Sunday, May 3, 2009

Twas Our First Camping Trip of the Year

Trailer camping at Yellowstone Lake State Park in 2009

(Any similarities between this narrative and the much beloved story, Twas the Night Before Christmas were intentional, although, no logical connection between camping and Christmas has been determined by either the author or anyone else).

Friday, May 1

We’re at Yellowstone Park and I’m sitting in our trailer at the table, using my new 2007 Microsoft Word program on my new laptop. New, new, everything’s new lately. I haven’t explored this program yet, instead, I’m jumping in and if I fall flat on my face then I’ll know I should have looked before I leaped. Impatience is my greatest virtue. Rather than reading the directions first, I’d rather get the ball rolling and then chase after it if it gets away from me. And so it goes, and so it goes.

Lon and I left home shortly after noon. About an hour later, we checked in at the park office. Soon we had the trailer all set up and we took a walk. Before we left our site, Lon popped his beer bottle top and I popped my wine bottle cork and we strolled along the winding park roads with nary a care in the world. Now, I’m back at the trailer. As I write this, the sun is shining, the temperature is about 60 degrees and I’d estimate winds to be between 10 and 15 mph.

Today is May Day, pretty early for camping. The trailers present in the park are few and far between. We prefer camping early in the season before school is out and hordes of families and mosquitoes infest the parks. We gamble with the possibility of having colder than desirable weather when we make reservations early in May, but we really can’t go wrong. We’re dry and warm inside the trailer if it rains and we can go into town if we want something to do. Lon will go fishing in a light rain and I’m content to read or write if I can’t be outside.

We’re getting hungry so Lon’s starting up our propane mini-grill so he can cook our smokie links. We’ll round out our meal with baked beans and potato chips. Not a nutritious meal, but oh-so good. Excuse me—it’s chow time.

Well, I’m not nearly as hungry as I was. In a few hours it’ll be treat time, that is, time for raspberries and ice cream. I know, I know, we had that very same meal and dessert earlier this week. Neither of us is into gourmet cooking; at this time of the year, if it can’t be grilled, we don’t eat it.

Backing up a bit, the drive here was great. Our route took us on winding roads and over rolling hills. The trees and grasses along the highway were all shades of green and tiny patches of violet and yellow wildflowers stood out boldly as we passed them by. Over every hill, a vast view of another farm or farms appeared. There is nothing monotonous about the scenery in this part of Wisconsin. Each farm with all its buildings, piece of land and animals is unique. Some are well-maintained and others are just a hodgepodge of run-down farm houses, collapsing barns, abandoned and broken-down tractors and muddy pastures for the cows.

Wisconsin is a beautiful state. I hate to admit it, but, I’ve taken it for granted most of my life. Now, I realize that it’s hard to beat the ever-changing scenery along the roads in the hilly area we traveled. Perhaps they seemed unusually breathtaking because we’ve been so confined during the winter months. I’ve heard there are people who grow up in big cities and never have the opportunity to see the beauty present in rural areas.

We took another walk after dinner and found that the majority of the sites are still vacant. It’s cooling off and I’m glad I had a hood and a warm jacket. I’m in for the day while Lon is by the campfire, listening to a ball game on the radio.

Saturday, May 2

We woke up, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. We were surrounded by sunshine and blue skies. (The weather man was right for a change). We ground coffee beans, brewed a pot and filled our mugs. With Papa in his kerchief and me in my cap, we took an early morning walk through the campground where not a creature was stirring, not even the louse. (I’m referring to the idiot who set up his popup trailer in the site next to ours late last night after we’d gone to bed). What to our wondering eyes should appear, but a vibrant red cardinal--singing his heart out while, not far away, a dead turkey hung silently by his feet under a hunter’s tiny camper. (See top left photo). Six empty beer cans strewn on the ground beside the campfire were evidence that the hunter had celebrated his kill. (I thought it seemed a brutal and unnecessary death).

