Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Last Days of Summer

Well I am back from a little, unofficial, unplanned, vacation, of sorts, from blogging. I missed you all and sorry for not keeping up, but I really do have lots more conversation ideas to post so keep with me!

Last year, my family didn't take any summer vacations and it was the longest summer ever. This year we have two planned. Last month we took a car trip up the Hwy 1 for a week. We visited the Danish town of Solvang, meandered through the Hearst "palace," watched the fish swim at Monterrey Aquarium, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and enjoyed the big redwoods all the while camping every night at a new location.

That is right, we fit everything: four suitcases, four sleeping bags, two foam pads (for sleeping on), a four-person tent, lots of food and snacks, and a very large ice chest in a regular sized car - with no luggage racks. Yes, that was art at its best. We slept somewhere different every night and my husband artfully packed and unpacked everyday. We needed a vacation after our vacation - we were exhausted.

But, we are not done vacationing. We have one more week and we are going to YOSEMITE! Yes, we booked our reservations back in March and at that time did a frantic rush of selecting our sites before they were all taken away right before our eyes (craziness online, I tell ya). So, we have to go.

Here is the big camping question: How do you wash your dishes at the campground? My husband is all about not leaving waste and has purchased silverware and dishes. Gone are the plastic utensils and paper plates (darn-it). Although very noble of him, very inconvenient for me. If you have any advice, please let me know.

Now my oldest son gets to go on a vacation - apart from us. Tomorrow, sadly, I will bring my son over to a friend's house and he will be staying at a cabin, hanging out at a lake, swimming endlessly, and speeding along on a raft pulled by a boat all without me! For a week! It will be hard to say goodbye to him, but it will be even more difficult to accept that he is having fun with another family! Well, really, we are so thankful for this family and for them being willing to take him along (I sure hope he takes his plates to the sink and all that we have been "training" him to do over the years. Now is the true test of our parenting!)

So, here is to the last days of summer. When we return, we can talk about AGELESSNESS. Until then ~ Happy Summering!


  1. Sharon...I use a plastic dishwashing tub - the same 1 for washing & rinsing...available at any Walmart/Target type of store. First wash dishes with as a little soap & water (I even use coldish water)...then drain off the water, rinse the dishes with cold water well then what I do is boil a big pot of water and pour it over said dishes or dip them in the boiling water. That way the cold water gets all the soap off and the boiling water helps to sterilize. I have a trailer now but when we camp for a week w/o hookups I still wash dishes this way. You can also just use a very large pot to wash them in. I am like Clif and use plastic dishes and metal utensils, figuring I have to wash the pots and pans I cook with anyway. I would just use an old bath towel folded in half to drain the dishes on. Hope this helps you. We used to camp the same way you did but we only went one place. I cannot even imagine unpacking and packing every day! That had to get OLD fast! ~Suzy
    P.S. Do you have a campstove or do you heat up the water with a fire? Campstoves are wonderful, I hope you have one!

  2. I grew up camping. Since my mom was so allergic, she was better off in the mountains, and sometimes we would stay in one spot for a month, and my Dad would go down for the week to work. My mother was very ingenious about making the site convenient - like she would nail a mirror to a tree, with a small wash basin sitting on I-don't'-what. We had two large basins which we would set on the table to wash dishes - one to wash the dishes in and one to rinse, and then lay them out on a towel. Oh, my parents had camp'in down-pat. Once when it was raining she was outside digging a trench all around the tent so the water couldn't go under the tent. I used to feel so helpless when my mom and Dad and brother were so busy setting up camp; they knew exactly just what to do, but I didn't seem to be able to help in any way, so finally they would send me to go gather up kindling for the fire - we always had a fire, and sat around singing songs or roasting marshmallows on sticks that my Dad would make from twigs. Both my parents were so efficient and could do anything, and my brother learned from them but I felt helpless. When Daniel was a baby before the age of disposable diapers, I even washed diapers in camp, and Daddy strung up a clothes line. We used to camp all over the Central Sierras and around Lake Tahoe, and also up the camps in the Coast Redwoods.

  3. On the market is dish detergent that squarts on sponge, so I rinse plates, silverware ect. wipe the items with the sponge then rinse off with hottest water available at camping site or boil rinse water on campfire.

  4. Thanks so much for the great tips everyone! I will have to go out and get 2 of those dish tubs and a dish sponge wand (I think that is what they are called). Good tips on the hot and cold water. We did get a camp stove so I can boil water. I'll let you know how it goes!

  5. Sharon - It sounds like your family had a great adventurous summer! Unfortunately, I don't have any helpful tips or suggestions to make camping easier. I didn't take any vacations this summer so I guess I will just have to live a bit through you!