July 13, 2008: Rain at the Glen

It rained pretty much all night.  We were pretty damp by morning and there was a bit of pooled water in the tent.  The porch area was really a mess.  Dominica and I were really glad that I we had panicked and managed to close all of the windows and to move what we could into the middle of the porch area.  We were in pretty rough shape as it was but it would have been so much worse.

Madelines Breakfast

We were all up around a quarter to seven this morning.  It isn’t always easy to sleep in when you are camping.  When camping you really get the feel for just how “shifted” normal life is from daylight hours.  The average person, at least here in the US, stays up long after the sun has gone down and does not get up until long after it has come up, but when camping you tend to go to bed right as the sun goes down and get up pretty much when it rises.  It shifts your schedule very quickly.

We got up and got dressed and spent some time trying to get the tent into as good of shape as we could muster given our limited supplies, space and experience.  Then, at eight, it was time to head to the “mess hall” for our buffet breakfast.  It is all you can eat eggs, pancakes, French toast, sausage, bacon, toast, bagels, muffins, English muffins, etc.  We were looking forward to a hearty breakfast after having mostly beans for dinner.

Emily Eating Breakfast

From the time that we woke up until after breakfast the rain held off.  It was quite warm and sunny which gave us a critical reprieve to get some repairs done on the tent although it was not possible to get anything really drying at all as the humidity was still in the ninteties.  It was just hot and muggy but at least we were able to shift things around and mop up some of the standing water.  That helped.

It was far too hot for Oreo to be left in the car and we were afraid to leave the campsite unattended even if Oreo could have been left there on his own.  So Dominica and Oreo stayed behind in the tent and slept for a few hours while I took the girls back to the swimming pool so that they could swim some more.  The pool is really great and the girls just love it.  We couldn’t have gotten a better pool for them.  It is big and spacious but not so big as to be dangerous and not so many people using it as to be a problem.  It is three feet deep in the shallow end and five feet deep in the deep end so it is pretty safe that way as well.

Dominica Eating Breakfast

I took the girls to swim at twenty after nine but discovered that the pool didn’t open until ten.  So we walked back to the camp and told Dominica but then decided that we would just hang out at the pool and wait for it to open as it was all muddy at the tent.  It started to rain this morning just after breakfast, sometime between eight thirty and nine in the morning.  So we were already wet just from the walking and the girls were getting pretty muddy as everything was dirt and had been wet all night.

The girls swam from ten o’clock in the morning, when the pool opened, until about noon when it was time for us to get ready to meet the Doty/Tocco clan at Watkins Glen State Park – just a few minutes away from the KOA where we were staying.  The swimming was very important as the girls were pretty bored after all of the time spent setting up the camp, cooking dinner, dealing with the rain, long drive to get to Watkins Glen, etc.

Just as we were finishing our swim Dominica instant messaged me from the tent to tell us that the rain was coming down pretty hard and that the tent was leaking pretty badly.  So we raced bask to help out.  There was only so much to do, though, and the tent just got rather damp.

Around noonish, I don’t remember the exact time, we drove down to Watkins Glen State Park at the south entrance to meet up with Dominica’s family who were meeting us there for a picnic.  It went from raining steady to really pouring once we got to the picnic area.  It seem to really start just as we arrived.

Our Campsite E103

It only took a minute of the heavy rain and the flooding parking lot before everyone decided that eating outside was a lost cause and that other options would have to be investigated.  We could not use the picnic pavilion at the park because it was already reserved.  So we gave up on Watkins Glen State Park and drove down to the Seneca lakefront park near downtown Watkins Glen and looked for a picnic area there that we could use, but there was no such luck.  We took just seconds too long in getting there and the last picnic pavilion was taken just as we arrived.

Dominica and I had seen a family restaurant in town right on route 14 that had looked nice so we talked everyone in to eating there.  So lunch was at Savard’s Family Restaurant.  It was sad because so much effort was put into the picnic and now we weren’t even able to all sit together as a family because there were about fourteen of us and we had to be split between tables.  The food was good and we had a nice time but it wasn’t the big “get together” that we had hoped to have been able to have had.

The original plan was for the girls and whatever adults were interested to go swimming in the Watkins Glen State Park Olympic sized pool but because of the rain most everyone decided that they didn’t want to do that and the girls were indifferent as they could just go back to the campground to swim in their indoor, heated pool.

We did decide that it was just too warm and too wet to have Oreo with us so we let him go back to Frankfort ahead of us with Dominica’s parents.  It was very sad to send him away as he really, really loves camping but it has been a lot of work trying to take care of him and with the rain we really can’t handle anything extra.