Lon in his fuzzy bunny slippers and I in my bright orange clogs danced and pranced back to the trailer. We made not a sound, but went right to work. Lon opened the gas stove on the side of the trailer and cooked up bacon and eggs while visions of bass and pan fish danced through his head. Meanwhile, I set the table and got the toaster out. I took the orange juice, green grapes, and cheese slices out of the refrigerator and poured us each another cup of coffee (chocolate covered cherry flavored).

When all was ready, our slippers were hung by the screen door with care and we settled down for a long (not really) breakfast. We raced to see who could build his bacon, egg and cheese McMuffin the quickest. I won. After that, we focused on eating slowly. I let Lon finish his two McMuffins before I finished mine. So Lon won in that category. We licked off the dishes so lively and quick for we knew in a moment we wouldn’t want to wash ‘em.

I dressed in my running gear, Lon gathered up his fishing gear and we drove down the hill to the lake. The area where the camping sites are is quite hilly and I wanted to avoid that at all costs . While Lon fished, I ran. After a half hour run, I walked up the steep hill to our trailer while Lon stayed at the lake. I showered and here I sit recording it all.

I left my laptop to take a short nap; Lon hunkered down first on the sofa, so it’s his fault. Soon we were up again. We jumped in the Avalanche and drove to a nearby resort (what they call a resort around here is a far cry from what most of us consider to be one) to get some paper towels in their store. This particular “resort” looked more like a junk yard than anything. Basically, it was a private campground with all the hellish accommodations they typically offer. I’ll try to snap a photo of it tomorrow so you’ll see for yourself. (It's above at the very top. Click to make it bigger and you'll read the name "Four Seasons Resort.")

We stopped and I took several pictures of the lake and other objects of interest. Lon had dinner on his mind so our next stop was back at the trailer. Steak, fried potatoes with onion, and bread with peanut butter filled our heavy duty paper plates. We ate until our stomachs shook like a bowl full of jelly. I dragged myself to the sink to wash the frying pan—they don’t make disposable ones, yet; Lon made a quick exit after dinner. He’s settled by his campfire; yes, he’s a happy camper listening to a yet another ball game on the radio.

It’s nice and quiet. Our only encounter with other campers was when a woman asked if she could borrow our salt shaker. I counted out 55 granules in a baggie and told her she could have them all. She seemed extremely surprised. I suspect she wasn’t accustomed to such generosity.

It’s 7:05. I’ve had enough writing for today so I’m closing the lid on this marvelous contraption and will settle on the couch with a book. I’m reading a book I pulled off the New Book shelf at the library. It’s a novel: Tethered by Amy MacKinnon. This is her first novel. I give her a thumbs up.

Sunday, May 3

We woke up to another beautiful day. We started a pot of coffee brewing and dressed for our walk. Coffee and a walk are the quickest way to boot-up in the morning. Ten minutes into our stroll, we both had all our systems in functioning mode. We fixed and ate the same breakfast as yesterday and then got the trailer ready to pull home.

As Lon drove, I took a slew of photos through the window. I’ll include some here.

We were home by noon. It was a good weekend away.


Zelda P. said...

Ha! That photo of the turkey shocked me. I was glad to read it wasn't hanging from your trailer.
Glad you had a fun first-of-the-season camping trip. Thanks for sharing the fun with your readers!

Anonymous said...

Did I miss how many fish Lon caught? i think you guys got the right way for camping, sure beats the way your cousin and husband do with tents and parfanalia. She out fishs her husband always
has her stringer full, and also is the one that gets to clean and filet them. Sounds like you had a real nice relaxing time and nice weather. Auntie Babe picked the wrong horses in Kentucky Derby. Keep up the good Blogs Shaddy.

Shaddy said...

Lon didn't catch any fish; he had some action but didn't hook one. He doesn't mind--he just enjoys being by the water.

Sarah said...

Now I'm re-booted after reading this. What a nice relaxing read Shaddy. I love when you do this. I feel like I'm right there in the campground. It's such a lovely place to be, and you captured the essence of your stay there perfectly. As always :)