Camping (Gulp …)

I’m sitting here right now, wondering, What did I just do?

You see, we just went online and booked a campsite at Long Point provincial park – for an entire week this summer.

Long Point

Yes, I know – it’s a beautiful place. But I’m taking deep breaths right now, because I’m not sure I’m ready for this.

My kids like to say that my idea of roughing it is a three star hotel. They’re not really joking, either.

I’ve been camping twice before, both times at Long Point. That’s because if I’m going to be sleeping outdoors in a sleeping bag on the ground, that ground had better be sand. Sand and I have an affinity – I’ve always loved beaches, and the campsites at Long Point are right along the beach. Most of the campsites are all sand.

Since we left our booking so late, we weren’t able to get a campsite with electrical access. And both of the times I’ve gone camping before, we’ve had a campsite with electrical outlets.

As for why I agreed to go camping this summer rather than renting a cottage on a beach like we normally do, it’s because Dylan, who will be seven, has never gone camping before. And Ward, who grew up going camping with his family, thinks it’s the ideal family vacation. And both my teens aren’t sure whether they’ll come with us on vacation this summer or not, and camping is something they can decide to do at the last minute.

Ward assures me that all will be well. Hayley tells me that no electrical is the way to go – after all, you’re camping, right? Easy for her to say, since she gets to decide at the last minute whether she’d like to come along.

Me? I’m not so sure I’m ready to rough it for a week – and I’m wondering why I was the one who said, Hey! Look at this campsite! No electrical but it’s available for an entire week! Really! Isn’t that great! Let’s hurry and book it before someone else does! Yes! Yes! Rah! Rah!

That was me an hour ago. (Long Point is popular and most of the campsites are already almost all booked for the summer – only a handful were available during the time we’ll be able to get away this summer.)

But right now? Right now, I’m thinking … but what about my coffee? What about my iPod and audiobooks? How will I read at night? What about the bugs? What about my contact lenses? Exactly how many adapters can we plug into the van? And wait … does this mean an entire week without the Internet? Will there be cell phone reception? OMG, did we just book the campsite for an entire week??

Ward’s a seasoned camper, so all he keeps saying is, Don’t worry, you’ll have a great time.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be investigating the latest, greatest things in camping provisions and equipment that don’t require electricity. There’s a reason why I’m known as the Comfort Queen in this house.

All you seasoned campers out there – your words of support and creative suggestions would be extremely handy right about now …

31 thoughts on “Camping (Gulp …)

    1. Belle

      I may have to add your number on speed dial on my cell phone. Oh, wait. I’m not even sure I’ll have any phone reception while out there. Arggh!!

  1. Audrey (brizmus)

    Ohman, I would be FREAKING OUT if I were you!!!! I don’t really do camping, either. I love enjoying nature and even sitting out late at night and enjoying the stars. But if there’s a nice hotel nearby with a comfortable bed and an air-conditioner/heater, I see no reason to actually SLEEP outside. On the ground. Uncomfortably. With bugs.

    I’m sure it will be fine, though! :-)
    .-= Audrey (brizmus)´s last blog ..Doing the Blog-Hop (1) =-.

    1. Belle

      You and me both. I’m freaking out just a little bit less today (and thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to have a backup list of nearby hotels, for just in case).

  2. BananaViews

    Long Point is my favourite camp site ever and the best beach where you can walk out 100 feet before the water gets deep. On the way down you must stop in Port Dover (or is it Port Stanley? anyways it’s half way to the camp) where they have a sort of surf set up like what you’d find in Venice Beach, CA. It’s a weird spot but a really fun haven and you can walk the strip, check out the waves and sun yourself on this very neat beach hideaway and eat boardwalk style food. The teens would like it especially because you don’t expect it to be there after lots of highway and then farms. For you, bring lots of wine and brandy if you like it. There’s nothing like a warm brandy heated by the fire when the sun goes down and things get chilly. Tell Ward to do a clam bake the first night. That makes it even more fun. Clams steaming directly on the fire. Cooking by fire is really fun.
    .-= BananaViews´s last blog ..Bits And Bites: April 2010 =-.

    1. Belle

      Clam bake! I’m almost resigned to going – those are magic words. We’ve been talking about finding a cookbook for cooking over an open fire, too …

      I think Dylan will really enjoy the beach at Long Point.

  3. Jemi Fraser

    You’ll have a blast! Keeping the contacts clean is a minor challenge, but it’s not bad. Bring easy-make food – lots of sandwich fixings, burgers & dogs, fruit, boxes of crackers and cheese, bread, mini cereal boxes & s’more fixings. Buy a couple of battery operated booklights. It’s really not bad at all – you’ll find it so relaxing – the kids will LOVE it! If it rains, don’t hide in the tent – put on bathing suits and shorts and ball caps and go have a blast!

    Or buy a generator and plug in everything!
    .-= Jemi Fraser´s last blog ..Time and Watched Pots =-.

    1. Belle

      I never thought about the rain idea, Janel! That does sound like fun. I’m tinkering with some ideas to handle the challenge of the contacts. Easy make food sounds like a great idea. I’ll have to scout out some booklights that don’t drain almost instantaneously (the ones I’ve tried in the past have been terrible in terms of battery power use).

  4. Molly

    Well, I have never really been camping (I think the one weekend trip with girl scouts when there was a monstrous spider over my head cured me of that). I am with you — my idea of roughing it is a 3 star hotel.

