N and I "met" on our way to see Widespread Panic in Memphis in 2003. The year before that, we were both at the very first Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee, although we on different sides of the friendship line.
The festival was amazing. It took 14 hours to go the last 4 miles into the festival grounds. That is not an exaggeration. The traffic going into the festival was unbelievable. I think it was the first festival of it's kind, in many years anyway, so they did not plan things out well.
70,000 people were there. The port-o-johns were overflowing. There was no shade and having never done this before, we had no shade tents. In Tennessee. In July. Yeah, a recipe for much disaster.
Now we did have an absolutely amazing time. The bands were incredible. I had a perfect tan afterwards. It was an experience I would never take back. But, I will never again go to such a large festival.
After N and I got together, we found another festival we frequented- Wakarusa. It started out small, around 4000 people in 2004 according to Wikipedia. This was the perfect size for us and our friends. We went every year until 2007, which is when I was pregnant with BBZ. Here's a photo of my friend and I at that festival.
Wakarusa has grown to about 20,000 people now, so we probably won't be heading to another one of those for a while.
When we heard about Harvest Fest, put on by one of our favorite bands, Yonder Mountain String Band, it seemed to be a good fit. With only about 7,500 people, we thought it would be a good intro into the land of music festivals for the boys. Four days of camping and music, what could go wrong?
We tried to take a few trial runs for camping. First was our memorial day camping trip, where BBZ threw up in the tent and we were home by 7:30am. The next was our trip to our friend's farm the day after LBZ's tube surgery where he spiked a crazy high fever, which cancelled our tent camping. So we didn't really get to practice tent camping as we hoped.
Not that it really mattered anyway. It's not like we would cancel our trip if it didn't go well. I am not afraid to admit, I was down-right scared about this trip. I was scared of the cold nights, although the forecast kept getting warmer and warmer. I was scared of the rain and how we would manage 2 little boys in a big, but still very small, tent.
But all fears aside, we took off for the road on Thursday morning around 9am, perfect timing for LBZ's nap.
The boys were amazing in the car. Considering the nightmare that was BBZ during our super-long trip to Florida in June, having him in a pleasant mood in the car is not something we take lightly. They were both happy and contented to stop just twice during the 6-hour ride.
We got there around 3pm and set up camp. Our friends had a camper there, so we pulled the car p next to theirs and added our stuff to their camp ground. It was a good fit, as some photos below show.
Then we headed to music. And I realized the one thing we didn't think about. BBZ hated the volume. We were at the smallest stage and he really didn't like how loud it was. Luckily, our friends had some ear plugs and he was happy with those. He did some wining about wanting to go back to the campsite, but I really think he just wanted to get accustomed to being there. N was clearly frustrated that he BBZ didn't want to stay at the stage, but I had high hopes that hanging out at the site the first night would give him a good start to the weekend.
The did great dancing on the blanket.
Even with the toys, they loved the music!
LBZ did especially.
Everyone slept pretty well Thursday night. It wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, and while LBZ did wake up crying, he spelt well in the sleeping bag with N and me. BBZ slept great on his one sleeping bag. We got up and cooked a yummy breakfast. One thing we did for this trip is amp up our camping gear. We have a new storage container for our food that doubles as a table for our stove and a new cooler. It was all awesome to have for this trip!
But then the rain came. Thank goodness our friends were there with their camper. We would have managed in our tent, but it was much better that the boys had the camper to run around in.
The most frustrating thing was that we had no idea how long the rain would last. We all had our phones but didn't have any internet connection to check the weather. I finally texted my mom who said the rain should stop around 5pm, which it luckily did. LBZ had his raincoat on for a while and was exploring the campsite in the rain, but that got old really fast.
Aren't you just in love with these little pants??
The rain finally ended at about 5pm, just like my mom texted it would. We ran out of that campsite so fast! We were really ready to hear some music.
The festival grounds were so incredibly muddy.
I've never been so happy to have water-proof shoes!
BBZ messing with his ear plugs.
They brought in bales of hay to help with the mud situation.
It was almost impossible to push the strollers through the mud! The hay really helped.
We did take the long way around a few times to avoid some of the worst muddy places.
See the main stage?
It was nice to have it so close that we could see and hear it from our camp site.
Snackin' and nappin'
Friday night was a big 'ol sloppy mess. We were all completely mud-covered. But we did ok. We saw some music, the boys fell asleep in the carrier and the stroller, and we called it a night a little early-around 11pm. BBZ slept awesome and LBZ ended up in our sleeping bag again, but he didn't cry as hard as when he woke up Thursday night. He seemed more interested in where N and I were than scared like he sounded the first night.
Saturday morning we all woke up, ate more eggs and bacon, and headed to some music. The sun was shining and we were hoping for some sun to dry off the festival grounds.
