Thursday, September 12, 2013

A CAMPING WE WILL GO

BFF Laura
Jessica
It's guest blogger time!  I became acquainted with Jessica and Laura first through the Bound4Burlingame Facebook page, and then I finally had the pleasure of meeting them (and their offspring) when we rendezvoused at Burlingame Campground over the 2013 camping season.  I found them both to be kindred spirits and look forward to many more camping trips and off season excursions. 

Thank you Jessica and Laura for your continued support!  Camp On!

And now a word..or two, from Jess.....

Another summer has come and gone with my very special gaggle of people.  I wouldn't want to be in the company of anyone else for summer vacation then my BFF and OUR 5 kids.  We started camping at Burlingame umpteen years ago with our folks, and have continued the tradition with our own band of misfits.  Every winter begins the countdown and the questions from my girls “mamma, how much longer till we go camping?” ……or to my BFF--”Pearl, what camping items did you find this week?” My BFF’s name is Laura but I call her Pearl LOL—it references my grandmother and her best friend, but that is a tale for another blog.

This year our camping trip seemed to creep up way to slowly, but finally it was upon us.  As excited as we all were, a few weeks before our annual trip, my BFF delivered devastating news to me…. She would have to LEAVE CAMP EARLY! GASP  ‘THE HORRA’  Her oldest had football practice.  Damn kids ruin everything!!  We have a set routine.  An order of things done.  A set way to begin and end our camping  journey, so as NOT to anger the camping gods.  It seems that we miss something every year which results in cracked windshields, trips to the ER with hot cops, postage stamp sized campgrounds, torrential down pours, hurricanes, car alarms that refuse to shut off, or tarps a-smoldering.  There is a long laundry list of camping mishaps for us and each memory makes us giggle.

This year started off on the wrong foot!  As I mentioned the camping gods…. They were already plotting against us just for the fact that my BFF had to leave early.  Now, one of the other rituals that we have is to meet at a specific time.  Then, 45 minutes AFTER that specified time we all manage to get to our meeting spot.  Once we are on the road, and then turn back once---twice---sometimes three times for things we have forgotten, we begin our journey.  I am the driver and Laura is the ‘navigator’ and yes I use that term very loosely.  As we listen to the kids bicker and argue and fight and laugh, Laura and I reminisce of old times and ponder what will go wrong this year.  This is the routine.  This is what did NOT happen this year as we took 2 cars (dun duh duuuummm) AND Laura left a full 5 hours after we did.  There was no hope for us to make it through the week without the camping gods having their revenge.  Arriving at our normal halfway spot in Middletown Connecticut, i felt the void  of half of my camp clan missing.  Not even my pick me up DD coffee was oddly not the same.  But….drive on I did.  Once I made it to Burlingame, I set up camp with minimal yelling for the kids to help me.  Then off to dinner and the store to pick up supplies.  FINALLY  my BFF showed up around 8, just in time for her to fall asleep around the campfire!  And so ends our first day.  
Camping Cuisine...

The rest of the ‘week’ was filled with new friends, (thanks Laurie and Craig) lots and lots of rain, a trip to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night with my love to stop the Titanic (aka my tent) from sinking.  It is amazing what tarps keep out (the rain), and what they also keep in (smelly feet and kid stench…oh, and body heat and.... tooting).   This year brought  new adventures to the Point Judith Lighthouse, Bagels and More, the Umbrella Factory, Misquamicut go karts, and a Chinese buffet (please don’t judge).  If you are looking to lose yourself in jewelry, clothing, cool nick-knacks or a bamboo maze—The Umbrella Factory is the place to go.  For a few hours of fun off the beach, the go karts and bumper boats are a blast!   This trip was also filled with the old standbys.  The beaches of Westerly, Charlestown and Galilee, Frisbee tosses, metal detecting, Watch Hill for the carousel, ice cream and our annual trip to Romeo’s shop.  
...the camp tradition will live on!
And of course, the most important thing of all…. Memories made around the campfire.  I was even grown up enough this year to let others light the campfire. Between the s’mores, roasted starbursts and laughs, not a moment will be forgotten.  Children falling asleep in the chairs by the fire, marshmallows flying all around for a marshmallow war and 007 trying to make an appearance with lighter fluid.  Folks, my love is more dashing then 007, but should not try and get a job as a special effects master in Hollywood.   With boys being boys and trying bug zappers on themselves, wood that didn't want to light, rain forcing us under a pavilion for a lantern lit game of taboo….. the laughs were never gone for long.  This is my place.  This is home to me.  And every year I spend here with my BFF, my love,  our kids, or our folks that come for the day, it always leaves the promise of a  lifetime of memories.  My countdown to next year has already begun.  Only 343 days to go! Laura…let the shopping begin.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

