Before I get into this camping mishap I want to give you a short back story. So far most nights on the two month USA trip there were AC wars between myself and Susie. I got cold at night so preferred the air conditioning to be off. Susie on the other hand would get very warm during the night so always chose the bed next to the AC or window. The third member of the group, Bianca, was like Goldilocks. Her temperature was somewhere in the middle.
We were three weeks into our American road trip when we set up camp in Wisconsin. We had driven about 2 hours from Chicago that day. We stayed at Madison KOA camp site and it was very well equipped. It had WiFi and a swimming pool! Our small Walmart tent went up very easy and it was a warm night with clear skies. We didn’t get on too well with keeping the camp fire going so it was a short evening. We all gradually got ready for bed and were inside the tent by 9pm.
Susie and I were last to get into the tent. Bianca had gotten her head down early. Susie was laying in the middle of Bianca and I but only lasted about 10 mins before confessing she could’t stay in the hot tent.
“It’s too hot, I’m going to the car to sleep.” She announced.
I reminded her that the car was going to be hotter than inside the tent but she left anyway zipping the tent up behind her. Walking only 6 feet from the tent she unlocked the car, “SHTICK”, and started to make room. The car lights shinned through the tent so I rolled onto my side and enjoyed the extra space. The car door slammed shut “THUNK”and another one opened. I listened from inside the tent as Susie got herself comfortable. “THUNK”, the car door slammed shut again and then re opened very quickly. Next the car boot opened and Susie threw items in. The boot was then shut and because of habit Susie went on to lock the car. “HONK” went the horn to register the car was locked. To correct the mistake the doors were quickly unlocked again, “SHTICK”, and Susie finally got into the car to sleep. A moment later the car alarm went off and I started laughing hysterically! I listened carefully to hear if any of our neighbours shouted out to keep the noise down. I then leant over towards Bianca.
“Bianca, are you awake?” I mumbled in laughter.
No response from Bianca. Silence then followed so I started to concentrate on trying to get to sleep. Not that long after, Bianca, oblivious to what had just happened, rolled over and pulled out her headphones.
“Where did Susie go?”, she whispered.
Eyes wide open I couldn’t believe Bianca had missed out on the comic timing of the car alarm going off after Susie’s battle of getting comfortable. Eager to tell all I explained the past 5 minutes to her. We both then laughed uncontrollably for a minute.
Bianca managed to blurt out “Isn’t the car way hotter than this tent.”
To my relief I told her that was exactly what I said. Still chuckling away to ourselves we rolled away from each other and began to calm down. The odd smile across my face appeared but I was so tired I made the effort to relax and sleep.
Not even 15 minutes had passed and I heard “SHTICK…, THUNK…, HONK…, RUSTLE…, ZIP” as the tent door was opened and our hot bodied friend climbed back in. Susie being unaware of our laughing fit went on to say,
“The car is too hot” and she sighed heavily.
A light breeze was passing through the tent and before too long the three of us all dozed. Not too long after we were awoken with rain and the odd rumble of thunder. We couldn’t believe our luck. Rain on our first night of camping! Realising our shoes were left outside there was a panicked unzipping of the tent door to bring the footwear inside. Just in time as the rain became more violent and pounded the tent. Louder rumbling of thunder followed and then strips of bright blue lightning appeared, so bright that the shape of the zigzags of electricity could be seen through the roof of the tent. In utter disbelief we chatted for a few moments and made sure we weren’t going to be getting any leaks throughout the night. Feeling as safe as could be and dry we went back to sleep.
We all woke up at the same time with the rain still brushing the tent side to side. It was still dark so Bianca checked her phone for the time. 12:18am. 12:18am! We had only been asleep for about an hour. The night was being dragged out something stupid. We all had guessed and secretly hoped it to be about 5am. We laughed amongst each other hiding the fact we felt like crying and all we wanted was to sleep.
The rain also woke me at 2am and finally 6am when I surrendered and got up. The storm had stopped and the rain now only a light drizzle I awkwardly pulled my shoes on and climbed over legs to get out of the tent and into the fresh air. I had been holding a wee in all night so sprinted to the toilets. I made another trip back to the car to pick up a change of clothes and my wash bag. Feeling all freshened up I stayed in the car until the others woke up.
The tent shook a little and caught my attention. The door unzipped and out climbed the others from the soaking wet tent. Trying to put shoes on while balancing on one leg avoiding the wet grass got me giggling again.
“What a night that was!” I said to myself.
Moral to this story is don’t let the excitement of a new country cloud your judgement when it comes to weather. Yes it’s usually hot and sunny but rain does still happen. Always check the weather forecast! Lastly don’t feel like you need to spend a fortune on camping gear. The cheap tents at Walmart kept us safe and dry in an epic thunder storm.