As I sat on the front porch having conversation with my husband, we discussed going on a camping/bluegrass weekend at a friend's place on a mountain north of here. We both agreed that our days of tent camping are probably over, as the last time or two we did it, we weren't very comfortable. Sleeping on the ground is never the nicest accommodation, but when you're younger, you can endure anything for a night or two. At our age, now, even the idea of a tent with a queen-sized inflatable bed doesn't thrill us.
We discussed the rental of a camper trailer. Our Pastor has one that he's trying to sell, and it's much too big, as is it's price tag, for us to consider buying, but if he would like to rent it for a weekend, we'd go for that. He has rented/lent it to folks when they've needed it. It would give us a good shelter, should the weather be less than desireable, and it certainly would provide a nice sleeping arrangement. Because we like to be outside and enjoy cooking out, we'd probably used the camper only for sleeping. As we discussed all this, one thing led to another, and soon we were remembering another camper in our past.
Years ago, I heard of a pop-up tent trailer for sale on a radio show, we decided to drive to Watermill to investigate. It looked decent enough, though it was an older model. There were some minor repairs to be done that were pretty obvious, but nothing that required much cash outlay or effort. We made the deal with the owner, and off we went with our trailer, our minds buzzing with dreams for future camping trips.
Time passed, and the camper hadn't had anything done to it, but to raise it now and then to air it out. We hadn't remembered when we purchased the thing that we'd need a transfer of title of ownership, in order to get license plates for it. It took us a very long time to reach the seller, and when we did, he had no idea where the paperwork was. It wasn't road ready, so we thought that when it was, we would get some 'lost title' paperwork from the DMV, and go from there. In the meantime, we'd clean it and talk about what changes we'd make in it...such as recovering all the cushions on the seating. It was old, and though it was clean, it was that wool-like, scratchy, 70's brown plaid upholstery.
A friend came by one day, and looked it over from top to bottom, informing us that the fork from trailer to the pulling hitch had been welded in the past, and none too well. He didn't think it was good for the road.
That would be an expensive repair. It also needed two new tires, the ones that were on it were dry and flat at that point. Disappointment and sensibility put the brakes on our spending any money on it. It seemed that we'd use it just to sleep in for backyard camping. The grandkids would get a kick out of that.
Since two of our grandkids lived with us, we decided one night that we'd 'camp out'. Kimberly was about four years old then, and she was an excited little camper. It would be a great chance to find out how she'd fare in a real camping situation. Her baby sister stayed in the house with their Mom for the night. As luck would have it, a thunderstorm came through during the night, and it kept me awake for most of the time Kimberly and her Papa slept. Not just the noise kept me awake... but a cool dripping of water on my foot was like Chinese torture. In the morning, we discovered that there was another leak in the roof, just near the ceiling light. A puddle on the floor beneath the fixture proved that point.
Suffice it to say that there was little camping done, even in the backyard, using that trailer. When we moved here, we certainly weren't going to drag it with us. The fate of the trailer turned out to be the junkyard. As we remembered this time in our life, my husband pointed out that he's always having fits if he has to pay $100 a night for motels on trips, and he'd spent a whopping $300 on a camper which was slept in twice, in our driveway! We got a good laugh out of it...and I was once again reminded that it doesn't pay to be as thrifty as all that. "You get what you pay for" comes to mind, but I kept the thought to myself!