Camping: Getting there

19 Oct

OCTOBER 19, 2009 — I don’t know about you, but I’m still baffled by most modern technology. I’m sitting in the passenger’s seat whizzing down I-75 at 75 miles per hour and blogging. I’ve got my AT&T air card plugged into my laptop and am connected at a speed that rivals my home Wi-Fi. I don’t know how it works, but I think it’s pretty amazing. I’m no techno geek (at least I don’t think I am), but I’m fascinated by the ability to communicate virtually anywhere.

My wife, three children and I have just begun a great adventure — or what could amount to a great adventure —our first family camping trip. Jonathan, 6, is reading books. Jenna, 4, is listening to Cat Chat on CD with half an ear … bored … talking … asking when she can watch a movie. Stephen, 2, is watching the trees whiz by and singing: “Uh! Uh! Uh!” He alternately takes a basket (formerly filled with books) and puts it on his head saying, “Dark!”

White County Water Falls

White County Water Falls

We’re headed 750 miles north to Cleveland, Georgia. We’ll be camping at the southern edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest where we hope to see three amazing waterfalls, do some hiking and biking (they’re strapped to the back of the minivan), and see some of God’s great creation.

This all began about two weeks ago when, in a fit of insanity after returning home from two trips (10 days away from home), I said to my family at the dinner table: “What would you think about taking a camping trip?” Before I could make any qualifications to my query, everyone at the table unanimously shouted: “YES! When can we leave?” I’ve since learned to keep my road-weary comments to myself.

Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls

Then the planning began. Where to go? What to see? We’ve been in Florida for more than four years and everyone seemed bored of the flat terrain and warm weather (if you can image that). So, Georgia was it. We scoped out a few state parks online, but they all looked a little too much like Florida. South Carolina looked good, too, but a real forest was what held the greatest attraction for me at least. The others were easily swayed. They were ready for just about anything. So when we discovered that the Chattahoochee was within driving distance, we were hooked.

We aired out the tent, brought the camp stove down from the attic and borrowed a few sleeping bags. Amazon shipped me a five-bike carrier for the van and here we are. Michele and I had camped a few times before we had children. We had been waiting for the right time to go. I guess we found it.

Day One didn’t go according to schedule. We planned a 3 p.m. departure, but our minivan battery died as we were about to pull out of the driveway. When I boosted it with my car, we noticed that the battery had a three-year warranty. Lucky break. Then we read the date on the battery: 09/06. Yup. The warranty expired one month ago. Ain’t it always the way. Wal-Mart was good enough to inform me that the battery had a prorated warrant, so I ended up paying exactly half of the new battery’s sticker price.

We’ll be in The Villages in an hour, ending our first night at my in-laws’ rental property. Then an early start should get us through Atlanta before rush hour. We should be camping real hard by dinner time. God willing, of course, and our new battery keeps us going!

Patrick Novecosky is the founder and editor of The Praetorium.

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