Sunday, October 16, 2016

Watching The Crazy Parade

I am the only solo camper in a campground overflowing with people.

Finally I found refuge in a gorgeous state park on a shimmering lake surrounded by mature trees with a campground on a hill affording most all spots to have a lake view with some reserving  lake front property 10-12 months ago in order to be close to the water's edge. I was lucky to get a spot at all. For 9 glorious nights.

Hurricane Matthew accidentally sent me into refugee mode when the parks where I had 6 weeks of reservations were cancelled due to indefinite closures. I've had to scramble and move around every day or so looking for camping.

Now I am a solo camper in a park full of families, couples and groups. It can be lonely in a strange way. However the people watching is fascinating. Small children on push scooters, big children on skateboards. Kids, dogs, babies are in full force seemingly outnumbering the adult humans three to one.

A tandem bicycle goes by with parents pedaling and a happy baby strapped on the back. A golf cart with 3 overstuffed adults and two tiny lap dogs silently glides by. Teen girls with a suitcase of shower items head for the restrooms.

Watching the crazy parade go by.

I've noticed that some campers tend to wear their flannel pajamas all day long. A rather interesting fashion note. I don't really have nay pajamas to wear except for a flannel night shirt with masculine plaids interspersed with hot pink ribbon trim. It looks more like a curiously detailed plaid dress than a night shirt. Shopping the end of season bargain rack, I end up with interesting stuff like this. I use it like a housecoat on cool mornings. It had never occurred to me to wear it out and about or all day long.

One of the curious pastimes is to ride around in electric golf carts doing the same camp road loops over and over. Lap dogs are prevalent on the golf carts. If one slows down near our site, Harley hops aboard. He thinks it's the public pooch bus.

Kids, dogs, babies are in full force seemingly outnumbering the adult humans.  Boats, pickup trucks, trailers, campers and tents are liberally scattered on every spot available.

Skateboarders practice their luck on the hilly roads recently repaved making them pleasantly smooth. Small children furiously pedal by on two wheels while larger children ride noisily by with training wheels.

As a small child, I wanted training wheels and my father was real insistent that I not have them. One Saturday morning over breakfast I put forth my best fight for training wheels. But my father was tight with money and he thought they were a foolish waste. My mother said "Well you go out and teach her to ride a bike then!"

This put me over the moon! I was in the carport, pushing my bike out to the street, anxiously waiting on my hapless father who was not amused with this sudden change in events. My mother was busy cooking and cleaning, it was Saturday, a day when traditionally my father did absolutely nothing.

My father was not athletic. He jogged up and down our home street holding my bicycle upright yelling at me to pedal faster. He was heaving and breathing, often making loud raspberry noises while he tried to catch his breath. He kept letting go and I would fall off and bleed as the skin split. But we just kept going. He wasn't about to stop just because I was accumulating bloody scrapes and cuts. I wanted to ride that bike and my poor father didn't want to face my mother's wrath if I didn't learn.

I think we even stopped for lunch then went back at it again.

Finally I was riding without his aid  and suddenly he was nowhere to be seen. I practiced riding until my muscles just couldn't move anymore. I went inside supremely happy but tired, with dried blood all over my arms and legs. My mom stopped what she was doing to clean up the blood patching me back together again with about two dozen band aids.

At Sunday school the next morning, the teacher looked at my numerous bandaids and asked me what happened. I gleefully told her "I learned to ride a bicycle!"

When I see kids with training wheels, I think of lazy parents. I am probably going to get some hate mail on this... but my father was right. Training wheels were a waste of money... if he could teach me to ride in one day.

Recently in Ohio, a group of parents with tiny 4 and 5 year-olds, came to camp with assorted miniature bicycles. All the children were taught to ride without training wheels. Once one kid figured it out, it seems the others were anxious to catch on too.  It was amazing to see these tiny tots fly by on their tiny little bikes. Eventually some parents were having trouble reigning in the kids as they used their new found freedom to fly around all over the campground at record speeds. I was impressed at the parents' ingenuity in teaching the youngsters all at once.

Monkey see. Monkey do.

Camp fires burning, grills warming, aromatic foods water the taste buds. Bicycles in all sizes with all manner of riders going uphill, downhill, around hill.

This is my first visit to Lake Greenwood with my new bicycle. My last bike didn't go downhill very nicely. It was frightening!

My new, well not really new anymore, but a year old, anyhow my one year old Day 6 flies downhill in supreme comfort. The low center of gravity makes it comfy. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

No one at this camp has seen a Day 6 bicycle from the way I saw folks rubber necking as I whizzed by. I did the big long hilly loop 5 times much to Harley's delight. Then we went to the other side of the park where the picnic area is. Sadly no one seems to go out for picnics anymore. This gave me a chance to let Harley race around dragging his leash. He was thrilled to sniff and piddle about.

Back at the camp, we settle outdoors to watch the crazy parade go by again. A canine tripod hops down the road minus a rear leg. Two spots down, a man in a rugged wheel chair tends to his campfire while chatting with friends.

Hopeful fishermen keep vigil by the shore. The boat ramp is a symphony of carefully orchestrated boat launches and retrievals.

Merry passengers and pets pile into pontoon party boats with overloaded coolers and picnic baskets to cruise the flat lake waters.

Me? I am just oh so grateful to be able to stay put for a spell.

Life is goof.


  1. I think I might be a nervous wreck with all that activity around me. On the other hand, it will be nice when things quiet down, and meanwhile you really have a show to watch!

  2. I've never been so lonely as in a crowd. Now, I prefer my own company, a cup of tea, and a solitary place shared with my dog. I enjoy people but am always relieved to get back home.

    You enjoy watching people enjoy themselves. The place you have landed sounds so therapeutic.

    Your learning to ride a bike brought back my own memories. I had the training wheels (and for a long time too). My father worked nights and couldn't be around to teach me in the daytime. He sneaked around and raised them just a little at a time until I didn't realize I was balancing on my own. Learning to roller skate was a lot harder on me. I LOVED to skate on my old fashioned, heavy skates when we lived in town. Guess they are antiques by now.

    I am glad you have 9 days before you have to move on.


Life is goof!