"THE CAMPING MOTHER"

THE CAMPING MOTHER
by
BOUND4BURLINGAME.COM

I had a mother who camped with me
Sagas of insects that devoured our knees
Needle-like stingers in lieu of sharp teeth
Of minuscule nuisances that could sneak underneath.
I had a Mother who camped where she lay
Through cold snaps and downpours, or the sun’s golden rays
Stories of LL Bean®, Coleman® and REI® camping gear
Which all outdoorsy kids had the right to hear.
I had a Mother who told campfire tales
Of canvas tents dragged over hills, and down dales
True to the trail she’ll stay until death
Trudging up mountains till flat out of breath.
I had a Mother who camped with the “things”
That wholesome life to a kid’s heart brings--
Graham Crackers, marshmallows and chocolate…not much
Bedtime s’mores were the best…my mom’s special touch.
You may have tangible wealth to hold
stockpiles of fire starters and generators of gold
Richer than I you may never be--
I had a Mother who camped with me.

Our poem was based off from the classic poem "The Reading Mother" by Strickland Gillian

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings--
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be--
I had a Mother who read to me.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

DEALING WITH UN-HAPPY CAMPERS

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction."

Try as I might, sometimes it is pretty hard not to take other people's negativity personally.  Why is that you might ask?  Well, its simply because it pisses me off that after taking the time and effort (by that I mean hours, weeks, months... even years) to develop an idea, create a concept, motivate and invest myself, and then finally put my ideas to paper (keyboard)...that there are always those people that will take the same time and energy to crap on a person's lively hood and take all the fun out of it.  


I'm not talking about the usual "Debbie Downer" or "Negative Neil" who might be defined in one of the following ways:
  • Someone who throws in a negative comment, says something terribly depressing, typically only tangentially related to the present circumstance or topic of conversation.
  • A person with an incessant need to bring down the collective mood of a group chill or forum.
  • A busy-body pessimist, one who looks on the downside of things, criticizes relentlessly, sees the glass as half empty...you get the picture.
In keeping with today's technology, I'm leaning more towards the following definition:
  • Someone that finds it necessary to use social media to post negative remarks and/or make comments to create unnecessary conflict/controversy to fulfill their own boredom;  or to satisfy the personal belief that somewhere along the line, they have obtained a level of intelligence far more superior to that of the general public....and they feel the need to add their two-cents in on any, and every thing, from breast feeding to the molecular structure of gasoline.
It is the latter nuisance that tends to ruffle my feathers. Toxic people that can't help but attach their unprovoked commentary onto your posts and photos, hoping to egg a response out of another fan/follower...or you.  Up to now (hence this blog post), I've attempted to grin and bear it.  Ya know, be professional.  Then I thought, wait a second!  Let's define "professional".

A professional is a person who is engaged in a certain activity, or occupation, for gain or compensation as means of livelihood; such as a permanent career, not as an amateur or pastime.

So, let's break this down. (a) I'm not getting paid to endure anyone's wrath. My time and efforts are strictly on a volunteer basis. It has actually cost me to pursue this endeavor. (b) My education/career is not web design, photography, writing, survival tactics or publishing. (c) I'm no expert at anything. (Maybe complaining, but only because I've been told that... I don't see it.  Really.)  (d) Although most of the time, I find myself engaging in creative and intellectually challenging "work" with Bound4Burlingame.com, B4B Facebook Page, Camping Concepts 101, B4B You Tube Channel, Twitter, or our Blah...Blah...Blog, NOWHERE do I imply the quality of my workmanship is impeccable, or professional grade... or even of decent quality.

