I’m so embarrassed.
First, the Getaway
I yearned to get away from it all. To go camping and snuggle with my dogs in the cozy confines of the car. It was amazingly easy to leave for a single night. No fuss, no muss, no long packing list required.
My Honda Odyssey van transforms into a luxurious cargo van (the far-back seats sink into the floor and I removed the middle seats a long time ago.)
The best part is that three large rectangular dog beds cover the van’s floor space perfectly! And two of the beds are especially thick orthopedically and perfectly comfortable for humans. There was plenty of room for us all to sleep.
So one warm weekday afternoon I packed a few things to carry us through to the next morning and we were off. I lucked out finding a pleasant camp spot at nearby dog-friendly Sequim Bay State Park.
We walked around the campground and down the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Then relaxed at our site. Very peaceful.
Then, the Panic
It didn’t stay peaceful for long.
It was time for bed.
I moved our gear into the front seats of the van, clearing out the back for our giant bed, and we all piled in. The dogs settled nicely.
It was still warm so I left all the windows wide open.
It cooled off enough to close the windows at least ½ way. Unfortunately, I had not planned ahead for climbing into the driver’s seat in order to turn the power on to shut the windows. So I tiredly pushed all the gear on the drivers seat over to the passenger’s side, fumbling my hold on the car keys in the process.
While I dug around for the keys …
BLAMMM!! FLASH!!! EEEE EEEE EEEE!!!
Bright lights pushed into the dark recesses of the campground! Alarms blasted! All this coming from my car!!
People relaxing around campfires yelled at me to shut it off, to “just push the *#$%@ button!”
I didn’t even know I had a car alarm, much less what would end the panic!
I frantically pushed every button on the dashboard in all sorts of sequences.
I even started the car and considered driving away from it all. But the park’s gates closed at 10pm. Certainly the nightmare would end soon!
Finally, what seemed hours later, a very nice woman came jogging up. She showed me the “panic” button on my key fob. The one I accidentally pushed when I was fumbling around in the front seats. Pressing it again immediately brought silence.
Is it really that obvious?
I thought the red stripe on the key fob was just for decoration, I never really looked at it. Geez.
And my poor dogs.
After it was all over and I gingerly crawled to the back of the van, not daring to turn on the power to close the windows. We’d have to spend the night with them wide open.
The dogs looked a bit stressed.
Zoe spent much of the night with her head out the window, tracking every critter scurrying around. Zack laid near me. He’s not a cuddler but that night he kept close contact with me through his paws.
The night was not restful. Zoe finally settled down pre-dawn to lay completely across me.
I slinked out of the park, away from any scowling campers, as soon as the gates opened at 8:00AM.
My parents taught us children to camp quietly and respectfully.
I failed that night.
I plan a redemptive car-camp re-do soon. First I will outfit the van with a car top carrier to hold gear out of the way. And I will use the old-fashioned key. The panicking key fob will get shut silently away in the glove compartment.