A Camping we would go!

by MC D’Alton

Well it would seem the Gods of adventure take their job incredibly serious, especially when it comes to making my life just that wee bit more interesting.

We will skip the many, many, MANY, times they have injected excitement, unexpected happenings and just plain out-there ‘WOW’s’ into my life, and get right to it.

I’m a bit of a Princess. I love my creature comforts and am not particularly fond of stepping outside of my comfort zone, however…

Hubby and I needed some serious down time and the boys needed space, time to be boys, and not screen addicted zombies. So, when friends of ours invited us to go camping, we ‘ummmed’, ‘aaahed’ and finally accepted.

Over the months preceding the date of our adventure, we diligently researched and purchased the basic gear one would need for two nights on Bribie Island’s, Ocean camping grounds. We were told they had basic Loo’s and cold showers. (By basic Loo’s I was to discover they were five star long drops with a foot pedal for a flush on the floor beside the loo. I thoroughly inspected the bowl and seat each time for spiders and reptiles – it happens don’t laugh!)

This was a big ask for Mama Princess, but I was willing to stick my big toe, no, make that my foot outside the circle of safety.

Friday night, after a huge week at work for both us adults, we started to pack my Noddy 4×4. I call her a Noddy 4×4 because in reality my five-year-old ford escape 2L SUV is small. She is the perfect sized chariot for this Princess, and her backseat is just broad enough to convey the philistines to and from school, rugby, basketball… you get the idea.

She is also the epitome of reliability and will go anywhere for her Mama. So, after much packing, re-packing and leaving of stuff behind, we got ‘the basics’ in.

Camping 6By the basics I mean, a tiny towel each, swimmers, a change of undies a toothbrush and the camping gear and food.
Oh, let’s not forget the wine – never forget the wine! One cannot expect a princess to survive on fresh air and sand alone!

We rose at Sparrows fart Saturday morning with a twinkle in our eyes and a spring in our step — A camping we would go!

All went according to plan and we were the first to arrive at the entrance to the track which led to Woorim Beach. From there we would travel, on very loose sand, for another twenty kilometers to the camp site, unpack, and set the Philistines free to act like cavemen for the next two days — happiness, right?

The Gods of adventure had, unbeknownst to us, decreed it would not be thus!

While waiting for the rest of our party to arrive, I googled prices of double cab Bakkies? (Ute’s / Pick-ups). We would definitely need to upgrade if this camping thing worked out.

Dan dan daaaaah! One should never invoke the presence of Loki and his wicked Imps, nor temp the ever antagonistic Murphy. Always beware of the jinxing of one’s adventures.

None-the-less. We excitedly jumped into my car — hubby drove — and headed off down the sandy track, leading to the beach, which was fraught with all manner of ditches, donga’s, and exciting four-by-four thingies, which would make the greatest of adventurer’s blood zing with excitement. All went fine and hubby traversed the track like a pro, until…

As we made our way, carefully, out of a deep and steep donga (ditch/hole/ hell) we spotted, too late, the tip of a rock sitting on the crest of the next rise like a granite iceberg. The bottom part of my darling Ford SUV’s nose came thudding down on that rock, like a drunken sailor to the floor. Both hubby and I cringed, and I silently begged the angels that what I’d heard was only a dent and nothing more.

We reached the beach and pulled over to wait for our friends. I tried to ignore what had happened. If I didn’t look it was all going to be okay – Schrodinger’s cat, right?

Eh! Nope! Within seconds of stopping, the oil light screeched it’s warning, like a red moon to a Wiccan, seconds before the engine whined, cluttered, sputtered, and died.

I jumped out the car, the acrid stench of my precious Noddy SUV’s death, burnt my nose as I lay on my stomach and looked up. My heart cracked and my stomach flipped. The berg-rock had ripped out the protective plate and her oil filter – no oil – no good – no engine!

Long story short — it took the man, my insurance company hired, three hours to recover my car from its sandy moorings (the tide came in, so that was a whole lotta fun! Not!). I prayed, I begged, and crossed my fingers so tight I reckon they’ll forever be crooked, as the man and his lackey tugged and pulled, reversed and jerked at my poor Noddy SUV, with their monstrous four-by-four and tow rope, until finally we made our way (Me in our friends 4×4) back to the entrance.

It’s amazing how such mischievous mishaps mostly occur on days when a thousand other vehicles decide to also break down. We spent another two hours waiting for the flatbed tow truck to arrive. Two hours of twiddling thumbs, and guilt driving me insane as I was keeping our friend from enjoying his own camping weekend with his family.

As for my family – our friends shoved my men and our stuff into their vehicles and hauled them off to the campsite while I took care of my car. A whole day wasted. And not a sip of chilled wine or frosted beer to be had – oh the woes of a broken-down Princess.

Finally, myself and our loyal friend who had offered to stay with me and drive me back, arrived at the camp. All I wanted was to wash my face, spray some deodorant and sit down and slurp up some of Lord Bucchas fermented grape juice.

The hubby and his underlings had already set up camp. The blow-up beds were made and the wine was a chilling. I could do this right? I could live for two days without a decent wash. I could ignore the grinding irritation of sand clinging to the soft skin between my toes, and other places I do not wish to share with the world. I would survive the hordes of mozzies jabbing their miniscule straws through my clothes and slurping up my life force, leaving me with itchy red welts. Giant lizards, snakes, falling tree spiders and ice-cold showers were a walk in the park (oh, how I fib!).

I could, for my boys, I would.

Camping 5

So much for a peaceful weekend. We had to leave again the following day because of an approaching storm. It’s not always fun relying on the mercy of others. Though our friends here are like family — each one of us would bend over backward for the other. Needless to say, we left the campsite late Sunday night, soaked to the bone, and hungry (because it’s so much fun packing up in the rain).

But it would not be a quick and easy end to our trying adventure either. On our way back in the dark, we came across a boat which had washed ashore — called the coast guard, waited for coast guard, searched the frothing ocean for a bobbing body, (grateful there wasn’t one). And all of this was the cherry on top of our sandy, bug infested cake.

Damp, hungry, irritable Philistines in the back seat stretched their parents patience beyond the reaches of sanity. But eventually we got home, unpacked and had the longest, hottest shower of our lives (a large glass of Muscadet accompanied me).

Moral of the story…

An adventure is not always romantic, clean, or as much fun as many would have you believe, but it sure makes for many laughs and awesome family bonding.

I would attempt it (minus the broken-down car) again, and with a lot more wine!

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