Monday, July 7, 2008

Catastrophes, Caves & Storms

We have just returned from our exciting 4th of July weekend! 

We went on vacation with Jay's family. His family has an adorable cabin on Pend Oreille River (north of Spokane) and the majority of his family gathers there each year for a family reunion. This year, there was 29 of us. Ages ranged from 1 week (yes, a newborn!) to Jay's Great Grandparents who are in their 90's. The cabin has 6 bedrooms ... but with so many people, many of us brought tents. Hence ... Day #1.

Day #1 (thursday):
Jay, Marc, Sarah and I arrived to the river around 7:30 pm (after a quick 7 hour drive). We quickly set up our camping area before it got too dark. Our camping area consisted of a big blue tarp, two tents, 4 sleeping bags and mattress pads. Oh, quick interlude: Jay bought a new sleeping bag for our trip. When he pulled it out of the bag (after setting up our tent with sweat dripping off us), we realized he bought a youth-sized bag. I laughed so hard I wet my pants a little bit. He slept in it all weekend. Every time we went to bed, I had another laugh-attack. The top of the bag came up to his lower-chest. The set-up phase of camping is not my favorite. Especially when you're tired and hot. It was still in the 90's at this point of the evening.

After hanging out with his family for a few hours, we went to bed around midnight. Our camping area was about 50 yards from the main cabin.

After washing myself with wet wipes (see previous post), I quickly fell asleep. At around 2:30 am, I woke up to Jay jumping on top of me, yelling "WE NEED TO LEAVE ... NOW!!!!" I had never heard Jay yell so loud, and I could hear the fear in his voice. As I opened my eyes and tried to figure out what was going on, the sky lit up like a light bulb. It was loud. Like a zapping sound. And a few seconds later, a loud crash, like a bomb. Or a gunshot. I had no idea what was going on, but I was scared. Jay quickly informed me that we were in the middle of a terrible thunder & lightening storm. If you refer to my previous post, you will know that I randomly got frightened by a thunder & lightening storm a few nights ago. I've never been afraid of thunder & lightening, but I was really spooked the other night by a nasty storm that rolled through town. 

Anyway, my adrenaline kicked into high gear. We yelled for Marc and Sarah to wake up. The storm was literally right over us. And the lightening had struck a few yards from our tent. I scrambled for a sweatshirt and my flip-flops when another lightening strike lit up the dark, night sky. Jay once again jumped on top of me and we laid there until the thunder roared. It was all so loud, close, and scary. The sound pierced my ears. 

Once the thunder stopped, we yelled for Marc and Sarah again who were scrambling for their belongings too. I had to think fast about what I wanted to take: sweatshirt, cell phone, flip-flops, pillow, sleeping bag and a flashlight. 

This is the point where I had to stare fear in its face. I had to run from the tent to the cabin. I was terrified. The night was so loud. Lightening. Thunder. Rain. Wind. Neighbors yelling for loved ones. Dog barking ferociously. 

I was scared.

Running out of a tent in the middle of night, through a thunder & lightening storm is like playing Russian Roulette. You don't know when or where the lightening will strike again. I was terrified. I knew I had to leave fast though, because I knew another round of lightening & thunder would come soon.

I unzipped the tent door and ran as fast as I could to the cabin. It felt like it took forever. I was running scared and praying hard. Another round of lightening and thunder struck as I heard Jay yell out my name and I yelled back that I was okay. I'm not gonna lie ... my praying turned to saying "shit, shit, shit, shit shit!" under my breath. I made it to the cabin with Jay, Marc & Sarah right behind me. I opened up the cabin door and nearly 15 family members with eyes-wide were ready to greet us. I collapsed onto the couch and cried. 

Jay's family had been trying to reach us on our cell phones but we never heard their calls. We had a bit of comic relief when I noticed that I had grabbed Jay's youth sleeping bag, and not my own. A good laugh in the middle of a scary night.

We sat in the cabin until the storm passed (about an hour) when I realized I had lost my phone on my run to the cabin. Once the storm died down, Jay & Marc went back to the tents, grabbed our suitcases, and found my phone in the soggy grass. 

