Tuesday, July 28, 2009

beach camping

I promised a few moms that I would post some pictures of our trip with the girl scouts. If you are not a mom, this is your notice that there will be a lot of pictures and this will be long and there will be several posts. Move on now.
I've never been a girl scout, or had any friends who were girl scouts, or had any of my daughters in girl scouts. However, we have a persuasive girl scout leader in our neighborhood who swooped our youngest, Melanie, into her troop in about 2nd or 3rd grade and she's been selling girl scout cookies ever since. This troop has an outdoor adventure focus and has a lot of camping and hiking and water activities. Their annual reward trip has been beach camping. Melanie hasn't been able to go every year because of conflicts with family events, but loved it when she could. I got talked into going this year and I looked forward to it with guarded anticipation. On one hand, beach camping sounded enticing to me. On the other hand, camping with 13 little people, 12 of whom are not my offspring, left me a breathing irregularly with anxiety if I thought about it too much.
We gathered at 4 am on a Monday morning to load the cars and hit the road at 5:30. We had to make a stop at the famous roadside dinosaurs. I've never stopped there before. Holly was flabbergasted to hear that. She has been stopping there every road trip since she was a little girl. If you are familiar with the dinosaurs near Cabazon on the I-10, have you ever stopped at them? Are we the only family that has missed this landmark all these years? It was featured in the film "Pee Wee's Big Adventure". And did you know there is a gift shop in the belly of one of the dinosaurs? Well now you do.These four gorgeous teenagers got along famously. Three of them have been friends since they were babies. One girl is a new friend but who felt like a lifelong friend. They worked hard, played hard, talked and laughed 24/7, always helped the younger girls, and couldn't have been more pleasant. They are smiling sweetly in this picture because I think at some subconscious level, they realized this was the last time they wouldn't have sand in their scalp, in their ears, between their toes, and in their food.
We were only driving from Phoenix to the coast, but imagine that trip with little girls of various road trip experience and various bladder sizes. We arrived at 3:30 pm. -- 10 HOURS! We still had to unload, unpack, set up tents, and cook dinner. But do you think we could keep those girls from the water? I think not. (Moms - just so you know, they were not allowed near the water without an adult and they all closely adhered to this rule. It worked in my favor on occassion because I'm not very skilled in dutch ovens or outdoor cooking so I often took water duty while the other adults supervised the cooking crew.) There was a big sandy area for camping, then these rocks had been dumped along the water's edge for about a mile up and down the beach (beach/sand conservation, I suppose). There was a swimming beach about a 10 minute walk down the road, but not right in front of our camp site. These rocks were treacherous to walk on. The rocks were on an incline down to the water and besides being wet and slippery, they moved and shifted under your foot with every step. It took a good 5 minutes to walk down the little incline. You can't swim here because you can't walk or maneuver in or near the water. The upside, however, is that as the waves hit the rocks and recede back, the rocks would shift and clink against each other and had a pleasant popping sound much like the popping sound after a big beautiful fireworks display. I think the rocks disappointed the girls at first, but then they came up with 101 things to do with them. They lined the walkways around camp, built dams to keep the surf out, dug out pit houses and surrounded them with rocks and as a favor to me, they searched for heart shaped rocks. I brought one home, though I think I may have a hernia from carrying a 45 pound rock up the death defying slope.
We got unpacked, set up and enjoyed a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful sunset.
Knowing we were going to end the next 5 days enjoying this view warmed my heart.


Katie said...

10 hours? Seriously? That would drive me insane!!! I am a very efficient road trip-er.

Which leads to my next thought...I've never stopped at the dino's. My boys would LOVE IT!

I've never been a girl scout...but in first grade, just about all my friends were girl scouts and they wore their uniforms to school like once a month all on the same day. I was TOTALLY jealous.

Bandanamom said...

We have stopped at the dinosaurs several times - it all depends on if we need gas and/or food at that point (because there are all those handy fast-food joints right there). I have learned that the WORST place to stop is Indio. It seems like the kids are always hungry round about Indio and I ALWAYS regret it if we try to stop there. First of all, apparently they don't believe in easy on or off access to their restaurants or gas there. Second, it's practically Palm Spring's very own ghetto in the desert. Third, it always takes 8 years to find the freeway entrance again and you might get stuck driving all the way into Palm Springs because it's so confusing.

Indio is the Vortex of hell. I'm just sayin'.

(by the way, we are about 48 hours from driving to CA ourselves and looking forward to it!)

Anonymous said...

Dinosaurs? Yes! We used to live just up the hill from there, in Yucca Valley. I was disappointed to discover them much changed a few months ago when we were helping James move to Bakersfield. They have built things in front of the dinosaurs. It's just not the same. It used to be much cooler because they seemed to appear out of nowhere with nothing around them.

The belly-of-the-beast gift shop is gross...good for only stepping into once.

I always wanted to - LONGED to camp at the beach, but because home was only about 20 min. away on the freeway (Northridge), we never camped. I remember many times trudging away sadly in the early evening after a full day at the beach, noting the campers descending and setting-up. Lucky ducks.