Thursday, June 13, 2013

Clints Well, AZ Camping: Roughing It on 300-Threadcount Sheets

While many might scoff at the idea of camping in an RV, these people also inevitably complain about back pain, insect bites, and critters eating their food in the night.  At ages 46 and 59, camping in an RV is heaven ... leave the "roughing it" to young adults in their 20's!

On Fathers' Day Weekend, we took our 6th Annual June Camping Trip and the first overnight adventure since we bought the Lucky Charm.  We went to our favorite forest near Happy Jack, Arizona with son Max, his friend Joey, and "never-missed-a-year-yet-friend" April and her buddy.  AND ... of course ... Bella and Sprinkles!

Co-pilot Sprinkles keeps an eye out for the perfect campsite!

We decided to do "half-camping" -- meaning, we slept in the RV and the teens hung out in it as a clubhouse-of-sorts, but otherwise we did all of our living, cooking, etc. outside just like we have always done.  We did use the toilet (*at least for the first day ... until we ran out of water ... see second-to-last paragraph below) but did not use the shower ... see how flexible we can be?  Here is our beautiful campsite:

Our perfect, beautiful, wonderful campsite in the Coconino National Forest!

The weather was perfection (70's day, 40's night) especially after leaving 111 behind in Phoenix.  We spent three glorious days being outside and having fun.  The boys brought all of their Airsoft equipment (non-metallic BB guns) and ran through the woods and set up various shooting ranges and whatnot.  

Even the bears were scared when they saw these guys coming!

We did more hiking and exploring than any previous camping trip, going approximately 7 miles (downhill and then back uphill) each day, ending one day at the Blue Ridge Reservoir Lake and the second day down Horse Crossing Trail to a gorgeous sandy beach and swimming hole surrounded by cliffs and greenery. 

Strenous-but-rewarding hike to the Blue Ridge Reservoir Lake!

Margarita Madness (Friday) and Sangria Silliness (Saturday) started around 4:00 PM each day.  In the evenings, we sat fireside and enjoyed dinners like grilled filet wrapped in bacon with bernaise sauce, or chili-lime marinated chicken kabobs.  And, of course, nightly s'mores and Jiffy Pop popcorn were a must.

Fire restrictions were in effect, but it didn't bother us because we had a propane-powered firepit!

After dinner, we played multiple rounds of Left-Right-Center, Mexican Train Dominoes, and Cards Against Humanity.  Have you played this game?  It's an extremely inappropriate version of the game Apples to Apples, in which players choose cards from their hand to answer the dealer's question, and then the dealer picks the best response.  Example question:  It's a bad idea to combine _______ + _______.  Some of the answers that might be turned in would be along the lines of  "It's a bad idea to combine menstrual rage and chainsaws for hands."  Other answers include things like "two midgets pooping into a bucket," "Rush Limbaugh's soft doughy body," "a squadron of moles wearing aviator goggles" and so forth.  You get the idea.  It is SO. MUCH. FUN. and we laughed until we literally cried.  

Mexican Train: so easy you can play it while under the influence!

Although the trip was the most fun we've ever had in the forest, we would be remiss in not mentioning that there were quite a few "learning moments" with the RV on this trip. The biggest boo-boo was thinking we were filling the fresh-water tank, but instead filling the sewer-tank, with 40 gallons of water and then driving on down the road. Although we discovered it in time (in time = before sewer water filled the inside of the RV via toilet overflow) and dumped it all out, it meant that we had significantly less water than we thought we had for the trip (and therefore were denied usage of the beautiful indoor toilet .... WHAAAA WHAA whaaaaaaaaaa......).

And, when you go to pack up to leave, and the two sliding extensions of the RV (the entire sides that slide out to make the living area and the bedroom significantly wider) don't slide back in, meaning you can't go anywhere, well, it kinda makes you  realize that it was pretty stupid to make your first multi-night trip to a place so remote, where AAA definitely would not come.  Luckily we had packed the instruction manual and figured it all out.  We rated this trip an A+ and can't wait to do it again!

Cross our hearts .... it was a blast!

Camping Trip

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Phoenix ... Max's Birthday Bus

We were hopeful that our sole remaining child would like the RV and were relieved to find out that he did.  So much, in fact, that this year for his 14th birthday party he wanted a sleepover in the RV in front of our house.  We could literally hear the stereo bass thumping from inside our house, so apparently they were having fun (though the neighbors may have been a little disturbed by it all ... oops!).  They watched movies, played around on the Internet, ate endless amounts of junk food, and may or may not have slept at all.

A memorable moment was when Philip's cell phone rang at 10:30 PM, to Max reporting that the smoke alarm inside the RV was going off.  You have never seen a grown man fly out of bed so quickly!  Turns out that Max's friend went to use the bathroom, and not knowing where the light switch was, hit the thermostat button several times instead, not only turning on the HEAT but also turning it up to 96 degrees inside, which apparently triggered the alarm.

The next morning, three boys ate a dozen doughnuts and bagels as we drove down the road to Wet N Wild Waterpark on the other side of town.  (Note that this picture is at the gas station.  Did you know that most gas pumps max-out at $100?  Neither did we!  Until we tried to fill an RV!  You have to do two separate transactions to fill it up!  Eeeek!)

At Wet N Wild, the boys scampered through the turnstile to the sound of my shrill nagging "DON'T FORGET SUNSCREEN!  DRINK WATER!  STAY HYDRATED!"  (teens love this kind of attention, especially at high volume, especially in front of other people)  Philip and I retired to the RV in the parking lot, where we cranked the A/C, turned on the 40" flatscreen, powered up his computer, pulled out drinks and snacks, and got down to business.  Philip worked on budgets and spreadsheets and memos and emails, while I got uninterrupted scrapbooking time!

The boys were quite pleased that no parents would be lurking around the waterpark, yet we were right there nearby if they needed an additional infusion of cash for the snack bar.  When they returned 4.5 hours later, we headed off to Max's favorite restaurant in the whole world,  FUDDRUCKERS, which still exists on the other side of town, though no longer near our house.

The restaurant was exactly as Max remembered it, and the boys chowed down on burgers, fries, onions rings and milkshakes ($67 worth to be exact ... the care and feeding of teenagers is not cheap!).  Then, back in the RV, back to Spur Circle, with the Lucky Charm to thank for memories of yet another CHARMING ADVENTURE.  Happy Birthday, Max!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Officially CHARMNG!

Our personalized license plates arrived!  Hurray!  Teenage son:  "Oh Mom, you and Philip just can't be happy unless there is a pun involved."  Well said, Maxwell.  And so we are officially CHARMNG, no matter if Max thinks otherwise.  The hope is that drivers stuck traveling behind us will be so distracted by our U.S. map, Cardinals stickers, Lucky Charm name and now the coordinating license plate, that they will forget to be pissed off that we can only go 30 MPH uphill.