Camping with Friends

Two weeks ago Jamin and I had the opportunity to hang out with a couple of our friends we rarely see. Not only did we get to hang out with them, but we camped and spent 3 days together! Jamin lived with Derik for almost 7 years before we got married, and Derik is married, too, so it’s so fun to do couple things with them!

I’m all for tent camping, but I hate being hot and sweaty, so if I’m going to camp in the summer, it needs to be in a camper. It just so happened that Derik’s parents have an RV and wanted us to take it for the weekend.

Once Derik’s mom finished cleaning and organizing it for us, we hit the open road. We were heading to McGregor, Iowa to a place called Spook Cave. Jamin had gone once when he was a kid, but I hadn’t and neither had Derik or Jamie.

When we arrived at the camp ground, the guys got out of the RV to go ask the people in the office where our camping spot was because there was no cell phone signal, and Jamie had saved the information in her email, but didn’t print it. When they came back they told us it was right next to where we parked!

We got the RV in the spot (and I say we very loosely because Derik drove and did pretty much all of the work), and started getting everything hooked up. When he got to the water, Derik realized that his mom must have taken the water hose out of the RV because it was gone. We all double checked all of the outer compartments until one of our neighbors stopped over.

He introduced himself as Tom and said that his wife, Nancy, had overheard us through the window of their camper that we didn’t have a hose, and they had a spare. He offered to let us use it for the weekend! He stayed and chatted for a bit. We talked about how often they camp, where they go, and how Nancy is always prepared because she is so organized.

After everything was hooked up, we explored the camp grounds a little. The map showed that there was a beach, so we walked down to it. Calling it a beach was a bit of an exaggeration. It seemed like someone just dumped a truckload of sand on the edge of a small pond, then roped off an area for swimming. We found a game room, but it was disappointing, too. The ping pong table had no ping pong balls, and only 3 of the arcade games were plugged in. One was a racing game, and Jamin and I decided we would try it at some point.

That evening, the guys were going to grill brats and hot dogs for supper, but they realized no one brought matches or a lighter, so over to Tom and Nancy’s camper I went. They gladly loaned us one. After supper,  we hung out by a camp fire until it was time for bed.

On Saturday, we had a delicious breakfast of monkey bread (which we had eaten way too much of in the last month – I think I made it on 4 occasions!) and fruit and walked around the camp ground again. The entrance to the cave was on a pond near the gift shop/office. As we walked around the pond we saw a bunch of ducks, and I noticed the night before that the gift shop sold bags of duck food for a dollar. Even though I hate birds, I decided I would try my hand at feeding them as soon as the shop opened for the day.

Me feeding the jerk ducks
Eventually I just tried to hit the ducks with the food because they didn’t want to eat from my hand

Around 9am we headed over to the shop to buy our tickets for a cave tour. Since the cave entrance is off of the pond, they offer boat tours. I also bought a bag of duck food to give the ducks while we waited. The employees said the ducks would come and eat out of my hand!

But they were wrong. These ducks would only eat food if I threw it in the water. If I tried to lure them onto land by tossing it in the grass, they would just wait until I walked away to come and eat it. They were jerks, so I decided I would try to feed the two ducks we saw down by the “beach.”

When it was time for us to board our boat for the cave tour, I started getting a little nervous. I knew that there would be times when we would have to duck, so we wouldn’t bump our heads, but I didn’t realize it would be for an extended time! The first 50 feet of the cave had a very low ceiling. The boat was powered by a trolling motor, so it moved really slowly.


The boats are original from when the cave first opened over 60 years ago! Derik, Jamie, Me & Jamin

I’m not claustrophobic, but I did not like being in the tight space. I felt like if the cave collapsed, I would be trapped. The tour took about 35 minutes, but I was ready to be done around the halfway mark. I realized I don’t love caves, but if I am going to explore them, I would rather it be on my own two feet, so I can run out and escape if I have to.

After the cave we hung out at the RV for a bit then got ready to go for a hike to a waterfall that was shown on the campsite map. Somewhere in the process of getting ready to go, the door of the RV got locked. And the keys were inside. At first we thought Derik was playing a trick on us and that he was inside, but then he walked up and asked what we were doing. We decided the best way to get in would be through a window, so Jamin hoisted me up, and I tried to squeeze through a window. It wasn’t going to happen.

Just then, Tom came over with a ladder and asked if we needed help. He said he and Nancy had looked over to see my legs hanging out of the window and had a good laugh. We figured out that a window on the other side was big enough to climb into, so I climbed up and went around to unlock the door. The joke of the weekend was that if we needed anything Tom and Nancy would have it and bring it over because they had already helped us with the water hose and fire and seemed so prepared for anything!

Our heroes!!

After that excitement we got out lunched made and headed out to hike. We met Nancy on our way to the hiking trail. She said it was a nice hike, so on we went. Nancy said it took her about half an hour to hike to the waterfall, but we got so turned around it took us at least an hour, but when we came to the end of the trail, there was no waterfall. We turned around and headed back to the RV. We couldn’t find our way out of the woods by trail, so we had to cut through some construction on the edge of the campground.

When we finally made it back to civilization, I got to feed the ducks. The ducks by the beach were so much more friendly. They ate out of my hand! It was so cool. When we got back to the RV we relaxed for a while.

Jamin feeding the good ducks


That night we chatted with Tom and Nancy and their grandson for quite a while before  inviting them over for a campfire and s’mores. It was just a beautiful night of talking and laughing.

Sunday morning came, and I decided to feed the good ducks again. Derik bought a bag, too, because I let him use some of the duck food the day before, and he loved it! They are probably the only birds I like and ever will like.

After breakfast, we packed up the RV and thanked our wonderful neighbors and headed back home.


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