Many people hold a "pro" to a higher standard, thus finding it a necessity to place a great deal of trust  in them.  Honestly, I am an admitted amateur web designer and hobbyist camper, so due to my voluntary lack of professionalism...I suggest ....no, implore you, to NOT hold me to any strict code of conduct enshrining rigorous ethical and/or moral obligations.  I plant myself beside you, not above you. We are equal.  I know only what myself, family, friends, and acquaintances have experienced and willingly shared.  I've always felt that any one person knows no more, or no less, then another.  They only possess different knowledge.

When you do visit my site, or social pages, I ask you to have an open mind.  Everyone has the ability to listen, absorb, learn, familiarize, observe, recognize, accomplish, enlighten, and educate others.  Don't be jealous, or vindictive, when you come across someone making an attempt to share their passions with fellow enthusiasts.  Embrace it, be part of it.  Bestow your knowledge.  Participate on a fun, yet respectable level. Share in the adventure, by sharing your adventures.

If your goal when you frequent my social network pages is to criticize, reprimand, chastise, judge, nit-pick, bash, or give bad press to my ideas/performance/aspirations/attempts at humor ...  PLEASE...do a friggin reverse, and try focusing on yourself.  How about if you go to YOUR own wall, or blog, or Twitter account etc., and post a stupid, smart ass, sad, holier-than-thou, woeful, or depressing status/photo/comment which conveys your spitefulness regarding life in general. Then sit back and watch the morale of all that see it, plummet to the ground.  Get the hint?  Good.

Pass this on...or share these thoughts with a Debbie Downer you know ;-)  Maybe they'll get the hint too.

Visit BOUND4BURLINGAME on Facebook!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BINGO & BURLINGAME... OR BUST

Who's afraid of Jack Frost nipping at your nose.....your toes....your fingers...your ears...? Say "I". Or maybe its more like AYE AYE AYE! Man oh man, as if we didn't freeze our butts off enough opening weekend at Burlingame Campground in Rhode Island, we turned around the next weekend and did it again. Certainly it couldn't have been THAT bad then, right? Or maybe there was just some stuff that I really needed to get done for my Bound4Burlingame.com pages. Or maybe we're just gluttens for punishment. Whatever the case... I must say, we did in fact, get spanked pretty severely.

I guess I'll break down and admit we kinda brought it on ourselves. Thanks to the wonders of Doppler Radar, we already knew it was a 40% chance of rain. Fifteen or so rechecks later, it was officially official.  We would indeed be "damp camping" part of the weekend.  In a tent. Another pitfall, which we wouldn't discover until much later, was the fact that we were so distracted by the dark clouds looming across our iphone screens, that we neglected to take notice of the actual temperature.  But trust me, one or two degrees does not make a huge difference when the thermometer is already hovering around the freezing point.  It was only about 5:30pm at this point, so being wet AND cold AND hungry hadn't even began to enter our minds (or bodies yet). I didn't even pay much thought when my boyfriend remarked (numerous times) that he was on day two of a horrible aching pain developing around his jaw line....

The thing we were actually concentrating on at that particular minute, was getting to Foxwood's Casino in time for the night Bingo session. Which in fact did happen. What didn't happen?   Well, that would be the ability to leave promptly after we dabbed our last losing card. You would think that at that second... or at some point over the next 4 1/2 hours, one of us would have noticed that another box on the weekend's Fail Card had been checked off.  But noooooo!  I guess we were probably too busy trying to track down a cocktail waitress for one of casino's infamous, yet scarce, "free" drinks.

