Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Camping Cramps My style

We went to Camper World the other day (the camping equivalent of Wally World) because it is almost time to break out the travel trailer and hit the trails again.  Thus I thought I would share with you a couple of posts I wrote last summer on the topic.  My guess is that they will be new to you, because I had just started blogging and had "no readers" except a couple of family members.  (God bless their little pointed heads.)
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(From last September:)
We are camping this week - with all that implies - and much that it does not. When I was a kid camping was a lot simpler than it is today. The camping experience back in the "olden days" as my children always refer to my childhood, consisted of two sticks, one match (in case you were not adept at getting the two sticks to catch fire), a bag of marshmallows, and a sleeping bag. That was pretty much it.

Now we have a camper trailer equipped with stainless steel appliances, air conditioning, and satellite TV - although admittedly reception is iffy way up in the mountains. And while I appreciate advances in civilization as much as the next person, I cannot help but ask myself - why?

Why do we need all this stuff with us when I thought the whole idea of camping was to enjoy the great outdoors, get in touch with our inner Thoreau, and connect with the Creator of the whole universe?

There are reasons, as it turns out. First, we must be able to check in with Wheel of Fortune on a nightly basis, because they may have called our name during the prize puzzle for viewers. A person would not want to miss out on that $50,000 smackers, if they have drawn our name, so TV is not actually frivolous - my husband is simply being prudent regarding our potential financial windfall. Personally, I would rather watch the wind in the trees and the leaves fall, but that is just me.

Next, chilled refreshments must be, well...chilled. Not just cooled down as in an old red and white Igloo carrier, but sub-zero frosty, because part of the charm of the outdoor experience is being able to slake one's thirst after all that hiking around (around the club house, around the pool, and around the barbecue pit) with a really well-chilled beverage. I am told the contrast between the outdoor temperature and the temp of the drink, is critical to enjoying the experience. Who knew?

Another odd juxtaposition in the whole camping experience, at least as practiced by the Youngs, is that we are never more cramped for space, than when we are in the middle of the spacious great outdoors. How can this be?

I refer the reader to the aforementioned state-of-the art trailer. Ours is cute as a button, and shiny bright, but it is about the size of a walk-in closet; and I mean the whole thing from front hitch to back bumper (wherein the detached sewer hose is cleverly stored while in transit.) And there you have a perfect example of what I mean when I say camping cramps my style.

Every single thing - every item, tool, or utensil must serve double or triple duty. Same thing with every square inch of space. I would say every square inch of available space, but there is none in our trailer. None. Nada.

Thus, camping in our trailer involves executing a series of daily maneuvers with the synchronicity of an ice-skating duo. And anything that is moved, must of necessity simply change places with some other item - since it seems to be a law of physics that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time - although goodness knows we have tested that one out more than once.

For example, we have a collapsible bowl. Yes, they make those. It serves many functions; we can make pancake batter in it, as it comes with a pour spout, we can toss salad in it, and could even use it as a mini-dishpan if need be. When we are finished using it, we wash it, dry it and collapse it, such that it stores laying flat in the cupboard. This is a critical attribute of anything used for camping - it must fold up, collapse down, or lay flat.

I'll just own it - I am not as young as I used to be. The knees don't fold up they way they once did, the back does not bend well either, but at the end of a full day of camping, let me tell you that I have that whole collapsing and laying flat thing down pat!

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More tomorrow on camping with the Youngs - meanwhile have a good evening, and spend some time lying down, it helps.  :)


  1. So very nice to meet you! I found your site through a mutual friend Donna at Starkey Hallow.
    Your name caught my attention and I knew with a name like that I would enjoy their site and I did very much.
    Glad I am now your newest follower

  2. The closest Jilda and I ever came to getting a divorce was when I took her camping for the first time.
    It's only by the Grace of God and the fact that she couldn't drive a stick shift at the time that we're still married.
    Very neat story.