Jamie Garrett Takes His Family to Belton Lake For a Staycation
Call me crazy, but I don't want to tow my 31-foot travel trailer very far. It was a bad experience with a pop-up camper in 2010 on a drive to & from Tennessee that effectively killed long camping trips towing a trailer. More on that story another time. I love Belton Lake enough that I don't need to go hunting for another place to park my home-on-wheels for 48 hours.
My work schedule usually dictates I stay close. A "weekend off" for me this past weekend meant only a single 2-hour remote and six hours of work on Sunday. Staying close was an absolute necessity, and Belton Lake works just fine for us. Because of a Saturday morning soccer game and my remote broadcast, I just went by the house to shower. That's really roughing it.
After a brief trip to Weber's for the Demo Day live broadcast, it was back to the campsite. In the interim, I found out my wife was locked out of the camper. My older son, Tyler, had baseball practice from 1-3, the same time as my broadcast, so I didn't think my wife would be going back to the camper before me. That, and I just forgot to give her the keys.
I felt bad, especially since the spare key had been found. Logan found the spare key (for some reason) on top of the dryer at the house, but my wife didn't think it was for the camper. So they waited. And waited. And waited some more. I finally got home and confirmed the key that Logan had found was indeed the key. That set them on their way. By the time I made it to the campsite 20 minutes later, she'd already locked herself out of the camper again. Fool me once...
Other than key trouble, it was a great weekend of doing very little, and I needed it in a bad way. We didn't make it to the airshow like we'd planned.. We didn't make it to the monster truck show like we'd planned. We barely made it to Sunday afternoon's Beer & Brats Festival at Deadfish Grill, for which I was the emcee. We just sat around, played cornhole and lost both a frisbee & soccer ball to the lake.
The greatest part of the weekend was blending technology with an activity literally as old as mankind itself: stargazing. I downloaded an app and found out that the night sky was showing some of its amazing beauty. With the naked eye, we were able to see Venus, Jupiter, Mars & Uranus. Including Earth, we were able to see five of our planets and a nearly-full moon with just the naked eye.
We also spent a good deal of time on the water's edge. It's still a little too cold to just jump right in, but it felt nice to dip the toes in the water and enjoy the sunshine. In another month it'll be so hot there's no way you'll find me just SITTING on the side of the lake. I'll be in the water or I'll be in the air-conditioned camper, but I will NOT be sitting in the sunshine just for the hell of it. I'm too big & hairy for that.
The two worst parts of camping for me both involve #2. We don't use the RV toilet for #2. That means the public facilities are the only option. I've always had weirdness using the facilities with someone within earshot. I end up just sitting there, holding it in, until they get up and leave. If someone flushes or starts up the hand dryer, I let loose. Until then, it's a traffic jam in the colon region.
The other part of camping that I hate is emptying the grey & black tanks. So gross. Even though we don't do #2 in the camper, it's still a very disgusting process. Sunday was a banner day for toilet cleaning. Not only did a super A-Hole cut across traffic to beat me to the poo line, forcing me to slam on my brakes and send one of the dogs flying into the dashboard, but after stewing for 20 minutes in the poop-removal line about this scourge of humanity, I got splash-back when I pulled the knob on the black tank.
Why does this grossest, and least fun, part of camping have to be the last thing I do before leaving the campsite? I get the literal reason, it's more of a rhetorical question. For weeks after a camping trip, every time I smell the sewer on FM 93 between Belton & Temple I get sick to my stomach and tell myself I never want to go camping again. It never sticks. I always go back. The only thing weaker than my stomach at the poo-dump station is my threat to never go camping again. With fun pics like this to remember, who'd question me for going back again and again.