Thursday, July 05, 2007

4th of July

With the plant closed for the 4th, Lauren done with her second summer class, and the Solstice gathering shelved, Lauren and I were finally able to camp out this summer, which was nice because neither one of us had been to the Mozingo Lake rec area east of town for a campout (actually, Lauren has been there before; she just hasn't camped there before).

We set out Tuesday evening for the lake, managing to grab one of the last tent campsites available in a nice shaded spot not too far from the campground entrance and about a mile from the visitor center. After unloading the car, pitching the tent, filling the air mattress, and setting up the grill (not to mention letting Woodgie nap for a little bit), we embarked on dinner, which we'd mapped out late last week. Although I've grilled before, I hadn't done small grill/charcoal grilling in awhile. I hate to admit it, but I don't have my Man Scout merit badge in starting a charcoal grill; fortunately, Kingsford has come up with these "light the bag and walk away" BBQ in a bag charcoal packs, which work wonderfully.

Dinner that evening was grilled Chicken Sate (Thai version, using a set of Thai-spice skewers we found at Hy-Vee, with a little bit of Indonesian gado gado substituting for the usual peanut sauce), a cucumber-onion salad, and some grilled fruit (pineapple and melon) with yogurt dip for dessert:

Following dinner, we went for a walk from the campsite up to the visitor's center, where we discovered that (amazingly) one of the cabins near the lake was open (last year they were all booked). We also picked up some camping supplies (we'd forgotten to pack some dish soap, among other things). Woodgie also found time to visit with the neighbors at the campsite and, in one case, find a new friend:

The following morning found us waking early to the sound of thunder; concerned that we might get rained on, we quickly packed up the tent and chairs into the car. Later, after realizing that we weren't going to get rained on, we unloaded the lounge chairs with the new camp stove we got among our wedding presents and proceeded to make breakfast: instant oatmeal and fresh coffee made in Woodgie's stovetop espresso pot:

After breakfast, Lauren went for a walk, while I ended up finding a nearby electrical outlet so I could charge my phone, which was almost out of juice. Later that morning, with the sun coming out (too much for our tastes), we ditched the campsite in favor of a small shelter near the lake itself, which featured shade and the possibility of a great view of the fireworks later that evening, as well as a great view of the lake. As the shelter also had a grill, that allowed us to continue our holiday feasting: grilled veggies with the remainder of the gado gado peanut sauce and the remainder of the cucumber salad for lunch, and later for dinner, hot dogs, grilled corn, and more grilled fruit.

We also got to watch the fireworks crew set up the displays, which they tested with a couple of dry (no firework loaded) powder charges in the afternoon:

Alas, staying for the fireworks wasn't to be: right after dinner, Woodgie discovered that despite her best efforts, she'd gotten a little sunburned and wasn't feeling well (and I didn't blame her, because the temps had gotten into the mid 90s that afternoon), so we called it an evening about 7:30, packed up the cooler, and headed home for the cooler comfort of the indoors.