Seven loads of laundry later, yes, we’re back from another fantastic camping trip at Virginia Beach. We are new comers to this experience. Friends of my parents have been bringing their families for close to thirty years. We hopped on board this train only two years ago and I’m glad we did.
It takes us about twelve hours to get there and I think we’ve got the formula right. Mom and I pack up the car on Thursday night and then we wake the kids up and hit the road at about 3:30 a.m. Friday morning. The goal is to make it get past NYC before the morning rush hour hits.
The kids do great in the car. They watch a few DVD’s, look through books, eat, all the usual road trip stuff. And it doesn’t matter how long or short the trip, the wheels always come off in the last hour!
We roll into the campground just before 3:00 p.m. The first items off the car are the bikes and helmets so the kids can join the others and we can get the tent set up in relative peace. It’s a race to see how quickly we can set up camp so we can watch the sunset on the beach with a beer in hand.
By Saturday most families have arrived and we are 100 strong! Some with tents, some with campers, most with kids. All the picnic tables are moved from the sites into one common area under a fifty foot tarp. A kitchen is already set up with a grill, prep table, griddles, toaster, and small microwave. This area is under a tarp next to a trailer which is set up like a pantry. There are shelves filled with cereals, bread, peanut butter, jelly and all sorts of staples. The best bin of all is the bin loaded with Little Debbie snacks right in the front!
Breakfast and lunch are self-serve but dinner is communal and delicious. A handful of guys from the group usually cook. They know what they are doing since many are cooks in restaurants. We’ve had roast beef, chicken stir fry, shepherd’s pie and other great meals. This year the kids were treated by Mo the Clown. Mo came with the group and his specialty is balloon animals. The kids lined up after dinner with Little Debbie desserts and waited their turn. By the time the week was over we had some extra guests in our tent, two snakes, two spiders, one monster, a moose, and a volcano.
The routine is mostly the same. Wake up and have breakfast. Let the kids play. Pack a lunch and head to the beach. Come back from the beach, shower up and get ready for dinner. Eat dinner, hang out by the camp fire and let the kids play some more. It’s a great gig on its own but here are a couple of added treats. One of the nights they’ll project a kids movie on the side of the trailer and another night we’ll play party games.
It was great to see how much fun the boys had this year now that they’re a little older. In the years past they were my shadows. But this year they were comfortable enough to leave my side to join in on the fun. It was great to sit back and watch.
There were lots of fun memories made but one of the highlights of the trip was taking my oldest to visit his Great-Great Aunt Judy in Williamsburg. She is a remarkable lady and we had a fantastic visit. We got lots of great photos but my favorite is a video clip I have of her teaching #1 how to balance on the Wii Fit Board to play some games. I could watch in a million times.
It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. I am looking forward to many more trips and good memories in the future.