We had to be at the hot tub at 10 am all packed and ready and since you had to look for everything ten times and not doing the dishes is not an option, it creates some tension. I guess it takes time to get used to a new lifestyle. In the end the kids had their smorphs (graham cracker, chocolate and roasted marshmallow sandwich) and they did have their oatmeal in the morning and the parents had their wine in the evening and coffee in the morning. Life is good.
The town of Hot Springs was a backpacker paradise. The local grocery store has the widest selection of backpacking food I have ever seen. Powdered mixes in plastic bags. Look almost the same but with different labels: cream of broccoli soup, hot chili stew, camomille tea… I wonder how they made camomille tea into white powder?
It was raining as we went to the tubs. It was in the mid 40s F and I was hoping that the hot springs were indeed hot. The tubs were on stilts again on a walled off platform on the river bank with no wall casing the river. So you could see forest, the river and nothing else. I thought that our children would refuse to take off their clothes but I was wrong. Timofei was the fist in the tub followed by Yelisei. Go figure. The cruel thing is that when they come back to tell you that your time is up they also pull the plug!!!!! And the water starts to drain very very fast! Not only do we have to dress ourselves, but we have to dress our children as well. That was the fastest we dressed in history…
Now we had to change our plans because of the heavy rain in South Carolina. So we are going to Georgia and the kids are starting to ask every ten minutes are we there yet?
Waking up in Shenandoah valley was refreshing. Though it was cold, it was energizing also. We drove for an hour to a Virginia ski resort where we planned to go to a water park. Our kids were asking to go to one since last summer when we went to one in Russia in St Petersburg. They loved going down the water slides and we enjoyed the saunas. At first I was surprised how similar those waterparks were. It was a very similar construction, the structures and the slides were all the same in Russia and Virginia. The price was different – $20 in Russia and $140 in Virginia. There was no saunas and the hottest tub was only 98F so it was not warm enough even for the kids to get warm. On every corner there was a life guard who told everyone not to do anything fun! You could not even go together with your 3 year old on a somewhat tall slide, but were supposed to go first and catch them at the bottom. After only one hour our kids were freezing but there was one tub that had water over 100F – except you had to be over 18 to be allowed in there. So we had to leave, because we were also hungry. You can not eat your own food in there, but their cafe only had french fries and other deep fried goods that we usually don’t eat. Both kids were screaming and shivering and starving. We all had a blast though! We had lunch in the parking lot instead. And then we were off to the North Carolina town of Hot Springs.
We started the drive at 2:30 pm and arrived by 7:30pm. It was mostly uneventful. We switched drivers once and the last 20 minutes Yelisei was screaming “I can not wait any longer” for no reason in particular. I guess it was a long drive for them.
We made a reservation for a cabin and a hot tub at 10 am the next morning. Our cabin was on the river bank on stilts and it was very small. Surprisingly you could sleep 8 people there easily. The stilts and the shape of this cabin were the perfect “bad witch house” (izbushka na kurih nozhkah), so Timofei was jumping on a broomstick and playing the bad witch (baba jaga). Though it was late when we arrived and we were practically in the middle of town, we or I should say I, decided to test our new equipment. We have a new gas lantern and a new double burner stove and a 12 gallon water canister with a spout. I thought since Renzo did not have to put up a tent it would be perfect conditions to do a test run of the new stuff. It was the most frustrating experience! I am used to everything being in the kitchen, easily available and here imagine you dumped all your utensils and plates and pots together with paper towels and rags in one box and all your food in the other. The gasoline stove has very little flame control and the lantern can not be hung and the children are banging their spoons on the table and are demanding marshmallows! All I did was boil water and pour it into instant noodle miso soup and made some tea and hot coco. I felt like I ran a race.
The same experience was for breakfast but with the added benefit of rain and having to set up our kitchen on the bench of our porch so I can cook hunched over. I made oatmeal and coffee for breakfast and by the time I was doing the dishes we were fighting with Renzo, and the children were crying. But that happened on day 3…