Time to break out the House With Wheels again!
Last weekend we headed up to Divide, Colorado for a visit to Mueller State Park. We didn’t have high expectations; growing up in the Midwest meant that a “State Park” was shorthand for “Nice Place to Sneak in Beer and Hangout Around a Fire With Your Underage Posse.” That description is two-fold; my dad loves camping and would sneak in a six-pack of Sam Addams while taking us camping over the weekend. That, and when we were in high school, Nathan and I would hide an entire case of beer throughout the car on the way to hangout with our friends and pretend that we were adults whist getting hammered on Nattie Light.
A State Park wasn’t for seeing the wonders of nature; that is what NATIONAL Parks were for. A State Park was simply a destination where you were legally allowed to light a giant fire and partake in the illegal consumption of alcohol. (I’m looking at YOU, Warren Dunes State Park.)
Mueller State Park was beautiful, though! Can I just say I LOVE COLORADO?
We arrived early on Saturday morning and immediately started setting up shop. The House With Wheels takes about four minutes to set up, but Nathan brought along his hammock. It was easily the most entertaining activity we engaged in the entire weekend…
Until one of the Park Rangers came by and ordered us to take it down. Apparently nothing is supposed to be hung from the trees. Including a family of four.
After the hammock debacle, we busted out the new BioLite Stove and made brats and grilled cheese pitas. This little gadget is something to behold; it is a tiny little cylinder you pop a host of twigs and sticks into, and in two minutes, you attach a little grill to it to roast your kiddos a couple of pitas loaded with Muenster cheese. And you can charge your phone with it – while it burns twigs. Amazing.
We didn’t do much of anything all day. In the afternoon, we hauled the kids into town for ice cream. Both of them knocked out on the way there… Which translated to Nathan and I plowing through a pint of Haagen Daaz Five (coffee flavor; the BEST coffee ice cream EVER) in the parking lot.
Before we knew it, we were taking a break from watching the kids leap off of stumps and poke at bugs with sticks to make dinner. Nathan spectacularly sliced open his finger while cleaning his knife – just in time for marshmallow roasting. Another Park Ranger came by; we wondered what we had done this time… Turns out, he was walking from campsite to campsite with a coyote skull and pelt to educate little campers with.
Nothing like a dead animal to get the kids’ attention.
We hit the hay early – maybe nine? Nathan and the kids were snoring away while I stared at the ceiling, my mind buzzing away with little projects to beautify the House With Wheels… Finally I fell asleep and dreamt of birch wallpaper from Cole & Son, Hudson’s Bay blankets and collapsible chrome RV faucets.
After breakfast in the morning, we packed up and took the kids to the Dragonfly Children’s Nature Trail for a “hike.” It was a short walk around a pond filled with water striders and (you guessed it) dragonflies. There were little activities for the kids; a jump pit to see which animal you could beat in the long jump, a giant log to crawl through and brass castings of poop to fondle.
They loved it.
We called it a day and headed home.
And I’ve realized that not much has changed in the State Park business. Sure, the scenery is better here, but you’re still apt to do nothing more than sit around a fire and break the rules; whether it be sneaking in Nattie Light or illegally hanging from the vegetation.
We’re such rebels.
Faced with a long weekend ahead of us, we may rebel again this weekend. (Maniacal laugh)