Returning to civilization for the candy

Autumn has finally arrived in this part of the world. A series of fronts have been moving through, delivering crisp cold mornings one day and then damp foggy ones the next.

watson mill bridge in the fog, watson mill state park photographed by Corrinne Gilbertson
image by Corrinne Gilbertson

One thing I think that’s not obvious to people who don’t live this way is how much more the weather becomes a part of your life. Living in an RV is effectively living outside. And living outside is living with weather.

We do have a warm dry place to retreat to when we absolutely need it, for which we’re thankful, but for the most part we stay outdoors, even when it’s wet. That’s what rain boots and jackets are for after all.

What an amazing thing to live in the day and age of waterproof clothing. Every time I see the kids out there playing in the rain I’m thankful for warm, rubberized clothing. I don’t image rain is nearly as much fun when the options are cotton, wool, or buckskin.

After a few weeks out in the country, we came back to town for Halloween. And by town I mean Watson Mill State Park, which is about 30 minutes outside Athens. We don’t really get much closer than that to towns.

In hindsight we should have stayed further away.

There was Halloween hayride that more or less ruined Watson Mill for the week. A group that erroneously calls itself the Friends of Watson Mill, takes over the campground every year at Halloween and set up a bunch of cheesy horror movie decorations, flashing lights, and “haunted” sounds. For a few dollars they’ll drag you around in a trailer full of hay pulled behind a tiny, diesel-belching tractor.

It should be an innocuous, possibly even fun, thing. But it’s not. The people doing it manage to make it, at best, annoying, more often infuriating. We’ve never camped around a more dour, humorless, and downright rude group of people as the Friends of Watson Mill. They also completely trashed the place. We’ve never seen the campground as big of a mess as these people left it.

But we didn’t know any of that was happening when we made our reservation. We just wanted the kids to get a chance to spend Halloween with friends and Watson Mill seemed like the best place to stay while we did that. Thankfully, other than when we walked around the campground, we were mostly able to ignore the haunted hayride decorations.

The kids are at the perfect age for Halloween: old enough to think getting candy is the best thing ever, young enough to not worry about anything else. This year I made the mistake of introducing them to the theme song from the original Ghostbusters movie. Weeks later, we’re still listening to it on a daily basis.

This Halloween the kids had to work more than usual for their candy. We ended up in a neighborhood where the houses were spread out on giant lots. Sometimes it was nearly a quarter mile from doorbell to doorbell, all which must of course be run at full speed.

On the bright side, by the end of the night, everyone was exhausted. The hayride had packed it in the day before, so we came home to blissfully quiet, empty woods. And despite all the candy consumed on the way home, all the running won in the end. Everyone went out like a light.


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