2011 Memorial Day Weekend Summary

Our camping season had to end early because both of our sons play football.  I haven’t done any serious blogging all summer.  I wanted too, but I’ve been pulled in directions. So, Ive decided to give summaries of our adventures this summer.

Frostridge Campgrounds
LeRoy, New York

We’ve spent our Memorial Day weekend at Frostridge since 2008. I would rate the campground a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5. My eldest son likes Frostridge because he has connected with other teens whose families also have made this campground the Memorial Day tradition. The planned activity for younger children has declined. The volunteers lacked any capacity to engage small children. I helped my girls do their little craft just to get it over with and ran back to the site.

This is the second year Frostridge made the live entertainment open to the public. I was not happy with this decision last year because the band played country music and I don’t think I have to mention what kind of crowd comes with that. It wasn’t the music that I did not like, but the crowd. I have small children running around or to and from the general store. Once the people started pouring in, I had to keep the kids close by. I forgot about the “open-to-the-public” thingy when I made reservations this year. Fortunately, the crowd was very small. I wondered if the downpour earlier that week making the grounds muddy had anything to do with that. We were able to watch the band from our site.

The only wagon ride during the day was the “Wet-and-Wild” wagon ride. Our youngest daughter, Chaney (age 4), expressed her desire to ride on the wagon against my warnings that the ride included a water battle. Hailey (age 9) also went on the wagon. Sadly, Chaney cried through the entire ride. I should say it hurt my heart to see her crying….but I told her what was going to happen.


Let the 2011 Adventures Begin

I’m looking out the window with great anticipation to the first camping trip right around the corner. My four year old is starting to ask about our first trip. Her motivation is being able to wear “flipper floppers.” That’s what she calls her summer sandals.

Stabil-Step JackI’ve browsed Camping World brochure and circled a few items to pick up. Some items are the upkeep of the camper, but others are for pure enjoyment. One item I think is a must-have is the Stabil-Step Jack. The kids are getting bigger and the step will not last forever. I would prefer to invest the money now to protect the step instead of paying the money to replace it in a few years.

I know we should get some stabilizers to stop the rocking when moving inside the camper, but that may have to wait for 2012. Besides, my eyes fell upon a hammock that was calling my name. The Slumber Hammock, $80 at Camping World, looks like a nap waiting to happen. I did a quick search and found a cheaper and more expensive, but loaded, hammock at Walmart.

Hammock Hammock
Mac Sports Heavenly Slumber
$48.00, Walmart
Kalisto All-in-One Portable Hammock
$99.98, Walmart

The only thing to do is go test out the hammocks and see which one will be my vehicle to sweet slumber. Fortunately, this is all I have for right now. But things do change when you walk into a camping section at any store.

New York Ravens

On June 25, 2010, we camped with the New York Ravens at Junius Pond Cabin and Campground. The “Ravens” are a local chapter of the National African American RV Association (NAARVA). We were treated as family from the time we arrived till we departed. We had good conversation and ate well!

One of the members shared his story of growing up in the south in the 40s. He talked about working in the fields from “can to can’t”. That’s when you can see to when you can’t see. He grew up farming and farms his own land in Niagara Falls till this very day.

After 11 years of camping, I thought I knew it all. But some of the Ravens have been camping since the 70s. Needless to say, I have a lot to learn. I have a few pictures to share, but took it easy as I did not want to be the new-member-whose-always-got-that-darn-camera-out. Also, the members may not know about my blogging and I’d want to make sure they know before I start yelling “Say cheese!”

The motorhomes and our trailer circled a pavilion where all activities are held. You can see the pavillion in the far left side of the picture. The New York Ravens shield is proudly displayed on the outskirt of the campsites.

My three kids and their camping guest (the one with the orange mohawk) wait patiently for dinner to be ready.

This is not an image from the campground, but a majority of the campers had these cool, nifty cafeteria trays.  They come on different shapes, sizes, and colors.  I’m going to have some before our next trip…I hope.

And here’s dinner. It was like Thanksgiving outside! Notice the trays…so cute!

Breakfast and dinner are served potluck style. Each family brings a dish to pass. I made fried potatoes for breakfast and  Will made his awesome beef and pork ribs for dinner.

Arkansas Campers

As I hear about the campers killed in the Arkansas flash flood, immediately my heart was heavy with sadness. As a camper, you know first hand what it’s like to be sleeping peacefully in your camper. You sat around the campfire and made s’mores and roasted hot dogs. The kids are tucked and tired from a day of running and playing. But then, you are aroused in the early morning to complete chaos.

As a mother of four, I can see those mothers (and fathers) yelling for their children. Crying out for help. Crying out to God. Fighting with all their might to protect their babies. I can’t even form words to describe how much this news hurt me to my very being.

CBS News has a video where reporter, Chris Wragge, interviews Joel Hinton. Joel is a camper who “happened*” to be awake and saw the rising waters. He immediately helped other campers to safety. Joel said “My wife is a person of deep spiritual belief.” He went on to say that his wife asked what they should do. He responded, “There’s only one thing you can do and that’s probably to pray.” He shared that his wife always prays that God protect their home. The water stopped 1.5 inches from the floor of their camper. Praise God!

