Camping in the Rain…. lessons learned.

We haven’t camped in almost 2 months and we really needed to get out for this trip despite the rain.  Actually, this trip was planned last week, but because of so much rain we postponed it until now.  It’s no fun watching radars every day and seeing big blobs of green and yellow in an area you have camping reservations, but here we are anyway….

Our camping trip this time is to Falls Lake Recreation Area (in the NC State Park system) in Wake Forest, NC.  It is about 15 minutes north of Raliegh and about 15 min. east of Durham.  We’ve been to Raleigh before and thought this would be a close trip from home to check out some of the North Carolina State Parks not in the mountains.  

Sunday, Day 1.

First run to the dump station…. slow, slow, slow is the name of the game.

We left Sunday afternoon around 1:30 pm.  We knew it wouldn’t take too long to get here and since check in was at 4:00 we needed to stall.  It was Memorial weekend so we figured we probably wouldn’t be able to check in early.  On the way we stopped at Camping World in Raleigh to get a tote tank.  We had searched for them on-line two days before and sort of kicked ourselves for not ordering one sooner.  State Parks rarely have full hook-up.  We can usually go 3 days not filling up the grey tank, but we really were not in the mood to conserve water all that much so we felt a tote tank would be the answer.  When we were looking on-line, there were none to be had.  Everywhere they were on back-order.  At Camping World on-line they even were back ordered so our chances of just stopping and picking one up were slim to say the least.  When we went into the store, there was just what we were looking for sitting in a box next to the back cash register.  We were thrilled they had them, only to get our bubble busted when we saw it was paid for and sitting there for a customer pick-up.  We got to talking with the gentlemen at the register and he informed us that the Barker units (the one we wanted) always had to be special ordered.  He said he could probably have one for us by Wednesday,  so we ordered it with the thought we would drive the 30 min. back to that part of Raleigh to pick it up.  That really wasn’t the ideal situation, since we knew our grey tank would fill up by Tuesday morning….but we ordered it anyway because we knew we would want it for future trips.  We paid for it and were headed to our truck in the parking lot when the salesperson came running out to us and said he had just called and spoke to the owner of the paid unit.  He said that the customer wasn’t coming until Thursday to pick it up and that we could have the unit that was sitting in the store.  Whooo hooo….we scored!!!!  We’ve seen quite a few complaints on-line about Camping Worlds (and probably would still never order a camper from them), but this particular salesperson went above and beyond to make us happy.  Now let’s hope they actually do get another one in by Wednesday to fulfill that paid customer order….hmmm.


Huge double site 8D

We arrived at the campground after 4:00 Sunday afternoon.  We are in loop 1 and have a huge double site.  When I went to move last week’s reservations to this week, only one site (this double 8D) was available.  On the map it showed it right behind the bath house so I thought it would be an easy walk there.  When we got here we found out just how secluded these campsites are.  To get to the bathhouse, you need to walk through a wooded area, or go the long way on a secluded road.. so far I have not done that, but Greg doesn’t seem to have a problem. 



It was sunny when we arrived,  so after we set-up we proceeded to walk over to Loop 2 to see the “beach” area.  Loop 2 was loaded with tents and campers.  This loop was definitely more crowded then where we are at.  Some sites looked like caravans where 3 – 5 tents and 1 camper were set up and people all over the place.  Trying not to be a snob, but this is what I don’t like about camping.  All we did was walk through there and noticed how close the campsites were.  Yes there were some trees separating the sites, but lots of kids and adults everywhere.  I can imagine these kids were having the time of their lives, camping like that.  It really didn’t bother me, but I prefer a little more of a quite retreat type campsite.  Loop 1 seemed to be the perfect spot for us.


The swimming area was really nice and the lake was beautiful.  Not many boats on the water because of the weather, but I can imagine on a busy, sunny weekend this place would be packed.  

Evidently the tropical storm Alberto is dumping rain everywhere from Florida up through the Carolinas….  It rained Sunday evening off and on but it really wasn’t as hard as we had expected. The worse part so far has been the humidity.  It is kind of oppressive the humidity is so high.  We don’t really see a relief in site.  I think we would have been fine with it just cool and raining for camping, but it being so hot and humid AND raining is a little much to take.   


