Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Many Perils of Traveling to Camp: Camp Creation 2010

The green Ford van: Overheater extraordinaire.

This week I'm going to tell you about all the crazy camp trips we've embarked on. Pretty much every year something insane happened. It should be noted, everyone made it out of these situations alive and healthy.

In an effort to prevent your bordum I won't tell you every little camp trip incident that has ever happened. But I will tell you that in 2008 and 2009 a similar overheating problem occurred. But we just pulled over at a gas station and waited for our van to cool down.

The year was 2010. The van I talked about in the last post was long retired and sitting in a parking spot on the side of the church. We bought a, "New" van in 2008 for our mission trip to Mexico. It doubled as our youth transportation system. This van should have been better than the other one. It was newer and the air conditioner worked... sometimes. Well, it worked all the time, but we couldn't really run it because when we did the van would CONSTANTLY over heat. Time after time we tried to fix the problem, but never could. So we just kept it full of fluids, tried not to get stuck in traffic, and blasted the heater in emergency situations.

We were driving from Mt. Pleasant, SC to Mt. Union, PA. Camp was going to be at the Creation music festival. We were taking a load of about 20 students 11 hours away. It was our longest camp trip yet. For precaution I had done hours of maintenance on the van. We were going to make it to camp without any trouble. I mean we had driven almost 30 hours to Mexico two years earlier! How difficult could this 11 hour journey be? I was so nieve.

Everything was going like kicks and giggles all the way up until Mt. Airy, North Carolina (The town Andy Griffith's Mayberry was based after). The mountains were getting too steep for the old van. The Engine overheated... and by over heated I mean I was afraid the engine block was going to be an actual block of steal if I kept going. I pulled the van off the road, opened the hood and watched the coolant bubble out the radiator. I knew we were in big trouble.

We sat at the edge of the interstate, in a ditch at the base of a man-made carved cliff. We were stressed and out of ideas. This was seriously one of the most stressful times I've ever been through.

We were almost half way to Pennsylvania. I didn't know what we were going to do. I had to get the students to camp, but we didn't have a van, and the guy we found to replace the radiator said it wouldn't be finished for a few days. Our music festival would be over by then. That wouldn't work, I mean, we were going to have some angry students and parents. They dished out some serious dough for this trip (To this day it is our most expensive camp).

Stuck on the side of the road.

All the counselors met together and thought up a plan. Using our Creation camping equipment we would stay at a camp ground, and we would rent cars to take the rest of the trip the next day. I called up my wonderful cousin who works at Enterprise Rental Cars and he got me a discount on two small cars.

We smashed every piece of luggage and food we needed in those two cars and squished students in between it all. It was seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen. For the rest of the seven hours the students were crammed. A clown car had nothing on us. I looked back at everyone and said, "We're just making memories guys."

We eventually made it to Creation, and we had a blast. We picked up the van and for the first time ever the radiator worked properly. We got home super late. We were all more tired than we'd ever been before, but we were home safely.

This is a verse that I've come to love about God giving us protection, peace, and safety.
Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don't for a minute lose sight of them. They'll keep your soul alive and well, they'll keep you fit and attractive. You'll travel safely, you'll neither tire nor trip. You'll take afternoon naps without a worry, you'll enjoy a good night's sleep. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday's just around the corner, Because God will be right there with you; he'll keep you safe and sound. Proverbs 3:21-26