Author Topic: Happy Campers - Chapter 8 *Complete*  (Read 8108 times)

Offline Cheezey

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Happy Campers - Chapter 6
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2015, 01:35:14 PM »
Susan and Boyd are least getting into nature now, even if they did relapse to modern technology at the rec centre.

I'm sure that brief bit did wonders for their sanity.  I imagine that once their phones went dead, they felt totally cut off.

Oh, just found this! I love it! I also just adore your Wainwrights, you have them down to a 'T'.

Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying the story and my characterization of them. 

Chapter 6

As luck would have it, Susan also found a well-established fireleaf plant.  Unfortunately, she had not read about the differences between fireleaf and its evil twin sister species in the Wilderness Digest.  She had no idea what she was in for when she knelt by it and handled most of its branches to find the ideal candidate for taking a cutting.

Exploring nearby, Blair was less interested in the plants of the woods compared to the animals.  She watched a chipmunk run across the path, and shouted to her mom in excitement when she spotted a woodpecker with bright red plumage on its head on a nearby tree.  It flew off when it heard her, though, so Susan never got to see it.  Then, in the tall weeds on the opposite side of the trail, Blair saw the biggest praying mantis she had ever seen.

“Wow!  Cool!”  She stared at it for a little while.  The mantis did not seem afraid of her.  “I wonder if I could catch you?”  She knelt down beside it, and to her delight, she was able to pick it up and hold it.

Susan continued down the path, and paused when she heard a croaking nose.  Noticing a small hollowed out log in the brush, she knelt by it.  “Is there a frog in here?”  When she peeked in, a pale green frog with blue spots on it stared back at her.  “Oh, a spotted leaf frog.  Aren’t you a neat little guy?  Well, don’t worry.  I won’t bother you.  I’m not looking for an amphibious pet.  But thanks for letting me see you.”

She stood up and brushed at her legs and arms.  For some reason, her skin was tingling.  “Must be these tall weeds tickling me,” she murmured as Blair ran over to show her the mantis she caught.  “What an impressive specimen!” Susan told her with a proud smile.  “You’re on your way to becoming a junior entomologist.”

Blair gave her mother a curious look.  “What’s that?”

“Someone who studies bugs.”

At that, Blair made a face.  “I don’t know.  That doesn’t sound like as much fun as being a super secret agent.”

Susan laughed.  “No, I suppose not.  Make sure you keep a good hold on your friend there.  There’s a spotted leaf frog in this log that’d love to make a meal out of him.”

“Oh, no!  Never!  I’ll go put him somewhere safe!”  Blair ran back down the path with the mantis in her hands.

When Boyd got to the lake shore, he was about to look into renting a pole when he noticed a brightly colored blur hovering near the water line a little past the fishing spot.  Curious, he went to investigate, and when he got there, his eyes widened in amazement.  “Holy llamas!  That’s a dragon dragonfly!”  Although they were native to the area, he knew that those insects were somewhat rare and highly prized.  Some overseas entomologists would pay three figures for a live specimen of high quality.  Boyd was careful not to startle it as he observed it, and he found himself transfixed by its beautiful coloring and iridescent wings.  “No wonder,” he murmured.  “They’re incredible.”

He continued to watch the dragon dragonfly hover, and then remembered that there were no insects on Granite Falls National Park’s “Do not harm, touch, provoke, or harass” list of protected species.  That meant it was fair game. 

“Come here, big guy.”

Boyd was thrilled when he actually caught the rare insect.  As he held it, he decided that no matter how much the dragon dragonfly was worth, he was not going to sell it, because it was just too cool not to keep.  “Wait until Susan and Blair see you!” he said, admiring his new pet.  “I’m going to keep you right on my desk.”

The same woman who rented the fishing poles also sold bait and insect containers.  She congratulated Boyd on his find as she sold him one for the dragon dragonfly, and set him up with a basic rod and reel to fish with.  At the moment, they were the only two by the lake, so she helped him get started fishing as well.

“You’re going to want to cast your line out that way.  There’s an underwater ridge about where my line is where the water goes from shallow to deep.  Some of the larger fish sit in its shadow feeding on the small fry that stay closer to the top.  Once you’ve got your line in place, all you’ve got to do is just sit back and stay patient.”

Boyd did as she said, but nothing happened for the first several minutes.  While he waited, he stared out over the water and admired the natural beauty of the highland landscape. 

“Ooh!  I think I’ve got something!” the fisherwoman exclaimed.  “Yes!  Come on, now.  I could go for a nice plate of blackened bass tonight.”

