2019 and 2020 Memorial Day Weekends…

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Retama Village, in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Hot – 97 and sunny

No yoga today, just two classes of water aerobics.  I feel so good after the classes, and feel fortunate that we have been able to do this during the pandemic.

George and I spent the afternoon in the kitchen.  (A bit crowded with the 2 of us trying to use the same countertop and utensils)  I made some hummus while George baked some French baguettes.  I also did some prep for dinner tonight. 

George’s bread turned out great, and made the house smell heavenly….

The workers behind the house have the batterboards ready for pouring concrete.  That will probably happen next week.

Another Facebook memory – this one not so good.  It is a photo from the start of our summer 2019 camping trip.  As we were leaving Texas, near the Louisiana border, we ran over something which jumped up and shattered our dining area window.  We did not even know it was broken until we stopped later in the day.  George was able to tape it closed to keep the rain out.  If it had to happen, it happened at a good time…..we were on our way to the Airstream factory in Ohio for its annual rally called Aluminapalooza.  We called and they said they would fix the window the day before the rally started.  But, we still had a week to get through hoping it would not rain in. 

That was just the beginning of probably the worst camping experience we have had.  Aluminapalooza started the day after Memorial Day, at its factory in central Ohio.  We knew that we would have to find a campground before the event somewhere in Ohio, during Memorial Day weekend, the busiest campground weekend of the year. So, I started searching for one in about February, 2019.  Absolutely everything was already booked!  I was getting pretty frantic when I finally found one that was run by a water management government agency.  I  asked if we could have our mail sent there.  They said ok, and gave me the mailing address.  (We often have our monthly mail sent to us like this when we travel for long periods). 

When we arrived at the registration office, it was very unorganized, and was staffed by college kids, their first weekend on the job.  We got checked in and were assigned our site.  We drove in and realized that almost all the campsites are seasonal,…..”stuff” everywhere.   We drove up and down the rows searching for our site.  Finally we asked a camper who said he thought our site might be in their second location.  So, we went back to the registration office, and they said yes, we were in the other location, about 4 miles away.  Why didn’t they tell us that in the first place????

We found the second location.  It, too, seemed like everyone was there for the summer season.  The road was very narrow with tight curves.  We searched and searched for our site.  We even ran over someone’s garden when we tried making one curve.  Finally, I got out of the truck and walked around.  I found our site with the number on a post that had been thrown in the ditch.  The site was totally unusable.  It was tiny, muddy, and was being used as a storage area – lots of derelict picnic tables, old grills, etc piled on it.  So, back we went to the registration office.  They assigned us another site, and back we went.  This one looked sketchy, too.  Was on a steep hill and was muddy.  A camper came out and helped us pull in.  At this point, I really wanted to leave, but there was absolutely nowhere to go.  By this time, it is Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  So, we got set up. 

The campground was on a lake and everyone seemed to have a boat.  It was noisy and crowded.  Bathrooms were a mess. 

Then, things just got worse.  Our neighbors arrived, ready to party.  They were loud and were drinking a lot of cheap beer.  We went to bed and then smelled smoke about midnight.  They had made a HUGE campfire just inches from our Airstream.  Their little kid was happily squeezing lighter fluid onto the fire to make it go higher.  The smell of that lighter fluid filled our trailer.  We were also afraid that the flames were too close to us, and that the awning would alight at any minute.  They continued to do this every night we were there. 

Could things get worse?  Oh yes!  We went to the registration office to pick up our mail.  In the mail package was George’s heart medicine that costs $350.  The college kid workers had not seen any package, but said they would check.  Back and forth we went from our campground to the office.  Finally, we talked with a ranger (rude) who said that their policy was not to accept campers’ mail.  So, why did they tell us we could have our mail sent there????  He said there was no package for us, and to check the post office in town.  There, the post office ladies had a record of our package being delivered there.  They even had a photo of it, which I guess is post office practice.  Back we went to the campground office.  Again, they looked and looked and no one would claim any knowleldge of having seen it.  (Although the post office lady said she personally remembered giving it to someone).  The next day at our campsite, another park ranger stopped by.  He told us that he remembered the package.  He had accepted it, and then (drum roll here……) THREW IT AWAY!  We were just speechless.  He didn’t offer any explanation.  When we told him the value of the meds, he said he would reimburse us.  But, our insurance will only cover one prescription, so we would have to pay full price for its replacement…..$1600!  In the end, he did reimburse us.  (We were amazed). 

At the end of our stay, we pulled up next to the dump station to empty our tanks.  We watched a guy drive up with his portable “blue boy”.  At campgrounds without drains at individual sites, a common practice is to take your blue boy to the dump station and run the contents into the hole using your sewer hose.  These dummies just opened the lid and dumped the stuff in the vicinity of the hole.  How gross!  It was just the worst way to end a horrible camping experience.

This is what the Blue Boy looks like….

After the campground from Hell, we joined Aluminapalooza, which was a fun event.  One night, however, someone knocked on our door in the middle of the night, yelling for us to go to a machine shed for shelter from an approaching tornado!  Thankfullly, it bypassed us.  From that memorable Memorial Day weekend, we started our RV road trip which was blessedly happy and problem-free for the rest of the 2019 summer  trip.  🙂

———————————

We had a couple over for a social-distancing cocktail hour.  I served my homemade hummus with slices of George’s French bread for an appetizer.

DINNER:  Shrimp mini casseroles.  I made them in little ramekins using a recipe from my Jacques Peppin cookbook – one of my favorites.  Side was a caprese salad using my fresh basil.  Nice! 

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