers to Red’s Landing, a river distance of about 7 miles.120815-18 We met Ellen and Ed at the confluence at about 12:30 PM, unloaded our kayaks, and shuttled two vehicles downstream. It took approximately 45 minutes for the shuttle round-trip. Water levels were unusually low but we did not have to get out and drag the kayaks over any riffles. With lots of sunshine, it was quite warm.  The scenery was great and there was little boat traffic, making for a pleasant float. I was amazed at the river bottom, smoothed by eons of water flowing over the bedrock. Along the way we saw lots of shorebirds, a bald eagle, some deer, but no turkeys. The float took us slightly less than 3 hours. And, amazingly, it resolved the depression problem!

Upon returning home from kayaking, we spent Wednesday evening cleaning house, and Kay cooked and made other preparations for the upcoming visit of several of her old schoolteacher girlfriends.  She continued this on Thursday, August 16, and I enjoyed quiet time in the motorhome. After spending the night in the motorhome, Kay returned to the house on Friday, August 17, to await the arrival of her friends, while I remained at the motorhome. We are each fortunate to be able to enjoy "me" time without offending one another. On Saturday evening, I took the ladies for short ride in the pontoon boat on Norfork Lake. Sunday morning Kay and I left early for church, and were joined by Pam and JaneAnn for the Crossroads service. We said goodbye to the ladies after lunch on Sunday, and both of us returned to the motorhome.
We enjoyed a quiet Sunday evening—our last for this trip—but on Monday began making preparations to end the camping trip; our windshield had been scheduled to be installed on Tuesday, August 21. We packed all of our clothes, food, bicycles, and other paraphernalia, emptied the freezer and refrigerator, and returned to the house, leaving the motorhome at the campground. On Tuesday morning, we drove back to the campground, unhooked water and electricity, and left the campground, driving the motorhome to Mountain Home to have the windshield replaced. This ended our only trip of the summer—not too exciting, but we enjoyed nevertheless.

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