Home is where the heart is. ~Pliny the Elder
Making another voyage to Parker Dam this past weekend, proved to be as nice of a time, as our other trips. It was funny though, for some reason I really payed attention to my neighbors. First, I’d like to explain that we always camp in the area approved for dogs. Our favorite spot is lot number 90. A nice little section out of the way, just outside the woods and near the restrooms and not far from the showers.
On Saturday, when Kyle and I were coming back from the Parker Dam beach, while riding my bike waiting for Kyle to drop his attitude and catch up to me, which incidentally he was moving so slow he could have grew moss, I people watched. On a side note, I was reminded of something said to me last time we were riding our bikes at Parker Dam. Kyle said, “Aunt Heather, we are on self propelled two wheel transportation devices.” I have no idea where that came from, but it shot out of his mouth and almost made me fall off of my bike. Anyway, as I peddled along, for some reason I really paid attention to the eclectic group of individuals staying on the camp grounds. Some visitors only stay a night and move on, while others set up camp for what seems like a lifetime. As different and unique as our fingerprints, same goes for the camp site setups and their dwellings.
Looking around at the different types of campers, meaning the vehicle they reside in while camping, not a reference to the person, I was utterly amazed! Some camp sites are very rugged, getting back to the basics with a simple tent on the ground, while others set up a second home complete with satellite TV and a name plate posted in front of their temporary residence. To be honest, I never noticed everyone else before. We tend to stay to our own little rented out corner until it’s time to depart. Personally, I really don’t care what everyone else it doing. I, like my family, enjoy a little solitude and peace with nature, however as I peddled along my eyes were wide open. I couldn’t believe what I saw! I mean lights strung up in all shapes and sizes including chili peppers and ice-cream cones; a neon palm tree stuck in the ground with pink flamingos positioned all around; potted plants hanging from awnings; and huge tents to fit a wedding party staked to the ground. Can you believe others take all that extra time for such embellishments while camping? You better believe it!
I’m a pretty simple traveler no matter the destination Traveling Habits, only taking the essentials, not extra stuff. That certainly holds true for camping. Before we left and started packing up the camper, I thought to myself, ‘Boy this is a lot of work just for one weekend. Is this really worth it for a two hour trip, a three day stay in a camper?’ I can’t imagine how long it takes those elaborate campers to pack up for their weekend stay, let alone set up camp.
You know, at first I can sit back and kind of make fun and laugh, but the more I looked, the more I noticed something, these little pieces of grassy lots holding all this stuff, is a home. It certainly is that way for us. In fact, there was a couple of times mom would say, “When we get back home”, meaning our camper. It’s true what they say, ‘Home Is Where the Heart Is’. And as I watched everyone have a great time, their heart was fully into camping, maybe not so ruggedly but the experience was there. It almost made me feel like I was a part of something bigger.
My parents had a neighbor, the Davis’ who used to take their RV camping. They even had an electric golf cart so they could drive around the camp grounds visiting friends and socializing. We are not that outgoing, but we did manage to break away for our isolation to chit chat with a few of our neighbors, who were nice and very interesting. The one lady was in a wheelchair, yet she liked to camp, so their beast of a camper called the Wolf Pack folded down in the rear, allowing her to drive her motorized transportation up into her safe haven.
There was another lady walking her dog and kitten. Yep! Kitten! A cute little tiger striped eight week old kitten. The fury feline walked alongside the lady and her husband, while he walked their dog. Now that kitten got me to stop and make a friend, as did Kyle. He was obsessed with the fur ball! When I told her I also brought my cat, she said, “O ya! I had to, she’s still on the bottle and I didn’t want to leave her with my other cats. I thought people would think I’m weird, camping with a cat.” I totally laughed and said, “Cats are as much apart of the family as dogs are!” Yep, we were surrounded by interesting and really down to earth people.
The weekend turned out to be another enjoyable trip. It started off on Thursday night. Kyle rode up with mom, dad, Seven and Scooby and the camper packed full, while Nicole and I left Friday during the day. We were suppose to leave Latrobe around nine, however my sister convinced herself it was Saturday and apparently she wakes up later on the weekends. Me? I prefer to get up the same time all week long so my body is used to it and it becomes habit. Now I’m not saying I do wake up at 5:00 am every day of the week, but I do set that alarm to keep me in the rhythm. Anyway, Nicole didn’t get up until around 8:00 am and she had a four hour drive to get me. What? Really? Yep! She finally got to the house at 1:00 pm and we made it to camp around 3:00 pm. Not bad, even though I was looking forward to fishing with dad and Kyle in the morning, but no harm done. Dad said the fish weren’t biting anyway.
Throughout our time at Parker Dam, we did a little biking, a little swimming and playing in the sand at the beach, we traipsed around with the dogs in the creek, made mountain pies and s’mores over the camp fire and relived the last time we were at Parker Dam. Somewhere between Kyle’s need of an attitude adjustment and the fun and pleasant young man I know, he was singing uncontrollably. All sorts of songs, including Christmas tunes. What really brought a smile to my face and a song to the my lips, is when we were cautiously walking around in the creek and Kyle started singing Señor Don Gato! I love that song! I taught it to Kyle when he was just able to speak. What brought that on? I have no idea, but it was the perfect song for singing, while splashing around in a creek, in the middle of the woods.
Saturday night they had movie night! They played Brave at their outside amphitheater. It was really cool watching a movie in the middle of the woods outside in the nice cool air, while sitting under a blanket. I loved it! Almost like the drive in, only better! While we were there we met a lady who was originally from Latrobe. Incidentally, she was good friends of my parent’s neighbor, who were also friends of the family, the Ferry’s. What a small a world!
Funny story: Sorry I can’t remember her name, but she is a manager of the park. She also previously came across my blog, finding it on her Google alerts for Parker Dam. She read my last few blog posts about our camping experiences at the park. Smart lady, doing her homework and hearing first hand what others are saying. I can only say good things about Parker Dam. The facilities and amenities are very clean and really nice and the park rangers are very pleasant and respectful. I’m not the only one who thinks so. I have a friend who goes there twice a year, they’ve been doing since she was a little girl. Well done! Two thumbs up for Parker Dam!
Sunday morning rained. Did we care? Nope not at all! We were in our very own dry safe haven. It was just like being at home. Nicole, Kyle and I played card games, Three of a Kind was the game of choice, although sometimes we broke out a mean game of war. I brought the chess set, however it never made its appearance. Kyle and I both read, I was working on Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring and his journey took place in Lord of the Rings The Two Towers. Mom, dad, the dogs and Storm? They laid around and nodded off and on.
With all this “stuff”, guess what also managed to make its appearance? Yes you guessed it the Legos! On Saturday night I sat with Kyle on our big rock by the camp fire and helped him set up the battle and played a little. Funny story! Kyle thought me and his Aunt Nikki were taking my car to camp so right before he departed on Thursday night with mom and dad, he loaded my car up Legos. I mean loaded! They covered the backseat, the passenger seat and the floor of all three places. When I opened the door I thought I was at war. Kyle said, “Ya that’s so when you get there, I would have already set up my battle and you can bring the reinforcements.” Naturally, that’s exactly what I was thinking for our camping trip, to drag around a ton of Legos. Only a few made the trip.
Now looking back on the weekend, and realizing what I am remembering are now memories, memories of fun, memories of togetherness, memories at our home away from home, I realize all the packing and hulling stuff, setting it up and tearing it down, ‘YES it was totally worth it!’ Can’t wait to do it again!
Read other adventures at Parker Dame