Our kids, who had been patient and amazing for the past 1000 miles, had officially grown tired of their movies, their tablets, their snacks, their car games, each other and us. They wanted one thing, and one thing only... to get to Noblesville, Indiana and the home of the Southworth family.
A week earlier, while trying to reserve a Noblesville campground, April had found that nearly everything was fully booked for the upcoming Father's Day Weekend. Out of options, she stumbled upon a one-star Google review for a place called River Bend Campground. The review warned of shards of glass blanketing the riverside. April dug deeper.
River Bend Campground's nonexistent website and outdated social media paired nicely with their improperly sized Facebook profile picture stating "Closed for Renovation. "
Faced with calling this place or missing a visit with the Southworths entirely, she called.
The man who answered was... different. He sounded as though he had just been lifting something very heavy. He told April that the campground was on the river but had recently flooded. He told her that he had lots of sites but no way to tell which amenities worked. He asked why she was in town, and wanted to know her exact reason for camping in Noblesville. To make things more precise, the man offered up 3 options from which he asked April to choose:
1. An upcoming race.
2. Father's Day.
3. A graduation.
Being that we had no idea what race he was talking about and no intention of staying in Indiana for Father's Day, April weirdly chose: a graduation.
Don't judge the lying. Desperate times and the pressure of multiple choice.
Agreeable that a "graduation" was a good reason to subject oneself to Indiana, the man told April a lot more things... most of them about how hard he'd been working to fix the campground after the devastating flood and how he'd be sure to save a site for her. He declined to take her name or phone number, though. "I'll remember. Just call to confirm when you're on your way," he said.
Now Wednesday, April called River Bend Campground once again. This time, the man's wife answered. April reminded her of why she was calling, and the wife echoed the husband's story that the campground is a recently-flooded shit-hole and that they're doing their best to clean it up.
Out of options, April shuddered and confirmed that we were about 200 miles away and would arrive that afternoon.
Lady: "200 miles!?!? Where are you? Why would you come that far just to stay in Noblesville?"
April: "Ummmmm... we're somewhere in Kentucky. But we'll be there."
Lady: "Why would you come allllll this way? That's so far!"
April (attempting a little more spunk and effort this time): "We've come all the way from Florida! We're on our way to Canada!"
Lady: "Canada?!?! Why would you want to go that far!??!?!"
April considered going back the the "graduation" story but realize it was too late. The lady went on to explain that they'd wait around for our arrival, but they had a weekly date night planned that they can just never can seem to keep, so she couldn't make any promises.
Having spent hundreds of nights in many a campground, and having never been asked for a reason for their stay or having been subject to such a phone conversation before, April chose this moment to inform Mark that the River Bend Campground mayyyyy be a little shady. Maybe.
Still miles from Noblesville, Trip Advisor suggested lunch at Mother Bear's Pizza West in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. It, thankfully, did not disappoint.
It was here that Andrew realized his long time dream of drawing on the wall with a Sharpie. He literally jumped for joy when he found out this was allowed, and declared this to be one of the best lunch stops of his life.