Sunday evening I got this wacky idea that I would take Monday and Tuesday off of work and take everyone, including my three year-old, camping. We knew it was a crazy idea, considering it’s the height of the camping season here in California. We also knew that our choice of location, the Big Sur region, was risky because most of the sites were already reserved, but we didn’t let common sense slow us down. We just wanted to get out of town.
We packed the car, and headed out toward the coast. After stopping for some Tex-Mex at a Chili’s in Los Banos, we headed toward Carmel. The kids watched The Incredibles in the back of the van. Seriously, how cool is it to be able to watch movies in the car? Once we reached Carmel, we headed south on Highway 1 and saw some of the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. Both my wife and myself are California born and yet we had missed out on this 50 mile stretch of coast for some reason. Of course, all of the cool camp sites were full, but we continued south until we reached San Simeon State Park near Cambria. We managed to get the last site of the day. San Simeon SP was one of the few campgrounds that was allowing fires, so we felt pretty lucky to be there.
We found our spot and started to set up camp. Hailey and I put up the tent, which I had bought early that morning, since my personal tent was a wee bit small for four. It went up pretty easy, even though the ground was too hard to get it staked out right.
I cooked up some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on the old Coleman camp stove, and we sat and watched the sun go down as we munched on Cheez-its and grapes. We just didn’t have time to prepare for a real camp meal, but we made the best of it. I made s’mores for everyone. I was the only person who had actually had real s’mores. How is that possible? How can a person live for over three decades and not have a s’more?
After we cleaned up camp a bit, we checked out the beautiful night sky. I forget just how much of the night sky we don’t see living in a large city. It was spectacular. If it had been one of my solo outings, I would have stared at the stars all night; however, this was a family first and we all piled into the tent to get some sleep.
Sleep never happened for my wife or myself. Ben, our three year-old, was like a miniature ninja that traveled up and down the tent as he slept, pausing only occasionally to kick one of us in the head. There was some guy across the way who snored so loudly that I actually feared for his life. It was a rough night for the grown-ups, but as I watched the sun rise Tuesday morning across a golden coastal field, I knew it was all worth it.