Monday, Day 2 – Memorial Day

Monday we got up and noticed again how humid and damp it was here. The camper seems fine inside because we use a small dehumidifier in the bedroom and have some damp rid canisters in the cabinets, but as soon as you step outside you feel the moisture…both from the rain and the humidity.  We already had planned to go to the Crabtree Mall in Raliegh for most of the day since we knew rain was in the forecast.  We live in small coastal town that doesn’t have much in the way of shopping, so we scheduled this in before we came.  This mall is one of the nicer ones around.  We came from Cincinnati, Ohio where the Kenwood mall is the place to go.  Stores like Williams and Sonoma, Pottery Barn,  Gap Kids and so on are where we like to shop…. and the Crabtree Mall has that and more.  They even have the furniture/accessory store Arhaus, which I haven’t seen since we’ve moved south.  We also spent some time at Barnes and Nobles and made sure we purchased some reading material for the days ahead.  So all in all it didn’t turn out to be that bad of a day, even if it did cost us a little more $$$ ;


Tuesday, Day 3

Early Tuesday morning we woke up to hard, heavy, down pouring RAIN.  I’m not sure when it started, but at 5:00 am, I thought we were going to float away….   I have never been in a rainstorm that heavy in a camper since we started camping.  The whole time, I’m laying in bed thinking we’re going to have a leak, we’re going to have a leak….  I mean after all, there is so much stuff attached to the roofs and so many seams that could not be sealed…. we are going to have a leak.  It rained off and on like this until about 7 am.  When we got up, we examined everywhere and not one drop of water got in.   Whew…..

Most of the campers left yesterday and we found out just how secluded we really are. There are no campers in this whole loop.  We haven’t walked over to loop 2 because of the weather, but I think they are all cleared out of there also.  We haven’t seen another car in site other than the ranger that comes around occasionally. 

We sat around, most of the morning in the camper running the AC.  So far the 15k AC has been great.  It has cooled this camper wonderfully.  Our previous camper didn’t have the ducted system and this one does, which makes it quieter and quite comfortable.   Around noon we decided to go and check out the little town of Wake Forest.   Wake Forest is a small little college town.    We drove to town and checked out some of the local shops but there really wasn’t all that much there.   Again the weather was hot and muggy and the threat of rain seemed to be still around, so on a sunny day the town would have felt more alive.  It is the home  of  Southeastern Theological Seminary and Wake Forest University and I noticed in a town magazine that they do have lots of events throughout the spring and summer….I just don’t think it was the right day to be there.

Last week I  got a deal on some Durham Bulls minor league baseball game tickets.   I say that with a smirk because compared to what we normally use to pay for Cincinnati Red’s tickets they were actually a steal.  Greg had always wanted to go to some minor league baseball games and both of us sort of miss the Red’s games we use to frequent…. so we decided to plan on going to see the Bulls this trip.  Once we got to this area we thought we were just going to have to eat the tickets, because we never imagined going with this rain, humidity and storms in the forecast.  But Tuesday afternoon we started noticing that it was clearing a little.  We really, really wanted to see this ball park, so we packed ponchos, umbrellas and raincoats and set off to go to Durham…  

The baseball park was so much fun.  It was like a miniature  MLB arena.  I even made the large screen when they panned around while everyone was up singing for the 7th inning stretch lol…   Little did we know it would be in such great weather the entire evening.  Amazingly, the humidity felt all day seemed to have dissipated there at that ball park.  It is located in what’s called the Tobacco District where Bull Durham Tobacco Factory once operated…  An interesting  historical entertainment complex of  restaurants and misc. businesses with a cool architectural brick vibe.  If and when we come to another game (we’re already checking the dates) we will plan on spending more time at some of the establishments.  The weather for the evening was dry and cooler and it made for an enjoyable evening at the ball park.  One, two, three strikes your out at the ole ball game??

We arrived back at our campground around 11:00 pm…. to a eerily dark and quite area.  All the campers were gone and the park offices all closed.   I’m glad I’m not the type to watch many scary movies, because this probably would have been a great scene from one….  Usually I love a large private site, but last evening felt like we were camping in the middle of a large forest all by ourselves.    Then around 11:30 our electricity went off for no reason we could think of.  Greg took a lamp out to the electric post outside and plugged it in and found out it was the electricity to probably the whole campground.  There we are by ourselves, out in the middle of no where with no generator to run an AC in this hot humidity….  and there was no one to call.  State Parks don’t always have host campers and we saw earlier in the day the camp host site was empty.  I still had some battery left on my ipad and the cell service was pretty good, so I was able to log into the Duke Energy website and find out that the area we are in did actually have a power outage.  They expected it to be fixed by 3:00 am.  We sat and waited.  Then about midnight, the power came back on…. whew.

We were thinking we might just pack up and go home today but we have reservations until tomorrow.  It was a hard call, but we decided we would just sit around all day and do little bits of nothing.  There are not many days we can just sit around our home and read, work puzzles, blog, etc. without any guilt.  Today is going to be one of those days.

We’ll pack up tomorrow and probably be home by noon….  Lesson learned?  We can still have an okay time camping in the rain…..