Monday, June 28, 2010

Need expert advice from all of you..

I have an announcement to make.

Are you ready?

The Webbers are planning their first REAL vacation trip. And we are totally inexperienced. Totally.

Does everybody do this often? Just plan to go somewhere without it being related to work, ministry or a family reunion?

So, we thought we should see the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or some great national landmark. Oh, and have I mentioned that we have little to no money to do this with? So, that probably involves camping. And we are not experienced campers. In fact, we hardly know where to start with the camping thing.

So, what I hoping will happen is this:

1) One of my readers will announce that they live right on the edge of the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone and would love to have a family of 7 in their home for a week.

2) One of my readers will have a cottage that they only rent out for special people once in a while, and they'd be happy to share it with us.

3) Or someone will donate a camper that is easy to use?

4) or you all will tell us to stay home for the two weeks furlough and not feel guilty about it.

Yeah. Two weeks furlough at work is why we are being adventurous. They are shutting down for two weeks, and this is non-vacation shut down. Except they've already shimmied it out of the paychecks, so we aren't any more broke than we have been for the rest of the year. Understand? Good.

O.K. input, people. What do poor people do when they want to vacation and see national landmarks? You can email me if you are not a regular commenter and happen to know my email. Not that I want to give it out. But if I were going to give it out, it might be: organizingmommy (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

I look forward to hearing what the rest of the world does.


sara said...

The last time I camped, I was 5 months along with #1. Let's just say that since then I am not real big on sleeping on the cold, hard ground.

In a few days we'll on our first camping trip with kids. OH boy. But we're only going for a couple of days. I wish I could say that we're going some place special but it's just a pit stop on a journey to visit relatives. We could make the trip faster without the camping but we thought we'd give the kids a treat.

I'm afraid this wasn't much help but I'm sure your camping trip will be much fun. I can't wait to read all about it.

Herding Grasshoppers said...


Wish we were on your "go to" list! You could all land here at our house and we'd make room, somehow :D

San Juan Islands, Vancouver B.C., the Cascade Mountains, Seattle...

Sorry, no vacation cottage in my family, though.

We camp pretty much every summer. I can email you my Camping Checklist if you're going that route.

But first, a question: sounds like you don't have a choice of which two weeks to take? (Or do you?) Summer being busier and all... I'd recommend Sept or early Oct if you had a choice.

I don't know what it's like in your area, but out here you can make reservations at many state park campgrounds - which we DO. Some state parks also have yurts or cabins for a fraction of the price of a motel room (but without the private bathroom.) You could check online for the areas you're interested in, though they might be all booked up for the summer.

This is a rambling-all-over comment, yah?

I remember a two-week, ten-state road trip we did in the summer of '76. Awesome! But that's the point of view of a 10 year old, my mom's opinion may have differed.

I remember one sanity saver she must have insisted on: seems like we'd camp for two or three nights, and then get a motel with a pool for a night. (Probably near a laundromat!)

And sleeping on the cold, hard ground? Air mattress and foot pump.

I got more...


Herding Grasshoppers said...

PS I'll email you about The Summer of our Dam Vacation. ;D

sara said...

LOL Julie. the air mattress was full when we retired for the night but I was on the ground by 3 am. and I wound up feeling very sorry for my giant pregnant self. Somehow it never seems to stay full for me. Electric pump too. hmph. maybe I just got a bad one.

I hope I didn't sound like a downer - I really do like camping even though this will be our first time in 5 years.

Cindy said...

Our family loves camping, but if you have little experience, I recommend a trial run over a weekend or in your backyard. A cabin/yurt would also reduce the amount of stuff to schlep around.

I also agree with the motel idea in between camping sites - a real shower makes a huge difference. And check out the restrooms (preferably ahead of time) - a 'real' restroom rather than a pit toilet will go a long way in preserving your sanity. Or you could go the KOA type route - they often have pools and other amenities that ease you into camping.

Good luck!

Braley Mama said...

You could come to Modesto Ca!!!! You could camp in our orchard, although it is 102 this week:O)
I would offer our home, but we live in a one bedroom house. Can't wait to see what you do:O) HUGS!

Kathryn said...

Well, i used to live near Yellowstone. I grew up 90 miles away from there.

I'd love to have you come here. We live in a lovely little resort town high in the mountains with a lake & all. But most of the Southern California folks come to see (Disneyland, Hollywood, the beaches etc.) are 2 hours away. Still . . .

If you're game, i am. :) I've only 2 spare rooms, so it would mean a lot of "bunking" - but we've a couple of hammocks, too.

Are you allergic to cats?

Kathryn said...

P.S. - it is NOT 102 here. Our high for the summer will probably be a day or two at 90-92. :)

Steve Rusk said...

Ah, camping: a kind of homelessness prep course. Homelessness is simply going camping forever. The word that encourages me most about camping is "Bears." In the manual, written by bears, it says that should you encounter a bear while camping, just hold still; you could, of course, smear yourself with maple syrup and get on a plate. The Grand Canyon is a great place because hardly anyone goes there, and so it is deffo not commercialized; you can, at your leisure, view billions of years of history in the layers of dirt, and marvel how that little trickle could carve out that chasm. If you go in the summer, you can prepare yourselves for the Colorado River by simply getting a bucket and filling it half full with water, and the rest with dirt, rocks, and sticks; stir well, and there you have a sample of the Colorado. Should you want to go rafting on the river, simply throw the bucket's contents in one another's faces every five minutes while wearing life-jackets. The Grand Canyon is an eco-freak shrine, so what you take in, you take out, and, what you produce, you take out, so take baggies (non-transparent if you can find them). Be sure to take canteens, because there is a dearth of potable water, especially down in the bottom of the canyon. If you like, you can stay at Canyon hotels for about $150 per night, but that's for two, so you do the math.

Organizing Mommy said...

O.K. folks. I'm sufficiently scared. I think I'm going to North Dakota instead.

Mrs. Parunak said...

I LOVE camping. We went camping three weeks after our last baby was born. I even tried to take a shower in a campground with my kindergartner, my toddler, and my three week old baby. In case you don't remember that little episode, here's the link. But seriously, camping is nothing to be scared about. Personally, I would go for a nice cushy camping mattress, NOT an air mattress, just because I haven't had much success keeping air in them. Also, the hugest ever lifesaver for my family with small children was the portable, in-tent toilet. Your kids are probably old enough not to need to get up in the middle of the night, though. I wish I lived somewhere really cool so you could come visit me. We have a picturesque corn field across the street, but something tells me you probably have plenty of your own corn fields around Rockford. Anyway, for National Parks, I recommend Yellowstone. It is REALLY cool, and somewhat northerly, so also not so crazy hot.

The dB family said...

How about Canada? You didn't mention Canada! We have a 1.5 acre private backyard with all the camping gear you'll ever need. You'd get a camping trial run and see some great Cdn. sites. Don't worry there are no polar bears around right now ;o). Also, we wouldn't camp with you. We'll sleep in the house. That way it won't rain while you're here because it always rains when we camp. Your bathroom would have running water and would be nice and clean.
Really though, with the right gear, camping is great -- even if it does rain!