“That does sound good,” Boyd remarked.  He was about to wish her luck when he felt a bite on his own line.  “Hey!  I think I got one, too!”  When he felt it again, he did his best to bring it in, but while the fisherwoman struggled to bring in a decent-sized walleye, Boyd ended up reeling in a giant lump of seaweed.

He looked over as she admired her fish.  “Nice catch!”  He held up the slimy wet plants he caught.  “Want some greens to go with it?”

She laughed.  “Thanks, but I’ll pass.  Don’t give up, though.  I’m sure you’ll get something before long.”

A little while later, Blair ran up to Boyd’s side.  “Dad!”

“Hey, Blair.  How were the woods?”

“Cool!  I saw frogs and chipmunks and a woodpecker, and I caught this!”  She held up her mantis, which was now in a little container like Boyd’s dragon dragonfly.  “Mom got me this for it, and said I could keep it if I take care of it.  You can buy the little bugs they eat at the pet store.  Or catch them here.  They even eat mosquitoes.”

“I’ll happily feed some of those back into the food chain.”  Boyd took a look at her mantis.  “That’s a big one.  Did you find him in the woods?”

Blair nodded.  “Yup!  He was in the grass.  I named him Marty.  If he had wings I’d have called him Marty McFly, but since he doesn’t, it’s just Marty.”

“Your mother and I have taught you well,” Boyd said with a grin.  “Speaking of which, where is she?” 

“Up in the rec center.  She’s making soothing skin balm on the grill.”

“Skin balm?  What happened?  Did she get another bug bite?”

Blair shook her head.  “I don’t think so.  Her arms and legs started turning all red, and she says they itch really bad.  She got some kind of rash.”

“Oh, no.”  Immediately Boyd realized what must have happened, and so did the woman fishing beside him.

“Oooh.  Sounds like a nasty case of poison fireleaf.  Your poor wife.  Give her my condolences.”

“Is she all right?” Boyd asked with concern.  “Need me to go back up there with you?”

“No.  Mom’s okay, aside from being really itchy.  I just wanted to tell you what happened, and see if you caught any fish.”  Blair looked at the lake, at the fish the woman had caught, and then at her father.  “Did you?”

“None like hers.  I got couple of small ones, but I threw them back.  They weren’t big enough to eat.”

“Aw.”  It was then that Blair noticed the dragon dragonfly that Boyd caught.  “Wow!  What a cool bug!  What is it?”

“That I did catch,” Boyd said with a note of pride.  “It’s a rare breed of dragonfly.  It’s called a dragon dragonfly, because it’s so big compared to the common dragonfly, and because sometimes it spits out a bioluminescent mist that looks like flames in the right light.”  He smiled.  “I’m going to keep it, too.  Guess we both got a new pet, huh?”

After staying and watching them fish for a little while, Blair returned to the rec center to see how her mother was doing.  She took both Marty and the dragon dragonfly back to the cabin with her.  The fisherwoman suggested to Boyd and the couple of others now fishing in the area that they move to a different spot on the shore line due to the sun’s change in position.
Boyd still did not end up catching much, but at the new location he was able to land two perch that were worth keeping.  He was trying to catch a third in the hopes that he, Susan, and Blair could each have one for dinner, when Susan came and joined him by the water.

“Hey, honey.”  She bent down and scratched her legs as she greeted him.   

Boyd could see Susan’s rash even from several feet away, and he set his pole down.  “Oh, wow.  That looks miserable.”  He gave her a hug.  “I’m so sorry.  I dodged a fireleaf bullet myself earlier.  I was going to warn you when I caught up with you, and show you how to tell the poison variety from the ornamental one, but I guess I was too late.”  He winced as he saw the state of her skin up close.  “I read about it in the Wilderness Digest yesterday when I stayed back at camp.”

“It’s not your fault.  I’m the one who got the brilliant idea to get a cutting of fireleaf for the patio garden, completely forgetting that there was a poison variety of it.  I guess I should’ve followed Blair’s example and read more of that digest.”

“I’d like to claim it was foresight that inspired me to do it, but honestly, it was more laziness than anything else.  I wanted to rest and read on the airbed yesterday, rather than go out and walk around on the trails some more like you did.”  He gave her a sympathetic look as she scratched her left arm.  “How bad is it?”

“The itch is maddening, but the herbal remedy in that article took the edge off of it.  Supposedly it helps it heal faster, too, and will clear it up in a day or so.  I was able to make enough to get me through.  Consider yourself lucky you didn’t get it.”  Susan glanced at the lake.  “So did you catch anything good?  Other than that amazing dragon dragonfly Blair showed me?” 

