How We Roll
After the excitement died down, our new friends said goodbye and wandered back to their own campsites. They said to be sure and let them know if we needed anything further for our fire. The moral of the story is: If you want to meet new friends in a campground, start a smoky fire in your fire pit.
The boys returned to a perfect marshmallow-roasting fire and we gave them the only three camp chairs we own. For a while all of the adults stood around talking and offering to build the fire to a large blaze again, but we thought a small fire better for our thirteen-year-old campers (or at least better for our peace of mind).
Then, the next-door neighbor came back over with his girlfriend. So we had seven people analyzing our fire and offering advice. Then the lighter fluid arrived and a truly large blaze erupted, causing us all to back quickly away from the fire. The blaze didn’t last long though, so our next-door neighbor brought over his propane torch. That, and a couple of donated fire starter logs finally got the blaze going and we all watched it settle into a reasonable fire.
This worked for a while. But then, in our enthusiasm, we put too much wood on the fire and it commenced smoking again. We weren’t worried since we could see a nice bed of coals underneath the smoke and knew in a matter of time it would be burning again. But by this time our smoke had attracted five more residents, drinks in hand, several of whom offered to bring us more wood. One went to get his lighter fluid.
When I came back with the cleaver though, my next-door neighbor had appeared and given us the wood he had been chopping. He said he had seen the boys gathering wood and guessed that it would be too damp to work with. That was really nice of him and we thanked him profusely. Which caused him to go and get more wood to bring to us. Now we had a decent pile and set to making the fire actually burn instead of smolder.
We did finally get some decent coals going, but by that time the ‘smoke signals’ had gone out to the entire campground. We heard my next-door neighbor chopping wood, which seemed like a good idea. If we could make some of the gathered wood smaller, perhaps it would burn more easily. So I went to find a suitable chopping tool. We don’t own an ax anymore, but I came out with a big cleaver that I thought might do the trick.
We had sent the boys into the damp woods to collect some sticks for us prior to their swim. We had previously tried to find bundled wood for sale (I see it everywhere when I’m not looking for it) but without success, so we were stuck with the damp stick collection. I keep a paper recycle bin so I raided that of its somewhat damp contents and we began.
We broke up the driest sticks for kindling and laid them over the damp paper. Then we lit the fire. Then we relit the fire. Then we relit the fire again. Then I stole some computer paper (from inside the motor home) that was not damp and we added that and relit the fire. We finally got it started but truthfully, it was mostly smoke.
The occasion was a camp-over (read sleepover in a tent) for Bryce’s thirteenth birthday. He and his two buddies had gone to the swimming pool and Jessica and I decided to get the fire started so that when they came back they could roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Type your paragraph here.
When you live in a campground, sitting around a fire pit is standard behavior. The problem can be trying to start a fire with collected wood and sticks after it has been raining at said campground for days and days and days.