As you might remember from last week’s post, after ignoring the advice of family and friends, Bill and I planned an overnight camping trip to Starved Rock State Park.
Things didn’t start very well for us, as once we arrived in Starved Rock, we noticed that Liam’s nose was running and he had caught Dylan’s cold. He was still pretty happy and active, however, so we decided to take the boys for a hike before heading to the campground.
We didn’t get very far before we realized we weren’t going to get much hiking done during this trip. It was over 100 degrees outside and we were all drenched in sweat. It was just waaaay too hot. Thinking our lot would be wooden and shaded, we headed to the campground hoping to get some relief from the heat.
Unfortunately, we soon realized our site was in the wrong side of the campsite. There were fewer trees than the side we had camped on before, and we had zero shade. As Bill and Dylan busied themselves with the tent, Liam kept trying to put every leaf and twig on the floor in his mouth and running away from the campsite. I spent most of the afternoon following him around with a baby wipe trying to clean the dust off his face and the boogers off his runny nose. Not really my idea of fun.
After everything was set up, we realized we couldn’t stand the heat of the campground any longer and decided to drive to town and get some ice cream. Sweet relief! We could have stayed in that cool, air-conditioned shop all day, but alas we had to head back to camp.
It was a good thing we decided to go to town, because the moment we got back in the car it started raining. The storm lasted a good 30 minutes, and we just drove around for its duration. When we returned to the campsite, we realized we had left our firewood out and it was now soaked. Awesome. Bill had to head out and buy some more.
We thought the moisture from the rain would provide a little bit of coolness to the campground, but it all evaporated so quickly that it didn’t really help at all. Things finally got a little better after 6 pm, when the breeze kicked in and we finally got some shade. We managed to make hot dogs for dinner and eat some S’mores and toasted marshmallows by the fire. This was more like it!
We had a few good hours of relaxation before Liam started melting down around 9 pm. It was way past his bedtime and he was sick, but he was also in a new place and couldn’t settle down. After a long struggle, he finally passed out, only to wake up screaming when the 3 of us decided to settle in for the night around 11 pm. Bill and I got him back to sleep, but at 3 am the screaming began again and just kept going on and on. The poor kid’s nose was so stuffy that he couldn’t breathe right, so he would just cry harder when we tried to lay him down. Finally, in desperation, I put him in the car around 4 am and drove around the campsite with him five or six times before he finally fell asleep.
Knowing that he could breathe better sitting up in the car seat than laying down in the tent, I fetched my pillow from the tent and went back to the car to sleep with Liam. Bill was so tired and fed up with the whole day that he said “We’re leaving first thing in the morning!” I agreed it would probably be the best thing, then headed to the car for one of the most uncomfortable nights of sleep of my life.
Around 7 am, I awoke to a knock on the car window. “Ready to go home?” Bill asked. I raised my head and saw that he had already packed up the stove and the food and was starting on taking down the tent. Wow, he wasn’t kidding around! I thought we were going to at least have some coffee before heading out!
We were all packed up and in the car within an hour. As we headed out of the campground to find a restaurant for breakfast and some much-needed coffee, Bill said, “We are not doing this again for a few years!”
I couldn’t agree with him more.
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