Saturday, April 12

Saturday morning, it was wet! Fredbird and I climbed out of the van, creaking and popping, to the sight of a blue tarp tied over the tent. Apparently, the seams had begun leaking, and Dad had jury-rigged the tarp to redirect the water. It worked. I guess all those years in Boy Scouts and the Navy taught him a thing or two about knots. Who knew?

We had another great breakfast of French Toast, and then sat shivering for a while. Mom and the boys made rattles out of wet set clay (cool stuff!), and I played a game of Spite & Malice with Dad and Fredbird. Cards weren’t enough for me to keep my mind off the cold, however, so I buried my nose in Debbie Macomber’s latest Blossom Street book while they continued playing. After a while, Fredbird suggested walking down to Serenity Park. This is a little park area on the shore of the lake at the campground. He knew I’d jump at that, as there also happens to be a letterbox planted there. I grabbed the clue and my letterboxing bag and shivered off down the road with my guy.

We were pleased to discover this box, right where the clues said it would be. There was a first aid alert on the Atlas Quest posting, stating that construction in the area may have disrupted the box. The brand new RV docks overlooking the box’s hiding place are probably the result of said construction, and the families seated on them enjoying their lunches made it somewhat difficult to nonchalantly dig through the leaves beneath the downed tree. Find it we did, however, and the outing accomplished the goal Fredbird had in mind – I had warmed up considerably.

After lunch, we set out with the boys for an afternoon of exploring around Stone Mountain. Each time we go, I’m more and more dismayed at the commercialization and blatant attempts to turn it into a theme park. It’s a park, and a beautiful one, and the stupid “Ride the Ducks” boat-things driving around with tourists quacking over the sides do nothing but diminish its beauty. Unfortunately, I’m barely able to contain my contempt for these “improvements,” as evidenced by my response to the boys’ pleas to Ride the Ducks.

LB: No.
Boys: Why?
LB: Because it’s an abomination.

My poor kids, denied such character-building experiences by their tree-hugging mother!

Anyway, the one touristy thing we did want to do was get one of those old-timey, tin-type-like photos where we all dress up in antique clothing. So, we trekked over there, only to find the photography place had closed permanently. I guess we’ll have to find some other tourist trap town to have it done. Fredbird and I both have pictures of ourselves and our families in this type of photo when we were around Blue Giraffe’s age, and we think it would be fun to carry on the tradition.

However, we refused to stay down! The commercialization and touristization of Stone Mountain Park would not prevail! I grabbed my pile of letterboxing clues, and we decided to see what we could find in the area of the Sports Pavillion. We only found one box there, although we were attempting another series of three as well. This particular series required crossing a creek, which would have been doable if the boys were older OR if it hadn’t stormed the night before. After dealing with the tears that ensued when we discovered we’d have to turn back, we returned to the car, where while flipping through more letterboxing clues, I discovered that there were two or three other boxes we could have gotten in that area. Ah well, next time.

Knowing that the stamps would be gorgeous, we then picked out a couple more of drgdlg’s boxes to hunt, and of course, we were not disappointed. Crazy, in particular, is beyond lovely, both in the view from the path and in the carving. Then, because Fredbird has been wanting to try a box based on triangulation (“Now that’s the kind of clue I like!”), we attempted Big Honkin’, planted at the Quarry Exhibit. Nearly 40 minutes of considering the clue and the exhibit left us high and dry, however, and by this time, Mom and Dad were calling, wondering when we’d be back for dinner. The box will not elude us forever, though. We WILL be back. (I’m sure Fredbird won’t be able to let it rest!) On the drive back to camp, we planned to spend Sunday morning grabbing a few more boxes, perhaps at the Carillon, or down by the face of the mountain. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

After dinner, I reminded the boys of my promise to take them to the laser show. Blue Giraffe was more interested in displaying his new Spite & Malice skills, however, and stayed behind with his grandparents. Fredbird, Little Turtle & I bundled up and hit the green for a strong dose of Southern Pride with a bit of Patriotism thrown in for good measure. I was disappointed that God Bless the U.S.A. is no longer on the program.

Saturday’s Family F-Count: 5

Sunday, April 13

The cold front came through Saturday night. Unfortunately, so did the winds. Cold we could handle. Winds we could handle. Both together, however, made for a miserable morning around camp. Our original plan had been to stay through dinner Sunday evening, but Mom and Dad were less than thrilled at the prospect of such a bitingly cold day. I would have been willing to wait out the morning for some afternoon letterboxing when the sun was higher, but Fredbird had to go home at lunchtime to get some work done. We packed it in and drove out of camp at 10:40.

The weekend was great. The boys had a blast and both now officially love camping. Fredbird and I have decided to buy a tent. (Mom was right, that van was NOT meant for sleeping. Even with air mattresses.) We’ve all been re-energized in regards to letterboxing. And there are still over 100 waiting for us at Stone Mountain alone.

Weekend F-Count: 14