Boyd couldn’t help but grin.  “Isn’t he cool?”  He pointed to the two perch he caught.  “My fishing haul isn’t nearly as impressive.  It’s barely an appetizer, especially with how hungry I’m getting.”

“Want to pack it in, and head back to the rec center?  We’ve still got hot dogs in the cooler, and Blair wants to do more campfire weenie-roasting here if we’re up for it.”

“That’s fine with me.”

An hour later, it was starting to get dark, and the Wainwrights were seated on carved log chairs around a rock pit campfire.  Boyd cleaned his two perch while Blair and Susan roasted hot dogs.  Preparing the fish was harder than it looked.  The perch had many more bones than he imagined, and by the time he got all of the scales off and the majority of the bones removed, there was only a small amount of edible fish meat left.  He roasted it over the fire while Susan and Blair chatted with him, and then he ate a hot dog afterward, since he was still hungry.

Susan scratched at her legs.  “I think the balm is wearing off.”

“I’ll go get it,” Blair said. 

Boyd looked over at Susan.  “You should shower when we get back to camp, and get off any of the plant oil residue that’s still on you.”

“Oh, I showered here already.  I broke down and paid to use the public one.”

Boyd’s eyes went wide as he recalled Susan’s vehement assertion that she would not use the public shower.  “Wow.  Now I know how bad it must’ve felt.”

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Believe me, I’m still going to use our camp shower to wash off the public shower.”  Susan wrinkled her nose.  “And all the dead locust parts.”

“Dead locust parts?”

“That was one of the ingredients in the balm.  Like I said, desperate measures.”

“I’ll say.”  Boyd stuffed the last of his hot dog into his mouth as Blair returned with Susan’s skin balm, and stood up.  “If it’s all right with you two, I’m going to go ahead and put this out.  Is there anything else you want to see here at the park before we head back to camp for the night?”

Susan shook her head.  “Nope.”

“Not really,” Blair replied.  “I wanted to look for fireflies again, but I can do that there, too.”

Once they were back at their camp site, Susan got right into the shower.  The tarp-style camp shower was primitive, and the water was not exactly warm, but at least it was private, and it felt good on her hot and itchy skin.  Afterward, she had to put one more application of what Boyd now jokingly called the “locust paste” on her rash.  She was not thrilled about it, but the rash was still bad enough that she had no choice. 

The rest of their evening was low key.  Blair did not catch any fireflies, but that was fine with her, because once she saw the dragon dragonfly breathing what looked like orange flame out of its mouth, she thought that was even cooler.  She set it and Marty side by side by her air bed in the tent, and watched them until she fell asleep. 

As it turned out, Blair’s energy had a limit, and for a change, she conked out well before Boyd and Susan were ready to nod off.  After Blair went to bed, they remained outside stargazing while the campfire burned out.

“Well, we made it to our second night here.  Just one day and afternoon to go,” Susan remarked.

“I’d say we made it through not that much worse for the wear, but I think you’d stuff my pants full of poison fireleaf if I did,” Boyd teased.  “I’m glad you’re feeling better now, though.”

Susan smirked.  “Wise decision.  But yes, by tomorrow morning I think I’ll be able to wash the last of that locust paste off for good.”  She stared up at the sky.  “The stars really are impressive out here.  You can see so many.  I’ll never be a nature girl, but I have to admit, the night sky is breathtaking out here in the mountains.”

“It is.”  Boyd looked over at Susan and smiled at her in the starlight.  “It’s not the only thing out here that is, though.”  He stroked her cheek.

Flattered, she leaned over and kissed him.  Afterward, Susan snuggled up close to Boyd for the rest of their stargazing.

Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 6
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2015, 09:23:07 AM »
Poor Susan, though I have to admit to laughing at her pain. I love the dragon dragonfly, bugs are huge in this game.
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Offline karlissa

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 6
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2015, 12:36:24 PM »
I can't help but feel like that a face from the past will be caught out by Blair.
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Offline Cheezey

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Happy Campers - Chapter 7
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2015, 10:58:11 AM »
Poor Susan, though I have to admit to laughing at her pain. I love the dragon dragonfly, bugs are huge in this game.

They are. I love the detail on them. The dragon dragonfly is so cool, and the dust spirits are oddly cute. I always have to let my sims display those in their homes if they get them.

I can't help but feel like that a face from the past will be caught out by Blair.

