I haven't blogged for quite some time, but I'm back! I had the
bright crazy idea to take my family on a road trip to the Bay Area this summer...and initially we were going to stay in hotels, until I decided we should camp. That night when I arrived home from work, my kids put up a major fuss, especially Kieran (the 10-year-old). The oldest, Chris, announced, "What do you think I am? A mountain man?" But so many of my favorite child memories were from road trips and camping...and my kids don't get out into nature enough...and we live in such a beautiful part of the country...so camping it was to be!
All I can say is: thank God for the minivan (and the built-in DVD player)!
|"Now let's see: can I ditch him in the lake?"|
|No Flat Stanley! ;)|
|Nicholas insisted we kiss for this photo...|
|Goofing off in the lodge|
|This tree was actually safe to climb in--|
even though it looks like it looms right over the lake!
Joseph Stewart State Park, which was a nice, quiet, and pleasant campground: a great first "proper" camping experience for the kids. (The last time we camped was in 2009, before going to Holden Village, and it was in a really noisy, crowded campground, and we didn't cook at all...not pleasant. Before that, Kieran was a baby!)
|I knew Kieran would enjoy the whole camping experience--|
cooking over a fire, etc.!
|Dinner: Sausages and hot dogs, chips, and garlic-stir-fried zucchini|
|Sunset (over a lake) from our campsite|
|I took my mandolin along on the trip, |
but I played it only that first night!
We drove on some wicked winding roads (again probably making Mike regret the road trip, as he gets motion sickness!) to get to our campsite that evening near Napa, in a place called Sugarloaf Ridge. It's a state park, but the state can't afford to run it any more so now it's operated by volunteers. When we arrived, they assigned us a campsite...and it was VERY exposed and pretty noisy (lots of loud babies and kids nearby). Some of the campsites were actually nice, but ours was less than desirable. The one advantage was that it was close to the porta-potties, which I appreciated when I had to get up in the middle of the night!
|Kieran and Nick exploring the creek|
|Campground in the morning|
|Our exposed campsite|
|Our minivan gives perspective on the height of the trees|
|First time out of the car--looks like he is teaching a class!|
|Chris giving his "awe-filled" look!|
|An enormous fallen log we could climb into!|
Shrine Drive-Through Tree, they have a sign before you go through that says the tree is 7 feet by 7 feet wide, but I didn't really think through how wide our minivan was! We pulled in our rear-view mirrors and barely made it through. Yikes! Don't think I'll be doing that again!
|Mike waving through the sunroof|
|Kieran's artistic diagonal photo of Nick|
|Walking through this time!|
|Well, we all got into the act--except for the cool teenager, who stayed in the car and listened to music!|
The last night of our trip we camped in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park in the middle of the Avenue of the Giants. It was perhaps the most spectacular setting for camping I've ever seen. I never got tired of looking up at those trees!
|Logs to climb on right next to our campsite!|
|The kids, even the 17-year-old, gave camping a thumbs up!|
|Kieran, of course, enjoyed helping with the fire and cooking!|
|Listening to a ranger program that night in the park|
|Kieran got to participate in a dance, too!|
|So many fun places to climb!|
|Our tent towered by redwoods|
|My camping buddy|
Next up: our adventures in the Bay Area!