Monday, June 02, 2008

The Hendricks Tent Camp


We get there.

After 5 and a half hours in the car, we all arrived safely.

I didn't jump out or throw any of my kids out.

I've learned to celebrate even the tiniest of victories.

After talking through my "road trip issues" with dear friends, it was made very clear to me why I hate them and Aaron likes them.

One of my friends pointed out that men like car rides because all they do is drive.

This was revolutionary to me.

I had never thought about it before.

For some reason, I think driving is a hard job.

"Aaron has to drive the whole way" is really how my brain thought through road trips.

But driving...

when you think about it...

that's not very taxing.

On the other hand...

crawling over seats to pass out Capri Suns or to re-buckle a child who got caught half way, trying to escape from their car seat...

that's hard work.

After being in the car for an extended period of time, the only place I hope we're driving to is a chiropractor's office.

My neck hurts from turning around to assist in some way.

I have buckled and rebuckled myself 98,000 times from the beginning of the trip to the end of the trip.

And Aaron has sat there and...


as well as watch my rear end crawling into the back seat many, many times.

He admits...the driver has the best job!

I think he may even bribe the kids into being extra needy, because extra needy means extra times when Aaron gets to see my rear end in his rear view mirror.

We get to Garner.

We wait a very, very long time to get our camp spots.

If you go to Garner with a group, make sure to plan something fun for the kids to do while you all check in. We didn't...and we regretted it. Poor babies (and grown ups) we drove forever, get there and then you find out you aren't really have to wait a long time to get all the details ironed out, spots picked and tags on your windows.

The entire time I was getting ready for this trip I googled "cabins in Garner" a ton of times to come up with not ONE picture of the cabins.

Why aren't there pictures of the cabins?

I need to know the lay out.

I need to know what to expect.

In my daydreams about camping, the cabins were made out of post card campy.

The real Garner so post cardy.

When we arrived, I walked in...saw TWO roaches...alive...

I sat down in a chair.

My head was spinning.

I was trying not to cry, but Aaron walked in...I saw him...and I cried a little.

I was so disappointed in myself!

I SO wanted to do this!

I can do dirty.

I can do hot.

I can do outdoorsy.

I can't do roaches.

I'm terrified of them. Remember this?

Aaron saw me, sat down in front of me, was so sweet and said...

"You can't do this, can you?"

I was trying hard to hold back the tears.

"No...I want to though. I don't want to ruin this for you and the boys. I want to be able to do this" I said.

"But you can't, can you?" You won't sleep all week, will you?"

"No...I won't. I can't."

Then he was so precious and said, "What can I do to make this better?"

Ugh. I was so upset with myself.

I did NOT want to be high maintenance.

I wanted to unload our manly in a womanly way...and get down to that beautiful river.

I was disappointed in myself.

I should have known myself better. If I had really thought through this whole thing, I would have KNOWN I could not do this.

I'm not this kind of person, and deep down, I know that.

What was I thinking?

Next, Kirby came over.

I almost cried to her too.

It is funny NOW to remember the conversation with her and Aaron.

I was so sad that I couldn't do this. They were so calm.

I said..."I don't want people to make fun of me. I don't want to ruin anyone's vacation..." I was a mess.

They both said that YES, I was going to be made fun of, but this isn't going to surprise anyone.

Aaron even said..."This is why we like're insane."

I don't know why that made me feel better...a normal person would have probably been offended...but it DID make me feel better.

Kirby added..."This is just you. No one is going to be shocked by this. You're eccentric. You're crazy...but we love you."

Aaron says..."What can we do?"

I said, "I would rather sleep in a tent than sleep in this place with the roaches."

When I'm sleeping there are some rules...and one of them is that no roaches can touch me.

That's not so high maintenance, right?

Well...we couldn't just cancel our cabin and have a tent spot because Garner is hard to get into, and the tent spots were unavailable.

So...why not put a tent right outside our cabin? We already had that that should be fine, right?


No tents are allowed on a cabin spot.

And then there was the whole air conditioning issue.

Yes...go ahead and laugh...

But we brought an air conditioner.

And so did lots of other people, so just shush-it.

It's May in's hot.

And again...for VACATION...sleeping in sweat just doesn't seem like something you can't wait to leave home and do.

Aaron was sure he could air condition our tent outside. I believed him. He can do anything.

But, we couldn't have a tent spot, and we couldn't pitch a tent on our cabin spot.


Aaron thought of a brilliant plan.

This sweet man drove about 40 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart.

He bought us a huge tent.

He also bought us two queen sized air mattresses.

He drove 40 miles back to Garner and put a tent up in our cabin.

He moved all the furniture around in the cabin, made room for our tent and pitched it INSIDE the cabin.

