Drama on the high seas!
OK, we aren’t on a dingy in the middle of the sea, but it sort of has felt like it. We have been contending with endless rain for five days. Rain is generally welcomed in this part of the country (and in much of the country), but to a family of new camping travelers, it left a little to be desired. But like the good natured folk that we are, we smiled (with an edge behind it) and tried to embrace our new life for the first three days.
Our tent is supposed to be waterproof. I know you noticed that I used the phrase “supposed to be”. It turns out that this lovely Australian canvas needs to be seasoned. Seasoning canvas is the process of soaking and drying it several times to get the canvas to swell and seal up the little holes in the canvas that were created in the sewing process. Most people choose to do this in their driveways. I picture this process as described by the camper trailer company as one that happens on a gorgeous, sunny, Sunday afternoon with the sun shining and the water glistening on the top of the canvas roof as it magically seals the tent into a waterproof vessel. Since we lacked both the driveway and the glorious Sunday afternoon, we have been conditioning our tent in the middle of the night, under pouring skies and blowing winds. This process that involves a cycle of soaking and drying canvas includes an intervening stage with lots of puddles inside the tent unfortunately proximate to our beds. We spent Saturday night waking up every two hours to push the pooling water off the top of the awning to avoid collapse.
So this was the scene for a few nights and we were getting through it, grateful that we had gotten solid sides for the tent and that the kids were sleeping fine through the deluge.
On Monday we had to run an errand. We got drenched in the process of loading up Cave Lion, our trusty Toyota Land Cruiser with our gear. We struggled with the tarp, but got our bags loaded on the roof and headed off on our quick errand.
It was a brief trip, but it was pouring so Jay suggested that we dash back to the caravan park briefly to check on Siberian tiger to push the water off the awning before heading off our on next errand. And we returned to find big drama at the caravan park. We looked around and saw a series of tents in disrepair and a couple of people struggling to tie things down. The wind was whipping and we both got quiet as we approached our section of the park. This is what we found:
The picture fails to capture that many of our belongings were strewn all over the lawn and the wind was blowing intensely (although this is partially apparent when you look closely at Jay’s face in this picture.) We moved quickly to take the poles out of the awning, remove the remaining (clearly inadequate) stakes from the ground and gather our distributed kitchen wares. The scene was a bit dramatic. Each time we tried to duck under the canvas to free a pole from the awning, we would become sucked into a canvas vortex that enveloped us, interrupted only by the fast moving flying tent poles. It was a scene! A much more capable looking (and acting) Australian took pity on our scene and came and helped hold the tent as I began undoing the poles. As I unclipped the poles, I found my mind trying fiercely to remind me that there is a version of life in which I am a capable, knowledge person who can handles lots of unforeseen situations… It just turns out this version of life requires a set of skills that I have not yet acquired 🙂
So we battened down the hatches, tied down the awning as best we could and abandoned ship!
It turned out that the storm worsened over the course of the day. We went to check out our site later that afternoon. All the tents were gone or flattened, awnings flapped in tatters around a few caravans and we made the decision that we should spend the night indoors as gale force winds were predicted overnight. We rented a cabin on the property, jacked up the heat, took long hot showers and basked in the glory of the indoors for the night.
Siberian Tiger had to go in for repairs, so we ended up with a second night indoors while the awning was mended and other various bits were fixed. We are going to pick it up in a few minutes and continue on with our “adventure”.
Go with the flow… the mantra that we have been trying to embrace. It’s probably a good attitude to have in general, but we are learning it is even more particularly important when you have decided to live in a canvas mobile house!
Off we go!