Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Camping 101

Growing up in them thar' hills, we camped, rustically and primitively. We didn't bring much. It was bliss~ frequent, habitual, and filled the summer with countless memories. The cooking was done outside. Food was substantial, but plain. Mom, did we have such a thing as a cooler back then?

Tess was two weeks old the first time she went camping. We invited her, welcomed her into the tradition when she was born. When Brita came along we did the same for her.

Craig hadn't grown up camping like I had, so we followed my family's way of simple and rustic. We left the primitive out, because the only places we could camp were campgrounds. This felt a little 'anthill' to me, but getting out was a pleasure. Running water was nice. :)

We camped with groups of friends who brought everything but the kitchen sink and a stunning array of entertainment, food, cooking gear, outdoor gear, etc.

We went through three tents by the time the girls were in their teens. By that time, they were doing camp outs with friends in a group setting. Sleeping on the ground became unbearable for a time for me, because of pain.

Camping became extinct after we threw out our last tent. We became hotel/cabin campers.

Three years ago some friends with a motorcycle asked us to go camping. Our motorcycles looked like pack mules heading to the Yukon for the gold rush. Arkansas or Bust should have been hanging from the back. We were able to take very little. Think back packing. It was a blast. We felt young and free.

Until we woke up the next morning. On sale floaties are vacuum packed. Small addition. Two uses. Float in the lake. Sleep on it.

No matter how we tried, we kept sliding off the thing until morning when it had deflated. I was cranky because Craig spent most the night steer wrestling with his pillow, the floatie, and the blankets. From the outside, the rumblings going on inside must have looked like we had all night sexual stamina. The thrashing to get comfortable in our little pup tent might have earned some snickers from our neighbors? Getting dressed was a challenge. The tent almost collapsed at the strain, along with me.

We are going on our third annual motorcycle camping trip the end of the month. Someone loaned us a trailer. A new hitch is behind the bike. We will NOT have pans dangling and a lawn chair tied to the sissy bar. We will look less like hillbillies, and miss the amused looks of those passing by.

We bought a bigger tent this week and will try it out camping with some friends this week by the river. Things aren't as tight financially as when the girls were small. We splurged on some gear, as we have a pick up that it will fit in. It has a five star feel. Uptown.

We both decided we didn't want to be done camping. Yes, it is some trouble. It can be messy; but oh ~ the stars at night. The sound of water close by. The brisk shivering air when you crawl out of the warm cocoon to unzip the day ~ I'm not ready to be done with making these memories. Yet.

Outdoor cooking makes me wriggle with delight. Camp coffee makes me almost swoon with contentment. Poking the fire is free therapy.

If the tent is rocking, don't come knocking ~ we have upgraded our air mattress. Being new and all, we might try to manage a christening of some sort.

When you get tired and weary from learning about God, stop everything and go be with God. He's a camper, I'm sure of it.


A Simple Country Girl said...

Oh yay, so many things to love about this story! Your mattress entanglement saga reminds me of a sea kayaking trip in college where a raccoon had pilfered through our group's goods in the night. Each person thought one of the others was on a midnight snack rampage. Tennis shoes were flung and lots of groans were heard, but the racket ensued. Come morning and sunshine the mystery was solved.

And what is wrong with looking a little hillbilly with dangling pots and pans? Remember not to wash your face because the layer of smoke and dirt and fresh air actually give a protective barrier that you cannot buy in bottle. ;-)


Maureen said...

What a great post, Kathleen. Have someone take a picture of you on the back of the machine. (One of my sisters rides, and my late brother had a huge bike he rode all over the country. Only once did he persuade me to get on behind. I almost choked him when he revv'd up and took us flying.) We did a fair share of camping when we were growing up. Some good memories made.

I know you'll have great fun.

Glynn said...

I admire you. My idea of roughing it is having to stay at a Ramada.

Kathleen Overby said...

Loverby would heartily agree with you, Glynn. He loves me more than he loves himself. :)

Jessica said...

Oh HOW I love camping. Our recent trip was therapy to these mom weary bones. Even having to use all sets of eyes and hands to keep four little ones safe...it was amazing. Exhausting, but so good!

I kept telling my hubby...I can't wait until we can do this just you and me :)

Anonymous said...

just thinking how nice it would be to have a camp fire for some people that don't do camping.

i remember once, i was on a hayride, and someone had made a nice campfire for the wagon load of people. it was in the middle of the ride. a really nice experience.

and of course, when if one camps out as a girl scout, there is a camp fire.

i like that fact that everyone is in a circle.

for a few years now, i have many thoughts about people in a circle for some reason.

Sherlene said...

You were the one that convinced me 2 women CAN go camp off by themselves! I have great memories of that camping trip up by lake wach-callit off US-50!

Kathleen Overby said...

Nancy, build a fire pit in your back yard! And you're right - "things happen in circles, that may never happen in rows."

Sherlene, that was a more than fun. Car trouble and all.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Kathleen, you make me want to break out the camping gear and head to the hills... almost... well, not really :)

but it is a great post and yes! Take the pic and post it!!!!

Can't wait to hear about what adventures you two can get up to in a bigger and roomier tent.... :)

Anonymous said...

You were 6 weeks old the first time we took you camping, you loved it even then. We always had Pancakes, bacon and eggs for breakfast, fried potatoes and usually hamburger for dinner. I am sure we had to have a cooler for our milk but it must not have been important enough to remember. We had all the good equipment available at the time, but my how things have changed. Enjoy your camping trip

L.L. Barkat said...

A bigger tent! Well, you are in for life. :)

Lyla Lindquist said...

"Foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of Man..." ...was one wild camper.

Too bad you didn't have any money on that bet. You'd have made out pretty well.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

You are so cool. And we are sooo lame.

One of my friends calls what WE do "fake-camping." We pack up the hard-sided camper and drive exactly four miles north and park by a little lake.

When we want a shower, we drive home.

You are a REAL camper.

Laura said...

Smiling. And, um, I am a hillbilly.

And is that really your mom? That is just too cool. I love visiting you, Kathleen. Always feel like I'm pulling my log closer to the campfire.

Sam Van Eman said...

Kathleen, this is fantastic! I'm serious. I've been a primitive camper for years but kids convinced us to be car-campers. Will we end up in a pop-up? Or a cabin? Or just a plain ol' hotel?

Our Sunday School class has a rather large camper segment and I enjoy our mix of approaches to the great outdoors. Regardless of what we sleep on, we're in it for the company, the stars, and, as you said, because God is a camper, too. ;)

Em said...

"Like" :)

Dan said...

This is one of the best blog that I ever read today. Great story. I enjoyed every detail and I am actually inspired to plan another camping adventure even just in the backyard. Thanks for sharing.

Magaly said...

Outdoor camping also makes me jump in delight. I am glad to know that there are still many women out there who loves camping too.