Friday, October 1, 2010

Potato Creek Camping Part I - Everything worked out OK

I got out of work early last Friday so we could go camping with the horses. Our reservations were made on September 3, so we were glad the weather was cooperating. Upon arrival at the gate to Potato Creek State Park they asked the question they always ask, one to which we believed we knew the right answer: "Are you bringing in firewood?" Of course we told them "yes," because we were. Next question (also one they always ask), "From which county?"

Indiana is at war with the Emerald Ash Borer. In an effort to keep it from spreading and destroying our beautiful woods, there are residents of certain counties that are prohibited from bringing in firewood. LaPorte county does not have an Emerald Ash Borer problem (or so we thought). So our answer was "LaPorte."

Then we heard something we never heard before "LaPorte county has been quarantined. You will have to unload your firewood here." Shocker!!! Turns out that LaPorte county went on the list of Emerald Ash Borer counties on September 4 -- one day after we made our camping reservations. After much whining on our part, the DNR person told us that they would have some "safe" firewood brought to our campsite. So that turned out OK after all. Whew!! A late September weekend in a tent in Northern Indiana is no place to be without firewood. We proceeded to our campsite.

Once there, after everything was unloaded, I noticed the low tire -- back tire on tbe right side of the trailer. We figured we would deal with it the next day. Drive into town, go to a gas station and fill it up. No big deal. We set up camp.

First we took a quick ride around the area, just to get acclimated. It is always so neat to see all the horse, the different rigs and camping styles of everyone in the park -- just really enjoyable.

We came back and started in on dinner after a couple of libations. We had bought a new camp stove, but it was still in the box, so we were cooking over the campfire. At one point, things got frantic -- the fire was a bit high, the steaks needed to be turned, the smoke was blowing in, our faces. In an attempt to help, I moved the foil-covered cooking grate, but made a wrong move -- the food flipped around. Two steaks at the edge of the fire, one ended up wrapped in the foil and on the ground. But after retrieving the two from the fire and washing them off, we put them all back on the grate and everything was OK. We had a great dinner and settled in for the night.

Next morning we were ready to make a wonderful breakfast on our new Coleman stove. First thing I saw when I got out of the tent was that we still had a low tire on the trailer, but now the one in front of it was completely flat! Then we discovered we forgot the coffee pot!!!

We needed to eat first, so the tire we have to wait. We had the coffee and filters but no pot!! We had to make what my mother used to call "jailhouse coffee." I have also heard others refer to it as "cowboy coffee" which in this case is more appropriate. By putting water and grounds into a pot and cooking to a boil, we had coffee after all. So it worked out OK.

John started changing the tire on the trailer, and with the new Coleman stove set up, I started to make breakfast. It was windy, which made it difficult to light the stove. It was sunny, making it difficult to see the height of the flame. When I turned the control down, the flame would go out. This happened several times, and I was going thru matches like crazy because of the wind. I decided to just make the best of it and cook on the sky high flame. It was a challenge, and though slightly burned, breakfast was edible. So it worked out OK. John got the tire changed in spite of not having the proper jack.....

Our friends Tom and Dolly came out with their horses, and the four of us had a great trail ride.
The trails are really pretty, and thanks to Dolly we did not get lost. Tom had a cool phone witha GPS gizmo that actually mapped out our course. Our horses behaved, and even walked with the quarter horses. We were all so calm and slow, that I actually fell asleep on the ride! I woke to Tom yelling at me to be careful, as I was about to strangle myself on a low hanging grapvine.

Back at camp we had a great lunch and a lot of fun just talking and laughing. It was a great trail ride. John and I took another ride later that afternoon and also ran into some people we know from riding at the Dunes and our saddle club.

It was a little colder than it was forecasted to be, but we really did have nice trail rides and a lot of fun with our friends. So it worked out to be a great Saturday!

Part II -- Sunday's adventures......

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