Saturday, August 8, 2009


We are old every sense of the word. Mike and I both liked to tent camp when we first met, and we still enjoy a few nights and days in the outdoors. In recent years, however, our camping experiences have been those nights spent in KOA cabins, rather than in a motel room, as we travel to 'somewhere'. I miss the real camping trips.

We've had quite a number of adventures over the years. We've spent weeks in a tarp covered tent, while the rain poured down during our entire vacation. We've stayed in rustic campgrounds with only an outhouse for facilities. There have been other sites with full comforts of home, including laundry rooms and game rooms. We agree that wooded sites are our favorites versus the option of a huge, grass-filled "parking lot".

On one trip, we were staying in a site in Maine, run by the University of Maine. It was a great place, other than the fact that the black flies multiplied in instants! The site was wooded, rustic, with plumbed facilities...that you had to pay a quarter to use. Mike was chief cook, as usual, but he was used to using charcoal in the grill, or the little bottled gas camp stove. I told him I was going to cook him breakfast over the campfire. I think that's REAL camping... cooking over a wood fire. The bacon and fried eggs were perfect, and the toast was too. He was quite amazed, for some reason. And...he still praises my campfire cherry cobbler and 'end of camping stew' (made with whatever leftovers there are!)

Mike and I have camped all over the Northeast states and in Washington state. We've had dry and wet weather. There have been county parks, state parks, and privately owned campgrounds. We've slept in little tents and medium sized tents with those fiberglass, fit-together poles. We've even used a large two-room, canvas tent which is a pain and a puzzle to construct, with it's aluminum pipes of various sizes and shapes. (You need to have eight arms to raise that thing!) We've slept on the ground, trying to adjust our bodies to the lumps and bumps of tree roots and stones. We've tried to sleep on air mattresses which are somewhat similar to a trampoline for the lighter weight partner when the heavier one turns over! We've packed foam pads and a foam mattress (from a never used pull-out sleeper couch) to go under our sleeping bags. All in all, I'd say we've done it all, except RV camping.

KOA cabins work for us, now, in our age of aches and pains. Suffice it to say that it's hard enough to rise from a bed these days, without the thought of trying to get up from the ground. (Not a pretty sight!) These little log shelters have nice, albeit hard, beds to lie down on for the night. They're safe and cozy and somewhat comfortable. They have small heaters/AC units in them and ceiling fans. What they don't have, which is what I wish they did, is bathrooms. It's a long hike with a flashlight to the restroom in the middle of the night!

We both agree on one thing. We may eventually opt for a camper pop-up trailer, but never want to have an RV. If you're going to take 'home' with you, tv, computer and all, what's the point of going camping? We love the outdoor air, the cooking, the sounds of the night, the star gazing, the sound of the rain on the roof, the pine cones dropping, the smells of campfires.

It's time. Time to rummage through the garage and find all the stuff, pack it up, and head for the hills. It's been too long since we have had some good, old-fashioned camping..and I'm ready, even if it means I'll have to sleep on top of tree roots.