Camp Gramp – the beginning of the end

In half an hour Adam and I will be kayaking in the high tides of the Bay of Fundy. Through sheer chance, here on my third day, I’ve come to realize we’re an hour ahead of my watch. This is good to find out BEFORE I’m late! It’s hard to believe mom and dad are so meltingly hot when we have yet to see temperatures above the mid 60s here.

It is a sad day when you don’t learn anything. Today we learned something. Do NOT come to Virginia in July! Oh the hotness. It was only 92, but the heat index was up on the 110 range.

Colonial Williamsburg is wonderful. The houses are amazing. The staff is such fun. They really so well with their roles. They have a spy challenge for all who want to be spies. Kay, Grey, and Thane joined me in the spy game. We had ciphers, clues, loyalists, secret passwords, the whole 9 yards. Unfortunately, we were all beet red with heat and didn’t get the whole thing finished. I was really pleased with how the kids worked on it.

It was also a comedy of errors with uncharged cell phones, etc. Papapa just couldn’t handle the heat and I was thankful to be out of the heat. I think even the intrepid children had had it. They didn’t complain when we had to bail. We came back to the camp and booted up the air conditioner. We had dessert first (you can do that at Camp Gramp) ice cream, then waited until about 8:00 p.m. when I was willing to go out and grill the hamburgers. They were really good. Everyone went to take a shower. Whether everyone took a shower or not remains a topic for debate. Let’s just say that one of the towels came back dry. (We tried, didn’t we).

Now the crew is supposed to be settling down. We will see. We have decided to go home on 81. It is a little ways out of the way, but has the advantage of mostly ruralness. I do aspire to get this thing home in one piece. It is possible we will be in Thursday night. I hope the Flynns won’t mind if we park at their house. Then the Wii game can get its outing. According to Google, we are only just over 9 hours from home. We don’t believe it! Why did it take us three days to get here?

The kids have done an extraordinary job so far. We had our first little melt down tonight and it was so well handled. They are learning to take care of themselves.

I am sitting on the floor of the RV waiting for Don to return so I can take my shower. I can hardly wait. The showers rooms are really cool!

Ah, the patter of little feet. “Gramama, somewhere in the middle of my chest there is a needle and it is exploding.” Editor’s note: That’s Grey’s latest thing. I wonder what’s up with it?! I think we need to sleep!

What a lucky grandmother I am!

Camp Gramp Sunday

We have found wifi in a local little cafe, after a visit to 325 million years ago in the fossil cliffs near Cape Enrage. With that access, I bring you the latest missive from Camp Gramp!

Sunday. We did our own Sunday school. The church down the road was quarter something Baptist and we were not appropriately dressed. Don didn’t bring his black suit, shoes, and tie. About 1 p.m., we did the brave thing. We went to water world.

First, 3/4 of the world was there. Maybe 10,000 people. It was soooo crowded! I consider it a victory worthy of the vicinity of Yorktown. We arrived and left with 4 children, and they were the same ones! Baz likes the wave pool, and the water slides. Kay does not like the wave pool, or the water slides. Grey likes everything. Thane double likes everything that isn’t too baby for him. Actually, the three younger ones spent 90 minutes or so in the lazy river. They had a great time. They don’t look too red — except for Thane’s eyes. He loves to put his head under water and leap up. Clearly, he doesn’t close them.

When we got finished, we headed to Red Robin (thanks, Baz, for navigating). It is so quiet in the RV now, you wouldn’t believe it. Tiredest of the campers is Papapa.

Now we just have to decide which of the children to sell to pay off the debt. Thanks to the military for lovely discounts, in addition to a great place to stay.

This camp has huge shower/restrooms. They air condition them to truly cold.

Tomorrow, Colonial Williamsburg. We are excited. Then we turn our heads home! The kids are doing an amazing job of getting along. Grey and Kay are especially enjoying make believe games. 

Camp Gramp: the hot days

Here’s the latest update from my mom Camp Gramp!

(exclamation inappropriate to a pastor) it is hot. Hot! Hot! Hot! Even the locals are complaining. I gave a lady my place in line at the grocery store just to stay in the cool longer.

This morning was Jamestown — at one end of the Colonial Parkway. We are about a mile from the entrance, so no problem, except perhaps the vast quantity of low arch bridges which are not marked — to mention the 300′ long tunnel which I drove in the middle of and prayed for no oncoming traffic.

We went to the the visitor’s center, then out across the intriguingly named tar swamp bridge to the site of the original fort. Did I mention it was hot? We sat in the shade and fanned ourselves, discussing the wisdom of going to Yorktown, at the other end of the Colonial Parkway (see the bridges) in the heat of the afternoon. We ate lunch in the parking lot, thanking the wisdom of the Cruise America people who make it possible to boot the generator and use the air conditioner. Then we made the wise choice. Don and the children went to Minions and I went grocery shopping. Is Grey growing or something? He is hungry all the time. He was hungry 45 minutes after dinner tonight.

