After a morning of settling in, we decided to bike the trails a bit...of course we got lost, which seems to be our M.O. After trying to scout around to find the trail again (why don't they mark those things???), trekking across the dried up riverbed (with no bridge) and taking a pee break (it was getting annoying that James could pee whenever he wanted to, so the heck with it - we were camping), we somehow found the park ranger station, where the park ranger informed us that we had taken a wrong turn and ended up on the ranger fitness trail.
After a short detour to the Visitor's Center for a short nature walk to the waterfalls, we biked back without incident again and by this time, we were ready to shower and head to Shawnee Mountain in the Poconos to see the pre-4th-of-July fireworks.
Fortuitously enough we made it to the showers just in time, as it seemed most of the campground was heading to Shawnee as well.
OK, let me insert here - showers. Facilities weren't too bad, but there were only two bathhouses - each with two toilets and two showers for women. Now, there were over 100 campsites. And 4 showers???? Obviously a man came up with that design. So you can appreciate my luck having gotten to the showers before the rush. So, I got out and saw this woman and a family of about 9 kids all standing there, just staring at me when I walked out. My eyes were as big as half-dollars when I walked out of the shower, saw the crowd and gave them this crooked, awkward half-smile. Kinda awkward for everyone, I think. That I was not expecting to see that was an understatement. Fortuitous indeed.
At Shawnee was a sort of festival before the celebration, but we got the inside scoop that the parking lot was actually the better place to watch the fireworks. And you could beat some of the crowd out of the parking lot.
Just as it was getting close to show-time, I said to James, "I have to pee." (This was becoming a bad habit).
"Go in the woods."(This also was becoming a bad habit.)
"James, we are in civilization now. I just can't keep peeing wherever and whenever I want to. Not everyone here just came from the woods."
"Wait til the fireworks start. No one will even notice. "
Well, it seemed reasonable, so I agreed. Sure, I would probably need to be retrained when we got home, that I just couldn't pee wherever I wanted to, but hey, we were where we were.
Finally the lights went out and I made my move. Sandwiched between two cars, I went to the edge of the woods and crouched. Then all of the sudden - after I started, I heard, "Would every one please rise for 'The Star-Spangled Banner'."
Oh my gosh. No, he did not just say that! Crap! I am peeing during the national anthem! That is so disrespectful!!!
James turned and glared at me, and I just shrugged and gave him a look that said, 'This was your idea!'
What could I do?? I was past the point of no return. Then there was this silent pause, and all you could hear was the pee hitting the leaves. Loudly. James turned and gave me this look as if to say, 'Shhhhh!' But there was nothing I could do! All the sudden, James started to kick the gravel and to cough really loud. Finally, the singing started and I could hear James singing. Loudly - but this time, on purpose.
Finally, I got done and James said to me, 'I can't believe you peed during the Star-Spangled Banner."
Well, the show was great and we didn't get caught behind too many bad drivers (i.e. everyone else) on the way home, but we were looking forward to relaxing around the fire and getting to bed early because we were kayaking the next day.
This is a small sampling of our fireworks show.
So, we got back and were relieved to see that site 4, the site next to ours was still empty. We had set up our tent as sort of a barrier to site 4, and the other side was just the woods and our band of Asian friends just beyond the woods. It seemed like we would have the privacy we wanted. This is sort of the set-up. Picture the tent to James' left, almost right in front of the picnic table:
Well, we were chilling out around the fire....probably around 11pm, and all the sudden I saw lights through our tent and heard the slamming of car doors.
"Hon, looks like site 4 is taken."
Immediately, I could see that James was getting distracted, tense, and irritated that we had been invaded. Well, it was late, and I was sure they would be quiet and courteous.
Then this silence-shattering-cackling pierced our serenity. We just looked at each other in disbelief. Was she for real???
It got worse. First of all, it was all girls. Enough said. Then, full-volume voices, laughing, giggling, cackling, shrieking, yelping, screeching...and a car alarm that went off every.single.time they went into the car to unload another piece of equipment. And the laughter that followed it.
Didn't they know about the quiet hours at the campground? Which had actually passed over an hour before? Didn't they realize they had neighbors? Or there were little kids sleeping near by?
Now, this was the icing on the cake for James who had been patient with our little Asian children-neighbors playing games right near our site well past dark (he got it - they are kids camping and having some innocent fun); James, who had been slightly less patient with the French-speaking Arab guys who decided they wanted to lay right next to my jeep, on our site, and talk and watch the stars together? (Which, in response, James just stood near our jeep and stared at them until they left. I mean, go lay on your own site! I don't get it!)
So already bear-like when his serenity is interrupted, this was, as I said, the proverbial icing on the cake. Now, I am typically non-confrontational, but this was ridiculous. Absolutely no respect for the rules of the campground or the people nearby. Or at least no understanding of it.
"Go say something to them!"
And James, who is definitely not-non-confrontational, didn't need much coaxing.
"Just be nice to them!"
Well, James was composed enough that I couldn't hear what he said to them, which was a good thing. So he came back and I said, 'So what did you say????'
"I just said, 'Ladies, I understand that you just got here. That it is dark and you have to set up. But do ya think you could do it without all the screeching and yelping???? I know you may not have known this since you probably didn't get a chance to check in, but there are quiet hours here.' "
"Did you really say that???
"Yeah, I said that. They just looked at me and then were like, 'Oh, Ok. Ok."
In retrospect, I don't know if we had the most Christ-like attitude or response. Maybe we should have offered to help them. Maybe I should have been more sympathetic, since we were in a similar predicament the night before. But honestly, even with our frustration, we didn't inflict it on our neighbors. And they definitely didn't sound frustrated.
I kinda felt bad, but then, not really.
So, they did lower their voices...until I heard them on a cell phone - well, more like a Nextel because I could hear the whole conversation (well, sort of, they weren't fully speaking English). And they were giving directions for someone else to come to their site. Are you kidding? How many of them were there???
Unfortunately, even all the lowered voices didn't resolve the problem of the car alarm. I mean it - seriously, every.five.minutes.
Finally - and actually thankfully - we decided to call it a night. This was getting unbearable.
"Where is the Tylenol PM? I'm taking that and Nyquil. I wanna be knocked out."
We got into bed and finally, all seemed quiet. Only faint whispering and movement. It seemed too good to be true.
Unfortunately, it was.
"I'll turn that car alarm off myself..." James said as he started getting out of bed.
"Lay down, baby. Here, take my earplugs...that will help."
He stopped for a minute and was actually assessing which was the lesser of the evils: smashing their car or taking the chance that if he died in his sleep, he would be found wearing hot pink earplugs.
He wisely decided that, quite accurately and contrary to all appearances, the hot pink earplugs were actually the manliest choice.
And thankfully, we have no more recollection of what else happened that night because we were fortunate enough that sleep finally found us.
More adventures to come...(Wait til you hear the rest of the story with our new neighbors!!!)