I made lists, I packed with confidence. Ian is a Boy Scout and Tim was a Scout until last year. Andy is a veteran camper himself. They know what they’re doing. My thinking was “It’s Georgia, how different can it be from Orlando?” Famous last words. I printed out my directions and we were on the road at 6:00 am. According to MapQuest, we would reach our destination around 4:00 pm/4:30 pm. That would have been right – if MapQuest wasn’t a liar and if, say, the city of Atlanta had been evacuated several days before our trip. As it was, we hit the outskirts of Atlanta around 2:30 pm. We exited the other outskirts of Atlanta around 5:00 pm. My hair was white. We’d all lost several pounds and had agreed to stop speaking to each other for a while. Talk about stressful!
We drove and drove some more. The kids were threatening to burn the Map Quest directions. In hindsight this would have been a good idea. Finally, at 7 pm!!!! we pulled into our campsite. I was practically in tears I was so tired and stressed out. When we reached the mountainous portion of our drive, it was like a giant hillbilly call to come harass the lady from the flat state on the narrow roads. My sister actually guided me into our parking spot by waving a frosty adult beverage in my mirrors. :::sigh:::
We poured out of the car. Ian and Tim quickly set up our tents and our campsite while Andy and I went to visit Aunt Lynne, Uncle Paul and the cousins. Uncle Paul had a fire going and dinner cooking. Ahhhh . . . We ate, admired the stunning views from our campsite. The dogwoods were in bloom (we don’t have those in Orlando) and everything was so green it seemed fake. The younger kids discovered the hills and the red clay and entertained themselves nicely. Ian and Tim wandered around on their own for a while and came back with maps and plans for the rest of the weekend.
All nine of us were enjoying the fire and catching up with each other (and enjoying some Jiffy Pop) when the park rangers showed up to to let us know about the approaching thunderstorms with the potential of hail. We thanked them and continued to do nothing. The sky was clear, there was no wind. Around 9:00 pm or so, Uncle Paul and the cousins headed to their tents. My sister and I continued to catch up with each other. Ian, Tim and Andy were playing a ferocious game of Pass the Pigs. And, then the storm came! We grabbed the snacks, loaded the coolers into the back of our car and climbed into the car. It was quite the storm.
We played word games in the car, snacked and had a nice time despite the thunder, lightening and gusting winds. The funniest part was when Andy really, really had to pee. The lightening was too much for him to go the camp bathrooms. We all agreed to look away if he just peed out of the window. He cracked the window, we looked away. Well, we looked away until Andy screamed – damn those park ranger patrols. They drove away laughing too. Around 12:30, things died down enough for all of us to go to bed. Andy and I were sharing a tent. That would be the tent with the wet pillows and damp sleeping bags. We rearranged things and found dry spots to sleep and promptly passed out.