Unfortunately, there are individuals who find pleasure in the pain of others. You can go to any news sites and find horrible comments posted by sick individuals. What has happened to person where they have no compassion for the loss of life? It’s not just the Arkansas flooding, but in every bad event. I’m learning that there will always be a cold-hearted human who will mock, taunt, disrespect, and curse the victim. It’s the time we live in.

Continue to pray that the survivors of this tragedy find comfort in the God who is mighty and able to do all things and in his son, Jesus Christ.

* As a believer, I believe he was predestined to be where he was to do what was needed. When you find yourself in the right place – at the right time, thank God for his mighty hand that leads and guides you.

Finding a Home

I was talking to a fellow mommy about my daughter’s upcoming birthday party when the conversation turned to one of my favorite subjects, camping. Fellow-mommy shared they have a seasonal site at a nearby campground. I immediately started my questions. What made you decide to go seasonal? How did you decide on a campground? How often do you drive out to the site?

Fellow-mommy says they had been camping a long time. I think she said nearly 8 years. So here I am in my eleventh year of camping and I have no idea where I would like to be seasonal. I don’t know what it is. I think I may miss out on something. I still like traveling and I want to drive cross-country one day!

While writing this post, Will and I started talking about what would need to happen for us to become seasonal. As in real estate, the first three things you learn about in the business is location, location, location. The question is, does that apply to camping? You can have a great location and bad neighbors. Or you can find great neighbors but it’s a bad location. Right now, I haven’t found a location that feels like home or neighbors that make me forget about the location.

The drive is part of camping.

The price is another factor. With any seasonal location, what do you really get besides the site? Is there amenities exclusive to members? Are there special member-only events? Are day and overnight visitors free? Will the owners get to know me and my family or will I be another expected check in the mail?

Some people decide to become seasonal to avoid packing prep before each trip. I don’t mind the prep work. Our RV has most of it’s own supplies. All that’s left for us to get is sleeping bags for the kids. Yes, we’ve been camping all these years and they do not have sleeping bags. All other necessities are stored in the RV, carpets, cookware, towels, soap, etc.

To ease my perceived frustration around the seasonal versus non-seasonal dilemma, I Googled campgrounds in Western New York and found some places I’ve not looked into. So I have some visiting to do. I guess that means we’re not ready to be seasonal members. What about you?

2010 Memorial Day Weekend

Shawnice Cooling Off in the Master BedroomThe first camping adventure of 2010 was a blast. The weather was a wonderful 84+ degrees each day which allowed the children to swim several times a day. Sun screen was a must-have that weekend.

Frost Ridge, formerly known as Lei-Ti, is in it’s second year of new management. The changes to the campground are noticeable. The bathrooms were remodeled and a laundry facility is being built.

The camp sites were clean, but could have used a little raking after the grass was cut. And, the schedule of activities could have been better. The comfy lounge was great and served as a safe place for teens to hangout during the evenings.

It was fun to see the campground get involved in the wet-n-wild wagon ride on Saturday. Sites where there were no children had spray guns and buckets of water ready and waiting. Imagine, an hour of screaming and yelling. It was great. A rematch was scheduled for Sunday.

As with previous years, the campground was packed and children were everywhere. There were two nights of live music. The live bands played mostly country music. I asked myself several times why the live bands at campgrounds mainly country bands. It’s one thing to be the only black family at a campground, but to have to listen to songs about living in a hick town and being a red-neck is a bit too much for me.

The Morgan TwinsLuckily, the Morgan Twins from the second season of American Idol, honored us with a great rendition of Fallin’ by Alicia Keys.

I was not thrilled the campground was open to the public for the music. There was a lot of drinking, smoking, and partying. That led to the need to keep the kids close by and I started thinking about changing our Memorial Day camping spot. A plus was the campground made sure the partying was done right when the curfew began.

We ended each night around the campfire with s’mores and hot dogs. You can see photos from this trip here.

Overall, I do recommend this campground!

Feel free to share your camping experiences with us! Use the comment section below.

New Toy For The Camping Season Chills Beverages in One Minute

Last July I purchased a wine and beverage chiller for my husband. It can chill cans and bottle in minutes by spinning the beverage in cold water and ice. The chiller continuously sprays cold water on the beverage while it spins. There’s also a setting for extra chilling. A 12 oz soda can will chill to 43 degrees from 77 degrees in about 1 minutes. How cool!

A good insulated cooler will save you some money. I like to have one cooler each for beverages, meats, and food containers that don’t fit in the fridge. You want a cooler that will keep ice for 5 days in temperatures up to 90 degrees. You’ll save money on ice. Ice may be inexpensive in your local grocery store, but ice from the campground general store may cost you double.

When a good insulated cooler keeps your beverages cold, the drinks go faster. Depending on the size of your camping party, you can go through a lot of beverages. Say you’re in the mood for a super-cold Pepsi and the cooler is empty because no one replenished the cans. There’s a case of warm Pepsi on the ground. What do you do? Most likely, you would go to the campground store and buy an over-priced bottle of Pepsi. But if you have a beverage chiller, you place the can in the chiller. One minute later, you have a cold one.

I’ll be using my chiller for soda and bottled water. What would you use yours for?