First time camping with the camper trailer
OK. I know the question on everyone's mind. Did I remember the boys' clothes?
I am pleased to report that yes, I did indeed remember the boys' clothes.
Naturally, your next question will be, what did I forget?
Why presume I forgot anything? Where's the vote of confidence? Because you know better.
The connector to the gas bottle to the barbeque.
This was particularly annoying because of the three cooking methods I had planned on having this trip, only one worked. I forgot the effing connector (which is unique to this particular barbeque), AND then the hose that beautiful Carol went to so much trouble to get for the dual gas burner I've never used, didn't bloody connect to the gas bottle either! Fortunately, VERY FORTUNATELY, I intuitively brought the "back up" butane burner, you know, JUST IN CASE, and it ended up being our sole source of heat for cooking. Also, thanks to Jacki for bringing additional butane bottles - apparently she grabbed the last one at the place she stopped in. Such a champ.
I will note that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree with my kids. Not the best genetic trait to pass on, I know, but Oscar forgot his hat, and his thongs (flipflops for all of you confused non-Australians reading). So the emergency stash I have permanently stored in the camper trailer (tent trailer for all of you confused non-Australians reading) was accessed within 5 minutes of arriving.
I really shouldn't be surprised.
ONE PARENT CAMPING
Heaps of open space
Big beautiful creek to play in
Campsites near the river for those with confident swimmers and campsites far from the river, if you don't want to be on drowning alert the whole time
2 hour drive from Brisbane
No designated campsites, just rock up and chose your spot - you do need to book in advance though
Lots of space - heaps of room for bikes and the footy
The check in desk has ice creams, firewood, and ice (super important)
Dog friendly (and there were lots!)
Port-a-potties that are maintained daily
Shower/amenity block that we didn't use so can't comment on the quality
Close to amenities (proud to say I didn't use them this time, though Jacki brought supplies, so I may have otherwise)
Activities for the kids during holidays (canoeing, paddling, wall climbing, orienteering) - fun for the kids and gives the parents a bit of a break from them!
There's a small "farm" with llamas (or camels, if you're a species-confused Oscar) and a bike track
Apparently there's a local bakery (within a couple of kms) that sells 1kg doughnuts that I completely forgot about. Turns out on busy weekends they sell out quickly, so I'm listing it as a con (I totally would have shared it with the kids - I'm not a glutton) (except maybe for punishment)
The maintenance dude/caretaker was a bit creepy. Probably harmless but I think he's lonely. More on him in Day 2
Really, it was ideal. No actually relevant cons.
(did I mention, all class in this family?)
Day 1 - Thursday
So its taken me a bit to get to this blog post. Usually I'm desperate to get it out. This time, I haven't had time to be desperate. It was a three night/four day trip that involved a lot of sun, a lot of friends, and a lot of alcohol. Left on Thursday, came back on Sunday, worked Monday with a sick daughter at home, then had three days straight of futsal at the Gold Coast that I wasn't overly anticipating. Its now Thursday night, I finally got my glass of gin, and I'm pretty sure I'll be ready for bed before I finish this. NON. STOP. INTERRUPTIONS. Yes I have three kids, its expected.
We had a few different families over the three nights. It was great for all of us. Got to catch up with friends we hadn't seen for a while, kids always had someone to play with, and something interesting was always happening (all I'll say is that when doctors say not to mix antibiotics and alcohol, they mean it) (no, not me).
Thursday morning, trailer was fully packed up and ready to go. I admit, the most important item was in the car in the console.
I needed Carol there to get me through all of my firsts. Hitching the trailer to the car, strapping down Oscar's bike that didn't actually make it, I can't even remember what else she helped with, the list is too long. But I will say this. It was so nice to drive and actually be able to see outside the rear window. In the past, the back was packed so bloody full, side mirrors were the only thing useful to me. To see out the back was like a beautiful reward.
Most of us met up for a convoy (that fell apart about 10 mins in when Tam stopped for breadrolls and bread and still ended up well and truly ahead of us!) Carol, Brooke and I all left by 9am (impressive since we were aiming for 8am).
About 500m from the house I got a phonecall from Ellie, Brooke's daughter. I had bluetooth for my phone, Ellie called for Brooke. I was to be informed that smoke was coming out of the back of my car - and should we be worried? Fucking hell. Sure enough, I check the rearview mirror and plumes of black smoke were coming out of my exhaust.
