By this time tomorrow, I’ll be sitting outside enjoying that first morning cup of coffee, looking out through the trees at the beautiful Raquette River. Am I going to a resort? No such luck. I’m going camping–in a tent–for 2 weeks, but it’s a very nice tent!
Now, I love camping, don’t get me wrong, but it’s more work than staying at home. First, if you’re lucky enough to get a site you’ve had before, and the park hasn’t redesigned it and moved the fireplace as they’ve been known to do, you have to rake the ground and decide where to set up the tent. Once you’ve done that–and you want to get it right because moving an erected tent isn’t as easy as shifting the furniture around a room–you have to check there are no ditches indicating water runoff or you could wake up afloat in the morning.
The next step is to put down the ground sheet or tarp under the tent. A lot of people don’t bother with that, but believe me it does help. Nor only will it keep the underside of the tent clean and dry, it’ll cut down on dampness. After the ground is covered, I’m ready to unroll the tent. Now, in this chicken outfit, I’m in charge of the tent. Marriages have been ruined over setting up tents, and we’ve learned our lesson. I unpack the tent, roll it onto the groundsheet, take out all the necessary pegs and other hardware, and put the poles together. When I’m ready, I signal my husband to lift one tent pole while I do another and then I put the peg in place to hold those two poles. After that, I’m on my own. And yes, I do set up that monster tent more or less by myself!
After the tent is up and secured. I need his help pulling the fly over the roof–only because I’m too short to do it alone–and then, I start on the inside, open all the windows, and blow up the double decker air mattress, make up the beds with sleeping bags, into which I place folded flannel sheets in case it’s too warm, and cover with wool blankets–in case it’s too cold. I Bring in the luggage, set up a table on which I have a lantern and an alarm clock for at night. I place the portable toilet in an accessible location, and we’re ready for nightfall.
Now, I have to get hubby’s help again to pull a tarp over the tent. Again, you might think it ludicrous, but having camped in a torrential downpour, I know the importance of a top tarp. I secure the tarp with bungees and poles to make a small awning at the front. The tarp will also keep the tent warmer if I have to use the heater at night because the temperature drops below 60. When it’s over 80 during the day 55 at night is damn cold!If the day is a glorious sunny one, the tarp will sit behind the tent until evening when I’ll secure it in place. On a cloudy day, that sucker stays in place.
By now, My husband has emptied the car, set up the chairs and done what he calls site maintenance. aka. the beer is in the cooler on ice ready to drink! So, I move onto my next task, setting up the kitchen tent. This is actually the third one we’ve bought. Kitchen tent 1 was designed to be erected by someone with a master’s degree in engineering. Needless to say, we got rid of it. Kitchen tent 2, was a pop-up which we used for many years and passed on to our daughter to use with the kids. Kitchen tent 3, is made the same way the tent is, and after the poles are set, I only need his help to lift it upright. No fuss, no muss. We don’t tarp the kitchen screen tent. If it rains during the day, we go elsewhere.
Now, after three hours of setting up, we’re ready to enjoy the rest of the holiday. We’ll blow up my floating lounge chair and, if the sun’s shining, we’ll float along the shore until it’s time to make meals. He may even get around to reading my book while I catch up on my reading so I can write some of those book reviews when I get home. We’ll eat well, and at night we’ll have a campfire and relax over a bottle of wine and maybe a cribbage game or two. We’ll savor the two weeks of one another’s company–no phones, no television, no drop-in guests. It’s almost like a honeymoon–well without the king-sized bed in a luxury hotel, the room service and the fancy restaurant meals– but you get the idea. Now, all we need is for Mother Nature to cooperate!