Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our camping story

The little red truck all packed up
Camp Smallwood loaded and ready for home

The VW has the over-flow

VW packed tight

Inside our cottage

see our "AC" unit?

Lake Jordan

another view of the lake

Fiona likes the "carpet"

this little dorm fridge is a life-saver!

other end of screen room

Camp kitchen inside screen room

Inside the VW headed for camp

Hello everyone,
I have taken some photos to share, but my camera is needing her battery charged before I can download....so, the text will be first!
Paul and I have had a love affair with camping for our entire married life. We took our first trip for a weekend get away while my mom watched Matt. (Matt turns 40 this August....so it was waaaaaaay back!). Our "rookie" trip was a bit of a disaster, but we had enough fun that we didn't abhore the thought of camping, we just didn't do it again for years. While living in Germany we made friends with several couples at our church and these folks camped while site-seeing! They invited us to join them one weekend in May and the rest is history. We had 3 small children and the very best way to travel with them was camping and I was determind to see as much of Europe as we could possible see on a Staff Sargent's salary. We began with a sturdy canvas tent and camp stove and progressed to a "caravan" which is a pull-behind camper. Our Tabbert camper was adorable and would be classified "vintage" as it was made in the '60s, but it was heaven for us. We spent 3 weeks in Italy, a week in Switzerland, a week in Holland (made 5 more trips to Holland in that camper), long weekends in France, and many many trips in Germany. My friend Karen was a pro at organizing and arranging and she advised me on the best way to pack, plan and prepare for 5 traveling for extended periods, what fun we had. Planning was literally half of the fun. I would read about a place to see or an event to attend, then we would put together the itenerary and then plan the food and the clothing needs. Wish I had a photo of that camper to share, I will hunt for one. Seems like another person in another lifetime, but we were all together and having a good time. A dream come true for a girl from the heart of America who never thought she would see such sites!
After 5 years in Europe, we returned to the USA and settled in Idaho of all places! Each summer we would travel to Kansas and then to Ohio to visit our families and we camped for those trips. Back to a tent again. A cooler and sleeping bags (no air mattresses for us). Primitive and kinda uncomfortable, but we were still young and it was cheap.
We camped while stationed in Boston at the military camp site called Fourth Cliff just up the road a bit from Cape Cod, what a beautiful space and so much to see and do while in the area. We tent camped there as well and the view was awesome, but the wind could get fierce too.
Moving to North Carolina kept us busy and our kids were teens and life was hectic so camping was not on the agenda for a while, but we started tent camping to go to the Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain and then bought an Aliner camper (a very neat one which we loved). We camped all over in that fellow for a couple of years, then he was totaled by a storm and we were back to tenting it! My tea business kept me too busy to even think of camping, but now that I am not running a shop, I have time to plan and prepare again and Paul and I are camping up a storm. Lake Jordan is just 20 min. from our front door, yet you feel as if you are out in the wilderness when you are there. We have already been out camping there four times this year. We began with a trial run of camping the week before we had our "Camp Lake-In-the-Woods" with the grands, then we had camp, then we met Paul's twin brother John and his wife Ruth out there for a weekend camping and Sarah and Amy and families joined us, then we were back for the 4th.
Well, all this rambling, so sorry but my memories got the best of me for a moment...I once did a talk on camping in Europe for Christian Women's Club and called it "Camping....how can so much work be so much fun?" that is still true to this day. I told Paul I feel the same after getting all the Christmas stuff down each year....but hope I never tire of doing this as it keeps us in the flow of life. We work hard, but oh it is so enjoyable.
ps pictures will follow!


Joyce Mineer said...

Now all you need is an air card for your laptop and you'd never need to come home!! Ha!

Cathy said...

Hey Joyce, you are so right! I will get that air card when we begin our "marvelous mystery tour year-long road trip to end all road trips" beginning in just a couple of short years!!!

Summer Kinard said...

So, how old were your children when you started taking them? We want to start camping again but are not quite brave enough to take one year old Michael yet. Can 1 yo's camp successfully?

Love your stories. They inspire me.

Cathy said...

Hello Summer!
Depends on your one-year-old. If he is very mobile, then it could be a bit more of a challange, but, still worth a try. Don't know if you are a fan of any type of playpen...exersaucer-type accessory, but that frees you up for making meals and makes sure they don't wander off or eat a bug! I say, go for it, and see how it works out. Lake Jordan is a great destination and if it is a flop, well you can be back home in an hour! Loop 2 or 4 in Parkers Creek area are the best spots. I would get an elec. site and bring a fan to plug in and cool you all off. Call me. Miss hearing from you, Cathy