We found beds in the cabin but we didn't sleep at all that night. Lightening lit up the sky all night. I could see it through my shut eyes. Thunder kept us up.

Quite an eventful first day.

We slept in the cabin for the rest of the week. Day #1 is done.

Day #2 (friday): I was very tired in the morning. Ashley and Chris returned from an adventure on their quad ... they found where the lightening struck the previous night. It was a few yards from our tents, across the road. It struck a tree and split it down the middle. 

Totally freaky.

The rest of the family members arrived and the day was set to be great. Jay's mom and dad arrived and they put their boat in the water. A few hours later, Jay's mom came running up from the dock to say that the boat was taking on water. Sure enough, the bottom of the boat was covered in 4 inches of water. Without the boat starting, the guys had to tow the boat to the boat launch and load it onto the trailer. We still had one working boat and 2 jet skis left. The rest of the day was spent playing games and water sports (wake boarding, skiing & inner-tubing). Only injuries (on this day) consisted of a sprained ankle and a pulled hamstring. Not too shabby compared to day #1 ... no one thought they were going to die.

Day #3 (saturday): Today was jam-packed with a wide variety of fun events and catastrophes. Most of the crew decided to float the river. Two dads, three children, and I decided to drive up to the Gardner Cave and hike around. We drove 45 minutes with one child or another asking, "Are we there yet?" about every minute. When we arrived there at 2:32 pm, we learned that the tours were at 2:00 and 4:00. GREAT. We had 1-1/2 hours to burn with three young kids; ages 3, 4 and 7. We ended up finding a 1/2 mile trail that actually takes you into Canada. Very cool. The girls were troopers and hiked the entire thing. We were very impressed. 

Once 4:00 came around, we are all set to hike the cave. Once again, the girls did a great job. Each adult took charge of a youngin' which worked out great since the cave was cold, dark and scary for them.
On the way home, the 7-year old vomited all over herself. We had to pull over and clean her off and drive the rest of the way (30 minutes) with the windows down. I gagged 4 times.

Once we got back and threw Lilly in the shower, we all made it down to the docks to find the river-floaters three-sheets-to-the-wind. The entertainment value of this group remains unparalleled. I literally pulled up a chair and watched them. The best part was when Lilly's mom yelled, "Lisa, come on out here, I feel like I haven't seen you forever, we need to bond." I quickly yelled back, "Oh .. I'm good. Your daughter just puked all over me. I feel quite bonded to you already." :)

In the afternoon, we took the boat out to wake-board and proceeded to drive over a piece of wood that got lodged in the prop. Boat #2 is broken-down and out of order. Now we're down to 2 jet skis. 

Day #4 (sunday): Today consisted of more family games. Jay's brother took out a jet ski and while we were playing a game, we saw him floating down the river. Jay's dad jumped on the other jet ski and ended up towing him back to the dock. Jet ski #1 is no longer working.

While trying to tie up the 2nd jet ski, someone threw Jay's dad a rope which he accidentally ran over. Jet ski #2 is down. 

We're down to no more watercraft.

While packing up, Josh got stung by a bee.

Total count for the weekend:
  • Thunder & Lightening storm
  • Broken, water-logged cell phone
  • Sprained ankle
  • Pulled hamstring
  • Two broken boats
  • Two broken jet skis
  • Hike to Canada
  • Car-vomiting episode
  • Bee sting
Sounds like a great trip to me!


Veronica Underwood said...

This is freaking awesome! Would it not be a great time without all the adventures? It sounds like a great time...minus the thunder & lightening. I with you there!!!

Jodie Howerton said...

This is absolutely hilarious.....I'm so thankful you all survived!

Carlee Avery said...

Oh! I needed a good laugh - seriously LOVE the youth sleeping bag - still laughing to myself!
The hole thing kills me! Too awesome! Those are trips you'll remember for a long time!!

Eve said...

I laughed out loud reading about the youth sleeping bag and you peeing your pants!

When I told Bill and Adelle about this they cracked up! Especially Adelle thinking of her old PE teacher in a tiny sleeping bag. :o