2010-07-17 / Editorials & Letters

Lighten up: No more ‘Stupid Camping’

By Dawn Weber

Some call it ‘Rustic Camping.’

I call it ‘Stupid Camping.’

Yeah, way back in oldentimes, my husband and I used to fancy ourselves quite the Rustic Campers, (otherwise known as ‘dummies.’) To that end, we purchased one piece of camping gear together - a sleeping bag built for two.

We took our first stupid, er, rustic camping trip to a state park and threw our sleeping bag down on the site. Good to, um, go.

Tent? We don’t need no stinkin’ tent.

Right under the stars, campfire burning - we were the original John and Yoko granola hippies. Getting back to nature and whatnot.

And all was just lovely - until about 1:30 a.m.

I heard shuffling and crinkling - close by, around the picnic table. Visitors! With masks! Could they be packin’? I poked the husband.

“Hey! The raccoons are here!” I said.

“Just be still - they won’t bother you,” he said. “They’re looking for food. They’re afraid of humans.”

I listened to him - always a mistake. And my first adventure in Stupid Camping.

Because the shuffles and squeaks drew closer and closer to our ‘sleeping bag under the stars.’ I pulled the bag as high as I could. But it wasn’t enough to cover my left ear, which heard - and felt - this whiskery-wetness:

“Sniff-Sniff-SNORFLE-sniff- SNIFF-SNIFF...”

“AHHHHHHH!!!!” I screamed, shooting straight up.

Three raccoons ran into the woods, I ran for the non-flushing facilities and the sleeping-bagged husband doubled up in laughter.

“Yuck it up, cowboy,” I said. “You have no idea how much money you’ll spend now.”

And that? Was the end of Stupid Camping.

Since then, we’ve purchased tents, a pop-up camper and an entire pickup truck filled with equipment designed to make the great outdoors feel, well, less outdoorsy. (And much less like a sniffling raccoon...in my ear.)

But something was still missing from my camping experience. I couldn’t quite figure it out...until about 3 a.m. one morning.

Middle age, middle of the night. ‘Nuff said?

I stumbled from the pop-up camper, in the dark - again - to the restroom. Second time that night. The husband woke long enough to laugh at me as I tripped out the door.

“Yuck it up, He-Who-Can- Whiz-In-Jar,” I said. “You have no idea how much money you’ll spend now.”

Happy wife, happy life. And so it was.

This is how we roll these days: 27 feet of air-conditioned, heated RV luxury, yo. It’s nicer than any of my “single years” apartments. It has a refrigerator. It has a freezer. It has NO raccoons - sniffing my ears.

Best of all, it has a restroom... with a toilet...that flushes. Flushes especially well at 1 a.m., and again at 3 a.m.

Ah, flushing - you complete me. Literally.

Yep, we’ve come a long way from Stupid Camping. We still have the John-n-Yoko sleeping bag, though.

On top of our soft, warm, indoor RV bed. Right where it belongs.

Dawn Weber is a Brownsville writer, wife and working mother of two pre-teens. She now blogs at http://www.lightenupweber. blogspot.com

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