I’ve heard the stories and seen the videos – people running to snag the best activities, the snap up the prime picnic spot. Parents spending thousands on personalized gifts for bunkmates. I’m sure they’re true…somewhere. But at our camp, we show up, we plunk down a blanket and we hang. That’s it. You can play the camper/parent softball game if you want. But we didn’t want to. You can tour the camp — but as this is my kids’ fourth summer – we didn’t want to. What we wanted, was to relax, and talk and catch up.
No personalization of trinkets needed.
Of course what was needed was a six hour drive to get there. Hence the need to relax. (Really, the camp should serve cocktails upon arrival. Who cares if it’s 9 am? Drunken revelry amidst the pine trees… Who knows which parents would end up floating in the middle of a lake, short sheeted in their cots?)
This year, for my six hour drive, I got a loaner car from Dodge. My 2013 Red Dodge Avenger was a four-door sedan with a two-door sports car soul.
That thing was zippy, and cute and handled really well. And this from a total car snob: I learned on a Peugeot, then had an old Mercedes (and I do mean old) for a summer, then an Audi forever. And this little well-priced car (starting at under $20K) stood up to the best of them.
Maybe I’m like George Bush marveling over the conveyor belt at the supermarket, but this car had built in GPS navigation, USB charging, the ability to connect your phone to the car radio (I bought the cable, for $15, to do so), and voice command for said radio. (though listening to my husband constantly yell out commands got old fast) It even lets you upload your own photos to its hard drive so they can display in the screen instead of just a blank background. (Though that seems like a safety hazard to me: Oh look! I love that pict…CRASH!) My 13 year old Audi wagon is neither zippy nor loaded with fun techie extras. And its soul is more grandma than sports car. Sigh.
As you can tell, we more than liked the car. Though sadly, it’s not for us, It could be a car for two people who sometimes have passengers rather than a car for a family. Or i could be a second car to tool around in for fun, while your family car does the real heavy work. But mostly, the Dodge Avenger is a car for a twenty-something. Its sexy and sporty and fun and goes fast. Very fast . So it’s a good thing it has an awesome safety rating. (One down side: neither my husband nor I loved the visibility when we were backing up.)
As a matter of fact, we’ve begun looking for a new car (my first! All the others in my life have been hand-me-downs) and had assumed we’d need a wagon or crossover. But the trunk on this thing holds plenty…and it’s not a very big car. And the back seat of a sedan is generally way more comfy than a wagon or SUV. After spending 12 hours (round trip) in the Dodge Avenger, we’re seriously considering a sedan now.
But back to visiting day. Here’s what I learned this year:
1. Don’t bring too much food. Your kids will ask for it, but then they won’t eat it, and then you’ll either have to throw it out or take it home.
2. Do show up in a cool, red sports car. Your kids will be wowed. (thanks Dodge!)
3. Don’t bring up summer homework. Just. Don’t.
4. “forget” your bathing suit. That lake is COLD.
5. Bring board games. We had such a great time playing Spot it and Banagrams.
6. Do drive up in a cool, red, zippy, sports car. It makes the long drive seem shorter, and helps you maintain the 7-week fantasy of being child-free and care-free. (thanks, Dodge)
7. Relax. Enjoy your kids. Don’t keep up with the Jonestein’s.
8. Do not participate in the Running of the Jews. We’re Jews, not runners. Every heard of a sprinter named Rabinowitz?
9. Don’t fall into the minivan/SUV trap. A good Sedan, like the Avenger, the a good safety rating, and nice bells and whistles can be awfully comfy and useful. And it may mean you get to hold on the that front seat a bit longer. As of this visiting weekend, my son is taller than I am. I fear I am not long for the front seat if the back seat is cramped!
10. Visiting Day is about visiting. Not about stuff. Not about running. Not about bringing them stuff…no matter how roomy the trunk. Enjoy it.
I received a Dodge Avenger on loan for the weekend. Thanks to Scotty Reiss from SheBuysCars.com for arranging the loaner. All opinions are my own.