October 1, 2020 - Day 6 of Camping at the Beach

(click here for today's pictures)

Our alarms started buzzing around 7 this morning. There was lots to do today so we know that we better get an early start. Before the kids really stirred, Robby and I had already gotten ready (it doesn't take much), straightened our bedroom area (again, it doesn't take much especially when a room is about 7x7) and started a load of laundry (there is much, much laundry-always!)

Soon my Campbell, Graham and Keaton were dressed and ready for the beach. Graham opted to not wear his suit. The water has been a wee bit chilly so when they would get out of it, then they would be chilly each day. However, I think that today the weather was going to be in the 80s so the water would probably have felt nice.

We walked to the Crafts camper to wait on them. Then we all walked to the beach-Anderson and Whitman walked down as well. Reagan followed and arrived about the time that we did. When we arrived, we found a spot-the first row on the beach was already filled up. People come out early and claim their beach spot with umbrellas and chairs. They say that the rows of people are 3 rows deep in the summer. This has actually been the best time to be at the beach-at east in my opinion.

The water continued to be calm today even though there was a yellow and purple flag still flying. The water was also clearing up so that made things even prettier. We probably arrived at the beach at 8:30. Soon the others joined us, so the kids had one last beach day before we loaded up and left.

Whitman had seen a large Connect 4 that he really wanted to play. So he and I went to play it. We played 3 rounds-he won two and the "cat" won the other round. He was very pleased with himself. When we were finished, he told me that he was finished with the beach so he headed back for a quick shower. That was nice since at least some of the kids were ready for departure.

When we are driving, the slides are in so the kids clothes are inaccessible. That is usually fine, but today I had everyone put their next clothes on my bed so they could easily find and grab what they need even if the slides were already in. Soon after Whitman and Anderson returned to the camper, the sliders were put in, and we started tearing down camp.

We had done a ton of work last night. Really, the only things left to do today was unhook and then hook the car back on. Anderson was able to help Robby hook the car dolly up-Robby just pulled forward and then backed up in the middle of our site to where he had pushed the dolly. That worked perfectly.

Next up, I walked to the beach to gather my people. It was after ten by the time I made it down there, and it was after 10:20 by the time they all said their goodbyes. Campbell and Keaton were motivated to leave because they were getting to ride in the Craft camper on the first leg of the trip. 

They took quick showers while Graham and Reagan just changed their clothes. They were not rolling around in the sand today. A bit before 11, we pulled out of our spot. Robby was able to pull up towards the exit which was not too far from our site. There he stopped, and I drove the car right up behind him.

He pulled that car on the dolly, and we strapped it down quicker than quick! We have decided that we really want to teach the kids the camping things-for example loading the bikes on the trailer should be Anderson's job while folding up the floor mat and putting it away should be Whitman's job. There are plenty of jobs to be had and lots of new skills to learn-Robby and I have learned a whole lot lately.

Casey was soon next to us ready to lead the way to Louisiana. The plan was to drive to a Buccees which was a 100 miles away. This camper is on the base of my van, but it doesn't have all of the perks of my van-Robby definitely considers the little thing that tells you how many miles left as a perk. Since we don't have that, he wasn't really sure that we could make it to Buccees.

Since we are driving a tin box, it does get warm in the back. There are a lot of us so you really can't ask everyone to be in the front. To keep it cool in the back, you have to use the generator which is fine-however, the generator cuts off when you get to 1/4 tank of gas. We didn't want for the generator to stop and more importantly we didn't want for us to have to push this thing, so we found a gas station and topped it off. (And in case you were wondering, topping thing thing off is still a lot of gas!)

That just put us about 10 minutes behind the Crafts. Robby whipped into the gas station and turned on out just like a pro. I was silently convinced that he wasn't going to be able to make one of the turns, but he did just fine. It was relatively quiet in our car on the way there-Reagan even wrote most of her essay that is due tomorrow.

At Buccees, all of the kids found icees plus I grabbed items for s'mores tonight. Hopefully, they will be the most expensive s'mores that we ever eat. The graham crackers and marshmallows were not expensive, but the Hershey bars were a bit pricey. That was fine though since memories aren't cheap! We have talked about always carrying things for s'mores but just forgot to add them to our list. It is so confusing, because some things can stay in the camper between trips, but other things need to go inside. 

Speaking of food-we are overpackers. I guess that is a good thing. We have so much food-tonight we just got to the bottom of the first 2 bags of chips that we brought. I have at least 4 more bags of chips that we haven't yet opened. We probably should just have all of our meals in the camper for a few days when we come home so I don't have to haul everything back into the house.

The next leg of the trip, all of the Craft girls rode with us. I will say that the ride was surprisingly quiet. I was busy after first throwing things away, making lunch for my crew that had not eaten yet, and helping Reagan on her school work. After that, I just sat up with Robby and helped keep him company.

Now, Robby's bladder must not be as large as the other folks that we have traveled with. When we were about 30 minutes out, we came upon quite a few stoplights. Robby was getting squirmy so he jumped out of his seat, and I jumped into it. The kids were all going a bit wild since they knew that I had never driven before.

I did just fine, and it is like driving my van. It does feel heavier when you are trying to stop, but other than that I felt comfortable for the 100 yards that I drove during stop and go traffic. That was seriously enough driving for me for a while. I think that I need to build my confidence just a little bit-maybe a drive to church or something, because I probably would have been terrified to have to make a turn.

We arrived at Bogue Chitto State Park in Louisiana just as they were closeting for the night. They had our sites ready and we drove and drove until we got there. It isn't a fancy place though it does seem to be huge Our site is a pull through site, but in reality we are just parked on the side of a road.

It is all fine though because it looks like we are right in the middle of Louisiana-which of course we are. We have a concrete pad by our door, then there is a decent sized deck overlooking a fire pit and swampy stream. 

We got everything ready for the evening and then started working on supper. The Crafts brought their supper over here to eat so we just had ourselves a party. Robby grilled hamburgers and hot dogs-Reagan opted for leftover ravioli which was certainly fine. Our fridge is filling fast with leftovers. 

After eating, we walked to a neighboring campsite to look for the alligator that he had seen earlier. He actually had to throw rocks at the gator to make it change its direction after it eyed his dog. Needless to say, we also kept the little kids nearby tonight.

We weren't able to see it from his spot, so we went around the lake a bit and looked some more. We did see a huge bull frog-bigger than any I have ever seen. Then we returned to the campsite for the expensive s'mores. While we were eating them, the neighbor came over saying that the alligator was there-sure enough we could see him floating through the water.

Now Whitman was not happy about this alligator trip at all. He was a bit scared and ready to go back to the campsite at all times. I probably would have been the same way when I was 7 years old. We soon got back to our s'mores and ate and ate until we had finished most everything that we bought!

We stayed out and chatted until about 9:15. The kids are exhausted-Campbell and Graham kept asking me when bedtime was. I couldn't get the beds ready fast enough. We even let them play their ipads for a few extra minutes, but when I went around to tell them to put them up, no one was still awake. That must mean that it was another successful day.


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