April 13-14

I had spent the previous weekend getting the camper clean and ready for camping, so it worked out beautifully that Katy and her family were going camping at Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi for a few days starting on Saturday morning! We joined them for the weekend to kick off the camping season and to give Nia a trial run in the camper and as a camping dog before heading out for longer stays.

The state park is about 2 hours from here, just off the Natchez Trace Parkway. We LOVE the Trace, we have traveled the section between Nashville and Florence a dozen times at least. Spring and Fall are the best times to make the drive, it's just breath taking. The road itself is a 50 MPH affair, never crowded and you are practically guaranteed to see deer and turkey, especially around sunset and sunrise. It winds through some pretty country with lots of bright blue creeks and low rolling hills with little farms and cows here and there. The park service has set up many historical or geological stops all along the 400+ mile corridor, there's rarely a 10 mile stretch without at least one pull off to see something of significance. From waterfalls and creeks, long hikes and short strolls, old houses and farms, historical places such as Meriwether Lewis State Park or interesting things like Witch's Dance, there is something to appeal to everyone. There are picnic tables and places to wade and this time of year, wildflowers in huge abundance. You are really missing out if you have not spent any time on the Trace!

On Friday, we picked up Elan while we were in town and he stayed with us overnight and we got him handed off to Katy the next day. Ben kicked around staying as well, but we had too many things lined up back at home after we returned from the trip. So on Saturday morning, we loaded the last of the stuff in the van and hooked up the camper, did the safety check and hit the road by around 9. We arrived at the campground and got checked in by 11ish and were on our site and all set up before noon. We hung out chatting a good while with Gina, who drove up for the day and Sarah and her family, who were set up next to us, then Katy got there and got set up on the other side of us not long after that and her parents were right behind her. We all chatted and the kids played and played, we ate lunch (tuna salad with GF crackers!) and took a walk, Kurt and Bill (Katy's dad) set up a monkey bridge for the kids, then we all piled into our vehicles and went to the swinging bridge and had a nice little walk there and the kids played on the playground.

Back at camp, Inde became a taskmaster and ordered Matt around, making him clean. He kept escaping, causing sighing, eye rolling and man hunting. She would spot him and come sidling over to take his hand, "I have been looking EVERYWHERE for you! Come help me clean my motorhome." Okay, the one thing the Bothwells do that cracks me right up is that they do NOT call their camper a camper. It's a motorhome. Technically, I have a folding tent trailer, but I just call her a camper. They technically have a motorhome, but...it's a camper. I could say the sun rises in the West and they would cheerfully allow me my own interpretation of directions, but call their camper a camper and you find out quickly 'It's a motorhome'. I don't know why this causes me so much amusement, but even the 4 year old is on the bandwagon, so there must have been a family meeting.

We had dinner (baked potatoes!) and Kurt got a fire going while Katy and her mom, Pam, cored oranges and filled them with GF brownie batter. Those cooked in the coals, which sounds like we knew what we were doing and how long it took and it was flawless, but there was LOTS of discussion and poking of the oranges. In fact, other than hearing about how Pam recently rented a car (driven by Bill) and tp'd someone's house, all we talked about for at least an hour was what was going on with the orange brownies and how to cook them. And also, have your getaway car parked a block away pointed out of the neighborhood. It seems some people can become irate.

The orange brownies turned out...fine? They were good, but several were burnt, I am not sure if that's par for the course or if Katy figured out something with the second round. I started fading quickly and was in bed before the second batch finished. Gina opted to stay overnight when I reminded her that she had someone who could run let her dogs out to potty. Britney was staying with us anyway.

Quotes from the day: "Oh, see, that one's caramelized and looks...no. No, it's just burnt." "I have booty stuck in my teeth."

 

Getting ready to head out, Nia's first camping trip! I'd love to say she was great, but she's a puppy and she's convinced other people and animals REALLY want to be with her. This causes friction!

Our setup, we were in site 59, which is an excellent spot. Though the bath house is nearly a mile away.

Birdsfoot violet

Wood sorrel



Dwarf dandelion
or

Rattlesnake weed, I honestly can not tell the difference


False Garlic


Young female biped

What's on the slab...

Matt walking his pet otter

We let her off the leash to see how far she would go on her own. Then we panicked and called her back.

Mars came to play, and after making him bow down and acknowledge she was Queen Puppy,
Nia proceeded to wrestle with him off and on the rest of the time we were there.

You must keep your nose lower than mine at all times.


Bwah! Your nose is way up there in the sky! I banish you from this land!


Away, beastie!


Mars had to stand in the lake for a full 37 seconds before Queen Puppy forgot he was banished forever. Or that she was Queen Puppy.


Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

This is on Chandler's finger. For those of you unfamiliar with Chandler, she has a single phobia-moths.
The movie, Godzilla vs Mothra actually terrified her. She toted this one around until it died, it was actually pretty sad.
They emerge at night, mate and lay eggs and then die soon after, the adult phase lasting less than 24 hours.


bluestar

Common violet


Happy flying girl

Bluets

Oak Leaf Hydrangea
The Alabama state wildflower


Katy the Kamera Kontortionist


Our peninsula kingdom.

 

We tackled making orange brownies, here is the post

Sunday