I ♥ Camping


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North America » United States » Illinois
June 24th 2012
Published: July 14th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Camping 101Camping 101Camping 101

Googling "how to set up a tent"
Camping is everything you can do at home only harder, thus, I never saw the appeal. That's putting it mildly. In actuality I found the idea of sleeping in a mosquito infested campground, cooking nitrate filled hot dogs shoved on the ends of twigs surrounded by beer drinking rubes and gas guzzling 4x4's quite repulsive. I vowed I would never camp.

Then I met Tara. She was a new workmate that morphed immediately into a bosom buddy. One lunctime, after a fit of juveline giggling I declared, "Tara, I like you so much, I'd even go camping with you." She pauses, turns her head and looks at me. "I hate camping," she says.

"No kidding! Me too!" I reply. "Well, I've never actually done it but just the idea of it...I know I would hate it."

"Exactly. I've never gone either but it seems like a nightmare," Tara admits.

"You know what this means don't you?" I say. "We should do it. Together. Just us."

She grins. "I'm in," she says and thus began our preperations.

A week later, my tall, lanky friend comes into my office. "You're worrying me Andrea," she says. "You don't seem very concerned about this. Camping takes some serious preperation and so far you've done nothing."

"Ok, dear, what should I be doing?" I ask.

"Well, for starters we need a campsite and it must have electricity. Have you procured one for us?"

"Oh, that. Hmmm. No. Surely that can't be a problem, finding a place to pitch a tent and build a fire. Don't worry. I'll deal with that later. Its all under control," I say trying to reassure her. "And what have you done so far Tara?"

"I've decided I'm going to make you paella and pineapple upside down cake over our fire," she says matter of factly, "and for breakfast I'm making bacon and eggs. I hate eggs, but it seems like the campy thing to do."

"Let's back this up a little," I say. "You're making paella? As in the Spanish dish paella? And how in the world are you going to bake a cake over an open fire? You've never cooked over fire." I'm imaging crunchy rice and raw seafood and cake batter oozing out of home made foil packets.

"Don't worry Andrea, I have it all under control," she says in mockery.

By the next weekend we've got her car packed like refugees fleeing our homeland. "All this stuff for one night?" I whine.

An hour later we're pulling into our campsite complete with loud truck engines, snotty nosed kids on bikes and a sufficient amount of tattooed covered flesh to feast our eyes on.

Our priority quickly became getting the tent set up. Tara had borrowed this tent from her boss at work who assured her, "It should be fine but I haven't looked in that bag in ages..." The famous last words.

With all the tent's parts spread out before us, Tara sits at the picnic table scratching her head trying to decifer the instructions. "Something isn't right here..." I would hear her repeating to herself. "Something's missing..."

Sure enough, something was missing, as in one of the two poles used to hoist up the tent. We released our inner McGyvers and that along with the help of an amused old man passing by, managed to make our tent a little more three dimentional.

Next came building the fire and cooking the infamous paella and pineapple upside down cake. Tara insisted it be set over a huge open flame. The cooking was her department so I wasn't going to interfere but it looked more like a pyrotechnic show than anything I'd seen Mrs. Ingles do on Little House on the Prairie.

"Well, that's done. Now what do we do?" I ask as we sit starring at each other.

"This is camping Andrea. We're do it. This is the fun," she says sarcastically.

"This is the fun? This is what its all about? Sitting here and watching old guys throw horse shoes?"

Tara gets quiet for a minute. She asks, "Andrea, do you meditate?"

I roll my eyes. "Don't get all Gandhi on me man. What do you mean, 'Do I meditate?' Where's this coming from?"

"Well, I just think that's why you're so wound up and always need to be 'doing something.' If you meditated more then your Amygdala would become thicker and thus make you a calmer person. I read it somewhere."

"Is that so? You read that in RedBook?" I say with a smirk. "Let me reassure you, my Amygdala or whatever you call it is plenty thick and right now I'm dreading sleeping on those inflatable rafts we have for beds and would love to just be roaming the aisles of an air conditioned Wal-Mart."

She bellows loudly. "Really Andrea? Wal-Mart? No, no, no. That's not what we need. What we need is a.....frisbee. Yeah, a frisbee would be great right now," she says like she believes it.

