With one small camping trip to a local state park under my belt, it was time to up the ante and take a trip out-of-town. Jenna had not been in the camper and Spring Break was on the horizon, so I suggested a trip for the two of us so I could get more experience and she could become acclimated to the camping life. We picked the Stone Mountain Park Campground for our trip and booked it for three nights in March. I referred to it as MTTS Boot Camp because it really was a deliberate attempt to see how we would do on a short trip before heading out on the mother of all road rallies. Could we spend 19 days on the road and sleep in very close quarters and still like each other when it was over? It was time to find out.
We headed out for Atlanta on a Monday, a little later than I had hoped, and due to heavy traffic and a few stops, we arrived at Stone Mountain a couple of hours before sunset. It was a spectacular campground and our site was right on the lake with a beautiful view of the mountain. Unlike previous sites, this one was paved, but it was not level. That provided me with a chance to test my skills and realize that there were additional things I needed. I didn’t have stacking jack pads (some people use wood) or a level. I found an iPhone app to use as a level and I was able to get things pretty even, although my eggs ran to one edge of the griddle when I cooked.
One of Jenna’s immediate concerns was the bathrooms at campgrounds, and she wanted some reassurance that they weren’t like a locker room. As a newbie I had asked this question in the MTTS Campers group on Facebook and experienced campers told me that the showers were more private. I was relieved to find what they told me was true, and we found the bathrooms/showers at Stone Mountain to be very clean and accommodating.
On one of the days we took a trip to the Georgia Aquarium but mostly we just stayed at the campground and enjoyed the scenery and tranquility. The temperatures were brisk at night so we didn’t need the air conditioner and we both slept very well. We were awakened each morning to the sounds of a large woodpecker whom I named “Woody,” after the red-headed cartoon bird from my childhood. He was very diligent and had pecked a spiraled pattern of holes in one of the large trees at our site. In the morning after out first night I popped open the round door of the teardrop and was treated to a spectacular view of the lake and the mountain with a crystal blue sky.
Jenna is a vegan and we were able to dash to a nearby Whole Foods to get some things I could warm up and cook for her on the propane burners. We spent the next two evenings just relaxing under the stars, using the WiFi with our laptops, and to try-out the T@G entertainment system we watched a Redbox DVD one night. On the last night we lit a campfire and had talked about roasting marshmallows, but the vegan ones (without gelatin) at Whole Foods were like $9 for a bag, so we got the new vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream instead, yum! Working-out food choices and minimizing trips to the store will be one of our challenges on the MTTS trip.
On the last night we had a stunning sunset behind the mountain. I sat by the fire for a while, soaking it all in and wondering why I had waited so long to do this. The trip was a huge success and with three months to go until MTTS I began to get excited while realizing that Jenna and I were going to share a very epic adventure together.