Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day Recap Part II

Part I of our Memorial Day weekend camping trip

Friends, I am not what you would call a "fair weather camper." I've grown up in the Pacific Northwest where rain is just something you deal with. It's an act of God if you go camping in Western Washington and you don't get any rain. So I'm fine with that. I'm totally fine that my and Penny's fingernails came home with dirt in the cuticles. I'm even fine with the fact that we didn't shower for 4 days. What I'm not fine with is being too cold to go to sleep!

We took this first camping trip with Penny with open eyes to see if we tent camping was still a possibility with our mini circus of toddler + 2 dogs. Penny really surprised us with how able she was. We taught her from the moment that she noticed the (empty) fire pit, that it was hot and that she needs to be careful. She never strayed from the site (but thought it was fun to run around the car and meet us at the other side) and didn't eat too much dirt. Camping with this very mobile and interested toddler was easy and fun, which is not entirely what we expected. We prepared ourselves for sleeping at night to be difficult for her due to the cold or natural noises, or that she would just get into too much trouble. What ended up happening is that we realized that for Adam and I that camping in a tent is no longer fun or comfortable. I, sadly, am becoming a fair weather camper.  So a trailer is in our very near future. And I think I'm coming to terms with it. Besides comfort being a factor for us, a camper would also give us a place to safely leave our dogs in case we wanted to go somewhere not dog friendly. Leaving dogs at a campsite isn't responsible and having them cooped up in a possibly hot car all day isn't an option either. Perhaps more on that in the future.

As an aside, this whole weekend was made easier by the addition of our new family rig. We bought a older suburban after spending this last year realizing that our beloved Volvo V70 station wagon just isn't cutting it anymore. I know, a car is like a purse. You get a bigger purse, you start to stuff it with more stuff. The issue is primarily with the two of us, 2 dogs and *currently* one child, we quickly fill up the Volvo on our weekends. We visit both sides of our family very regularly. The car is pretty full with just a weekend full of stuff and our 5 bodies. Eventually, we'll have more kids, which will take up more space and come with more stuff. We are also transitioning to having most of our family vacations be road trips. So naturally the idea would be to get a bigger car. Unfortunately, bigger usually means horrible gas mileage, which doesn't really jive with this mama's ecofriendly goals and this family's desire to stay single income!

So what the husband has decided to do is create what is called a DuraBurb. For those of you who don't know, Adam has a degree in vehicle engineering and knows a thing or two about cars. Can you guess how many cars we have? I can tell you that each member of our little family (2 of us, Penny and the 2 dogs) would each have a car to themself and more. Yea, we're those people. We try to justify that each car we have has it's own purpose, even though we currently have 2 "toys." Ok, I am making every attempt to keeping this post relevant and keeping boy-stuff out of it. But the hubs wants his little spotlight here every once in a while too..

Back to the DuraBurb. It's a Suburban (traditionally gas guzzler) with a Duramax diesel engine + other parts swapped in. Modern diesels are much more energy efficient (and quieter) than their older counterparts were. All said and done, this Family Rig will go from getting 13 MPG on a good day to about 27 MPG. And seat 9 passengers, and tow whatever we want. So now all my friends are joking that I need to fill it with kids and we're good to go. We started by getting a donor truck with the desired diesel engine + parts, took all that stuff out, got the Suburban, and next step is to do the swap - which will be this weekend. Hopefully it'll all go smoothly and it'll be up and running before the end of the summer!

Stay tuned for that tasty recipe that I've been tantalizing you with for 2 posts...

What is your family "rig"? Is it the ideal size for your family?

Now, honestly, readers of mine - 
is the Duraburb project something you'd be interested 
in reading about  in future posts? If not, I'll definitely spare you :)

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