My husband and I go on a camping trip every year. We pack our coffee maker and our coffee grinder. We pack our boxed cereals, our cd player and cds. We even pack our air mattress because sleeping on the ground is uncomfortable. The air mattress goes flat, so we also take our feather down with us. This year we were studying our truck load full of gear and we realized how spoiled we are. You hear stories about people going out in the woods with minimal gear. Our gear fills the back of our pickup.
Sadly, though, even with all of these comforts, we have come to the reality that we are too old for simplified roughing it. I refuse to go camping without my coffee maker and my grinder. My coffee mug states the truth: Give me coffee, and no one gets hurt.
I forgot to mention the most important item for us when we go camping: the blow torch. Neither one of us can abide the thought of standing there and slamming stones together to start a fire, nor have we been successful with rubbing sticks together. The little lighters take too long, so we have resorted to the blow torch. This last trip was annoying because the blow torch has seen one too many camping trips.
My husband and I both have serious back injuries and with the solid proof that all air mattresses go flat by morning, we have come to the reality that we are too old to rough it. When we first realized this, we promptly tossed our first air mattress and bought another one. Thinking it was junk, we returned it and got another. That one went flat as well. Then we knew all air mattresses had the same problem.
Our favorite “Gomer Pyle, USMC” episode is the one where Gomer and the sergeant are sent out into the field on a survival mission. Gomer required no survival training, and he and the sergeant were paired together. Gomer proved his skills and he and the sargeant gained weight, while all of the rest of the recruits lost weight. The episode is funny because most of us would lose weight. Gomer just had the skills. Some have the skills while others do not. Sadly, the body ages and patience fails one as repeated attempts are made to start a fire, then the blow torch comes out.
My husband and I laugh about the couple who took the portable dvd player with them and watched a cop show all day while sitting on their picnic table. I believe the show they were watching was “Hill Street Blues”. I heard the theme song over and over. I recognized it instantly.
As a society we have become quite spoiled. Camping in the woods is no longer roughing it. I would like to say we roughed it for years, but we have not.
After this last trip, my husband and I are exploring new ways to go camping. This next trip will have us staying in a little cabin in a Yogi Bear Campground. If we like it, we may repeat the process. Considering all of the effort involved in preparing for each camping trip, we believe this will be much more cost effective in so many ways. We will take about 3 hours to pack our gear and be ready to go hours earlier. We will arrive at the campground hours earlier, as well. The stress of preparing and getting everything done will be minimal. It might actually turn out to be a pretty nice vacation.