My daughter-in-law decided what she wanted for her birthday (besides the ginormous hot pink body pillow she couldn’t live without) was to go camping. I knew it was coming up but suddenly Thursday night time was up.

After the emotionally charged previous weekend in Florida dealing with Dad’s medical issues, camping seemed like a good plan. Now, my sons’ idea of camping is driving out the worst possible dirt path to a dry creek bed in the middle of the desert nowhere (33.694662, -111.539398) and last time I tagged along we had a pretty good time… but I HATED the whole squat between two rocks to potty thing. It’s bad for the environment plus I’m too old for that shit, literally! I managed to find a half-way decent portable potty and remembered the old dead shower curtain I’d kept around for whatever stupid reason. Instant privacy curtain! That was the first thing we set up of course, considering we ALL had to use it.

Next we set up the tents. I put down a tarp, set up my tent, Max blew up my air mattress, I put a foam pad over that and then a comforter. On top was a doubled up giant microfiber throw and I was set. While we were setting up there were a couple of bees around but only slightly annoying. We set up the other tents and the food area and more bees came along. Problematic, but the sunset and the bees disappeared and we had a nice time around the fire.

OK, well, um, even with all those layers between me and the ground I about froze my ass off. Warm on top, but the cold coming up from underneath was awful. Between waking up every few minutes shivering and the natural sounds (really unhappy goat-sounding something out there screaming and the coyotes) I barely slept. Only to be woken up at the crack of dawn by the gunfire. Sure, it’s a place where people camp out to shoot stuff. You just hope those people aren’t just shooting nilly-willy and are using backstops. Max and I had a conversation regarding how he was effected by it, but he knew it would be out there so he was OK. A little more alert when M-80s went off out there somewhere, but fine. Had fun identifying the type of gun by the different sounds. The gunfire and the almost constant off-roaders were slightly annoying but that’s actually what that camping area is for so be it. It was the creepy goat-sound that disturbed me. And the bull.

20131108_165147Oh I forgot to mention while we were setting up a giant bull wandered nearby.

But the goddamn bees. More and more bees everywhere. Couldn’t identify where they were coming from but nothing kept them away. Bug spray was a waste, smoking out the campfire didn’t do squat, we even tried putting cups of juice and Mountain Dew away from the camp to draw them away. We even wandered a bit to see if moving the camp was an option. Krystal’s friend Nicole mentioned being allergic to bees as a child and she got the only bee sting all weekend. Turns out she’s not allergic anymore (scary few minutes though) but they were everywhere. When Max left around noon to pick up another camper we ladies retired to our safe tents to hide from the bees and to nap. That night Max grilled steaks and Baylee provided churro cheesecake mini-bites for dessert.

Saturday night wasn’t AS cold but I eventually ended up in my car with the heat on for a bit. As soon as everyone was up we packed up and left the campsite to the bees.

Things I need to research before I ever do that again:

1. How many more layers do I need between me and ground so I don’t freeze to death.

2. How to get rid of bees.

Also, to bring more firewood.

So I like camping. Mostly. I prefer actual campgrounds with you know, toilets and showers. But I understand the call of camping in the open desert too. Between volleys of gunfire and ride-by ATVs there were moment of quiet nature. And the stars! Walk away from the fire and the sky is brilliant. Just maybe not in November as the nights are too cold. Maybe October so the days aren’t too hot.