Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Camping Adventures

We have had spring fever over here bad for a while now. I am so tired of the cold weather and short dark days. We love camping and have been dying take the kids out for their first camping trip and couldn't wait any longer.

We bought a tent trailer last year at the end of summer (off craigslist for $300 bucks and the previous owners threw in all their old camping gear, pots, lots of utensils, a small broom, mat, & other misc stuff, we got a steal!) and Greg used it twice and I never got to camp in it. We thought that if we found a generator we could run a heater during the cold months and still go camping. We had been looking for generators on craigslist for a while now with no luck, generators can be pretty expensive. A couple of weeks ago Greg found a generator for $35 but it wasn't running, Greg thought since we have extra lawn mowers that he could put a lawn mower motor on it and get it going. After he went and looked at it we decided to buy it and take a chance he could get it to work. He brought it home and took it apart, added some oil, and with out doing anything else he put it back together and it worked!

We ended up buying a jeep from a guy Greg works with, which turned out perfect because we needed another vehicle we all could fit in and we could also pull the tent trailer. So since we had all we needed we couldn't wait to go camping any longer. We got everything ready and headed out to CJ Strike.

We had a few hiccups along the way - only one side of the trailer lights would work and Greg didn't put a pin in the trailer and as we were going over railroad tracks the trailer came off the jeep and hit the back of the jeep as we came to a stop. It cracked the front of the trailers shell. After Greg made a make shift pin out of a beer can from the side of the road we were back on our way.

When we got to the spot we started to take the trailer off the jeep and we found out because the trailer had come apart from the jeep the chain had tightened around the jeep and Greg couldn't get it off with out tools. We decided to set up the trailer still attached to the jeep.

The twins quickly found some puddles to play in. They were having so much fun I couldn't stop them. They were soaked, covered in mud and having a blast. While I worked on setting things up Greg went to start a fire and he realized that we didn't pack any matches or a lighter. He tried for quite a while to start a fire with the cigarette lighter in the jeep, with no luck. Luckily, again thanks to the previous owners of our trailer, there was a wrench in the trailer and Greg was able to get the trailer off the jeep. Luckily there were other people out camping and he was able to borrow a few matches from someone. Once we got the fire going I took the kids inside the trailer after stripping them down and put them in their jammies. I convinced Greg it would be a good idea to bring our little tv and watch some movies. So while Greg and Bo hung out by the fire the kids and I watched movies, read books, played and finally they went to sleep. They went to sleep with no problems which really surprised me. It was pretty compfy in the trailer, the heater was working great, which by the way we got for free last summer from our neighbors yard sale (I just love a great deal!).

After the kids went to sleep Greg and I hung out by the fire, he was fishing and I was just enjoying the fire and the warmth.  All the sudden it looked like our dog was fighting a ghost.  Greg went over to see what was happening and he was caught up in Greg's fishing line.  After he got Bo untangled he reeled in his line and had a fish on it.  We laugh that Bo helped Greg catch a fish. 

At about 11:30 the generator quite and we had all ready used all the extra gas we brought. I was worried it was going to get cold real fast in the trailer with out the heater. Greg said that he had used a hot rock once in a pan as a heater and it worked great. So we had this huge rock next to the fire the whole time and he just put it a little closer. When we went to bed we put the rock in a pan and put it in the trailer.
 (if you look close you can see the huge rock in the pan)
As Greg and I climbed into our bed it shifted and tore a whole in the canvas.  I didn't bring any extra blankets because I assumed we would have the heater the whole night and not need them. I soon realized that was not the case and was cold almost as soon as we went to bed. After 2 hours of laying there shivering the twins woke up cold. By this time it is about 3:30 in the morning. I got the twins and put them in bed with us and put their blankets over us and finally I was warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, Greg was not comfortable with Jayse laying on him - we decided to pack up in the middle of the night with no flashlight (another oversight - didn't bring a flashlight). We managed to get everything packed up and headed back home. We got home at 5 am and quickly feel asleep. So there it is our first camping trip with the twins and the trailer it was not perfect but we had fun.

Since our first camping trip was not the best we decided we needed a second try.  We went camping again this weekend.  This time making sure the trailer was pinned, we had flashlights, matches & lighter, lots of extra blankets, Greg sewed up the tear in the canvas and plenty of gas for the generator.  We made it to the camp site with out incident.

As we were setting things up it started to get dark so Greg went to turn on the generator.  It started right up but then died.  He tried it again and again it started up and then died.  He looked at it and found out that the carburetor was lose and it was getting air in the fuel.  He had to take the generator apart with no tools, he got the generator fixed (have I mentioned how much I love that he can fix everything!) but broke 2 of our knives.

Once the generator was running we plugged in the trailer and the lights weren't working.  Greg looked at the wires, checked the fuses but still they didn't work.  Luckily we had flashlights for light.  We cooked a great dinner - pork & pasta.  Then we had hot chocolate and marshmallows.  We went out to sit by the fire.  The kids liked the fire and we had to keep pulling them away from it until it popped really loud.  It scared Jaelee and she didn't even want to look at the fire after that.  She cried every time she saw it and closed her eyes or hide in my chest.  So her and I went in the trailer and read books, played and watched Cinderalla, Jayse and Greg hung out by the fire.

As it was getting close to bed time we all went inside the trailer and started to watch Braveheart (I had never seen it).  We made it through a little bit of it before the kids were ready to sleep.  We put them to sleep and Greg and I went outside to enjoy the fire.  We made it through the whole night with the generator running only having to get up once to refill it with fuel.  Then we had breakfast and finished half of Braveheart before packing up. While we packed up the twins played in the sand and the water.  Having a lot of fun until it was time to clean them up and they were covered in sand and cold.

Once again this camping trip still had it's downfalls but we had a lot of fun and we look forward to trip #3 as we have now worked out all the kinks and we know it will be the lucky charm.


  1. I love this post. I takes me back when Casey & I were first married. We both loved to camp, so we decided to ask for camping gear for wedding gifts, hoping to cut some of the costs for our future adventures. We couldn't wait to get out & use our new equipment. However, each time we went we had some major disaster that occurred, like ending up camping right next to an active train track, for whatever reason we wouldn't check the weather before we went and on at least 2 occasions ended up out in major hurricane weather. So, we soon decided camping was just not our thing:-)

  2. That is funny. Greg said he would rather just go back to a tent with an air mattress at least it would be simpler.