After days of stress and anxiety, by Thursday I decided we needed to get out of town. Bill wasn’t working Friday so it would be a great three day weekend before the 4th of July to get away.
I got on the computer and started looking at all the Georgia State Parks. We bought an annual pass so we could visit them, exploring our new home here in Georgia. I was looking for someplace north of us. Maybe cooler, maybe less humid.
We decided to drive up to Tugaloo State Park, about two hundred forty miles north of us near the Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee border.
Thursday night we dug through all the camping stuff that we still have. We’ve lugged this stuff around for years hoping to use it again. Over time we got rid of the old tent and the sleeping bags, but most of the things were here. Except the camp stove. When did we get rid of the camp stove?
We packed all we had into the Explorer Thursday night and, bright and early, Bill went to WalMart, list in hand, to buy the food and batteries and bug spray we would need, along with a camp stove.
We hit the road around nine, I guess, heading out of Pooler, Mary content in the back seat with all the neccessities; MP3 player, CD player, portable DVD player, not to mention a bag of Barbies and the perfect camping outfits picked just for the occassion. The Explorer was packed to the ceiling, we brought everything we could think of for those ‘what if’ moments. What if it rains? Extra towels. What if it actually gets chilly? Light jackets.
Let’s see. What did we forget?
Rake. Kind of useful in preparing to set up a tent.
Tarp. Usually put under the tent so all those pointy little rocks don’t a) poke holes in tent floor, b) poke holes in bare feet that are walking on the tent floor.
Screen room. Figured our first camping trip in 12 or more years we could do with out.
The drive was a nice one. No traffic to speak of. Not too many carreer idiots of the road got in our way. We were only on the interstate for about an hour and then headed off onto I-17, a nice two lane that runs all through Georgia and Florida, probaby more states. Don’t know. Didn’t look.
We made a couple little stops. We stopped at McDonalds for breakfast and they graciously contributed to our camp supplies with a few ketchup packets. We forgot to bring ketchup for the hot dog feast we were planning. Hey, simple meals. Haven’t camped in a while, k? Stopped at WalMart somewhere along the route in search of water shoes for Mary. We were planning on being in the lake. Fish and whatever else could be in it made Mary adamant about having new watershoes. She out grew her other ones. Okay, no problem. Bill grabbed a thing of mustard. Forgot that, too.
We got to the State Park around two, stopping at the convenience store near the entrance to pick up some more ice for the cooler and a little bit of firewood. Off we went to check in.
We made reservations on the internet and had the printed reservation with us. Had no problem getting in. We were hoping to find a good spot. There were only two sites left according to the website the night before, but we figured most of the campers for the weekend wouldn’t be getting there until later in the day.
We found the coolest site! It wasn’t ideal, certainly not like California camping. I don’t think I’ll ever find anything that compares, but it was a good site. We ended up having to actually set the tent up in the drive of the site, adjacent to the fire ring and the picnic table, but it worked out fine. We had no one behind us, one group of guys next to us that were fishing most of the time and the lake was in front of us.
The path down to the lake was steep and just short of the shore. Too steep to get all the way down there. But it was a great view!
That’s Mary up in the campsite while I was down the path taking pictures of the view…
The view from the campsite. Mary was resting after setting up the tent.
You can’t tell from the picture, but it was HOT! and so HUMID! We were hoping for more pleasant temperatures, but we were pretty much out of luck.