As much as I'd have loved to include something like that, I didn't have any other families in this game that weren't the default sims or game-generated townies.  I hope that doesn't disappoint too much!

(Author's Note: Sorry this took so long to update!  This chapter was originally supposed to be the last one, but when I wrote out the draft, it was a bit long for one chapter, so I split it into two.  I'll post the final one sometime tomorrow.  Thanks for reading!)

Chapter 7

By morning, Susan felt much better. Her rash was almost gone, and there was no more itch. She was the first one awake, and after she got out of the tent, she hopped in the camp shower to wash the remnants of the locust paste skin balm off. Once she was dressed, she thought about breakfast, and decided that she could not face another day of granola and hot dogs. Instead, she grilled the remainder of the fresh fruit they had brought with them.

“Interesting breakfast choice,” Boyd remarked when he got up and noticed what was on the grill. “What inspired that?”

“When I was back at the rec center working on the rash remedy yesterday, I saw some hikers make this for lunch. It smelled pretty good. It’s even healthy, and how often do we eat anything that qualifies as that?” She turned the skewers over on the fire. “Plus, fruit is bulky and heavy, and if we use it up, we won’t have to carry it back to the car later when we pack up.”

“I like how you think, honey.” Boyd kissed Susan on the cheek, and got a drink out of the cooler while she served the grilled fruit.

Blair took a plate of it and sat down with her mother. “It looks weird like this.”

“Think of it as like what a cave sim would eat, like we did the other night,” Susan suggested. “They had to roast pretty much everything over an open fire.”

She was not convinced. “Even fruit? Why wouldn’t they just eat it off the tree?”

Blair had a point, and Susan thought for a moment before answering. “They might cook it if they wanted something warm.”

“I guess.” Blair took a bite. “It’s good.” She sounded surprised.

Susan also took her first bite. She found the grilled fruit’s texture odd, but the sweet taste made up for it. “It is pretty good. I wouldn’t want it every day, but it’s better than that granola or yet another hot dog.”

“You’re getting tired of them, too, huh?” Boyd sat down and took a bite of the grilled fruit. “I’m still a little disappointed we didn’t get to eat the pancakes and bacon we brought, but…” He paused and looked over at Susan. “That’s what this needs! If we ever make this again, we should put bacon on the skewers with the fruit.”

“Because we haven’t already eaten enough processed meat product in the last two days, right?” Susan teased.

Blair picked up her empty plate. “I agree with Dad. This would taste really good with bacon!”

Susan finished wiping down the skewers and put them away with the other grilling tools. “All right. I’ll try to remember that for the next blue moon when one of us makes breakfast on a grill, and we have things like fresh fruit and bacon in the house to begin with.” Considering how much take-out and convenience food the Wainwright family ate on a regular basis, it was not much of an exaggeration. “I’m going to head down to the ranger station and ask them about check-out later. With how messed up our reservation was when we got here, I want to make sure we’re supposed to keep all this stuff like Ranger Kendall said when we checked in. I don't want those incompetent fools sticking us with a surprise charge that we have to call a bunch of different customer service lines to dispute. Can you put the leftovers away when you’re done?”

“Sure. You’ve got your phone, right?”

“Like I’d go anywhere without it now that it’s working again.”

“It’s too bad we’ve got to go home today,” Blair said as she watched her mother leave. “This has been fun! But I guess you and Mom will be glad to have the computers and TV back, huh?”

“That’ll be nice.” Boyd motioned for Blair to join him on the picnic table bench, and when she did, he pulled her into a hug. “But even though we’ve complained about things, don’t think that we didn’t like being out here with you. That’s what we wanted for this weekend, for you to have a good time. So as long as you did, it’s all good.”

“I did,” Blair said happily. She looked up at her father. “Can we go fishing? It looked like fun when you did it yesterday.”

Boyd thought for a moment.  He had not planned on doing anything more than relaxing, reading, and maybe playing some horseshoes in the time they had left before they had to leave, but Blair was so enthusiastic that he would have felt bad turning her down.  "All right.  We can rent poles for the fishing spots here at camp, too, I think.  We'll take the path to the lake that runs by the creek, and find where they're set up. Let me just text your mom first so she doesn’t wonder where we went.”

After letting Susan know their plans, Boyd and Blair packed up the leftovers and headed down the trail. They reached the creek just as the fisherman renting the poles was packing up for lunch. He waited long enough to get them outfitted, and then bid them good luck. Blair read the sign marking the fishing area. “It says you can catch perch, bass, and salmon here.”

