Oct 30

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Dave’s Fireside Chat – Campsite Chili Lasts All Night, Doo Dah, Doo Dah

My thoughts on camping – from a real fireside!


“Camping is the voluntary act of doing normal things the hard way.”

–  Author unknown (but you can bet your bippee they just got back from a camping trip)


In these hard economic times, camping has become a very popular pastime, literally a word which means “things we did in the past”.   No more expensive vacations to Hawaii, or Disney World, or Dollywood.  Now we can only afford to leave our home with our stuff, go into the woods, and try to recreate our home with our stuff.

Camping is apparently the oldest of pastimes.  The Indians (as Columbus called them) were found to be in a very bad mood when the famed explorer reached the shores of Native America.  This was due to two reasons:

1.  They did not like being misnamed “Indians”, although they should have been very thankful that Columbus did not assume he had landed on the island of Lesbos.

2.  They had been continuously camping for thousands of years.

Yes, it is a little known historical fact that our dear Native American friends hated camping.  They camped only because “modern living” had not been invented yet.  This is why many tribes made hallucinogenic drinks with woodland berries, so that they could pass out and dream they were in plush hotel rooms with cable.  This is also why Native Americans quickly sold their Manhattan campsite to Peter Minuet for just 30 clam shells.  Within days of the sale, they were enjoying buffets and air conditioning in condos on the upper East Side.  Once they took control of all the Indian campgrounds in this country, our ancestors worked long and hard and fought the elements to give their kids and grandkids a better life.  Today, they roll over in their graves as we voluntarily return to the woods and copy their old way of life.

Camping, that wonderful pastime.  The definitive publication on camping has always been Henry David Thoreau’s Complete Guide to Sitting in the Woods, first written on the back of a clean sycamore leaf back in 1854.  According to page 55 of Mr. Thoreau’s work, there are basically three types of campers, based on increasing degrees of intestinal fortitude:

1.  RV Campers – These particular campers travel to, and live around, campsites in large boxes on wheels called “RVs” (Repossessive Vehicles).  RV campers are usually quite tired and stressed, and they camp to “get away from it all”.  Curiously, when they try to get away from “it all”, they seem to bring “it all” with them.

2.  Adventure Campers – These are people who, somewhere in the dark recesses of their mind, feel guilty about drinking 7 dollar coffees and buying little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crust already off.  And so, their inner voice tells them they must go on adventures to regain their integrity.  Technically, adventure campers go without electricity and running water, but they are never too far away from indoor plumbing and vending machines, in case that craving for a crustless pb & j becomes just too great.

3.  Pioneer Campers – A while ago, “pioneer” campers used to be called “primitive” campers, but the tourist board thought that “pioneer camper” sounded much more spirited and adventurous.  These are your hardcore types who purposefully stay far away from all civilization, and make their own hot dog casings, stuffed with muskrat meat.  For them, running water and electricity are not an option.  Unfortunately for the rest of us, neither are bathing and mouthwash.

Apparently, my wife’s inner voice had really been working her over lately, because one day she announced:

“We need more adventure in our lives.  Let’s go camping!”

Startled, I dropped my crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich and replied:  “But dear, we have no camping equipment.”

And so began a long odyssey of preparing for our inevitable camping adventure – making a list, checking it twice, and borrowing prodigious amounts of camping equipment from our friends, because I was NOT (repeat NOT) forking over several hundred dollars just for a mere adventure.  We were regaled with stories from family and friends about camping, some good and some bad.  One couple even told us about hearing a bear prowling around their tent at the same state park that we were planning on going to.  With each new story, my wife became more and more excited.  I had seen this look in her eyes before, when my wife spent an entire year planning for our Disney “adventure”.  Believe me, the determined look of matrimony is much more scary than any prowling bear.

Dateline:  Last Thursday; About to embark on our trip to Bear Food State Park, the vehicle is loaded down.  My father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law are also going.  Apparently, they have been craving adventure too.  “You will be much more relaxed when we get back to the simple life of camping” my wife announced triumphantly.  Apparently, this simple life requires a lot of stuff – our van was so full of equipment that our kids had to ride in the cab of my father-in-law’s truck.

We pulled out our driveway, on our way to grand adventure.  I sighed as we reached the city limits of Zebulon – it seemed so civilized now…..


Stay tuned for Part 2 – the allure and mystery of Bear Food State Park.

Do you have any camping stories to share?







Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2012/10/30/daves-fireside-chat-campsite-chili-lasts-all-night-doo-dah-doo-dah/


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  1. Aunt Kay

    I am crying from laughing! That is the funniest thing I have read in like forever………even funnier than the movie RV with Robin Williams. Can’t wait until Part 2 :D

  2. Anna

    I loved the Disney planning part!! Hahaha!

  3. Tracy @ usingtimewisely.com

    My idea of camping is in a 5-star hotel. However, my parents enjoyed camping, and on one trip, we had a raccoon visit our site shortly after dinner. My mom, brother, and I were on the picnic table while my dad followed the raccoon until he went into the woods.

    Though not my favorite past time, hope you enjoyed spending time with your family. Happy camping!

  4. j

    I loved your post it was so funny. I really liked the bear at the table picture lol lol. I would never get a chance to see a bear at a picnic table here in the uk. /thanks so much for sharing

  5. Real Posh Mom | Jennifer

    My husband LOVES camping & so do my children. I let them go away for some “daddy bonding time” while I rest at home. I wasn’t always this way, though. I went adventure camping for a month…and when I saw adventure, I mean without plumbing. Man, did I learn a lot about digging holes, eating food with a dash of dirt and cleaning up in the river. It was a great “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, so I have declared after that month that have camped. ;) I hope you have a great trip on yours.

