Freedom of the great outdoors


A recent headline in this very paper stated that camping gains popularity in uncertain times. This makes perfect sense. When so many have been effectively grounded at home for months, the lure of the great outdoors is obviously strong.

On the surface, camping makes no sense. If the great outdoors had a motto it might be “you probably won’t die.” Still, a growing number of people say, “let’s take clothing, bedding and food that is readily available in our homes and take it on the road.”

Somehow, once we are there, however, it all just fits.

Where else can you socially distance away from home while still somewhat bringing your home with you?

Roughing it

Don’t let me front like I’m outdoorsy. I am a recreational vehicle camper. I like my camping to occur in a trailer with hot and cold running water, air conditioning, refrigeration and electric service. I am also picky about my mattress.

Roughing it is really not in my lexicon. I like to roll up with all the amenities, shake out an outdoor rug and set up reclining lawn chairs. From here, we like to boat, eat and repeat for the entire duration of our stay. That is the life.

Don’t let the tent folks fool you, however. We have friends who are lifelong tent campers. I would really call it glamping. Their tent is both larger — and nicer — than our first house. Seriously, there are wings, closets, entire rooms I don’t think I have ever seen. They have actual beds and cots and the whole thing is just amazing. It’s like a playhouse for adults.

Last campout, they installed a ceiling fan — no lie.

Last summer

We had fallen off the camping wagon, so to speak, the last few years. We morphed from multiple trips with groups of friends many times per year, to going exactly once last summer — for work.

Due to our not having a lick of sense, we hauled a 34-foot camper straight up the side of a mountain in a severe thunderstorm. The hairpin curves were also a nice touch. It was one of the few times I’ve seen Mr. Wonderful sweat.

It was so bad I had sent our two small dogs ahead with BoyWonder in the other truck. I was being very dramatic. If we don’t make it, take good care of Jack (Jackson Jack Seabolt is the dog)! My son was not impressed that neither he or his sister made my speech. Hey, they are bright kids. I know they will be fine. Jack is adorable, but his job skills are negligible.

This weekend

This weekend trip was far less eventful. We ate a lot of food cooked with fire. It was very caveman-ey. We laughed an awful lot.

We asked the dogs to shush about one hundred times. They ignored us over one hundred times as well. We boated, swam, wake-boarded and tubed until we were weak with exertion and too much sun, but, oh, the Vitamin D! Let me assure you the place was packed!

With no concerts, endless travel restrictions, no major sports, most amusements, fairs, festivals and really any semblance of official fun on time out, being outdoors is one of the only options open these days. From the campground to the lake people were out in droves, making the best of things and maybe making some good memories of summer 2020 too.


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