Even though we've been camping at Tower Camp for years we've never built the kind of campsite we want up there.
Not necessarily a house (yet) but permanent posts for tying off tarps, a cooking pit, tables - things that will make it easy to pull right in and set up camp.
When we were there 2 weeks ago we planned a trip for this past weekend that was to be a work trip.
A little playing but a lot of working.
Which instantly made the boys decide that they'd rather spend the weekend with their grandparents.
Normally, we'd make them go and help but...
I love my children with all of my heart but sometimes I NEED a break. Because I homeschool the boys I am on Mom Duty 24/7 and that can start to wear a little thin after a while.
So them going to my parent's house sounded like a GREAT idea.
The only kink in the plan was that the forecast called for rain and possible thunderstorms until Sunday.
Not a problem. The Island King is a genius with tarps and I have no doubt that we'll be dry.
And these storms usually move through pretty quick or you have good sized lulls between storms.
It was raining when we left Destin Friday morning but we had a trailer loaded with wood, tarps, tools and everything else we'd need for making shelter.
And we had the Island King's proclamation regarding rain and Tower Camp
It stopped raining half way there so we were able to set up our tent and a temporary shelter.
Home Sweet Home.
Even Buddy the Beagle was glad to be back.
Shawn came up and they got some stuff done on Friday and we got lucky with no rain or thunderstorms that night.
Saturday came and we knew we wouldn't be that lucky again so they went to work on a better shelter.
While I rode into Crestview for supplies and then explored the Forest a little.
The rain didn't hold off long so they worked in the rain but put together an impressive shelter.
I took this picture Sunday afternoon when the rain moved on.
As the rain got heavier they had to add a windbreak to one side of the front and that helped keep the driving rain out.
Another Sunday picture.
We'd just gotten settled in when the skies opened and dropped torrential rain on us.
I strapped my GoPro to a pole on the outside of the tent and got this.
I was really impressed that they were able to keep the fire going even though the rain was coming down by the gallon.
Things were relatively dry inside for a while but then the runoff from the rain started gushing through our camp. At one point I was sitting at the picnic table and could feel water running over my boots.
Obviously we're going to need an elevated floor. Project number 243 noted.
It was about this time that a flash of lightning lit up the field and we realized there was a major problem with our tent.
The wind was tugging at the rain fly and the rain was so heavy that the weather won and the tent went down.
Well, half of it did.
Which caused all sorts of problems, the main one being that it was now raining inside of the tent. There was almost a foot of water in there when the Island King went out to fix it.
A foot of water in the tent with our clothes, bedding, dry towels, extra flashlights - you name it.
Almost anything that couldn't get wet was under water in the tent.
Because of the river running through the shelter we were in the Island King announced that we'd be sleeping in the truck.
And a look at the radar told us that the rain wasn't going to end anytime soon.
It was at that moment that I realized that if I was going to have to sleep in wet clothes in the passenger seat of the truck, I was going to need a drink. Or three.
Thank goodness the liquor store was one of the places I stopped on my supply run!
We made it through the night without a tree falling on us, drowning, or getting struck by lightning so I'd say being a little damp wasn't that bad.
In fact, it was a great adventure. Unfortunately, the people I was with couldn't seem to just relax and appreciate this awesome storm.
It was a lot like camping with teenage girls.
I reminded the Island King about his "If you can't go to Tower Camp in the rain you can't go at all" proclamation but he just rolled his eyes at me.
It's easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk.
Except, I was reminded, it was those "girls" who put together the shelter that kept me dry - and they did it while I was out exploring.
Very good point.
So I will not call them girls but I can say they did do a lot of complaining.
I don't know why. It was spectacular. The rain, wind and lightning were amazing and watching nature unleash a little was fun.
Right up until time to sleep in the truck. I can say with complete authority that even with alcohol on board it is impossible to sleep for longer than about 45 minutes at a time in those seats.
We woke up Sunday morning to a slight drizzle that quickly moved on and left us with a beautiful day.
It was a great adventure and I'd do it again in a minute - if I can find a way to keep the complainers from complaining.