When I left off the last camping post, our heroes had limped back from the campsite, early and riddled with disease, in August of 2003.
Six years passed before they really tried camping again.
The camping trip was an important milestone for us (yes, I'm changing back to the first person), as we repeated to ourselves several times that, if that trip didn't break us up, nothing would.
In the intervening six years, we figured out how to live in the same city, dated like normal people for a little while, got engaged, had a wedding and reception that involved my three favorite things (my husband, cake, and dancing) settled into married life, moved a couple of times, survived my changing of jobs and beginning grad school, and so on.
Some friends of ours gave us a tent as a wedding present, and my in-laws gave us some very nice camping gear for our first married Christmas. Clearly, the people who know us considered us People Who Camp.
Only, we never went camping.
Finally, after we'd been married three years, we decided to actually give it another whirl. I blocked off a weekend this October on our little calendar, and as the day approached we found a state park that was still open and bought a bunch of groceries and plotted out a driving map.
The plan was to leave on Friday afternoon for the 3-hour drive to Wisconsin, where we would camp for two nights. Just a little weekend trip.
We were both feeling tired and cranky on Friday, and I was considering calling the whole thing off and staying home so I could lie on the couch and pet our cat all weekend.
The dialogue at roughly 3:00pm that Friday, as he was about to walk some stuff out to the car:
Me:Do you really want to do this? Because if you don't, we don't need to go.
Him: [exerting valiant effort not to roll eyes at me because I just spent the last month obsessing over this camping trip]: Don't ask me that. Let's just go.
Me: That means you don't want to go, right? Right?
Him: [carrying a cooler loaded down with enough food for six people for a week]: I'm taking this out to the car.
About an hour after that conversation, we were sitting in the car, in construction/rush hour/weekend traffic that had been crawling for most of our drive.
Me: [to self] We're not going to make it to the state park before the 8pm closing time, and we'll have to sleep in the car, and that's really uncomfortable, and he's going to be really ticked off, and he'll hate camping forever, and I'm already hungry but we can't even get off the highway if we need to.
Me: [out loud]: Why are you looking cranky? We'll make it! Plenty of time... I'm sure the traffic is going to clear up in a minute.
Two hours after that, we were finally beginning to get out of the horrible traffic... and we were nowhere near the state park yet. We had less than 2 hours left to get there, and we were starving. We stopped at a Wendy's (in Wisconsin! I know, I know... we were blind with hunger and couldn't find a Culver's anywhere) for the fastest dinner ever, and then I drove at unreasonable speeds (unless you're my mom. Mom: I don't speed.) on dark country highways, hoping to make it to the state park before it closed.
(Also: we saw roughly three dozen signs for different Culver's locations after we ate. Figures.)
Did we make it? Tune in later to find out...