Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Tragic Kingdom.

Harambe! That’s how they say, “hello” at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Oh, and also in the language of some other culture that was featured at Animal Kingdom.

Boy, I wish I had never blogged about going camping at Disney. Somehow, my almost pathological optimism trips me up every time. Such is the case now. The old man has renamed the Fort Wilderness campgrounds “Fort Dampness.” One night in a leaky tent during a torrential downpour was enough to make me say, “forget this noise.” We stayed the next night at All-Star Movies. Enough said.

Let me back up. Getting to the campgrounds was fine and we found our campsite with no problem. Never having been to the Fort Wilderness campgrounds I had no idea of what to expect. As we drove into the Spanish Moss loop, the first thing I realized that there was no privacy to be had here. All of the campsites (basically, raised platforms of sand and crushed coquina shell) we’re very close together. I think this is how the tent towns will look once the economy entirely collapses. They also looked suspiciously like the gypsy encampments that spring up on campus during football season in Hogtown.

The second thing I noticed was the landscape within the camping loops is really weird. At first I thought maybe they do prescribed burns at certain times to keep ground cover down between the campsites and within the loops, because it's just a large spanse of brown/blackish tree limbs and vegetation. Then I noticed there were no visible sign of life other than humans; my other hypothesis (other than the prescribed burn theory) is that they have sprayed so much insecticide and herbicide around that nothing in these areas can possibly survive. I think they do send some wildlife over to give the appearance of camping, however; at our campsite, for instance, it was the bard owl that started its shift at approximately 4am.

I wish I could have taken some pictures but by the time we got back to the campsite it had been raining for about two hours straight. We decided to go the park first and set up the tent later – big mistake. At first it was raining on and off – the trick was to find a dry ride or attraction for the times it was raining. Then, it just started raining non-stop. I had, of course, forgotten to bring our rain ponchos and we refused to spend money on more ponchos. By the time we left we were soaked through. I just needed to take my bra off and go to Daytona to sweep the wet t-shirt contests.

When we finally got back to the campsite we crawled into the car and changed clothes while deciding what to do. I was already campaigning heavily to go to a hotel; DJ was adamant that we follow through with camping; the old man was (once again) being Sweden. So, after we got into some dry clothes and found the poncho, raincoat, and umbrella, we went to work setting up the tent. Setting up a tent in the rain sucks, I’m sorry. There is just no delicate way of putting it. But even worse is sleeping in a tent that leaks.

The old man caught the brunt of the wetness during the night – his sleeping bag was soaked by the morning. I just had the occasional drip on my sleeping bag all night. DJ, fortunately, escaped most of the wet and slept peacefully enough.

The nice thing about the campgrounds is that there is a comfort station every few yards, so no matter where you’re camped a bathroom and shower are near at hand. They give you a key card like they would a hotel room, and you use this to get into the bathroom and shower between 12am and 6am. So, having left the key cards in the car, I waited with full bladder for 6am to roll around. The showers are also really nice and clean.

Here is another photo-op that was missed; at every campsite they have a rack with containers for recycling bottles, cans, and newspapers. In my haste to get the heck out of there the next day I didn't have a chance to take a picture, but will add a drawing when I get the chance.
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