Monday, April 4th, 2011
Land Between the Lakes–Hillman Ferry Campground
It’s raining. Hard. The winds have been whipping since 3am, thunder has been rumbling and occasionally clapping louder than I’m used to, and the rains have come down in sheets loud enough to drown out conversation. It’s to be expected, though. I mean, seriously. You can’t go camping without at least one memorable event. Storms like this are what put trips on the map of my mind for years to come.
It wouldn’t be so big of a deal if it weren’t for the tent situation. We bought a new tent at a garage sale last year. We inspected it as it was set up before our purchase, but we hadn’t touched it since. Luckily it’s fairly simple to assemble and our marriage survived quite happily. (I was impressed, honestly. Tent-erecting is not typically the most peaceful of marital interactions.)
The problems began as soon as we saw our site. Kevin’s parents set up their camper lickity split as we are on a wonderful asphalt pad. It’s a fabulous camping area, actually. Wooded, nice facilities, fairly quiet. But we got the last available site which happened to be a handicapped site. This wouldn’t be a problem except for a few unforeseen issues.
You must set up your tent within the confines of the railroad-tie-borders. This means our tent wouldn’t be on a flexible surface like grass or gravel, but on asphalt. And we have no air mattress. This also means we had nowhere to hammer in the stakes that are essential to tent setup.
There is a lovely cement path through our site and to the bathhouse—just 10 feet away—perfect access for wheelchairs and the like. It’s really nice, actually. The problem arises when fellow campers—kids, teens, and adults alike—travel THROUGH our site to get the bathhouse. It’s super annoying. We have each taken turn devising ways of inhibiting traffic. None of them seem to work permanently.
The bright fluorescent lights that line the walkway around the shower/bathhouse which is conveniently located 10 feet away stay on ALL NIGHT LONG. There is no diminishing the brightness after the 11pm quiet hours or even in the middle of the night. At first I thought it was cool we didn’t need a lantern inside our tent. But it’s NOT cool when we’re trying to sleep in broad “daylight.” I cannot sleep if there is so much as a phone charger light on in the room, let alone 20 bulbs blaring in my eyes. Luckily I had an eye mask with me, so I’ve done alright. I can’t say the same for everyone else.
So despite the fact that our tent is being held up by propane tanks and random heavy objects in 4 corners, the roof is leaking water onto our bed, we woke up every hour last night to the wind threatening to collapse our ghetto tent, and the 20 minute siren blaring sending people to cram into bath houses, it’s been a really great trip.
And no, that was not sarcasm. :)
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