Ain't camping fun?

Now I remember why I don’t "camp". We were going up to Ashton Creek for Lorenzo’s Cafe’s 10th anniversary Music Fest, and wanted to camp Friday and Saturday nights. I needed to get up there early Friday night to reserve good "first-come, first-served" camping sites for the ski club. After twelve hours in the sun at the festival I also thought driving home was the last thing I wanted to do. So there was the plan. Crystal was getting off early so we could get up to the campground as early as possible.

The plan started Thursday with running around getting the things I didn’t have as an seasoned camper. One find was what I thought was going to be very cool – an inverter to run power equipment. It was on sale at CTC at half-price. What a deal! I do like my coffee in the morning, so I was debating over whether to spend the bucks on a coffee machine just for camping. Now I could run my radio, charge my cell anything that needed power. Way cool!

I was up at 5:30 Friday to start packing everything. Man, you need a whole lot of stuff to camp! So much to remember. The truck was full. I planned to food shop last thing on the way to get Crystal, and had what I thought was plenty of time. Little did I know the whole world would be at Extra Foods when I shopped. I have never seen it so busy. Every cash was open – a rarity at Extra Foods, and there were lineups at every till, so now I was running late, but I thought I would still make it on time to get Crystal. Not a chance. The thousand or so people sitting parked on Highway 97 had other ideas for me. I just crawled for miles towards the dreaded bridge. I finally got to Crystal’s after three, so we started off late.

We had to make a stop on the way in Vernon because I still hadn’t managed to find a table, and I knew there weren’t any at the campground. We did manage to pick up a nifty little fold-up table that turned out to be one of the only things that worked.

Weeks ago I had spoken with the guy running the camping and had arranged to give him a list of who all was camping from the ski club, and I had collected from everyone at the previous week meeting to make sure they showed or were at least paid for. After we arrived and picked a nice spot on the river, the other guy running the campground decided the list thing was no good and he wanted everyone to pay as they came in. Duh! So the arguments started. Eventually he came around and allowed me to pay for each person as they showed up, but it was a lot of running around, when I was trying to set-up camp. The worst was a guy with an RV, for whom I had confirmed the camp had power and water, but when we got there, the power line had fried weeks ago, and the only water was for the whole campground. I finally managed to find him a spot at another campground, but he went the wrong way and ended up back in Enderby. He came back to ask for a refund of his camping money and ticket money, as he was giving up and going home. Guys who don’t get "turn right" should not be allowed to drive an RV.

My original plan had been to get there, get camp set-up, relax and have a drink, and start supper. With working my face off with the reno, all I wanted was some relaxing down time. And after going flat out for two days, I needed a break.

The first disaster was the tent. I had bought it a month or so ago, on sale at CTC for half price. When we opened it up it turned out to have been used, and was covered with what looked like tree sap. Not a pleasant surprise. I had also bought a stove with a grill burner, which I thought was so neat to do steaks, bacon and so on. After Brian got it set up and a burner going, Crystal started the potatoes, and I was going to do the steak of the grill. No such luck. The damn grill wouldn’t light no way, no how, and the instructions, like all those written in Chinese, made no sense. So we had to set the potatoes aside and fry the steak in the pan on the only burner we had. Very frustrating. With all the running around for the club, and the camping confusion, and the equipment failures I was NOT having a good time. Then everyone left to go to Lorenzo’s, so we were on our own. I lit a fire just to try to get rid of the mosquitoes, certainly not for the heat, and it worked a bit. My frustration level was pretty high after two days of this, then Crystal didn’t like the noise from people partying, and asked me if anyone was going home tomorrow? That was kind of the "last straw" for me, so I suggested she find a "guy" at the Festival to take her home. What I should have said, even with the frustration, was "someone", NOT "guy", ’cause that upset her and she went to bed. So I was left sipping my beer, all alone, sitting in the dark, pissed off, and couldn’t even go to bed because I had to watch the fire I just lit. When I finally managed to crawl into the truck, the mosquitoes never quit buzzing me, so I hardly slept. Not a great first night.

I was hoping beyond hope that even with the mosquitoes I would at least manage to doze on and off for a bit, but no luck. I was wide awake at 6:00 as usual, but at least I would look forward to my coffee. I had got the coffee maker all ready the night before and just not turned the inverter on. When I flipped it on, the coffee maker immediately went off. New day. More frustration. My neighbor came over and first offered the coffee he had ready, which was great, then informed me my wonderful inverter was only 300 watts and my coffee make needed more than that, but he had 1000 watt unit we could hook to my battery. Great, I thought! The coffee maker was too much even for his invertor, so there would be no pot of coffee ready for everyone. In frustration I packed the coffee maker up in the box, forgetting that it was full of fresh, unbrewed coffee, which promptly spilled all over the box. Breakfast went a little better, as I managed to get the griddle lit and made the bacon. And the swim in the river was awesome. It was already getting hot and that cool water felt great!

Except for the sound system going out for several hours, the festival was what we expected. Great music, late but great. The Salmon Armenians, who I built the website for, were good, except Lody didn’t mention the ski club, as I had asked, but they did mention the site. I also got to talk to Sabrina Weeks, their lead singer and she liked the site. A bright spot. Although it was purdy damned hot we did manage to get a few grass dances in. We even had our picture taken by one of the local newspapers. Dancing in the dark with stones and sticks is quite the experience. We did go down to the actual dance floor once but it was very hot. I danced Crystal into the misters unexpectedly, which the crowd enjoyed.

We had broken camp before going to the festival, to be ready to leave as soon as it was over, which of course was very late. I didn’t get home until after two, pretty exhausted, only to discover that the last flush of the toilet before I left had not gone anywhere and the toilet was backed up yet again. I just had it snaked last week. And, yes, I just HAD to go, so welcome home. Then I remembered I had paid for two nights camping, and didn’t get a refund, and I left my new mister at the festival.

Today has barely started and it’s already not great. Going to be really hot and I have a backed up toilet to add to the heat in the house. I’ve called the emergency number early this morning, but no call yet. Luckily the campground has washrooms, or I wouild really be in trouble. I was at least looking forward to getting out and doing something with Crystal, but she has old friends coming in from Calgary "sometime today", so even that’s a bust.

Hope you are having a much better weekend.