Friday, July 28, 2017

July Fun and Car Camping

Like I said in the last post, it was really nice to have some screen-free time this summer.  Lead to more adventuring and getting stuff done than I would have otherwise in those three weeks.

First off, one Saturday, Eve and I spontaneously made and painted this cute little chair for our back deck.  That way we don't have to haul Autumn's high chair out every time we eat on the deck.

It took about 29" inches of a 2" x 8", so if you're looking for a really cheap, quick little booster seat, this was is nice and easy.  Originally, I was going to add straps to attach it to the bench and straps to attach her to the seat... but I think we're happy with it as it is right now. 

Quick plans if you'd like to make one yourself.
Secondly, we made an impromptu solar oven.  It got pretty hot in there (about 200°F), but not hot enough to cook Eli's steel cut oatmeal.  It was fun to finally make one though.

And since the weather was so great, we also hit up the new splash pad and playground at a somewhat local park in Dover, NH.  The whole redo of the park was pretty exciting, and it was packed, even at 5pm.  We treated ourselves to pizza and hung out at the park for a while.

We tried to hike Parker Mountain, to find a plane crash and old mica mines... but got rained stormed out. It was an amazing and loud and really neat storm to view (you can see the line of rain on the left of the picture), but we decided to turn around...  just before Jon's phone went all crazy and told us to seek shelter.  Still hope to head back to the mountain soon.

 Instead, we headed to my Mom's house, the weather cleared and Jon and I got to go canoeing (while the kids were on the boat with Grandma and Grandpa).  They snapped an elusive picture of Jon and I together.

If you're curious, this is why I'm wearing a bandana. You just wait until I get the whole outfit done :P

Alright, and the big finale to our screen free week (and a little bit of  my birthday celebration) was going camping!  We had a hike-in site on the water of Meachum lake in NY last year, which, despite the rain, was amazing, but this year we decided to give car camping a try. Since I couldn't look up good campsite online, I based my campground decision on two books - Tent Camping in NE and Hiking with kids, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  We went to the Bear Brooke state park and I was happy with that choice for what we were going for.

I bought a bike trailer for our hitch and I really like it. It was tough to get all our gear packed in that van though, especially with Autumn's stroller/bike trailer taking up half the trunk (our Baby Jogger Pod).

 We managed to stay dry while we got the tent up, as well as a tarp up... but just about 5 minutes after I suggested we get the storm cover on, we had our first rain.  And then it rained, and rained, and rained hard, all night long.  Last year, in NY, our tent stayed dry.  This year, not as much.

Still, we were warm and comfy at night and everyone was happy just to hang out together coloring.

The next morning though, my birthday, didn't exactly as planned.  We woke up with a bit of a damp tent, and unfortunately, one of our kids had made a bit of damp sleeping bag too.  So one of our kids got a hot shower and we hauled ourselves off the campgrounds to a laundromat and picked up brunch at a diner while the sleeping gear was in the wash.

While our stuff was in the dryer we went to Bass Pro Shops.  Turns out, even if you don't fish or hunt... store is still really fun.  We didn't see anything to help with our leaky tent problem, but we did pick up a Thermacell to help with mosquitoes.

Before we even got back to our tent with our newly laundered gear, we decided to stop in and check out the Bear Brooke archery range and course. 

Autumn got her nap in while we made it through the first 7 obstacles.  Then we decided to call it quits and come back later so we could get dinner ready and meet my parents for a birthday celebration.  I can say we successfully made brownies in a dutch oven.

Next day wasn't rainy, but it was fairly cool, so we decided it would be a good day for a nice long bike ride to the archery course to finish out the trails.  The 2.5 mile bike ride itself was such a blast, but the archery course was awesome too.  Jon and I shared my bow, Eve and Eli shared Eli's bow and Isaac had his bow to himself.

Alright, so a big part of this trip was answering the question - how do we like car camping? And well, I think it's fairly mixed.  I can't say I liked it as much as Meachum Lake.

First off, everyone really enjoyed biking all over the pace.  I think all the kids enjoyed the all the freedom they were given to bike around by themselves. Even though Isaac was tag-along bike with Jon, he still really like going on bike rides.  Eli and I already enjoyed biking together, so it was great to pair up and go as fast as we could (okay, fast as I could with a baby trailer and our gear) to the archery range.  Eve gained a lot of confidence and skill to push her over to the edge of enjoying biking.

Isaac like it so much, he even ran back from the bathroom one time to get his and Jon's helmets, so they could bike back together (Jon had biked over just after Isaac walked over).  I tried to get a picture of it, but he was so fast this is all I got.

The toughest part for me was the constant back and forth the car.  I decided to keep our clothes in the car, which was good since our tent leaked and they didn't end up wet, but it meant more trips back and forth.  The trunk was fairly well stuffed and all the coolers and gear and stuff were jammed in between the seats.  Managing everything for 6 people and trying to keep it dry was such a pain.

Cooking was an overwhelming pain for me.  Don't get me wrong, I like making certain things over the fire at home...  but cleaning there is such a pain, and I worried so much about our cooler food being cold enough and safe.

If we do this more often, I would need a much better way of storing and sorting our stuff.

Which leads me to point #3 . . . I barely sat down and relaxed.  There were a couple times, like early morning, sure, but the majority of the time was either cooking or watching a toddler... and keeping her away from dangerous like fires and knifes and axes, as well as the more normal things like mosquitoes and other peoples food.

All and all, I liked the hike-in site in NY more, as we were more self sufficient at our site and there was a lot more down time, since the place we wanted to be most of the time was where the view was... right at our campsite.

Anyway, of course, the day we were leaving was the warmest and nicest, so after we packed up our campsite we hung out at the beach for a while.

Bye Bear Brooke!

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