Tent poles hollowly clanging against each other as you take them from the tent bag. The ZERRRRP of the screen porch zipper closing the bugs away from the picnic table. Water from the site water fountain splashing against the concrete base that hasn’t been repaired since it was installed in 1978. Rubber mats in the showers, and moths climbing on the ventilation mesh in the bathroom trying to get inside to the light.
At one time I would have given my more important toes to stay in a hotel on a camping trip. Usually because I was stuck with the air mattress that lost air all night. Now, however, times to get away to “rough it” are few and far between. Spending a weekend in a tent reminds me of my childhood and riding in the family van singing along to John Denver and the Muppets’ “Going Camping” on our way to our next campsite. [see video here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/going-camping-video-john-denver.html%5D
To get me through the withdrawal I’m experiencing until my next opportunity to get a whiff of Coleman stove propane, I went for a lesser drug and stopped at Six Flags over Cabela’s, or whatever it is called. Really, though, I’m surprised they don’t start offering roller coasters in those massive places, but maybe that’s just a Bass Pro Shop thing.
Walking through Cabela’s just whetted my appetite for the real thing, because nothing takes the place of tent camping. I like to think camping made me who I am today — the person who bought a one year guarantee on a cot so that if anything happens to it in the next 15 months, it gets replaced. Hey, I may like to rough it, but even I draw the line at having to go back to an air mattress that loses air.
Cot. Tent. Sleeping Bag.
Bring it on, outdoors. I’m ready for you.