You can plan and plan and then plan some more, but life is full of curve balls. You never know when one is coming your way. Our family experienced a curve ball that almost derailed our family vacation to Yellowstone National Park this past summer. We had been looking forward to this vacation for over a year. We planned out our or destinations and filled the camper to the brim with all kinds of goodies. Then we hit the road early one hot August morning for ten days of, “fun”.
We hooked up the pop-up camper after my newly obsessive-compulsive husband spent countless hours checking the camper’s tires and lubing the ball bearings (I didn’t know campers had such a thing). After turning on to highway 95 heading south, towards Stillwater, we heard and felt a strange clicking noise coming from the camper. We immediately pulled over and discovered the wheel of the camper had completely come off the axle, tossing the ball bearings across the highway. The tire was hanging by a thread, making the camper completely immovable. Now, on any other day of the week we could have had this problem fixed and been on the road in a couple of hours, but this was early Sunday morning. The most we could do was muster up a tow truck and come up with plan B. My plan B was to sit on the side of the road and cry.
After spending most of my summer working and helping our daughter plan her wedding, I had never looked more forward to a vacation. I was not going to let this little mishap ruin our trip. The real plan B consisted of tossing everything into the car and renting a new camper on our way to Yellowstone, or so I thought!
With our beloved camper safely being towed back to Osceola we set out for the nearest RV store. Not only are car (camper) fix-it shops closed on Sunday, so are RV centers. We bought a tent and an air mattress. Now we were finally on our way.
When we got to camp and set up our new tent we decided to take inventory of all the stuff we grabbed from the camper. This is where I will insert a note to self; never travel across mountain ranges, miles away from reasonably priced grocery stores without checking to make sure you grabbed all the groceries from the camper. This brings me to the main topic of this entry: pancakes.
Our boys love pancakes and of course what was the one breakfast food we left in the camper? Pancake mix. They moaned about the missing pancake mix every day at breakfast for 10 days! We ate eggs. I tried to console them one day with “cake mix” pancakes from box of cake mix I found in our laundry basket of food. They just weren’t the same because I burned them (high sugar content will do that) before they were done cooking. I tried to console them with cold cereal and stories of all the pancakes I would make for them when we got home. We ate more eggs.
I had all kinds of pancake ideas rolling through my head. Pancakes with peanut butter cream syrup, maple banana walnut, Hawaiian pancakes with pineapple compote, oatmeal pancakes with honey glaze, apple spice pancakes with caramel…Chocolate pancakes with butterscotch syrup, and the all-time camp favorite graham cracker pancakes with chocolate chips topped with warm marshmallow cream, but we ate…more eggs.
Did I mention my boys don’t really care for eggs. This called for some serious creativity and challenges. “I bet you can’t cook an egg on tin foil over the fire…it will burn”. Or, “I bet you can’t eat more than 2 eggs”…I love that one! Boys love to be challenged, makes them feel like men.
Campfire cooking is tricky and slow. Persistence and a little knowledge can go a long way in the woods. Here are a few tips to make campfire cooking more enjoyable.
- Cook over hot coals, not flames
- Continue to add small logs to keep the fire’s temp. steady
- Heavy bottomed pans (cast iron) work best, but tin foil at the right distance from the fire on a grate works well too!
- Never use your home cooking pans or they will be ruined by soot and inconsistent temps.
- Covering you food will help keep the heat circulating around the food and cooking it more consistent
- Remember that foods with a high sugar content burn easily (onions, potatoes, sugary baked goods, and fruits).
Campfire cooking takes longer, but what else is there to do? I love sitting around the fire with family and friends…it doesn’t get any better! Okay it does…when you have a camper!
Next Up: Walleye Pizza…the finally of summer. Get ready for some awesome wood fire cooking with my dear Katie Cakes!