Oh Gualala. My friend summed it up well when she said, "You come once, and you can't stop." It's true. We went for the first time 5 years ago, and it was rainy and cold and I was pregnant...but my kids still made those phenomenal memories and we returned again. And again. Last year it rained most of the time, and I whined and complained but we still went back. It's unavoidable. Emma even sobbed huge tears this year as we pulled out. It is SO MUCH WORK on the front end and on the back end, and some other unforeseen events beforehand made it even more chaotic to get out of here. I do loads and loads of campfire-smelling laundry when we get home, and it takes days to get the house back together. But...
This year was arguably the best because we had the motorhome. For me that made SUCH a difference, but not so much for my kids. We were only in it to sleep. The kids (minus Tanner) disappear all day long, into the giant trees and off on their bikes, and into their pretend, make-believe worlds where everything is pure happiness. They return when they're hungry (or Tyler returns when he's tired...often)
and we feed them and they are off once again. The scenery simply can't be beat. We have been to lots of campgrounds, especially in the last year, and none can even come close to the splendor of the thick, lush redwoods, ripe with mosquitoes, raccoons, squirrels, and bluejays.
This year Emma surprised us all. Friends, please remind me someday that I should pay for Emma to go to business school. She is a wheeler-dealer entrepreneur, and with her friends set up a "shop" near the campground playground. Now, some people (including me) might argue that she was selling junk, but she sure found a way to market it right. I mean, who doesn't need an extra Barbie head? Really, it makes sense. Nails and coins found on the train tracks? Sure! Food erasers? Sold. They raked in the money and then she relished in her rewards, from the camp store of course. She even shared with Tanner.
We ate it all up (literally) for those three days, with Spencer mastering his dutch oven peach cobbler, and returned to piles of laundry, lots of cleaning, and hair that still smells like campfire. I guess that's part of the experience. We managed to leave all the rocks by the river at the river this year, and none ended up in my dryer. Next year I can see Tanner starting to stockpile them in his pockets.
And... can we stand waiting 2 more weeks for school to be out???