While sitting in our RV and looking out the beautiful grounds of Lake Texana State Park I find myself reflecting on camping memories we’ve made over the past 41yrs.
Although we have enjoyed camping our entire marriage, it has not come easy or without challenges for us!
I remember our very first camping trip was quite memorable! My Pawpaw loaned us his over head camper and truck and off we went to Markham, Texas where we camped on my Pawpaw’s small lot on the lake. It was a barren piece of land with not a tree in sight but it was lakefront property. The camper was cozy (code for tiny) and as newly weds, we made some sweet memories!
After we had children, we decided we needed to invest in a tent and all the fancy camping gear needed to be able to cook, wash dishes, have light after dark, stay cool at night, avoid leaks when it rained, prevent insects from invading our meals, and on, and on! During that time we spent most of our time at Huntsville State Park. The girls loved it there!
Our trips to Huntsville were filled with memories which we can now laugh at…
- The year of the frogs: We arrived to the camp right after a big rain and the frogs loved it…Those critters were so loud! They kept Richard up the entire night. I woke up the next morning to find him finally asleep but had toilet paper hanging out of his ears. Now that’s one way to quiet the voices…LOL
- The year of the mouse: I had walked up to the restroom and as I was walking back to our camp site, I saw Richard running around the enclosure we had erected over the picnic table. He had a broom and dust pan in his hand. When he saw me, he yelled, “Stop right there. Your not gonna be happy about this!” He was so right! Mice freak me out!!! He finally capture the mouse and released it to the wild.
- The year of the crawfish: Again, we arrived in Huntsville after a storm and crawfish were everywhere…Lobster size crawfish!!! Everywhere we stepped there was a crawfish! So, that was our family’s 1st Crawfish Bowl. The girls loved it!
- The year of the Blue Northern: We arrived in Huntsville and set up our tent (in the dark which is always a challenge) when the winds began to pick up and yep…A Blue Northern blew in and oh my gosh it was cold!!! Poor Richard, he was out in the woods during the middle of the night in nothing but a t-shirt trying to find firewood so we could keep the kids warm. We pulled the kids out of the tent and placed them around the fire. Bless Richard’s heart…He stayed awake the entire night making sure the girls didn’t roll into the fire. You can better believe we were at Wal-Mart when the doors opened the next morning buying a space heater for the tent!
- The Year of the Rains: This year we arrived at our campsite and setup camp when our of nowhere torrential rains began to fall from the heavens. Every single thing in our tent was drenched…including us! That was the year we learned to pack garbage bags for our linens and towels and polyurethane to drape over the tent.
On one occasion we decided to take the girls to Lake Texana State Park. That was the year of the coons! Yep, during the night the raccoons got into our ice chest and ate every single bite of food we had brought. The only thing they didn’t eat was the mayonnaise but they completely destroyed the label trying to figure out how to open it. We woke up to an absolute disaster! We loaded the girls up and spent our last pennies at McDonald’s on their breakfast then headed home.
As the girls got older and involved in dance and softball we no longer had weekends to camp but once they were grown and had moved out, Richard and I thought we would give camping another try. We purchased another tent and all the gear.
And, being the happy homemaker, I decided I would buy beautiful sheets and bedspread, candles, and create a romantic getaway for the both of us. I crawled into bed all nice and comfy when Richard plopped down on the air mattress and I went flying through the air and landed on the side of the tent all while the campers across the street illuminated our tent with the headlights on their car. Talk about the ultimate silhouette show.
When we returned home we discovered someone in the neighborhood was selling a pop-up camper so we thought that would be a better option for us. To be able to pack it up, prop it up, camp, and then fold it back up when we were through…NOT!!! I remember Richard crouched under the camper fighting with the crank that opened the camper. Sweat would be pouring off of him. He was so frustrated!
Richard and I decided to take a trip Bastrop State Park. I remembered the prior camping trip which was filled with frustration and aggravation so, I took it upon myself to contact the bank and get pre-qualified for an RV. As Richard was struggling to get the pop-up set up, I casually walked up and showed him the pre qualification letter. His response was “Get your butt in the truck, we are going to buy and RV. I am too old to keep doing this!”.
So, off we went…We bought a Class C. It was really nice at first then we realized we should have bought an RV with slides because we couldn’t both move about the unit without running into each other. I would find myself so frustrated when I cooked because no matter where I stepped, Richard was there!!!
That settles it…We need a different type of unit so we bought a 5th wheel. It was amazing!!! Granite counter tops, a fireplace, 2 slides, and a walk-in shower! It was perfect until it began to rain. Oh My Gosh…That unit leaked like a sieve! So much so, water seeped between the exterior and wall paper and swelled until it was like a HUGE water balloon. So, off we go to return the unit…
The Salesman asked me, “How can we make this right?” I responded, “Put us in a Class A Diesel Pusher”…And he did! We loved that unit!!! I loved that Richard could be driving it down the highway and I could go in the bathroom without stopping or we could stop on the side of the road, turn on a football game and have lunch and a cup of coffee. It was perfect!!!
Then, we decided we would eliminate the RV so we could build a house. Before long we realized how much we missed it and decided to try the 5th wheel route again because it would allow us to have more living space and fewer mechanical parts to maintain (such as an engine).
The Year of the Winds and rain: So, here we are in our 5th wheel and love that while the winds have been at a sustained 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph and it has rained cats and dogs… we are safe, dry, and warm. We have eaten fresh salads from the refrigerator, soups and chili out of the crock pot. I have baked keto cornbread and keto cinnamon rolls. I have made almond meal pancakes with fried bacon for breakfast. We have had a hot shower every night and slept on our therapeutic mattress.
I am So Thankful for What I’ve Got. And, I believe it is because of all the challenges and struggles we faced in our early years of camping that we are better able to recognize how blessed we are and that…
We’ve Come A Long Way Baby!!!