Some photos of our campsite.
Little napper. He actually asked to crawl in the stroller and fell right to sleep!
He must have been very sleepy :)
Little muddy shoes :)
Saturday early afternoon, Jeff Austin of Yonder did a tutorial on music and song writing. It was quiet and intimate and an awesome look into such a talented musician's mind. I really enjoyed it.
They had some kid activities, but BBZ wasn't interested. We moved over to the main stage and watched a few shows and ate some festival food. BBZ and LBZ did some dancing and running around, the way we hoped they would.
Our friends' kids are the exact same age as ours, so they were playing really well together.
Can I just say how unbelievably sexy it is to see my husband wear my baby?
Be still me heart :)
This really made me wish that the whole weekend was this beautiful. The kids had so much fun. If only we had more than the 1.5 days of non-rain that we had. Saturday really was a perfect day. We ate some dinner and found a great spot for the evening shows. It was to be Yonder's 1500th show.
I should add here that BBZ had a puke incident. We were walking to a show and he was in the stroller. He said mommy, there's something on my shirt. And sure enough, he had barfed all down the front of his shirt. Perfect. N went back to the site and got him a new shirt, but I was a wreck. I have an issue with puke. Not necessarily the first episode, but the anxiety that comes along with the possibility of him doing it again is often enough to make my tummy all crazy. Luckily, he didn't puke again and seemed to be ok. I guessed it was another camping fluke puke.
At around nightfall, we noticed a nearby festival tent frantically packing up all of their stuff. N walked over to see what was going on and they told us that a huge storm with 80mph winds and the possibility of tornadoes was headed right for us.
N went into keep-family-safe survival mode. He rushed us back to our site and began taking down our shade tent. We just bought it fr the trip, so he wanted to make sure it was safe.
I felt like I was on a bit of a whirlwind. N is always calm cool and collected and I'm the one who freaks out. This time, I wasn't sure what to do! At the site, N talked to some older folks who were camping nearby us who said that they had friends at home who were supposed to let them know if bad weather was coming and they hadn't yet, so they thought we were ok.
We planned to pack up as much as possible that night anyway, so we did while we were there. Then we headed back to the field to wait for the next band to start.
After the next concert was over, it started raining, so we headed back to the site again. This time the neighbor said that something big was heading our way and suggested we pack up even more stuff.
We did and decided to wait at the campsite for the storm to pass and go from there.
BBZ had fallen asleep on me at about 7:45 and was now cuddling with me in the camper while I held sleeping LBZ in the carrier. We weren't sure what was happening, so we kept wondering if we should go back to hear music or not. Yonder started playing (and played BBZ's very favorite song first!), and we were so bummed. Four songs into the set, Jeff Austin said that the festival folks told them they had to stop the show and send everyone to their camps. They said to take cover in our vehicles during the storm.
We were all in the camper already, so we stayed there and waited for it to pass. I cannot even believe how much rain fell. There were rivers of water all around our tent and our site. It was a mess.
N moved BBZ into the tent and onto the air mattress first. We figured we would all have to sleep up off of the floor so we wouldn't get wet from water seeping in from the floor. About that time I took LBZ out of the carrier and handed him to my friend so I could get his bottle ready for him. She noticed that he was feeling warm. Sure enough, he had a fever. For the love.
So LBZ drank his bottle down fast and I put him in the playpen in our tent. N, BBZ and I were on the air mattress.
At about 1am, LBZ woke up and was on fire. I didn't take his temp, but I could tell it was really, really high. I managed to get him tylenol from the back of my car in the rain and decided to sleep with him in my car, because I figured we might both sleep better than trying to have all four of us on the air mattress.
While it was pretty uncomfortable, we did get some much needed sleep. He was still feverish in the morning, but I hoped he would fight it off while we drove home.
It was the sunniest and most beautiful day of the while weekend on Sunday, just as the weatherman had predicted. We packed up everything and headed on the road. We were about a mile away from the campground when it happened. BBZ puked again. We pulled over and I cleaned him up, and again I panicked about how we would make it home with a puking 4-year-old and a feverish baby.
BBZ puked just one more time and while he looked half dead, his color returned shortly and he was clearly on the mend and asking for food and something to drink. The worst was certainly over.
We stopped and ate lunch and regrouped. LBZ was still running a fever, but it was lower. BBZ was no longer puking. The rest of the trip was really easy. LBZ slept a lot and BBZ was pretty happy. We survived!
So it certainly was an adventure. I must say that because of all of this drama, I feel like we can take on any little 'ol camping trip now. I figure as long as the weather is nice, I'd camp every weekend!
And I think I might just have to accept the fact that on any trip we take, BBZ will inevitably puke and LBZ will have a fever. The best line was when N happily reported that he was not the first one to puke on himself this weekend! Ha!!