Sunday, April 20, 2008

Camping Nightmare

I like to camp. I'll do whatever kind of camping everyone's up to. Usually that means car camping. We (my wife and our friends) found ourselves without children for a night, so we decided to go camping. Unfortunately the only place we could get at at 5:00 in the afternoon same day was the campground at Stone Mountain.

We split up, gathered up just enough to camp for one night, hooked back up, zipped to the grocery store, then headed to the park. We had just enough daylight left to get the tent set up (it's a huge tent that requires two, but really needs four, to put up).

The big huge tent seen from its not-so-big side.

I know that looks like a sidewalk, but that's actually just sand with a straight tree that fell close by, with the other dog's runner crossing under Z's leash.

We had a wonderful dinner of assorted chicken products from the Publix deli. We had an excellent spot with a beautiful view. We chose a primitive camping site because we wanted to have a nice quiet 'back to nature' type of camping experience. Unfortunately, the primitive camping site at this park is a 'bargain basement' area with too many campsites placed too close together. However, we had a lakeside spot so we could imagine we were the onle ones there while we ate and tried to get our fire started. There were lots of lakeside spots left, and it was otherwise crowded, so I assume many of the campers were camping at the cheapest site they could find (it was $5 more for a lakeside site).

Awesome view. Will have to Photoshop to bring out the colors so they look like how our eyes saw them that night.

Right before the laser light show a few other campers quickly set up their tents, then almost everyone around us disappeared. After the light show's finale (fireworks could be seen from our site) the campers trickled back in, so I assume most went to the show because the weather was nice. It was apparently the 25th anniversary of the show, and this was the third night of the new production, so seeing it is a big deal. Everyone seemed nice, and some were a little noisy, but nothing bad. I'm sure we were a little loud a couple of times too.

We tried over and over to start a fire but our pathetic attempts over a two hour period never had wood burning on its own. We did, however, have a nice paper plate fire for a little while. We went to bed around 11:00, not sure of the exact time. We were tired and, since the fire would not stay lit, cold. We retired to the beds to warm up and wait for the morning.

By 1:00 AM we were all up, disturbed by a loud, obnoxious, drunk lady. One of us asked her to keep it down (very nicely, I might add, one of her skills) but the lady took it as an insult, saying she wasn't doing anything wrong, then proceeded to talk louder, and sometimes about us, for another thirty minutes. My wife was frustrated to the point that she went to the ranger station to get them to shut up. Meanwhile, a few minutes later, I stuck out my head and asked them when they were going to bed. She got all upset, and her daughter's boyfriend bowed up, walked over to our campsite, and threatened to punch me in the face because he said that's how he settles things (remember, all of this was because we asked her nicely to keep it down). I made some smart-ass comment about not being able to believe that he actually said he was going to do that. For some reason, he backed off and went back to his site. Maybe its because he thought I was younger, but realized I was an adult when he got closer. I know it wasn't because of my huge muscles.

The cops showed up around 1:30. My wife, unable to find a ranger, called the police to get them to settle it. By now, the kids realized that this was not a good situation and went into the tent. The mom was sitting outside loudly discussing how she should be able to talk all she wants. Right away she stood up to them and said she wasn't doing anything wrong. They told her that there were complaints about the noise, and she fingered us as the complainers. They assured her that there were many complaints and that we were not the ones that called the cops (we were, but maybe he didn't know our site number). They asked her to keep it down, then left. She continued to make phone calls to people asking them to come over and party with her, and that she was probably going to get taken off to jail. She joked about peeing so that it trickled down to our tent. This lady was in her 40's at least, so this just made no sense.

By 2:00 she ran out of people that wanted to talk with her on the phone, and her family had long gone to sleep, so she finally shut up and went to bed. There was another group of kids, apparently back from a prom, that were occasionally noisy but they were far enough away that we could ignore them and get to sleep.

We finally awoke around 7:30, tired from the lack of sleep. We ate a quick crappy breakfast and packed up the tent and the stuff. Three of the kids were sitting at their table, quitely chatting, laughing occasionally. We walked right by their table on our way to the van several times while we loaded up and they never said anything. I looked at the kid that threatened me the night before and wished him a good morning. He told the other guy in our party 'have a nice day' as he made his last trip to the van.

We never saw the mother that morning, nor the other guy. Apparently she was there with her two daughers, her son, and one of her daughter's boyfriends (this was gathered from one of her phone calls). They were all crammed in a three person dome tent.

There were some nice people there. In the morning the other campers around the rude family were very nice to us, even though they didn't talk to each other. This indicated to me that they were grateful in some way that we at least tried to shut her up. One family brought us leftover steak for the dogs to eat, while another asked questions about some of our equipment because she thought it would be a good idea to have the same things. Later on the equipment lady and her husband met us near the van and told us that they couldn't believe that lady was so rude.

One of us talked to a person in the office about the ordeal. She felt so bad that she refunded our night and gave us a rain check for any night in the future for free. She also told us the best campsites to use to have the experience we wanted--peaceful, scenic, and near the water. We drove by those sites on the way out and were sad to see how nice they were. We weren't going to ever come back again, but the office lady was so nice that we feel we must come back to try one of her recommended sites.

What a night.

[edited for typos]


Jill said...

What a night, indeed. I took another nap (nap #2) after we saw you guys. Worst night of sleep ever! That lady was such a loser.

Anonymous said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Telefone VoIP, I hope you enjoy. The address is A hug.