My three boys love camping, especially my youngest. I think I must have enjoyed it at one time – when I was a youth and had no concept of just how much work goes into it. My current body is not designed for the discomforts of a frozen or hard ground. Give me a motel room.
The first year the Roland and I were married we had purchased two pup tents just before Christmas. We gave one to Tony on Christmas day and the other one to Randy on his birthday (which was just ten days later).
At the end of May we took our first camping trip together (and actually the only one I went on, now that I think about it). Halfway there we learned that Randy had brought his blanket. JUST his blanket. No sleeping bag. He thought a blanket would be all that he needed. Seriously? He said he loved camping and then acted as though he had never been.
We stopped by a second hand store and purchased a sleeping bag for him and a frying pan which we could dispose of after our little three day weekend adventure. We’d gone for a charity event and set up camp behind the rest stop which provided coffee and food to travelers venturing down Highway 6 – which at the time was reported to be in the top ten of the deadliest highways in the nation.
Upon arrival, the boys pitched their tents and went off to explore – leaving the dog (Houdini) behind in one of the tents – which took the Houdini only seconds to destroy. What were they thinking leaving the dog in the tent in the first place? The whole idea of bringing him was to keep both him and the boys busy running and exploring.
Roland and I slept in the van during the day. He had volunteered us to keep watch during the graveyard shift – which was fine really. It was far too cold and uncomfortable for sleeping in the van. We kept a fire going by the road so that travelers could warm themselves up as well.
I understand that there was a whole lot more lively activity during the day. But that’s when Roland and I would sleep – or try to anyway. Roland also cooked up hamburgers at very odd hours – like 7:00 in the morning.
In addition to coffee and bakery goods, we passed out bumper stickers which read, “Pray for me. I drive Highway 6!” Because of the weekend program that this organization provided, injuries and crashes had been cut down a large percentage as travelers were able to rest a bit and get something in them to help them stay awake.
The boys continued their camping experiences whenever the opportunity would arise – often going with the scouts. And so would Roland. They’d go in the dead of winter – and Roland hates the cold. I remember enjoying those moments when I would have the house to myself. I enjoyed that a lot more than camping.