“Want to give it a try? It looks like we’ve got the spot to ourselves for now.”


Their solitude didn’t last. While they were getting ready to start, a hiker came by and stopped to chat. “Catch anything good?”

“We’re still getting started,” Boyd replied, while Blair remained silent and shuffled back a little. Boyd realized that she was having one of those anxious moments she got when her natural introversion kicked into high gear.

He looked over at Blair. “Hey, would you go look upstream over there and let me know if you can see any fish in the shallower water?”

“Sure!” She raced over, leaving Boyd alone with the hiker who stopped to talk to them.

“Cute kid,” the hiker remarked as Blair ran off.

“Thanks. It’s her first time fishing. My second,” Boyd told him. “At least, the second since I was about her age. It’s a learning experience for both of us.”

“The fish here are pretty active,” he told Boyd. “I’d be surprised if you don’t get a couple within the hour or so. Hit that area over by the rocks where the water’s swirling a little. It’s a hot spot.”

“Oh, it is? I'll have to try that.”

“Good luck, man. Have fun.” He waved and headed back onto the trail.

Blair returned when the stranger left. “There are some fish up there, but they’re small. I think they look like littler ones of the kind you caught last night.”

“Small perch. Okay. Good to know.” He handed Blair her pole. “Do you know how to cast the line?”

She looked at the pole. “You throw it?”

“Not exactly. Here, let me show you.” Leaning behind her, Boyd positioned Blair’s hands on the reel and showed her what to do. He landed her line in the water, and then guided her through how to hook the fish and reel it in. The lesson was still fresh in his mind from the day before, when the angler at the national park demonstrated it for him. Boyd then stood back and let Blair give it a try on her own.

The first attempt landed in the water a couple of feet in front of them with a violent splash.

“It takes some getting used to. I did the same thing yesterday,” Boyd told her. “Try it again. Go a little easier. You don’t need to throw real hard.”

“Okay.” Blair cast her line again, and that time it went a little farther out.

“Not bad. You could try fishing there and see if anything bites. It’s far enough out that there might be something there.”

Blair thought about it for a moment. “Nah. I want to catch a big fish, so I’m going to try for the spot you said that guy said had a lot of fish.” She studied the water, drew a deep breath, and then threw her line out one more time. It went right where it was supposed to.

Boyd smiled at her. “Good job.” He cast his line out, landing it about five feet from hers.

“I thought about it like throwing the horseshoes. It’s not that different. You’ve just got to focus to make it go where you want it.”

“That’s a smart way to think of it.” It was less than a minute before they got nibbles on their lines. They both jumped on them too quickly, and lost their fish, but after that, they got a better feel for what they needed to do.

Blair was the first to catch something. It was only a minnow, and not big enough to eat, but she still beamed as if she had won a prize. Boyd took a picture of her with it on his phone to show Susan, and then they released the minnow back into the water. A few minutes later, Boyd caught his first fish of the day. It was also a minnow, and even smaller than Blair’s. They laughed as he put it back into the creek, and tried again.

Offline MarianT

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 7
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2015, 11:39:14 AM »
Glad the Wainwrights are back! I hope you'll keep going with them after they return from Granite Falls.

Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 7
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2015, 02:44:55 PM »
I have a feeling the Wainwrights will be back in Granite Falls not too long after, they seem to have developed some love for nature - then again, maybe the temptation of technology will through all that out the window  ::)
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Offline Cheezey

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Happy Campers - Chapter 8
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2015, 02:27:49 PM »
Glad the Wainwrights are back! I hope you'll keep going with them after they return from Granite Falls.

I could.  The file I sent them camping in is saved on the night they returned from their camping trip.  If I did, I'd make it a separate follow-up story, since it would be an alternate universe to their Sims 3 versions, and I wanted to keep this one as being able to be read as either being in that universe or not.  In game, both Boyd and Susan kept getting whims to try for baby, and now alien abductions are a thing, too.  I have been itching to do a proper active scientist career story, though.  :D

I have a feeling the Wainwrights will be back in Granite Falls not too long after, they seem to have developed some love for nature - then again, maybe the temptation of technology will through all that out the window  ::)

I love sending sims camping, so, it's entirely possible.  If one or both got a whim for a vacation, I probably would, although in Susan's case, that might be a case of "Be careful what you wish for."  I think I'd let them have their cabin that time, though.  (But the Watcher might have enough mischief skill to have it be that cabin with no stove and the outdoor shower, which Susan would not be pleased with.)

