That is absolutely not a shot from our recent camping excursion, but I thought I would get you all in the mood for sharing stories around the fire with a quality picture before breaking down the trip that was.
Now that everyone is all warm and toasty, settled in nice and close, here's a recap of our first family foray into the wilderness.
We Need to Plan Better
You always forget things when you're going camping. It's inevitable. Forgetting as many things as we did is a little embarrassing.
Toothpaste would have been nice, but as unhygienic as it sounds, you can go 24 hours without brushing your teeth and survive. Additionally, pillows make sleeping far more pleasurable, but my balled up hoodies worked out just fine.
The cap for the air mattress was kind of essential, seeing as the air can't remain in the mattress sans cap. Bringing our flashlights would have helped too.
Thankfully, Crappy Tire was just 10 minutes away and $100 later, we were far more equipped.
Luke Is Not An Outdoor Dog
He's also apparently not a dog who adjusts to change very well. To put it another way, this little mongrel is a spoiled brat and I love him for it.
The dude likes to nap, a lot, and that just didn't happen on this trip. Every noise is amplified when you don't have the usual din of the outside world playing as a backing track, so homeboy went bananas at just about everything.
Couple that with a lack of an afternoon spent out cold on the couch, despite Sarah and I relaxing with a couple books in the tent for a good two hours and we had one sleepy dog upon our return.
Just Because You Have a Guitar, Doesn't Mean You're a Singer-Songwriter
The family in the space just down the road from us arrived as we were sitting around our fire eating dinner, and I immediately noticed a guitar case. Instantly, I got nervous.
My worries were realized at around 10:00 pm when Sarah and I rolled into the tent to a pitchy chorus of some homemade song by what I imagine was a 14-year-old girl whose parents tell her she can be the next Avril Lavigne.
Thankfully, the pain stopped shortly thereafter and no, it's not because I went down there, broke her guitar and threw it in the fire.
That was only going to happen if she kept playing after "Quiet Hours" started.
E. Spencer Kyte - Firemaker
For a guy who spent exactly zero days of his childhood camping and being shown how to do anything camp-related, I can make me a mean fire.
I had us a flaming pile of wood in no time flat, complete with quality embers for cooking dogs and making smores right out of the gate. Self-praise aside, my prodigious firemaking talent wasn't the highlight of the campfire.
Watching my moron of a dog jump and try to catch ashes floating off the wood is damn-near priceless. He also does it with smoke from mosquito coils... nothing like free entertainment!
Family Hobby #1 - Check!
Sarah loves camping and has been doing it her entire life. She literally camped all around Europe with her brother Tim at the outset of that fateful summer when we met.
And considering how relaxed I have felt for the last 36 hours or so, and how much I enjoy burning things, I would have to say that camping certainly agrees with me. Combine those two elements with the vast amounts of money we've spent on camping gear leading into this trip, and you have the makings of something that will certainly become a family staple moving forward.
Maybe we'll even have to retrace Tim and Sarah's trek around Europe before a crop of kidlings come along?