Not like we had a choice or anything, but it was past time to leave.  The clock was chiming 3:00am  and the only hint of anything that resembles a smile om my face, was solely based on the fact that I still had a shirt on my back. We weren't even out of the parking garage yet when reality set in. Quicker than a slot machine could swallow up your last $20 bill...I had an awful feeling of ......hhmmmm...I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  But, In the next 24 hours, I would become acutely aware that it was probably the same damn feeling that comes when an underdog competitor finds himself standing center ring surrounded by the all-star tag team of Mother Nature, Poseidon, The Joker, Father Time, Cujo, The Frito Bandito, Frosty the Snowman, and Dr. Feelgood.  Forget the Rumble in the Jungle...Ali and Foreman would have run screaming from the pines had they known they were walking blindfolded into the smack down of the century.

I realize now I don't want to relive the gory details. I'll try to make a long story short.

It was pouring rain as we left the casino.  And it seemed to be extremely cold. But, I was dry at that point, so I couldn't quite tell how bitter it was yet.  We contemplated the decision to camp out...or I should say my boyfriend did. The pain and swelling in his face had multiplied in mere hours and the idea of turning around and heading back North to home (and a local hospital's emergency room) seemed a more attractive plan to him. But, after digging through my pocketbook to retrieve the remnants of some old discarded pain meds, he reluctantly agreed to trudge forward to Rhode Island. We started setting up in the downpour around 3:30am. Progress was slow due to freezing limbs, limited visibility, and  lack of help (due to my boyfriend's pain level...which didn't seem so severe as he spent almost an hour attempting to build a fire in the rain.). Guess the pain meds had set in. The next surprise came when I opened our canvas bag to retrieve the air mattress, tent, lanterns, and the outdoor rug. I saw orange nylon. The only orange nylon material I knew of belonged to a salvage tent we picked up at an auction.  Certainly, this orange wasn't part of the tent designed to comfortably fit ONE 4 foot high Boy Scout?  Certainly he couldn't have made the mistake of packing the wrong tent? Certainly he saw that 2 yards of nylon couldn't possibly be the 4 person Spring season tent we've used in the past? Certainly, this is a joke.  Certainly...certainly...oh God.

We wedged in the tiny tent (of course one of the poles were missing so it was about 1 1/2 foot high on one side and 2 1/2 feet on the other) . The queen air mattress was of no use. Wet sleeping bags absorbed more wetness from the sides of the tent, and through the ground. Heads in hats, on wet pillows. Wet feet in wet socks. Heavy hunting parkas, over fall jackets, over hooded sweatshirts, over long sleeved shirts...and wet jeans.  I wondered if hypothermia was a possibility. I was sure it was. So cold. So very very cold. And the wind...would we wake to the Wicked Witch of the West's feet peeking out from under our wilderness abode?  The only thing louder then the wind and rain...was my stomach. The hunger pains started taking repeated blows to my gut. Soggy corn chips was all we could muster up without disturbing our cave. I was gagging on my fourth limp chip when I hear the first howl.  Coyotes? Maybe. I had heard them many times before coming from the other side of Watchaug Pond.  But this thing poor thing sounded like it was in anguish! After about 15 minutes, I heard a man's loud shout of " JoJo- Get in here!" And the canine calls ceased. Unfortunately, it had set off every owl in the park. After some time, finally sleep came.... If that's what you could call it.  A couple hours of slumber and the Emergency Room could not wait any longer.

Despite the fact that I was still tired, grumpy, and starving (not even a stop at McDonald's for a .99 cent coffee!)...the morning's pain (mine, not his) was diminished as we dragged ourselves through the emergency room doors. I saw the look on the receptionist's face as her eyes rose to meet ours. I think I actually heard her gasp.  This wonderful woman must have seen the desperation in our eyes (again, mine not his).  Westerly Hospital is the best! Within minutes of arriving, he was seen, made comfortable in a room, pumped full of morphine, blood drawn, and on his way to CTscan. They later found the culprit was a soft tissue infection.  A couple weeks regimen of antibiotics and pain killers were prescribed. It better work.

