A few weeks ago I revealed that I had never been camping. I have since been camping. I survived. It really wasn't a big deal, and it was therefore a bit anti-climactic considering the thirty years of build-up.
Camping was fun, but it didn't blow my mind. Mostly, I was amazed by how much planning it required. When I go on tour, I bring a backpack and an accordion. Usually I also bring a backup 1/4" cable, but that's as far as my "be prepared"-ness goes. We took the truck on our 2-day camping trip, and it's a good thing too because the truck was FILLED with Rubbermaid™ tubs which were in turn FILLED with the entire Bass Pro Shop.
In his defense, FWT was taking extra care to make sure he didn't ruin camping for me forever. He made sure we had all amenities to keep me comfortable (although I still preferred the trees to the available port-o-pot.) Dinner the first night was fresh pasta with sauteed veggies and homemade cilantro pecan pesto. We also had Laphroaig and some nice red wine.
Highlights/Things I learned:
- FWT makes a beautiful campfire. He's an Eagle Scout, so I think that means he took "Camping" as an elective in high school. Despite the wet firewood and thus the smoooooooooky fire, it provided just enough heat to keep me from complaining.
- Not complaining was my Number One Goal for the weekend.
- I cannot believe how much time the campfire takes to create/maintain. It kind of ruins the whole be-calm-and-peaceful-and-sit-around-and-read thing that I was prepared for. Thankfully, FWT took charge of the fire, and all I did was find a really cool stick that we could use as a poker. And I just dealt with the smoke-in-my-face channeling those days when I had to play four-hour gigs at Air Devils Inn. Although, I think I prefer camping to Air Devils.
- The weather on the Green River was a good 30 degrees cooler than the weather predicted, making the first night there almost unbearable. I wore five shirts, three pairs of pants, and two hats.
- Supposedly there is a theory that the less clothing you wear while in a sleeping bag on a cold night, the warmer you will be. I think FWT was just trying to get me to take off my clothes. I doubted and protested this theory all night long, thinking no matter how you explain it to me, I'm warmer with a shirt on than without.
- I shivered all night long, despite five layers of clothes, three blankets, and a air mattress.
- I'm not sure how rustic our camping really was, considering we drove the truck over to Mammoth Cave one day and took a tour along with 120 other tourists. Also, the part of the cave deemed "Fat Man's Misery" was a tight squeeze for me, which makes me wonder how some of the enormous people on our tour are not still stuck there.
- The iPhone constellation apps don't work in the wilderness. But somehow, despite lack of service, I still got a random text message from a friend one night that said merely: Elton John Rocks!!!!
- A search and rescue team performed a test run at our campsite with some new doggies one morning. I was pretty glad that we didn't get lost because those puppies were not so good at finding the "victims." Mostly they seemed interested in what the campers were eating.
- All there is to do while you're camping is EAT. The days are long, and despite expending very little energy, I seemed to always be hungry. Luckily, along with the entire Bass Pro Shop, FWT also seemed to have packed our entire refrigerator.
- They've stopped carrying vegetarian marshmallows in grocery stores, which makes for a considerably less-interesting smore.
- FWT wields an axe and chops firewoord well, but I prefer him in a suit.
- I slept better when I lived at the corner of 10th and Broadway in NYC -- through all night sirens and car horns and crazies -- than I did with the stupid woodpeckers by the campsite.
- It was nice to wake up at 6:30 in the morning and smell a campfire and nature.
- It is better to wake up at 10:00 in the morning and walk to the Farmer's Market.
I think the main reason I don't loooooove camping the way some people do is because I am not a planner. I like spontaneous weekend expeditions to Amsterdam, you know, and things that don't require forethought. Camping involves making a list that is well over a page long and includes things like: hatchet, tarp, batteries, hammer, flashlight. I, however, prefer to go on trips where the list looks more like this: passport, credit card, toothbrush, sunscreen, cowboy boots.
Anyway, it was a good time, and I'm glad I went. I'd do it again, and I will definitely take FWT with me. Like anything you do, it's all about the company. Even Paris is lame if you don't go with the right person. I guess.
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