March 21, 2010

Lake Texoma

Procrastination…Guilty as charged. I am sure you all know that this particular blog has been a long time coming. Truth is I don’t even remember the exact dates of this camping adventure. None the less, it is still a noteworthy trip. So despite my extremely unacceptable delay, I hope you find this adventure one worth remembering. It certainly was for us.

This camping adventure took us north to the border of Oklahoma for a two-night trip to the Texas side of Lake Texoma. My parents had a cabin rental. We also had a pontoon boat reserved for a half-day to get some quality fishing in at the lake. We left Saturday morning for the short jaunt to Texoma.

My parents checked into the cabin while Joe and I located a suitable camp site. The campground was nearly vacant, so we had many camp sites to choose from. We settled into a beach front camp site, no more then 30 feet from the water.

As usual, our priority upon arrival was setting up our camp site. Despite our hopeful outlook, the weather was looming with gray clouds moving in and winds picking up. We competed with the windy conditions while attempting to put up the tent and eventually prevailed.

I must say, my parents rented to cutest cabin. It was one bedroom, one bathroom with a living/kitchenette area. I could not do it justice with a description. So, I will just say it was adorable and I wish I had a cute little cabin like that to escape away to on the weekends.

By now it was early afternoon. The weather was a bit chilly with threats of rain still in the near future. We were a bit bummed that the rain may dampen our weekend, but we decided to make the best of it. As usual, our dogs came along on this trip. Bronte decided that he wanted to show off his swimming and fetching skills. We located a few moderately sized sticks that we threw into the wave foaming waters. Bronte gladly followed. He loves to swim and fetch, and he returned to the beach with the stick in his mouth. He proudly dropped the conquest at our feet and awaited the next toss. Mia was less interested in fetching and contented herself with wading in the shallow waters.

Joe and my dad fully intended on getting some fishing in over the weekend. Both are novice fisherman and in need of fishing essentials, most importantly fishing licenses and bait. So, they headed to the local general store to procure these items. Apparently, the country store had to issue licenses via a dial- up (yes, I said dial-up) internet connection. Dozens of dial up internet connection errors later, they each returned with their fishing licenses and stink bait.

Eventually our appetites dictated it was time for dinner. Joe had fire duty which was more then challenging given the poor conditions. Everything was wet from rains previous in the week. Fortunately, we located a bail of hay that was just the starter our fire needed. Joe produced a great cooking fire in short order by calling on the techniques of Bear Grills, Les Stroud, and Fire Master B. We grilled four rib-eyes that had been marinating for about two days. We also wrapped up some potatoes and threw them in the coals to cook. Just about the time our dinner was ready to enjoy, the rain started. Unwilling to risk getting caught in a downpour, we packed up our camping accessories and transported our dinner (and beverage cooler) to the cabin. We set under the cover of the porch as we enjoyed our delicious dinner and watch the rain dampen our plans for the weekend. On a high note, the steaks were some of the best any of us had in a long time. Yum!

Most of our first evening was spent on the front porch trying to keep ourselves and our dogs dry. The camp ground does not allow pets in the cabin, and we tried our best to respect the rules. Eventually, we retired to our tent a little bit wet and ready for a good night sleep.

At this point, I must add a bit of background. Since we started camping, Joe had wanted to camp in the rain. Not sure exactly why, but I suspect it had to do with rounding out our camping experiences and testing his survival prowess. Well, his wish came true on this evening as it stormed all night. With the strong winds, one of the stakes came undone. I woke up to the side of the tent billowing inwards and nearly collapsing on top of me. In addition, our air mattress was deflating – apparently a leak. It should go without saying, but we had a restlessness night of sleep. Between the wind, rain, partially collapsing tent, and deflated air mattress we had a very interesting experience. Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. All things considered, our tent held up like a champ with little more then a few damp spots on the floor easily cleaned up with paper towel.

The next day, Sunday, we had a pontoon rental. Our plans were to go out on the lake for half a day so that the guys could get some fishing in. Our plans were aborted due to choppy water conditions and continued rain. There was no prospect of the rain stopping. Our weekend was quickly fizzling. With little options, we decided to resign to the cabin and watch Sunday football. Despite the rules, we let the dogs in the cabin. However, we confined them to just the living area for ease of removing any evidence of their presence.

With little else to do, we made a few pitchers of daiquries and watched the football games. To our great dismay, the Cowboys played a pitiful game against Denver – a game which they deserved to lose (and did). After a few drinks, Joe and Dad thought it might be a good idea to head to the dock and try their hand at fishing in the rain. I had visions of someone falling into the cold water or hooking the other with a poor cast. Needless to say, Mom and I were more then relieved when they abandoned this plan.

The lemon-pepper marinated half chickens we intended to cook over a camp fire had to be baked in the oven due to the continued rain. We once again enjoyed the meal at the cabin. Before long, it was time for us to retire back to our cabin. The rain and wind had calmed down considerably by bed time. We re-staked the tent to provide better stability and laid to rest on our half-inflated air mattress. Our sleeping conditions on the second night were much improved.

Monday morning we woke up and headed back to the cabin. Conditions were still overcast and damp, but better than the previous day. Mom and I prepared a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. After breakfast, Joe and Dad finally got in some quality fishing time at the marina. I tried my hand at fishing, too. As a matter of fact, the only fish that was caught that day was by me. Granted, the fish got away as he was not securely on the hook. We were not even able to get a picture, so you have to take my word for it.

The rest of the morning was routine. Pack up the camp site. Clean up the cabin (including any evidence that the dogs were inside). Load up the cars. Although we were disappointed in the weather, we walked away with some fond memories of our tip to Texoma. We hope to return to Lake Texoma under better conditions.