Family Camping Vacation

This past weekend, my family (including my parents and my sister) decided to go on a camping adventure; an adventure it was. The first part started the days before we were to travel to the Montebello campsite (click here for their website). I booked two of the primitive tent sites (T-7 and T-8). Then we had to make sure we had everything and were prepared for anything.

Both mine and my husband’s minds were unfocused simply due to our day-to-day responsibilities. My mind was unfocused with the kids (4 and 12 years old) as well as trying to maintain the home and my husband’s with long days and nights of work. We weren’t able to fully start communicating and shopping for the trip until Wednesday and we had to leave for this trip on Friday.

Once we started our shopping we were ok but still had to continually double check ourselves because we were already tired from Monday and Tuesdays day-to-day. By the end of Wednesday we were fairly confident we had the important items.

Camp groceries

Camp groceries

What this picture doesn’t show is the other necessary camp gear that we had to buy because what we used to have was damaged or never existed. We had to buy new flashlights, a new tent, and a canopy. We needed the canopy because there was a possibility of rain and it wasn’t like we could cancel our reservation and get our money back or switch the dates; we were already pass the timeframe to do that. Come Thursday, there was still so much to do. Before leaving on any extended trip I like the house to be clean so (again I have a 4 and a 12 year old) I had to finish up laundry, dishes, and other stuff. Needless to say, I didn’t get 100% done. Come Friday, my kids were super excited and my husband and I were beat because we knew we still had a lot to get done. I had to take our dog to the kennel and we had to pack everything up. Because of how much stuff we had, we decided to take two vehicles (that detail will be very important later). Off we went at about 2:30 pm Friday afternoon. We wanted to be there before the store closed to register and get firewood and more ice for the coolers. We thought they closed at 6:00 pm.

We arrived at exactly 5:52 pm. When I went in to register and pick up the firewood and ice, we found out that on Fridays and Saturdays they don’t close until 8:00 pm. Either way, my husband, myself, and our two kids made it safely and before nightfall. My parents and sister were to come the following morning.

We unpacked everything necessary and set up camp.







Once  we set up camp we began to start the fire to cook dinner. That didn’t go so well. It took us about 3 hours to really get it going. We got it hot enough to have Italian sausages cooked to perfection. Because it was so late, we didn’t even want to try to contend with anything else. Thankfully, the kids ate clementines before dinner was done because it was taking too long. The kids were exhausted and so were we. The kids got into the tent and were asleep by about 11:00 pm while my husband and I stayed up trying to keep the fire going so we could enjoy each other’s company in absolute peace. All of a sudden I heard howling. I asked my husband (who camped out a lot as a youth) if it was coyotes. He said he didn’t think so but wasn’t sure. It was either coyotes or local dogs howling. Come on, it could have been coyotes; we were in the Blue Ridge mountains. Eventually, my husband and I went to bed in the tent to be ready for the next full day of adventures.

As always, I was the first to wake up at about 8:00 am. My sister and my parents were planning to leave around 6:00 am. They were traveling from Maryland and we traveled from Northern Virginia. Because there was no cell phone service I couldn’t call or receive anything about their expected arrival time. I decided to take some pictures of the surrounding nature on our site.

Montebello 1

Montebello 2





Montebello 3

Montebello 4Montebello 5




We had this bird that would always come around exactly at meal times whether we would be eating at that time or not. He (or she) would come to our site around 9:00 am, around noon, and around 6:00 pm.






Here are some more pictures from that Saturday morning before my parents and sister arrived.




Montebello 7

Montebello 8




Stay tuned for part 2 coming hopefully on Thursday.

Alicia R. Shipe

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