We tent camped inside a cabin with air conditioning.

That's the way the Hendricks do camping, people...

right there...

this is where it's at.

I felt so bad for Aaron having to work so hard on his first day of vacation...but he was wonderful.


While he was working, I went up to him, practically in tears again watching him work. I said, "Aaron, I'm so sorry I'm so annoying."

He said, "Heather, my mom always used to say that my dad's favorite thing in life is to save the day. It's my favorite thing to do too."

He was right.

Aaron loves to save the day, and he gets the opportunity to do it almost daily. He is amazing, such a genius and can make any bad situation good. It's a gift.

He made a potentially horrible situation wonderful.

The tent remained ZIPPED at all times unless one was entering or exiting, which was restricted to bedtime only. Under NO other conditions could the tent be open.

Once this issue was fixed, everything was WONDERFUL.

We played at the river all day, hung out and laughed with friends at night, and then went to our cabin and slept in a tent, sealed up, protecting us from roaches. We slept wonderfully on air mattresses with our own clean, wonderful bedding...all in an air conditioned environment.


There was one breach in the tent security system...the only time during the entire trip that this mother lost it. More on that later.

For now, enjoy the pictures of this beautiful, clear, cold river in Texas.

It was incredible. We lived down there last week, only coming back to the camp sites when starvation was near.

This river is so beautiful. It's completely clear. There isn't even any sand! Crazy! It's completely white rock. Even the "beach" area is all white sand in your your swim really is heavenly.

Hayden caught fish all week with his goggles! Isn't that amazing? He was such the nature freak. Even random strangers at the river would joke about him being Bear Grylls. This was a huge compliment to him!
None of us wanted to come home. Hayden summed it up best:

"I don't want to live in Bryan anymore. I want to live by that river for 5,000 days."

Me too!

As scary as my cabin was...and I'm not exaggerating about the roaches. It was infested. Every day, I'd wake up and see new dead ones and new live ones. AND, the entire outside was covered in HUGE dead roaches. Ah! scary as it was, one of my dreams DID come true this weekend. This picture is of Kirby's cabin right next to mine. I was neighbors with my Kirby for a week! So fun!

What a great trip! If you have never been on vacation with should go! I had never really done this before where you stay with friends for a week. It will be one of my favorite memories, I'm sure.

I got the nick name, Heather Hilton this week.

Don't listen to any of them!

The worst teasing came from my brother and Mike.

Teasing me about sleeping in a tent in a cabin is unfair since they both brought a Marriot with them to camp in.

Now the Wards on the other hand...

There will be an ENTIRE post about them.

They TENT camped with babies and no air conditioning.

They are super hero equivalents to me after this week.

More to come...

Oh...and for the record...

When we got home, the first night, I told Aaron...

I miss our tent. I would take this bed down tomorrow and put up a tent in our bedroom.

I loved it that much.


Landreneau Family said...

Seriously, I almost fell out of my chair laughing at your tent inside the cabin!!! We only camp in the cool/cold weather, so AC isn't necessary, but we do sleep on air mattresses and have heaters.

I'm so proud of you!

Leslie Moore said...

What you really need is an RV! That way you can have air conditioning, a running shower, and a microwave and still say that you are camping! And there wouldn't be any roaches!

I love the Frio River. It is one of my most favorite places in the world, and I'm so glad you had a fun vacation!

I love that you pitched a tent in the cabin! Yay for Aaron saving the day!

matt, larra, and brody said...

That is stinking awesome! I totally would have done the same thing. I can't even imagine how you felt walking in seeing all that! Ugghh!!

Isn't living next to Kirby so fun? I miss living next door to her. The 6 months or so that we did was great!

Glad you guys had a great trip!!

D.O. said...

Aaron: You're a stallion. I pretty sure I've told close to everyone I know that you're a stallion, but I'm not sure if I ever told you... so there. You're a stallion. I bought a level at Home Depot today and thought of you. Oh, and that goat's getting long... you gonna grow it out until you can put it in your mouth??

Heather: I love that you endured the hardships of outdoor living. I also love that you're executing the rule of thirds in your photos these days. And I love love love your honesty.

Anson: You're the master of rope swings. No question. You rule.

Hayden: Dude, people compared you to Bear Grylls. Mini-stallion.

Ashton: Don't ever stop wearing hats that are too big for you. You're so stinkin awesome.

Hendricks in Mexico said...

Isn't it all SOOO worth it to see your little boys in love with rocks and trees and rivers?

RVs. Yes. There's a drawer where you find forks. There's a cabinet where you have toilet paper.

Ours was a 1969 Silver Streak, and STILL is was loads better than tent camping or renting cabins, both of which we have tried.

LOVE the pictures!! This Grandma almost feels like she didn't miss it.