I had to make a quick decision. Do I stop to see what the problem is and potentially end the trip before it even began? Or do I trust that the guys who serviced the Prado the week before knew what they were doing, and wait to see what happens?
Let's keep in mind that this was only the second time I'd driven towing that much weight. The first time was when Carol and I picked it up and brought it home. This time it had 60L of water in the water tank, at least another 50kg of firewood, a camping fridge, and God knows what else stuffed into the back. It was well and truly helluva lot heavier. So I figured I'd trust the guys who did the service.
Good call on my part. It was simply a matter of me not knowing when to change gears pulling that much weight going uphill on Brookfield Road. Rookie error. Thankfully Brooke stayed behind me the rest of the drive there, just to keep an eye on things. Thank God for good friends.
The rest of the drive was fine. We got to Kenilworth around 1130am - just in time for the kids to start complaining about how hungry they were. No, they did not eat breakfast. A consequence of their own decision. And I made sure they knew that.
Believe it or not, the rest of the drive was fairly uneventful. Probably because we chose Carol to lead the way.
And as happy as I am to say, setting up the camper trailer was an absolute breeze, and nothing anecdotal or noteworthy to mention! It was easy to manage, pretty user-friendly (that being said, I didn't do the awning, as there was no call for rain and we have a lit gazebo) (and I mean "lit" in the Gen X sense, which is literal and means it has lights, rather than the Millenial+ sense, which is whatever the fuck they mean when they speak).
I tasked Max with putting together the Oztrail bunk bed set I got them. Luckily he has his dad's common sense and spatial reasoning skills. 10 years old and he basically told Alex to get fucked so he could do it himself and not be hindered by her lack of enthusiasm. Has his dad's tact, too. I at this stage had opened my second peach ice tea vodka (yes its as good as it sounds) and couldn't care less that they were fighting, as long as the bed got set up (for the record, my bed was a Queen size mattress. In my case, it comes with one Oscar Cuts, but its an add-on I'll take. Best sleep I've ever had camping).
I should mention that for Thursday-Friday, we (as in Brooke, Carol, and myself) (yes Carol, an Oxford comma) had brilliant company. Our friend Tam joined us for the night, as well as our friend Miranda and her three girls.
How much love I have for these two women is a blog in itself. But I'll quickly mention this. During COVID and across hospital stays, Miranda not only took the kids for full days so I could stay with Duncan in hospital, she brought food, flowers, treats, coffee, friendship, and warmth, every time we saw her. She took the kids home with her after Duncan's funeral, so I could attend his wake stress-free and spend time with all of his friends and family. Her second daughter is wonderful friends with Alex, her eldest daughter babysat while I was with Duncan in hospital - they are an amazing family that I am so privileged to have in my life.
Tam is another friend I am so lucky to have. I adore her to bits. She keeps her cards close to her chest, but once you're in her good books, she'd travel the world and back for you if you needed her to. She rescued me from mom-guilt and parenting fails many times over COVID, with the most honourable mention going to when she dropped off Fruit Loops within 20 minutes of the request. I still to this day can't thank her enough for loving me like I love her. And the fact that her sister-in-law is also one of my most favourite people is not only another story but uncanny in coincidence.
(sorry Tam, I like this photo of us too much to wait for your permission to use it!)
Back to camping. Since my usually 7 min blog is going to end up being about 15 mins at this rate, I'll keep it short. The day/night was a blast! The kids swam, kayaked, played with Goose, and got sunburned (yes they had fucking heaps of sunscreen, don't even think for a second it was a parenting issue), and the adults drank, talked, relaxed, and had wagyu and haloumi burgers for dinner. Yes, I camp in style.
It was cool overnight. Tam was chilly. Miranda froze. Carol and Brooke were OK (from what I remember, and at least compared to Saturday night!) and we were great! As a Canadian, it doesn't matter where I live, the sleeping bags I buy have at a minimum -2C warmth rating. Since it will never reach that in Queensland, I figure we're a safe bet for staying warm. This proved useful on Saturday night.
Day 2 - Friday
I've only just reached Day 2 of the trip and I've hit my 7 minute intended reading time. I'm also on my 6th standard drink (3rd Chantal drink) and have a snoring dog to the left of me, snoring son to the right...
I mentally debate whether I continue now or write Part II tomorrow.
Part II tomorrow. This mom needs to sleep.