Chapter 8

While Boyd and Blair were fishing, Susan had an animated discussion with the ranger on duty, and made sure as she went over the check-out procedure that she had a full list of the charges that would be made to their card at check-out time.  Boyd’s text came through while she was in the middle of it, so she did not see it right away.

The picture of Blair proudly holding up her minnow made Susan smile, but despite that, she did not feel like walking all the way over to the creek to join them.  Fishing was not something Susan was all that interested in, and it surprised her that Boyd enjoyed it enough to try it a second time.  She saw no appeal in standing for hours on a muddy embankment by the water, just to try and catch something that smelled the way fish did, to be left with the choice of throwing it back or getting filthy cleaning it.  But she supposed that aspect would not bother her husband, whose neatness habits were near nonexistent unless it involved some kind of hazard.

While Susan was at the ranger station, she impulse-bought a book, The Man Behind the Falls.  She decided to relax at one of the empty picnic and fire pits and read until Blair and Boyd were done fishing.  She had just started the second chapter when a small group of campers consisting of two men and a woman approached.  “Hey, mind if we light a fire here?  The other pits are all full.”

Susan looked up and saw that the surrounding pits all had families or groups at them.  “Oh, sure.  Go ahead.”

“Thanks,” one of the men replied, while the woman with them lit a fire.  “We’re ready for a break.  We’ve been hiking all morning.”

“This place is great, isn’t it?” the other man remarked.  “The lake view is just spectacular.”

“Oh, isn’t it?” Susan agreed.  “I took a picture of it on my phone, but the camera doesn’t do it justice.”

“Are you here by yourself?” the woman asked.

Susan shook her head.  “No.  My husband and daughter are camping with me.  They’re out fishing, but it’s not really my thing.”

“Mine neither,” one of the men said.  “I leave that to Wendell and Roxana here.  I’m lucky if I catch a minnow when I try.”

Roxana laughed.  “Well, my luck wasn’t so great this morning.  So… marshmallows, anyone?”  She looked at Susan.  “You’re welcome to grab some, too.  What’s your name?”

“Susan.”  She set her book down, accepting the offer.  “Nice to meet you, Roxana, Wendell, and?”  She turned to the other man.

“Wayne,” he replied.  “Nice to meet you, too, Susan.” 

Wendell stood up and glanced in Susan and Wayne’s direction.  “Um, I hate to say this, but I think we’ve got someone else who’d like one.”

“What do you…?” Susan’s voice trailed off as she followed his gaze and saw a bear approaching.  “Oh.”

“Maybe he’s just hungry,” Wayne said nervously.

“Do you really think you can appease it with a marshmallow?” asked Wendell.

“He can have the bag!” Roxana said with panic in her voice.  She got ready to throw it, which in turn made Susan panic.

“No!  Wild animals don’t like sudden moves like that.  They find them threatening.”  She was suddenly thankful for all of those Discover-It Channel nature shows she had watched.  “Although I thought they didn’t like fire, either.”

The bear let out a little grumble and stared at them, while Roxana rolled two marshmallows in its direction in a gentle and non-threatening way.  “Here you go, Mr. Bear.  Have a couple.”

The bear seemed to appreciate her generosity, and gobbled them right up.  Wayne tossed him a few more.  Their ursine companion scooped them up greedily in his paws, and then sat down on the log where Susan had been seated just a short while before.

“Um, well, I guess he’s ready to settle in,” Susan remarked, mentally placing “BEARS!!!” at the top of her list of reasons she never wanted to go camping again. 

Everyone fell silent, and Roxana pushed the bag of marshmallows toward the bear, who grabbed and devoured them on the spot.  It did not leave, though.  Instead, it stayed on the log by the fire, watching them.  After an uncomfortably long silence, Wayne finally spoke.  “You know, there’s a joke here about our fuzzy friend causing unbearable tension.”

“And on that note, I think I’m going to see how my family is doing with their fishing exploits,” Susan said with a polite smile, walking slowly and carefully so as not to startle or inadvertently make the bear feel threatened.  “It was nice meeting all of you.  Thank you for the marshmallows.”

As she left, Susan texted Boyd to let him know she was on her way to the creek, but as it turned out, he and Blair were no longer fishing there.  After catching nothing but a couple of small fry, Blair asked if they could try fishing down at the lake shore.  She and Boyd headed down there, but Boyd was starting to dread the chore of packing up all of their camping gear as check-out time drew nearer.  When Susan texted him, he asked Blair if she was ready to call it a day for fishing. 

“Nope!  I don’t want to leave until I catch a big fish.”

