Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Camping Trip With Grand Kids

July 15, Monday-July 19, Friday.  My, oh my!  Had we lost our minds? We decided to take 3 of our grand-kids camping to North Bend park on Kerr Dam and Kerr Lake near South Hill, VA.  We left Va. Beach on Friday, June 12, and drove 2 hours back to the military campground in Richmond, VA.  I got to spend one day over the weekend with my daughter.  We went to lunch and saw the new movie “Jurrasic World”.  It was an enjoyable visit. 

We made a major trip to the grocery store before leaving Va. Beach, to make sure we had enough food!  What do you feed 2 growing teenagers and a toddler?!?  Left the RV at the military campground and picked the kids up on Monday morning with parental instructions so numerous, I needed a secretary, and enough gear for a month!  Two of the grand kids are teenagers and the 3rd is a 5 year old.  With that combination, it was going to be a real adventure!  We wanted to introduce the 5 yr. old to camping to see if he would like it. The kids were all excited as we headed out.  I rode in the back with Josh and Hannah to avoid sibling fights like my brother and I used to have when traveling!  I remember those days with my parents, so thought I would head off those kind of incidents. 

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 002Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 010 crop

A two hour drive to the lake……….,

 1 pan lake Kerr Dam 4

North Bend Park is a Corps of Engineers campground and one of our very favorites.  We had a nice deep site.  Most of the sites are nicely wooded with water and electric.  

Kerr Dam Oct 2012 030Kerr Dam Oct 2012 033

Constructed between 1947 and 1953, Kerr Lake and Kerr Lake State Recreation Area area are named after John H. Kerr, deriving from his instrumental efforts towards the project.  John H. Kerr Dam is a concrete gravity-dam on the Roanoke River in Virginia.   Kerr Lake is a reservoir along the border of NC and VA created by the John H.Kerr Dam.  The dam construction started in 1947 and was finished in 1952 to produce electricity and to provide flood control. It is the largest reservoir in Virginia. The large lake is widely popular with both North Carolinians and Virginians for fishing and recreational purposes.  Our camping area is the out stretched portion of green you see to the left above the dam. 

USACE John H Kerr Dam and Lake.jpg 

Making quick dinners and cooking out, moving furniture around each night & morning for sleeping arrangements, kids going in and out all day, doing dishes, getting ready for bed, watching movies, making breakfasts, getting ready to go to the beach, swimming for an hour or so, taking showers, juggling who would shower the 5 yr. old, hanging up all the wet towels, then time for lunches, playing games outside, hiking, biking, walking, then time to start planning and making dinners, going to the store for MORE food, and making campfires!  Some days I couldn’t remember if I took my vitamins or if I even ate my own breakfast!  Poor sweet Doug, he stayed out of the way of the mayhem as much as he could!  I am lucky I even thought to take pictures when I did! 

We ate just about all of our meals outside.  Just no room for all 5 of us inside.  The first night was a quick dinner of everyone making their own Taco Salad.  A nice way to do dinner when it is hot outside and you want something quick.  The dessert was strawberry shortcake made with 1-2-3 cakes (made in the microwave that the kids always ask for).  After a short stroll to the nearby beach area, we watched a movie and then went to bed.  Amazing how a movie or TV can instantly mesmerize kids into such peace and quiet as if hypnotized by some little gremlin behind the TV!  Whew, first day down 3 to go…

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 013Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 015Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 016Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 017

All little Josh could talk about was going swimming.  So the 2nd and 4th mornings, Hannah and I took him to the swimming area.   So off to the beach and I do believe Josh was born with invisible fins!  He took to the water like a fish and loved every minute of it.  Hannah and I played with him and it was hard to coax him out of the water when time to leave.  I think he would have stayed in the water all day!  The water was so nice and warm and pleasant.  It sure felt good since it was so hot and humid. 

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 028Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 084

Nate and Hannah like to watch cooking shows, so I let Nate make the desserts and the turkey burgers with a great recipe I wanted to try.  Here he is showing off his cooking creation!  Both the dessert and burgers where delicious! 

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 029

Wednesday morning, I took Hannah and Josh on a hike while Doug and Nate went to the store in town or just did guy stuff.  Since Nate is the older teenager and so much going on in his life, I told him to just relax and do whatever he felt like doing.  He seemed to like that.  With our water bottles in hand and our hiking sticks, we walked on the paved hiking and biking trail to the next section of sites in the campground.  Starting out was fine, but with the short attention span of a 5 year old, it was soon I’m tired”, “I need a long rest”, “it’s too hot”,  “it’s too far to walk back”,  “I don’t want to walk anymore”.  The solution-start talking to him and asking questions about other things.   Next thing you know, he was talking to me so much that he forgot all about his complaints! 

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 069Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 078

After our hike and Doug and Nate returned from the store, we visited the nice small visitor center just outside the campground that explains about the dam.  Doug and I remembered a little ice cream and sandwich stand just up the road across the dam and asked the kids if they wanted lunch and ice cream.  Yea!  What kid wouldn’t want ice cream on a hot humid day! ?  It sure was good!  Shhh…don’t tell Mom about the ice cream!  Since Mom & Dad carefully watch the kids’ diet, I get to spoil them just a little now and then! 

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 030Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 032

We had worn Josh out a bit, so he was able to take a nice nap that afternoon.  Josh is very loving but just demands lots of attention as he develops into his own little man, so nap time was good. While things were quiet and calm, Nate, Hannah, & I, took a short late afternoon walk out to the point at the end of our camping area.  It was a pretty afternoon and the breeze felt good out in the open.   We just enjoyed being together, talking, and enjoying the scenery.  Nate and Hannah are just two of the greatest teenagers ever!  So polite, and pleasant.  They were always good for me when babysitting when they were younger.  I have tried to be like my dad’s mother.  When she babysat my brother and I, she would actually play with us, not just leave us to entertain ourselves.  So I make a conscious effort to show interest in the kids’ interests and talk to them,etc.  We always love being with them.  

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 056Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 057Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 055Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 052Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 053

The last two evenings, we were able to have campfires.  We had small thunderstorms and rain each night but, thank goodness, we had sunny days.  It was just the high humidity that made being outdoors less fun than it could have been.  No matter how hot it is, it isn’t camping unless you have a campfire and roast marshmallows!  I let Nate make the fires, and the kids had a good time roasting their marshmallows.  We sat by the fire and took turns telling ghost stories.  We talked of other things as well, and I told some tales about the antics of their dad when he was growing up.  Oops…Sorry Dad, I may have said too much!  Now the kids have something to use if you get mad about some of THEIR antics!  We did go into town and had pizza for dinner our last night, so we spoiled the kids a little more!

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 081Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 062  B&W

Ah..time to head home.  The kids seemed to have had a good time.  I know we were busy with keeping up with three kids at our age, but the experience was priceless! 

Nate Hannah Josh Camping Kerr Dam 087

We drove the two hours back to Richmond and the military campground, dropped off the RV, had a quick lunch at Chick-Fil-A, and handed the kids back over to the parents, dirty laundry and all!  We only stayed in Richmond one night and were back in Va. Beach at the military campground before lunchtime.  Of course, we stopped at the Virginia Diner again for breakfast and bought some more country ham biscuits to take to my dad.  I think it will take us a while to recuperate! But glad we had the chance to be with our grand-kids.