Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday Memory - Long but worth the read!!

A couple of years ago (2004) we had one of those summers. All kinds of things had happened that you just don’t want to remember. Our camping trip was one of those things. It will be remembered though because of what we learned and the people we met. We truly saw many answers to prayer that week.

Princess was supposed to go to Ottawa that week, and she came down with the chicken pox. She couldn’t go and we needed an extra seat to pick up our nephew on the way to Ottawa. So we had one seat less then we needed. We have some friends who said that we could borrow their van for the week. So on Saturday, we were packed and ready to leave. Excited to be heading out for a vacation. We stopped to pick up our nephew and stayed for lunch. When we left we had a wonderful trip to Ottawa and really enjoyed our visit there. We were able to see all of our relatives and the kids got to play with all of their cousins.

On Monday morning, we woke up and got everything tied back up on the van, and headed out to Temagami. Hubby had camped there before and raved about how wonderful it was. It took us a good 7 hours of driving through small towns and roads, but it was a pretty good trip. We stopped at the gas station there for one last use of the washrooms (flush toilets).

We turned down our road and it was actually in pretty good condition. I had been told it washes out frequently and is very difficult to maneuver. We didn’t have any problem on that road. As we turned down the next road it was a little bit worse but still not too bad. We drove down the road and got to the parking area. This was where hubby wanted us to camp. We all got out of the van and checked the tires (just to be safe) and one was flat. By this time it was almost 8pm and we said that we would deal with it in the morning. We needed to get the tent set up first before it got too dark. So we walked down the long path to the beach to make sure there was a place to camp and I stayed there with Cutie Pie. It was a beautiful place to camp. What a gorgeous view. The sky was clear that first night and we saw Mars up next to the moon.

Hubby and the other kids went back to the van to get the stuff to bring back. Finally when they got back, we started to set the tent up. We put all the poles through the right holes and went to stand them up. SNAP. All the string inside the tent poles broke. We now had no tent. The kids hadn’t had supper yet and everybody was cranky. We had thought about going home the next day.

We traipsed everything back to the van and put the food away. Everything else was just left outside. It is now 10pm and we were in the van, very cold, eating bagels and cream cheese for supper. We closed our eyes and went to sleep. Mr. Hockey said that he prayed that God would send us a tent to sleep in. (Keep reading and you will see how this was answered!!) We woke up the next morning looking at our breath. It. was. so. cold. We got up and repacked the van, tied everything back up and headed out of the parking area. It. was. so. cold.

At the end of that road we unpacked everything and learned how to change a tire on a van. This was around 7am. We set up the chairs in the one patch of sunlight we could find and gave the kids the rest of the bagels and cream cheese and a can of juice. Hubby was on the ground changing the tire and I was reading the manual on how to do it. The tire was finally changed and we repacked the van...again. We all got in and drove down the road to a campsite we had seen on the way in. Princess had prayed for the weather to get better and to be around 20 so we could enjoy the rest of the week. (It was a nice comfy 20 all week!!)

We had decided that after going that far, we were not going to head home and not have a vacation. We would make the best of it and live out of the van for the rest of the week. So, we made bacon and eggs and had a really nice lunch. After lunch, we headed down to the water. We brought the canoe down and the water toys. Hubby went out in the canoe with Mr. Hockey, they had a nice time fishing. They didn’t catch anything, but Mr. Hockey really liked being in the canoe with dad. The girls and I stayed back and swam in the lake. The water was cold but we were ready for something fun.

Then, I had to go to the bathroom. So I got the girls and dragged them out of the water to come and wait up top for me. I went in the van to get some toilet paper and shut the door. Off I went to use the washroom. I asked Princess to go in the van and get some more T.P. but she said that the van was locked. I knew Hubby had left the keys in the van, since we didn’t have a tent, but I didn’t realize he locked 2 of the doors. When I went in the van, I must have bumped into the lock and locked the last door. So we just sat around the fire pit and waited for Hubby to get back. When the guys got back, I said that I had done something stupid. Hubby said, “You didn’t lock the van, did you?” Well, he tried everything he knew how to try and open the doors. It just couldn’t be done. So Hubby and the older kids went for a walk to the neighbours campsite.

Hubby and the neighbor came back with a coat hanger and tried to unlock the door. He spent a lot of time working on it, and finally said that we could go with him and use his cell phone to call for help. So I hopped in the car, and we proceeded to km 26, the highest point for best reception. On the way, we decided to stop and ask the next neighbor if they knew how to unlock a van. He said that he had done it before to his, so we picked him up and drove back to our site.

