June 7 – 9, 2010

Brandy and I loaded up both of our Xterra’s with all kinds of stuff Monday morning and took off to the Piney Grove campsite for our vacation. We had lots of food, beach toys, clothes, shampoo and body wash (you know all that stuff you don’t really have for backpacking trips :)) We also had our new tent and stove that we were taking and using for the first time so I was excited about that.

We arrived at the campgrounds and ended up going with a different site than we had reserved because it had a much nicer view of the lake and was easy to get to it. A lot of the sites are on the lake, but some are nicer than others. Site # 109 was practically one of the nicer ones, so we went to find out if we could have it and we lucked up. So, we drove back, got out and roamed around, just exploring the site.

All the sites have water and power, as well as a paved drive, a nice, large, flat, gravel tent pad with picnic tables, lamp-post, a grill and a fire ring. The lake was about 15 – 20 feet just off from the pad at this site. The edge of the lake had all the large rocks so it wasn’t sandy (but it was cooler in my opinion with all the rocks). Here are a few shots of the lake from our site:

The lake from our campsite

More lake from our campsite

Still more lake from our campsite

I had to get in the lake...

I had to do the feet shot, in the water though.

So once we got the feel for the site we decided to go ahead and get everything set up so that we could really start to enjoy it. I pulled out the tent first and with Brandy’s help we got it up pretty quickly. Then we pulled out the chairs and just got everything arranged.

Getting the campsite set up

I am trying to sort out the tent.

The camp is almost ready to start relaxing in!

I was excited to get the tent set up because it was brand new. Plus this is by far the nicest family tent we have had. So here are a few more pics of it, inside and out:

Taking in the new REI Kingdom 4 family tent.

Wow, I am not used to tha much room inside a tent!

Next we got our fishing poles out and lined them up on one of the rocks next to the lake. The thing about this is that I am not a fisher. The night before we left we rushed to Wal-mart around 10 pm and bought a new pole for the kids, and Brand, and more line for mine. We picked up some worms and weights and hooks too. When I got home, I had no idea how to correctly re-spool my pole (it’s not like the Zebco 33, it has an open face on it and the line kept coming unspooled). Well, I finally got it on there, however, on the first cast once at the lake the line came off the reel and seemed like it went everywhere. After some frustration I just decided to use my son’s pole for the time being (Zebco 202). And it worked cause I caught my first brim soon after! (And of course it was catch-and-release, I am lucky I can catch one, but that’s about it for me.)

Our fishing poles.

My first fish! The mighty brim!!

Brandy is wrestling the worms.

Brandy's trying to snag all the good fish.

She caught me spying on her...

After all the fishing we decided to get cleaned up (you know, worm guts and fish slime all over us) and cook some food for dinner. This was fun for me too because I got to use my new Coleman double burner stove, also because we were having one of me and Brandy’s favorite dinners: boiled shrimp with corn, potatoes, and Cajun-style sausage, yum! (The only thing is that the seafood department is shut down where we get our shrimp from normally so we had to get the ones out of the freezer which were much smaller.) So, we got to cooking…

Getting our new Coleman stove going to cook our dinner the first night.

Dinner: Boiled corn, potatoes, Cajun style sausage & shrimp!

I can't wait to eat, but cooking's fun too.

Setting the table.

Dinner is served (in the kids sand bucket).

He was begging for our food.

Now it was time to really relax. We had a full tummy and the sun was setting (behind us though – now in front of us would have been perfect). We got the fire going and then we sat back and enjoyed the view.

I took the easy way to start our fire...

The view from my chair.

Christmas lights are so cool around the campsite.

Home sweet home.

So we relaxed for the rest of the night, in our chairs and on the rocks next to the lake. It turned out to be a great day. But it was nearing time to get some sleep because the kids would be there early the next morning, and we had big plans for them. Swimming and fishing and running around and riding bikes and all that fun stuff!

The next morning we woke up bright and early. i got up, brushed the morning breath off my teeth, and just enjoyed the view. Waking up next to the lake on such beautiful days as what we were having were excellent.

After a little bit I decided to make our breakfast. Again, I got to use the Coleman stove, but also the new cast iron 8″ skillet I recently purchased. In the cat iron skillet I sautéed some potatoes, onions, and peppers and in another I scrambled some eggs. As the eggs were nearly done I mixed it all together and then served it up. Of course we had some coffee (instant), but it made for a great breakfast as we sat in the cool morning enjoying a good breakfast and a wonderful view. We even had company, a blue bird (a least he had blue on him).

Breakfasts: Eggs, potatoes, bell peppers, & onions

This bird was flying all around the second day.

After we ate breakfast we cleaned everything up, and got cleaned up ourselves. That’s the great thing about car camping, there is usually a shower house pretty close, and this one was the exception. The shower house at the Piney Grove campsite was the cleanest shower house I have ever been in. (Later I saw the way they keep them clean, they spray them down with water hoses, inside and out.) A little bit later the kids showed up.

As soon as they got there they ran down to the lake. They immediately asked if they could get in. We told them that they had to put on their bathing suits first, and that we would later go to the beach. So they changed into their swimming clothes, and then they came and investigated their new fishing poles.

It took some time but they did get pretty good at casting the lines. (Emily’s had a princess crown floaty thing on the end – she was not ready for a hook!) However, after a while, they were again ready to get in the water.

Emily is ready to get in the lake...

She has turned into a pro-caster...

But she will make do with fishing in it for now...

Now it's time to get in the water!!!

So, we finally decided to head to the beach. We gathered all of the floaty beach toys and loaded up. We got to the beach and we lathered the kids up in sunblock really good. Then they attacked the water. Of course I got out there too, someone had to launch Matthew into the air so that he could do cannon-balls and backflips. We ended up saying out there and roasted for about 2 hours. After that we were feeling a little crisp so we decided to head back.

We got back to the camp and they played at the lake some more, throwing rocks, and fishing. After a while I got the fire going again and got ready to roast some hot dogs and S’mores. We all noticed though that after the time in the sun, it was awfully hot close to the fire (we had a little sunburn) so I ended up doing most of the roasting. It was all good though. We enjoyed the hot dogs and the S’mores all the same.

After we all ate we got cleaned up a little and then everyone relaxed…

Brandy is relaxing enjoying a good book...

Matthew has found the perfect napping spot...

And Emily has found a spot to rest as well.

So about the time it started getting dark we all got showers and then retired into the tent. The kids sat up and talked and played for a while and eventually fell asleep.

The next morning Brandy woke me up cause of the thunder and the lightning going on in the distance. I looked at the weather channel forecast for one of the cities near me and there were severe thunderstorms with chance of hail. So we got the kids up and started getting everything taken down. We were able to get it all done in the dry which was a good thing. After we got done, we just stood around the campsite, hating to leave already…

Just a mile down the road there had been some good showers so we were lucky. We came home and hit more rain, so we got out at the right time.

We had a good trip, and it was a very nice place. Looking forward to going back sometime.

1 Response to June 7 – 9, 2010

  1. Pingback: Come visit the REI Kingdom 4 tent | Stick's Blog

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