We decided that I should do some swimming which, since Oreo returned home, is an option because Dominica can be the “lifeguard” on duty instead of me.  At least one adult has to be “on deck” at all times so I haven’t even had the option of swimming until now.  So we hit the Watkins Glen Super Walmart and picked up some additional towels and two swimsuits for me (they were on sale, just $7.50!)

We went back to the KOA and surveyed the damage.  Surprisingly, even in the crazy rain and wind that we had while we were away the tent was really no worse off than it was before we left.  Pheww, what a relief.

We all changed and headed for the pool.  It was around four in the afternoon when the girls finally got into the pool to start swimming again.  I got in right away as well and this is probably by first time swimming since Dominica and I belonged to the YMCA in Ithaca in 2002!  I ended up swimming with the girls for almost three solid hours.  I got out for a little while and Dominica swam for a bit but she can’t throw the girls around and do fun pool games, being pregnant, so they were pretty bored with her in the pool.  We practically had the pool to ourselves all evening.  There were other people using it but not very many.

Trees at the Watkins Glen KOA

The girls started to get tired, and hungry, around eight.  They got in at least three and a half hours of pool time which was awesome.  It really wore them, and me, out.  I was pretty sore by the time that I was getting out of the pool.

We went to the campground office and ordered some pizzas for dinner.  After last night we had decided that we are taking the easy route for food today.  No cooking at all.  They had actually stopped making pizza early because they didn’t have enough people but we made boo-boo kitty faces and the owner came over and cooked pizzas for us.  We got some ice cream while we waited.  Under more normal conditions we could have had pizza delivered to the tent site which would be really cool.

We ate out pizza, it was around nine or nine thirty, at the picnic table at our campsite.  The camp was extremely quiet tonight.  There is almost no one staying at the KOA as it is a Sunday night and most people left this morning.  Last night there were loud parties going on and it bothered a lot of people.  Tonight it was all but silent.

After dinner I made an attempt at starting a campfire but had no luck.  It wasn’t exactly a serious attempt but more a chance to burn all of our paper product trash as kindling and a feeble attempt at drying out our water-logged fire wood that sat out all last night and all day today.

Our camp neighbours, who live in New Jersey but are originally from Belfast, took pity on us and brought us dry firewood and a firestarter thing that fired the whole thing right up.  They didn’t want to see the girls go without s’mores on their first time camping in New York!

Beyond Our Campsite

The fire got going in no time and I tended to that while Dominica worked to dry the tent using our towels and to get it sleepable for tonight.  By late evening the rain had stopped and we were starting to make headway on the tent.  It was much cooler tonight too – Min and I had to break out our sleeping bag for the first time.

Around ten we cooked s’mores.  Well, I cooked s’mores.  The girls really weren’t too interested in getting down and roasting marshmallows and Dominica sure wasn’t going to be bending down to cook them being five months pregnant.  The s’mores turned out pretty well, I think.  We are very thankful for friendly camping neighbours and their supplies.

We got the girls off to bed between ten thirty and eleven at night.  Dominica started working on getting everyone ready for bed back at nine when we had finished eating.  She did so much work tonight!  She and I were not able to finally turn in until a bit after midnight which was awful as we were just completely exhausted by that point.

Just before going to bed, while doing some work on packing things into the car, we discovered that the car-top carrier had somehow taken on water and had a gallon or two of water trapped in its lining!  What a disaster.

We did the best that we could to position the car-top carrier in such a way that it would drain during the night in the hopes that we could salvage it in the morning.  Because the water was trapped in the liner we had no way to open the carrier to drain it let alone dry it.  Tomorrow is going to be interesting.

Dominica and I were so stressed that after going to bed we had a really hard time falling asleep.  Everything went so poorly and there is so much more work to do tomorrow – especially with everything being wet and the car-top carrier possibly being useless – that we felt completely overwhelmed.  We were very worried that we just would not be able to get the site packed up.  We are supposed to be checked out by noon.  Then we have to drive to Frankfort with the girls and drop them off.  Then we unload all of this stuff, again, and load up the BMW that is at Min’s parents’ house.  Get Oreo and then drive back to Newark.  It is going to be such a long day.

Around one in the morning Dominica and I heard a sound outside of the tent.  We have the porch area wide open (but screened) so I could see out into the night to some extent.  We had a white garbage bag out by the road that would be picked up in the morning.  The KOA has garbage collection each morning and you just sit your trash out by the “road” just like you do at your house.  I looked carefully and noticed that the bag was moving away from us.

I told Dominica “Our trash appears to be leaving!”  So she grabbed the Colemand LED flashlight and her glasses.  She got ready with her glasses looking out the door and I turne the flashlight onto the garbage bag.  It turns out that we had a skunk looking for the left over pizza!

We were very fortunate that the skunk didn’t rip the bag all apart and make a huge mess.  It just made a tiny hole, probably ate more than it could handle for the night, and left us.

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