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“Have you ever been in a kayak before?”

“Oh, yeah. I’ve been in a couple before.”

“So you’ll be fine?”

“Yeah yeah, I’ll be fine.”

As I stepped into the kayak it flipped over throwing me into the lake, fully clothed, seconds after reassuring Tra’s dad that I didn’t need any help. For as long as I can remember my cheeks have refused to let me hide my embarrassment. Life always felt like a game of poker where everyone else could see my hand at all times. I just made an ass of myself in front of my boyfriend’s dad and my cheeks were glowing red.

When Tra invited me to his family camping trip in Florence, Oregon nearly two years ago, I nervously accepted. From my previous experiences with his family I knew I had nothing to worry about, but spending the weekend with your new boyfriend’s family is scary. Not in a spooky ghost story kind of way but a “what if I fall out of a kayak in front of them and make an ass of myself” kind of way.

When we arrived at Camp Honeyman the first thing I realized was that Toby, Tra’s dad, is a camping pro. He built these intricate portable boxes with shelves and drawers for everything you would possibly need. It was like have a kitchen pantry in the middle a camping ground. He also had a system for setting up his unique canvas tents. Coming into the trip I was worried about the sleeping situation since I had very little experience with sleeping in tents and cots. I had no reason to worry. The tents were surprisingly spacious and the cots were better than a hide-a-bed mattress. While it wasn’t a glamping trip, I sure felt spoiled to be able to enjoy such a special setup.

I had never seen anything like the sand dunes in Florence. On one of the last days we took a ride on a dune buggy through the dunes to get a better look. I felt like I was transported into the middle of the Sahara desert. There was nothing but sand for as far as I could see and it was gorgeous. We spent most of our time at the beautiful lake on the campground which sat right against giant sand dunes. The lake was nice and warm and perfect for swimming and kayaking. In hindsight I wish I would have taken advantage of the opportunity to photograph such an amazing location, but cameras have a love-hate relationship with sand.

One place I wasn’t afraid to bring my camera was Old Town Florence. Stepping into the historic downtown was like walking back in time. The old-school architecture and mom-and-pop shops were fun to explore and made fantastic photo backdrops. The downtown sits right on the Siuslaw River and grants visitors access to the boat docks.

This trip was my very first camping trip and I had a blast. Tra’s family could not have been more welcoming and really hope that it wasn’t the last trip I’m invited to, you know, after I proved myself to be a below average mariner.

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me.

This week I’ve chosen a track by Brooklyn artist Oddisee. Give it a listen and maybe consider giving them a follow on twitter.