I’ve really been enjoying this summer.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, we don’t have a big trip planned that becomes the focal point of the summer; instead we’re doing smaller, fun, relaxing things weekly that have made for a great couple of months. We’ve been bike riding, paddle boating, playing tennis, to the waterpark, to festivals, and more. We had loose plans to take a weekend trip to visit Luray Caverns with my cousin-in-law and her family and last week seemed the right time to do it. I quickly found and booked our cabin online and didn’t think much else about the trip – after all, it was 2 days, 2 hours away: what possible planning could we need other than a place to sleep? I’ve been so slammed with Blogalicious prep that I welcomed the opportunity to not go into my usual hyper-planning mode where I coordinate every aspect of the trip.
That’ll learn me.
I was at a meeting until 2pm on the Friday we were supposed to leave and then came home and had to jump on conference calls; that, combined with the fact that Hubby was working (from home), meant that we didn’t even think about packing anything until approximately 5pm – at which point we ran around throwing random items into bags. It dawned on me that we’d need food to eat/cook while at the cabin, so I packed a couple of coolers and planned a loose menu in my head of spaghetti dinner, eggs and sausage, turkey sandwiches and various snacks.
Then, at 6pm, just as we loaded up the car and started on our way, it started to pour rain. And I mean pour. I knew what this meant for our roadtrip because DC traffic is already a nightmare – but Friday after work + summertime + rain = a hot mess. To make matters worse, Hubby had his heart set on taking us to a drive-in movie nearby Luray, which started at 9pm, so we didn’t have much time to spare.
I hadn’t packed us ahead of time or checked the weather forecast or paid attention to the location/time/details about the drive-in movie and I was kicking myself for it already.
After pulling over one time for dinner when the downpour became severe, we actually made it to the movie on-time. And, yay! They were showing Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, so the kids were over the moon. But, boo! It was still a bit rainy, so we had to watch some of the movie with the windshield wipers on AND our seating conditions all crunched up in our luggage-cooler-packed car were dismal. Most families parked backwards and opened up the backdoors of their minivans and SUVs to they could comfortably sit and see the movie; we couldn’t do that because of all of the stuff we had packed in (not to mention booster and carseats). Had I thought about it, I would have packed folding chairs and sat outside the car…or maybe I wouldn’t have because it was RAINING. Suffice it to say, I let the kids climb up front and take the passenger seat and I toughed it out in the back, contorted, among fishing poles, and watched the entire movie only being able to see the bottom 1/3 of the screen. Whatever, I had my gummy worms so I was all good. Once the second movie started (oh! it’s a double header! who knew? how about everyone who bothered to check the website!) I switched places with the kiddos who promptly fell asleep and Hubby and I watched The Amazing Spiderman.
We met up with his cousins who were waiting for us outside of the movie and we made our way to the cabin. It was definitely in the middle of nowhere, but it was cute! Since it was after midnight, we got everyone situated and unpacked and hit the hay. The next morning, we woke up excited at the prospect of the new day, even though…it was cold and rainy. It hasn’t been cold or rainy all summer. And of course we were inappropriately packed for the weather because I never bothered to check the forecast.
But wait! There’s more!
Hubby quickly discovered that there was a problem with the water: it was yellow and murky and smelled verrrry suspicious. He is nothing if not a germophobic hypochindriac and immediately went into freak out mode running around taking water samples and announcing that we needed to check into a hotel (or motel, rather, since that middle-of-nowhere VA had to offer) and get a refund. I was so bummed! I had envisioned a relaxing, weekend at the cabin, sipping Prosecco on the screened-in porch with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountain-skyline.
After letting the water run for over 30 minutes, it was clear (pun intended, ha ha), that we were in a pickle. We made eggs and bacon without having to use water and washed our faces and brushed teeth with the bottled water that we had brought with us. The majority of the adults (i.e. everyone except for me) wanted to head to Luray Caverns and then head home.
I was not having it.
I may or may not have thrown a mini-tantrum expressing my disgust at people’s unwillingness to be flexible or think creatively. We were not going to let the water situation ruin our mountain weekend. I (passive-aggressively) convinced the group to stick it out and that we could heat up bottled water on the stove to bathe the kids and, for Pete’s sake, we adults could actually not bathe for another day. After having a ball visiting the Caverns – another excursion for which we were poorly prepared and ended up buying over $150 worth of sweatshirts from the gift shop because we didn’t bother to read the website which alerted us to the 50 degree temps inside the Caverns – the rain let up and we did the Garden Maze and the Rope Course and then grabbed a bite to eat at a restaurant so we didn’t have to deal with cooking sans water at the cabin.
We bathed the kids using my strategy and made s’mores in the firepit. The adults stayed up and talked on the porch (I had my bubbly!) and guess what? The skeptical grownups even took “showers” the same way. We woke up the next morning and packed up and hit a local mom and pop diner for a scrumptious Southern breakfast (think french toast and deep fried chicken). Then! It was time for a hike:
All in all, the trip turned out great – we had fun, the kids had a BLAST, we got to experience the Shenandoah Valley and unplug for 48 hours. I’m so glad I badgered everyone into staying the 2nd night as planned – it all worked out in the end.
And next time? I’m back in event planner mode.