“All right.  You can keep on fishing for a while, but I’m going to catch up with your mother.  She’s in the main area of the campground up the trail.  We’ll check back with you soon.”

Blair continued to fish for a while, and watched the sun sparkle on the water and the ducks swimming by the shore farther down. 

About twenty minutes after her father left, she caught her biggest fish yet.  It was a minnow, but it was much bigger than any of the others she’d seen.  “Wow!  That’s really cool!”

Blair was excited about her catch, and it made her feel like an accomplished fisherman.  Or would that be fisher-girl?  She was not sure.  She also wished her parents were there to see it, because she didn’t want to keep it.  She didn’t have a bowl for the fish, and it wasn’t really good for eating, not to mention that it would start to get stinky and spoil on the ride home.  She ended up just setting her fish down long enough to take a picture of it, and then she put it back into the lake.  Blair smiled as she watched it swim away.  “Bye, fishy!”

Boyd and Susan caught up with each other and talked about what they’d done that afternoon.  While walking, they passed by the fire pit Susan had been at earlier, although the bear, Wendell, and Wayne were gone now.  Roxana still had the fire going, and after Susan introduced her to Boyd, she told them about how the bear got sleepy after eating all those marshmallows, and eventually wandered back into the woods.  Wendell and Wayne had gone to tell the ranger on duty about the incident, while Roxana was keeping the fire going until they got back. 

Susan and Roxana kept chatting, while Boyd went over by the fire to check out the book Susan bought earlier.

A few minutes later, Boyd got a message from Blair.  “Hey, Susan!  Blair just sent me a picture of a fish she caught all on her own.  It’s a minnow, but… you know, I wouldn’t believe a minnow could get this big if I didn’t see it.  Come check it out.”

Susan came over and took a look.  “Wow.  I think that’s bigger than the perch you got at the national park yesterday.”

“I know.  Sad, isn’t it?  My fishing skills, I mean.  Not hers.  Hers are obviously pretty good.”  Boyd looked over at Susan.  “Maybe we should enroll her in Sim Scouts.”

“I don’t know if I want to encourage vacations where we forego plumbing and electricity as a regular thing,” Susan replied.  “I mean, these survival skills might be useful in a zombie apocalypse, but other than that…”

“Well, if she wanted to go camping again, we’d definitely get a cabin with cable, and get ourselves a mobile hotspot to use for internet service.  Maybe a tablet so we don’t have to pack more than one computer.  And if Blair wants to feel like she’s roughing it, we could always set up our new tent outside the cabin for her to play in.”

“Fortunately, for her next vacation we already promised her Llama World, and I’m fine with that.  Llama World has wonderful resorts.”

Boyd nodded.  “Llama World will be fun this summer.”

Shortly after that, they realized there were just a couple of hours left to get everything packed up and ready to go home.  Susan and Boyd headed down to the lake and met up with Blair, returned her fishing pole, and the three of them went back to camp.  Boyd and Susan did the heavier work of taking down the tent, while Blair helped pack up the things they needed to take to the car.  Soon, the camp site was as empty as it was when they arrived, aside from the lantern, which Susan kept on hand now that dusk was approaching.

Susan was finishing a yogurt, and Boyd and Blair were playing a final game of horseshoes when the ranger on duty, Ranger Krysta, came to their camp site.  “Hi.  I heard you had some issues with check in, so I wanted to stop by personally and make sure that if you needed anything before you left, we could assist.”

“Thank you,” Susan said, getting up from the table.  “I appreciate that.  I think we’re pretty much set, though.”

“I know your stay wasn’t exactly what you planned.  I hope you had a nice vacation regardless.”

“We did!” Blair said with a grin on her face.  “It was lots of fun sleeping out in the wild and hiking and fishing.  We even got new pets, Marty and Drogon!”  She pointed to the mantis and dragon dragonfly that she and her father had caught the previous day at the national park.

“Drogon?”  Susan arched an eyebrow as she glanced over at Boyd.

“That’s from Game of Groans, isn’t it?” Ranger Krysta remarked.


“Well, he’s pretty neat.  Can I take a closer look at him?” Krysta asked Blair.

She nodded.  “Sure!”

“Boyd,” Susan said in a hushed tone that Blair could not hear, “did you let her watch Game of Groans?!”

“No!  Of course not.  The other day I was playing a MeTube video from it, a montage of the dragons set to music, and she saw it on my screen, and asked me about it, and the dragons in it.  But there was nothing objectionable for a kid her age in that.”