    1. David

      Wow! You are really brave to do it for a month. We were at our limit after about 2-3 days.

  6. Dominique Goh

    I don’t really like camping..rather go to a resort on a holiday. Am looking to read more about your camping trip though.

  7. Dominique Goh

    My kids and I don’t really like camping..we prefer to stay at hotels and resorts when we travel. Looking forward to reading more about your camping adventure.

  8. C. Lee Reed

    Hilarious post and I can’t wait for part 2. But I hate, I repeat hate, camping. Bugs, sweat, wild bears, and teenagers. Ugh!

    1. David

      There is a link to Part 2 in the post above. Glad it made you laugh.

  9. Susan

    Oh so funny!!! I do have to say, I love this weird idea of a “vacation”!!! Thanks so much for the laugh.

  10. Nikki

    This is the funniest post I’ve read in a long time! Like your wife, I too declared that we should go camping this past summer. It never happened, as the weather gods seemed to know that me in the woods for two days would result in “very bad things” happening somehow. My boyfriend is all about camping and woodsy activities. I prefer to “camp” in my living room. Sleeping on my couch for a night is enough of an adventure. Still. I got it in my head that since I’m raising a boy, I need to do the camping thing at least once with him. Off to read part two!

    1. David

      It is definitely something everyone with boys should do at least once in their lifetime. My boys have already made plans for next year’s adventure.

  11. Nickida

    I love camping and by camping I mean visiting a camping resort that has trailers set up near a man made lake and it has electricity and a kitchen so you can cook inside. Oh an a pool for swimming. That’s the kind of camping we love. I hope you guys had a great trip.

  12. andi

    haven’t camped since i was a kid – but i love the title of your post…. :D

  13. Kim (babyw8)

    I used to love camping when I was a teenager. I haven’t been in years but would like to take my son one day

  14. Jean

    I’ve been camping a few times since I married my husband (he’s an outdoor type so have all the gear) and personally, prefer hotels. I enjoyed reading your humorous account of the camping adventure!

  15. Carrie Wood

    Your post is the funniest thing I ‘ve read in weeks. My parents used to drag us all over “tarnation” on one miserable camping trip after another. Now that I am a parent of 6 kids I certainly can’t afford Disney so the idea has passed through my sleep deprived brain that maybe we should try camping with our crew. So far, your post has convinced me to give it a second and third thought! Can’t wait to read part 2.

  16. Yona

    LOL – a funny post. Caught me by surprise.

    When I was in college, we camped out a few times. I really liked it. There were probably more than 30 people so that sense of security was there. The only downfall I can think of was the mosquitoes – NOT a fan of those bloodsuckers.

    Nowadays, I wouldn’t mind going on a nice camping trip, but I’m way too scared of the possibility of a modern-day Jason (from Friday the 13th) lurking around. I’m more afraid of encountering something like that than I am a deer, wild dog, bear or mosquito.

  17. Sara

    had to stop drinking my $7 coffee because I would have spit it out on the laptop LOL

    I think I stayed in that same bear food state park – we didn’t stay in a tent, we stayed in a tent like contraption that we -paid- to stay in. Imagine that? spending hundreds of dollars for the chance to sleep in a bed, surrounded by a faux house structure that they told us was a tent “cabin”. NOT.

    We did get a bear at night while I was walking to the restrooms (because we wanted the adventure of getting up in the middle of the night, in the freezing cold, in our pajamas, walking a couple of blocks {or it seemed} just to pee). They keep the dumpsters right next to the restrooms – hmm – are they capturing the reaction of the ‘campers’ as they come face to face with the bear? America’s funniest videos would have content for many years.

    Let’s just say, I’m way over getting adventure into our lives. I used to dream of RV’ing but then I watched the movie RV with Robin Williams and that pretty much got rid of that notion.

  18. NYCSingleMom

    i am not going camping because I would have to be one of those kooks who has to rent an RV since I dont have a car. I am just going to wait until part 2 as to see how it goes

  19. Kecia

    Such a comical post! I haven’t been camping in years, but I think we were “adventure campers” as we had bathrooms and showers just down the road from our site!

  20. Michelle

    Hilarious!!! Much-needed laugh for today – my first camping experience was in the middle of July, in the South and while I was 7 months pregnant…need I say more other than it was, also, my last camping experience???

  21. Felicia

    Lol, that post cracked me up! I needed a laugh! As for me and camping…doesn’t really happen. I went camping when I was younger when I was in scouts and it was a lot of fun. But now a days, camping to me is going to a hotel. I know my husband would love if I enjoyed camping since he seems to want to go camping, but yeah…not my thing. We’ll see what happens though, maybe I’ll do it one day just to make him happy.

  22. Erin @ My Mommy World

    This is hilarious! I also hate camping…my husband mentions that we should go camping every so often and I always tell him no, absolutely not! Being without power for 4 days after a hurricane was camping-like enough for me :)

  1. Dave’s Fireside Chats – Camping, Episode 2 | Conversaving

    […] loyal readers (all three of you) will recall my family’s camping experiences at Vogel “Bear Food” State Park last year.  Even though I was a mere camping novice then, everything went fairly well – no […]

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