Camping is Cramping


My blog buddy Jenn posted about “your worst camping nightmare” contest.  I reminded me of this horror story from my past.

July is a hot month. The July in question was hotter than most. 104F in the shade. Yes, I said shade. 115F in the sun. When you walked through the threshold of the air-conditioned RC’s door, the humidity felt like freshly mucked drywall. As long as we had to endure the heat, we thought the beach breeze and water would be a slight comfort.

We packed the tent and some belongings onto the roof of the old, reliable station wagon and the four of us set out for the Gulf of Mexico. It rained the entire drive from the farm to Grayton Beach State Park (FL). That should have been our first clue, but the rain stopped as we arrive. Sucker punched again.

I staked the tent, complete with tarp porch and set up camp. The remainder of the day was spent wandering between the gators and the water. The night fell, but unknown to us, the Clampetts had moved in next door.

Quiet time in a state park is a given. Unfortunately, the Clampetts were never given anything in their life except for possibly the two cases of beer, also off limits in the state park, they brought with their horseshoes. Not the rubber set mind you, but the full-metal-jacket version.

Once the whooping, hollering, clanking and beer-can crushing stopped around 2AM, I finally got some sleep. My wife, however did not. By 7AM, I was directed to do something. I made breakfast. Apparently, that is not what was expected of me and by 9AM I was told that better accommodations were being sought. She took the car and sped west.

Now your standard black and green camping tent can absorb and amazing amount of solar energy before 10AM. I didn’t realize just how much until the stakes were up and it hit the sand. The next 3 hours were spent like this: Roll three turns. Ow! Roll two turns. Ow! Roll one turn. Ow! Roll a quarter turn. Holy cheese! Roll…Mother of Pearl! Roll…Kid’s take a walk. Daddy needs some space.

By 1PM the tent was tucked, the car was back (there’s the little woman) and we were off. Where? I didn’t care. My hands had 2nd degree burns and I needed a Mai-Tai.

The Holiday Inn in Sandestin, FL is a lovely pink building with a very refreshing swimming pool and a chastity-belt-wearing, 400-year-old receptionist who insists that check-in can not be accomplished before 3PM. Kids, let’s go stand in the pool.

It is important to know that these events took place about 10 years ago. That doesn’t mean that Ursula of the undead isn’t still there. I think they built the hotel around her because she refused to move.

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4 Comments

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  1. Very glad you shared this tale! I think you should enter the contest to win the new tent, maybe it’s heat resistant? Nothing wrong with a little hotel camping :) But lesson learned, pack along ear plugs and oven mitts on the next trip.

  2. That’s weird. I’ve got my honeymoon booked for the Holiday Inn in Sandestin, Florida. Do you still think I should go through with having the honeymoon there?

  3. Honeymoon?! I didn’t know you were engaged. Those candy cigarettes must have help you land a real weirdo. Congratulations. As for the hotel, just don’t try to check in before 3pm.

  4. Randy, I am chuckling my hiney off. *Lightbulb moment* Alas, I see what you mean about people being worse than animals, lol.

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