Saturday, July 30, 2011


I'm not a camper.  I don't mean the kind of boxy thing on 4 wheels.  I'm not one of those either but I'm really not the kind of person who enjoys spending the weekend living outside and using public potties.  Not my thing.  Never has been; never will be. 

But, we have wonderfully dear friends who do like to camp.  They know HOW to camp and they know how to make camping FUN :)  We have been talking about a camping trip together for more than a year and we finally made it happen this summer.!!

My kids discovered they love camping, especially with the Eckerts.  I have to admit, even I loved camping with the Eckerts.  They know what they're doing.  They found a beautiful shady spot at Eisenhower State Park right off of Melvern Lake.  (I didn't even know we have state parks in Kansas.)  They had the camper and tent set up long before we got there.  We showed up and all the work was done.  Just in time to have fun.

We did lots of relaxing with friends...
(Rick and our oldest daughter, Mindy.  Well, she's not really our daughter but we've claimed her for 2 years.)

Abi played house all weekend long.  She loved the camper.  We called it "Camping with Barbie"...

We ate like royalty.  Shirley is an incredible cook.  They have cattle so we enjoyed beef burgers (like super duper yummy homemade sloppy joes), t-bone steaks, farm fresh corn on the cob, homemade potato salad, crock pot roast and baked potatoes.  I'm telling you - the Eckerts know how to camp well.  Jim and Shirley are my new heroes!  (They are Mindy's biological parents so I guess they've claimed her for 21 years.)

We spent lots of time at the swimming beach.  This just cracks me up because they really do call it a swimming beach.  Really, a beach in Kansas? 
My swimsuit and s'rong was way more practical for the Florida beaches than the Kansas beach.

(The kids, spent a great deal of time trying to balance on the bouey that went around the swimming area.)

Here's something I didn't expect to see at a Kansas state park.  A tour bus.  Really?  Tourists visiting a Kansas state park in record heat and drought?

Something else I didn't expect to find.  The teeniest, tiniest, cutest little grocery store I've ever seen.  We needed salt and coffee.  They had both.  I'm pretty sure you couldn't fit a grocery cart in this store but I really wanted to try.  So.cute!!

I knew I would find public potties at the campground.  That's why I was anxious about camping.  I managed to have to use them only twice.  True story - I knew I would be better off using the lake instead of the public facilities.  It took me 10 minutes of concentration to pee in the lake.  I just couldn't make myself do it.  So there I stood, all by myself in the middle of the lake for 10 minutes, concentrating.
(Do you see how the roof doesn't cover the entire facility?  Eli absolutely loved the bathrooms!  He came out of the bathroom each time saying "I just love the open air feel of these bathrooms!  We should really find a way to do this at home."  What?  Are you serious?  He can't be my son.)

One of my very favorite parts of this weekend was watching the relationship between Abi and Shirley develop.  Abi wanted to do whatever Shirley did all weekend.  She was so quick to help Shirley with the meal preparations and clean-up.  (Shirley was very gracious and patient with all of Abi's "help".)  They told each other lots and lots of stories.  There is a bond between these two that won't easily fade.  They made s'mores for all of us Saturday night.  So much love in those s'mores.

Well, I may be a camper after all.  This really wasn't roughing it.  We got to relax and enjoy lots of time with wonderful friends.  We ate better than we'll ever eat at home.  We made memories.  We played games.  We slept great.  Even though we're in the middle of record heat, we really didn't get hot.  It was so gorgeous camping right off the lake in the shade.  Thank you Jim, Shirley, Mindy and Rick for showing me how fun camping can be.  We love you all and have wonderful memories.  We'll definitely do it again next year :)


sarajane said...

hmmm. that makes me kinda want to try camping again. kinda. :) hey. I heard you met my sister Katie with Amy. Hope you had a great time in abilene!

keepingthemistakes said...

I have to say that I AM a camper, and am not surprised that you ended up enjoying it (although I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of camping in the heat -- I'm more of a fall, spring, or mountains campers). I loved reading about your "surprise" finding out there are state parks :) and that they call it a swimming beach . . right here in Kansas!!! We frequent the state parks in Kansas and area states -- they even rent cabins! Which are not roughing it even as much as camping. We are with Eli on the open air bathrooms. My family loves them -- showering with the stars (or sun) above you is awesome!!! Great photos!!!

Jennifer said...

So glad your first camping experience was so good. We've have always enjoyed camping - just haven't had time to do as much. Good food always makes camping better even when it is over 100 outside

Dad said...

What and you didn't like camping as a kid. I can't imagine why not. Just kidding, I'm glad you had fun.