Even though this camping trip was eons ago, I remember it pretty good thanks to pictures and the fact that we had a really good time. It was just about the whole cul de sac that went. First we met up with one couple and spent a week camping just outside Victoria then, the second week, we all headed up to Parksville to meet the rest of the gang.
There were 5 families from the cds plus one couple’s parents……..13 kids between the ages of 3 and 9! We had a week of glorious weather….except for one night when there was a wicked thunderstorm. Everyone had different modes of camping vehicles at that time…a tent trailer, a truck and camper and one deluxe motorhome! Two of the couples rented trailers at the campsite. That year we had moved up the camping vehicle chain to a real camper van with a mini fridge!! We also had a couple of tents that most of the kids took turns sleeping in. We’d bought the van in the spring of that year and Ken spent the next couple of months just about gutting the inside of it and getting it ready. I made new seat covers and curtains. This was our first “official” camping trip in it.
Because there was such a big group of us, we had to reserve spots at a private campsite, so it wasn’t the roughing it kind of camping like we normal would do in the Provincial or State campgrounds. We could actually hook up to water and power in this private one. There was a big communal campfire area, which we used every night. And the best part of all…..the campsite was right at the beach!
One afternoon the guys went golfing and the next it was the girls turn. We went on hikes a couple of the days and toured some of the unique little towns nearby like Coombs and the market http://www.oldcountrymarket.com/ but, Parksville has a pretty incredible beach, so that is where we spent most of our time. It’s a huge, safe beach…..when the tide is out, you walk into the water for what seems like forever just to get to your knees! We played soccer on the beach, hunted for sand dollars, dug for clams, built sandcastles, floated on air mattresses and one day had to go running out into the water to recover towels, clothes and beach toys that had gotten swept away when the tide was coming in.
When we weren’t at the beach, there were plenty of places for the kids to play and meet yet more kids there with their families. They had a horseshoe pitch, so just about every evening before dinner we had tournaments, kids and all.
We had set up a big communal table and cooking area between our campsite and our friends next to us. Between all of us we had a lot of tarps…..just because it was usually raining on our camping trips….we were always prepared! They came in handy that thunderstorm night……we had to keep poking sticks up to get the water off so the whole thing wouldn’t collapse….the kids liked doing that.
The night this picture was taken we were having a crab feast. We had gone a little ways further up the coast earlier in the day and bought a ton of it, for a couple bucks each, right from the guy that caught it.
After the kids went to bed at night, we’d sit around and play a game or cards and have a few drinks. As much as I complained about camping, I always had a good time. I miss those days! Trips like this made for some great memories that still get talked about today, by both the adults and the kids.