Alan always has the bright ideas, and this time he outdid himself. He organized a rally for the 4th of July – the Bangin’ Fourth! So, where’s a great place to hold a Bangin’ Fourth? At the Cardinal Shooting Center and Campground, of course!
The Fourth hit smack dab in the middle of the week this year, and that made working schedules a mixed bag: some had just Wednesday off, and some had other combination of days off, taking precious vacation days to add to the weekend. Those of us who are retired didn’t give the mid-week schedule a second thought!
Tom and I left home at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 4th and landed at the campground at 11:30. Alan and Carie were there and very shortly others pulled in: Mike and Sue, John and Suzie, Georgia and Rick, Lou and Larry, Mike and Loren (and CJ & El), Chris and Randy. Chris and Lauren, a young couple getting ready to buy their first Airstream showed up to see what an Airstream rally was all about. And, our son Micah drove up for an afternoon visit and to eat hot dogs with us.
Temperatures in the 90’s combined with high humidity to create a drippy, sweaty, afternoon. . . and for awhile it rained and got worse! Nonetheless we cranked out the grills for hamburgers and hot dogs and a variety of traditional July 4th eats, and by the time we were eating the rain was gone. I can’t say the same for the heat and humidity. It was great to have Micah with us, but after his last bite he headed for home. When I went in to the Airstream for the evening I am sure the whole campground could hear the whimpers of pleasure as I pealed off my clothes and stood under a cool shower.
Thursday morning started with breakfast at 9:00 – French toast, potatoes, bacon, eggs, peaches . . . . the usual camping breakfast assembly line. At 10:00 seven of us were off to the pistol-shooting range – it was already 89 degrees and muggy. We had the compound and two instructors all to ourselves. In no time a wide variety of pistols showed up on our tables and we were given basic instructions on safety and procedure. Neither Tom nor I had ever shot a revolver before, and it was fun to pick and choose our first-time discharge. Fun, too, to stand back and get pictures of it all.
A little behind schedule, we made a road-trip into Red Robin for burgers, followed by a stop at Field & Stream for more ammo and other necessities. We didn’t get back to the camper until 4:00. The rest of our squad arrived – Karen and Dorrie, and later Dan and Dawn. Caleb and Halie also showed up at took over a cabin just down the road from us. Totals for the weekend: 10 Airstreams, 20 campers, 5 day-trip visitors, and 2 in a cabin!
John had a new pizza-oven-stone topper for his grill/griddle set-up and by 7:30 he was pulling pizza pies out. Suzie was in the trailer creating the masterpieces and delivering them to the oven. I think we went through 8 pizzas during the course of the evening.
Friday morning we woke to delightfully cool weather with a nice breeze and predictions to stay in the 70’s throughout the day. To celebrate, we started with another big breakfast . . . a close repeat of yesterday, except we had a lot more people here!
At 9:30 Karen and Dorrie came down to give the group some advance instruction for archery . . . they are experienced coaches, especially with children, and offered to take on the NOVA group! They taught us all the ins and outs of the archery trade, and had a lot of equipment to back them up and demonstrate with. Then, they left to set up the archery range, and we followed along within 30 minutes to try it all out.
After a lunch-break at the Airstreams, we headed out for round 2 – pistols. So different from the day before with temps in the 70’s! Caleb showed some special talent with squeezing off multiple rounds and lining them up all around the bulls eye on his target.
A taco fest was set up at the campground – I won’t even try to list the bonanza of mexi-food that came out of the Airstreams! It lasted on into the evening and morphed into a fire ring circle.
Saturday, for the 3rd day in a row, we started with a big breakfast – fuel for a day of shooting. A large group went down to the shot-gun range for a first shoot at the clays. It took awhile to cycle through everyone and some pretty good shooters stood out during the process. Father/son duo Tom/Caleb were excellent for as little experience as they both had.
The men-folk brought their hand guns out in force again, and Caleb and Halie both enjoyed popping off some rounds. Thanks to all you guys that took the time to coach my kids at this fabulous sport.
Shooting took a front seat to eating again, and lunch didn’t happen until 2:00 in the afternoon . . . followed by another round of shot-guns. I opted for the recliner chair in the shade, and enjoyed two hours of total relaxation (except for the times my dogs felt the need to sound a warning – frequently!)
Supper was an open grill, and we finally got around to thawing and eating some BBQ chicken that I had brought. Afterwards, Alan had a raffle draw for some prizes – Caleb and Halie won matching bullet necklaces – and Tom had made some trophies that were presented to Karen and Caleb for spectacular shooting. WOW! What a weekend.
There was a wind-down during the evening as awnings came down and outdoor equipment disappeared. Our goal, which we nailed, was to leave for home Sunday morning by 8:00 with a stop for a Waffle House breakfast! Our next trip isn't planned yet, but there is something else new in the works that will change our camping game tremendously . . . stay tuned for more details!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown