Stomachs grumbling, tears running, diapers stinking; sounds like the beginning of a horror story. This is actually how our family vacation started. I was fairly sure that our vacation was going to end the first day.
We headed out at 9:30 a.m. which was an hour later than what we anticipated but we were only going 5 and a half hours away; not a big deal. That 5 and a half hour drive turned into a an 8 hour trip by the time we set-up camp. Some of that was spent eating lunch along the pier near Lake Superior in Duluth and taking the scenic routes along the way to Grand Marais. (We left early enough to get a decent campsite. We’re on vacation to slow down not speed up, why not see the roads less traveled?)
The other causes of an 8 hour road trip were construction and traffic. We saw so much construction that our oldest daughter declared she was going to be a construction worker when she was an adult. Apparently there were other people that were also on vacation and in even less of a hurry than I was (didn’t they know I was the only one allowed to enjoy the scenic routes? I had places to go).
I thought for sure that our 3-year-old and our 9-month-old would nap most of the way since we left in the morning. Well, they napped but maybe for an hour off and on. Our 3-year-old was too excited for our trip and our 9-month-old has the ability to sleep for short periods of time and be awake for even longer periods after napping (she may or may not feel better after each nap).
Our plan was to spend a few nights in Grand Marais. We didn’t make it to Grand Marais. We were about an hour and a half away from Grand Marais, and our girls were hitting their breaking point(I was to). Our 9-month-old had a quick breakfast, and a small lunch. She was getting hungry. Very hungry. Our 3-year-old’s cat nap was catching up with her: “I’m hungry.” “That’s good we will be eating dinner soon.” With tears in her eyes, her voice level elevating, “I don’t want to eat dinner.”
Oofda. I’m pretty sure she just said she was hungry. Wait a minute, she is tired. She gets irrational when she is tired. Whew, for a minute there I thought she was a fully grown toddler changing her mind about what she wants.
We found a place on our map called Temperance River National forest campground. However, the map we had was a little skewed and not labeled well at all. We drove up and down the highway seeing all the beautiful scenery we may have missed the first time, looking for the road that takes us to Temperance. With screams from our 9-month-old getting more frequent, and sobs from our 3-year-old getting a little louder, my wife finally found the road we needed to take.
The road seemed to last forever. It felt like a good hour before we finally reached the campground (I was praying we’d make it back since our gas was getting low). Relief from arriving at our site ended. As soon as we stepped out of our van, mosquitoes and biting flies allied together to launch an offensive attack that we thought we were prepared for… We hosed our girls down with bug spray that was specifically made for kids but within minutes they had several mosquito bites (I’m investing in mosquito nets for the girls next time).
I rushed to set up the tent while my wife cooked dinner. When I finished setting up the tent, I put our girls inside until dinner was ready. Our 9-month-old broke down. Her cries turned into screams with no intention of stopping. Our 3-year-old sobbed the words, ” I want to go home.”
There is absolutely NO WAY we are surviving this camping trip.