The first day of our summer camping trip began at our house in Eastern North Carolina. After drinking our morning coffee, eating breakfast, and loading up the car we got on the road. Our trip was about 250 miles or so. The route was a familiar one as it is the same one we take when visiting our family. Road trips are the most fun when you’re in unfamiliar territory, this was not one of those trips. It was made more interesting by the fact that we’d get to see some new places, and eat some new food.
We arrived at Sherando Lake early in the afternoon and checked in at the gate. The sun was shining brightly overhead and the mid-summer heat was oppressive. We found our designated site and quickly began setting up our new tent. This was the second time we’d set it up, so it took a good deal of time. The heat didn’t help, we had to stop several times to drink water and cool off.
With the tent set up, we proceeded to get our air mattress inflated. This particular mattress was purchased when we moved to North Carolina from Hawaii. Our household goods had not yet arrived and we needed something to sleep on. It worked well in the house, but it did require a 110-volt plug-in to be inflated. Previously I purchased a 12-volt to 110-volt adapter so that I could inflate it using the car’s battery power. However, we quickly realized that there was no way to get a fully inflated mattress into our new tent. Effectively, we were without a bed to sleep on.
Luckily for us, there was a Wal-Mart only a short drive away. Upon arriving at the sporting goods section we found a couple of options for camp bedding. Familiar to use were a variety of air mattresses and pumps to go with them. Neither of us wanted to buy ANOTHER air mattress as we have already been trying to downsize and simplify our lives. Two other options presented themselves, sleeping pads and cots. Both of these were similarly priced. In the end, we chose the cots. We also picked up some cheap pillows as we’d managed to forget to pack our own. On our way back to the campsite we stopped at a local store and picked up some firewood and ice for the night.
The cots were very easy to set up, and finally, our camp was prepared for the first night. The next task of the day was dinner. I grilled Brats on our Coleman camp stove and we enjoyed home-made German Potato salad for dinner. A campfire was built later in the evening. While enjoying the fire we couldn’t help but notice that some of our fellow campers were being overly loud. This problem lasted most of the night, it seemed as if someone had too much to drink. Sleep was in short supply.