After preparation and expectation our time to go camping finally arrived… and so our family left to go camping at Jubilee Lake. We were excited because:
-It was a time to go camping as a family.
-We would be camping with the Chantel family.
-And we would be at Jubilee Lake; a nice quiet campground next to a lake located in the Blue Mountains.
We left in my car.
Somewhere along the line it dawned on me that i had never driven this car, which had been given to me quite a few years ago, for any distance. Mostly my car made the daily roundtrip to work and back which was about 7 miles. And so going the 50 miles… in the summer… uphill and some of it on dirt road to Jubilee Lake (and back again) would be a new adventure.
The car was packed tight –my wife is something of a master car packer. With our 3 children in the backseat, my wife in the co-pilot’s chair with stuff packed at her feet, and me in the driver’s seat with a jug of water on the floor next too my legs –we were packed! And so we left our little city.
As we got towards the top of the mountain we could see dark skies… no big deal as i was not going to let a little rain ruin our weekend. As we got nearer to Jubilee Lake the skies began to drop rain. We still pressed on. As we turned onto the road that would take us to the campground the drops turned into a downpour. Then the downpour turned into a downpour plus good sized hail. But still we advanced forward.
As we pressed on i realized that my defroster was not working as it should. So with a t-shirt i drove forward on a dirt road, wiping the window and shifting as needed, with a water jug near my feet… pressing onward.
As we almost arrived at the Jubilee Lake campground we noticed the Chantel’s two vehicles parked along the side of the road. My wife got out in the downpour to see what was up. She learned from them that the Jubilee Lake campground was full — no sites were available. So the Chantel’s found a spot in the woods just outside of the campground, and set up camp. She learned from them that it had been raining for about about 3 hours. She also learned that there was no bathroom. And with a 12 year old daughter, a bathroom is pretty much a requirement.
Rain. Hail. No bathroom for a 12 year old girl. But what would Davy Crockett do? He would make camp and enjoy it! But my family is not the Davy Crockett family, and so we turned the non-defrosting, well packed vehicle around and began our descent from the mountain.
Our kids were disappointed. So i told my wife we could check in at Harris Park, a little campsite about 15 miles from our house. When we pulled in we learned they had a couple of tent sites, but looking at them they appeared a bit too tight for our family. We then looked at a couple of the RV sites, but those spots felt like we would be too much on display. Harris Park does have some nice spots, right on the river, but they were not available. So we loaded the disappointed kids back into the car and went home.
As we headed home I offered up another idea… “Mom will go online and find us a hotel in the Tri-Cities with a pool and we will go there tomorrow.” The kids were not too hip on the idea, but seemed willing to entertain it. Tansy wanted to know if Mom would still be making Boca Burgers; when she learned that the burgers were still a ‘go’ she seemed agreeable. But Becket (age10) was still disappointed in not being able to camp, so I told him we could camp in the backyard tonite. Andrew (age 4) wanted in on the action so it was going to be the 3 of us, in our sleeping bags sleeping under the stars. I would get the outdoor firepit going and we could have a campfire.
Not long after we got home, as Becket stood out in the backyard it happened… it began to rain. It was a sight to see as my wife and i looked out of our window and saw our son, standing there with his head down… like he just couldn’t get a break.
So Friday nite we watched some TV and went to bed. The next morning my wife expressed how she had never gotten such a good nite’s sleep camping before.
Saturday morning Tansy decided she did not want to go to the Tri-Cities and stay in a hotel, so we allowed her to stay home and then spend the nite with her Grandmother.
We made it to our hotel, and after checking in we took the boys swimming. As the early evening progressed we noticed families of people, all dressed up, checking into the hotel. i noticed name tags, and from my limited understanding of Spanish i could tell that they were from some sort of religious faith group. i figured they must be in town for a conference or something, and thot they were probably going to check in, rest, and then return to their conference.
When we went to dinner we ran into more well dressed people with name tags. My wife wondered if they were Adventists because they were dressed up on a Saturday, but i told her based on the resturant that we were at (i.e. they serve quite a bit of meat) that i didn’t think Adventists would be eatting there. But i did have an idea of who i thot they were….
When we returned to the hotel the pool was packed with the name tag wearing people (but now they were in swimsuits and not wearing the nametags); and apparently my guess was wrong and there was no evening conference for them to return to.
But as i walked through the lobby my guess as to the identity of these people was confirmed. In the lobby i saw a book that one of the folks must have set down. Opening the book i took a look at the publisher: The Watchtower Society. Yup, i was at a hotel with a whole bunch of Jehovah’s Witnesses.