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How I got hooked

GenericET

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I am inspired by “Gramps” and his “How it all started” blog. Gramps tells a good story of him and his wife who are avid campers who eventually found their way to a motorhome. I am not that guy.

I have never liked camping. I always figured if you were going to rough it then why go to a campground at all. To me it was always make believe. As a kid my parents had a pop-up camper. My Mom packed us up and took us to Delaware for a week in it. We ended up coming home after it rained for three days straight and she thought my brother and I were going to die from pneumonia. Everything in that pop-up was damp and there was nowhere to get away from it. Mom soon sold the pop-up which was too much for her to keep up with anyway, and we took vacations by renting cabins or cottages. I went camping with my first wife on most vacations. If we wanted to go to the beach we found a camp ground nearby. These are the things you do when you don’t have much money. I hated the heat of summer in a tent and the sand got into everything. After we had a few kids I started hating that tent even more. Anyone who has had to get up in the middle of the night in the rain to take a little girl to the public bathroom can probably sympathize with me. After I divorced my ex-wife, I didn’t take any vacations for a while. She kept all the camping gear in the divorce and also kept a good chunk of my weekly paycheck for child support. It is not that I am complaining about paying my fair share for my children, I am just stating the fact that there wasn’t much left over for vacations.

I met, fell in love and married my current wife and she also was not a camper. My wife grew up going to the beach and various ski trips but her family always had a condo at the ocean and hotel rooms elsewhere. I had little vacation time when we first got together so we just tagged along with her family to the ocean once a year and that was our vacation. This was just fine with me.

One day about 5 years ago one of our friends decided it would be a good idea for all of us to go camping together. I figured, ‘What the heck. I haven’t been camping for a while. Let’s do it.’ Most of us had acquired tents at one point or another. So after we bought or borrowed all the camping gear we could lay hands on, we ended up with 6 tents in formation at a camp ground in Gettysburg. Things started off pretty well. We were cooking over the fire, laughing and imbibing in adult beverages when it started to rain. And rain it did. Big fat torrential rain fell for the next 12 hours. We all retreated to our tents and soon after were trying to keep our gear dry by moving it out of the steady pooling water in every single tent. Even the new tents had water in them. It was raining so hard and so fast that water had no where to go so it was seeping in from the bottoms. My wife and I had set up an air mattress and at one point I am sure it started to float. I had to sleep with the covers over my face and ignore water dripping on my head.

The next morning every tent had a pool of water in at least one corner. My wife and I decided we were done and going home. Everything was wet if not soggy. I went over to where my friends were gatheredand told them we were leaving as soon as we could pack up. My good buddy pointed over my shoulder and said. “You know, you could rent one of those cabins”. I looked over my shoulder and saw a log cabin not 20 yards away. So we cut a deal for the difference between the next nights camping that we already paid for and the rent of the cabin and moved our stuff into a nice dry cabin. My wife spent a good amount of time drying our bedding at the local Laundromat. Our tent went into the dumpster.

From then on we had a good time. The weather was still bad but we made the best of it. We played some volleyball, minnie-golf and grabbed some ice cream from the camp store (what is it about camp store ice cream? It’s always so good!). We spent the next night in our little cabin shared by some friends and their kids. The rain beat on the roof and smiled because I was safe and dry.

The next time we took a camping trip we all had campers. We all enjoyed our little camping outing in spite of the rain but none of us wanted to go through that again. Over the next 6 months, one after the other of us bought different kinds of campers. My wife and I did not own a vehicle that could pull a camper (my civic just wasn’t going to cut it) so we bought a used motorhome.

We bought a 1979 Dodge Honey for $3000 (which is $2999 more than we should have paid for it). I spent many a weekend fixing it up, patching holes and replacing parts until finally after a year and a half we broke down and bought a 2001 Winnebago Minnie. Still it was not new but after the 1979 Honey it was like driving a Cadillac. We have had our issues with this one but that is a story for another blog.



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We all like to say we are "camping" but in reality in today's motorhomes we can only claim to be RVing. The difference is illustrated by your experiences outlined in your blog. We had a travel trailer for ten years before we bought our coach and even that had too many comforts and conveniences to be considered camping. My wife likes to have her own bathroom and our daughter wanted to sleep in her own bed so that is why we live the RV lifestyle.

(I have to admit, I would NOT want to go through those tenting experiences, either. It is a bout comfort for me!)

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