|What was in the bags|
|One of the stores|
|A small Carolina Beach House|
|The inside. You can't climb it|
|The still intact lens|
|Two of ~80|
|The view south|
|Yours truly, shell hunting|
|The barren campground|
John, it turned out, was breaking about 5 basic rules of tenting, the most important of which is "learn to set up your tent before you come camping". The three of us struggled to undo what John had already done, then figure out how the tent was supposed to go up, then start again. One person's sole duty was to hold the tent from blowing away despite containing John's cooler, 2 cases of beer, a 24 pack of bottled water and a whole lot of other stuff as ballast.
Then the rain started. In earnest.
So now we had howling wind, driving rain, and a huge 12'x12' tent wanting to be a sail. All sorts of things went wrong. Pegs wouldn't stay in the sandy ground and flew out. The silly clip system the tent used to connect the fly got sand in it and got jammed, but only AFTER one of the clips was put in wrong. The closer we got to getting the tent up, the more soaked we got, and the more it became clear that there was no way this tent was going to stay upright in the wind. So John finally decided to give up, go to town and get a motel. KC and I were soaked to the skin despite our raincoats and looked like drowned rats.
Now fairly late, we turned to our campsite. We went to add some warm layers to our soaking wet clothes and the first thing we learned was that we had left the tent's back window open so there was some water in the tent. Oops. We fixed that, then turned to trying to set up our rain shelter. First we moved the car to try to break the wind -- and the Ranger came by to tell us not to do that. We got the shelter up but the wind's pressure kept collapsing the support poles. We moved the car and tried again. No luck. So we gave up, and moved the picnic table behind the car. We cooked while sitting in the car (where it was dry), and ate while sitting behind it. At least it blocked most of the rain. Cooking was a long slow process as my portable BBQ was heavily wind affected and kept going out.
We didn't want to try and do dishes as they would have blown away. So we sat in comfort in the back of the car sipping wine, watching lightning and listening to the flapping and fluttering of the tents around us. And who should show up again but...
John. Being Friday, all the hotels in town were full. So he came back to sleep in his car. He cooked up his bratwurst and steak and ate hiding out of the wind and rain (which had mostly quit by then) at our picnic table.
Our tent was fine (if a bit noisy) all night. No leaks at all after we closed the window.