I’m not dead yet

This is where we spent our weekend. We were camping at Hendy Woods state park. It was more of a hybrid version of camping – there were bathroom facilities around the corner, and you could pay for a hot shower. We spent our days mostly away from the campsite, but we slept in tents and ate meals prepared over a campfire.


Our first day was just about setting up camp. The guys (and I mean all of them, even the 1-year-old, Blaine) set up the sleeping tent. My sister-in-law, Alicia, and I set up the changing tent (it was too small for the blow-up mattress, so no one slept there). The kids ran around and covered themselves in the dirt until they passed out. Good times. After the kids went to sleep, we adults had time to sit around the fire and chat.

The next day we devoted to wine tasting. There was one particular winery that Michael and I wanted to find – Navarro – they have a non-alcoholic grape juice that Carisa just loves. We tasted at several other wineries as well. Alexis only got to taste the non-alcoholic wine at Navarro, but she is such a ham that she had to have a picture just like Uncle Michael’s.

Alexis also hammed it up in front of a fountain. That girl just loves to be photographed.

When we got back, we decided to take the kids for a hike to burn up the energy they had pent up from sitting in the car all day between wineries. Robert (my brother) skipped rocks and Michael threw a stick into the little bit of water that was left over from a drying river bed. Blaine apparently channeled a puppy and charged into the water after the stick. All I saw was Robert reaching into the water and catching the baby by the back of his shirt and his diaper. Everyone but Blaine thought it was funny!

Blaine’s little adventure did inspire the girls, though. We found a secluded spot, had the guys keep watch, and stripped down to our birthday suits for a little skinny-dipping. It was kind of liberating for Alicia and me – we are both a bit conservative in the nudity department. Alexis wanted to be just like the big girls, so she took a dip as well. Her face depicts how we all felt afterward – free and happy!

It turns out that our nights at camp were all pretty much about the same. Save for the conversational topic – we were planning a cruise while we were on a camping trip. How’s that for irony? I, of course, sat by the campfire and knit until I could no longer make out the stitches. I should have chosen something a little more straight-forward than entrelac for the campfire knitting, but I guess you only learn by being in the situation.

The third morning we went to Mendocino. We visited the Ford House where we got tips about how we should spend our day. The volunteer at the register told us we should go to Fort Bragg to see Glass Beach. The beach was covered in bits of glass that had been tumbled against the rocks for years after the location stopped being a public dump. That’s right – someone got the bright idea to turn the beautiful coastline into a garbage pit. At least the error was corrected.

I also had another small squirrel adventure. I don’t believe I had seen a California squirrel before. I’ve lived here for 4 years, so you’d think I would have seen one by now. The thing is, we live in a city. In order to see squirrels, you have to go to the park, and it’s a bit of a haul to get there from our house. 😦

Before we got back on the road, we had to stop again in Mendocino to use the restroom. I know this seems silly, but I saw one of the best ideas I have seen in awhile:

I know it seems like an odd thing to be impressed by, but think about it – how many times have you been to a rest stop where they were out of toilet paper? No one ever seems to have enough staff to keep the restrooms stocked. It’s more efficient to put a dozen rolls on the wall and let the staff tend to whatever other business they have. Now if I can only convince business that the one-ply sandpaper toilet paper is a bad idea…

Save for the car sickness (at least 3 of us had varying degrees of motion sickness on the very twisty road that led to Hendy woods), it was a really great, relaxing trip.


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