Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A (funny) Past Vacation Adventure

I can't help but think about our last visit to Pennsylvania as we prepare for our current trip.  At the time, we had only 6 kids ranging in age from 15 months to 11 1/2.  That particular trip started near Philadelphia at Sesame Place.  It was a blast.  All the kids had fun...even the oldest.  The best part of the day was the last 2 hours.  We had gotten there a little later than we wanted to but it worked to our advantage because by dinner time most families were heading out. The wait at all the slides and tube rides became almost nonexistent.  So the kids got to go on lots of rides with little wait.  Ellie and I hung out together in the kiddie pool area and she splashed away like a pro!

The second day of our trip we drove towards Gettysburg.  To save some money...and because at the time we were younger and more adventurous....we decided to try camping at the state park.  On the website it looked beautiful..olympic sized swimming pool and a new playground.  It did have those things...about a mile from where our tents would be.

It showed that there was a small playground on the online park map near our site.  Small was right.  There were 2 swings(one was broken) and a half buried tire!

The first night, (this was mid August), PA experienced record low temps..in the 50's!  We were freezing!  Jay shivered as he started a fire that first morning at the campground....and the rest of us stayed snuggled under our sleeping bags until it got going!  The workers at the front desk said they had a heat wave the week before!  Ugh, really?!?

So off we went to find a Walmart to buy a couple more sleeping bags.....warm ones!

The campground must have spent all their money on the pool and the playground near the pool.  The shower facilities looked like a world war II bunker!  There was a button to press on the shower stall wall that gave you 30 seconds on water(only 15 seconds that were warm).  The worst part was that there were spiders EVERYWHERE!  It was like a motel for spiders!  So gross!  I broke my shower once a day habit after the first shower!

The second night(no, we did not give up!), it was just as cold as the first night!  To top it off, Peter and Ellie came down with croup.  So here I am in the middle of the night with a flashlight trying to not wake all the kids and pour benedryl into little measuring cups(with my hands shaking because it's FREEZING) while 2 little ones are barking like dogs.  Needless to say, it was not a restful night!

The next morning as we stood shivering by the fire, Jay looked at me with a weary and defeated expression and said, "Find a hotel for tonight.  I don't care what it costs!"  Oh, THANK GOD!  

I found a great hotel suite in Harrisburg...2 separate rooms and a living room.(and it was WARM!)  Plus they fed us.  Not only breakfast(which was eggs and pancakes and bacon and fruit and make your own waffles), but dinner, too!  Fried chicken, and potatoes and green beans.  It was delicious..and free!(which made up for the hotel price a little!)

The hotel was across from a mall with a Bass Pro Shop.  It was like a free park for the kids...big fish, cheap shooting games, cool decor...and it was warm!

Now, camping wasn't all bad.  Smores were fun...so was the pool and big playground.  Just the weather was tough....and the spiders...and the croup!  But the kids though it was an adventure!  As for mom, I enjoyed the hotel!

The ride home took way longer than it should have.  We were stopping for dinner at my aunt's house in Connecticut.  What we didn't know was that the PGA tour and a Rolling Stones concert were occurring around the halfway point of our drive and the traffice was TERRIBLE!  It took 7 hours for a 41/2 hour drive!  The poor kids were going nuts.  Peter and Ellie just ran around in circles around my aunt's yard once we finally got there around 7:30!  

Thankfully, the last leg of our trip went smoother!  I remember how exhausted we were when we pulled in the driveway with a van full of sleeping kids...and how thrilled we were to be home! I was also thankful that my dad, who lives across the street from us, came over to help us carry sleeping children to their beds.  Then, Jay and I collapsed into bed ourselves!

There will be no camping on this vacation to Hershey:)