They kept plugging away at it. The neighbours wife, came by and asked how we were doing. When she saw that they were having some trouble, she drove me up to km 26 and I phoned my dad, and the tow truck agency, and CAA. There was no help to be had, as it was already 6:30pm, and the town was now closed.

The neighbours wife said that the kids and I could come back to her campsite while the guys worked on opening up the door, but it looked like we would have to wait until morning. She then told us that they had an extra tent that they wouldn’t be using until Friday night. If we wanted to we were welcome to borrow it. The kids had a blast swimming and playing with the dog... it was nice for a change. The guys ended up coming back and Hubby said that there was good news and bad news what did I want first. I asked how much it was going to cost. He said that the window was broken, but the van was open, and then laughed jokingly. They told us that they had managed to open the van. We were all relieved. They gave us some supper, pickerel and spaghetti, and helped us put up the tent. It was nice to sleep in a tent!!

The next day, Wednesday, was a wonderful day. Nothing went wrong. We enjoyed swimming, and worked together to make a nice big supper that night. We made some extra to repay our neighbours kindness. We slept in the tent and it just poured rain that night. When we woke up in the morning it was just drizzling, we were deciding whether to go home a day early, or stay and finish the trip. The kids really wanted to stay, so that’s what we did. We carried on through the day with no problems, and then when Hubby turned the van on, found out that the battery had died. Oh well, we thought, what else could happen?

Hubby and the older kids went out in the canoe again, and we were just going to enjoy our day, worry about the battery later. The water didn’t look too bad for canoeing, but once they got out farther, we could see them slowly drifting away from us. I thought for sure that they were going to be portaging home from wherever they ended up!!

At that moment the neighbor, was heading out fishing, and helped to tow them back into shore. Hubby told him about the battery and asked if he could boost it for us on Friday. He said no problem. After they were towed in to shore, he asked if Hubby and the kids wanted to go out on his motorboat to fish instead. So the kids had an awesome time fishing where the fish actually were!!

While they were fishing, Princess caught a fish, and Mr. Hockey was reeling one in. The stringer that the fish were on was tied to the net. The neighbor not wanting to see Mr. Hockey disappointed, grabbed the net to help him with his fish and lost the others on the stringer. So they did come home with one fish. When they came back, the kids just couldn’t stop talking all about their ride in the boat. We were getting ready to clean the fish and prepare supper when the neighbours wife came over with some more pickerel for us, they felt badly about losing the other two fish and wanted to replace it so that we had enough for supper. So we had a wonderful fish supper that night.

We worked hard to get everything cleaned up and ready to go early the next morning, and headed off to bed. We woke up early, because the neighbour was going to come by around 8am to boost the van, and we wanted to head out right away. So we got up and had breakfast, and cleaned and packed the rest of the area up. The van got boosted and we took down the tent and headed out.

We had a nice drive home, stopping to enjoy places on the way. At lunchtime, we stopped in Powassen. There was a nice little park for the kids and picnic tables. While eating lunch, I glanced at Mr. Hockeys face and saw a lot more spots then he had in the morning, so we checked him over. He was covered in chicken pox. It made for a quiet trip home, he slept, the girls played nicely, and slept as well.

All in all, in the end, we had an amazing trip. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. But we met some very nice people, who managed to teach us a thing or two in patience, understanding, and being helpful to others. There is this article that I have gotten in the email before called “A Reason, a Season or a Lifetime” (not sure who wrote this, if you know let me know and I will add their name).

“...When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season. And like Spring turns to Summer and Summer to Fall, the season eventually ends...”

This is just a part of the article I have read over and over, I never much thought about it...until now.


  1. Man if I were yo uI would have wanted to call it quits and get home, but you were able to stick it out and receive all the blessings and rewards that came with it.
    I am so happy that you have continued to camp it was fun last weekend.

  2. ya I think you have patience I would have been outside the van jumping up and down and screaming at J for having this wonderful idea of camping and would NOT HAVE BEEN PRETTY!!

    so kudos to you!!

  3. Wow, if one of those things happened to me, I would be out of there. I hate locking my keys in my car, I know keep a spare key inside my wallet as usually you always have your wallet with you when you go inside a store.

  4. I remember that vacation, talk about God coming through!!