Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Weekend at Magnolia Ridge

I can't say enough, how much I love to go camping.  And when it's with good friends, and great little kiddos - there's not much that gets better than that!

RDB and I left out Thursday evening after he got off work. We were excited not only for the long weekend and extra time camping, but also that we would introduce the crew to one of our favorite parks: Magnolia Ridge Dam.  We had been there for our first just-us trip last season, and really loved the spot - and it has the added benefits of being a Corp of Engineers park, so you can reserve specific sites before you get there.  That's nearly a must when you've got a big group camping together.  This weekend it was RDB & Me, The 5 J's, and R(m)B.

Yeah, that only took about 10 shots to finally get a good one!
We had a huge set of sites - right along the water's edge - which was perfect for all the activities we had planned.  (And the tent that R(m)B brought along - I mean, it was a *big* tent!)  RDB and I got to enjoy the quiet to ourselves Friday morning until The 5 J's rolled in - and then the party started!!

The 5 J's have one of the coolest campers on the planet - it's KJ's parents from when she was a kid - and wow, it's still in awesome condition considering all the places it's been to.  I'm pretty sure if there's an award out there for the "Most Retro Camper" they'd win - hands down!

RDB and I got to hang out with the girls while their parents took off for a Wal-Mart run (and took LJ with them, because: "You don't just unleash The Boy on people!")  We spent time doing crafts, playing with Diesel, and picking up pine cones and kindling to get a good fire started, and anxiously waiting for R(m)B to arrive.

We got a great fire going and enjoyed a quick dinner once R(m)B arrived.  I couldn't help but giggle at the setting up of the tent - I think just about everybody had a hand it in at one point:

Saturday morning the Easter Bunny (aka Martha Jo) arrived - we had mimosas and chocolate to enjoy for the adults.  Unfortunately, we also had a heavy dose of rain - so for the better part of an hour, we played and drew with chalk on the concrete under our campsite table (Thanks, Mom, for giving me the chalk - it was a lifesaver!!)

While we waited for the rain to dry, the kiddos (and Big Kids) went over to the Kid's Fishing Pond to toss a few lines in.  One thing that's neat about Magnolia Ridge is that they've created a fully stocked kid's fishing area (with some pretty strict kids-only fishing rules).  Too bad no one told the fish they were supposed to get themselves caught!  Regardless, it was nice to be out in the sun and enjoy the day.

In the afternoon, once the rain ground had dried, we did our traditional  egg hunt.  I think we had a few dozen (too many!) eggs for these four kiddos.  They had a blast trying to find them all!
We sure do love camping - both on our own, and with the crew.  You can always find a few moments of peace and quiet and fun.

We camped at Magnolia Ridge Dam Park in sites 31 and 32.  Not a lot of shade in site 32, but they're both within a short walk to the bathhouse and a leisurely long walk to the playground and Kid's Fishing Pond. RDB and I were scoping out site 27 as a potential single site for our next trip back there (because there will be a next trip!) and we know site 18 is a nice one as well - just a good bit more boat ramp traffic near it.  Woody and Jeni are the camp hosts, and they are the sweetest people you'll ever meet.

For more camping photos, go here.

"Hoppy" Easter!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Bunch of Firsts

We went out to the Country this past weekend.  Once again, it's awesome to head out where we have the place to ourselves (with Dad and Bunny of course).  Even though we've been there before - and will again twice more before summer - we had a bunch of firsts:

First flowers of Spring.


First time letting Diesel run free, off leash. Oh, he loooved it!

Ruuuun, Diesel, Ruuun!
First time Diesel met barbed-wire (in the dark unfortunately, we got there late at night, he had no clue - and he came running back to us immediately.)  I was very grateful for my doggie first aid kit and that he only got cuts on his nose and back.

First time taking Clyde the Big Truck out with our camper. Also, first time I drove the Big Truck.
That camper looks so tiny!

First time I drove the Big Truck, and got it stuck in the mud.  But I come by it honestly - from what Bunny says, it's a family tradition: Papa's gotten his truck stuck out here, Uncle Roy's gotten his truck stuck.. So has Dad.  And now me.  Huh.
Yep.  That's stuck.

First time our camper has been towed by a tractor.... that also rescued the truck from the mud.

Wow, look at those ruts....
Regardless of all those firsts, we had bunches of fun.  Diesel was all over every stick and pine cone that he could chew on, and it was a wonderful trip - even with the rain that caused the mud that got me stuck.  Yeah, the rain - I blame it on the rain.  :-)

For more camping photos, go here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Campaholic 12 Step Program

1. Admit that I am powerless over the lure of the camping.
2. Believe the smell of canvas can restore my sanity.
3. Make a decision to turn my life over to W.C. Coleman.
4. Take a searching and fearless inventory of all my camping gear.
5. Admit that everything from Tents to Class-A's are equal.
6. I'm entirely ready to sell 2 or 3 sleeping bags I rarely use anymore.
7. Humbly ask for assistance in finding new campgrounds.
8. Make a list of all the things I need to do at home and go camping anyway.
9. Make amends by leaving my campsite cleaner than when I found it.
10. Continue to accumulate cool new camping gear, just in case...
11. Seek to improve my fire starting techniques.
12. Pledge to carry this message to non-campers and practice these principles in all my affairs.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Easy Come, Easy Go

You know Carmax's 5-Day Money Back Guarantee?  Well, they mean it.  No haggle, no hassle - you don't want the lemon - I mean SuperDuty - they sold you, they'll take it back, no questions asked.

Long story short - the gray F250 we bought had faulty trailer light wiring and though the techs in the service department at Carmax said they fixed it - they didn't.  Simply put: if the pigtail isn't showing any voltage on a voltmeter, then the lights on your trailer aren't going to work.  It's not the trailer, its the truck.  We even pulled our pop-up up to Carmax to show them it wasn't the trailer (hooked to a friend's truck with working trailer lights) and can I say, it's a bit of a spectacle pulling a camper trailer into a used car lot?  So, with the gray F250 spending more time in their shop than in our driveway during those first five days, we decided it wasn't supposed to be our truck.
Anywho, Rich had his eyes on a white F250 that was up at the Carmax in Dallas, so as luck would have it - I had a meeting in Dallas on a Friday, and Rich took the day off to go with me and visit Carmax to check out this other truck, and low-and-behold: it would put out.  Um, voltage that is. 

So, James and the Carmax in Houston transferred the white F250 down from Dallas for us (and waived the $150 transfer fee) and now, finally, we have a working truck. 

Now we just need to go camping!!