July 6, 2009


This weekend, after saying we were going to for more than a year, we finally took our tent trailer camping.
Let me emphasize the finally.
See, we bought this thing more than two years ago and this was it's maiden voyage. Well not maiden, since the thing is from the 1960's and has, as is evidenced by it's many many patches, seen many a camping days. But for us it was our very first excursion with her.
It isn't like we haven't tried. Will bought the trailer, which is a crazy cool 1964 Heilite Valient (we think) for a Mother's Day gift for me when Evie was a baby. I had been angling for a tent trailer for years. It's how I'd grown up camping and it seemed like the perfect combination of ease and roughing it with kids. Will had resisted, claiming that it was whimpy to camp with a trailer of any form until he ran across a photo of a Heilite, and the lure of "cool and vintage" trumped "man with a tent". I would like to be one of those hard core campers. The ones who pack in everything on their backs, have special soap and freeze dried food and hike all day. But you see, just thinking of hiking kinds makes me want to crawl in bed with a good book. And until (and probably long after) my kids can pack in their own gear, food and tents, it's wimp camping for me.

So there we were, bitchin tent trailer, willing kids, beautiful Oregon campgrounds aplenty. And then we moved. And just the getting ready for moving and selling the house took up most of that summer. And last summer. Well, I'm not even sure what happened. We did go camping once but couldn't get a hitch that fit our car (three hours of my life spent on the phone with Uhaul trying to emphasize the difference between a Volkswagon WAGON and a Volkaswagon SEDAN "You have a Volkswagon" "yes, a Volkswagon WAGON" "right, a Volkswagon four door sedan." "No a Wagon!" "right, a Volkswagon, sedan" -not my favorite moment) And by the time we got a hitch made for the car it was just too hot to camp.

I do love camping. I can't remember many childhood vacations that didn't involve camping or hanging out at my Grandparents Cabin in Northern California. I'm sure we camped because it was the least expensive form of vacation available to us, but I'm glad we didn't have the money to jet off to France for the summer (although that would obviously have been lovely) because I think those many many weekends of roughing it were some of the best of my life. Except maybe for the one time it was like 110 degrees and we ended up going to see Dances With Wolves in a nearby town because it was the longest movie we could find in the blissfully air conditioned theatre. But come to think of it, even that time was pretty memorable.

So when our Dinner Club decided on a camping trip for the July get together we were gung ho on board. Nell and Steve kindly let us camp out at their property up near Sherando Lake since, being Fourth of July weekend, we weren't likely to get three spots together at any campground in the country. Camping at their place was even better since they are renovating an old farm house there and have already installed kitchen appliances and a bathroom. It was even better to be near a house when it poured down rain Saturday night and into Sunday. Nothing like a rainstorm to break up a campout, unless you can move indoors for breakfast and then sit on the covered porch, coffee in hand, and watch the kids run around screaming in the rain.

The perfect end to the perfect campout. Good friends, good food, great card game (Oh Hell or Dammit depending on your name preference) and tired kids who slept all the way home and then some.