Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tidwell Family Camping Trip 2015...

I’m not a big lover of camping. I grew up with one sister, and we NEVER camped. My theory is…why would anyone camp when you could stay in a motel????  We had some great family vacations, but not one of them involved a tent.. That being said, my outdoorsy husband LOVES camping.

We really needed a get-away with JUST our family. Living on a campus with 53 other people makes it difficult to sometimes get quality family time…what better way to get some quality family time than a camping trip, right?? So off we went!

So…our weekend…where to even start! I guess I’ll start with Thursday!


We picked up the kids from school, told them to change clothes, and jumped in the truck. They were SO excited!! It was a good trip to Lusaka, and we headed straight to Eureka Campgrounds. The kids jumped in the pool when we got there. It was good but there were about 50 other people there (a Swedish group) so it was very crowded! We picked out our camping spot and Blu got the wood out to start a fire for us to roast our weenies and s’mores…lo and behold..it starts to thunder…and then it starts pouring!! We ate cold hot dogs and cold s’mores. We slept ALL FIVE of us in the tent on top of the truck and it was a very crowded, very humid night!!


On Friday morning, we vowed to never share a small tent with our 3 children again, and we headed for the pool. The Swedes all left so we got it to ourselves for awhile! It was then time to head to the dentist, where it was determined that Caedmon has perfect teeth, Cambree will definitely need braces or some intense orthodontic work around age 12 due to a canine that has absolutely nowhere to go, and Cason will most likely need an appliance within the next year. (We didn’t really notice it until he pointed it out, but he has a pretty severe underbite – all his front teeth go behind his bottom ones!)

After the dentist we went to the mall to grab some lunch, which is where the real adventures started. Blu dropped me off and was on his way to the KFC drive-thru, when a canter rammed right into the side of him (Blu was driving down the main part of the parking lot and the canter was about to pull out). Anyway, Blu jumped out to talk to the driver, and a huge crowd gathers. The kids are all watching, and suddenly someone reaches in and grabs 2 of the kids’ ipads and runs off. A Zambian goes, “Hey- that man took your phones!!” and about 7 security guards take off after him. They catch him, and bring the ipads back, and from then on it’s just chaos of security guards, yelling, etc. In the midst of that, Cason thought Blu was going to jail, so he started crying…it was awful! I finally take the kids inside and buy them waffles and ice cream (supermom!) and we wait for about 1.5 hours for Blu. He ended up letting the man who tried to steal them go (who gave him a big hug) because he didn’t want to spend another 1.5 hours doing another police report. As for the man that hit us..he got fined K150 ($23). It was SO frustrating because he didn’t have insurance, didn’t have fitness for his truck, didn’t have brake lights, turn signals, or good brakes..and he got $23. Meanwhile, our canter was out of fitness last week and got a K300 ticket..and Ricky got a K600 ticket for illegal parking 2 months ago…so frustrating.

ANYWAY, after all that we decided to head to our new campground – Dream Valley. It was near the US Embassy (doesn’t that just make you feel safe???) and it was pretty amazing. It had 5 different pools, 3 water slides, and was really clean (for Zambia..). I think we were their first campers because they were going out of their way to cater to us – cleaning our own toilet/shower for us, building us a campfire, and asking to take pictures of our tent for the website! The facilities weren’t great (bathrooms especially) but you could tell they were doing a lot of remodeling and it will be good one day. The best part was, the water park opens to the public at 10am – so from early morning until that time, we had the WHOLE place to ourselves!!! So Friday night, we swam, then got to eat HOT hot dogs and s’mores over the fire.  We set up our pup tent and made the kids sleep in there so we could stretch out in the truck tent!


On Saturday, we told the kids we could swim, and swim, and swim, which we did. They got up at 6am and we were in the pool at 7am! They swam, going from pool to pool, until people started arriving at 10:30am. When we were tired, we got out the peanuts and played card games, and then swam some more! By 12pm, it was getting crowded and we decided to high-tail it out of there. First we ate at Taco Hut (we’d never eaten there) and got some GOOD Mexican food! Then we hit THREE different malls in the city trying to find a movie to watch! We finally found Big Hero 6 and the third mall, and we all REALLY enjoyed watching the movie. By the time we were done, it was pouring and we headed to our FOURTH mall to pick out breakfast food for the next day and Pizza Hut.

As we headed back to Dream Valley to camp again, Blu wanted to stop at the Baptist seminary to pick up something. By the time we got to Dream Valley, it was dark, and as we were turning a corner to the campground, Blu got stuck in the mud. Very very stuck. The kids were sunburned, exhausted, and Blu knew it would be a long night, so he loaded me and the kids down with the pup tent and blankets and we booked it to our spot – me sitting with the kids until Blu came an hour later with the truck finally unstuck…we fell into the tent and didn’t move…


Sunday morning, we got up and swam for 3 hours yet again. Then we headed to pick up the police report for the accident (so our insurance will pay for our truck to be fixed), to the store for a few groceries, and to Sandy’s for our last Lusaka meal. That is my most favorite place ever!! I had a gingerbread latte, a cinnamon latte, and gelato (don’t judge.) We got home around 5:15pm and it was POURING – kinda chaotic unloading, doing homework, getting uniforms ready for school, unpacking, and doing NDO finances!

We had a great time together as a family but are glad to be home to normal! And that was our adventure!
And after trying for two long days to post this blog, and my pictures FINALLY uploaded...and I am in NO mood to embed them nicely into this blog post and put them in chronological order...but here they are!


Wife, Mom, and Nana said...

sorry to hear of the trials you endured during your "vacation". We all know Jesus was with you all the way, helping to get through the days and find the good happenings ie. Latte, gelato, etc. I enjoy reading your blogs and books.

Andrea Wilkins said...

It seems that you guys had a good time, regardless of those little mishaps that happened along the way. It might’ve had a rocky start, but at least you know that the kids were really happy throughout the trip. Anyway, thanks for sharing your trip with us. Good day!

Andrea Wilkins @ Getaway Outdoors