Susan breathed a sigh of relief.  “Oh, good.”

“Those are some very cool bugs you got there,” Krysta told Blair with a smile.  “Take good care of them.”

“We will!” said Blair.

The ranger adjusted her hat.  “Well, it looks like you’re all set, so I’ll let you finish packing up and not hold you up.  Thanks for coming to the Granite Falls campgrounds, and for sticking it out with us despite the rocky start.  We appreciate your business, and you’re welcome to come back anytime.  Oh, and I was told to give you this.”  She handed Susan a coupon.  “10% off your next vacation, even on holiday and prime vacation slot rates.  We hope you’ll stay with us again.”

“Oh.  Thank you.”  Just what I never wanted, to go camping again, Susan thought.

“Yeah, thanks,” Boyd echoed, giving her a polite smile while his thoughts ran much along the same line as his wife’s.  He turned to Blair.  “You about ready to head back to the car?  Don’t need the bathroom or anything?  It’s a long drive.”

“I’m fine.”

“I can wait for the comforts of home,” Susan said, glad that she would no longer have to deal with the fly-filled public restroom.  “Let’s go.”

“Sounds good to me.”  Boyd picked up the car keys, Susan picked up the lantern, and Blair held Marty in one hand and Drogon in the other as they headed down the dirt path to the parking lot.

Two hours later, the Wainwrights were back at home, comfortably settled around a pizza on their dining table.

“This is like ambrosia,” Boyd remarked as he stuffed a hot and gooey slice of pepperoni and extra cheese pizza into his mouth.  “And we didn’t even have to roast it over a fire first.  Straight from the delivery guy, like technology intended.”

“You said it.  Processed meat topping and all,” Susan agreed, taking a slice.

“It does taste good.  I’m kind of tired of hot dogs and marshmallows,” Blair admitted.  “And it’ll be nice to take a bubble bath tonight.”

“Yes, it will,” said Susan.  “But you can go first.  You have school bright and early tomorrow.”

“I know.  I can’t wait to tell Kody all about our trip!”  Blair finished her pizza.  “His wasn’t as cool as ours.”

“I’m not sure ‘cool’ is the word I’d use, but it was definitely an, uh, unforgettable experience,” Boyd said.

Susan smiled at Blair.  “We’re glad you had such a good time, sweetie.”

“I did.  It was fun.”  Blair picked up her plate and went to the sink.  “I’m going to take my bath now.”

Susan nodded to Blair as she left, while Boyd set his pizza crust down on the plate.  “So, what do you want to do first?  TV or computer?”

“Computer until she’s done, and then I’ll take my bath.  After that, maybe we’ll watch some TV after she goes to bed?”

Boyd closed up the box of pizza.  “Want to catch up on the episode of Game of Groans we missed while we were away?”

“Sounds perfect.”  Susan picked up the pizza box and gave Boyd a kiss on the cheek.  “It’s good to be home, isn’t it?”

“Absolutely.”  Boyd stretched and headed over to his computer desk to settle in.


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Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 8 *Complete*
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2015, 04:26:05 PM »
Ah well, it's in their nature to be techno-freaks  ;D I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this and look forward to more from you, hope the Wainwrights return or have cameo appearances elsewhere  ;)
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Offline Nutella

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 8 *Complete*
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2015, 12:11:29 PM »
Cheezey, can I move this story to the completed board?  or will the Wainwrights be camping more?

Offline Nutella

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 8 *Complete*
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2015, 08:33:15 AM »
I'm moving this to the Completed Stories Board.

Original Storyboard:  Sims 4 Miscellaneous Stories

Offline Cheezey

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 8 *Complete*
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2015, 10:29:17 AM »
Sorry, I was out of town and hadn't been by the board. Moving the thread was fine. Thanks.  In the future I'll say "okay to move" or something after a story is complete to avoid confusion. :)

Offline Savuti6

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Re: Happy Campers - Chapter 8 *Complete*
« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2020, 06:23:42 AM »
This story really made my morning! Lots of laughs and so realistic. I have only just gotten in to playing Sims 4 but have being playing other Sims games for ever..Lots of chuckels and laughs "Beans, beans, are good for the heart..." We so used to chant that when we went camping as kids. Amazing characterisation , love your Wainwrights , wish you could do a return trip where they meet the hermit. Mother is doing well on her herbology already making balms on her first attempt (?) ..Had to just say how much I enjoyed reading this and give you kudos for a thoughly enetertaining story, Glad you resurected Blair from Sims 3. Keep up the great work