Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lake Mead "Vacation"

Our family left around 12:30 am to drive about 8 hours into Arizona, through Kingman and arrive at Temple Bar on Friday morning. Like most things that involve our dogs, it was pretty much a nightmare. I'll spare you the details, but lets just say that a busted trailer tire (not ours), two Red Bulls (Tim's) and about 6 hours of our dogs' heavy panting, whining, stepping on Madeleine and more- oh yeah, and finally tying them to the truck bed with the SeaDoo inside and stopping when Tim realized Roscoe was free, standing on the seat of our SeaDoo, which was tied into our truckbed barreling down the freeway at 70 mph...sigh, we arrived. The days were fine, of course, it was hot, but that was to be expected. We set up our cots, canopy and established our camp, hoping Madeleine was tired enough to sleep (for we certainly were).
The first day is always the longest, we are very tired from driving and our bodies are adjusting to the sun, and heat. By the time the sun goes down, the lake is still, dinner is being made and we are rejoicing in the cool shadows of the desert. On most trips...but, on this trip...we had a little visit from the wind. As we prepare dinner (chicken Caesar salad) we were scurrying about to tear down canopies, and cover the food, for the wind was blowing. It blew our chairs over, whisked the food off our plates and made for a generally uncomfortable evening. The wind blew all night, and in a good way, it did keep the heat factor down and create some ambient noise for Madeleine to sleep. I didn't mind the wind once we were finally laying down on our cots (or the full moon shining full down) because I was so exhausted, I could have slept through anything.
Our camp in disarray from the wind:
my parent's dog Rainie didn't mind the wind- as long as she had a toy to chase:
All you can do is batten down the hatches and try and make the best of the evening:
MJ brushes her teeth for bed in the windy evening:
The next day, Mads did even better. She struggled to nap in the midday heat, so we found that if she was cool in the water, she would sleep. I held her about an hour in the water and she dozed off. Tim made sure we had an umbrella and chair when we needed it, and he made sure me and Peanut were keeping lots of water and food on board. It's funny to think that Madeleine is using her sister as a pillow to sleep.
When she was awake, Madeleine LOVED playing in the water. She, like most of us, wanted to be in it all day. Here she is helping Dada drink a refreshing beverage.
She is really loving cause and effect/reaction lately. She delights in watching us react to her cute, silly games and sweet personality. This is exemplified in so many little ways throughout the day. It could be the delight of splashing water on her Mama, who acts surprised, or by feeding Tim some of her lunch as she munches, happy to share with him. She thought it was hilarious to make Dada drink some sparkling water.

On the second night, we again had to secure all the canopies and forgo dinner for a while in order to survive another windy night. Again, our taco salad was pretty much stuffed down our faces because it is really hard to eat in the open wind! That night, the moon bothered my sleep a little, mostly because it was full and there was no cloud cover to hide it. Madeleine slept fine, but she was up at 6 with the sun. So, today our family decided to go to the marina and enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich in the air conditioning and use the restaurant floor so Mads could get some scooting in. (It's also hard to scoot on rocky sand) The boat ride over was somewhat hellish in that Madeleine was not happy to be in her life jacket. It was hard to enjoy our boat when our daughter was screaming to be released. Of course, this got better over the next few days, and on the final day, I think she was getting used to being in it. Our grilled cheese were wonderful. Tim and I both remarked how amazing it is that you can be anywhere, on a road trip, and order a grilled cheese and it is always the same, no matter where you are. There's just something about white sourdough grilled to a buttery brown finish, melted plasticy double cheese, a side of fries and a dill pickle slice that just slightly taints the soft sides of the bread. What is it about American road food that is so unchanging and so powerful to creates pleasure for a child, pleasure so strong that as an adult, he will still choose grilled cheese over other options? We lounged in the diner as Madeleine had a chance to cruise around, much to the delight of the staff. When we arrived back at camp, we managed a map under our EZ-up, which I am very glad we brought, for it blocked much more light/heat than the other canopies. We swam some more and in the evenings, we prepared for wind. However, tonight we actually enjoyed a reprieve. The cloud cover came over, and we could actually keep the canopies up. We enjoyed Buffalo Chicken salad in relative calm. We even enjoyed watching Rainie and Sima play. However, my dad decided to turn Rainie's energy toward a retrieving toy. She loved "springing" into the water to nab the dummy. Tim took advantage of the show and got some pictures of her. With the windless evening, he also captured some gorgeous sunset pictures.
Sima & Rainie play:
Rainie dives for her dummy:
Our campsite swimming hole:

Without the wind to blow the clouds out, it was hot. The clouds acted like a thermal blanket to trap all the heat towards the Earth, and we were sweating. Our whole family cooled our core temps in the water before attempting to sleep, but Madeleine woke up from the smoldering heat. I found it difficult to breath being 25 weeks pregnant and having all that blood in my body. I started to get frustrating as I attempted to stretch my lungs to full tidal volume and as the opressing heat constricted each breath. We lay MJ on my cot and I slept in a reclining chair. After about two hours, my butt and arms were asleep. It was a very poor night's sleep. I got back in the water and Tim slept in the chair. Mads was still sleeping uneasily while we waited for the temperature to break 100 degrees. It finally cooled to around 97 around 1:30am. Tim and I were ready to go home. The mental scales of work versus reward for this vacation were heavily unbalanced. We decided to not spend another night, and tried to enjoy the day, knowing we were leaving that afternoon. Unfortunately, the wind blew during the day...
We packed up and left around 1:00. Thankfully, the Bauers and my parents decided to do the same. I've been camping like this for all my life, and of course not all trips, or even most trips, are like this. But when you do have a trip like this, you start to consider why in the world anyone would want to do it! All I can say, is, "wind some, lose some".

It just makes the houseboat on Lake Powell look so much the better =)
Love, Lauren

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