The Kramer Family said...

We love you Heather Hilton!

When Aaron came over to our campsite to announce the 'news', we weren't in shock in the least. As a matter of fact, I'm sure I saw your bother shudder in fear out of the corner of my eye at the thought of sleeping with roaches. He shares the same fear.

I was in awe at how sweet and calm Aaron was about the whole thing.

You perfected camping at its finest. I think you should make Aaron draw a diagram of his a/c duct system into the tent. That was amazing.

Love you!

bekah said...

I totally had a tent in my room for YEARS. Literally. It was so stinkin' fun. Eventually I got too big for it so my mom threw it away.

I always wanted one of those tents that fit over your bed.
Those are the BEST.

Way to go Heather Hilton, you did not have to come home early!!

And I love how you tell these hilarious stories.


Denese said...

Heather Hilton - you are hysterical and I just wish Meg & Brock could've been on this trip with you if they'd not been in Zambia - Meg would've been right there with you about the roaches. BTW she doesn't think she's high maintenance either (but she is - a mother knows these things). We've all actually been to the Frio - ask her about it - she was probably like 13 or 14 & we drove all the way over to Garner State Park for the dance & she wouldn't even budge! Anyway I just love your blogs - they make my day! Thanks for being such wonderful friends to the Birkenfelds - they love you all! Hope to see you (saw Aaron Tues of the move) this summer, Denese (Meg's Aggie Mom)

Hendrick Family said...

Meg's MOM!

Oh my...I miss that girl in a sickening kind of way!

Yes...if they were here, for sure we would have drug them along with us!


Steph said...

Hi Heather. You don't know me, but I've been checking your blog for a while. I've met Lydsey and keep up with her blog (we're both Brenhamites)and that's how I found yours.

Anyways, your camping posts have been hilarious! I am totally with you on every issue. I just couldn't resist commenting! Well done you for sticking it out and even having a good time. :)

Jeanie said...

The roach story reminds me of a time when we were road tripping through ARizona. It was late at night and we were looking for a motel. We finally found one at 2 a.m. It was $13 a night.

Now I love living outdoors and not showering for 4 days, but this place was gross even to me. We pulled out the sleeping bags and put them on top of the bed. We wore our shoes in the shower. I itched for weeks and just knew I had scabies. Forty bucks and two doctors confirmed that all I had was dry skin.

The Mosiers said...

Oh Heather. I love this story!! Mainly because if I would've been there I would've been in that tent with you. Sleeping with roaches crawling around? Not going to happen.

I love the pictures! It looks like you guys had so much fun! Wish we could've been there.

The Uptons said...

I know we have only met you and your family once or twice, but I do believe that my wife and you are somehow related. The question I have is, how did Aaron stake the tent down in the cabin? I need to know in case we ever decided to go to Garner or a similar place. --Matt

bighousetx said...

You laugh, but I take an air mattress with me on every trip. I am not kidding, it's one of those fabulous things I learned in youth ministry. You never know where you might be sleeping.

Oh, and so are you saying I should bring some Raid with me this summer to Garner?

Hendrick Family said...

I'm saying you need to bring a TENT to Garner if you're staying in the cabin. Bugs will touch you if you don't...I am sure of it.


Craig Weaver said...

Great story...the more days im on this planet the more i realize im wired way more girly thean manly...the way i see it is this...outdoors should all be banned..i guess i dont hate it...but i hate heat and sweating. nothing good comes out of it. there should be covered air-conditioned walkways that connect us to anywhere we want to go at all times. the only mandatory outdoors are snow, skiing, and letting your animals poop. other than that...indoors rocks. camping has to involve an rv with a shower, or better yet, a hotel with cable, phone and close to something like a Chili's. that being sure we would go to Garner next year with you guys and have a blast...!!


Marcela said...

Heather, I've been reading your blog for a while, thanks for sharing your experiences! Your family is precious! I went to A&M and now live in Dallas, I think I found your blog through Alisha L.'s blog? Not sure though. Anyways, I've had to pitch a tent before in a room too! Apparently there was a wasp's nest somewhere in the room, and so the Angolans (I was in Angola at the time) told me I had to sleep in a tent so they wouldn't get me! Usually we would just sleep with a mosquito net. They thought it was hilarious...but I didnt. Anyways, I am thankful for tents too!

The Kramer Family said...

Okay- wait!

Did Craig W. just comment on your blog and say that they would go to Garner?????? That is stinkin' awesome.

First for the comment, and second saying they would go to Garner! I'm excited about that one.

The Heslip Twins said...

I'm with you Heather! When we went to Garner, we stayed in a B&B in Utopia, which was about 30-45 minutes away. No way am I camping, or staying in a cabin like that!