Birthday Camping… err, Fun?

This labor day, my husband officially made it to his late 20s. We celebrated with a camping trip, using our tent we’d bought earlier this year for Bonnaroo.

We headed out Sunday evening for Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, Alabama.  We’ve been to several state parks, but this was our first visit to Joe Wheeler. I highly recommend it, and I’d rank it as one of the best state parks we’ve been to. The campground only had small lights along the roads, so it was incredibly dark at night. It has to be dark for me to sleep, so I loved it. The entire area was gorgeous, and the staff was straight out of Mayberry. They made us feel right at home when we checked in.

Now for the death-defying part of the story:

We checked the weather before we left home. It called for light sprinkles; nothing major at all. We spent the night watching The Great Gatsby on our laptop, and checked the weather again before we went to bed. Again, light sprinkles, so Dan decided to put the cover on.  It was dark and he was sleepy, so he didn’t bother to stake it down. Besides, it was only supposed to sprinkle, right?

Um, no.

We woke around three in the morning to a massive lightning storm outside. Thunder was all around us, and it was starting to rain heavily. We still didn’t give it that much thought and assumed it would pass over soon.


The front of the tent started to cave in, and Dan got up to hold it in place. A minute later, the back of the tent started to go. Rain had accumulated on the roof since he hadn’t staked out down to allow for run-off.  By the time we could collect our electronics, the entire front of the tent had caved in. I grabbed the truck keys, and fumbled my way in the pitch black dark to find the door. It was layers and layers of tent on top of us, as the entire thing was now a watery shell.

I started to panic, and informed my husband I was “cutting my way out with the keys.” He protested and found the door for me. Thank God we were able to find it – I was legitimately scared for a good minute.

We spent an hour in the truck until the rain passed over. Dan actually got back in the tent. He asked me to, but it wasn’t going to happen. Not only was it a claustrophobia nightmare (and I’m not claustrophobic), but to me, it was structurally unsafe. I started crying, and we slept separately.

Even though the camping trip was memorable, there’s a reason we haven’t discussed the tent incident yet.

I’m pushing for an RV next time.


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