Phlog along, folks!

The beautiful, if shallow, Upper Iowa River
Photo by Kay Kauffman

Once again, it’s Friday.  Once again, it’s been a crazy week.  Did I say crazy?  I think maybe cray-zay might suit a little better.  It all started Sunday.  Sunday began the first-ever Kauffman Family Camping Extravaganza.  Our adventure did not exactly get off to an auspicious start. For one thing, Seymour wanted to leave our house by 10:00 a.m. as the campground we were heading to was three hours away.  His parents were going to go with us, but they live a good hour and a half south of us, so we couldn’t leave till they arrived at our house, and they were late.  Seymour’s mama wasn’t feeling well, so his papa let her sleep in a little late and it was nearly noon by the time they made it to our house.  I think we pulled out of our driveway somewhere around 12:30 p.m.

About an hour or so into the trip, possibly a little more, one of the tires on our camper blew out in spectacular fashion.  There was no fixing this tire – it was in pieces all over the road.  I should have taken a picture of it, but I didn’t think of it at the time.  And apparently campers don’t come with spares standard the way cars do, but Seymour is a smart one and bought one when he picked up the camper, so he got the tire changed and we were soon back on the road.

When we finally arrived at the campground, it was about four o’clock.  We’d made reservations a couple of months in advance and when we arrived at our reserved lot, someone else’s camper was parked in it.  Evidently no one had bothered to put a reserved sign up and so someone else had just randomly parked there and then refused to move.  The lot we ended up in was on a hill, so Seymour and his papa spent quite a while trying to get everything all leveled out.  In the end, the head of our bed was two inches below the foot of the bed, but we didn’t figure that out till the last day of our trip.  I suppose that explains the raging headache I had the whole time…

Once we got everything set up, Seymour called a friend of his who lives near the campground to let him know we were in the area.  We camped in his old stomping grounds, the area in which he grew up, and it was neat for me to see as I’m not familiar with that part of the state.  His friend came out to visit as the kids and I were roasting marshmallows and enjoying some s’mores.  I haven’t had s’mores in ages!  Seymour tried to skimp on the chocolate, but I soon remedied the situation. 🙂

The view from our camper window. Yes, the sky was actually that bright.
Photo by Kay Kauffman

Then Tuesday we went tubing on the Upper Iowa River.  It was a little cool, but it was sunny and beautiful.  After blowing up the tubes, tying them together so no one got separated, and slathering everyone in sunscreen, we set off down the river for what was supposed to be an excursion lasting somewhere between three and five hours, depending upon whom you asked.  It took us four and a half hours and would have taken at least another hour, except that Seymour pulled us the last 45 minutes of the trip. The river varied in depth from four inches (if we were lucky – my butt kept scraping rocks) to waist deep (but this was only in a couple of places – it was mostly around shin- to knee-deep).  I was thrown from my tube once by rocks that caught on my swimsuit and there was more than one occasion where the water was so shallow that we were forced to stand up, lift our tubes out of the water, and walk some distance through the water till it deepened a bit.

That’s right, we know how to stay hydrated.
Photo by Kay Kauffman

Everything was fine till we hit the two-and-a-half hour mark.  That’s when Tadpole decided she had had enough and could not rest until she was absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt certain that the rest of us knew she was bored/hungry/tired/thirsty/hot/cold/ready to be done.  At some point in the midst of this rant, while stretched out on my tube and using another tube as a pillow, I fell asleep and stayed that way for about an hour and a half, which was just long enough to make the last portion of the trip bearable.

Unfortunately for me, my sunscreen failed spectacularly while I dozed in the quiet countryside.  My face burned the worst and looked like a giant flaming tomato.  Odd-shaped red splotches on my arms, legs, and feet also appeared overnight, leaving me wincing in agony the rest of the week.  By the time I woke up, though, the kids had settled down considerably, but everyone was tired and a tad on the owly side, so it was out of the river and back to the campground with us.  Tuesday night was an early night, particularly for Seymour’s folks, who weren’t feeling well.  Turns out they had the flu.

Here’s hoping…
Photos courtesy of Greg Kauffman

…we’re not next!










Now that we’re back home and the work week is finally over, I plan to spend the next couple of days recovering from my vacation.  Isn’t it funny how after taking a vacation, you always feel like you need a second vacation to recover from the first one?  Have a great weekend!

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.


4 thoughts on “Phlog along, folks!

    • Kay Lynn says:

      Thank you! I really love that shot of the river – it’s so serene, especially once you get away from the bride and you can no longer hear the traffic. Despite the wicked sunburn, tubing was easily my favorite part of our trip. 🙂


  1. mezzsays says:

    Oh Kaysie! I have to admit that this entry had me laughing. You poor thing! Sounds like everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Luckily you know how to make it a funny read. I hope despite the pitfalls that you had some fun family togetherness!!


    • Kay Lynn says:

      Oh, we had fun. The part where a certain father and son had a little trouble staying on their feet in the river was so funny that the rest of us were in danger of losing our grip on our tubes and joining them in the water. 🙂 Sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows brought back lots of memories of good times in Girl Scouts, and Waukon has a wood park like the one Grundy used to have, so we took the kids through that and had a blast. I’d have had a lot more fun if my head hadn’t hurt so darn much, though, but we’re going to a different campground next time, so hopefully we won’t have so much trouble getting the camper leveled out. Glad I could make you laugh!

      P.S. Did you see the pictures on Facebook of Jess’s tire blow-out? Ours was even worse than that.


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