Tag Archives: Camper

Camping Afterthoughts

Riding home from a camping trip, I have way too much time to review the whole outdoor scenario.

First, my body takes its revenge. Before vacation, it sat for months, completing a novel. Now, after days of hiking, cycling and kayaking — all just to reach the bathroom — my achy-breaky physique rebels. When inserted into a pickup, it freezes in sitting position.

When we stop for supper, Hubby pries me out with a kayak paddle.

Though near journey’s end, we’ve chosen to eat out of town, so no one will recognize us. However, we have a sneaking suspicion our lunchtime fast-food place in Illinois posted an all-points Internet alert about us. Every restaurant we’ve approached this evening has put out a bait shop sign. Then locked its doors.

We took showers while camping, though given their condition, I wondered if we were adding layers, rather than washing them off. After riding 200 miles with 23 bags of dirty laundry, maybe we’ve absorbed their ambiance?

“Do I smell funny?” I ask my dearly beloved.

“No, you’re good.”

He’s good, too. I worry too much.

Hubby glares as one more restaurant pulls down its shades. “What’s with these people?”

When we open the truck doors at home, however, our shrubbery wilts. We realize the sad truth: while it’s good that we accept each other, camping smells included, others may deposit us into the nearest landfill. Thus, after we unload, two-hour showers follow.

We’re recovering, but after several days at home, we still:

  • Search the house for flashlights instead of flipping on lamps.
  • Pore over Google maps to find grocery stores — when there’s one down the street.
  • Feel uneasy driving a car that isn’t dragging a 3,000-pound camper behind it.
  • Follow The Weather Channel as if it imparts the Gospel.
  • Check the fridge to see if the ice is sufficient.
  • Stir morning coffee with a plastic knife, forgetting a whole drawerful of silverware is available.
  • Reorient ourselves each day to a house we don’t have to park.

Hubby must adapt once more to sleeping through the night without accompanying me to the bathroom as Chief Executor of Unwelcome Wildlife.

If out of clean underwear, we remind ourselves that we own a for-real laundry room. We don’t have to use a hairdryer to make emergency hand-washed items wearable.

Given all these adjustments, is camping worth it?

Yes! When we enter the woods, the Time Tyrant vanishes. Bacon-and-egg breakfasts taste 10 times better. The wonder of our world keeps us spellbound. Even a 3 a.m. bathroom hike treats us to the Creator’s moon-and-stars display that outshines any human-designed light show.

So, we’ll camp again. And again.

And again.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have camping afterthoughts persuaded you to stop?

Growing Fat, Er, Fit with You

“I want to grow old with you.”

A romantic line whose meaning gets lost in the translation.

I thought “growing old with you” meant “growing fat with you.”

Not that my husband and I don’t try to stay fit. We walk, hike, and bike. On a class reunion scale of one to 10, Hubby and I generally score between six and seven. Good, but not obnoxious like those aliens who’ve maintained their graduation weight. No one over 50 should be without love handles. A small potbelly witnesses to the good life.

Unfortunately, Hubby and I took the good life to an extreme last winter. Love handles had turned to love tires, inflation dangerously close to maximum.

Hubby bought new scales.

I wanted to yell at him. But I couldn’t breathe; my jeans were too tight.

Torture enough, right?


Having recently retired, Hubby fulfilled a lifelong dream: exercise.

He put his money where his muscles were, hiring a 21-year-old personal trainer. A guy who doesn’t remember when bacon was considered healthy.

Surely, my crazed spouse would recover from this madness. Instead, sporting new exercise attire, Hubby went to the gym.

He returned looking like he’d kept an appointment with the devil, gray-faced and covered with sweat. He’d hauled 30-pound medicine balls and heaved weights. Did “planks” and sit-ups.

“That trainer should pay you,” I said.

I’d wanted to grow old with him. Now, I almost changed my mind.

Talking hurt him too much, but from his expression, the feeling was mutual.

Still, he refused to abandon his nightmare, er, dream. “I want to set up our camper without an Ibuprofen fix. Chop wood. Backpack in bear country.”

His potbelly shrank. His waistline tire deflated.

Meanwhile, mine threatened to explode. Would my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup habit hasten my demise? So he could grow old with an equally svelte blonde who could lift campers with him and backpack with bears?

Sad, but determined, I buried my Reese’s Cups deep in the freezer under ancient containers of grated zucchini.

At least, the trainer on my senior exercise video looks 35, not 21. He’s okay, though entirely too cheerful. If I’ve had it with Chirpy’s smiley face, I make him disappear. Click. Poof.

That’s the personal trainer you want. Not one who, during the COVID-19 shutdown, emailed even scarier workouts Hubby could do at home.

I made peace with the exercise bike by reading. During microwave numbers countdown, I stretch, hoping someday to recover a waistline.

My tire has deflated somewhat. My potbelly has diminished.

Hubby and I aren’t growing fat together.

Though some sweet day, the Reese’s Cups I dig out may change that. …

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you translate “growing old together”?

Look Out, I’m Pulling a Camper!

Pulling a camper is like being followed by a shadow that’s gained 2,000 pounds.

Sure, I’ve spelled my husband en route to nearby campgrounds. When straight roads send him to Lullaby Land, I save our lives by driving short stretches on state highways.

But brave roaring, dragon-like semis on interstates? Motorcycles whipping in and out of lanes at Star Wars speeds? Hans Solo, I’m not.

Especially as the rearview mirror is rendered useless.

My husband installed extended mirrors. However, they warn that reflected objects are closer than they appear.

That’s nice. Even humble, and I admire humility. But sorry, nice mirrors, when changing lanes, I want accuracy. And if up-close-and-personal encounters with construction barrels throw you off, I really don’t need views up my nostrils.

Especially when parking. We often need to stop for gas, food, and/or restrooms. Those paltry reasons pale, however, as we focus on more profound questions: Will we find a place to park the camper? Afterward, can we get out?

Once, as I contorted truck and camper in my 100th effort to leave a convenience store, Hubby lost all hope. “Will we spend the rest of our lives behind Kwickie Mart?”

Not exactly the retirement we’d envisioned.

I tried to console him: “Living on Little Debbie® cakes and beef jerky wouldn’t be so bad.”

My attempts scared traffic to a dead stop. A hundred yards away.

Thus, we finally left Kwickie Mart.

Hauling a camper never bores us. Once, while I was driving down South, purple-cloud giants charged us. They spit lightning and smothered us with avalanches of rain that drowned car taillights ahead. If I had risked pulling over, my flashers would have disappeared, blown out like candles.

Did I slow down? Not much. Storm or no storm, drivers who never drive less than 85 mph — on roads, shoulders and in parking lots — can be found everywhere. Even in easygoing Mississippi.

My prayer life shot up several notches.

Hubby’s, already flourishing, set new records.

Jesus took the wheel.

Afterward, when He had guided us to sunshine, Hubby tried to talk Jesus into taking all my shifts.

He smiled and said, no, we needed to grow in faith. Together.

Though Hubby still had theological doubts about Kwickie Mart experiences, and I struggled with mirror-nostril crises, we indeed have learned to depend on Jesus and each other. With His help, we and our 2,000-pound shadow return home, safe and sound.

We will hit the interstate again soon.

It’s only fair I give other drivers advance warning: Look out, I’ll be pulling a camper!

Prepare to grow in faith.


Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever pulled a camper? Driven an RV?