    I give you LOTS of credit for conceding to go along with this family idea of vacation – and I look forward to hearing all about your camping comfort discoveries.
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..T.G.I.F. – 4.23.10 =-.

  5. Barbara

    We camped a lot when we were younger and once we were there I really got into the swing of things. With the beach right there, beautiful dawns and sunrises, and that wonderful fresh Canadian air, you can relax and sort of tune out the world. We went to Algonquin Provincial Park a few times to hike and canoe. I was a city girl, but it was almost a relief to be away from all the technology of modern life – away from sirens, stress, ringing phones, TV blaring bad news and worse jokes, traffic jams, and everything guaranteed to give you a headache. Go with a positive attitude and you’ll have fun.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Review of a Memoir =-.

    1. Belle

      I keep holding onto the idea of the beach – I think I can get through just about any heavy-duty roughing it as long as it’s on a beach.

  6. Margot

    I’m the woman who choose camping as a retirement lifestyle so you know I love everything about camping. I find that most women either love it or hate it. However, I always say that a woman who has survived childbirth a few times, should be able to handle one week outdoors. Here are a few things that come to mind:

    1. Buy a brand new notebook and write down everything. Think of this as research for a future novel.
    2. Buy a really good pump up air mattress.
    3. Get plenty of insect repellant and use it.
    4. Take along a cozy folding chair that you can read in for hours.
    5. Really good books, of course. That’s probably already on your list.
    6. Ideas for oral stories. Highlights of our camping experience with our children has always been the stores we made up around the campfire. With the s’mores.
    7. Possibly a nature study project, if you are into that sort of thing. You could collect leaves of various trees and try to identify them or the same thing with flowers or birds or animals. (Don’t collect the last three – just take pictures.)
    8. Follow everything BananaView said, especially the liquid refreshments.

    It’s all in your attitude. If you think you’re going to have a good time, you will.
    .-= Margot´s last blog ..So Many Eggs =-.

    1. Belle

      “I always say that a woman who has survived childbirth a few times, should be able to handle one week outdoors.” That made me laugh, Margot! I love your list and will definitely make good use of it.

  7. Anna

    I’m sure everything will be just fine! I went camping for the first time a few years ago, and I thought I would hate it, but I actually love it and now look forward to our yearly camping trips. I could live without electric, but I tell my husband that I will not camp where there are no bathrooms or showers. And I have to have either a cot or an air mattress if the ground is rocky or too hard. As long as he complies with these two demands, our trip goes smoothly. 😉
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Review: Your Ten Favorite Words by Reb Livingston =-.

    1. Belle

      This is so good to hear. There definitely are bathrooms and showers, and I’m adding a cushy air mattress to my list!

  8. Beth F

    I love camping! You’ll do fine — really! Invest in flashlights and lots of batteries. Also make sure you have a car adapter for all your electronics. Then take some time to enjoy the outdoors while being (gasp!) unplugged.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Beth Fish Laces =-.

    1. Belle

      I like the sound of reading by flashlight – I used to hide under the covers as a kid and read that way when I was supposed to be asleep. I’m starting to feel better and better about this trip.

  9. Kathleen

    I used to say I would NEVER go camping. My idea of roughing it was a cabin or cottage as you reference. However a few years ago I went on my first real camping trip and I loved it. I have been camping ever since. I still enjoy the fancy hotels but there is something about camping, real camping that is good for the soul. I would be very surprised if you and your kids don’t love it. Oh, and did I mention how much reading I got done on the camping trips? There’s not much else to do at night and reading by a campfire is so, so fun! I hope you enjoy the trip!
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..A Reading Week in Review =-.

    1. Belle

      I’ve been thinking a lot about hearing the waves and being on the beach – I loved what you wrote, about real camping being good for the soul! I will definitely have to stock up on books!

    1. Belle

      We’re going to see if we can find a few cookbooks on cooking on an open fire. I wish yours was published already!

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  11. Steve

    I’m a little late to this party but I am laughing my a** off!!!!!! Why in the name of all things holy did you book for a week?!?!?!? I love camping and I am pretty serious about needing to be in a tent. But, for a week? Sorry, I can’t be real supportive as I think you’re nuts. However, this is a good thing for Dylan. He’ll have a blast!
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Cremation Urns…I’ve Been Busy! =-.

  12. Amy

    So funny Belle. You will have a great time….just relax and go with what comes. A great find that we made that makes camping so much better are self inflating mattresses Therma-rest makes the best they come in various thicknesses….no blowing them up, no running a pump….they’re easy they’re light and they’re really comfortable!

    Camping is one of my favorite things so I’m here for you!! Any support you need.

    1. Belle

      It’s good to know that you love camping, Amy. I’m already feeling less nervous about it – I keep thinking of falling asleep listening to the waves! I’m adding Therma-rest to our list of supplies. And now that I have my morning ritual, I’m thinking, oh, how perfect, to sit and watch the waves so early in the morning!

  13. Kate the Book Buff

    Camping is so much fun, but you have to be positive and have an open mind, if you go into it complaining the whole time, you will be miserable. Just be happy, relax, and enjoy the fact that you are unplugged from society for a while (something that people need to be more often) Even if you are miserable, at least pretend to be having fun so you don’t spoil it for the kids, and skew them to your opinion, have fun!

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