Hell of a Guy

Camping, Not for Me…

09/16/2016

Not long ago The Nancy and I decided we would take her dad up to his camp and spend the night there with him. He is 87 and not very agile, he walks with two canes (too proud to use a walker). We wanted him to have one more night there before he is completely incapable of doing it.

We got to the camp at Big Bear Lake around noon that Wednesday and made preparations for his arrival. His caretaker was bringing him, the four of us excited to stay. Unfortunately after we had eaten lunch and had some time to sit around the fire pit, which is something he has always loved to do, The Nancy’s dad decided he was not feeling all that well and he and the caregiver headed back home.

Now, The Nancy and I could have packed up and left as well, but she decided since we were there we should continue with the plan and stay. I am not a camper. Even a remote thought about spending the night at any place without running water and an in-house bathroom give me chills.

In 1957 I joined the Boy Scouts. At some point not long after I joined, the scout troop went on a one night camping trip. We spent the night in tents in woods – no running water, no bathrooms, no nothing. The entire time I felt dirty and as if things were crawling all over my body. The experience left me traumatized. I never wanted to camp out ever again.

Fast forward to 1980, my youngest daughter was in a father/daughter group sponsored by the YMCA called the “Indian Princesses.” Twice I went on a father/daughter outing with her and spent the night in the woods – about 12 girls and 12 dads. It was not a particularly exciting event for me, but I did it. I never wanted to do it again. Thirty-six years later I found myself in a similar situation. This time I did it for my father-in-law. It’s a damn good thing I love the guy.

With her father gone, we sat around the fire for a couple of hours – there was no TV or other entertainment there, finally about 10pm we went inside the camping trailer and to bed. Some facts: 1. No one had spent any real time in the trailer for a couple of years, 2. The trailer had had no maintenance in a couple of years, 3. It was musty, dusty and very warm in the trailer, 4. The trailer’s beds were nasty.

Rather than attempt to get into one of the beds, we decided to sleep in recliners that were there. We covered them with sheets, opened a sliding door and aimed a fan at full speed at the chairs to try to cool the place down. Not ideal but manageable…or so we thought.

To be fair, it was less awful than I thought it would be and worse than I would have liked. I did not sleep well and The Nancy didn’t sleep much better than I, either. Fortunately morning came, albeit not that quickly, and we were able to pack up and get the hell out of there.

Note to self: I hope this experience is permanently burned into my memory so that if I ever again have an asinine idea to camp out again, I puke.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
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