The Loudamericans (plus Nikki) set out Friday afternoon to Rock Cut State park outside of Rockford,Ill to meet Tracy's sister Tammy and her husband Jeff and their kids Georgia, Joey and Herbie.
The trip down was uneventful.... if you call screaming kids, kids that are spitting at each other and tickling each other to the "state of pee", a DVD player that doesn't work and constant rain.... uneventful. We had planned to stop at a Chinese Buffet along the way for dinner (if you have noticed it is rare to find a Chinese Buffet along any interstate) however we ended up eating McDonalds in the car (every parents nightmare) due to: traffic, rain and the fact of actually looking at our reservation form (the park closes for admittance at 10:00 Pm - our ETA was 9:55 - we needed to make tracks!). We arrived at 9:45, way ahead of 10:00 deadline, and got to the campsite about a half hour ahead of the Basil's. We got the tents set up and the kids played and had a ball until 12:30 in the morning! It was great fun to see the cousins playing and especially for Kay, having another girl to play with.
Saturday was the Murphy's day for meals. We had sausage, sausage and egg and just egg breakfast sandwiches along with juice, pop, chips,candy and all the other great food items one can justify eating while camping! The boy's were playing football, the girls were in the tents playing dress up, coloring and practicing being interior decorators to the point they were banned from playing in the tents (note: suntan lotion, bug spray and markers are not a good combination with pillows, blankets and sleeping bags). We spent time exploring the park, Tracy and Tam took Nikki for long walks and we were all able to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. Lunch was more of the same however there were more fruits and veggies available. The afternoon gave way to fishing from the pier, hiking around the lake and football. Dinner was the world famous Chalupa's with all the fixing and it was an El Grande feast, followed by s'more's and more passing around the old pigskin. It was apparent after only a few minuets that showers would be a waste of time and water. The weather was awesome for sleeping, however the ground was not and we ended up in a bundle at the bottom of the tent... such as camping,.
Sunday was the Basil's food day and pancakes and bacon for everyone! We spent the day hiking around the camp and fishing in the fishing lake. I have never in all our travels experienced a State Park with the rules at Rock Cut. The park has two lakes, a fishing lake and a swimming lake and you can not swim in the fishing lake nor can fish in the swimming lake? The fishing lake rents water crafts including canoes, kayaks and fishing boats so the question is if you rent a water craft and it capsize,s are you forced to drown because you can not swim in the lake? Pass me another beer! The weather was not real helpful, the fish were not biting but that did not stop us from renting a paddle boat and a fishing boat, we had a blast. It was a good thing that Kay paid attention during nature camp earlier in the summer, since there were no fish, she taught us how to eat cattails, and eat them we did! (She was also helpful in identifying what was NOT poison ivy). Sunday night was a burger and hot dog fest followed by more football and a great bonfire and s'mores.
Monday we had a catch as catch can breakfast, broke down camp and readied ourselves for the Long ride home. In preparation for the homeward journey we walked to the park to get some energy out of the kids, I should say some of us walked. For the record from our campsite to the park is 180 cartwheel, just ask Kay, she added 53 (just to be safe) and hit her own personal record of 231 cartwheels.....in a row. ugghhh I feel sick just thinking about it, but she was fine!
It was an awesome weekend and the cousins had a blast, as did the parents and we are all set to hook up at Tammy and Jeff's for Thanksgiving!
Happy Labor Day.