"Has it come to this Tara? We're arguing over whether we should cruise around a Wal-Mart or play frisbee? I think we're missing the point here."

"No," she tells me, "We're not missing the point. Camping sucks just like we knew it would. If anything, we made the point. I say let's open the wine and call it a night."

And so we opened the wine and sat at our checkered picnic table complete with a scented candle. Then we covered ourselves in bug spray and slept with our boney hips grinding into the gravel beneath us in our lopsided tent with a million crickets crackling in our ears til the delightful hour of 5 a.m. when one lone crow began a delightful chorus of "Caw! Caw! Caw! Caw!"

Tara sits up on her raft, her hair all smashed on one side and the remnants of yesterday's mascara smeared on her face, "I wish I had a firearm" she growls.

"Yeah, that was a bad night wasn't it?" I ask rhetorically. "But we did it! We camped! I'm so proud of us."

"Oh we camped alright and it just reaffirmed what I already knew," she says.

"Which is...?" I ask her.

"I hate camping."

No kidding! Me too!


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14th July 2012

I'm with you guys!
This is hilarious! I am firmly with the 'Miss Piggy' sentiment that Motel 6 is my idea of camping. This piece should be sent to some magazine as you have written a great piece of humor. The pics are priceless- especially the food actually IN the fire! It was also fun to read about someplace closer to home. I never blog when I travel in this country but it has me thinking that it might be fun to do. Carolyn ( blogger name ' gunga')
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
14th July 2012

Why thank you very much!
Glad you got a good laugh! Humor can make any situation bearable...even camping.
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
14th July 2012

Haha! This is phenomenal - the quest for electricity, pineapple-upside down cake, the tent with missing pieces - too perfect. As someone who legitimately loves camping, I still have to agree that it's a pain in the rear to do it just for the sake of doing it, but I have found it very useful to a) save money on overnight trips and b) get access to remote locations (which is why I love camping). Wine still makes any of the above scenarios better. Campfire cooking is an art unto itself though - you have to bake in the embers, not in or on the fire - the flames are just there for the rugged ambiance ;)
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
14th July 2012

Sure, camping can be practical...
I definitely see how you could save serious cash by camping and visit more remote locations. It definitely has its place in a travelers life. But, man, the blow up rafts we slept on were brutal. That would need improvement.
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
14th July 2012

Love your dialogue...
and willingness to try something new. I went back to previous blogs, and really liked the shoe relativity one. So I cliked on follow, and am looking forward to reading your future insightful blogs.
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
14th July 2012

Insightful? Me? Wow!
Glad you enjoyed!
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
15th July 2012

Glad it wasn't raining!
Now that does make for a truly miserable camping experience! I smiled often when reading this blog, for I used to be a fan of camping, but my enthusiasm has lessened over the years, due to some of the reasons you stated above. The only exception is when it will provide me with an experience unavailable if staying in more conventional types of accommodation - such as certain camping sites in Switzerland with phenomenal mountain views or at my friend's lion research camp in Kenya. At these times, camping is almost unbeatable - but comfortable bedding in a large tent (that one can stand in) certainly helps the experience!
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
15th July 2012

Camping in Switzerland? Or at a research camp in Kenya? Heck yeah! Count me in!
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
15th July 2012

camping
I like it!
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
15th July 2012

Well, to each their own.... ;)
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
16th July 2012

Air mattresses yuck...camping YAY!! But again camping is mandatory for us Canadians, so I had no choice.
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
16th July 2012

i'm sorry about your camping experience.this made me laugh though =P I do like camping but I know how frustrating it can be. kudos to you and tara for giving it a try.yay!
From Blog: I ♥ Camping
29th July 2012

Yet another fun and entertaining entry!
Really enjoyed this blog & the few others I have read so far, well done! These are fun, and love the dialogues, make me smile! As for the camping...can only understand how miserable you must have felt, spent myself few months under a tent two years in a row for summer job when I was a student, and sure was a bit better (well at least wasnt missing any part of the tent..) but when the first flooding came in wasnt as fun! I now only keep camping for special places which i would not enjoy the same way if I was for instance in an hotel a few km from the site, most of the time I wont even call it camping as it doesnt involved a tent at all (save you the hassle of putting the puzzle together...) Looking forward to your next blog!
From Blog: I ♥ Camping

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