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Campfire Stories

Hurricane Ike stole our new tent!
From Kaylie, Josie, and Hannah

My friends and I love to camp, and we have a ritual of checking the radar and the local weather reports as we plan for a weekend getaway.  Everything was clear sailing, or so we thought.  Friday and Saturday were beautiful, and Sunday started out that way.  You wouldn't think that an end-of-Summer camping trip to Hardy Lake in Indiana would include a run-in with a hurricane!

We had just bought a beautiful Coleman Montana Big Sky tent.  It's a 7-person tent, and I was looking forward to all that extra room.  Three girls can pack some serious camping equipment, so it's nice to have a place out of the weather to keep things.

It was just after 1:00PM and we were getting ready to pack everything up and head home.  It had been getting steadily windier, but now we were getting worried. A Coleman lamp got blown down the hill into the water.  Luckily it was water tight.  A strong gust, maybe 50 mph, ripped through camp right after we had pulled up the stakes to break down the tent.  The last I saw of my Montana Big Sky was as it was flying a hundred feet into the air and across the lake.

To top it all off, I lost my Smith Hudson sunglasses and my Marmot Power Stretch jacket.  They're probably at the bottom of the lake with Josie's canteen and Hannah's binoculars.  Who ever heard of a hurricane in Indiana?

City folk tend to stand out at the camp store.
From Dan and Lindsey Hennessy

Our Labor Day camping trip to Beech Bend Park wasn't exactly what you would call roughing it in the great outdoors, but we still needed all the usual outdoor equipment.  A tent, a Coleman lamp, two sleeping bags (my wife Lindsey chose a Wenzel sleeping bag, but I settled on a Columbia), and a new cooler.  We were set.  Our GPS conked out somewhere in the middle of Kentucky.  If it weren't for "Bodie", proprietor of what I think was a bait shop/monster truck garage, I think we would have had to set up our tent along the road somewhere and hope we didn't hear strains of Dueling Banjos in the woods.  As it turned out, our new friend knew how to get to the campground, and with a map drawn on a grease-stained napkin, we were soon pulling into the campsite.

It was getting dark by the time we finally got our tent put together, but the instructions were great and our Coleman lamp was bright enough to see what we were doing.  The weird thing was that out of 400 campsites, there were only about 14 people actually camping including us!  I guess the drag racing track that ran along the camping area had something to do with the few campers.  We couldn't see any of the races from our tent because of a line of trees, but I think our campfire actually almost blew out a couple of times when the cars zoomed by every few minutes.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but not by too much. I guess that at one time that particular campsite was a lot of fun, especially for kids because there was also a little amusement park there.  Set up your tent or camper, send the kids off to ride the rides, get in some fishing down at the creek, and gather around the campfire each night to listen to ghost stories in between dragracing heats.  Still, the outdoor equipment was easy to use and our new sleeping bags kept us nice and warm when the sun went down and the temperature dropped to around 50 degrees.  We decided to pack up the next morning, but we haven't lost the camping bug.  Maybe we'll try Nolin Lake or Rough River next.

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