First Camping Trip in the Camper!

After purchasing the camper last year, we were wanting to take it out before it was just too cold to camp with little kids. As it turned out, it was still too cold to camp with little kids. It was a little raw, actually.

The first trip we took was to Gatlinburg, TN for a few days. We hadn't been to Dollywood, although we'd been to Silver Dollar City in Missouri a few years before, and loved it -- we heard that Dollywood was similar, so put it on our list of places to go.

We got started late, and it was Very Very Late by the time we found the campsite and got all set up. It was also rainy and chilly. And we had a puker in the car. But the kids were already having an absolute blast, and as soon as we got the camper parked (oh my) and set up (oh my), we made them a very late dinner of bologna sandwiches, and tucked them in bed. It was sooooo cold, though!

After a night which dipped down into the 40's (did I mention that it was COLD in that camper?) we had a drizzly freezing day in Gatlinburg, I think (memory:fuzzy) and, um, Mamma was not in a good frame of mind. Mamma is not a good camper anyway. So much hassle! So much stress! So little room! Am I right, moms of many? And then the camper was leaking and there were muddy wet damp things hanging everywhere and...oh, did I say that it was cold?

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Wanny was pretty ok with camping. She ended up having to sleep with Mamma and Daddy, because of, well, the cold.

So, this is the movie-version of our camper. Look! A guitar -- they have so much space, they have a guitar! However, they do not have 8 people and a pack-n-play and it is, noticeably, not raining. And also, they have a "bathroom". Families of 8 do not need a bathroom, they need storage space, and that is what we have.

Here is our reality-based version of camping, pop-up style. At various (and most of the) times, the floor was covered in shoes, wet towels, pack-n-plays, small toys and muddy socks. And there were many, many more towels and wet laundry items hanging from stem to stern down the middle, edges and wherever else something could be hung inside the camper. This is the real reality of camping with a large family, am I right, moms of many?

We did go to Dollywood -- I think, for two days. It actually got to be reasonably nice weather by the third day of camping or so, got up to the sixties and sort-of sunny, anyway, so that was nice. Much nicer than the first couple of days which included driving and walking around in cold rain and -- yes -- ice.

Unfortunately, somewhere in the middle of the trip, Gater managed to dislocate her elbow and we had to make a trip to the ER. She was fine after they put it back in place and charged us about a million bucks. They gave her the cutest little sling to wear, and of course the cuteness of her was just compounded by the cuteness of the little sling.

Can I get a collective, "AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"


After the weather sweetened up a little, we did get to do some of the things we actually went down to do -- ya know, cook hot dogs and smores over an open fire and stuff like that. Almost like being in our own back yard. The resort itself was quite picturesque, if not completely well-maintained (the bathrooms? you want water? HOT water?) and a couple of pretty creeks ran though it. You could fish, hike, or play on the playground if you were so inclined and the weather co-operated. The campground was fairly empty while we were there, of course, but I can hardly imagine it in peak season -- I don't think it would be all that pleasant, actually.

I have to say, though, that the kids absolutely loved it. They LOVE camping in the camper. Whenever we start talking about camping in the camper, they start marking off the days. "How many days till camping? 146 days!" Ha ha.

This is a gratuitous photo of the camper and the van. We had to buy a van because we bought the camper, and not only did our other van not fit all of us inside, it also did a fairly poor job of towing the camper. It was quite a jump from the little Honda Odyssey to the 12-seater Ford 350. But I like it, now. Lots of room for puke buckets.
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