 We spent most of the afternoon drying out, resetting up, taking cold showers, browsing Walmart, and checking out the rebuilding going on down at Misquamicut. And although my boyfriend felt like Hurricane Sandy had also paid him a visit.....he insisted we return to Foxwood's Bingo that night.  He was pretty much a trooper ( ok- a grumbling soldier in the trenches) the rest of our stay this trip.  Next time, I'm paying more attention to the weather  B-4 we go to C-A-M-P-O!!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

THE CONCEPT OF BOUND4BURLINGAME


I always thought I knew Burlingame State Campground in Rhode Island pretty darn good...partly because I had been camping there on and off for 25+ years, and partly because I thought I could trust my memory. Why was it then that every time I showed up at the office, and every campsite on my "favorites" list was already occupied, did I begin to tremor with fear? Breaking out in a cold sweat while standing at the front of a winding line of 50 or so inpatient campers is always such a bad scene. Check the board, check the map, check the board, check the map.  Does it look private? Do you think the trees are Pine or Maple? Remember... I can't carry a bucket of water far with my back! How close is the spigot? 101 questions race through my head, and almost every time I hear myself saying..." Is that the one that we stayed at that had/was....???" And since I'm pretty sure I've stayed at that particular site at least once (and i remember it being decent enough)...and we are happy to even get a site on a Friday at 7:00pm... we snatch up our treasure map and head off to set up. 

And then quicker then my teenage daughter can come up with an excuse not to clean her room ...the smile is wiped....no, completely blasted ... off our faces! It's definitely NOT the site we camped at before. Not even close! I feel like I've just been bamboozled by a cartographer con man! Not only is the site tiny...its wedged between two sparsely wooded sites with --- let me count... - 1-2-3-4-5-6-7...yes 7 (OMG!) tents combined between the two. OMG AGAIN...look at at array of speaker equipment on the picnic table! Is their dog going to stop barking or what? And it looks like we will have to drive to the bathrooms. Great. I guess I don't need to go into details about how the evening played out. Use you imagination :(    Oh yea, then multiple that experience times about 25 stays.

At some point, I say to myself....I wish I had an actual picture of every campsite in this park so I know what I'm getting! And so it began.  I spent countless hours through October walking through the park snapping pictures and dodging deer. I've come up with ideas for forums and content that hopefully will appeal to fellow campers. The work is sporadic, and often mind boggling to say the least. I often wonder how long it might take a professional web designer..or 5th grader, to accomplish what I've crackerjacked in all these daunting hours. Them, 2 vs. me, 200? When I look in mirror, am I not the same person who can conquer the Sagas of Candy Crush and Bubble Witch in mere minutes? Have I not cleared the path to Victory Lane with my Coin Dozer... while Hanging with Friends? And how many people can Ruzzle their way into the Speed Spelling Society (SSS for short) in under one minute?

Please bear with me during the developmental stages... and probably never-ending (re)construction of my BOUND4BURLINGAME.com website.  In lieu, I present you with the BOUND4BURLINGAME Facebook Page! I welcome and consider all input, ideas and advice. Make yourself known....take a seat by my virtual campfire. Let's share the love of the outdoors and camping with each other!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

THE EVOLUTION OF CAMPING

Remember when you packed up, gassed up, and hit the open road to become one with Mother Nature? A cooler, a tent, a couple sleeping bags, a flashlight, plus a pack of matches, and you were good to go for an entire weekend it seemed. During the day, we easily entertained ourselves with a deck of cards, Frisbees, a transistor radio, and Mad Libs (or any other small item that could fit in our backpack). We'd hike for miles, pee in the woods, scout out stumps and boulders for our campfire seats, whittle our marshmallow sticks, and set the stage for that night's ghost stories. We went to bed dirty, slept in our clothes, and woke up to start another day with unkept hair and unbrushed teeth. We scarfed down a doughnut for breakfast, PB & J for lunch, and a hot dog cooked on a stick for supper. Add ripple chips and Koolaid and viola---gourmet! Now throw in a couple hundred mosquito bites, a dozen or so blood soaked band-aids, a pile of muddy rain drenched gear,  and an empty bottle of Calamine lotion. Not in a million years, will you ever be able to convince us that it was anything less than...... heaven on earth.

