The plan was to move campgrounds this morning so that we could be near the cabins my family is going to be staying in when they arrive tomorrow. Instead, things went horribly awry.
First, the new neighbors started another campfire while we were packing. Who needs a campfire in the morning?! They weren’t even using it for anything!
It affected me immediately but I thought I could tough it out. I just wanted to get the van packed up as quickly as possible so I could do today’s laundry. It was only a little anxiety after all.
Ignoring my body didn’t get me very far however and it wasn’t long before the anxiety turned into a panic attack. I was in such a muddle that I couldn’t think straight. Brett had to remind me that I should decontaminate and go somewhere else. He helped me to rinse myself off and then I went to sit at the main pavilion far away from the campfire.
Brett finished packing up by himself, since I’m not much use while I’m panicking. By the time he came and picked me up in the van, I was feeling mostly like myself again. Thank goodness!
When we reached the new campground we were dismayed to see RVs & trailers everywhere! Including at the tent sites! RVs are prone to mold and can frequently be a problem for biotoxin illness sufferers. We pulled up to our spot anyway, hoping that none of the RVs would be problematic.
But as soon as I got out I knew that it wasn’t going to work… My body felt heavy, my joints hurt and I could feel a headache coming on. What are we going to do now? There are wet clothes in the back that I really need to get up to dry. We can’t leave them sitting wet.
We had no back up plan and all the campgrounds in the area are filling up now that it’s tourist season.
Brett went into the building to tell the campground owner what had happened. We’ve stayed with them before and they’ve always been really sweet and understanding.
When he got back in the van, Brett told me that the lady offered to give us a refund even though they have a no refund policy. Wow! So nice! That made us feel a lot better, but the problem still remained… Where are we going now?
The lady recommended a campground down the street but when I got out to test it, it wasn’t much better. Scratch that. Then we remembered a primitive campground that we had scouted out a couple weeks ago. Maybe we could see if they still have a spot? It seemed like our best bet.
When we got there, things looked pretty promising. It was completely empty! There was hope! We called the number on the posted sign to see if we could make a reservation. Unfortunately, we learned that the campground was closed due to construction on a nearby road. No way! Now what?
In the end we decided to head back to the campground we were at this morning and see if they had any openings farther away from the neighbors with the bad campfires. It seemed like our last decent option.
We found an open primitive tent site that felt tolerable to me but when Brett went in to reserve it we received another blow. They were unhappy with us doing laundry because it “made their campground look crappy.”
Some of the staff at this campground are amiable but there are two in particular who always seem grouchy and never smile back at you. The lady who delivered this news was one of the latter.
When Brett apologized and explained why we were having to do so much laundry by hand she acted like she didn’t believe him. “Well, if she can’t use the washing machines how come she can use the bathroom?” she questioned. Brett tried to explain, “Well, the bathrooms aren’t ideal but they’re not exactly optional and she can go in and out. The clothes are on her body all day.” That didn’t satisfy her and she continued questioning.
We can definitely understand why someone wouldn’t want laundry hanging at their campsite. It’s not exactly the prettiest sight and that’s okay, it’s their property. But the ungracious way in which she delivered the message and the way she questioned the seriousness of my condition… that was just too much! We felt shamed.
I started scheming about the nasty review I was going to leave on the campground website but Brett brought me back to reality. “I understand love… and I sort of wanted to leave a negative review too, but that’s not exactly the Christian way to respond.” He reminded me.
He was right and I decided to let it go. We needed to focus on the problem at hand. There was no point staying somewhere we couldn’t do laundry and we certainly didn’t want to give them any more of our money after that interaction!
We decided to call my family and let them know things were going to be different than we originally planned. They were really understanding and said they’d be praying for a miracle.
What miracle though? I couldn’t even imagine a miracle that could fix this. What did we even want? We were out of options.
After talking about it a little bit more we decided that going back to boondocking was probably the only choice we had. The Black Hills National Forest doesn’t allow dispersed camping so we’d have to check out the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. We’d be an hour or more away from my family, and Brett wouldn’t be able to get as much work done without wifi but it was the best we could come up with.
We’d need a way to tie clothes up though and it’s unlikely there would be many trees on the prairie. We decided to head to Rapid City to buy a shade canopy that we could use to dry laundry.
Then we would head out to explore the grasslands. We were both exhausted and discouraged. It seemed like everything that could go wrong had gone wrong.
But on our way into town we noticed an empty rundown campground that we had passed many times before. They had a big sign up that said “Under New Ownership”. Suddenly, it clicked. Maybe this could work. No one else wants to camp here. It’s worth a shot!
We pulled into the parking lot and Brett went in to talk to the owners. He came out with a smile on his face. It was a big 35 acre campground with water, electricity and wifi. Best of all, only five of the spots were taken. So we could easily choose a spot without any neighbors! “I think this could be our miracle!” He exclaimed.
We drove around the campground to check it out and see if I reacted to it. I tried not to get my hopes up but when I got out I thought the air felt quite good. This could work! This could really work! We chose a spot right in the middle shielded by some big rocks. Awesome! Nobody’s campfire can poison me here!
The owners were really sweet too and when we went to reserve our spot we found out that they had just bought the campground last month which is why it still looks so run down. It hadn’t been maintained for a long time.
Perfect for us! A campground with water, power and wifi that no one else wants to stay at! We were elated! We couldn’t stop laughing from relief. Plus, it’s only 30 minutes away from where my family will be staying! We got our miracle! Wow! Thank you God!
By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.