The evening was devoted to Yorktown. They have a lovely driving tour — did I mention the 33′ vehicle? As we started the tour the storm was about 30 miles away. As we finished, it broke over our little heads. What an interesting noise the rain makes on the roof of the RV. Carolyn says it keeps her awake.

FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE DAY. We were driving on the Colonial Parkway and the newly literate Thane shouted, “Grandmama, it says No Passing!” Well, yes, it does say “No Passing.” But it doesn’t exactly mean we can’t pass the sign right now. He read the road signs most of the trip tonight. He also did an excellent job on one of the interpretive signs. That boy is a reader.

The children are enjoying playing imagination games together. Don and I are lost in the midst of imaginary animals and shields, but the cousins are really enjoying themselves!

I am currently suffering the fate of women everywhere, I am doing the laundry. I have been here about 90 minutes and not a single man has darkened the door. Hmmm..

Tomorrow that fine historical landmark, the water park. Wish us luck

Camp Gramp 2015: The first days

Many of you are familiar with Camp Gramp – a beloved annual institution where my folks take all four of their grandchildren for a week of hijinks and adventures. My mom usually emails us updates on what they’re up to, and I often pass those along to the myriad Camp Gramp fans out there! This year’s adventure is an RV tour down the East Coast, focused on Colonial history and codes. Here’s my mom’s first update!


A keyboard! Of course, the hazard is that everyone can see this since it is a public network. Guess I better not mention the NSA!

Day one — Camp Gramp — was hectic. We couldn’t get the RV until 1 p.m., then we drove it back to the house and tossed in the collection from the porch. Hit the road, Jack, for West Point. They have the most beautiful camp ground there. Finding it only involved turning around one time — a task with the 33′ RV. (Did I mention 10′ wide — 10′? And 12.5′ tall which cost us an extra 100 miles today. The campground was very primitive — electricity and water, but it was carved out of the hillside around a beautiful little lake. I would like to go back there and sit for a week. Of course, we didn’t get there until about 10 p.m. so finding a spot was a challenge, but we parked and slept, and marveled at the lake the next morning.

And, we discovered our first forget — sleeping bags for the Flynn kids. It was a cold night for Papapa and I! It is true! It was really cold.

Day two — after organizing the RV, we spent a little time enjoying the lake. Then we took off for Annapolis. I have to say, I am admiring the truck drivers. It is scary to do the freeways with all those people buzzing around us. And the traffic jams, oh my! Also, the East coast has more than its share of freeways. We were late in at Annapolis. We would have been in time if it were for the two turn around we had to do. Did I mention 33′? I thought I did.

The historical adventure of the day was Valley Forge. We thought it was a little self—— well I don’t know what the word is I want, but everyone was a little too enamored of the site. Obviously we are in Washington territory! Every other place is Washington’s birthplace, headquarters, crossing, etc.

All this time, the kids have been doing an excellent job. They have used many more screens than their parents would like, but they have played happily in the back of the RV. They like the variety of seating arrangements. Kay and Thane sleep above the cab, the boys on the couch and table beds. We have a palatial queen sized bed in the back.

Today was the SPY MUSEUM. It was awesome. Actually a Museum of Cryptology. The kids got a treasure hunt when they came in. They had to use a spinner to decode messages. All but Thane got it done and they all received cool prizes. Kay a cool pen. Thane and Baz a puzzle, and Grey a collapsible Frisbee which they promptly threw on top of the RV. I had to drive around the parking lot faster than I liked until it flew off! Grey was intrigued with the Enigma machines you actually got to use! He has several translated messages. We ate in our air conditioned palace — Mac and Cheese made in the microwave. I can turn on the generator.

Then we headed across Virginia to a Naval supply facility. They collect and redistribute supplies for ships. They have a very modern camping facility. Rows of cement pads with full hook-ups. It will be great for what we are doing, but it is not the most beautiful facility. There is a game the kids like. It is hard to explain — it is a circle of oval pods which you have to touch in different order. They got quite a workout! We are in a triangle with Yorktown, Jamestown, and Colonial Williamsburg. We will do Yorktown and Jamestown tomorrow, Sunday will be the waterpark. Monday will be Williamsburg. We stay here Tuesday night, for a record 4 nights, then off home.

I am sorry, Brenda and Heidi, the children, possibly accepting Thane, have fallen in love with the RV. Grey has decided to live in one. I, on the other hand, am not in love with the RV. Too unforgiving in the area of navigation. A missed turn is a disaster. And huge to put down the road. My brother-in-law, Ray, who is a truck driver, said you get used to it. when I asked him how long it takes, he said 12 years of so. I don’t have 12 years — my heart won’t last that long.

And now for the confessions. Today we were in the commissary — these are hungry children. Grey said, “We should get some mints! We haven’t brushed our teeth.” “You haven’t what?” Not a single one of them had brushed their teeth. Tonight was showers and teeth brushing! We forget how much reminding needs to happen.

Well, I think I will take a walk. The evening is beautiful, just a little cool breeze.

Brenda, you would have loved it. There were two bugle calls tonight at sunset. I don’t know if they were live or canned, but they were really nice.

Goodnight all. We are still safe!