Monday, June 21, 2010

Vacation destination one: Columbus, OH

We divided up our nine-day vacation so we spent two nights at each spot (and spent the last day driving home).  Since we were camping, this meant that we had a little more leisure time rather than breaking and setting up camp every day, but not so much time that we got really bored of one city.

We left our home Friday afternoon and drove for several hours underneath a completely awful rainstorm.  So bad that I quickly rearranged dinner plans for that evening; we ended up eating chimichangas that I'd made and frozen earlier in the week (defrosted thanks to a stint on the dashboard as we drove).  We camped for the next two nights at Alum Creek State Park. 

Here is what I have to say about those two nights:  It was horrifically hot.  And it rained almost nonstop. 
It was a good thing this happened at the beginning of the trip rather than the end, because I probably would have packed up and gone home early.  Our tents, tarps, sleeping bags, and clothing were soaked by both rain and sweat--it was a pretty miserable combination. Fortunately, however, everyone still had first-day-of-vacation euphoria, so it was more adventurous than it would have been otherwise.  And the kids couldn't have cared less about the rain--the only thing that bothered them was that we couldn't have a campfire because the fire ring was under about four inches of standing water (yes.  You read that right).

Our plans for Columbus were to go to the zoo there, which is one of the best-ranked in the country.  I lay awake most of the night listening to the rain pound our tent (it was literally too hot to sleep) and praying frantically that it would stop long enough for us to go to the zoo.

And my prayers were answered.  The rain let up for exactly eight hours--we went to the zoo, came back to the campsite, ate dinner, and the rain started again just as we finished dinner.  Rained all night.  Let up briefly as we packed up and headed to church.  Rained again.

In any case, we had a really lovely time at the zoo.  We were there for seven and a half hours, and we could easily have spent another four or five there to actually see everything.  Some of the highlights:  watching the polar bears fish, crouching down at the manatee tank and watching the stingrays and turtles navigate around the five manatees, watching the diver feed the reef-dwellers (Abigail was so all about the sharks, and was a little disappointed when the biggest was only four or five feet long), watching a lorikeet perch on Abigail's arm and sip nectar from a cup she was holding, taking a ride through the Indonesian/Islands exhibit (hot, hot, hot; the breeze off the "river" was so welcome). 

One of the best things that happened all day was eating dinner--we had black-bean quesadillas, fresh pineapple, and steamed broccoli.  We were all ravenous and I loved the fact that we started eating less than ten minutes after we got back to camp (we cut the pineapple and broccoli before we left home).  I never really considered quesadillas as a camping meal, but it was awesome. 

Next up:  Kirtland, OH.

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