Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Weekend Recap

Hope all of you in the States had a nice Memorial Day Weekend, and that the rest of you had a nice weekend in general.

Our weekend was busy, but fun. Camping can be very frugal or quite expensive, depending on how you approach it. I think this past weekend was a bit on the spendy side compared to our usual campouts.

Because we were "hosting" our big family picnic at the state park where we stayed, we had greater than usual food costs and also the cost of the shelter house reservation. Both were more than worth the cost; I'm just pointing out that these aren't part of our typical camping weekends.

We also ended up going out to eat twice over the weekend. Friday night, after getting to the park late in the afternoon and getting set up, we ran into town ("town" being Warsaw, MO, where I grew up) to drop off some items at my parents' house and then went to eat at a cafe called Diantha's. Her tenderloins and chicken fried steaks are literally the size of a typical dinner plate! And oh so good! Monday we woke to light rain, so instead of cooking breakfast, we decided to pack up everything and head back into town for lunch at The Common Ground Cafe. The Common Ground serves delicious sandwiches, salads and baked goods; most of the ingredients are homegrown or homemade. The rustic atmosphere at the cafe, which is in a renovated hotel, is amazing.

Again, going out to eat isn't part of our usual camping routine.

The biggest unplanned expense, though, was buying a motorized bicycle (aka moped or gas scooter). We've talked about getting one for a couple of years. At first we just wanted one to ride around on the campgrounds, but as gas prices soared last year, we thought it might be nice to have a scooter for quick errands around town, too. When we saw one for sale just up the hill from my parents' house, we had to take a look. It's a year old, had only 57 miles on it, and we were able to get it for about half the price of a new one. The previous owner had a small accident on it, hurting neither him nor the bike, but scaring him enough to decide he was "too old to be riding something like that".

I don't think I'm "too old" for it, but I'm not confident riding it yet. Once I do feel steady on it, I will probably use it to take Kat to school and back on nice days. It's small, but can easily hold our combined weight, and appears to have footholds for a passenger as well as a driver. The specs say it will get as much as 120 mpg, but realistically, it will probably get around 80 mpg. I can live with that!

That purchase, of course, pushed our weekend spending over the top. It is definitely not a need, but we thought it was probably the best deal we were likely to find on something like that and decided to take advantage of it while we could.

The weekend wasn't just about spending. Everyone seemed to have a good time at our extended family picnic. So much so that about half of us moved the leftovers to my parents' house and had a second picnic that same evening. We spent quite a bit of time Geocaching in the park and in other parks around Truman Lake. We even had a little bit of R&R right there at the campsite. I always plan to do more of that, but it seems like my plans to just sit and relax with a good book are always changed for some reason or another.

I've also decided that I must be un-American or have faulty taste buds or something because I just do not like S'mores. My daughter convinced me try one with a Reese's peanut butter cup in it instead of the usual Hershey bar. I took one bite. It's just not my thing.

But I did polish off a nearly full bag of Funyuns all by myself.

Kat and the scooter beside our pop-up camper.

Kat and Shane climbing down steep rocks to find a cache.
This was one of the more difficult caches we've found.

Me, in my "circus tent" apron, ready to put cheese on the burgers that Shane is cooking (he's across the grill from me, out of frame).

Shane (left) and my daughter's boyfriend Marshall enjoying the encore picnic on my parents' back deck (with my eldest sister and dad in the background).


A.Marie said...

Hello there! Great pictures; I enjoyed reading your post! Stop by my blog and check out the award I gave you! :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful trip! And are you going to wear leather chaps on your new bike?

Tug said...

Sounds like a great weekend, good to hear! LOVE the scooter - awesome deal! (Got helmets?)

I'm not a fan of smores either, but then I don't like marshmallows.

Leanne said...

Sounds like a great weekend all round and the moped looks really handy. I thought aboout one years ago, but our roads can be mad at the best of times:)

I love smores, probably because I really hav to go to the effort to have them. The only place I can get graham crackers in NI is the Asian supermarket in Belfast, weird eh?

Heather Solos said...

It looks like you had a lot of fun. We've been tossing around the idea of camping with the kids, but it may wait a few more years. I know we will enjoy it someday.

Christine said...

You're right. Camping can either be expensive or frugal. My friend who is in dire need of financial help went camping this weekend. DH and I thought we would help and loan them our tent, etc... Not good enough. They went out and bought a new tent, sleeping bags, lanterns, etc... This is a person and her family who is ready to lose their home. Frustrates me to pieces!

Anyhow... I am glad you had a wonderful trip! Love the scooter.

Anonymous said...

Just stopped in to say HI.

Annie Jones said...

A. Marie: Thanks! :)

SonyaAnn: Yeah, but I can't decide on cow print or fringe.

Tug: We have bike helmets, and since the state and city both consider it a bike, I think they'll do.

Leanne: If your Asian markets are anything like ours, there's no telling what you might find.

Heather: It's fun, especially with kids, but it's a lot of work, especially with kids.

Christine: Well, at least they'll have a place to sleep when they lose their home. Sorry, but I couldn't resist that one. Our first year all we had was a tiny tent, homemade bedrolls and one kerosene lantern. Over time we bought things at garage sales or on clearance. Now we have a pop-up camper and, really, more equipment than we need. :)

Annie Jones said...

SonyaAnn: Hello back atcha! :)