Monday, March 22, 2010

Dad's camping adventures

As of Saturday, March 20th, it's officially spring. I love spring, especially here in Southern California. The weather has been in the 60's and 70's and we were lucky enough to get a lot of rain during February, making everything green and alive. So now all I want to do is to go camping. Luckily, I can do just that. Nicole hasn't had the privilege of going out with us yet but I'm sure I'll go enough times to be able to get her out there once in awhile. Two weekends ago, I took the kids to Carpinteria State Beach. I love this beach and we all had a great time. There were two problems however. The first was the super obnoxious camp ranger lady. I had just finished jacking the trailer up, setting up the sides and getting all of the interior put together when wonder cop rolls up and advised me that I had to move my trailer back. I walked to the front of the trailer to look at what she was talking about. For those of you who have not been beach camping in Cali, just know that they pack you in like flippin sardines! The front of my trailer was, and I'm not exagerating, about one foot past the little white painted marker on the ground. "When this place gets filled up, this road gets really narrow and hard to manuver on" she said. Well, is it going to get really filled up this weekend? because at the time of my asking it was about 4:00 pm and there were three other campers out of a possible 160 spots or so. "That doesn't matter, I told you to move your trailer back, so you need to do it now!" Yes maam I said. I then had to drop the trailer off it's supports, fold in the end of the trailer, re-hook up the trailer to the van and move it one foot back. Wow! That ended up wasting half an hour which sucked. Then, I grabbed Savannah's bike, hooked the bike trailer to my bike and we headed off down the road winding our way through the camp ground. We had made it almost one loop before I had been yelled at by four different people about how my daughter needed a helmet. Not camp ragers or camp directors, just random people who were very concerned about my daughters safety. So our bike riding didn't last too long. Instead we just walked down along the beach and collected some really nice sea shells, which we kept even though I know that I was taking possible future homes for hermit crabs. Boo hoo! All in all a great camping trip.

Two weeks later, being this past weekend, Nicole threw her BFF a baby shower. So knowing that she would want the house to be clean, and knowing that that is impossible with kids around, I used that as an excuse to go out again with the kids. This time we headed to Ventura Ranch KOA. I think this is the first time I have been back to a KOA since my grandparents used to take Shannon and I when we were kids. I still remember the Snake River KOA just outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and how fun it was to stay there. Especially this one time when I found a water snake swimming across the Snake River. When it reached the side, I picked it up and threw it back into the river. It swam back to shore and I threw it back into the river. I must have thrown that snake back into the river five or six times before I got bored and let it come to shore. This...was not that KOA. This KOA was previously Far West RV resort and had just been purchased by KOA less than a month ago. Most KOA campgrounds come with playground equipment, a swimming pool, laundry facilities, game areas, activities for families with kids, etc. This one had a hand full of peacocks and that was about it. It was nice though, no loud teenagers or twenty somethings drinking and acting like fools. Just quiet old people in their $100,000-$350,000 motor homes and fifth wheels. The kids just chased the peacocks and baby rabbits and Savannah swears she saw a snake (unfortunately for her though there was no big wide river to torture the snake with).
Some think I'm crazy wanting to take the kids camping without Nicole, but I just love being with the kids and being out in nature makes it easier for me to interact with them all.

This was just after Cole and Creed woke up. About 6:15 in the morning. Surprisingly for some, this isn't an early morning for our family. Just about normal.

As you can see in this picture, Creed just hates going camping!
Savannah and Cole spent tons of time just climing this hill and sliding down it. This was also where Savannah said she saw the snake.
Dinner time at the campground consists of hotdogs and chips. Daddy doesn't cook when it's just me and the kids. Trust me though, the kids do not mind.
Savannah just learned how to ride her bike the weekend before I took them to Carpinteria. She is a little pro, always going too fast and I swear she has no fear!
This is our tent trailer! If you are ever in the market for a trailer, I am a huge fan of tent trailers. When they are set up, they actually have more sleeping room than most large campers and fifth wheels. Ours has two king size beds on either end and two additional full sized beds. Best investment I've made in a long long time. So many good family memories will be made in this puppy!
Savvy on her bike
This is one of the many peacocks that were at Ventura Ranch KOA.
Another view of the peacock. It was not too worried about me, but wouldn't take it's eyes off of Savannah. Don't blame him.

This was the morning from Carpinteria.
Poor Creed stuck in the stroller the whole time. Once he finally learns how to walk I'll let him out. But not until then. That is his motivation and yet still no walking.
This is a picture from our camp site to the ocean. You can also see how small the sites are.
Cole and Savannah enjoying themselves by the campfire.


Ryan said...

Mike is such a super dad. Great to see you guys, sorry it was so short. You get out of parking quickly?

Shannon said...

You are a Super Dad! It looks like so much fun. I'm not a big fan of camping but a tent trailer doesn't look like the worst idea. I'm glad you like to get away with your kids. Those are the moments that they will remember!

Nana Donna said...

I am so proud of you. There aren't very many dads that would make the time or effort to take his three little children camping all by himself. I am sure Nicole really appreciated you doing that. She is very lucky to have you as a husband and father.........but YOU are very lucky to have her! The kids looked like they were having so much fun. PS you haven't sent camping dates to dad yet.