So why? Why have we complicated things by "improving" the camping experience? Log chairs gave way to lawn chairs, then folding camp chairs.  Flashlights got pushed aside, and out came the rechargeable lanterns. Now headlamps are the "in" item. Heavy duty wooden match sticks lost out to Bic. But why settle, when you can own the ultimate fire starter? A refillable windproof flex shaft automatic butane grill lighter in your choice of red, blue, black, green, or yellow for $35.00? A steal. So much better then keeping the kids busy for a couple hours with a Dollar Store magnifying glass and some dry twigs. Right? hmmmm..lets think on that.

Coolers became bigger and better....but not as effiecient as a mini fridge running off a quiet gas generator. I do have something to admit though. As much as I miss laughing hysterically when listening to the nightmare stories of setting up outdoor sleeping quarters...The tent Gods have indeed smiled upon us. Even at 2am in pitch blackness, anyone can get an eight person tent up in under 5 minutes! Its still going to take you awhile to blow up your mandatory air mattress however. Well, unless you have a handy dandy inflator thats plugs into your car lighter. Damn... there goes another hour or two of time consumption for the kiddos. And heres another question...how ridiculous is it that the expense of nightly S'mores exceeds the cost of our campsite?! You wonder why campers cave to the ease of Little Debbie snack cakes? If the cost factor doesn't phase you, just remember the potential for a sticky mess on your new portable DVD player or laptop.  You know...the one thats keeping the kids entertained after your one Duraflame Log burned out bout a half hour ago. And now you are sitting by yourself in the dark...but in your comfy chaise lounge camp chair...with a red solo cup full of deliciously cold cold beverage...with no one to share stories with. Maybe its time to call it a night? Or maybe head over to the bathrooms ( or inside the RV) for a hot shower...blow dry your hair, charge your phone....contemplate tomorrow's adventures.  Hhmmm..I wonder if that restaurant down the street serves steak? Wheres the closest McDonald's? I wonder if theres an arcade in that mall I saw? I wonder what they are playing at the movie theater up the road?
I know people camp, or stay at campgrounds for numerous reasons. Comfort levels, budget restrictions, rest & relaxation methods, vacation needs, health concerns, etc. differ from person to person, family to family. Some campers love the mountains; Give me the surf. Through the years, I have tweaked my techniques, modified my "must-haves", and perfected my packing list.  I've discovered the wonders of the hobo pie maker :) and I've fallen victim to the iphone... (and every fun and/or useful camping and outdoor app thats out there)...but I know when to put it down. Sure Siri's voice is comforting and helpful during my times of need... but its doubtful she'll be able to warn me when I've nodded off by the campfire and my sneaker soles are smoldering.



Monday, February 11, 2013

GRAB THE BULL BY THE HORNS!

The person behind the words.  Me....Laurie.
So, it has recently come to my attention that I've let my goal of getting BOUND4BURLINGAME.com up and running this winter fall by the wayside. At first, I tried to rationalize and tell my friends that it was just something that had "fallen between the cracks". And, because all of you and I, are probably more alike then different, I know you will understand when I speak more literally. 

If I actually looked for where time has slipped away to, I might look between my vehicle seats during morning, afternoon, and evening runs back and forth from my kid's school. Or maybe peek inside one of the grocery bags, that although minimally filled, just cost the equivalent of a car payment. Let me take a gander over yonder and see....oh damn!.....ya know what I see?  I see the neighbors dog has tipped over our garbage barrel again! I wonder how long it will take me today to chase down another toilet paper tube-gone-wild. Maybe I should start by picking up the carcass remnants from Friday's Costco rotisserie chicken before every stray cat, coon and coyote thinks its an open house smorgasbord. Hey, I could find a million excuses of random activities that consume my time...but mixed in there with life's unavoidable chores, are self distracting episodes of sheer laziness...and Facebook marathons..and Instagram photo shoots with my cat....and hour upon hour of un-gratifying Ebay/Craigslist browsing..and...well, you get the picture. Today. I've decided to motivate myself and move ahead with this little pet project of mine.  I hope you'll find time in your schedule to join me for this adventure.